Dear Ms. Hax:

I have been dating a wonderful guy for two years. He treats me well, he comes from a wonderful family, is well-liked by many friends, and we share an easy rapport, enjoy doing the same things, etc. The problem is that he shows very little true passion sexually. We have plenty of sex but very little kissing and foreplay. I asked him for oral sex and he seemed genuinely repulsed. I have never experienced anything like this in previous relationships. Something just doesn't seem "right" and I can't figure out what. References to his being gay have surfaced just recently (usually from friends in a very joking manner). My question is, what are the signs?

-- C.M.

No no. Your question is, if he shows very little true passion sexually, does it even matter why? It's my column, I can do that.

You want to be kissed, you want foreplay, you want oral sex, you want someone who isn't repulsed. It's irrelevant whether he can't give you these things or he won't. All that matters is that you aren't getting them.

You need to make your longings known to him, all of them, again, warmly, directly and without accusation. Invite him to say what he wants and needs from you, too.

If he's not comfortable giving you what you ask, ask him why. If he's not comfortable even talking about this, ask him why.

If you don't get answers to either of these, add intimacy to the list of things you don't get from this guy.

And if nothing improves, on the passion or intimacy fronts, in bed or in conversation, ask yourself how long an easy rapport with a wonderful guy whom your friends like can continue to make up for, I'm guessing, how profoundly lonely you feel.

Dear Carolyn:

My parents divorced when I was 6 months old. I didn't hear from my father except an occasional birthday card until I was 18. He has called a few times through the years on Christmas. I just learned that we both now live in the same city. Is it worth trying to establish a relationship with him now?

-- Austin, Tex.

I don't know. Is it worth failing to establish a relationship with him now?

Getting your hopes up -- or down, or anywhere -- is just about the only mistake you can make here. That's because, beyond that initial "Hey, Dad, I'd like to see what you look like," most of your success depends on elements you can't control. Whether he wants a relationship. Whether either of you can let go of an 800-pound past. Whether he confirms all your worst suspicions about him. Whether you even like him.

I don't say this to discourage you. In fact, I hope my cynicism is inspiring. Any time you can detach your expectations from one particular outcome, you become more accepting of what you get, whatever you get -- which is a whole lot better than being bitter about what you don't.

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