Dear Donna: January 09, 2021

Dear Donna,

I have been dating a lady for six weeks and we have been on a half a dozen dates. On our last date she asked me if I was dating anyone else and I said I was not.
She seemed very relieved and told me she was not dating anyone else either.

I did not mean to mislead her but a mutual friend told me she is telling her friends we are now exclusive.
I am not dating anyone else but that does not mean I consider myself to be in an exclusive relationship with her. We have not even been intimate yet.

I do like her and we are having fun getting to know each other but I feel I need to say something to her about telling our friend we are exclusive.
We have not had that conversation and frankly I have not even looked that far down the road. How should I approach this? Josh

Dear Josh,

If you want to keep dating her the sooner you have this conversation, the better.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are dating is as soon as they meet someone they are interested in, they stop meeting everyone else and follow that through to whatever the conclusion is going to be.
I think while you are working on a friendship and getting to know someone, it is appropriate to keep your options open and meet others.

I encourage my clients, even if they like the first person they meet, to keep their options open and meet one more. It keeps you from getting too laser focused on one person and gives you a basis of comparison.

It takes about three months for people to get relaxed enough to be themselves and that is when you will start to identify the things that do or don’t work.
If things are still working well at the three month mark that is when you should be considering whether or not you want to be exclusive.

I also encourage no intimacy for the first three months. Once you are physically involved, you are emotionally involved and it takes the focus off the friendship and puts it on the intimacy with someone you barely know.

Most people would not be interested in meeting someone who is already in an intimate relationship with someone else, which is another reason to not be intimate for the first three months.
Also, it is much easier to walk away from a three month relationship if you have not been intimate.

Tell her you did not mean to mislead her by saying you were not dating anyone else, that you are enjoying getting to know her and you want to get to know her better before you consider being exclusive and keep the intimacy out of the picture for the first three months.

Dear Donna,

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I am 42, divorced with two kids.
I have been divorced for 8 years and have had three serious relationships in that time. I have not come close to meeting someone who is right for me.

Intellectual compatibility is very important to me and with two of those relationships I found myself not feeling intellectually stimulated.
I also have been on a higher income level than most of the men I date and although they say it does not matter to them, it does.
It does not matter to me but I don’t want to be resented when I pay for a trip or limited because he cannot afford the trip and does not want me to pay.

What am I doing wrong? I give every man I date the benefit of the doubt and try as hard as I can to make things work but I am getting nowhere fast and tried of starting over and over. Melissa

Dear Melissa,

I know what is wrong with you and what you are doing wrong.
You are not meeting the right men and you are trying too hard.

Intellectual compatibility is important and the smarter you are the more important it is.
Compatible income levels are important because it means you can make similar life style choices.

Stop trying so hard and focus what you need in a relationship as opposed to what they need.
In a few dates you should be able to know if the intellectual compatibility is there and with a few questions you should be able to determine if they are on a compatible income level.

Learn from what you know has not worked for you and stop trying to build a relationship with men that do not meet those preferences.