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Dating a new kid on the block

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 1, 2009 09:37 AM

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Yesterday’s letter was very interesting, especially when it came to assumptions about the letter writer’s gender. For the record, I don’t know if the letter came from a he or a she (the e-mail was ambiguous from start to finish), but I found myself interested in the debate about whether gender was relevant -- and whether the letter writer’s language was easily identifiable as “female.”

Somebody should go write a Women’s Studies paper about all of this.

Today we have a letter about bad timing. I have it on good authority that the letter writer is a woman, so feel free to assume.

Q: So…here’s my story. I’m sure it’s ridiculously common at this point, but I’m just not sure how to handle it.

After years of unsuccessful dates, I managed to go out with someone that I actually liked. Let’s call him Steve. Steve just moved to Boston about three weeks ago. so I recommended we meet up at a local place for drinks. After an hour or two of conversation, we parted ways and made the awkward “we should do this again” hug good-bye. The next weekend, he called randomly to see if I’d be up for getting together. Fast forward a few hours, and we’re having an amazing time. Twelve hours later, we’re still on the date … lunch turns to drinks, which turns to dinner, which turns to going to a bar to meet a few of his friends.

Now, here’s my dilemma – on our fourth date, he brings up the topic of being exclusive. He said that he’s not usually a ‘casual relationship’ guy and although he likes me, he doesn’t want to have a serious relationship within his first few weeks of moving to a new city. I totally agree, and admitted that if he had wanted to be exclusive with the girl he met within the first few weeks of moving here, I’d have been a bit freaked out.

We ended the conversation by agreeing to keep going out – we have an awesome time together … inside jokes, holding hands walking down the street, hanging in to watch movies, etc. But I said that if either of us meets someone else that we would like to start a serious relationship with, we’ll be up-front about it. We only hang out about once or twice a week, and with him exploring the city, there’s plenty of time for that to happen.

My question is…do you think it’s possible for me to turn this into something exclusive after a few months of dating, or do you think that since Steve and I have a good (and casual) thing going, he won’t see any reason to change the status quo and I should just walk away?

– Can casual turn into committed?, Medford

A: CCTIC, the timing is bad, but all that really means is that you have to go slow and give him space to adjust to the city.

I will say that I’m a little confused about your pact. You’ve promised to tell each other if you meet someone else you want to date seriously -- but shouldn't that pact apply to the two of you as a couple? After a few months of twice-a-week dates, aren’t you allowed to re-evaluate your level of commitment and step it up if it feels right?

I think going slow is fine. He made the exclusivity speech after four dates -- when the relationship should be going slow anyway.

You ask what’s in it for him, why he would ever want to up the level of commitment if he has a good deal now. The answer is: after time, he should want more of you. I’m not sure how old you guys are, but if he’s spending two nights a week laughing with you, talking to you, and sharing his new community with you, he wants a relationship.

He’s allowed to be cautious and slow as he finds a place for himself in this city. But it shouldn’t take him forever. If more emotional intimacy between the two of you doesn’t develop naturally over time, you’ll know it’s no longer about being the new kid in town.

I just think your pact shouldn’t be about him looking for someone else to date seriously. Perhaps you should redefine those terms.

Enjoy it for now and keep high hopes like you would with anyone else after four dates. And know that yes, casual-to-committed, for this reason in particular, is very possible.

Readers? Am I wrong? Does being new to town mean that you can’t have a girlfriend? Should this be about dating other people? Is anybody going to write a Women’s Studies paper about Love Letters for me? Share here. Twitter here.

– Meredith

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125 comments so far...
  1. He's telling you he likes you and doesn't want you sleeping with other guys; that's all. You like him too-- so declare victory, and keep dating.

    Posted by Joey September 1, 09 10:10 AM
  1. I agree with Mer - why can't you be the one with who he starts that serious relationship? Time to have another conversation about that.

    As for determining gender through text, I'd go with literature and linguistics rather than women's studies. For many years, people thought The Story of O was written by a man. Finally, the decided, rightfully, it was written by a woman - the devil was in the details.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 10:12 AM
  1. I'm not sure what the issue is here? Doesn't every relationship start casually, then heat up to exclusive if both parties really like each other? It sounds like CCTIC is afraid that by starting out casual, the relationship is doomed from ever becoming exclusive. I don't see that as a problem. Had you done the clinging vine thing when Steve make his exclusivity speech, THAT would have been a problem. I think you handled it well, although you should be cautious that you aren't TOO eager to agree that casual is good, because you could leave him with the impression that you are just a good time girl and you aren't ever interested in a more serious relationship. And I don't think that's true of you. You just seem like a smart, patient woman who isn't desperate to be with "a man, any man" and that comes across as very attractive to men in my experience.
    Meredith's advice is right on (per usual!) but the only other question that needs to be asked is, are you two having sex? If so you DO run the risk of being seen as a FWB which could derail any plans for a more exclusive long term thing. Just a thought.

    Keep going out with him, have fun, and once he sees that you are not husband-hunting he will probably want to explore your relationship further. Good luck - he sounds nice!

    Posted by J Bar September 1, 09 10:14 AM
  1. What does being new to town have anything to do with anything? He's a single (maybe) male period. He's taking you for a ride, he wants you to only date him yet he wants to date whoever he wants. It's an age old trick by guys, perfect scenario.

    Posted by Flash September 1, 09 10:15 AM
  1. this is my favorite part of the day. the comments counter says "0" and then a bunch of people will write in " I'm first wow" only to realize when comments are finally posted that they are posted as a batch and sequentially, so they are #74 or something and you have all these losers thinking they made their big accomplishment for the day by being first on some obscure relationship blog buried in the Internet.

    so now to todays LW...well,,what a refreshing chage from the " I am cheating or I slept with someone to soon but the sex is SO great that we're soulmates" Mer, we are done with those. So, what to do with your new beau? enjoy the time. this is dating. something everyone should do. rare in the 21st century when TV and the media convince everyone to act like porn stars on the first date. Just go with the flow, see how it develops and go from there. Good luck!

    oh right, BAN that sniveling 3rd person tricycle fanatic

    Posted by byubba September 1, 09 10:16 AM
  1. Am I #1?

    Posted by JohnTheReviewer September 1, 09 10:18 AM
  1. He sounds smart. Maybe he is surprised at how much he likes you and is just being logical in thinking, "Hey, I just made this move here to a new city, Maybe it would be silly of me to let myself get wrapped up in someone so quickly? I need to explore! But gee I really do like her...." It sounds mature to me! Keep going the way you're going and see what happens.

    Posted by lassie September 1, 09 10:20 AM
  1. The LW needs to speak her mind to the "new kid in town." Many men here complain that women seem to want us to figure things out rather than just come out and say what they mean and mean what they say. If you don't say what you are feeling you will only regret it.

    Posted by techdood September 1, 09 10:23 AM

  1. Yes you are wrong Meredith. There really is no such thing as 'bad timing'. That is somthing we like to tell ourselves and other people to make sense of a current situation that may not be playing out the way we want.

    Society likes to make little rules - especially when it comes to love and relationships - that we feel we must conform to or we are told we are going about it all wrong.


