I'm 25, and a college student with minimal dating experience. I felt there was never the right chemistry.
However, I've known one new guy for several months, and enjoy his company. We started out as friends, but I’m developing feelings for him.
What's stopping me from telling him is: 1) our age difference – he’s five years younger than me; 2) I don't know how he feels about me; 3) We’re taking some classes together and I’m worried that, if his feelings aren’t reciprocal, things will get awkward.
I'm also worried my friends will be judgmental of my going after a younger guy.
Your attraction to this guy may be new but clearly “worrying” is an old pattern.
Time to focus on self-confidence, not his age or what others think.
Build the friendship further by talking about school assignments, noting any common interests, and getting him to talk about himself.
Once the friendship’s obviously mutual, you can soon tell him that you’re developing some feelings and wonder if he is, too. Keep it simple.
Be prepared that he may have a girlfriend back home. Or, he’s not ready for a relationship at this time. These possibilities are NOT rejections, and should not make your friendship become awkward.
Whatever happens, his age doesn’t matter. If friends comment, just laugh it off. Take pride in your own choices, and it’ll help your self-confidence soar.
FEEDBACK More of the overwhelming response to the question, “How to thrive after a breakup” (Sept. 30):
Reader – “This is one man’s perspective: My trust was betrayed, which was admitted to me, but to everyone else, my ex refused to take responsibility though I’d seen the messages and photo exchanges.
“Worse, my son was used as a pawn to inflict more pain and control over me.
“I left - extremely upset, heart-broken, and confused, since my inquiries as to why it happened were never answered.
“We faced the challenges of any new family, but I did whatever I could to make it work.
“Break-up of a marriage is hard.
“You've imagined a life with your spouse, and all the good times ahead.
“When the break-up happens, everything comes crashing down, your life changes drastically almost overnight.
“You feel as if who you were before has died that same day. I felt like a zombie day in and day out, sometimes softly crying to myself, sometimes experiencing a full breakdown and sobbing.
“I tried to keep busy - taking up new hobbies, trying new things, going out with friends. Nothing seemed to work.
“The only thing that partly kept me smiling and happy was when I’d have my time with my son - his beautiful smile, his playful nature, his ability to laugh and smile again after being sad.
“It made me look at myself and try to adopt his ability to just be happy and to let go of things.
“I poured myself into just looking forward to the next time I’d have with him.
“This helped keep me feeling I had something to live for. That's the biggest issue we face when having been hurt so deeply - feeling we don't have anything to live for.
“I found that importance in my role for my son. Once you regain that feeling of importance, you'll realize it was the other person's loss, not yours.
“While we may not love the next person the same way, we will still learn to love them just as much, if not more.
No Longer Sad Dad
Reader #2 – “The best thing to do after a break-up is keep busy when you anticipate feeling lonely or blue… but don’t over schedule yourself into exhaustion
“There are times you KNOW you won’t like being alone. I love Christmas Eve and dreaded being alone then, so I started having friends over - whoever was available - and now it’s a tradition my friends love.
“I also had a problem being home on a Friday of a long weekend, so I make plans. Not always a big plan, but just not home looking at the kitchen sink.
“I never said No to an opportunity or an invitation… there are always new people to meet or just talk to for the evening.
“I don’t need to make plans for other holidays (although a small trip is always nice!). I’m fine by day, but dinner hour’s when I like company.
“Head off your own “sore” spots.”
Tip of the day:
Tell someone your feelings for them after you’ve found some common ground as friends.