Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Ask Him to Be Exclusive?”

I just spent a year serial dating online and met many nice guys. Only a few duds. I’ve had pretty good luck on the site, and have been seeing the same guy for four months.

He’s in his late 30s, has a child, and has a cordial relationship with the child’s mother as they share custody. Despite being a father, he has never had a long term relationship.

In short, he’s a real adult with a good career and we’re both a catch. I want to keep seeing him. I don’t think he’s going anywhere, but I’d like a little more definition.

I’m having trouble mustering up the nerve to ask him the status of our relationship, mostly because I’m afraid of rejection (due to past experience), his lack of relationship experience and because we met online. We both have active profiles that each list us as “single.” Not sure how to move this forward without scaring him off.

What’s the best way to approach this? At the very least, I want to know if he wants to continue seeing me. Ideally, I’d like to move to an exclusive relationship. โ€” Online Dater Ready for Commitment


 
I’d say that, in general, four months of regular dating for two 30-somethings is enough time to initiate a conversation about the status of your relationship without fearing that you’re moving too fast. I mean, it’s not like you want to ask the guy to marry you (right??); you just want to let him know you’re interested in being exclusive and you hope he’s moving in that direction too.

One way to do that is to let him know you’re removing or hiding your profile on the dating site where you both met. You don’t even have to ask if he’s doing the same if you aren’t ready to take that step yet. Simply tell him, “Oh, by the way, I hid my profile the other day.” Period. You could tag it at the end of an email so he doesn’t have the pressure of giving you a response. Then, you could check back in a week or two and see if he’s hidden his profile yet. If he has, you have your answer about where you stand with him. If he hasn’t, then you could move to a more assertive route and flat-out ask him if he envisions your relationship becoming exclusive in the near future.

By taking the more assertive route, you do run the risk of being rejected or getting an answer you don’t want. But after four months of regular dating, do you really want to keep seeing a guy who doesn’t envision a real relationship with you eventually? Wouldn’t you rather know that NOW than, say, three more months down the line after you’ve grown even more attached?

There’s another card you can play that is only available to you this time of year: New Year’s Eve. Ask him if he’s given any thought to NYE yet and see what he says. If you both plan to be in the same city for NYE and he doesn’t express interest in spending the evening with you, then you’ve got your answer as to where you stand with him. It’s an occasion that is MADE for romance. It’s way more important than Valentine’s Day, which is really pretty corny. NYE is all about the future, you know? Kissing someone at midnight whom you’ve been dating a few months is like validation that you see him or her being a part of your year ahead.

If this guy doesn’t want to spend NYE with you, well, then you’ll have your answer as to where you stand with him. Maybe you’re OK with that answer and you’d be willing to give it another couple of months to see where things go. Or maybe you’ll be like, “F this. I’m a catch and I need a guy who wants to lock this down after four months.” Either reaction would be reasonable at this point. You just have to decide how long you’re willing to wait for the commitment you want and move on if you don’t get it โ€” and the sooner, the better if you want to avoid heartache. And if he isn’t interested in kissing you at midnight on NYE, maybe you should go out and find someone who is.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

93 comments… add one
  • katie

    katie December 10, 2012, 9:06 am

    well, i disagree with wendy only in the way that i think you just go assertive first off. dont play games with him. grow some lady balls, accept that you might get rejected, and put yourself out there. then make plans for new years.

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    • avatar

      emjay December 10, 2012, 9:15 am

      ITA! And I LOVE the lady balls comment. Yea I don’t like the run-around approach. I would just rather flat out ask him if he has considered becoming exclusive with you. I know that there is a chance of rejection, but wouldn’t you rather found out sooner than later? Plus it is always good to be one the same page with your relationship, or lack there of.

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      • avatar

        Eve Harrison December 10, 2012, 10:36 am

        I agree except for the part about lady balls. LW, your lady balls already exist; they’re called ovaries.
        So use them and ask already! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • avatar

        malorla December 11, 2012, 2:50 am

        I agree Eve!

        Girl needs to put those ovaries to good use and woman up! The worst that could happen, is that this guy you’re seeing isn’t as into you, as you are to him. He could still get there. You need to decide if you can wait while he does. Assuming he wants you to.

        I know it’s hard, but thinking about it differently will help you to learn not to take it so personally. You’re looking for your Mr Right. When you think about it, finding a Mr Right, for whom you are his Miss Right at the right time is nothing short of magical! You’re already doing everything you can to be open to meeting him.

        Best of luck! Let us all know how you get on.

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce December 10, 2012, 12:17 pm

      I agree with you about just asking. I generally agree with Wendy, but this time the whole “add it to the end of an email” is way too passive for a grown-up. Grown women should have gotten past these kinds of games a long time ago.

      And LW wants to “ask him the status” of their relationship? I’m trying to find a way to say this in a non-harsh way, but how about deciding exactly what you want and telling him that and see if he agrees, rather than asking if it’s okay like he’s a parent and not an equal. LW, you have equal say in this relationship! Own your feelings!

