Dear Rachel,

My boyfriend of a year won’t introduce me to his family. He meets with them every Sunday night for dinner, but he never invites me. I’ve asked to go along, but he always says no. I’ve met all his friends and we hang out in public, so I know our relationship isn’t just a sex thing. Why won’t he introduce me to his parents?

Signed, Left Out

Dear Left Out,

I could make a stab in the dark and guess why it is that your boyfriend won’t introduce you to his family, but ultimately you need to talk to him. He could have a million reasons for not introducing you to his parents. Maybe he’s ashamed of them, or maybe he’s not sure about his feelings for you. Maybe your boyfriend is commitment phobic because he was burned by an ex, or maybe, maybe, maybe … . The fact is that you need more information and your boyfriend is the only one who can accurately supply it. It’s been a year, you’ve been patient, the two of you should be able to talk about this issue by now, and it’s time for him to give you the 411.

If you think you and your boyfriend have potential for a lasting relationship, you need to get to the bottom of this problem soon. Because if you think your relationship is serious, and your boyfriend doesn’t, it’s time for you to find out. Then it’s up to you to decide whether to stick around or move on. Don’t assume the worst; let your boyfriend do the talking. Don’t put words in his mouth. If he’s not serious about you, better to know now, rather than later. If he just needs more time, that’s good to know, too. Either way, you’ll be glad you asked.

Dear Rachel,

I love my girlfriend, but she smothers me. She hangs on me all the time, strokes my face and kisses and hugs me to the point of suffocation. Sometimes I feel like her pet, rather than her boyfriend. How can I get her to be less clingy without hurting her feelings?

Signed, Smothered

Dear Smothered,

Easier said than done. Your girlfriend’s feelings are probably going to get hurt one way or another, but the question is this: Are your girlfriend’s smothering ways a sign of deal-breaker incompatibility between the two of you, or a superficial habit that she can change?

The next time you see your girlfriend, take her hands and hold them while you talk with her. Tell her that you love and appreciate her, but you need a little less physical affection. Her reaction will immediately let you know whether this is an issue the two of you can work through or not. If she can listen to what you’re saying without feeling wildly rejected and pulling away from you, there’s a good chance that she can adjust her overly affectionate ways. However, if she overreacts and pulls away from you, your girlfriend’s smothering behavior may not be something she can change. If this is the case, the two of you aren’t compatible in your need for physical affection. You may be better off finding someone who’s naturally less touchy-feely, while she may need a partner who’s more demonstrative and/or receptive to her need for physical touch.

Dear Rachel,

I like charming men. My friends say I only date “players.” All I know is that I end up with a broken heart every time I’m in a relationship. What can I do to guarantee that I won’t end up broken-hearted in my next relationship?

Signed, Broken-hearted

Dear Broken-hearted,

There are no guarantees when it comes to love, but if you follow my advice, you can increase your chances of finding the right partner. There are all kinds of men in this world, so the fact that you date players, exclusively, has something to do with you. Dating players is your theme. But hey, don’t feel bad — everyone has a theme. The key is to find the happy medium between what you think you want in a relationship and what you need to be satisfied. Your ego wants smooth, player-types, but players break your heart. Since your current approach to dating isn’t working, why not modify it? Look for a man who’s loyal with just a dash of charm. Your ego may like players, but your heart and mind want someone to trust. You know the outcome of your current pattern. Why not try something different?

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: For dating advice, contact: rachel@rebelgirlpublishing.

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