HELP ME, HARLAN!: Girlfriend isn’t sure if she should be offended by boyfriend’s question

By Harlan Cohen

Harlan Cohen

Dear Harlan,

My boyfriend asked if I’m interested in a threesome. We’ve been dating for a while. Should I be offended?

Possibly Offended

Dear Possibly Offended,

If he asked your best friend to be the third person, you should be offended. If he asked you on your Facebook timeline, you should be offended. If he asked you at the Thanksgiving table, you should definitely be offended and possibly break up with him. Instead of jumping to offended, start with being curious. Why is he asking for this? His kinks do not have to be your kinks. Turn this into an exercise in having a brutally honest conversation about sex. Yeah, I know – sex can be hard to talk about. Try to understand where the question came from and why he asked it. He might have been talking to a friend, listening to a podcast or stumbled across a website that made him think about a threesome. Once you understand where the question came from, you can figure out if you’re offended. Maybe it’s the idea that he wants to be with someone else that bothers you. Instead of blaming him for asking it, explain why you don’t like the question. Who knows? This might lead to a deeper connection. Be grateful he can talk to you, even if you don’t give him the answer he wants.


Dear Harlan,

I am 23 and have never been in a relationship, but I have always wanted to be in love. Every time I meet a guy and start to have feelings for him, I end up in the friend zone or being led on. What advice could you give me?

Still Single

Dear Still Single,

When you’re 23 and haven’t had a relationship, it’s tells me that you’re ready to be loved, but you’re waiting to be found. When you’re waiting to be found and ready to love, it’s easy to let men lead you on. When you’re waiting to be found, you let other people define the relationship. You aren’t making the rules. You’re always following someone else’s lead, and that’s not working for you. You need to make dating less about being wanted and more about what you want. Want to do something drastic?  Want to go on a dating experiment? Go on the offense. Have your friends set you up. Put yourself on dating sites. Go on dating apps. Here’s the twist: Make it a rule that you will not answer men who reach out to you. Only reach out to men you find interesting. On apps, reach out to men first. On dating sites, send the first message. Make dating less about being found and more about going after who you want. See how it feels to be in control. Go on lots of dates. If this is too intimidating, work with a therapist who can help you. Once you know how it feels to take the lead, you’ll be less likely to be led on or get stuck in the friend zone. If a man would rather be just a friend, you won’t dwell on it; you’ll simply move on to the next. And just to be clear: Going after what you want doesn’t mean comprising your values. It means going after what you want, making it clear how you feel and giving people permission to want you or not. That’s how you go from being led on to leading a fulfilling life on your own terms.


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 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.



HELP ME, HARLAN!: Girlfriend isn’t sure if she should be offended by boyfriend’s question–