Dear Donna: March 21, 2022

Dear Donna,

I dated a lady about two years ago and recently we reconnected. Last time I decided to stop dating her because she was getting serious too quickly.
She was just out of a long term marriage when we met and I did not think she was ready for a serious relationship.

Two weeks ago she texted me and asked if we could get together again.
When we met she told me she had learned a lot about dating and men since the two of us had dated and she feels like I am the most compatible person she has dated.

After a couple of dates I found myself agreeing to be exclusive with her and not date anyone else. Six dates and two weeks later she is saying things like hinting about when she might hear the “L” word.

I think I agreed to be exclusive too quickly and I don’t know how to slow this down. Eric

Dear Eric,

Apparently she did not learn how to not get too serious too quickly.

You should talk to her about what being “exclusive” means to you and see if you are on the same page.
To you, it means you won’t date anyone else while you are dating her. To her, it might mean much more.

Realistically, you cannot be expected to love someone you barely know and the same should be true for her.
Tell her you want to work on a friendship and getting to know each other and see how things go for the next two or three months. You are better off putting things in perspective for her now rather than later.

For future reference, agreeing to be exclusive should wait until you have dated at least two or three months and you should be the one who decides when you say the “L” word.

Dear Donna,

In the four years I have been divorced I have had two serious relationships and the last one ended a couple of months ago. I am thinking about dating again but I am worried that history will repeat itself.

Both of these relationships lasted almost two years and there were times with both of these men that I thought I had found my soulmate, someone I could spend the rest of my life with. I ended one of them because he would not make a commitment to get married and the other one ended because he moved out of state.

What can I do to improve my odds the next time around?
I don’t want to spend my life having two year relationships that don’t work out and I am ready to be married. Kim

Dear Kim,

Focus on the things that matter. Most people base their choice, at least initially, on physical attraction and expect because the chemistry and attraction is there everything else will work out. However, physical attraction only takes you so far.

Compatibility, shared interests and similar long term goals are the first things to consider.
I work with a compatibility test that defines six areas of compatibility; temperament, sociability, conformity, affection, religion and finance. There are all kinds of compatibility tests available for couples who are serious-minded enough to seek them out.

I know people will say they want to be married in the beginning and then they either change their minds or decide they don’t want to marry you. After the third month mark of dating it is appropriate to have the conversation about whether or not you have the same long term goals as far as a relationship is concerned.

Shared interests and activities are important to most people. Those are easier to identify, again, once you have been together for two or three months.

Also pay attention to the issues like smoking, drinking, kids, pets, income, and intellectual compatibility.

The most important advice I can give you is to focus on a friendship first and don’t be intimate for at least two or 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 a person you hardly know.

The good news is that everything generally falls into place with the right person but these are some things you can be mindful of as you continue to date. Good luck!