Q: Hi Meredith,
I met a girl, "Molly," several months ago through one of my best friends.
The attraction was immediate and we decided to go on a date. Things were going swimmingly for 4 or 5 dates until a few phrases slipped from her mouth at dinner. A bit of background before the comments: Molly is from Europe and lived there until high school. She has family and friends over there. She visits frequently and even went to school in a foreign, non-English speaking city.
At dinner she mentioned how she hates to be tied down and always wants to be able to consider packing at any moment and moving on to her next adventure. Molly also mentioned what she called "a European characteristic" of having many guy friends that have no romantic side to the friendship. She mentioned she regularly goes to dinner/drinks solo with guy friends. From my American viewpoint, I know of very few guys who go to dinner and drinks solo with a girl with no ulterior motives.
My ex-girlfriend of 4 years had the same fear of being restricted and the same tendency to be friends with more men than women. I felt very comfortable that after 4 years those issues were behind us until out of the blue, she wanted to end things. After the breakup, she confessed an interest in one of her so-called guy friends.
Both of these issues were brought to the forefront a month ago when Molly went away to Europe for business. She told me how much she was loving being over there and how she missed the culture and people. She also casually mentioned drinks and late nights out with groups of guy friends. I know trust is a huge first step in any relationship but this one is so young that it's still being formed. Is it possible that she just doesn't see how the information that she is sharing could hold me back from getting more involved?
Meredith, should I be concerned about these issues? And if it isn't possible for me to overcome them easily, do I bring them up?
– Nervously Excited With Skepticism (NEWS), Boston
A: Having male friends is OK. Casually mentioning them is OK. It's only a problem if she's lying about them -- or if she's mentioning them to make you jealous. I mean, it's not like she's calling you up and saying, "Don’t worry, honey, but I'm out with handsome Francois and perfect Eduardo and we're all at a nude beach. See you when I get home!" She's just telling you what she's up to, right?
The real question here is whether Molly is capable of falling in love right now -- whether she wants to do more than just date. That's what you're allowed to ask. Is she serious about this? Are you really exclusive? Can she see herself bringing you along on some of these adventures? You've been dating for a few months. You should know whether this is going anywhere or if it's just a string of dinners.
Molly isn't your ex. Don't make assumptions about her based on your last relationship. But do ask the most important question, which is: "Are we falling for each other?"
Readers? Does Molly have potential? Should he talk to her about his concerns? Is the male friend thing weird? Is it European? Do we like Molly? Discuss.
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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.