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce December 10, 2012, 12:51 pm

      I just posted here and now my comment is gone. Did it get deleted? If so, why? I don’t understand what happened.

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce December 10, 2012, 12:52 pm

        And now it’s back. I think my computer is on crack. Maybe it should write to DW for some help.

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  • avatar

    Desiree December 10, 2012, 9:09 am

    I am not a big fan of the “tell him you’ve hidden your profile” approach, just because it seems like two 30-somethings who have been dating for 4 months should be able to have a straightforward relationship status conversation without too much drama. If she really wants answers about their relationship, she should tell him what she is thinking and ask if he feels the same. Although the sneaky NYE approach could actually work…

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    • avatar

      emjay December 10, 2012, 9:18 am

      I also liked the NYE approach, but it is not 100% fool proof. He just might enjoy her company and thinks that she would make a good date for NYE, but might not want a committed relationship with anybody.

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    • avatar

      ktfran December 10, 2012, 9:33 am

      I also not a fan of the “hide your profile” approach. I mean, even if she tells him she’s no longer on it, that might not prompt him to change his. He could easily be an absent minded guy, not even look at it on a daily basis and just not think about it. Does that mean he’s not into her? Not necessarily. It could just mean he has other things on his mind. I wouldn’t take too much stalk in still having an on-line profile until you actually talk about it, i.e., I want to be exclusive so we should probably not be on the dating site anymore.

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      • avatar

        ktfran December 10, 2012, 9:34 am

        Wow, I am also, not I also.

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      • avatar

        MissDre December 10, 2012, 11:36 am

        Yeah, my brother and his wife have been together for like, 5 or 6 years, married for 2 years and his profile is still up there. He basically just never logged in to the site again after he met her and never bothered to hide his profile or make it inactive. It was actually sort of funny because his wife and I found his profile online before their wedding and we were laughing at all the stupid shit he wrote in it. So yeah, some guys are just absent minded like that.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass December 10, 2012, 5:23 pm

        Are you my sister in law? No really, my husband and I just deleted his plenty of fish account the other day because I was sick of deleting the update emails. Yes, I delete his junk mail for him, he’s not very tech-y. It never once bothered me that he still had an account up, I thought it was funny!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle December 10, 2012, 9:20 am

    Yeah, I’d prefer a straightforward approach as well. Just because, in general, I think it’s risky & potentially cause for later confusion to wait for certain actions and then assume—based on those actions—what the person’s “answer” is. Better to just ask!

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    • katie

      katie December 10, 2012, 9:22 am

      haha.. my mom always says if you assume something, you make an ASS out of U and ME. right, get it, like ass-u-me is assume? lol

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      • avatar

        Rachel December 10, 2012, 10:43 am

        Haha, I had a high school teacher that said that.

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  • avatar

    Sheryl December 10, 2012, 9:22 am

    I think the letter writer should be more direct. The questions Wendy suggests MIGHT give you insight, but they could also be completely missed by a man who has a lot going on.

    The casually referencing of the profile could be something a clueless man would just completely not get. And maybe he really isn’t thinking about his profile, and wouldn’t automatically be thinking “Hey, i should take this down” even if he was content in a relationship. (unless of course, someone specifically pointed this out to him, and THEN he didn’t take it down, that’s not cool)

    Also, i don’t agree that everyone sees NYE the same way as Wendy described, especially guys. Plus, he might have to watch his kid, so who really knows what his answers will be.

    Conclusion: just be direct, and don’t look at reactions to things that are not direct, otherwise you risk overanalyzing something that could be misinterpreted. I’d much prefer a “Hey, I really like you. i’m not currently seeing other people. I wanted to know if you were moving in that same direction” doesnt have to be a ‘deal breaker’ right now, but you should have a time limit in your head when he does need to give you an exclusivity commitment.

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    • avatar

      5oclock charley December 10, 2012, 11:02 am

      Yeah, even with the LW’s letter and Wendy’s response, it still took me a minute to figure out the profile hiding thing. But then I’ve never done any online dating. There is a certain type of guy who is not real good at obvious or subtle clues from women. We make up a pretty large portion of the male population.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl December 10, 2012, 9:34 am

    I don’t like the suggestion of of being all passive agressive and saying you “hid your profile” and see if he does the same thing. Just flat out ask him if he is seeing anyone else. “Hi honey, how was your week? Oh, btw are you seeing anyone else? I’d really like to take our relationship to the exclusive level.”

    4 months is way long enough to have a serious conversation like this. If he gets “scared off” by a conversation about exclusivity then he is not ready for a relationship.

    Also I love New Years Eve. Like a lot. It might be my favorite holiday of the year.

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  • avatar

    MJ December 10, 2012, 9:38 am

    This is going to sound bitchy, but …dude’s in his late 30s, with a kid, and has never had a long-term relationship? I’m not sure he’s going to want one with you either.

