DEAR ABBY: I am 32 and need advice on setting personal boundaries in my relationships. Simply put, I have a guy friend who has feelings for me that I don't have for him. We dated briefly. I broke it off, and we have continued as friends for two years.
He knows I'm not interested in an intimate relationship with him. However, he has made it clear through words and behavior that he's in love with me, almost to the point of obsession.
I feel he doesn't respect my personal space. We argue -- especially if he ends up crashing at my house after a night at the pub. I firmly tell him he can only sleep on my couch, but he'll weasel his way into my bed. I feel I'm enabling him in his clingy behavior because I don't want to hurt his feelings.
I want to be able to act assertively with him and others. I want to stop being so passive, especially with men. Please advise me how to work on this. -- PUSHOVER IN VANCOUVER, CANADA
DEAR PUSHOVER: The man you describe appears to be under the impression that he can wear you down if he keeps at it long enough. He isn't interested in being your "friend"; he wants to be your lover.
Because you aren't interested in him that way, quit allowing him to sleep at your place. If he becomes so drunk he can't drive himself home, get him a taxi. Allowing him to sleep over and weasel himself into your bed sends him a mixed message, and that's a mistake.
To create effective boundaries, you must be clear about the messages you send to others. What you appear to need to work on is the ability to say no. Try it. You'll like it.