Benefit of the doubt?

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  • #943963 Reply

    Need advice from you wise ladies!

    I’ve been going on dates with a new guy since last month and things have been going smoothly. We’ve slept together since the 5th date and so far we’ve gone on 7 dates. It’s been pretty balanced effort between us and I was feeling at ease with our progress. However, after the 7th date which was movie/dinner/sleepover, he cooked breakfast and gave me a small gift he brought back from his overseas trip, I felt some sort of attachment(may also be due to oxytocin) so I checked his dating profile and saw he’s updated a prompt of his which I guess was from a week ago(that would be our 4-5 dates in). I was bummed out by it and felt anxious/insecure.

    So I texted him(did not ask about the profile update), told him I enjoyed our dated and asked if he wants to date each other exclusively. He said it’s still too early for him to “commit to anything”. He explained that it’s because he used to rush into relationships and let feelings cloud his judgement. Via therapy he realised there has been a terrible pattern and is now trying to take things slowly and be more cautious with relationships. He admitted he wouldn’t want to rule out seeing other people right now because once he made that mental note, it’s basically a committed relationship for him and we are not quite there yet and it “still feels very early” for him. However he said he was with me about sexual exclusivity and assured it doesn’t mean he’s not into me. He re-emphasised that he ultimately wants family and kids.

    To be fair, he has not been overly affectionate since the beginning – only occasional check-ins. He was even a bit shy in the beginning. All our dates were enjoyable and I’ve also not sensed him pulling away. He said he’s not sleeping with anyone else. He is currently in therapy to heal from pandemic induced depression, some childhood abandonment issue from being a divorced family/absentee father and has a history of going back to his exes and old flings(up until last December).

    Now because he didn’t reciprocate my ideal pace, I started to overanalyse his behaviours and it started to get into my head that he could be just stringing me along?

    My girlfriends have been saying I shouldn’t have asked for exclusivity because it gave away my power. They suggested me to stop seeing him or make myself less available for him. However I hate playing games. We have a lunch date coming up this weekend and I thought I could use that chance to clarify a few things on my mind that I didn’t get to ask via texting.

    Would love to hear your take on this! Thanks xx

    #943965 Reply
    Liz Lemon

    I think his approach sounds very reasonable. You started seeing him last month, so it’s been 6 weeks max? I can see where he thinks that’s early for a commitment. It’s not unusual for guys to need 3-4 months of dating before they are ready to really commit.

    I totally agree with the sexual exclusivity, and as long as he’s on board with that, I don’t see a problem with just dating for a bit longer and seeing where it goes. He said he wouldn’t “rule out” seeing other people at this point, but it doesn’t sound like he’s actually seeing anyone.

    The problem with many women is that we are very goal-oriented when dating, we go into it seeking a relationship. Guys tend to date for companionship/sex, and they enter relationships when they meet a woman who knocks their socks off, that they can’t imagine being without, etc. So it’s early days yet for him to be head over heels :-) It sounds like he’s been honest and clear in his communication that he’s just not ready yet.

    I myself don’t think you should overthink this. But don’t change your vibe, or get anxious and clingy and start overanalyzing (another thing women tend to do at this point). Just try to relax and be present, enjoy getting to know each other, and observe his behavior. A guy who is falling for you will start to escalate his interactions. If he’s seeing you regularly, cooking you breakfast, bringing you gifts– those are all very promising signs. I definitely do not recommend asking him about his intentions over lunch this weekend. If I were you I’d just go and be my fabulous self, and not obsess over it. He will fall for you much faster if he doesn’t feel like you are constantly angling for a commitment at this stage (not saying you are, but you don’t want to give off that vibe this early on).

    #943966 Reply
    Liz Lemon

    Oh and needless to say, no games or playing hard to get! Your friends’ advice is terrible. He’s been honest with you about where he’s at. Accept it, and continue to get to know him and assess whether he’s the right guy for you.

    #943967 Reply

    Lessons to learn here:

    1) BEFORE having sex have a discussion about where you’re each at and what you’re looking for. Women tend to think sex = commitment and men, not so much as is the case here. When you have to ask afterward “what are we” or directly ask for commitment as you did, you’re now on the back foot and he’s in the power position. Your friends were right about that part of it. You’ve gotten yourself into a “situationship” right now and that’s not an advantage.

    2) Sensitive discussions like talking commitment are subjects for face to face, not text.

    3) It’s good that someone’s in therapy to deal with things and being honest and open with you about that. The part about he has a history of going back to old relationships and flings up to last December… that’s a bit concerning. You met him in April. If that’s a long-held pattern and it sounds like it was, that’s not a lot of time to break the pattern. I’d stay on guard with this guy for a while and observe his behavior. Don’t get ahead of him and don’t give your whole heart yet.

    Liz is right about not playing hard to get or playing games. So far, so good – your job now is to relax and see how it plays out. I’d suggest you not check his profile anymore, because if he changes it you will be upset and you will have a hard time hiding it, if you even can. I presume if he goes out with someone else he’s not going to tell you, so just enjoy dating him and hopefully you two will decide a committed relationship is right. Don’t bring it up again, let him address it.

    #943969 Reply

    @AngieBaby I’m totally with you on the lessons learned and I’ll try not to get ahead of him.
    Why did you think it’s a situationship now? We are in an undefined state but it’s not like he’s been flaky or only wants companionship rather than relationship? (assume he’s been honest)

    #943971 Reply

    Please relax and enjoy his company. If this turns into a relationship then great if not then it wasn’t meant to be.

    #943972 Reply

    I echo what AngieBaby said before sex be clear about the guy is looking for. I think its too early for sleepovers, those really should happen when things are exclusive. I say this because spending all that time gets you invested and too comfortable too soon. I agree with some of what your friends said take a step back and be open to dating other people. When I was single I often did what you’re doing, sleep overs right away, then asking what things were after the fact. I often never got the answer I was hoping for and felt disappointed. Good thing is he’s in therapy making necessary changes but, that takes time. I wouldn’t rehash that conversation either, leave it be he knows what you want. Either he’ll make things exclusive or he won’t. Be prepared either way.

    #943974 Reply

    Situationship = undefined state in my book, no matter how nice he’s being. You’re sleeping together but you can both still date others. That’s a weird state of limbo to be avoided in the future!

    #943976 Reply

    You have no reason not to take him at his word unless/until he’s inconsistent. I agree with all the other advice you’ve gotten, and I think it’s good that he’s self-aware enough that he’s trying to pace himself with you and communicated why. That actually tells me he’s trying NOT to screw things up with you. Only time will tell if he’s actually in a good headspace for a serious relationship, but take that time and get to know him. Since it’s only been a few weeks, do you even know if YOU want to be committed to HIM yet (beyond sexual exclusivity)? There’s still a lot to learn about your compatibility, how you resolve conflict together, etc. I wouldn’t ask him for more detail around defining the relationship yet if he’s already said you’re sexually exclusive and that he’s looking for a serious relationship in general and not a casual fling. Just keep working on getting to know each other and building a connection.

    I also strongly agree that your friends have a bad take. Relationships with unequal power dynamics are dysfunctional. You can’t “give away” your power if you are self-assured and know what you want. If it seems like there’s a power struggle, then you’re not on the same team and should walk away from a partner like that anyway. Your instincts not to play games are right if you’re trying to find a mature adult to date.

    #943977 Reply

    It would have been great if you had just disappeared and let him chase you (wondering) into locking you down. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good since you were the one who showed your cards first. But no worries, what is meant to be will happen.

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