Q: I'm in a very new relationship. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about two months now. When we met, we were both freshly out of serious, long-term relationships. In his case, an eight-year relationship that included two years of marriage, and for me, a four-year relationship. We met through mutual acquaintances and really hit it off. Before I knew it, we began seeing each other every day, texting when we aren't together, and he is sleeping over almost every night. I really enjoy the time we spend together. We get along on so many levels (intellectually, sexually, same sense of humor, etc.) and never run out of things to talk about. Although I admit that sometimes I do I feel slightly overwhelmed by the non-stop hang-outs.
My real concern doesn't have to do with our compatibility, but rather the timing of when our relationship began. This guy is still only legally separated from his ex-wife. He is pretty far along in the process of having the divorce finalized (hopefully in the next few weeks). I know that I am the first girl he's been with since his ex-wife, and that puts a considerable amount of pressure on me. I worry that he is simply relationship hopping or that he will discover that he is not ready for something serious. To make matters worse, he talks about his ex-wife constantly (which is understandable, I guess, since he's still in contact with her pretty regularly). But I have had to ask him on multiple occasions to keep the two of us separate because it is just too weird for me.
He also tends to over-compliment. While it's nice to hear that he likes me and it can be re-assuring, it can be a bit much. Every conversation we have, he makes sure to compliment my appearance (primarily) or my intellect at least two or three times. It makes me feel like he is trying to convince himself that he wants to be with me rather than coming off as genuine. I've also brought this up with him, but he insists that his feelings are legitimate and that he simply "can't believe he's dating a woman like me."
I guess my question is -- is this normal? Will he relax with time and just grow to enjoy the time with me instead of harping on his ex-wife or over-compensating with compliments? Would it be best to spend less time together? Or is this all in my head? Maybe I'm the one with the relationship complex.
– Real or Relationship Hopping?, Boston
A: It's too soon to know what's going on here. You have to wait it out and see what this looks like in another few weeks/months. The ex-wife harping should get better when the divorce is final. And in another month or so, you'll know whether you feel better about him or simply crowded by the relationship.
The over-complimenting is probably genuine. You're in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, and he is clearly smitten. That said, the timing on this one does, in fact, stink. Both of you could have used some time alone. And he should be bringing his divorce issues to friends and professionals, not to you.
I do recommend that you set some boundaries when it comes to spending time together. You don't have to go out of your way to see him less; you just have to make sure that you're seeing other people more. You should be spending quality time with friends and family, and putting some effort into relationships that you might have neglected over the last four years. If you're focusing on yourself and friends, there will be less time for this new guy -- and perhaps that will give him some space to tend to his own needs.
There's no need to cut him off, just seek out balance. Once you have it, you'll do a better job figuring out whether this romantic relationship has long-term potential.
Readers? Is this all too much? Should she be seeing him less? What about the ex-wife talk? Can she ignore the bad timing? And what about the compliments? 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.