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Dear Christine,

Iíll be out of University in less than two years. I want to be married, build a career, and be settled for at least ten to fifteen years before I start having kids.

Guys my own age (early twenties) just want to see how many womenís virtues they can conquer. Older guys are ready for a commitment, but they just donít interest me -- no sparks.

Where can I find a young man whoís ready to make a commitment? -- JEN Ė LONDON, ON

Dear Jen,

Whatís the rush? I appreciate the importance of planning as much as the next person; however, no one can create an all-encompassing itinerary to cover the next 20 years.

You sound like a very determined young woman. Why not wait until youíre older to think about commitment? Then, guys your age will be older, making them no longer the twenty-something philanderers that you currently dread.

Owing to your University student status, Iím sure you are often expected to analyse in-depth essays as well as brief quotes. Therefore, I ask you to explore these simple words:

The best part of life is in the living.

Dear Christine,

As a shy man, I have turned to chat rooms and Internet dating.

Iím never lost for words when communicating through the computer, but when I meet women face to face I freeze up.

So far, Iíve met six different women, all of whom I would have liked to date seriously. After only one coffee date, where I stare nervously across a tiny table, they donít want to see me a second time. Iím lucky if I even get an e-mail telling me as much.

How do extroverted people do it? -- JOHN Ė DRESDEN, ON

Dear John,

Is this your real name, or are you just begging for another ĎDear Johní letter? I just had to ask.

Seriously though, yes, it would be fantastic if you could come out of your shell more. Going from shy guy to chic magnet, however, will not happen over night.

Here are two suggestions to get you started:

Try starting off slowly. Instead of the ominous coffee shop, find out in advance what sort of entertainment you will both enjoy. Take her to a movie, play, concert, tractor pull, anything that will generate opinions and conversation after.

Also, donít feel like you have to do all the talking. Ask questions. Where is she from, her job, hobbies, childhood, etc.?

Everyone likes a good listener.

Dear Christine,

My last relationship ended when the passion faded. Now, my new girlfriend wants us to move in together, and Iím afraid the same thing will happen.

How can I make sure that doesnít happen? -- PASSIONATE PAUL Ė DETROIT, MI

Dear Passionate,

Research shows that women are usually responsible for keeping the passion alive in long-term relationships. Perhaps, you can defy the odds.

Things only get humdrum if you allow them to. Donít allow yourself to get lazy, and if you run out of ideas or motivation go get a copy of any of Laura Cornís books:
101 Nights of Grrreat Romance, 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex, or The Great American Sex Diet.

These grrreat interactive books contain sealed envelopes. In each envelope is an assignment. As the anticipation of your secret assignments build, you each have a week to complete your homework -- together.

No matter what you do, donít forget that the first few rides on any roller coaster are always the most exciting. Once youíve been riding the same roller coaster over and over for years, it may lose some of its surprise turns, and it may not induce as many screams, but there is some comfort in knowing itís still a solid, dependable ride.

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? E-mail Christine at:

Originally published in The London Free Press on January 16, 2003.

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