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Dating novice? has no need ?to worry

>Q: I'm finally ready to start the next chapter of my life and have met a few potential guys who I would like to date. However, I'm 25 and have never been on a date. Throughout high school and college, I was education-oriented, career-oriented and had a bad case of wanderlust, traveling with friends and family. Dating did not interest me, and I was very content with the single life.

Now that I'm more settled and starting to meet people, I feel like a loser for having no experience with this stuff. I am wondering if I should offer a short disclaimer to my dates about my lack of dating history – including the fact that I've never been kissed and am still a virgin (not for any moral or religious reasons). What kind of disclaimer should I give, or should I not give one at all?

– P.K., Tonawanda

A: Your dating history, or lack thereof, is no one's business. It's perfectly acceptable to say something like "my life has been really full over the last several years, and I just haven't met the right person yet" if you're asked about those things. Also, the topics of sex, intimacy and past dating experiences are NOT first-date-conversation material for anyone. Talk about things you like to do, the places where you've traveled, your aspirations in life, and keep it simple.
When you've had several dates with someone and you decide that you really like him, then you can open up about it. If he's genuinely interested in you, it shouldn't be an issue. The kissing will come naturally, and you will know when you're ready for sex. Don't feel bad about your lack of dating experience; instead, look at it as uncharted territory waiting to be explored.


The thrill is gone

>Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for nearly five years. For the past few months, I haven't felt the same and I would like alone time to focus on me. We have been long-distance for about three years, since he had to move for work, and we have not seen each other in almost six months. He is a wonderful man who adores me, but I am not feeling totally into the relationship. Even so, I am so afraid of letting him go and then regretting being single. How do I know when it is time to walk away?

– J.J., South Buffalo

A: The fact that you feel like you need alone time in a long-distance situation indicates that you've pretty much checked out of the relationship already.

The first thing you need to do is talk to him about how you're feeling. Maybe he's feeling the same way. Long-distance relationships are never a walk in the park. It's possible that in order for you two to get back on track, you'll need to be in the same place for a while, or at least start planning regular visits. Three years is a long time to remain apart without talk of settling down together, and that amount of time away and a lack of effort will usually create emotional distance as well.

Don't wait any longer to have the discussion with him, and don't do it over the phone; wait until the two of you can be together.

Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions (www.buffalo Email questions to and include your initials and hometown.