Good morning. Thanks for thoughtful help with Friday’s letter. I’m hoping A&S checks in to tell us how she got through the wedding.
Also, DJ from Thursday sent me a nice thank you note. He said we were his lifeline last week. That is because we are awesome.
Today’s letter is from a woman dating a guy who wants to date other women. Let’s get it going.
Q: Meredith, I need your help. I have been dating a terrific guy now for over four months. We are both divorced and have been in several relationships since returning to “single” status. We spend most of our free time together -- about 5 days a week. Things are great -- we are into the same things, have similar tastes, love to travel together, etc. I truly feel we are a great match, and if asked, I am sure he would agree. I am close with his family at this point, and have met most of his circle of friends. Currently we are planning another vacation getaway.
The challenge is that for all the time we do spend together, he still insists on dating other women about once a week. This seems so odd to me, given the fact that we do spend most of our week together. In a nutshell, when we have discussed an exclusive dating relationship, he has basically stated that in the past he has just jumped into serious relationships only to come to the realization that he truly didn't love the women he was in the relationship with at the time. He wants to avoid this from happening again, which is why he continues to date and “take things slow.” He also acknowledges that at this point he should be giving the status of our relationship more thought, and is always apologetic that he has not paid more attention and been more communicative.
Now, I am not the type of person to ever give someone I care about deeply an ultimatum. It is not my style, and I feel that nags and threats accomplish nothing. However, don't you think that four months of serious dating should at least start to hint at some level of commitment? How do I balance being patient with being just a plain fool?? Plus, do I go on another vacation with someone who will only be back on the dating scene as soon as the plane lands back at Logan?
-- Ann, Boston
A: It seems odd that this guy can come up with a random person to date once a week. I guess we can thank the Internet for that.
Ann, your guy is obviously trying to delay the seriousness of his relationship with you, which is understandable. After a divorce and a few long-term relationships that weren’t quite right, this is yet another opportunity for him to fail at commitment. He’s scared. I don’t blame him.
What he’s denying is that he’s the one who’s responsible for getting serious so fast. After four months, he’s made you his constant companion, he’s introduced you to his community, and now he’s taking a trip with you. He seems to think that dating other people will counteract all that he’s done to make your relationship stronger. You can tell him that it just doesn’t work that way.
Some readers are going to tell you that your guy isn’t into you, that he’s a liner-upper looking for a better option. Maybe they’re right. But my guess is that he’s enjoying his relationship with you. I think he’s just trying to slow it down because the early stages of a relationship are the easy ones. I think he wants to preserve the beginning for as long as possible.
I’m with you -- ultimatums are not nice and they usually don’t work. What you can say to him is that he doesn’t have to date other people to slow things down. You can assure him that exclusivity at four months doesn’t mean that you expect marriage -- it just means that you’re giving the relationship a real shot. And if you can think of a nice way to say it, tell him to get over himself. I hate it when men (and women) assume someone is trying to pin them down.
Be honest and tell him that your goal is to date someone exclusively. If that’s not a shared goal, you have to move on. It's not an ultimatum, it's just the truth. You don’t have to draw a line in the sand, but you can tell him what you need to do for yourself. He can make plans accordingly. If he needs to keep dating, well, there's your answer.
Readers? Is this guy a liner-upper or a commitment-shy guy who’s trying to delay the inevitable? Share here. Twitter here. For those of you who asked, there’s some audio of me babbling on the radio here.