    There is NO magic number of time or dates you have to go on before it should be deemed okay for a couple to be exclusive. You don't have to date for 'at least a year' before you get engaged. You don't have to be a couple for 'at least a couple years' before you get married. And there DEFINITELY is NO specific age for when it is an appropriate time for these events. Wether your married at 22 or 42 - success depends on the individuals - NOT the number.

    Now CCTIC, If you want to be exclusive after a few months of meeting - go for it! Don't let people tell you it's too early, he needs to find himself in the area bullsh**. You two sound like you are able to have open and honest dialogue and as long as you two are on the same page - GO FOR IT!

    Don't look for societies approval. March to the beat of your own drum!!

    Posted by EastCoastGirl September 1, 09 10:23 AM
  1. Aw Meredith doesn't read her own comments :( WAW wrote back in and was male.

    I think her advice is spot on today. You can bring it up very easily, very casually. Just mention that you want to be in the running!

    Posted by E September 1, 09 10:23 AM
  1. If you're bumping uglies with this dude I'm sure he'll be happy to keep the status quo. If you're cool with that more power to you. Again, I lament the fact I was born in 1970. Where were all these casual girls when I was still single?

    Posted by TR September 1, 09 10:23 AM
  1. What exactly is the problem here - you're worried that guys really don't want anything but sex? Are you working off the "don't give up the milk, he won't buy the cow" adage? Is it 1950 today? He acknowledged to you that he isn't generally good at casual relationships, meaning, he tends to rush into things. He sounds very self-aware - face it, had he asked you to be exclusive, you'd be writing about how freaked out you were that this nice guy who just moved to town was rushing you.

    Chill out. He likes you, he respects you enough to bring up a landmine topic and have a grown-up conversation about it.

    Another letter that doesn't really ask a question. We're 0 for 2 this week.

    Posted by Q September 1, 09 10:24 AM
  1. I agree with #4. Why do these rules and regulations have to be set verbally so soon, just because he's new in town? He hasn't explored the female population of Boston enough to decide whether you're the one he wants to spend his time with? He sounds young and immature. How about one relationship at a time, casual or not, and see where it goes? I would not commit to this guy until he decides whether he's here to sow his wild oats or not. Go with the flow but don't allow yourself to be used.

    Posted by Stumped September 1, 09 10:25 AM
  1. I agree with J Bar (#3) - if you're not sleeping with him yet, don't start now. Keep it casual, keep going on dates, but also keep your options open. If another nice gentleman asks you out, accept, and don't feel bad about it. If this guy wants to "explore" what else Boston has to offer, then you should be able to as well. Over time, you should both have a feeling as to where the relationship is going. And I agree with Meredith, you should plan to have another exclusivity talk in the next few months or so.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Regina Felangy September 1, 09 10:26 AM
  1. Wouldn't it be great if we had a question from someone who was REALLY dating an NKOTB?

    Posted by Q September 1, 09 10:27 AM
  1. Go with the flow and when the timing feels right for YOU, if you want exclusivity and he hasn't brought it up again then bring it up again yourself.

    Casual to exclusive is always possible...

    Posted by Amazed September 1, 09 10:28 AM
  1. "Dear Meredith,

    Everything is going fine. Should I walk away?"

    Posted by stanley September 1, 09 10:30 AM
  1. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the LW is a native New Englander, and thus prone to think of recent transplants to Boston as aliens from another galaxy. Being the "right guy" isn't related to how long he's been living in Boston!

    Anyway, I think LW kind of flubbed it when she took his interest in not getting serious while he adjusts to Boston to an unrelated place (creating a pact that implies each person will find someone better).

    All this guy wanted was to go slow WITH THE LW for a bit as he adjusts to Boston. Moving to a new city can be stressful. Moving to Boston can be very stressful (see “alien galaxy” reference above). He just wants to enjoy being with you and let the stress of the move die down so that he can then focus on getting more serious with you.

    From the letter it appears he was not asking to play the field because he thought the grass might be greener on the other side.

    Perhaps LW can “re-frame” the pact and acknowledge that she is interested in seeing where things go with STEVE. And let Steve know that she is fine with going slow “for a period”. Leave out talk of “other people”… at this point in time they don’t exist! It’s kind of insulting (and telling about your self-esteem) to tell someone new to town that you’d be freaked if he wanted to get serious with you due to him being new to the city.

    Posted by Sigh September 1, 09 10:33 AM
  1. I'm with # 1 and # 3. I hate to mindlessly repeat the good advice that's already been given - so I'll give my feedback in haiku form.

    Wish I had your problems haiku:

    You are progressing nicely.
    Whats the problem here?

    Posted by Monty September 1, 09 10:35 AM
  1. Oh (expletive)!
    After yesterday's LL, I thought we may be onto something new- some issues with real meat. But noooo, we're back to high school drama.

    Listen CC- you sound a little nuts. First you tell the guy that you agree it's freaky to be talking 'exclusive'. Then you give him the green light to start a serious relationship (with someone else, it would seem). And then you ask us if you can turn your relationship exclusive. You don’t sound like you really know what you want. Please don’t waste any more of our time until you figure that out. Thanks.

    Posted by Shorty September 1, 09 10:36 AM
  1. Byubba, since you came in at number 5 I have to think your little digits were dancing across your keyboard the second you read the letter! Nothing wrong with wanting to jump right onto a new letter, especially one that helps me forget yesterday's awfulness. Just be careful about making fun of people for doing something that you are doing yourself!

    p.s. I was number 3 so I guess I just type faster than you.

    Posted by J Bar September 1, 09 10:36 AM
  1. Ok. I am currently in also in a new relationship and we decided to be exclusive after 3 months, even though we were ultimately exclusive the entire time, that was when the official talk occured. There is no time limit on this.

    In short, exploring the city doesn't mean exploring other women's bodies. He can do this while being exclusive, IF that is what you both want. So you are not exclusive? Why did he bring it up? Did he want it or was he just curious? I am confused as to what you and Steve really want. If you both want to be exclusive, do it. You can still have your own lives while being in a relationship. If you want it, which the last sentence makes it seem like you want to be exclusive, just say so. Tell him he can still explore Boston and meet new people, just not sleep with them or date them. What you have seems to be the beginning of a relationship. If you are okay with the way things are, go with the flow. If not, take action.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! September 1, 09 10:39 AM
  1. I have no idea what the issue is. You've known each other for 3 weeks at most and have only seen him 4 times. I know we women tend to fret and fret and fret incessantly about relationship statuses. But really, it's too soon to start worrying about where the relationship is going and way too early to start pestering him about it. I don't understand why you need any sort of pact at this stage - you're both single and free to date others until you mutually agree on exclusivity. Just be patient and enjoy the excitement of getting to know someone brand new, while maintaining your independence. Go out with friends, make plans with others. Make yourself available to him but don't wait around for his calls. In other words, have fun and have a life!

