Arts & Culture » Culture

Looking for a friend

Q: I separated from my wife about 18 months ago, and the divorce became final a few months back. We were together for more than 10 years, and I find myself a bit lost. I never really had to think about what to do for company. Now I find myself in my late 30s, living alone in an apartment, with nothing. The majority of our mutual friends either stay in touch with her only or have lost touch altogether because of the awkwardness. So what do I do? I know all of the standard advice: take a class, join a group, take up a hobby, do stuff for yourself. I realize that this is all great advice (and I thank my brother for pushing to do these things), but I am not unhappy with me. My problem is that I am lonely. Not a "meeting new people" lonely, but a "need a confidant" lonely. I have nobody to open up to. I have these great things happen in my life, and I can't share them with someone who knows me. I know this is my doing, because my ex-wife had this role for me for so many years. Therapy helps, but working out problems with a close friend or sharing milestones with a mutually interested friend is so much more meaningful. So how does someone in need of good close friends who will listen and share go about finding these friends, without coming across as super-needy or just plain weird? I don't want to be that guy who dumps his entire life on you the moment we meet.

A: What do you suppose the good advice of taking a class, joining a group, etc. is about? These are places where you can meet and befriend potential intimates for sex or fellowship or both. You might also look around at work colleagues and back toward old friendships from school or before your marriage to see if there are any possibilities to renew or cultivate. Whether you are looking for a new lover or a buddy, the process of show and tell and give and take is the same: "This is who I am; could you be interested? Who are you; could I be interested?" A group for recently divorced people might be a particularly good idea, providing you with a choice of several individuals all looking for exactly what you are looking for. And as an added thought, what about your brother, he of the good advice?

Q: I have been dating this guy for several years now. Just the thought or sight of him turned me on in every way imaginable. I would automatically reach a climax just by him touching me. Now I still get excited by him but my vagina does not get wet at all. He'll do all of the things humanly possible to try to make me cum, and it feels like I do, but when it comes down to him penetrating me, he can't seem to go right in because it's still dry. And if it does get wet, it will stay that way for about a minute or so. But then, it's dry all over again. Some times if we do a certain position, it will get wet and then, once again, it'll be dry. We've been through a lot in our relationship. Most of our problems are because of him and the things he chooses to do. Could this play a major factor in why I can't seem to get aroused in that old way? Is my body telling me that it is over between us and I should move on? I like making love with him but it can't be much fun to him if he's entering the Sahara Desert all of the time. I know that it's not fun for me. Is there any way I can fix this problem? Do you think that if we did ever break up, that this problem could carry over into my next relationship? I don't understand why this is happening. Please don't tell me to try using a lubricant. Those things don't seem to help much and I think that they could be the reason why I'm like this.

A: Your dryness could be psychological, evidence of your ambivalent feelings for your guy, or it could be physical, the result of some medication you're taking, or of an internal malfunctioning, or a combination of both. Whatever the reason, the purpose of a sexual lubricant is to moisten a dry vagina. What is it that they don't help with you? You might have had an allergic reaction to one. If so, try some others. There are many on the market. Also, see what happens to your lubrication response when you are sexual alone. That should be a good indicator of which direction to proceed. Isadora Alman is a licensed marriage counselor and a board-certified sexologist. You can reach her online at her Sexuality Forum (www.askisadora.com) or by writing to her care of this paper. Alas, she can not answer questions

comment