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.