    The only thing you can do in this case is put it out there plain and simple: “Do you want to make this exclusive?” If he says anything other than, “yes, I was thinking the same thing,” it’s probably time to MOA.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo December 10, 2012, 10:18 am

      I was thinking the same thing. Late 30’s and never been in a LTR before? This could well be a guy who doesn’t want to be. It’s only marginally better than a series of failed relationships. Not everybody is Steve Carell in the 40 Year Old Virgin just waiting for his soul mate.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy December 10, 2012, 10:34 am

        I don’t necessarily agree with this. Drew was 36 when I met him and had never had a LTR either. He’d had lots and lots of dates and some casual relationships, but the way he tells it is he wasn’t interested in being serious with anyone until he met me. And seeing as we’ve been happily together for 6 1/2 years now (married for 3 1/2), I can say that his lack of serious relationship experience before me wasn’t an indication of his interest or ability in having a longterm relationship. Some people really are waiting for the right person, even if it takes a long time. Some people would rather be single than in a relationship that isn’t completely what they want, how refreshing!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson December 10, 2012, 10:39 am

        “Some people would rather be single than in a relationship that isnโ€™t completely what they want, how refreshing!”

        YES!! Isn’t this is what DW is all about? Finding out if a relationship is right for you and if it’s not MOA?

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      • Diablo

        Diablo December 10, 2012, 10:46 am

        Maybe it will work out if the LW is as awesome as you, Wendy!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy December 10, 2012, 10:50 am

        Aww.
        Well, full disclosure: I know this particular LW in real life and she is awesome.

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      • Brown-eyed NoVA Girl

        Brown-eyed NoVA Girl December 10, 2012, 4:51 pm

        Is it Addie Pray?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray December 10, 2012, 8:15 pm

        Ha, just saw this, no. I am in a new relationship, and we are in our 30s, and we BOTH a kind of “relationship idiots” (that’s what we’ve been calling ourselves, because none of us has had a serious relationship – at least in a long ass time). But we were exclusive on date 1 it seems! BUT… we don’t have NYE plans yet, and all of a sudden I’m feeling a little high-strung about that!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray December 10, 2012, 8:17 pm

        (Not that LW and her BF are “relationship idiots” but eh, you get it. And by now this comment is so late that surely I didn’t offend anyone, ’cause no one is still reading.)

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      • Lady_Red

        Red_Lady December 10, 2012, 10:10 pm

        I’m kind of offended that you think no one is reading this! ๐Ÿ˜‰
        I’m almost always late to the party on the posts here, but I still try to read most of them

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      • avatar

        bethany December 10, 2012, 11:25 am

        I agree. Both my brother and sister in law had never been in a real relationship until they met. They were a few years younger than the LW, but still.

        Also, this man might be a “clooney” type, and just not want to get serious with a girl, EVER. that’s ok, if that’s what he wants, but the LW needs to ask him to know for sure.

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      • avatar

        ktfran December 10, 2012, 11:30 am

        Preach Wendy!

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      • avatar

        Desiree December 10, 2012, 11:50 am

        I definitely see your point. When my fiance and I met, the longest relationship prior to me was with his high school girlfriend. He had dated casually a lot in college/grad school, but he was very much interested in finding the right person before he settled into a LTR. I kinda wish I had done it his way sometimes. I was definitely a typical serial monogamist, and there are some things about that I regret.

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      • TheLadyE

        Elisse December 10, 2012, 7:51 pm

        I am like this – I’m 30 and have only had 2 real relationships. I’ve been on lots of dates and have some really close male friendships, but I’ve only REALLY clicked with 2 that I’ve met so far enough to be in a relationship. I really am waiting for the Right Person. ๐Ÿ™‚

        (Thought I found him last year, too…still pretty sure I did, he was Real Relationship #2…but that’s another story!)

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray December 10, 2012, 8:20 pm

        Oh this makes me feel better. Because I’m the “Drew” in my relationship, and my boyfriend is the Wendy. Like, he likes to talk through things and he initiates communication and good communication is really important to him and all the noise, blah blah blah. Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚

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        Addie Pray December 10, 2012, 8:23 pm

        What, not that Drew isn’t those things (I have no idea)… I meant… my mind sort of leapt to my boyfriend is like Wendy and has had more relationships, albeit not one in awhile, but he’s much better at it. Oh forget, I don’t know what I’m saying. What I’m saying is this is my first real REAL relationship, and I just turned 34. And I can’t tell you how often my family members asked what’s wrong with me, why I don’t have a boyfriend, etc. and I really think I just never met anyone I really wanted to be with. OK, i’m going to bed. I still got the flu, a bit. Toodles.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray December 10, 2012, 8:24 pm

        *Wait, not “What”. Ok, I don’t comment all day and then BAM a string of comments that make no sense. I really need to take a break. Ok, I’m ON A BREAK! nite, nite.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray December 10, 2012, 8:28 pm

        Sorry, just one more comment, but that’s just to dominate the side bar. Ok, my job here is done. *Now* nite nite, pookies. And remember, I would do anything for love, I’d run right into hell and back! … something something… but I won’t do that….

