Q: Dear Meredith,
Jim and I are going on our third date soon. He is in his early 40s, never married, smart, funny, handsome, and quite fascinating. He is ex-military and also has an artistic side. I am a few years younger and divorced four years ago. I have done a lot of dating in that time, and Love Letters has been a great resource.
Originally Jim and I met online. The first date was a little awkward as we are both introverted. He wrapped up the date with a handshake and didn't walk me to my car, which left me thinking he was not interested. A few days later he followed up to ask about a second date, saying he wasn't good at reading signals. We really connected on the second date and had a blast talking, laughing, and sharing a mutual hobby. Trying to provide clearer signals, I touched him casually on the arm and shoulder a couple times during the evening. He asked to see me again for a third date next weekend, but there was no hug or kiss.
I'm feeling confused, wondering why he hasn't made a move. It is not due to religion. He's very handsome and I imagine he has plenty of dating experience. Typically I leave the ball in the guy's court to initiate dates, texts/calls, and physical connections. I think it's important to let a guy enjoy the chase. It is terrific that Jim is a gentleman, but I'm getting a little impatient.
Is there a way for me to be a bit more assertive and get some clarification on where his head is? I like him a lot. It's been a long time since I've liked someone this much. Honestly, I'd just like to say, "Jim, I like you a lot, and am getting some signals that you like me. Out of curiosity, is there a reason why are you not kissing me?" Is there a softer way to raise the topic?
– Wanting to be kissed, Nevada
A: A softer approach would be a simple request. As in, "Jim, will you kiss me?" That kind of question is much nicer -- and sexier -- than one that accuses him of not taking the next step when he should.
He already told you that he's bad at reading signals (I really like him for saying that, by the way). Instead of touching his arm and giving him meaningful glances, ask for what you want. You're not ruining anything by being honest.
Also consider a date at home. Sometimes it feels awkward to kiss in front of a restaurant or movie theater. If your third or fourth date is a nice dinner in, he can just lean over and have that first kiss without an audience.
Readers? Thoughts about what she should say or why he hasn't made a move? What about the chase? 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.