    Posted by Rae September 1, 09 10:42 AM
  1. John (#6) - Irony.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 10:44 AM
  1. Another case of a guy wanting his cake and having it too... I'd say poop of get off the pot. Just cause he's new in town doesn't mean you can't have an exclusive relationship. I think the whole relationship issue was brought up prematurely and should have simmered a bit before defining terms. Sounds like he's a bit gun-shy... Give him a couple more dates and then define the roles between the two of you... If he can't commit, cut him loose - don't waste your time thinking he's "the one".

    Cats not Dogs

    Posted by Rica September 1, 09 10:50 AM
  1. Sorry - but after 4 dates (if you're over 21), you should know whether or not real sparks are there and whether this is someone you want to see exclusively...and if you really feel that way, you DON'T want them to date other people..and you don't want to either.

    I say you should move on.


    Posted by alexandra47 September 1, 09 10:52 AM
  1. Number 17 hits it pretty spot on.

    I don't know if there is a "new town smell" which keeps people from establishing relationships. But these facts don't present that issue. Your beau already has an established friend-group here (you hung out with them by date four). You've been dating for months - and 1-2 dates a week does not warrant an "only" modifier. You hold hands, watch movies, and presumably snuggle in some capacity. Sounds like things have gone well, you've handled them well, and there isn't much to report.

    Here's your line: "Steve, I wanted to talk about something. Early on, we agreed that if either of us meets someone that we would like to start a serious relationship with, we’ll be up-front about it. Well, I have met someone I'd like to be in a serious relationship with: you."

    Posted by Nick September 1, 09 10:54 AM
  1. Did you meet him on match.com? If so, I think I went out with him.

    Posted by small world September 1, 09 10:55 AM
  1. I think you are over-analyzing and cannot tell the difference between the forest and the trees. Look at the forest! You met a nice guy so keep seeing him. Acting frenzied and stressed out will turn him off. It is smart to take relationships slow. There's no fire. Your man just moved here so he's still adjusting to his new life. Give the man some space to breathe.

    Posted by trueluv4eva September 1, 09 10:56 AM
  1. There's no real dilemma, here. Hang in there, and enjoy for now. Hopefully, he'll keep his word about being upfront if he meets someone else. If things go well, you should be able to be exclusive in the future. (As Meredith points out, make sure your pact includes this possibility).

    I can't predict the future, either, though.

    Good luck!

    Posted by two sheds September 1, 09 10:58 AM
  1. *yawn*

    really.... these are questions people ask when they look down and wonder what is that hair down there....

    give us the goods MER! we know you have the juicy ones... who cares if some are vulgar. post them!!

    Posted by itsahairflip September 1, 09 11:02 AM
  1. He wants to bang every girl in Boston for a few months but doesn't want you to do the same.....trust me.

    Posted by joeyboy1221 September 1, 09 11:04 AM
  1. Stop overthinking, go with the flow - report in in 3 months.

    Posted by Maryro September 1, 09 11:07 AM
  1. I believe the term to use in this scenario is "rent to buy".

    Obviously there is mutual interest but he doesn't want to "own" yet. Of course Meredith is right, if it doesn't progress to more within the next few months then maybe it's time to, "hang it up and see what tomorrow brings", until then "just keep truckin' on".

    Posted by Darwin September 1, 09 11:10 AM
  1. I agree Monty!
    This is why you date, to see where things go from here. No need to rush into a commitment here. Just enjoy the ride!

    Posted by LilShorty98 September 1, 09 11:14 AM
  1. I was also struck by the opening line "After years of unsuccessful dates...". Wow, how depressing is that. I mean, years of bad dates? Really? No winners in there at all? Not a one?

    You think maybe it's you?

    Posted by Rae September 1, 09 11:14 AM
  1. How many weddings did you attend this summer? Are you worried that you won't get to do the "here come's the bride" thing? Cool it on the exclusive talk. After 4 dates, you probably don't even know his favorite color. Why do women get so clingy so fast? It's no wonder men are afraid to commit. Take it easy, enjoy the dating, and quit reading bridal magazines!

    Posted by Harry September 1, 09 11:18 AM
    THE RIGHT STUFF.......
    (just couldnt help myself , "The new kid on the block" took me back)

    Posted by LilShorty98 September 1, 09 11:18 AM
  1. #28 (small world) - that would be hilarious!

    Sorry Meredith, this one's boring. Yesterday's was juicier - even though LW didn't like the responses, it sure did generate quite the comments.

    This one? Seriously? She's three weeks into dating a guy and sends a letter to LL? There is absolutely nothing unusual about the process she is experiencing, other than her over-analysis of it. Personally, if I was dating a guy who I found out wrote to LL asking advice after a handful of dates, I'd run.

    Posted by Patty September 1, 09 11:21 AM
  1. I would continue dating other people. Just see where it all unfolds. It's only been four dates. That's really not that much.

    I do think that some people want to "close the deal" way too quickly. What is all the rush? Remember that you never get another chance to re-do the early courtship stage. All this doubt, wondering, not knowing, the mystery, does he love me/love me not.... it's exactly what fuels all those delicious "I think I may be falling in love" butterflies in your stomach! (And also one of the single best dieting plans in the world.)

    Why be in a rush to skip right past this stage? It can be exciting and exhiliraring and make you feel alive. This is called the "good" kind of anxiety.

    Flash forward 7 years into a marriage, with a couple of kids, and you'll be writing in asking how can I revive those early-stage passionate feelings. Not that I'm knocking the security and comfort that comes with a serious committed relationship. I'm just saying, enjoy the ride to get there, and not all anxiety is bad.

    Posted by anecdotal evidence September 1, 09 11:24 AM
  1. John (#6) - Irony.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 11:28 AM
  1. Meredith, you really didn't need to notify us that the letter writer is female... from the subject matter (even without names, s/he, etc.), it's all too painfully obvious.

    Yes, do him a HUGE favor and just walk away. In fact, RUN, if physically capable...

    Posted by DJMcG September 1, 09 11:29 AM
  1. LW is overanalyzing.

    The advice / answer is again blatantly obvious.

    In fact, the question itself “do you think it’s possible for me to turn this into something exclusive…” is childish. No offense, but read the question again. Why do you have to “turn it into something”?

    You have demonstrated the result of your lack of relationship / dating success that you told us up front. That’s fine. It’s to be expected. Relax.
    Every single comment here should contain some variation of the following: “Calm down. Keep dating casually. Have fun with Steve, while still keeping busy with other social activities (friends, dating, hobbies, etc.). See what happens over time. See what the casual dating relationship morphs into. It’s organic. It will develop, morph, grow, or wilt and die.

    You do not have to obsess over it or try to magically convert it into something else. “Hocus Pocus, as I make this cauldren smoke and bubble, please make Steve seriously committed to me on the double!!!” It doesn’t work that way.

    P.S. Don’t mention any of this to Steve. He honestly told you his thoughts, his expectations upon just moving to town. If you push on this or tell him anything remotely close to what’s in this letter, you’ll be left sniffing Steve’s vapor trail. Dude will be gone.

    P.S. It’s been 3 damn weeks….

    For now, ride the waves and don’t ask where they go.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss September 1, 09 11:34 AM
  1. #23 (Rae) and #30 (two sheds) have it right. Relax. One step at a time. What's the rush?

