Dear Feelings Doctor: My friends and I have been having these amazing dinners with great conversations about “everything” since graduating from college 10 years ago. It is such a huge part of my life. My husband doesn’t understand why these times are so important to me. We seem to get into arguments a lot about it.

Help me to help him get it: My girlfriends are a big part of my happy life!

— Alice in Santa Barbara

Dear Alice: No matter how truly wonderful your man is, he will never be able to replace the dynamic that girls bring to the table, and honestly, he shouldn’t want to. Men like to fix things and women like to share things.

That’s why we call it the opposite sex — not just in regards to gender. We really do feel and think about certain things completely different.

That is also the yummy part that keeps everyone coming back for more and doing the dance!

Try this out some night: Make a date with your husband and tell him all the things that you would be sharing with one of your girlfriends — the shoes that hurt your feet all day, the impossible 45 minutes standing in line at the cleaners with an annoying girl on her cell phone talking so loud everyone knows her business, the blouse you wanted at Nordstrom is discontinued — and then end your story with the nine cookies you really didn’t mean to eat for lunch and that’s the reason you will be skipping dinner tonight. Believe me, the next time you make plans to go out with your girlfriends, your husband will walk you to the door, escort you out quickly to your car and say, “Have fun, honey! See you later!”

Dear Feelings Doctor: I am a 16-year-old girl at Santa Barbara High School. I have been having sex with my boyfriend for almost seven months now, and I am not sure that I want to continue. We are in the same classes, and it feels bad and wrong now when I see him. Please help me find the words to tell him it’s over.

— Jessica

Dear Jessica: First of all, if you are sexually active and cannot wait, use protection. At 16, your body is changing and growing so fast. Mentally and emotionally, you have many years to decide certain things regarding your body and the sacred feelings that go along with sharing yourself with another person.

Sit down and think of what changed for you. Why doesn’t it feel like you need it to feel? These are the reasons perhaps only you need to know. Find the words that feel right to you and share them with your boyfriend. Perhaps it should be just friendship now; only you know for sure.

Respecting your body is such an important gift to give yourself as a young woman. It is one of the most valuable lessons to learn.

Honor the special person that you are. If you feel safe in talking to a school counselor or your parents, give that a try, too. Write me again; let’s keep in touch.

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Imagine This …

According to life experiences, self-confidence is very important. That sort of confidence is not a blind one; it is an awareness of one’s own potential. On that basis, human beings can transform themselves by increasing the good qualities and reducing the negative qualities. Anything is possible with a bit of faith, a little elbow grease and a whole lot of focus.

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.