HELP ME, HARLAN! Online dating isn’t the problem — it’s all the rejection

Harlan Cohen

Dear Harlan,

Why do you continue to suggest online dating? What happened to going to places with people who have similar interests? I don’t like people scrolling by my face and swiping left or right. I don’t want people propositioning me. I’m much more comfortable meeting people face-to-face and forming friendships. I wish you would stop encouraging online dating.



Dear Offline,

It’s like saying you don’t want to use a lightbulb because you’ve used candles your entire life. The problem isn’t online dating, it’s that online dating means facing the possibility of massive rejection. Giving the world access to you means that thousands of people will not want you. When you’re walking down the street and people don’t show interest in you, it doesn’t hurt as much. People don’t know whether you’re single and available. Self-identifying as single and putting yourself online means people may or may not like you. If you want to meet people online, you can set boundaries and find love. I know you don’t like online dating, but it gives you access to thousands of potential partners and lets people find you. When you’re busy, independent and living a fast-paced life, it’s hard to meet people.


Dear Harlan,

My wife is in the habit of carrying her wallet or change purse – or even both – inside her bra. Sometimes she’ll wear a tight-fitting shirt, and the shape of her wallet shows through. Have you ever seen this done? If so, what’s your opinion? Do you think it’s sexy, tacky, cheap or bold? She does occasionally get a few comments. What’s your opinion?

Curious Husband


Dear Curious Husband,

My wife doesn’t hold stuff in her bra. The closest I’ve come to putting stuff in my undergarments is running with a sandwich bag in my briefs (underneath my running shorts). That never works out too well. If my wife did carry things in her bra, I’d discourage her from carrying her cellphone in her bra. The Federal Communications Commission suggests keeping a cellphone at 5 to 25 millimeters away from your skin. This means you shouldn’t keep your phone in your pocket and I shouldn’t keep it in my underwear. And your wife shouldn’t keep it in her bra. While there isn’t research that points to specific dangers related to cellphones and medical issues, it’s a recommendation. As for the “tacky or cheap?” part of your question, women don’t have substantial pockets on most of their clothing. It’s not fair. If you want to make a suggestion, instead of criticizing her, suggest using a purse or smart watch that can help her stay connected without stuffing her bra.


Dear Harlan,

I just started a new relationship – what is the best way to remain independent? I don’t want to change who I am just because I have a boyfriend. I want to be in the relationship, but I’ve lost myself in the past and gotten hurt. Do you have any suggestions?

Independent Woman


Dear Independent Woman,

Love your partner, depend on your partner, but make sure you have a life that belongs to you. Don’t depend on one person for all of your happiness. Date, love and be vulnerable, but have things that belong to you. These can be your faith, friends, career, health, hobbies or more. Encourage you partner to do the same. Two independent adults with separate interests can live a long, happy and exciting life together.


Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at harlan(at) or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.


© Harlan Cohen 2017

Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.