Men, men, men, men . . .

Dear Carolyn:

I'm divorced, and while I have several platonic relationships with women, I currently have no romantic prospects save one, in whom I'm not terribly interested.

The dilemma is that if I refuse this woman's advances, it could be a long wait before I meet someone I'm really interested in dating. I'd like to be at a point in my life where dating would simply be a pleasant option, one that I could take or leave. But in all honesty I'm getting impatient. Should I stick to my guns (and standards) and wait for Miss Right, or should I give this woman a try and see if my gut feelings are incorrect?

--Divorced in Big "D"

Define "a try."

No, don't. And don't even think about punishing her because you have . . . needs. Come on! She's a human being. Do you think she gets up in the morning and fixes her hair and puts on makeup and chooses her outfits and eats her cereal and goes to work and smiles at you just so she can audition for "blow-up doll"?

Frankly, unless she's desperate, too, you're not up to her standards.

When dating is something you need rather than want, you're using the wrong brain--and a guy without judgment isn't much use to anybody. That's why the only urgency here is to get over your urgency, to locate some emotional independence. I don't think anyone has ever found that by aaaagh!datingsomebodyNOW.

Dear Carolyn:

I was very interested in a woman and told her how I felt. She told me she was trying to resolve another situation and did not want to date. Since then, however, we have become very close friends. She frequently refers to her situation but has never explained it to me. I always assumed it involved another man, but many of our friends believe she is gay. My questions are: 1) Should I be upset that she is not being honest with me (if this is the case), and 2) should I tell her people are gossiping behind her back?

--A.

1. She said she didn't want to date anyone; how much more honesty do you need?

2. News flash: We are all being gossiped about behind our backs.

Confirm this for your friend, and what do you accomplish? More important, what does she? If she's gay, I suspect she already knows. If she isn't, what's she going to do, hand out leaflets that say she's straight?

There are times when you should alert friends to gossip, absolutely. As a rule, you should pass along anything you'd want to know yourself if you were in their publicly compromised shoes.

But every time you do drop these bombs on people, you rattle their self-assurance (or their delusion, depending on how you view these things). The resulting paranoia just isn't worth it--unless everyone really is out to get them.

Dear Carolyn:

My friend and I have been hooking up for the past month. Not only that, but we spend all of our time together. We eat lunch together everyday and if we don't get a chance to see each other during the day or at night, we call one another because we go nuts if we don't hang out. But the problem is that I want something more from the friendship. Since we spend a lot of time together and hook up, I don't see why we shouldn't be together. But she is scared that, if we get together and then break up, we won't be friends anymore. This happened to her last year. What should I do?

--Confused Undergraduate

You're emotionally involved, you're physically involved, you're nutritionally involved, and when all else fails you're telephonically involved.

If this isn't "more from the friendship," what do you do with your friends?

You're right, you don't officially have a girlfriend right now . . . you have her, you big galoot. Enjoy it. The trust will come in time--unless you rush her and screw it all up.

Hi Carolyn:

I have been living with my girlfriend for the past year. We dated for only about five months before moving in together--she was in a terrible living arrangement (roommate from Hell) and spending most nights at my place anyway.

My problem is, I am now feeling a strong desire to live by myself again. She is a sweet, sensitive person, but not someone I see myself with for the rest of my life. She is constantly bringing up marriage as a logical next step (which it is, considering we are both in our late twenties). Any advice on how I can approach this subject would be lifesaving to me!

--Long Island Guy

Quickly. By the time you read this, you should have broken up with her three weeks ago.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or tellme@washpost.com, and join Carolyn's live discussion at 8 p.m. Monday at washingtonpost.com/liveonline