I have a question about a confusing situation. Here are some stats. I’m 38, my guy is 42. Both of us have never been married and have no kids. I met this guy online almost two months ago. We live about 50 miles away but decided that is no issue. He’s great! He is always telling me how much he likes me, I’m a sweetheart, how much fun he has with me, he feels so comfortable with me and how our sexual chemistry is just awesome. (We had sex on the first date, BTW, don’t know if that would make a huge difference.) We spend every weekend together and usually one night during the week and he calls or texts me everyday just to say hi.
One month in, I asked him what he thought about being exclusive. He said he wants to take it slow and really get to know me and- much to my dismay- he has gone on dates with other women. I told him fine but I didn’t want to be casual forever and that I hadn’t been dating but will start if we’re not serious. I also told him if he didn’t see things going anywhere, he needed to let me know and I would do the same for him.
Well, almost a month later, he makes sure to lock in the weekend plans with me early in the week and always has something fun and exciting planned. He continues to come over during the week and still contacts me daily.
Do you think we have a chance at becoming serious? What’s with the taking it slow and the dates with other women? Should I ask him about being exclusive again and if so, when?
See our guy’s response after the jump!
Do I think you have a chance at becoming serious?
Yes, you have a chance. I have known people who started out dating casually and ended up as a committed, exclusive couple. In fact, one couple comes to mind that had similar stats as you described, though they did not live far apart – probably only a 10 mile drive from one another.
They were honest with each other about where their heads were and what they were looking for. In the end, the guy realized that he was far more fulfilled with this woman than any other woman he had been seeing. The woman was seeing another man as well at that time, but that guy couldn’t handle the idea of her being casually in a relationship with him so he broke it off. They ended up dating for several years until she died of a medical complication. My friend would have married her if their time wasn’t cut short by misfortune.
Sorry to be a downer, but I do think it is worth noting that the relationship they had together was incredibly strong even when times were tough. And again, it started casually.
I think the question worth asking yourself here is what you are OK with accepting as a relationship. I want to be clear that I am not trying to steer you in one direction or another – I am just inviting you to think about it because clarity on what you really want usually ends up solving the problem in the end.
Are you OK with him casually seeing women at this stage or is it a deal breaker? I know you mentioned that you eventually want it to be “serious” so how long are you willing to wait if you do want to stick around? Do you want to date casually during the time that he’s dating casually or did you say that to establish a fair playing field without intending to act on it?
I would say get clear on those questions before making a decision. With that said, I am going to answer your next question…
In terms of him wanting to “take it slow” and dating other women, my comment is that he is doing what he wants to be doing at the moment. I am not trying to brush off your comment. What I am saying here is that his life’s been going on for 42 years before meeting you and it seems like he’s decided that this is how he wants to have his relationships at this point in his life. There could be countless reasons why he feels this way, but frankly it’s not worth your time and energy trying to psychoanalyze him.
It sounds like you like him a lot on many levels and over time you’ll start to learn more about where he’s at. In the cases of the people that I have known who started off casually and ended up in relationships, they wanted to be sure and they felt that the only way they could be was if they had total freedom and choice when they were deciding on who they wanted to be with. In other words, they felt that if they jumped into being monogamous they would have felt “trapped” into having to choose the other person since they had no freedom to choose them over other people at that time. You might not agree with their logic, but I have met men and women who have stated this rationale.
At the same time, who knows, maybe he’s a womanizer/serial dater. If you like him, your best bet is to stick around and really get to know him. Pursue getting to know him in depth, not just the charm. If he’s bad for you, you will be able to see it if you make an effort to get to know who he is on a deeper level and that can take time.
As for asking him about being exclusive at some point down the line, you should hold off unless you are at a breaking point. Exclusivity isn’t something you want to pester him about. Believe me, once a guy has heard it once from a woman he’s seeing, he knows that there’s no turning back – he knows that as long as they keep seeing each other she will want to be exclusive.
If you reach a point where you can’t live with the relationship in its current state, then you should definitely bring it up. At the same time, if you would be willing to go on accepting the situation even if he says no, you are better off not saying it since:
a) He already knows you want to be exclusive and you still aren’t.
b) He would make the move to be exclusive if that’s what he wanted at that moment anyway, given that he already knows you want it.
c) He’ll know that you’re telling him you need one thing, but you actually are willing to accept not having it.
Rather than thinking about when and how to have conversations about what you want, I would recommend that you focus on really having a great time when you’re together. Have a clear idea of what you want and what your “bottom line” is in terms of what you’ll accept in the relationship and have an “exit strategy” if he just doesn’t come around in time. Basically, look out for yourself, be a totally positive presence in the guy’s life and know what you need to be happy.
Hope that helps.