Q: Hi Meredith,
A few months ago I got out of a long-term relationship with a guy I cared deeply about, but who ended up not treating me very well. While trying to recover from this breakup, I met a great guy, "Mark." Mark is easy to talk to, sweet, nice, caring, honest, and he treats me wonderfully (and we're all good with physical intimacy). We have fun together doing nothing, and he has been extremely understanding of my need to take things slow. We have been seeing each other for a few months now. Mark is a great catch overall -- definitely husband material.
My problem is that Mark is more sensitive than any other guy I've ever dated. I usually go for the masculine type, but Mark cries at movies, enjoys musical theater, and doesn't mind hanging out with the girls gossiping. While I can definitely see why some of these qualities are sweet, they are a bit of a turn off for me (I know this seems silly but it's the truth -- I am usually the sensitive one in a relationship!).
I am struggling because at times, I can really see myself falling for Mark, and then other times I am turned off by his "sensitivities" and the way he wants to see me all the time (Mark isn't originally from Boston so he doesn't have a lot of friends in the area).
How long is it OK to date someone while you're trying to "figure out" your feelings for them? Mark has made it clear that he REALLY likes me -- but I seem to keep changing my mind about my romantic feelings for him. He is such a wonderful person that I want to really fall for him. I know he would be a wonderful boyfriend. Are these feelings normal? Am I trying too hard to force something?
– Falling for Mr. Sensitive, Boston
A: My advice is to continue dating Mark but to advise him to really focus on building a life for himself in Boston. He can't spend all of his time with you. Even if you stay together, he needs his own activities. My guess is that if you see him with a bunch of guys, or if you have the chance to miss him while he does his own thing, you'll fall a bit harder for Mark. Right now, he's your sensitive sidekick. You don't get to see him in any other context.
You'll have to set boundaries about when it's right to spend time together. And you might have to help him take the first steps to finding his peers. Get him to sign up for a softball league or a class. Encourage him to hang with people from work.
Once he's doing his own thing, you'll be able to figure out how the two of you work together when you're not both revolving around you.
I really think that the sensitivity is less of an issue than "the way he wants to see me all the time." Because lots of super-hot guys cry and dig singing. This is more about needing someone who can surprise you, someone who isn't always by your side after just a few months of dating.
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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.