        Q: what was “that”?

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      • avatar

        csp December 10, 2012, 4:45 pm

        Right, I would proceed with Caution. However, I think there is ALOT to be said for late bloomers. My husband was a late bloomer. He didn’t really have a girlfriend to speak of before me. The thing about those guys is that they were the ones home at night dreaming about how they would treat thier girlfriends better if they were with them. The ones who spent high school wishing for a girlfriend are the ones who are romantic.

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    • avatar

      Desiree December 10, 2012, 10:29 am

      I thought about this, too. Seems pretty unlikely. Then again, maybe being a father has been his focus more than dating? Still, NO long-term relationship prior to this seems odd.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser December 10, 2012, 9:47 am

    I’ve notice that DW readers are gung ho about being completely open in relationships–communication to the point of hitting the other person over the head with how you’re feeling and what your expectations are. I wonder– does anyone go for just a touch of mystery? That little dance that keeps ’em guessing? Is that no longer part of romance? Yes, after 4 months, I’d want to know the status of a relationship. But I liked Wendy’s response. I don’t think I’d corner him.

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    • avatar

      ktfran December 10, 2012, 9:58 am

      I don’t think she should corner him, but I don’t think she should play mind games either. That is not good on her own psyche. That is the reason I don’t like the “hide your profile” approach. That’s saying to herself “he hides his profile, he likes me. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t like me.” Which might not be the case at all. Maybe he has a lot on his mind. Maybe he didn’t get her hint. Maybe he hasn’t been on his profile in four months so he doesn’t even think about it anymore.

      Remember the game with the rose petals? He loves me, he loves me not? I feel it’s kind of the same thing.

      However, I do get what you’re saying. I’m personally a fan of letting things progress naturally and not having a huge “come to jesus” moment.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. December 10, 2012, 10:21 am

        A sense of mystery can be intriguing. A guy friend of mine pointed out that if he has to wonder a little bit, he likes it. He doesn’t like to have things served up on a platter all naked and uncovered. (Take that any way you wish.) It takes the fun out of it. Mind games are not cool, but I don’t think they’re the same thing. A little wonder can go a long way.

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    • katie

      katie December 10, 2012, 10:10 am

      i dont think that mysteries are a good thing in relationships, so that is why i go with open communication.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl December 10, 2012, 11:02 am

      Mystery about say what sexy undies I might wear to bed, a date night, Christmas presents, surprise flowers on a Tuesday? YES.

      Mystery about the relationship status and exclusivity? Hell no.

      Beating around the bush on this subject will most likely result in a miscommunication, mis-matched expectations and one or both of them getting hurt. Exclusivity and the status of a relationship is something that, in my opinion, needs to be clearly defined and both parties need to be on the same page.

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    • avatar

      Christy December 10, 2012, 11:57 am

      OMG I am exactly as you describe: my gf knows almost exactly how I’m feeling at all times. And that really helps our relationship. I can’t handle my emotions if I’m relying on her to guess how I feel. We had a long enough mystery-filled courtship–we’d never have dated without an exact conversation about it. I definitely cornered her, but I knew what her answer was going to be.

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  • KKZ

    KKZ December 10, 2012, 9:48 am

    In all fairness, this LW does seem to know that direct communication is the best route, but is “having trouble mustering up the nerve.” So playing the soft card first, the hidden profile, is a baby step towards the direct communication they ought to have.

    I can personally relate to pre-communicative anxiety (which I just made up). It’s happened to me many times, when I knew the answer to a problem was “COMMUNICATE” yet found myself too anxious and scared to make the first move to start the conversation. You’ve heard of diarrhea of the mouth? This is like constipation of the mouth. Trying harder to make the words come out just makes things worse.

    So yes, a direct & open conversation would probably be the fastest and “easiest” way to a resolution on this topic, but “easy” is relative. I see nothing wrong with her trying something less scary/anxiety-inducing, like mentioning she hid her profile, as a warm-up for the big talk they’ll still need to have.

    Just don’t put too much stock into the reaction you get from the profile-hiding. It’s a baby step you take for you, for your own benefit, so you’re able to move forward, NOT the deciding factor of the future of your relationship.

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    • katie

      katie December 10, 2012, 9:55 am

      see, though, the thing is is that with the “oh btw i hid my profile” approach, she is then going to be over analyzing everything he does on his profile, probably start cyber-stalking him, wondering/hoping/guessing/obsessing over when he is going to hide his too. to me, that is much, much more anxiety inducing! it sounds exhausting, actually. so the actual action wont lead to anxiety, but the aftermath is almost guaranteed to lead to anxiety!

