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The Hook Up: How to overcome fear of rejection

I’ve recently developed a crush on a pansexual, single friend of mine. I’m not usually emotionally attracted to people the way I am to her (and, you know, her being hot doesn’t hurt). We’re pretty touchy feely with each other and she usually seems so happy to see me that when she doesn’t pay special attention to me I fall into that 80-year, Pablo Neruda-quoting cycle of despair you once detailed. She’s really special and I want to go for it, put I am usually attracted to people who are assertive and act on their own feelings very clearly. I have no idea if we’re friendly or flirting and terrified of rejection. Is there a way to let her know I’m interested without wearing a sign that flashes “platonic” or “super gay” for every interaction I have?

The Hook Up: How Do I Break Up With My Best Friend?

I’m still in love with my best friend. I say, still, because yes, I’ve already told her how I felt. I was drunk one night at a bar during my birthday and she had been dating this other girl and it wasn’t working out. And that’s when I told her that if I didn’t know any better I would totally go for her. Which was probably not the best way to come out with the truth, but that’s what happened.

Anyhow, she told me she didn’t want to lose me as a friend and that she was traumatized because this had happened to her before. She didn’t want to hurt my feelings because she didn’t feel the same way as I did.

And the truth was, I didn’t want to lose her, either. So, I agreed to try to work it out with myself and, well, the thing is, I’m also married. It seemed on the surface that I just had a crush and was obviously in a bad place in my own marriage. And that I was questioning my sexuality for the first time, and that was probably a lot for both of us to handle.

Eventually, she broke up with the girl and we remained closer than ever. It’s been about six months since I’ve told her how I felt and I still feel the same way. I figured our friendship was better than nothing. She hadn’t dated anyone else and we see each other all the time, dinners, movies, as complete best friends. And I wait and cherish all of those times that she reaches over and we hold hands. Or, that every time we say goodbye, we hug and I text her back to let her know I’ve gotten home safe. I’ve gotten used to being reticent and I’ve learned to be cautious since I’ve told her how I felt. Even when she tells me that she’s so happy to see me, I try not to let it get to me.

Anyhow, she told me last week that she met someone that she really connected with. I got jealous. It dawned on me that I was completely delusional and a hopeless romantic. I vowed to end our friendship or to put it on the brakes. So, I stopped calling her and texting her for about a week and then, she tells me that she misses me and loves me. We both know we care about each other and love each other as friends. But, how do you break up with your best friend that you’re in love with? Because you know it’s the right thing to do?

The Hook Up: How do you €œknow€?

Hi Anna, I have always thought I was a lesbian (or at least bisexual). I’ve had crushes on several girls, but they were all straight. The only lesbians I’ve ever met have already been in a relationship. Because of this, I ended up dating men and marrying a man. We’ve been married for five years, and as time passes I keep feeling that I made a mistake. What do I do? How do you know for sure if you are a lesbian or not?

The Hook Up: How to talk to pretty girls and what to do if a partner refuses to change

Most people who meet me find me outgoing and confident, but put me in front of a pretty girl and I just don’t know how to act. There’s this girl I see all the time, and I know she’s friends with my friends but as soon as I see her I get nervous and try to find other people to talk to and pretend I’m being all aloof and mysterious. Really I know I have loads to talk about, but I don’t know what to say. How do I go from being a random girl to cool and savvy? All my friends know I’m totally weird but they say they love my confidence. I just don’t want her first impression of me to be, “So she finally said hello and now she’s looking at me funny.” A little advice?

The Hook Up: How to deal with a girlfriend'€™s unsupportive family

My girlfriend and I have been together for nearly a year and a half and things could not be going smoother. We love and support each other, my friends like her, my mom likes her, most of her family likes me. The only problem is with her mother. She does not like having a bisexual daughter and likes that we’re together even less (I’m the first girl my girlfriend has dated). If you asked her mother what she thought about LGBTQ people, she would say she’s pro gay rights, pro same-sex marriage, belongs to a very progressive faith community, etc. However, when it comes to my relationship with her daughter, she tells her it’s not real, that she’s only dating me because I “paid her any attention,” that she’ll grow out of it and find a man, and that the only way she can handle this is to pretend it doesn’t exist (she even ignored me when I came to meet the family). It’s putting a strain on their relationship (her mother won’t admit that either) and while I do my best to support my GF, I feel so powerless. Our relationship is only getting more serious and I’d like to at least have a cordial relationship with her whole family, but is there anything I can do?

The Hook Up: Coming out to dad and is partner too clinical?

So I know there are like a million other people who struggle with coming out, but I need to tell my dad I’m bisexual. He’s the only important person in my life left to tell, and his is the reaction I’m most worried about. I wanted to wait until I knew for sure if I was gay or bi (actually this article of yours helped me figure it out). I know people say not to worry about labels, but he wouldn’t understand without one, so I wanted to be sure. Now that I know, there’s nothing stopping me from telling him. My mom knows and is 100% supportive (I knew she would be cuz she has two gay siblings), but I feel bad making her keep this secret from my dad. He’s asked her a couple of times if I’m gay and she had to lie. She said she didn’t know and if I was would it matter, and he ignored her question completely. Just didn’t answer her. He asked me once if “I was thinking about going that way” but that was months ago when I was still confused. I’ve been waiting for another opportunity like that but none have come, so I guess what I want to know is how to bring this up to him on my own?

