Frus­trated in friend zone

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions for Amy Dickinson to askamy@ amy­dick­in­son.com.

Dear Amy: At the be­gin­ning of the year, I hooked up with an amaz­ing woman.

She is in her mid-40s. I am eight years her ju­nior.

She is sweet, car­ing, gor­geous, sexy, strong, fun, in­tel­li­gent — the whole pack­age. How­ever, af­ter we hooked up, she turned things off pretty quickly. She said she’s sure that there is an­other per­son out there for me but that it isn’t her.

We are still friends and talk on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Her fam­ily dis­owned her for rea­sons that I found to be petty and cruel, given how amaz­ing she is.

I just have a hard time be­ing around her lately. I don’t know if it’s just a de­sire to prove to her that I’m good for her, and that she is good enough for some­one to love (she has prob­lems with self­es­teem and de­pres­sion, like me). I won­der if I’m re­act­ing to hav­ing some­one easy to get along with af­ter an eightyear hiatus from dat­ing, or if my feel­ings for her are just lust over how good the sex was.

When she told me that peo­ple didn’t re­mem­ber her birth­day last week, I rushed out, bought f low­ers, a case of her fa­vorite beer, and came over to her house and talked and laughed with her un­til mid­night.

She’s com­mented on how big my heart is and how nice and kind I am, but I’m wor­ried that the only rea­son I do th­ese things is a se­cret de­sire to try to get into her pants again. I don’t want to lead her on un­der false pre­tenses, but I can’t con­tinue think­ing that the only rea­son I’m do­ing this is a ju­ve­nile lust­ing. Help! Wor­ried Friend

Dear Friend: Don’t di­min­ish the power of ju­ve­nile lust­ing. All lust­ing, on some level, feels ju­ve­nile — and that’s a good thing. But you may have to con­front the idea that the sex was good for you, but maybe not for her.

You are ob­vi­ously at­tempt­ing to court this woman, and that’s also a good thing. The trick is to be hon­est about your in­ten­tions and re­spect­ful of her hes­i­ta­tion. She has al­ready stated that she doesn’t want to con­tinue with a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship.

She is right: There is some­one out there for you, and this ex­pe­ri­ence should also give you the courage to get out there and keep try­ing.

Dear Amy: I am a pro­fes­sor at a small lib­eral arts col­lege. I have been teach­ing here for 18 years.

I do not have a doc­toral de­gree, but I sup­pose be­cause of my age and aca­demic rank, stu­dents al­ways call me “doc­tor” when ad­dress­ing me.

I feel un­com­fort­able and do not know how to cor­rect them when they do this. I don’t want to make them feel put off, so I’ve just let it go.

Do you have any ad­vice on this topic? Pro­fes­sor

Dear Pro­fes­sor: Con­sider it part of your aca­demic men­tor­ing to of­fer a clear cor­rec­tion when stu­dents make a very un­der­stand­able mis­take. As they go through life they will need to read cues and ac­cept cor­rec­tions with­out feel­ing put down or put off.

The first day of class, you should write your name on the white board and tell them how to ad­dress you: “My name is Bill Wat­son. You can call me Pro­fes­sor Wat­son. I un­der­stand that I am an­cient and that you might be tempted to ad­dress me as Obi Wan Kenobi — or Doc­tor — but I don’t have a doc­tor­ate de­gree. In academia, this is an im­por­tant dis­tinc­tion.”

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