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      • KKZ

        KKZ December 10, 2012, 9:58 am

        Hence my fourth paragraph warning her to not do exactly that – to not put too much stock in his reaction (and any follow-up actions).

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle December 10, 2012, 10:01 am

        This is what I was thinking, also– I was just imagining a future letter where she’s bugging out about him not having hid his profile yet, even though she made it a point to hide hers.

        The NYE thing is more concrete, but it does depend on what kind of guy he is (does he put emotional stock into holidays like that? & actually, does the LW?)

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    • theattack

      theattack December 10, 2012, 10:25 am

      I really like the idea of using the profile thing as a way to lead into a conversation about it. It’s a softer way of starting the conversation, but she shouldn’t just drop it at that. She should say “Hey, things seem to be going really well with us, and I was thinking it might be time to delete my dating profile. I’m not interested in dating anyone else. What do you think about taking that step?” (or something less cheesy)

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      • KKZ

        KKZ December 10, 2012, 10:34 am

        Yes! I really like that way of framing it. For me, that would be less nerve-wracking than trying to dive right into the exclusivity talk.

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      • avatar

        ktfran December 10, 2012, 11:33 am

        Agreed. You can use that to start a conversation, but not make it a hint and then analyze his every move.

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  • avatar

    clover December 10, 2012, 10:16 am

    I’m not an expert, but I think that if you do the subtle hide-the-profile thing you’re setting yourself up for disappointment when HE proves not to be a mind reader (people don’t know what you want when you don’t ask them for it) and you (/your friends/the DW readers if you write back in) prove not to be a master of divination, as you search desperately for hints and signs in things: “I did this but he didn’t do that but he did do this, what does it MEEEEAN?” Nobody knows what it means; ask him. It drives me nuts when I catch myself thinking like that, looking for signs, and believe me, I do it too so I understand. I have to remind myself: quit trying to communicate via tea leaves and smoke signals and an elaborate system of emotional semaphore, and use your words. That’s the only way to know.

    Of course, if you don’t REALLY want to know, if you’re worried you won’t like the answer so you don’t want to hear it, or if you actually deep down just want to continue having something to agonize over and constantly lobby your friends for opinions on, then tea leaves and smoke signals will seem like a better option. I’ve been guilty of that as well, and often, so I know how that goes.

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  • avatar

    Leah December 10, 2012, 10:39 am

    I don’t know. I’m more for the direct approach! The thing about uncomfortable conversation is that they’re usually uncomfortable because they’re important and a lot is at stake. Those are exactly the wrong conversations to avoid or beat around the bush about!

    When I have to bring up something uncomfortable I usually start by acknowledging that fact. Like, “I hate having conversations like this, but…” “it might seem early to bring this up, but…” or “I really want to talk to you about something but I don’t want to freak you out, so here goes!” Frankly, getting the words out is a lot more important than how they sound. I’ve had tons of important conversations with my now-fiance, then-boyfriend where I practiced and practiced in my head the perfect, reasonable, well thought-out things to say and then when the time came blurted out something really blunt or tactless. But, the important thing is that I brought up what I was thinking about! I’d just apologize for putting things that bluntly and we’d have an open conversation about whatever it was that we needed to discuss.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser December 10, 2012, 10:41 am

    I have another question. If a guy is really interested after 4 months, wouldn’t he let her know he wants to be exclusive so he doesn’t have to share her? Wouldn’t he be jealous picturing her out with other men?

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    • avatar

      Caris December 10, 2012, 11:45 am

      maybe he is also wondering how to let her know he wants exclusivity ? no idea

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    • theattack

      theattack December 10, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Not necessarily… Several of my girl friends have had difficulties with guys just assuming they were exclusive after a while and never actually initiating a conversation about it.

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    • avatar

      Sheryl December 10, 2012, 12:26 pm

      I think that is why the LW DOES need to talk about it. The man hasn’t done that, so why can’t she clarify?

      From your comment above, what you ask then isn’t happening “naturally” either. In this scenario, you just expect the man to make the initiative for the first communication on this. Wouldn’t acting jealous be a bit of cornering on his part? Since he hasn’t done this, many people are saying that she should should just initiate to get a clear response from him. She doesn’t have to be rude about it, but i see nothing wrong with just asking.

      Maybe he does assume they are exclusive already. If he has never been in a serious relationship before, he might not know how these things work. This is why she needs to step up.

      Sorry, it just seems like this is a contradiction to your post above; only it’s the man who is doing the clarification, not the woman; the woman just needs to go with the flow and wait for the man to clarify. It irked me.

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    • avatar

      Robin December 10, 2012, 2:54 pm

      I agree with this. I think if you haven’t had an exclusivity talk after four months, he’s probably not that into you, to use a cliche.