    Posted by Truman September 1, 09 11:35 AM
  1. ooo J Bar. I see you are counting posting position. You must be that RicoCounter :-) very impressive you are # 3 today!! CONGRATULATIONS JBAR!! WOW. AWESOME ACCOMPLISHMENT!!! YOU ARE #3!! WAY TO GO !!!!! WE ARE ALL SOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! TAKE A BOW!

    ugh JBAR, no I was not doing the same thing I wrote about. I wrote about people that are excited to be "the first poster" just because I had the time to look at LL earlier today does not make me that. However you commented specifically that you posted at # 3 and were "higher up" than me today. so....well you connect the dots.

    Posted by byubba September 1, 09 11:43 AM
  1. CCTIC, are you sure you and Steve are talking about the same thing?

    "exclusive" and "committed" aren't synonyms. It's possible to have one without the other. Or neither. Or both.

    To me, "exclusive" means "We've agreed not to date other people". Perhaps only to eliminate worries about STDs.

    To me, "committed" means a psychological commitment, aka "mutually in love and dedicated to each other's well-being".

    After 3 weeks, it sounds like Steve doesn't want either.

    It sounds like you want "committed" ASAP. Good heavens, why? You just met the guy. Hang loose for a while, CCTIC.

    Posted by TallGirl September 1, 09 11:46 AM
  1. I agree with Meredith that you ought to redefine your parameters with him. You bent over backward to reassure him that just casual was just fine with you, and now you're worried it won't turn exclusive soon enough? I don't see why the timing is bad, and I don't see why you can't become exclusive any time you want. But don't let him go on thinking you're only up for casual when what you really want is something more.

    Posted by Wendy September 1, 09 11:47 AM
  1. It can and probably will grow over time once he realizes how much fun you're having together, as long as it's not forced.
    Interesting that HE brought up the subject of being exclusive, and then said that he doesn't want to be exclusive. You agree, which of course is fine as long as it's for the reason you list, rather than just protecting yourself from being dispatched.
    There's no heavy advice to give here. See where it goes and make sure you're happy.

    How generic. You don't boil the readership blood the way you ask lighthearted, good-natured question. Maybe you should have asked if you can castrate him if he doesn't commit in 6 weeks, or ask if it's OK to post an amateur video of yourselves on the internet since you're not dating exclusively.

    Posted by Brian September 1, 09 11:53 AM
  1. "But I said that if either of us meets someone else that we would like to start a serious relationship with, we’ll be up-front about it."

    Well, there is the naturall possibility that this will happen should either of you meet another person. Starting a 'serious' relationship in my mind indicates exclusivity.

    Guys do best with straight talk.

    You both indicate that taking it slow - nothing serious.

    Spell out the boundaries of what stepping into serious means: sex?, seeing each other more than twice a week? You will need to control these boundaries.

    State it matter-of-factly: Unless I am exclusive with someone, I sleep around OR I don't sleep with anyone OR I may be with someone sexually should the right circumstances arise.

    Don't be disingenuous: I smell conflict in these two statements, " doesn’t want to have a serious relationship within his first few weeks of moving to a new city" and "I totally agree, .... I’d have been a bit freaked out." THEN
    "do you think it’s possible for me to turn this into something exclusive after a few months of dating"

    Sounds like you are looking for assurance about his intentions which he has made clear, despite his 'not into casual' comment. Can't do that - his head is not even in the ballpark. So, my advice to LW would be to keep it casual, see others and enjoy the time you spend with this guy and don't worry so much about a commitment from him. Coming off as needy will be off putting. I know I'll sound like a prude, but do NOT think that having sex with this guy will make him any more interested - you'll just be setting yourself up for a fall.

    He wants time to see what else is out there and not settle in so quickly. My guess is that over the next few months, he will become intrigued with others and see if his interest develops further with you at the same time. Be real with him and don't become a sex toy so easily - it's a sure way to end it.

    Posted by CasualGalTalk September 1, 09 11:54 AM
  1. Yes, it seems like everything is going swimmingly. But beware, beware, beware of letting things get too involved with someone new to town. Be sure he has enough time to have plenty of other friends and activities outside of you and your circle of friends. Should this not work out a year from now, it will be harder to end things if ending it basically destroys his life in Boston. By being the new kid, he's got to have a chance to establish himself enough to not be the new kids before getting into something serious. Keep it fun and keep it light until you are sure he's got himself planted.

    Posted by Section 41 September 1, 09 11:56 AM
  1. To all the "bored" respondents:

    Lighten up, there's bound to be a relationship noob on here from time to time. What was the name of that extremely bright, Harvard Educated business consultant that got conned by that German guy?

    Too bad she didn't post here...right?

    Posted by Darwin September 1, 09 11:59 AM
  1. Rico is too busy today for nonsense...and this letter is nonsense...Here are Rico's thoughts for you:

    You have questions and you want answers. Rico and the others here can not give you those answers. Rico thinks you are stupid to think that you have a good thing going. HE has a good thing going, you on the other hand do NOT. He wants regular sex but freedom to explore, you want a relationship. See where Rico is going???

    Anyway, you want a relationship then it is up to you to ask him. If he says no to being exclusive and you don't mind being used sexually till he finds someone better then keep up the casual thing. If he says yes then congratulations you have now entered adulthood!!! Everyone give the letter writer a round of applause, she has finally woke up to reality.

    Rico is tired and as such is very moody so Rico apologizes to those he has offended...on second thought, Rico takes it back. No apology!!!

    Ha ha, Rico thinks he is funny too...Anyway, Rico is still disgusted by yesterday's letter. There is NO EXCUSE for anyone to behave in that way. Apparently the theory of Human evolution has not come true. Rico supposes someone will correct him on that as well...enjoy and talk amongst yourselves. Rico is taking off for a short day today but will try to check in later.

    Have a nice afternoon...

    Love always,


    Gears not Gas

    Enjoy this weather before it turns....

    Posted by Rico September 1, 09 12:05 PM
  1. Dating is a very competitive business. I don't blame you for acting agressively. Did you meet him at the airport. Got to have a first take before someone else does. Way to go. You do keep your ears open.

    Is it possible to develop into something seriously. No one knows. He is new in town and has no friends at this time and you are the woman waving your hands at his face. Things can change when he get settle down and have a chance to meet other women.

    Posted by notSure September 1, 09 12:17 PM
  1. reindeergirl stop repeating yourself ( #'s 24 & 41??!!) you post here all the time. should be obvious to you comments get backed up at times.

    Posted by venisonstew September 1, 09 12:22 PM
  1. “If you can’t be #1, you look ridiculous at 42” Haiku

    Still quick on the draw?
    Preemie infatuation
    Was it good for you?

    Posted by valentino September 1, 09 12:23 PM
  1. Will you people stop using the line "Let's call him XXXXX"?

    That line is getting so annoying! Just call him Steve if you want to call him Steve. You don't have to announce that you're calling him Steve!

    I don't even get this question. Is it possible to turn a fourth date into an exclusive relationship? It happens all of the time!

    I think him being "new in town" is kind of irrelevant. Whether he's in Scranton, Honolulu, or Boston, he's still out there dating. Even if he was in town for 20 years, he still might not want to be exclusive after 4 dates.

