Life Advice



Single File: Hide-and-Seek

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I often think that people who get wrapped up in their feelings for someone who doesn't return them (and obviously will never return them) are, at bottom, terrified of love, because this way they won't have to expose their feelings. Instead, they can fantasize about the feelings they have for the person who isn't the least bit interested. -- From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Yes, they're playing it safe. No risk. But no gain, either. If that nowhere life continues, eventually their emotions will harden and atrophy and shrink into nothingness. We've all seen people like that -- no facial expression, no glint in the eyes, not a trace of a smile on the lips. They've become automatons. Far better, it seems to this blond head, to risk some pain, to face the fears. They aren't terminal; they can't inflict more pain than one allows. And the best part? You've allowed your feelings to come back in, to be welcomed back to your heart.

If your words hit home for people reading, they should know that love is the crowning glory of a life, for sure. I ask such people: Why deprive yourself of its joy? You say you're terrified of being refused, of being hurt? Well, let's think this through together, here and now.

OK, so you're hurt. You really like this person, and he or she couldn't care less about you and your feelings. Well, that's not great, feeling small and unappreciated. Life threw you a zinger. You're down -- but not out! Take it from one who knows: Each time you get up from a life-zinger, you're a stronger person, better-equipped to handle the next zinger -- and there will be others. And the great thing is that you're losing the old fears that have kept you from risking love. Small loss, big gain.

DEAR SUSAN: Honestly, once I had lost my virginity, I don't think I ever waited four months before having sex with someone I had started dating. And I can't think of many friends -- gay and straight, male and female, who wouldn't say the same. Back in our 20s, we were all so wrapped up in each other's lives we could always tell when someone had a new love, and it was pretty obvious when they had "crossed the line" into physical intimacy. (It was almost never four months or more.) Lots of those same people are in successful marriages that have lasted two decades now, so clearly getting physical that "early" didn't affect their ability to form deep, intimate relationships. -- From the 'Single File' blog


DEAR BOGGER: So much of sexual mores -- and sexual sophistication -- is born of their times. With so many homosexual, transgender and straight choices, so much information and so many personal experiences in full view aired in public and the media, it's almost a free-for-all. Except that sexual activity of any kind -- yes, any kind -- is never free of emotion. Now all kinds of experiences are for the public to view and consider, creating a wide-open, anything-goes climate. The media shouts everything and has become the erotica of our time. Today, four months of celibacy when the libido is demanding action seems to many people a bit tame, prudish almost. I dare not be a media judge today, for situations, experiences and feelings are so varied in these 'anything goes' times, different from just 10 years ago. (Or five?) Let's agree: I am not the arbiter for human sexual activity; it's such a personal issue, what you do with your body and who you do it with. I can't crawl inside readers' heads and fine-tune their reactions. Nor do I wish to. What I can leave you with is this: be sure, be very sure you feel comfortable and relaxed with your partner, that this person sharing flesh -- and much more -- is truly FOR you, an ally, a friend, a well-wisher. In short, someone who respects you (and whom you respect) in your vertical life. Think. Then act.


We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at



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