The Hook Up: Languishing libidos and biphobic boyfriends

Dear AE,

There’s this girl, her name is Bi. Her last boyfriend, Cheater, cheated on her for months. Despite this, she had the hardest time getting over him. When she finally realized how awful he was, she met a new guy, Phobic. Phobic doesn’t know that Bi sometimes likes the ladies. He treats her really well, spoiling her, and being really understanding about all of the drama in her past. She’s never had a boyfriend treat her so well.

Then there’s Me. Me and Bi have been best friends for practically their whole lives. Last year Me admitted she had feelings for Bi. Bi returned them, but was scared and ran. It almost ruined their friendship. Me has worked really hard to get over her feelings, but she isn’t sure that Bi is over them. Me is also concerned about the new boyfriend’s homophobia. Phobic treats Bi well, but doesn’t know everything about her, so his affection is conditional. Me is also afraid to meet this guy, even though he doesn’t know she prefers the company of women.

Should she say something to Bi? If yes, then what should Me say? Did this make any sense at all? 

Continued On AfterEllen…

The Hook Up: The only advice you need

About two months ago, I met a girl at a weekend conference for a student society that we’re both president of at our respective universities (she lives about half an hour away from me) and we both come from the same city. We hit it off and I was super attracted to her. Aside from exchanging emails about linking our societies we haven’t spoken but I would like to meet her again. Is it weird if I follow her on Twitter/Instagram and maybe start a conversation with her? I know she’s single and into girls but I don’t know how to indicate to her that I like her.

Am I being completely naive/or silly? And if I want to speak to her some more how do I go about it?—Desperately Seeking Someone

Anna says: Like this: Hi Society Girl, It was great meeting you recently. I enjoyed your company and your hotness. Would you like to get a beverage with me this week? Sincerely, DSS

Or, if you’d rather go about it the hard way, then feel free to try to lure her into your skivvies with months of compelling tweets and clever Instagram comments—don’t come right out and compliment her, that’d be too easy. Instead make obscure literary references from Pablo Neruda — not the one that every lesbian uses about the spring and the cherry trees, but something safer, a poem about a table, perhaps. “Like” and “favorite” almost everything she says and does on social media, so that you will always be at the forefront of her mind. But ignore her references to attractive celebrities—your silence will imply your displeasure at her commenting on Jennifer Lawrence’s Golden Globes dress, when really she should have eyes for no one but you.

Then, when she doesn’t respond to every social media comment you compose, agonize inwardly for days, and then solicit the help of no less than three of your closest friends (and one less close “impartial” friend) to analyze your crush’s every word, punctuation choice, and hidden meanings. When you and your sleuths discover a possibility of flirtation from your crush, rejoice! When it appears she is not flirting but simply commenting neutrally about her feelings concerning this morning’s english muffin, become horribly depressed and vow to get over her in favor of someone who actually returns your affections. This only lasts 45 seconds, however, and then your resolve to win her back comes at an even stronger force. Switch your literary references for TV and movie references and throw in quotes with more suggestive metaphors: caves, oysters, and, on a particularly bold day, the Grand Canyon.

Years pass and you are no further near to her heart than you were when you first started, so you redouble your efforts and add her on Google Plus and Pinterest. You track her locations on FourSquare and Facebook check-ins, and then stake out her favorite restaurants and bars, hoping against hope that she will show up at the same time and place when you are there yourself. Then one day she does! But you never rehearsed this part and instead of talking to her, you simply stare in her direction briefly and then look away. How could she not say hello to you? Didn’t she see you glancing at her with Nerudian longing?! Can’t she tell by the number of times you’ve blinked in a minute that you are ovulating and hence desireful of her? As you are contemplating the perfect combination of words, swagger, and sexy-table-leaning that will cause her to spontaneously rip off her clothes right there at Applebee’s and confess her undying love for you, you take a deep breath and fall to the ground because you’ve been pursuing this girl for 80 years and you just had your hip replaced and some jerk knocked your walker out from under you while reaching for their fried chicken tenders and the force of the blow and the force of 80 years of waiting around and hoping and stressing yourself out causes your heart to explode and you die.

But I strongly suggest you try option number one.

Continued on AfterEllen…

The Hook Up: Too-close friendships and dating outside your race

My partner and I have been together for a little over three years. Our relationship developed from an incredibly close friendship to more because she was there for me in a dark time and I for her. About a year ago she found a new best friend who is completely reliant on her in every way. My partner is the most loving, selfless, and caring person in the world and is happiest when giving to others. It is one of the things I love about her. But I can’t kick my jealousy.

No one ever teaches same-gender couples how to navigate close friendships. She recently found out some scary news from her family and didn’t tell me for a long time but told her best friend immediately. She sleeps there almost every night and when I try to be there for her she tells me she’ll only take out her frustration with me. I don’t know how this happened but I feel like I’ve lost her and that I am not her person anymore. Should I keep trying to win her back or step aside? —Sad Lady

The Hook Up: How do you bounce back after difficult times?

My partner and I have been together for four years. We went through a bit of a rough patch about two years ago. By “rough patch” I mean something pretty drastic and difficult in our lives happened that sent us into damage control and survival mode. Things are better now but I find that we’re still not connecting like we used to. I understand that relationships change and shift. I’m not expecting us to be like we were before. We love each other a lot but our intimacy/sex life is really strained and awkward. It seems like we just can’t seem to get it to click anymore.

So I guess my questions (yes I’m sneaking in a few) are these: How do couples bounce back after prolonged difficult times? How do you find a new normal? What if our sex life never resembles something that I’m happy with? How do you decide if you’re willing to sacrifice that to stay with someone you love?—Hugh-Man-Bean

Anna says: That’s a tall order, Hugh. Or may I call you Ms. Bean?