    "I just got a new job, I don't want to be exclusive just yet."
    "I just graduated college and I don't want to be exclusive just yet."
    "I just moved to a new apartment, I don't want to be exclusive just yet."

    You can come up with plenty of reasons to not want to be exclusive. But I think the REAL reason is that you've only had FOUR dates. It might take him a little longer to make that decision. It's still early. Now if you went on ten dates and he was still unsure, then he'd just be stringing you along, and it has nothing to do with him being "new in town". If I was a single man and moved to Chicago and met a great girl upon first being there, I would not hesitate to go out with her exclusively if things are right. I just don't see why him being new in town is all that relevant.


    Posted by YouAreAllMySons September 1, 09 12:27 PM
  1. Hmm... a lot of these letters are from annoyingly vapid 20-somethings lately, and they all just leave me with an "I don't care" response. OK, I better say something cheeky: Want to get him to commit? Easy, "Forget" to take your Pill for a month... problem solved! Ugh, sorry, that was so predictable. Now STFU, and go drink your Apple-tinis...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 1, 09 12:28 PM
  1. Once again there are so many opinions and only one is correct. If you like him keep dating but don't be used. If he's into you he'll start to turn up the heat and the relationship will become exclusive on it's own. If after a couple of more dates nothing changes then it's totally casual and seriously look at the other suitors you might have.

    Posted by rlsrd September 1, 09 12:34 PM
  1. This guy is just not that into you.
    He is basically telling you that you are OK until somebody better comes along.

    Posted by Shecky28 September 1, 09 12:35 PM
  1. Come on: tease your hair in that big Medford 'do. Put on the too tight and too short clothes. Cake on the makeup.

    Then give this guy what he (and all guys) are looking for: a good time!

    Everything else will take care of itself. No guy can resist a Meffa chick (or a Revere chick).

    Aside from that: he has a GF back home!

    Posted by Lance Romance September 1, 09 12:43 PM
  1. I must also chime in with my disappointment at the letter not bearing the fruit of the title. False advertising, especially in the Boston area. Sheesh!

    On the letter's subject, I agree that the topic is a bit prepubescent. If you're too scared to make a choice based on your own independent judgment, you're not mature enough to be in a relationship in the first place. And to chime in with my own experience, I just moved back to Boston after a 2-year absence and started dating someone with whom I chatted online for 2 months while I was making plans/getting my old job back from out of town. We liked each other's style online, and we found the time to spend essentially an entire week together when I arrived to see whether things would take off. We did, and now we're committed. Case closed.

    Posted by knxvil September 1, 09 12:44 PM
  1. I think it's a bit of an oddity that he felt the need to bring up exclusivity on date #4 only to tell you that he doesn't want it. It sounds like insecurity that drove you both to tell each other that you will keep dating and let the other person know if you find someone better. That's pretty negative and a little mean. It suggests you each maybe like the other a lot so far but are pretending that you don't so that the other doesn't think you're desperate.

    The fact that he is new in town really shouldn't matter if you like each other. That sounds like a total cop-out. A grown-up guy should know if he meets a great person. Not necessarily after 4 dates, though. My problem is that he brought up exclusivity after 4 dates only to tell you he didn't want it. That sounds either extremely immature, mean or dysfunctional. Keep dating him since you are having fun, but keep a look out for other signs of him being a total nutjob.

    Posted by JK September 1, 09 12:44 PM
  1. For some reason, yesterday's letter just sapped all of my will to speak my mind...but I'll try my best here. So it appears as if the LW is weighing the pros and cons of whether to make her relationship exclusive with Steve. She agrees with Steve in that being exclusive would cause her to be 'freaked out' then, but she's projecting the relationship months into the future when she needs to take it one day at a time. If you invest months and months of hopes and dreams into the relationship and it doesn't pan out, guess what - you've wasted your time! Stop projecting and take your time. Enjoy life! What's the hurry all about anyway? If he feels the same way as you do, he's more than likely not going anywhere. It seems as if you're looking to hedge your potential loss by asking him to be your boyfriend (exclusively) in the future when you should be focused on the here and now. What did I say? Stop projecting. Start enjoying the feelings of being in love. Cherish it, because that one day when it all goes away you'll be full of contempt and regret. Remember the good times. That's all I really have to offer at this time.

    Stand down.

    I'm off to the links. Enjoy the day. Stop projecting. At ease.

    PS - JBar was right. Are you having sex? As some of the other folks often say in these parts, "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

    Also - Congrats to A/E for keeping her comments down to under 200 words for a second day in a row! Keep it up!

    Posted by Admiral Antgro September 1, 09 12:52 PM
  1. The way you phrase the question "do you think it’s possible for me to turn this into something exclusive after a few months of dating" leads me to think you are not really on board with the non-exclusive dating that you will be doing for now. You seem to be taking too much responsibility on by making yourself accountable for turning this into something exclusive. The way things are set up now seem to be for the best given the situation. He said himself that he is not a "casual relationship guy" so I would take him at his word and when he is settled in he will either want to make it exclusive or move on. Your relationship, like all relationships, will evolve in one way or another unless you are that idiot from the other day who gets stuck in limbo for the next 10 years.

    Posted by sexual chocolate September 1, 09 12:55 PM
  1. "JBar was right. Are you having sex? As some of the other folks often say in these parts, 'why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?'"

    Boys, please remember, it cuts both ways. When the Nice Guys whine that women don't want them, when men complain that they can't get dates, remember--why buy the bull when you can get the rodeo ride for free?

    Posted by PM September 1, 09 12:57 PM
  1. "...do you think it’s possible for me to turn this into something exclusive after a few months of dating"

    Yes, it's called not putting out until you are exclusive. Guys want to get laid. Problem solved.

    Posted by Bee September 1, 09 12:58 PM
  1. Byubba #45, does your post name stand for Butthead? Your post #5 clearly said:

    this is my favorite part of the day. the comments counter says "0" and then a bunch of people will write in " I'm first wow" only to realize when comments are finally posted that they are posted as a batch and sequentially, so they are #74 or something and you have all these losers thinking they made their big accomplishment for the day by being first on some obscure relationship blog buried in the Internet.

    My post was just meant to make fun of you for being so hypocritical, accusing others of being losers "thinking they made their big accomplishment for the day" - you are describing yourself! Now go away and annoy some other blog for awhile all right?

    Since yours was the 5th one to post you must have been beating the keyboard (and who know what else) pretty frantically to have hit the 5 spot.

    Posted by J Bar September 1, 09 01:03 PM
  1. Okay, this is what it sounds like to me. It sounds like things got pretty awesome pretty fast, he is starting to look at you in a serious way and he is getting scared that it is going too fast and is trying to put the brakes on a little bit. I would just let it ride and keep letting things unfold.

    Posted by merilisa September 1, 09 01:03 PM
  1. to: Lance Romance. is that true? thank god I live on the South Shore!

    Posted by E September 1, 09 01:05 PM
  1. "Rico is tired and as such is very moody so Rico apologizes to those he has offended...on second thought, Rico takes it back. No apology!!!"

