Q: Let's be honest, that first kiss is supposed to set the tone for the rest of your relationship. Well, what happens when you start to date someone who is a TERRIBLE kisser but has all the great qualities you are looking for? I've just recently started dating "Matt" and we have a great connection, enjoy many of the same things, have the same sense of humor, etc. We were set up by a mutual friend who believed we would hit it off, which we did. Unfortunately, our first kiss was not what I had anticipated. He asked if he could kiss me in this sweet, romantic way, and then when he did. He sort of puckered his lips out and it was just a series of weird pecks. It was like we were strangely making out but without crossing the boundaries of respective zones. I chalked it up to the fact that it was late and we'd been at the bar all night. But the next kiss was the same. And so was the one after that. I truly do not know what to do. Kissing is a deal breaker for me! I want that hot, sexy, passionate kiss. But it's not coming. Do I ask our mutual friend what the deal is? I know he's had girlfriends (he's in his late 20s). Did they never tell him? Why doesn't he know how kiss?
– Tongue Tied, New Hampshire
A: First kisses do not set the tone for relationships, TT. They are often awkward and weird and we laugh about them later.
But third kisses should be nice. And fourth kisses should make you want a fifth.
I don't know why he's kissing you like a bird, but it's time to sit down on a couch and tell him how you like to be kissed. Tell him what you enjoy. You don't have to be critical. The talk should actually be sexy and sort of fun. You can even say, "Let me show you how I want you to kiss me."
If it's bad after that -- or if an honest conversation about your needs freaks him out -- please bail. But hopefully it will work. A hint: Sometimes it helps to show right after you tell.
As for whether you should tell your mutual friend, well, that depends on the friendship and whether he/she wants details. If I were the friend, I'd want to know -- and I'd want to be thanked for trying. Organizing a set-up takes courage.
Readers? Are first kisses important? Is he bird kissing her to be respectful because she's a friend of a friend? How have you helped a bad kisser? Is there hope here? Should she tell her friend about this? Help.
Q: Hi Meredith,
A married friend of mine (yes, this truly is a friend) in his early 30s confided in me more than a year ago that he's bisexual and that he had recently told his wife. She was a little blindsided, seeing as how they had been together for a long time, but she was very supportive. He realized that it would be tough having to suppress a side of him that he's never truly been able to explore, but he acknowledged that he wanted to make his marriage work.
When the topic came up between us, he always had indicated that the situation was going well and that he wasn't worried about the future. But soon enough, he and his wife told our group of friends that they were getting a divorce. They maintain that they are best friends and that there are no hard feelings, but it is a devastating situation for both of them. For financial reasons, they'll be staying in the same place for a while, which in my opinion isn't such a good idea. My wife and I are very close with both of them, as are all of our mutual friends.
I would appreciate some advice on how we (me, my friend, his wife, our group of friends, etc.) support this major change in our close friends' lives and make it easier for him and
his (soon to be ex-)wife to move forward. One issue that we (friends) have run into is deciding how soon to try to set either of these people up on dates or introduce them to other singles that we know. And while the friends have not taken a side, we have all agreed that if the ex-husband decides that he does in fact want to be with a woman after he tries dating men, and if that woman isn't his soon-to-be ex-wife, then more than a few of our female friends are going to be pretty angry with him.
– Looking to be supportive, Mass.
A: LTBS, let's not even worry about the "What if he dates another woman?!" question. That hasn't happened, so don't go there.
The best thing to do right now is to ask your friends what they want. Do they want to be invited to the same events? Do they want to be set up, and if so, do they want that information kept secret? Let them guide you.
And do your best to spend some alone time with each of them. They might be best friends, but the group can't pretend that nothing has changed. They shouldn't be treated like a couple. Alone time gives each of them the chance to talk about how they really feel.
Also, expect that one or both of them might find some new friends. He might seek out a different community, and she might want to be around some folks who don't know about this mess. Be flexible and don't take anything too personally.
I know it's tough to be in the middle. Just keep asking questions, and make sure to get them alone for real discussions as often as you can.
Readers? Should the LW even be thinking about setting these people up with others? What do you do if you're a friend in the middle of this? What about the idea of the husband seeking out other women in this process? Discuss.
Recent blog posts
Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.