I’m 56 and have been living with my best friend for 1 1/2 years. We were physical for a few months, and are not now. He constantly tickles, touches and grabs me all the time. He says I’m too attached to him and I told him I’m leaving. He says I’m silly and running away. Maybe I am, but I want to let him move on.

My heart aches to leave, but hurts worse staying. I will miss his intimate pats on the rear. He deserves some separation from me and I hope he misses me. I don’t want him mad, but I feel he taking advantage of me. I don’t know how to handle this situation.

A: The two of you are giving each other mixed messages. He says you are “too attached” yet he is physically over-familiar with you “constantly.” You say you want to move on but you say you will “miss” the physicality. In both cases, actions and words don’t match.

You two aren’t kids. Make up your minds. If you want to be “friends with benefits,” be honest with each other and figure it out. If you want to make yourselves available to other people, then do each other the kindness of wishing each other the best, moving out and moving on.

I wish you both well.
Dr. Marie