    Bleako is on the rag.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 01:09 PM
  1. There's a "d" at the end of Medfor? Shut up! The moon is in the seventh house...

    Posted by val September 1, 09 01:09 PM
  1. Flash has it right. He wants to fool around with other people, as well as you. I'm not sure he'll ever consider you exclusive dating material if he does not now.

    Posted by pinner September 1, 09 01:10 PM
  1. You know....this guy seems like he's not really into you. Try to let a week or two go by without seeing him and see how (or if) he responds, or even notices your absence. Are you the one always calling him? And did you meet on Match.com? If so, then he just wants to play the field. And for me, that's not "The Right Stuff, bay-bee".

    Posted by Trueblue22 September 1, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Prico (pink hatted 3rd person guy) is tired from helping J Bar "beat the keyboard" which is a euphemism for something one does when grilled cheese sandwiches are not available. Prico and J Bar must both have cold sores today and thus have resorted to this.

    LW, just ignore 90% of the commenters. they're just here to listen to themselves. it gets them ready for beating the keyboard. just like Rush Limbaugh. you;ve got a good thing going, don't let all the comments get you paranoid.

    Posted by PricoJBarVillagepeopledance September 1, 09 01:22 PM
  1. Is it senseless in here or is it just me?

    Ok, off to handle my affairs! Woo-hoo! ** GRIN **

    Posted by TallReindeerGirl September 1, 09 01:25 PM
  1. This guy is using the "new guy in town" excuse for "I like you until I find something better." Don't waste your time.

    You're either in a committed relationship or your not. Telling each other about other people you're dating is just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. You need to build any relationship on trust and this guy is using a really lame excuse (since when does being new in town have anything to do with a level of commitment??) to play the field while not sharing you. You should make up a story of another guy who you are seeing and measure his response. I bet the phone calls stop, and the fun ends. Nobody wants to play second fiddle in a relationship - it goes against human nature.

    Posted by jonnymelrose September 1, 09 01:37 PM
  1. this letter is soooooooo boring! can we get some more drama about extra marital affairs for tomorrow?!

    Posted by Tuna Muffin September 1, 09 01:46 PM
  1. Where in the letter does it indicate that Steve wants to screw around with other women?!?!?

    What was written about Steve was that he, "doesn’t want to have a serious relationship within his first few weeks of moving to a new city."

    Hypersensitive people (Rico, I usually enjoy what you write. Not this time.) have somehow construed that to mean that Steve wants to plow every fallow field in the city.

    Got news for you… not wanting a serious relationship within the FIRST FEW WEEKS of moving to a city is not the moral equivalent of trying to bag every chick in town.

    Put your thinking cap on, Rico! The LW wrote “After years of unsuccessful dates…”. Then LW tells us that Steve, out of the blue, brings up exclusivity in the relationship on the 4th date. Don’t you think that it’s probable that while Steve really likes LW a lot, he may be feeling that she’s coming on far too strong?

    Posted by Sigh September 1, 09 01:46 PM
  1. "After years of unsuccessful dates..." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Are you asking if you should put this guy on waivers, only to be picked up by the Yankees? CARPE BREED‘EM BABY: Seize the seminal discharge! Poke a hole in the raincoat! Don’t procrastinate…Inseminate! What’s a new town got to do with it? Do we all get a pre-paid relationship debit card when we change addresses? The heart is in the same body. Steal it, fatten it up and bring it home to mama. You don’t want him flirting with the LL bookworms in the public garden…or it’s Seeyalater Jack. Find me a find, catch me a catch, Tzeitel.

    Posted by valentino September 1, 09 01:51 PM
  1. Who Cares. Seriously. Why can't people take things at face value? What do they need classify everything they do. This is high school crap.

    Posted by Paul from Wellesley September 1, 09 02:00 PM
  1. Can casual turn into committed? Sure, but the real question is when should you get committed? And I mean that in a you're-completely-insane-welcome-to-McLean kind of way. You've got a good thing going on. The easiest way to mess this up is to show start re-discussing the status of the relationship, which if I was a guy, would make me want to go hang myself. He's already told you what he wants. Maybe, I don't know, you should listen to him. Geesh.

    Posted by Sally September 1, 09 02:03 PM
  1. its only been 4 dates! lets calm down and stop counting our chickens before they hatch!

    Posted by heavenly September 1, 09 02:10 PM
  1. I really do not get why somebody shouldn't get involved in a relationship shortly after moving. If a guy meets somebody he really likes, I don't think being new to the area would stop him. There can be such a thing as bad timing (based on the end of another relationship, a personal crisis, moving away, etc) but that seems like a lame excuse here. Then again it has only been a few dates so no need to rush to make big decisions about your future. I would give it a little time, try not to over analyze or rush, not sleep together as long as he says he isn't interested in exclusivity, and be cautiously optimistic that he will feel ready for a relationship with you soon. Then after another couple months if you are looking for a serious relationship and he still isn't, it might be better for you to tell him you need to move on.

    To those who have criticized the LW, keep in mind that she said he brought this whole thing up on the fourth date, not her.

    Posted by L September 1, 09 02:12 PM
  1. This letter is so boring that nobody can even stay on topic.

    Mere, you didn't need to divulge the gender of this one. Anytime things between the LW and the love interest are going seemingly well and the LW wants to overanalyze the situation and potentially ruin a good thing, it's a woman. Take it from a married man who loves his overly critical psychoanalytical neurotic wife.

    Posted by WatchHowYouFilltheEmptySpaces September 1, 09 02:13 PM
  1. Go ahead and talk to him if that will make you feel better about it . All relationships start slow, so just relax and enjoy getting to know him better. And if you do talk to him, take #27's line.

    Posted by EM September 1, 09 02:15 PM
  1. I'll go out on a limb here and I'm guessing you're fat?

    Posted by Michael September 1, 09 02:19 PM
  1. E, yes it is true. Given the choice between a Meffa chick and a Weston chick, the Meffa chick wins every time.

    Posted by Lance Romance September 1, 09 02:24 PM
  1. Sounds like you want us to assure you that if you start/continue sleeping w/ him he won't sleep w/ anyone else. Sorry chica - there are no guarantees in life, but remeber this - nothing ventured gained. Go back and re-read Hoss' post.

    Posted by RealityChic September 1, 09 02:33 PM
  1. Stop whining and give him a grilled cheese sandwich.

    Posted by big h September 1, 09 03:13 PM
  1. sigh. I can't stop yawning enough to even try to write a response to yet another vapid and overblown questions.

    Meredith, what do you do with the serious letters you receive? flush them because they're too complex?

    Posted by bored out of my mind reading this drivel September 1, 09 03:27 PM
  1. After reading some of you people, am I stupid for assuming that you shouldnt be dating other people at the same time you are dating someone else? I didnt realize that you could date a bunch of people at the same time and not until both of you signed a letter of exclusive intent, did you have to only date that person. This is great news! Party time!

    Posted by Matt September 1, 09 03:29 PM
  1. This is obviosuly a boring letter, hence the lack of responses. Tomorrow is a new day!

