DEAR HARRIETTE: I started talking to a guy during quarantine, and now he wants to take me out. We got close -- from a distance -- over this past year. We even had phone sex. It was fun, given the circumstances. I feel safe with him, or as safe as you can when you haven’t physically spent time together.
Because we have established intimacy on the phone and over Zoom, I think he is going to want to actually be physically close soon. I’m scared to death in part because actual intimacy is something I haven’t had in a whole year, and also because even though I feel like I know him, this also feels really new. How can I talk to him about this so that things don’t get awkward? I am nowhere close to ready to have actual sex with him, but I do want to get together. -- Real Life
DEAR REAL LIFE: Be honest with him. Acknowledge how much fun you have had this past year, getting to know him virtually. Tell him that you are excited about getting together with him in person. Admit, though, that you are a bit nervous. Developing a virtual relationship feels different from cultivating a bond in person. Admit that you are concerned about taking things too fast. Tell him that you want to take it slow and get to know each other in person. You may not have to mention sex at all. If you think it’s necessary, tell him that you don’t want to be intimate with him yet. You want to wait until it feels right.