DEAR ABBY: I'm a 27-year-old woman who has never had a boyfriend or been kissed. I was never interested in romance or having a significant other. I felt strong being independent and taking care of myself. Now that I have a degree, a career and a house, I feel ready to try to let a man into my life.
I met a really nice guy a month ago. "Brian" and I have gone out several times and have a lot in common. He's a gentleman, and he says he's willing to wait for me.
I have been having a difficult time letting myself be physical with him. Even hugging is uncomfortable for me. I know it's because I have been a shy loner my whole life and I'm unaccustomed to being close to people.
Even though Brian says he'll be patient, I can sense his frustration. Physical closeness should come easily if you like and are attracted to someone. I feel abnormal. I don't know if I'll be this way forever or get more comfortable the more I know him.
I'm afraid Brian -- and most men -- won't be willing to wait that long. I'm afraid if I don't move faster I'll lose a great guy and never get another chance. What do you think? -- BLOCKED IN BOISE
DEAR BLOCKED: Being intimate with someone because you're afraid you'll lose him or it will be your last chance is the wrong reason. I think that the sooner you talk with a licensed therapist about your lifelong shyness and discomfort, the quicker you can understand the reasons for it and overcome it. Your doctor should be able to refer you to someone.
If Brian is the right man for you, he will stand by you. But if he doesn't, you'll be able to more easily relate to someone else.
DEAR ABBY: I am planning my wedding in the fall. My fiance and I are paying for the wedding and reception.
I have worked at my job for a year, and I haven't always been treated well by a few co-workers. I am reluctant to invite these people because I'm worried about the repercussions if I do. I know they will judge every aspect because they did it to another co-worker.
I like a few of the people I work with, but I don't know if I can invite only them. What do I do? -- WEDDING PLANNER IN OMAHA
DEAR WEDDING PLANNER: What you do is invite only those people you truly want to attend your wedding. It's not necessary to apologize for it or to explain why. If you are put on the spot and feel you must give a reason, say that your guest list is limited because of financial constraints. It's far more tactful than saying they are being excluded because they are rude, awful people, and you don't want them anywhere near you on such an important occasion.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)