The girl of my dreams

I'm deeply in love but I can't tell how she feels about me.

Published July 19, 2004 7:37PM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

I've been going out with this girl for only three months but I am deeply in love with her. I had a crush on her for several years. We met in a class in college very briefly, then lost contact until just last summer, when I finally had the nerve to ask her via e-mail if she would meet me. She had a boyfriend at the time, so she turned me down. But we began writing each other, until about two months later, when she shut it down because she felt like she was being untrue to her boyfriend.

I moved away, from one coast to the other, but a month later we started writing again. We had so much to talk about in our e-mails, and there was so much energy in them, on both sides. She had broken up with her boyfriend. I came back to the place where I went to college for the holidays and met up with her. We got along so well. I went back and became profoundly depressed, and after a month I realized I wouldn't be happy without her, so I moved back.

Since I've been back I've spent nearly every weekend with her. It's like we're in a serious, committed relationship -- which I want -- but she at times will make it clear that she wants to be alone, that she doesn't want a boyfriend. She's had boyfriends for most of her post-high school life, and thinks she's been hampered by that, so she wants to be alone and meet new people. And I was the one who brought her to this point when I first e-mailed her. She felt held back by her boyfriend from doing something she wanted to do -- meet up with me.

I am only 24 but I feel like she's the girl of my dreams. I cannot be happy unless I am with her, or if I know I'm going to see her the next day. Our lovemaking is perfect and has this almost otherworldly passion at times. And we have so much chemistry. And she is incredibly beautiful. She is the most important thing in my life right now.

But she does not return my love -- at least I don't think she does. She's very distant and only shows affection toward me when we're in bed, but she's very shy so that might explain it. There are times when we're in bed when she'll look into my eyes and it will feel like there's something there, almost like she's trying to tell me she loves me, but we never talk about it and it feels inappropriate to bring up "our relationship." It drives me crazy. I've been unable to concentrate on anything for the past few months. It's because the entire thing is so uncertain but so important to me. I feel like she might walk away at any time, and I think if that happened it would destroy me.

I don't know what to do. I don't feel like I can go on like this, though at the same time I don't want to lose her. And I don't understand why I'm not content with the way things are. I went out with another girl once. I had a hard time talking with this other girl because I was thinking about her the whole time. I love her but it's slowly eating away at me.

Some Advice Please

Dear Lover,

Think of this love as a wave you are riding. Imagine you are surfing down the towering surge of procreation that began at our species' first birth -- or even before that, at the very creation of life itself; imagine that through your nerves and veins courses the miraculous amalgam of chemical and spirit that knows one end above all others, that it must reproduce itself into countless future generations. (Even the primordial ooze also knows one other thing: that one night after the lovemaking cools it will find itself sitting alone on a dry creek bed, plunking minor seventh chords on a cheap nylon-string guitar and trying to think of what rhymes with "left me.")

We're all afraid of that moment, sir. Many of us have been there. We survived.

Though you think you won't survive this thing called love, you will survive it. The will to survive as an individual exceeds the will to reproduce the species. Would a starving man forgo a meal to unbuckle a pair of tight jeans? No, I do not think so. You will survive this hijacking of your emotions by your genes. Whether you carve a graceful rooster tail at the bottom of the wave, streak back up its face and come flying up over the lip to safety, or whether it steepens, pitches forward and comes down on your head like Niagara Falls, you'll survive it.

So what to do meanwhile? Dance and make love as much as you can. Spend all your money on her. Carry her on your shoulders. Give her long backrubs. Buy her flowers, and when the petals start to drop off, scatter them over her bed. Write her a song and sing it to her; if you can't write her a song, then play her a song on the radio. Take her to see your favorite movie. After making love, fix her a steak. Keep the temperature in your house warmer than you yourself might like it. Lick the back of her ear. Try on her sunglasses. Take her on a long drive and stay in a cheap motel that has a pool. Stash expensive champagne in the car. Go out of the room to the motel ice machine; fill a bucket with ice and put the expensive champagne in the bucket and bring it back to the room. Drink the champagne from the bottle. Go swimming in the pool without any clothes on. Give her a foot massage. Tie her to the bed and see if she tries to get away.

Do all these things because these are the things one does when one is crazy in love. Do not think about the future. Do not think about what will happen when she leaves. It's possible that she may not leave; if you do all these things, she may open like a flower or ripen like a peach. Or she might take everything you've given her, all the sea shells and T-shirts and expensive perfume, and walk down the street. There's no way to know what a woman you love will do. But keep singing to her, because she's unlikely to leave in the middle of the song.

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By Cary Tennis

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