Dear Harlan: I’m in my first serious long-term relationship. I’m falling hard for the guy I’m dating. We’ve been together for three months and have shared all the things we want to do together in the future. We are planning a summer vacation together. I’m head over heels for him.
What confuses me is that I still find other guys attractive. I don’t want to date them, but I miss being pursued. I loved the rush of meeting someone and not knowing what would happen next. I miss the chase and attention. I know this seems shallow. I have a great thing. It’s hard to turn off the flirting and this sense that I could meet someone at any time.
Is this a common problem? Does it mean I’m in the wrong relationship? — Missing the Chase
Dear Missing the Chase: My wife loved the thrill of the chase. Now she loves the thrill of sleeping late on the weekends — three kids will do that. A lot of women (and men) go through this.
It’s incredibly exciting to be wanted. Infatuation is intoxicating. A first kiss is intense. It’s normal to miss the danger and drama of being pursued. As your relationship grows deeper and more intimate, you’ll have new experiences that will be powerful in different ways. The depth of the relationship will give you even more satisfaction than the chase.
If you seek drama and danger, find it in other places. Explore different kinds of experiences that give you a rush of adrenaline and thrill. Oh, and I’ve got good news. Men will still flirt with you and pursue you. You just won’t flirt back and allow them to pursue you.
Dear Harlan: My mom has recently had medical issues, and I’ve been the one taking care of her. My adult brother and I live in the same city, but he doesn’t offer to take care of her. There’s an unspoken rule that I’m in charge of this type of thing.
I have always played the role of caregiver. She can’t drive, so I’ll drive her. I’ll help her get to her doctor appointments. I’ll make sure she has her medicine. My brother and I are both adults with families. Whenever something happens, I’ve been the one to take over. I’ve asked him to help out in the past, but he is always too busy with work or with his family. I hate that he is unwilling to help. My mom has always asked me and turned to me — not him. What can I do about my brother? I’m starting to resent him. I know it’s only going to get worse. — Caregiver
Dear Caregiver: Everyone has a role in the family. You’re the caregiver. He’s not. This doesn’t mean roles can’t change. He’s used to you being everything to everyone. He may not realize how unhappy you are in your current role.
Instead of talking about your mom’s needs and what he’s not doing, talk about the role you have assumed and how it impacts you. Make sure he understands this isn’t about him doing something wrong — it’s about you needing to shift your role. That means your mom needs help from more people. Ask him what he is capable of giving.
If he can’t help, perhaps you two can explore having a caregiver or assistant fill this role. Your mom might need to hire someone to drop by once or twice a week for a few hours. But talk to your brother. He might surprise you.