Happy Eve of Christmas Eve.
I was going to run a heavy letter today, but I decided to hold it until next week. I didn’t want to put up anything too upsetting on the day you're probably trying to love your loved ones, spread holiday cheer, etc. But please check in early next week for that letter. It needs lots of attention.
And again, I'll be putting up one letter tomorrow that will last us through the weekend. And don't forget to chat at 1 p.m.
Today's letter is about asking questions you don’t want to have to ask. It's not heavy, but it's still important. This letter writer needs a boost.
Q: Hi Meredith,
Here's my story...
So I have been seeing this guy for about six months and everything is more than great. He's 29 and I'm 25, which I don't find to be much of an issue. We knew each other for about a year from work (not in the same company and I no longer work there, so no awkward dating people at work scenarios). We get along great, both love sports, and we both are definitely able to do our own things w/o that whole "what are you doing thing." We talk 4 or 5 times a week and see each other 3 or 4, depending on whether we’re both around for the weekend.
Here's my problem...
I haven't the slightest clue what we “are.” He was in a relationship for quite a few years and it was broken off (by her) at the beginning of the year. I am too nervous to say anything to him about our status. I don’t doubt in my mind that he is into me but I don’t know HOW into me he is. Does he see other people? Are we dating…together…in a relationship??
I’m an over-thinker, it’s a flaw, and it stops me from saying anything. I ask friends for advice and they say “maybe he is thinking the same thing you are, too nervous or shy to say anything to you.” We act like we are together…I’m pretty laid back kind of girl, so when he goes home for a weekend, or we have to change the time of our plans, it doesn’t bother me…and a big part of that is because he actually calls instead of just being late (I should say, that our plans might change from 7 to 8, but nothing extreme like from 7 to 11).
I dated someone for about 4 months before and the moment I brought up the whole ‘what are we’ thing, he made a u-turn in the other direction and quickly ended things.
My question to you is, what do I do?? It’s not that I need a “title,” but I just want to know if he sees other people and where he stands with us. I am horrible at asking these questions and they always come out wrong, which send the guy heading for the hills. I don’t want to assume anything between us because I would hate to think something that wasn’t real, it would end up hurting me more in the end.
How can I ask him without scaring him off?? I know it’s a touchy subject with a lot of guys, and I’m sure there are other girls out there wondering the same thing, so please Meredith, help us out!!
– Confused in Boston
When I emailed Confused in Boston to tell her I was running the letter, she added this:
This weekend while laying around the apt with him, I was talking and he made reference to "other guys" which caught me totally off guard. I think about it now and my reaction might not have been the best, but it was along the lines of "Did you really just say that? There are no 'other guys'...I can't believe you just said that..."
And then she said this (below) about getting him a nice Christmas present. She has something good to give him, but she's worried.
I don't necessarily want to give him something if he does not get me anything...not because I wouldn't be getting anything in return, but more of, he probably doesn't think of me like that if he doesn't get me anything and I'll feel a little stupid in that situation...
A: The whole "What are we?" thing is a touchy subject, for sure, CIB. But if he's invested in this relationship, he’s not going to run in the other direction simply because you ask him how he feels. It has been six months. You’re entitled to the discussion. You’re not entitled to any specific answers – meaning, he’s allowed to say “I have no idea how I feel,” or “I’m taking it day by day.” But if he gives you a vague answer or one you don’t like, you can make decisions accordingly.
Let me say this – your letter leads me to believe that you’re going out of your way to be accommodating because you're afraid of asking for too much. Stop doing that. Wanting a title doesn’t make you a jerk. It doesn’t make you a ball and chain. Wanting some adult discussion because you’re feeling insecure and confused isn't wrong.
He's 29. He has been dating someone for six months. He should be up to this. (And he should probably be thinking about a holiday gift.)
“What are we?” talks stink. I’m with you. But it’s OK to have them. And if he runs because of the talk, he was going to run anyway.
And ... by making the “other guys” comment, he has given you reason to ask, “What did you mean by that?” It was either his way of telling you that he wants to date other people – or his way of figuring out if you want to date other people. Either way, it was passive-aggressive. I think you should help him out by starting the grown-up conversation that you both know you need to have. There’s no trick to it. You just have to take a deep breath and do it.
And let us know how it goes, of course.
Readers? Does the “What are we?” question make people run? Is this a gender issue, as our letter writer suggests? What did he mean by that “other guys” comment? Share.
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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.