Q: Meredith, I had to write in after reading "I Wanted to Change Our Facebook Status" because I just had an experience that is strikingly similar.
I met a guy on an online dating site and we dated for 8 weeks. He took me out every weekend, texted me almost every day and, about a month ago, started calling me during the week. He was a gentleman who always opened the car door and helped me on with my coat. He surprised me with chocolates on the 3rd date and took me out for a wonderful Valentine's Day. On date 4, I told him I wanted a long-term relationship and he said the same.
About 6 weeks in, we started to talk about our past relationships. Nothing spectacular, just the usual failed attempts. We were very comfortable with each other. He always told me how excited he was to see me and how he felt a connection between us. That night I asked him if he would consider me his girlfriend. The label didn't matter, but I wanted to know where I stood because we were becoming more intimate and were both still on the online dating site. He said he wasn't ready to be exclusive but that he was moving in that direction. I said I understood, didn't push, and didn't bring it up again.
On our last date, 2 days shy of 8 weeks, he introduced me to his friends and we spent the evening out together. He asked me to stay at his place because it was late, but I said I'd be OK to drive home. That was Sunday morning. He texted on Monday, I thanked him for a wonderful 8 weeks on Tuesday, and he called on Wednesday night. He assured me that he felt the connection, really liked me, and that there was no other girl. His profile was even hidden on the online site. He felt like he had to take a step forward or a step back and he chose the step back because he couldn't be exclusive and didn't know why.
Was 8 weeks in too early to know if we were exclusive? Should I have not asked? Does anyone else feel like this is something you have to ask when online dating is involved because the status of the relationship is not as defined as if he was someone who I had met on the street and had treated me the same way?
– I Also Thought Everything Was Going Smooth, North Dartmouth
A: Your question isn't what killed the relationship, IATEWGS. He just wasn't feeling it. He probably doesn't even know why. That's dating. Please don't blame yourself.
Also know that internet-spawned relationships are no more confusing than the ones that start in a bar or at work. There's always a weird "what are we" phase after a few weeks. Even if we can't go online to see whether someone's dating profile is hidden, we can confuse ourselves with their Facebook pages or read into text messages and body language.
My only advice is to try to enjoy the first few dates without thinking too much about what's next. I know you want a serious commitment and it's great that you're clear about your intentions, but that's a big topic for Date 4. Again, you didn't do anything wrong, but I hope that during the first few weeks of any relationship, you're allowing yourself to have fun, feel giddy, and ponder the next two weeks as opposed to the next two years.
I wish I could tell you why this guy flaked out, but whatever happened, it's on him, not you. Take a few deep breaths, have a few dinners with friends, and go back online.
Readers? Is this her fault? Is online dating more confusing than meeting someone in real life? What happened here? Help.
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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.