      I’m the same age as the LW and just started dating someone new; we had an exclusivity talk after four dates (because I was feeling guilty about going on other dates when he was clearly into me). It is really refreshing to be with someone where I don’t have to play I-don’t-like-you-that-much games, where I don’t have to worry that he likes me back. I think if you’re with someone who is really into you, you would know it, and wouldn’t be worried about scaring him off because you essentially told him that you liked him too.

      It’s one thing if this was two weeks in, but after four months, I feel like if you’re having these worries, he’s probably not the right guy for you.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones December 10, 2012, 10:51 am

    Good answer, though I disagree with the NYE thing. Maybe he is the type that doesn’t stay out late anymore with a child and all (like me) and NYE is a real non-event and an excuse to stay home and avoid all of the crazy drunks and drunk drivers… though I suppose you guys could have a nice quiet home evening on NYE together… and be in bed by 10PM (together) like I plan on being.

    I guess NYE is a bigger deal when you are younger…

    But otherwise I like Wendy’s advice. Also, is he inviting you to his holiday parties? Are you getting each other nice gifts for Christmas/Hanukkah? That to me is a bigger indication.

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  • Classic

    Classic December 10, 2012, 11:06 am

    OK I can see I am so pathetically simple. I don’t like mystery, either; it causes me stress. I would send one short email like this:
    Hi [Greatguy]!
    I’ve been thinking. I really like you a lot. I would like to be exclusive with you. Do you want to be exclusive with me?
    Love,
    [Me]
    Then I would wait for the answer. After I read the answer, I would know whether to write back “Yay!”, or ask another question, or (worst case) say “Bye.”

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  • avatar

    ebstarr December 10, 2012, 11:43 am

    My favorite tactic: I changed my mind after telling a guy I didn’t want to be exclusive (I knew he was interested). STILL didn’t have the nerve to just say I’d changed my mind. So I drank a gallon of Bailey’s and asked him to be exclusive (he said “Let’s maybe talk about this when you’re sober”), then cried and threw up all over everything. Amazingly, he still said yes the next day — what a sweetheart.

    Oh, college.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr December 10, 2012, 11:45 am

      Oh – my point. Right. That’s the only time I’ve initiated the “exclusive” conversation that I can remember, and I still think it’s a bit more romantic than the passive aggressive route? Even with the vom. But if you’re having trouble getting up the nerve, maybe it’s best to do it a little less dramatically. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • avatar

    Caris December 10, 2012, 11:43 am

    Just tell him, ” Look I like you and I was thinking about making our rs exclusive. I was wondering if you wanted that too. ” (or something like that)

    If he says no thanks, you say ok it was nice dating you, bye! If he says yes, well then awesome ๐Ÿ˜€

    The longer you wait the more difficult it will get, plus if it ends up with you two going separate ways, you’ve only been with him 4 months and shouldn’t be too difficult to move on from the rejection.

    Good luck!

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  • avatar

    Ricky December 10, 2012, 12:17 pm

    If flat out asking is intimidating for you then there is another way to know by simply expressing how you feel. Tell him that how awesome he is and how you think there is something down the road that can happen between the two of you. You don’t have to ask him what’s our relationship status. Once you express it to him then wait for what he says and that should pretty much tell you where you guys stand.

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  • Jess

    Jess December 10, 2012, 12:42 pm

    Maybe not worth much but in my online dating experience, the guys who didn’t take their profiles down without a conversation first (even if they claimed to not have logged in, noticed, thought about it, etc) tended to be the ones whose commitment was lukewarm. Maybe they had trouble deciding on one person. Maybe they weren’t totally sure about me. But in any case, those always ended up being the guys that dragged their feet with me or faded out.

    On the other hand, the guys that were really into me tended to pull their profiles way before I thought about it. And they made sure I knew that they’d done so –with an expectation for me to follow suit.

    My current LT boyfriend and I didn’t meet online but that is how we reconnected and started dating. I didn’t even think to check the site until we’d been out maybe 5-6 times. At that point, his profile was already down! So I did the same and here we are today.

    For another point of view, my boyfriend says that he feels that the need to be exclusive (and take one’s profile down) coincides with when you begin sleeping with someone. Unfortunately, I know full well that not all men follow that rule.

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    • avatar

      Desiree December 10, 2012, 12:47 pm

      I rather agree with you on the men initiating the pulling of the profile (although I think there are a number of legitimate reasons this might not happen). My fiance pulled his profile the day after I asked him out for the first time. I think he had insider information from a mutual friend that I was really into him, though.

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    • avatar

      MJ December 10, 2012, 1:45 pm

      After a few weeks my BF deactivated his profile, too. He didn’t say anything, but I noticed when I went in to clean out my inbox (and yeah, I was delighted and deactivated mine, too). He has been committed ever since.

      Reply Link
  • Lyra

    L December 10, 2012, 1:19 pm

    Why oh why is it so hard for women to just come out and ask something like this??? This drives me CRAZY. “I’ve had a crush on him for the past 3 months, should I ask him out?” “I want to know if this relationship is going somewhere, should I talk to him about it?” The answer is most often yes. Men don’t take subtle cues well because that’s not how they operate. If you want to know if he wants to be exclusive with you, just ask him.

    Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark December 10, 2012, 1:49 pm

    Eh, I’d just be direct. The New Year’s Eve angle is interesting — but I simply don’t think it’s THAT big of deal to most guys. I know it has never been so to me. Frankly, I think it’s FAR cornier than Valentine’s Day. Oh, oh, oh! Whomever shall I kiss at midnight? Bah… who the fuck cares? It’s just another pumped up night geared to make anybody single feel a year older, more depressed, and more alone.

    Look, LW. You want to know the status of your relationship? Just ask him. If you don’t have the balls to do this, well, then hell… You’re not READY for an exclusive relationship to begin with. And yes, I sincerely mean that.

    Young women today seem far weaker and meeker than their 1980s counterparts and that’s fucking sad. Frankly, I blame the rise of Rhianna whose sole moral lesson to the world seems to be that some chicks just can’t get themselves beat up enough. Oh, and that it’s always cool to reconcile with your abuser so long as you can both put out some slamming remix. WTF?

    Back in the 1989, things were much clearer.

    woo! c’mon, girls!
    you believe in love?
    cuz I got something to type about it
    and it goes something like this

    don’t go for second best, baby
    put your love to the test
    you know, you know,
    you’ve got to
    make him express how he feels
    and, baby,
    then you’ll know your love is real

    Reply Link
    • Jess

      Jess December 10, 2012, 2:53 pm

      Love that you pulled Madonna into this!

      Reply Link
      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 10, 2012, 3:47 pm

        ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      lets_be_honest December 10, 2012, 3:51 pm

      LW, I implore you to run right to the edge with him.

      It’s hard to feel the rush
      To push the dangerous
      I’m gonna run right to, to the edge with you
      Where we can both fall over in love

      I’m on the edge of glory
      And I’m hanging on a moment of truth
      Out on the edge of glory
      And I’m hanging on a moment with you
      I’m on the edge

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest December 10, 2012, 4:26 pm

        Oh come on mark, I go through the trouble of googling lyrics to a Lady Gaga song just to nudge you and you don’t even notice?

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 10, 2012, 10:11 pm

        Sorry, I was simply too afraid it was Rhianna to reply…. If that is indeed Gaga, I’ve probably seen her sing it live, I suspect, and yet I STILL have ZERO memory of it. Such is the tragedy of a Gaga concert. It was sloppier than the very first REHEARSAL of a Madonna show…

        I kid you not.

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    • avatar

      Sue Jones December 10, 2012, 4:03 pm

      Woot! I love Madonna! I just don’t get the whole Lady GaGa or Kate Perry thing… but I guess each generation needs their own… We also had the Grateful Dead… but then came Phish, etc….

      Reply Link
      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 10, 2012, 4:13 pm

        Actually, I don’t dislike Katy Perry at all. She has that same Madonna spunk, but doesn’t so shamelessly and relentlessly crib from the Icon. Also, her music is both catchy and has a similar upbeat, you can do anything message that Madonna drove home in spades way back when. It’s actually much more “Madonna” than Gaga’s work and yet isn’t such a fucking rip off.

        For instance? FIREWORKS is a shockingly well done video. And Madonna would absolutely approve all all the fireworks exploding from Katy Perry’s bra/chest… She’s also approve the nice little gay is okay vignette as well. Actually all the messages in this video are great… It’s the first GREAT pop music video in a long, long time…

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 10, 2012, 4:15 pm

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGJuMBdaqIw

        Forgot the link. Katy Perry’s FIREWORKS video.

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  • avatar

    csp December 10, 2012, 2:47 pm

    I remember when I was dating my husband, I asked him, “Are you seeing anyone else.” and he said no. SO then I said, “Wanna keep it that way?” and he said sure. That was the whole conversation. Really simple.

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    • Jess

      Jess December 10, 2012, 2:54 pm

      Before online dating came along, the odds that someone you were dating was ALSO dating someone else –were small. This is one of the downsides, in my opinion, to the dating world being out now on the open internet market.

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      • avatar

        csp December 10, 2012, 4:35 pm

        do you think so? I just feel like that could get overwhelming when you have been seeing someone promising for months. I figured that those others would fall by the wayside. no?

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  • avatar

    *HmC* December 10, 2012, 4:42 pm

    It’s bugging me that some people are labeling Wendy’s suggestions as “passive aggressive.” Taking down your online profile or asking about NYE plans aren’t passive aggressive, they’re just passive. Where’s the aggression there exactly? She’s not trying to be mean in any way, just trying to figure out what the guy is thinking. Semantics issue, I know, but I had to get that off my chest!

    That said, I personally would only feel comfortable with a passive approach if I was just beginning to date someone. At 4 months in, if asking him for exclusivity scares him away, then I say good riddance. The up front approach would appeal to me at 4 months in because if exclusivity scares you at that point then I’d want it to end sooner rather than later.