    Posted by Kristen September 1, 09 03:38 PM
  1. YAWN

    Posted by M September 1, 09 03:41 PM
  1. #79 - there's no way that you are the same valentino who offers his usual haikus on here. If you are, I didn't suspect for one minute that you would absolutely blast the LW and tell her to go get pregnant by this guy. Seriously? Are you on crack or something? I highly doubt that the valentino that we all know is that callous.

    BTW: Meffa's girls can all be seen at Veez. Trust me, they aren't anything to write home about. But they do have an edge over the Weston women. I thought Maashfield girls can give really good grilled cheese sandwiches. Anyone want to prove me wrong?

    Posted by SickofOldDriversKillingPeeps September 1, 09 03:44 PM
  1. CCTIC - Read "Vanity Fair" (the book, not the magazine); live like Becky Sharp, but ignore the ambiguous ending. Keep on living. Or, for the rubes here, read the novella "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" - "get busy living, or get busy dying" - and have the talk with yourself that Red had with himself for 40 years. Or be a Clarissa, and be stuck by the rules imposed by the general social culture, but you don't want that (at least, I don't think you do).

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 03:44 PM
  1. ROCK ON #56!! :-)

    Posted by Anonymous September 1, 09 03:50 PM
  1. Meredith,

    Yesterday's letter should put to rest any debate about whether there's more male-bashing or female-bashing on your blog.

    When the adulterer's gender was unknown, the great majority of commentors assumed (incorrectly) it was a woman - even though statistics show that more men than women are adulterers.

    Meredith, I suggest you gender-neutralize some future letters and see what happens. We'll see how often the troublemaker is assumed to be a woman. It'll make a good Redneck Studies paper.

    Posted by TallGirl September 1, 09 03:57 PM
  1. Michael - I sense a theme in your postings.

    Posted by I am not fat September 1, 09 03:59 PM
  1. OMG I met a guy and after like two hours I like hugged him, then I like dated him four times, and we ate dinner and like watched TV and held hands in public, so like we are totally like "soul-mates". Of course, if he wanted to be "exclusive" with me after 1 or 2 dates that would be creepy, but now that we've been dating for such a way long time, like 4 times, can I now like own him or should I tell him to get lost because he hasn't asked me to like marry him yet?


    Posted by FourthGradeRomance..zzzzzzzz September 1, 09 04:07 PM
  1. I can't believe how stupid some women are. If he doesn't want to be serious with you it's because hr doesn't think you are good enough for him. End of story.

    Posted by Dumb Broad September 1, 09 04:17 PM
  1. Rico also agrees with #56, that line is so annoying. Almost as annoying as Rico referring to himself in the 3rd person. Finally, Rico is ashamed that he has a small penis.

    Posted by Rico September 1, 09 04:23 PM
  1. Speaking as someone that works with numbers (but NOT an accountant), I think it would be interesting to see which letters generate the most comments. Are they from men? Women? Highly contentious (sp?)? What kind of behavior exhibits the highest number of comments? Just a thought...

    Posted by counting... September 1, 09 04:27 PM
  1. LW-
    What you've written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent letter were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this chat is now dumber for having read it. I offer you no advice and may God have mercy on your soul.

    Posted by Shorty September 1, 09 04:28 PM
  1. #98..I like to keep it simple. go on a diet, hit the gym, grow some self esteem and no one would have to write these letters like they do. Looking for someone else's approval all the time to feel good about themselves.

    Posted by Michael September 1, 09 04:30 PM
  1. Michael - you may be onto something.

    Posted by I am not fat September 1, 09 04:35 PM
  1. I think he is being up front that he likes you, is still dating others, and won't date other people without telling you if it is serious, and wants the same from you.

    As time goes on, either you can ask for exclusivity, or keep dating around. He's just asking for clear communication if you do find someone else. He does not want to be a casual hook up to you and vice-versa.

    Sounds like a decent guy. Enjoy, and if you are ready for exclusivity, then let him know. If then he wants it, happy you two. If he doesn't, then you have to move on, and not write in a Love Letter about "we have been dating casually for three years, will he ever change his mind"?

    Enjoy the sweet uncertainty of new beginnings.

    Posted by Sunflower September 1, 09 04:36 PM
  1. TallGirl (#97) wrote

    "When the adulterer's gender was unknown, the great majority of commentors assumed (incorrectly) it was a woman - even though statistics show that more men than women are adulterers."

    I initially was thinking it was a woman because of Meredith's "Bridges of Madison County" reference. I suspect a lot of other people did the same, so I don't think you can read too much into yesterday's comments. (I thought your comment about it probably being a man because of concerns over child custody was insightful, and as it turns out, right on the money).

    Posted by two sheds September 1, 09 04:38 PM
  1. SickofOldDriversKillingPeeps #94 -
    I think we have our tounges firmly in our cheeks today.

    reindeergirl -
    Did you catch the bouquet? The sun broke out on casco bay and pushed the fog bank back in time for me to step on the glass, kiss the bride and pose for the shutterbugs. I'm feeling pretty good. It's weird wearing a ring after a naked 10 years.

    Posted by valentino September 1, 09 04:50 PM
  1. Save gas. Ride a Bleako.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 1, 09 04:50 PM
  1. "New to town" is not a great reason for not wanting to date exclusively. Only being on four dates is a better one. Perhaps he's already come across some one else that he hopes to date, but dated you first, so he's keeping his options open. Or maybe he doesn't intend on staying too long, so doesn't want a commitment that eventually means splitting up.
    Personally, I'd see the "doesn't want to get exclusive" conversation as a red flag. He's decided he likes you but not enough, but you are cool enough hang out with until a better fit comes along. And there is no harm in you doing the same, unless you'll get hurt. I bet you'll notice he calls less over the next month. Sorry to be negative.

    Posted by lala September 1, 09 05:09 PM
  1. It sounds like he wants/needs a friend and you fit the bill. The "just got here" excuse is his way of saying I want to look around for something else. I think you answered your own question. Save yourself the agro and walk away. If you guys were meant to be together it will happen but just don't sit around waiting for him to find himself or his soul mate.

    Posted by ramona126 September 1, 09 05:38 PM
  1. valentino,

    Alas, no (grrr). (Also stranded here that weekend grading exams, double-grrrr.)

    But it sounds like *your* day was radiant, and it sounds like *you* were (and are) too! I'm sure the rings are perfect fits for both of you, in all ways, enjoy them in best of health for many decades to come. Mazel Tov!

    Posted by Zipporah/reindeergirl September 1, 09 05:47 PM
  1. Let's all raise our glass and toast Valentino and Mrs V. May you both be blissfully happy and live long enough to comb grey hair (as my people say).

    Posted by Trueblue22 September 1, 09 06:04 PM
  1. I usually give em about 35-45 minutes, let em brown on both sides and add a lil bit of olive oil, bit of parsley too. Mmmmm. Magnifique!

    Wait........what was the question again?

    Posted by freddyfantastic September 1, 09 06:14 PM
  1. Oh, Reindeer Girl, if I weren't already married, probably twice your age, and straight, I'd want to marry you. Vanity Fair, rubes, and the novella references have me all aflutter. Two literate, literary, LW regulars: you and Valentino. Bravo! Encore!

