DEAR HARRIETTE: There is a guy my age who lives in the same dorm as me. We sometimes study and hang out together on campus. He told me that he really likes me and wants to date me. Although I do like him and have a crush on him, I only ever viewed him as a friend because I know that he has a young child and has another baby on the way back home where he lives. We have the same friends, so the information is out there, but we have never really had a conversation about his family and life back home.
He is a senior, and this is his last semester, so I kind of feel that if I do like him, now is my only chance to act on it, but how do I appropriately bring up his family situation? I don’t want to date a guy that has a girlfriend, but I know that there are cases where the parents aren’t together. Am I getting in way over my head trying to deal with this type of situation in college, or should I just follow my heart? -- Young Crush
DEAR YOUNG CRUSH: You need to be practical. Your crush is a far more serious situation than a potential fling. Be direct with this guy. Tell him the truth -- that you like him too. Add that you are concerned that he may not be available for a relationship. Tell him that you know that he has a child and another on the way. Point out that you are not looking to be just a source of fun before he goes off to his “real” life. Ask him what he wants for his life and what he wants from you.
Yes, this is a grown-up conversation, but it is also what this moment calls for.