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Dear Carolyn: I'm a 30-year-old physician who just finished his surgical training. I met a girl last year, and we went out a few times. Although she really liked me, I blew her off and just stopped calling mainly because I was just too busy and didn't think she would understand my work schedule.

Now that I'm done training, I got in touch with her again, and we've gone out several times. Although we had some physical intimacy the first time around, she refuses to kiss me and says she needs space, to rebuild trust in me again. Should I just give up? I know it's going to take time since I know I hurt her the first time, but how much time is enough? It's been two months since we started hanging out. I see her as someone I could marry should things work out.

-- M.D.
A: Your surgical training! Wow. Does that mean you trained surgicals?

Can't say I'm impressed by your behavior, though, except by its arrogance. Wow. She really liked you? You used her and then didn't call?

Because she couldn't be trusted to grasp the Hippocratic complexities of "working really long hours"? (I need more fonts to express the proper outrage.)

Yes, please, give up. Spare the woman.

Everyone who has been successfully sliced open -- or is it successfully closed -- should be grateful for the torturous schooling surgeons undertake. I am. Genuinely. But your mastery of bodies does not make you supreme among souls. On the importance of her time, feelings and dignity, you are no better than she, never were.

That's why you have to do better than "I know I hurt her" -- especially when you follow that mamby concession, immediately, with a toe-tapping impatience for being let off the hook already.

You didn't hurt her, you treated her like (pick your biohazard) -- and you don't regret that so much as resent the inconvenience it's causing you now with your life plans.

Only when you feel duty bound to humble yourself at her feet -- not to improve your own life by winning her back, but to repair your damage to hers -- will you even remotely deserve her trust. I hope she grants it with care.

No fire burning

Dear Carolyn: I have been dating a wonderful guy for more than a year. We love and care about each other and get along great, but there has never been that "spark." Sometimes I feel like we're just really good friends. Do we ultimately need that passion to sustain our relationship?

-- Confused
A: Yes. You do. Does that help?

Because some people really are, in fact, really happy just being really good friends. That is only relevant, though, if you're one of them, and I suspect you suspect that you're not.

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