    Posted by Kate's Nonna September 1, 09 06:42 PM
  1. Rico's advice Haiku:

    twitter is my god
    fake third person diatribe
    yes I am a tool.

    Posted by FakeRico September 1, 09 06:43 PM
  1. Rico's advice Haiku:

    twitter is my god
    fake third person diatribe
    yes I am a tool.

    Posted by FakeRico September 1, 09 06:49 PM
  1. Tallgirl- props to you for correctly guessing the gender of yesterday's letter writer. Minus-props for patting yourself on the back in 2 threads.
    But that's not why I'm posting.

    I don't think you can draw the conclusion you did. The only conclusion you can make is that the letter writer has an effeminate prose and seeks advice in a relationship column. This is what lent me to believe the writer was a woman. Others went on that run for the Bridges of Madison County reference, although I did not. There's no gender bias to be concluded there. The discrimination yesterday was all about cheaters. I would ask Meredith to post the next letter from a male adulterer trying to justify his actions and let us know up front that he is, in fact, male. I would wager many of my dollars to few of yours that the responses would be nearly identical.

    I'll save a dissent of your "statistics..more men are cheaters...etc.." assertion for some other time, and save Meredith's readers from many boring paragraphs on the societal effect of maintaining an accusatory-victim persona in such situations.

    Posted by Brian September 1, 09 07:16 PM
  1. I think you're over-thinking this. OF COURSE it's possible to turn a casual thing into an exclusive thing. This should be the whole point of dating. You said yourself that the 4th date would be too soon to declare exclusivity. Most dating begins at the casual (meaning...not ready to commit to someone) level and progresses over time through shared experiences (good and bad).

    I think you should worry less about what HE"ll want in the future...as you can't control HIM, and just focus on YOU. You sound like you want to snag him as your door prize boyfriend without even knowing if he will fully measure up to standards you should have beyond this initial gee-this-fun-and-cool-that-we-have-inside-jokes-already.

    It's like a job interview...it's not always about you doing a song and dance with anticipation that they want you....but should be an equal exchange of information so that you can see if you want them over time and whether they are a good fit for you regardless of the company name and job description. As we all know, what works for each of us is less about the packaging and initial charm of something, but the essence, values, and whether there's room to grow and develop us as peope to the best of our abilities. Same thing with people and relationships. What looks (and feels good) a few dates in is one thing, but what something is over time is quite another.

    You mentioned meeting a lot of frogs along the way, so the joy you feel for having met a decent and nice guy may cloud reality (ie he's just a guy that you still need to assess warts and all), so dial it back...enjoy what you have NOW and stop worrying about where it's going in the future. The future isn't here now....but the present is...so be present in the present. Trust that if it's meant to be, it will develop naturally (without you wishing it to be that), and if it's not meant to be, the experience will have been a learning one in understanding yourself with greater insight....which will come in handy for future relationship.

    Posted by bklynmom September 1, 09 09:11 PM
  1. Well, I have to say that 4 dates is not a lot. However, I am surprised he put on the brakes when things were going so well. Was he picking up a vibe from you that you wanted more? If it were me, I would probably hang in there for another month or so and see if you guys still have a great connection. If you do and he still doesn't want to be monogamous, then I would definitely forget about him. A number of my friends, "hung in there" with guys (in some cases 2 years!) when it was clear that the guy just wasn't ready for a commitment and then got their hearts broken. (It happened to me too.) When it is meant to be you find you have great chemistry with the other person and they want to be exclusive with you. Good luck.

    Posted by Mimi September 1, 09 09:33 PM
  1. Just buy a cucumber! On the way home from drinking your Apple-tinis of course...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 2, 09 07:50 AM
  1. Is this for real? Are high schoolers allowed to write to Meredith? I agree with Rico’s first post – he’s not that into you. You should know that that meeting at the bar with Steve’s friends was just an opportunity for his friends to check you out; somehow you didn’t pass the test and his friends told him to pass on you.

    Drilling further, couldn’t agree more with others that “after years of unsuccessful dating” is a red flag for all of us. Maybe you should spend more time improving yourself and checking out new activities – there are TONS of stuff to do for free (Globe posts them all the time) – so get out, get some fresh air and see what’s really going on. You’re limiting yourself to a teeny world.

    The fact that you’re writing after only 4 dates shows emotional arrestment.

    I’m sorry, but this isn’t a real letter, and if so, the Letter Writer really needs to get out more. There’s nothing there with Steve; let him be and move on. He’s got a tongue and knows how to speak if there was something to say.

    Posted by JeffreyInMalibu September 2, 09 10:20 AM
  1. He's keeping his options open in case someone better comes along.

    Posted by Chris September 2, 09 10:54 AM
  1. I was in a similar situation several years ago. After I graduated college 4 years ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of 3-years and shortly thereafter met a new guy at a bar (yes, I know, you can’t meet anybody worthwhile at a bar). When I met “guy at bar” I was new to the real world, I was starting a new job, and moving to a new city. After 3-weeks of casual dating (dating as in legit dating, you know, dinner and drinks), he wanted to be exclusive (he wasn't asking me to promise him love, marriage and forever). I, however, wanted to “explore” and “see the world” (translation: I didn’t know what I wanted, I liked him, but I wanted to give myself some time before jumping in head first). I told him I had thought this was “casual”, I wasn’t ready to “commit”. Instead of just agreeing with whatever I said b/c he was afraid of rejection… he pressed me further and I told him exactly how I felt: “I really like you, I really like being with you, I’m not seeing anybody else, I don’t foresee myself seeing somebody else right now, I’m just not ready to sign on the dotted line yet, I really hate awkward conversations and breaking up is the most awkward conversation ever.” So he said cool, we left the conversation without a label, but with a clear understanding of where we stood. 4 years later, “guy in bar” asked me to marry him and we live happily ever after.

    Bottom line: if a guy wants to be with you, he'll be with you. According to my fiance he said "I found something I liked so I decided to lock it down." However, this isn't a fairy tale, and not everyone instantly "knows." I don’t believe in the “he won’t buy the cow if he gets the milk for free” adage, but instead of jumping in the sack with every guy at the first sign of interest, and then being devastated when things don't work, make him work for the "milk" before you give it up. You'll probably cut loose many of the losers long before they have a chance at any of your "milk". There’s no risk in taking things slowly and seeing where they end up… you've got nothing to lose. Unless of course you've already given it up, in which case you've got only your self respect to lose.

    Posted by HappilyEverAfter September 2, 09 01:01 PM
  1. What does living in a new city have to do with dating someone?? This question seems completely ridiculous. If you find someone that you like..and in your case if you are being honest, it seems that you two are hitting it off quite well, why do you need to keep searching?

    Honestly, I'd be quite offended if the man I was dating said he wanted to keep it casual because it's a new city and he might meet someone better to discover it with.

    I don't think it takes a genius here to tell you that unfortunatley, this out-of-towner is keeping his options open for the next hottest Bostonian. He just wants to get laid on a continuous basis in the meantime.

    Posted by northshorechick September 2, 09 07:04 PM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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