Dear Rachel,

I’m freaking out! I’m in the best relationship of my life and I feel lost. In the past, I spent all my time and energy trying to salvage one rocky relationship after another. Now that I have a perfect boyfriend, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve never experienced peace in a relationship before and it’s terrifying. Either my boyfriend has a hidden, evil side or I’m about to live happily ever after. The suspense is driving me crazy. What’s a girl to do when her relationship seems too good to be true?

Signed, Too Good To Be True

Dear Too Good To Be True,

First of all, take a deep breath. It sounds to me like you’re in a healthy relationship. Although it may feel foreign to you to feel romantically content, resist the urge to self-sabotage your relationship out of fear.

Your past experiences have caused you to accept dysfunction as the rule, rather than the exception. Now that you’ve found harmony, you’re scared to be out of your comfort zone. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even women who say things like, “I knew he was The One from the moment we met,” may have felt doubts and fears about their partners in the beginning, just like you.

The fact that there’s nothing to fix, save or change about your boyfriend is a good thing. For the time being, hold off on making any impulsive decisions, and fight the tendency to create unnecessary conflict with your boyfriend for the sake of drama. Acknowledge your uneasiness, and let it pass. If you’re the kind of person who needs a project, find a hobby or some other constructive outlet for your nervous energy. Give yourself time to adjust to your newfound happiness, and soon, you’ll grow comfortable with the sensation of peace and fulfillment.

Dear Rachel,

My girlfriend and I have intense chemistry! Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for our sex life. Our sexual encounters never live up to my expectations. My girlfriend is hot, sexy and intelligent. How can great chemistry not lead to great sex?

Signed, Unsatisfied

Dear Unsatisfied,

There are several types of chemistry: mental, emotional and physical. While friendships are based on mental and emotional chemistry, most romantic relationships function best when all three types of chemistry are present.

If you fantasize about great sex with your girlfriend, but it’s just not happening in reality, your physical chemistry might be slightly off. Don’t despair. Instead, talk in bed. Couples who talk in bed have more intimate relationships than those who don’t, so use some pillow talk to learn more about your girlfriend’s sexual expectations. For starters, use this time to discuss which one of you prefers to initiate lovemaking. If you both take on the same passive or aggressive role, you may feel out of sync with each other. If this is the case, take turns initiating lovemaking to get back on track. If that doesn’t do the trick, get down to specifics about the way each of you like to be kissed, for example, and give one another positive encouragement and feedback as opposed to telling each other what kind of touch you don’t like. However, beware of giving too much instruction all at once. Nothing kills the mood faster than a lover who behaves like a drill sergeant at sexual boot camp.

Begin by using your bed as a private meeting place where you and your girlfriend can share your most intimate desires, and soon you’ll be using that bed to turn your sexual expectations into your reality.

Dear Rachel,

If I love my boyfriend unconditionally does that mean I can’t disagree with him? Sometimes I feel like his doormat. How can I stand up for myself while still demonstrating unconditional love?

Signed, Doormat

Dear Doormat,

Personal boundaries and unconditional love are not mutually exclusive. A parent who loves their child unconditionally doesn’t allow that child to play in the street. Love means having to sometimes say “no.” All relationships, including romantic ones, benefit from setting healthy boundaries. You should never let anyone walk all over you, whether it’s a friend, a family member or a lover.

You may worry that speaking your mind will be a turn-off to your boyfriend. Don’t worry. No one worth your time wants a girlfriend who’s a doormat. Setting boundaries is a form of self-love and self-respect and most men find this quality extremely attractive.

You don’t have to be confrontational to be strong. Next time your disagree with your boyfriend, gain his respect by kindly telling him your honest opinion.

Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice Beach. Her book, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For more information on Rachel or her book, visit: www.rebelgirlpublishing.com. For dating advice, contact rachel@rebelgirlpublishing.com.

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