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    • Brown-eyed NoVA Girl

      Brown-eyed NoVA Girl December 10, 2012, 5:08 pm

      W*HmC*S. I’m more of a ‘throw them to the wolves’-kind of girl too

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed December 10, 2012, 5:13 pm

      I could see it being passive aggressive if she breaks up with him because he didn’t read her mind and didn’t respond in the way she thought so instead of being upfront, he doesn’t get a fair chance because he didn’t know it was a test

      Reply Link
      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark December 10, 2012, 5:16 pm

        EXACTLY. The aggressive part comes into play be EXPECTING him to magically do the same and they getting all bent out of shape when he FAILS to do so….

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser December 10, 2012, 5:10 pm

    Sheryl, yes my posts were somewhat contradictory. Guess it’s not all black and white. Of course the woman can initiate the conversation! And I hadn’t thought about the man not knowing how to or assuming they’re exclusive. I’m just asking questions. When I was dating, I usually had a strong sense of whether a guy was really interested by how often he wanted to see me, how he treated me and his overall energy around me. By 4 months, there wasn’t much of a question where it was going. But these guys were younger and typically marriage-minded. And there was no internet. It must be tough having a relationship on line and knowing everyone has access to so many other women/ men on line.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie December 10, 2012, 7:46 pm

    HOO boy, this letter is a leg of dynamite and I respectfully disagree with Wendy on all counts. For openers 4 months of dating is many things but most certainly not a relationship nor is it enough time to realistically evaluate the merits of one.

    Demanding (read asking) “Where are we and where are we going” at this time is begging, pure and simple. If you want any sort of commitment let him do what ever he wants. If you feel very brave tell him you don’t want to see anybody else but DO NOT expect him to reciprocate. If anything tell it’s OK for him to see other women. With a kid, ex-wife, girl friend (that’s you) and career he doesn’t have time to explore. The best way to endear yourself to him is to support his choices. If he supports yours, that’s love which leads to commitment if you have common values and goals. My very best girl friend told me it was OK to have other lovers, just to let her know so that she didn’t come crashing in at the very worst time. If she’d lived we’d still be together. ๐Ÿ™

    Hiding your profile is a good idea if your needs are being attended. I’m assuming you get offers and the time it takes to fend them off is better spent supporting him. I sort of fell for my wife when she did my laundry while took a nap (I only had a couple of hours sleep the night before).

    Love is measured in giving, not getting…except orgasms. (leering grin)

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    • avatar

      ebstarr December 10, 2012, 10:34 pm

      What if she does his laundry every week? Would that make it easier for him to evaluate after only 4 months of dating, do you think?

      Reply Link
      • fast eddie

        fast eddie December 11, 2012, 8:48 am

        Great idea eb, I bet it would set him to thinking about long term.

        By the way the relationship with the GF that offered me freedom to roam at the 7-8 month mark, and I didn’t, continued until she died from pneumonia a month later. It was among the best 9 months of my life.

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        ebstarr December 11, 2012, 10:22 am

        Hah. I can’t tell if you’re kidding about the laundry thing (I was).

        I’m very sorry about your girlfriend, though. What a painful loss.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie December 11, 2012, 7:14 pm

        She only did my laundry once but I’d known her for 10+ years at the time I really did think she might be THE one that April evening. Somewhere during the next 24+ years she took over but early on when I wasn’t working I did EVERYTHING except the dishes. Now we’re retired and share all tasks. Every now and then she does all the clothes which reminds me of that first time and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Silly old me.

        Going back to Aug. 22, 1988. We finally went on an official date after 4 months of just being friends and she wouldn’t kiss me goodnight. I thought “This isn’t going well”. Decided to give it one more stab and asked her to have dinner on my boat (also my home at the time) on the next Friday, the start of the labor day weekend. She came and didn’t go home until Tuesday morning. (big fat grin)

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  • avatar

    Lindsay December 10, 2012, 9:01 pm

    I’d just be direct. Hinting is either going to go over his head or make him think you’re playing games. And if he doesn’t respond, you’re probably going to just be more confused, but feel like you can bring up the topic again. If he’s interested in a relationship with you or is at least open to the possibility, then you bringing it up shouldn’t be a problem. I mean, really, are guys that clueless that after months of dating, they don’t think that it’s going to come up?

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  • avatar

    Tinywormhole December 10, 2012, 11:48 pm

    Oh boy, I remember around the four month mark I was internally freaking out. I couldn’t get myself to grow the lady balls to ask if we were exclusive or to start calling him my boyfriend. So I didn’t, and after about seven (!) months he finally called me his girlfriend first. The thing is, I felt in my gut that there was no way he was dating anyone else (we are married now). My point is that it will probably turn out the same whether you address the issue or let things continue to progress organically without bringing it up. I can understand wanting to know though, I certainly did!

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