Dear Margot,
My girlfriend has never liked to make out much, but I really enjoy kissing her. She told me recently that when we kiss she feels I'm invading her space (her words). Any tips on how she can overcome this?
-Smoochless in Seattle

Dear Smoochless,
That’s a bum cracker. Kissing is such an important part of any intimate relationship that dating a gal who doesn’t dig it is definitely a problem for a guy who does. Kissing isn’t the only way to show affection, but it’s certainly one of the more effective arrows in Cupid’s quiver.

Now, I’m no optometrist, but I think there’s something going on that you’re not seeing—and not because you close your eyes when you pucker up. There’s a lot of complex psychology around our faces, so it’s a big red flag if your partner thinks you’re a space invader every time you move in for smooch. Either her feelings for you are cooling, or she’s got some deep-seated issues that go way beyond my expertise.
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If you want to stay with her, talk to her. Tell her how much you enjoy making out and explain that it’s an important way for you to show affection. Then ask her to share how she feels; encourage her to talk about emotions like anxiety or confusion and not emotional concepts, like space invasion. This could be a very hard thing for her to talk about. For one thing, she may not understand it any better than you do.

Each of you should answer these five questions:
  1. Why is kissing so important to you?
  2. Have you ever felt uneasy about an aspect of physical intimacy?
  3. Is “space invasion” really the issue here, or is there something else?
  4. Are you willing to meet your partner halfway on this issue?
  5. What are some alternate ways of showing affection that work for both of you?
Doing this will help you work together to overcome her anxiety or help you realize — again, together — that this problem is, in fact, the kiss of death.

Margot Carmichael Lester has been a love and relationships columnist for since 2001. Armed with an advanced degree in online dating and unsuccessful liaisons from the School of Hard Knocks, she did extensive post-graduate field studies in the South and on the West Coast. While in the field, she made a startling discovery: The man of her dreams. Today she teaches a master class in love. Get some personal tutoring by sending your questions to