Question: I tend to feel very emotional after physical intimacy. It's usually like vulnerability, feeling very exposed and sometimes tearful. I do not feel very sad per se, but just intense and sometimes like I am going to cry.
I have become the opposite of the stereotypical girl who wants to cuddle because I actually want to get away and be by myself. I'm dating someone I really care about and don't know how to do this without hurting his feelings.
Answer: If you really care about this person, you've got a great opportunity in not pushing him away. Of course, you don't have to suddenly open the floodgates and let him in to something that you don't feel comfortable with. But if you want a chance to connect, this is it.
Feeling vulnerable after sex is not something to be ashamed of - in fact, it's probably evolutionary in order to encourage bonding, and the mind-body connection is such that this might be unlocking pent-up feelings that you're holding in during daily life.
If you try to figure out why you want to be by yourself during those times (Embarrassment? Awkwardness? Fear of getting hurt?), it can help you understand what you're guarding against.
But ultimately, if you want to grow your relationship with this person, it would be tough to do so if you keep disappearing - emotionally and physically - during times of such potential connection.
Bonior, a clinical psychologist, writes a weekly relationships advice column in The Washington Post's Express daily tabloid and is author of The Friendship Fix.