Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Boyfriend fears telling dream girl he doesn't want to be exclusive

Carolyn Hax on

The only act of love here is honesty. Anything short of it is just a way for you to achieve your selfish, have-and-eat-cakish ends.

Dear Carolyn:

I've had a very good friend for several years who recently got a well-paying job. He describes himself as having more money than he knows what to do with, and he loves to travel.

In the past year, said friend and I have traveled cross-continent and have an overseas trip coming up, all on his dime. He says he's just happy to have a travel companion, and we have a lot of fun on our trips, since we have very compatible travel styles. I'm obviously very grateful and do what I can to "repay" his kindness with thoughtful gifts and by using my organizational skills to make our trips as stress-free as possible. However, some people really don't get this arrangement. My family keeps encouraging me to marry him, and other people have made comments questioning whether I'm "sure" he doesn't expect anything romantic or sexual in exchange.

How do I respond to raised eyebrows, comments, questions or statements that imply or outright state that I owe my friend sex or a relationship in exchange for his generosity? -- Just Friends

The only people who need to "get" this arrangement are you and your friend.

So, answer nosy people's questions accordingly: "Thanks for your concern." Even from your family. The effect of repeating this, verbatim, can be powerful.


If you'd prefer to mix it up: "I've got this"; "Interesting, thanks"; "I'll keep that in mind"; "You do realize, I hope, that my standing here and nodding means only that I'm humoring you."

Bon voyage.


Email Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

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