I’m 23 and have never had a romantic/sexual partner. My mother and aunts seem to think that having a guy is the only thing that really defines a successful young woman. It seems that EVERYONE is dating by now. I’m not happy with how I feel the world perceives me because I’m lacking in such a small aspect of my life. -Terrible 20s

The fact that you’re so vehement that everyone — in all caps! — has dated by now makes me wonder whether this is about more than just your mother and aunts. Seriously, you’re 23. Some people have barely made their own Rice-A-Roni by your age, and you feel like everyone else is partnered up?

Try to seek out more friendships with singles whose judgment of you isn’t contingent on who you’re with. As for your mother and aunts, start small: When they say something condescending, respond politely but firmly: “Just because I haven’t happened to have dated doesn’t mean that I can’t X, Y or Z,” and change the subject. If those micro-interventions don’t work, write your mom a nonthreatening letter, saying that when you feel so criticized for being single, it makes it hard for you to be around her.

A Boyfriend or Just a Roommate?

I moved halfway across the country to move in with my boyfriend. Everything has been going great, except for some strange reason, he’s almost stopped showing me affection. We have great conversations and have been very compatible roommates, but when it comes to hugs and kisses, they have been almost nonexistent. I have tried talking to him about this issue, but I’m afraid that this is just how our relationship will be, and I’m not OK with it. -Lonely But in Love

The key here is what has happened when you’ve tried to talk to him about it. Has he not understood what you’re getting at? Claimed to have gotten it, only for nothing to have changed? Been too focused on that beer commercial to notice?

This could be anything from a minor slump to something more serious. Perhaps the pressure of your long-distance move has raised the stakes and made him anxious and distant. But the only way out here is to talk about it, see what changes, and then talk some more. It’s not me who’ll be able to tell you the answers you need, but him: He either prioritizes this or he doesn’t.