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NAKED ADVICE: Inexperienced dater fears getting used

Dear Harlan:

While I usually agree with most of your answers, I did not like your response to "Inexperienced." Someone who has never dated anyone before needs to be careful and get to know that person very well before he or she tells someone that he or she has never dated. He or she may be taken advantage of and hurt forever. There are many users out there.

— Steady Reader

Dear Steady Reader:

I agree that new daters can get used, but experienced daters get used, too. They are just more experienced at getting used. Whether someone is new to dating or not-so-new, the best way to avoid getting used is not to keep secrets, but to be a good listener. This means an inexperienced dater must always listen to herself and express what she feels, without hesitation.

After expressing herself, she needs to listen closely. That's where it gets tricky. If the people she dates do not listen or try to manipulate what she says, that's a bad sign. Users and abusers don't listen. They will shape words into what they want them to mean and manipulate other people to fit their objectives. Thoughtful, respectful and loving partners will listen. I don't think "inexperienced" needs to worry about being honest — that is, as long as she's a good listener.

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Tags: dating, honesty, inexperienced, used, user

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