Carolyn:

I'm a gay male college student. The problem: another guy. Said guy does not know the meaning of the word "inappropriate." He had no friends, I felt sorry for him, agreed to go to one dance with him. The guy is future Creepy Old Man. Now he gropes me at every chance meeting, gropes my friends (mostly lesbians) and cannot take a hint. The only effective strategies I've seen used involved a punch to his face or curling up in the fetal position. He's not intentionally malicious, just socially retarded, and I'm too "polite" (read: chicken) to try a knee to the groin. Have taken to hiding instead. Help. This is humiliating.

Getting Desperate Here

You need to be a woman or a toddler to know this one, I guess. When you're being touched in a way that makes you uncomfortable, there's no place for hints. "Get your hands off me, please" is more like it, underscored by direct eye contact and a physical step back. If you're worried about his feelings, don't be. Assuming you've read him correctly and he's just a harmless guy with some Issues, the kindest thing you can do is make it clear when he's crossing a line.

Dear Carolyn:

I've been seeing this guy for little over a year. We both are in the same college and have the same major. When we started off we agreed this was not to be a "serious" thing. So of course as the world turns, I fell head over heels in love with the guy, but never expressed it because of the situation. I assumed a summer break would cool my feelings and it did. However, we saw each other again, and he fell head over heels in love with me. But because he's been hurt before and blah blah blah, he still doesn't want to make it official, and I'm tired of having my feelings jerked around. So how do I save our friendship, maintain the ability to work in a classroom setting, but end the love?

Utterly Confused and Heartbroken

If you want to end the love, have him leave his dirty dishes all over your room, nag you to lay off the cheeseburgers and harp on what a saint his mother is.

But I'm not sure why you want to. You are/were head over heels, he is head over heels, and to reduce this to a working friendship simply because neither of you has any clue what you're doing is an almost criminal squandering of one of the best sensations in life.

You are tired of limbo. He isn't making things easy.

But you aren't, either -- not with your naive agreements and undisclosed feelings and summer detox plans, which, frankly, are in the same around-jerking class as his "blah blah blah."

Until one of you just says how you feel, that screaming you hear will be me. Timing gets messed up. Oh well! Relationships start one way and end up another. Oh well! Everybody on Earth has been hurt before. Either you let these things tell you how to live, or you at least try to live as you want: "I'm nuts about you and I want us to give it a shot." If you think rejection is hard, try regret.

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