Ask A Woman: It’s THE TALK no one looks forward to.
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I’ve been dating a woman I met on Tinder for a little bit over three months now. It wasn’t a typical hook up at first since we spoke through Tinder and texted for a few weeks before actually meeting in person. On our first date, we did end up hooking up. However, we’ve continued to see each other from then on.
Fast forward three going onto four months, and I’m at the point where I feel like we should start considering where we both stand in the relationship. A few things of note, I have noticed a change in her behavior towards me when we text. There’s a bit of a disconnect there now that wasn’t there before. However, when we see each other, it’s always a great time. I understand that she could be seeing other people, which I can’t fault her for since we haven’t spoken about becoming exclusive yet.
Should I let her bring up the conversation about exclusivity or should I? I’m ready for any fallout that happens, but I’d much rather not keep continuing to invest time (and unfortunately money) into dating someone that I might not have a potential long-term relationship with.
Pretty sure this is the first email I’ve gotten with reference to Tinder, so that’s a milestone. Of some sort. I’ve never gotten a question about when to have the Define the Relationship conversation, so let’s dive in. I think three months is an appropriate point at which to ask both yourself and the other person, where is this going? Because you took the time to write to me, I think it’s important enough to you that you should bring it up with her instead of waiting for her to do it.
So what does that conversation look like? Well, figure out what you want first. It sounds like you want to either be exclusive from here on out, or break it off. Totally valid. Start with the first part, “We’ve never really talked about this, but I’d like for us to have a conversation about how things are going between us.” I sense a bit of hesitancy on your part to put it all out there for her, but I think that’s the best way to approach these talks. Tell her you really like being with her and you want to see where it goes in the future, so you’re hoping to make your couplehood official. If, after hearing that you want to go steady, as the olds say, she says she’s not ready, you can tell her at that point that you aren’t interested in just casually dating indefinitely. Although it’s my experience that women prefer to define the terms of a relationship outright rather than make assumptions, you may be surprised to learn that she already considered the two of you exclusive, in which case, congrats, a girlfriend!
Hopefully Eric’s lady doesn’t have this reaction.
As for your concerns about texting…I think texts are great for brevity and convenience (pls pick up OJ on ur way home). But they aren’t a very nuanced form of communication. You cannot determine tone unless the emotion is very clear in the words (what the hell is wrong with u). It’s entirely possible that your lady friend merely feels more comfortable with you thus her texts are more functional (dinner tonite works for me) these days. Take the texts at face value and don’t read too much into them unless she gives you a reason to.
If it doesn’t work out with this woman, you don’t need to feel like you’ve wasted anything, especially after three months. I’ll be honest, I roll my eyes when men complain about the “investment” of money they’ve lost while dating someone. Dating isn’t like fixing up a car. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not like finding out you bought a lemon. Unless you’re paying for her apartment and giving her a monthly allowance, it’s more productive to think of the bucks you “lost” when taking her out to dinner as part of the process of getting to know someone. When it works out, it’s great, and when it doesn’t, it’s a good learning opportunity to take with you to the next relationship.
Got something brewing in your life? Send me an email–style, etiquette, relationships–I answer it all:firstname.lastname@example.org