SP: How can I know where we stand without scaring him off?

SP: How can I know where we stand without scaring him off?
From time to time I’ll be answering questions from online dating site
eHarmony.com.au, who have sponsored today’s Q&A post.

Hi Reality Chick. I’ve met a guy through an online dating site and we’ve really clicked (in person, too). The trouble is, neither of us have been in a proper relationship for over two years and while I’m keen to take the leap, I’m not sure he is. How can I define the relationship and where we stand as a couple without freaking him out and losing him altogether? Amanda

Short answer, Amanda: you can’t. It comes down to timing, the stars aligning and whether the other person’s life plan matches yours. Also, it can be tricky to gauge whether the person sitting opposite you is on the dating scene for ego-strokes and casual sex – or to honestly find love.

Heavy conversations may not go down well in the early, fun, getting-to-know-you stage, but a month or two in, you should start letting more of yourself into the mix. That might involve mentioning that you’re a traditional person (if you are). In another conversation, it might be about saying casually that you’d love to get married someday (if you would) or that your big life dream is to go build schools in Peru (if it is). Start tossing these snippets of info into conversation to help the other person get to know you and to pave the way for perhaps more serious future discussions. Hopefully, the other person will start sharing deeper stuff too. If they don’t at all, or seem to want to keep it light and fun only, that’s a red flag.

I used the super-direct approach with my future husband. Jaded from a long stretch of online dating, I figured I had nothing to lose. Although I was single and quite happy with my life, I would’ve loved to meet someone, fall in love, get married, have kids, the whole bit. So, I laid it all out early – who I was, how much I liked him, my dreams for the future. I even remember saying, ‘It’s totally cool if this is not where you’re at, but I just want to let you know where I’m at’. To my utter surprise (yes, I’d been dating a LOT of asshats) he didn’t run screaming from the pub like I half-expected him to. That was around three months after we met. We’ve been together six years now, married for two.

When you do have that ‘where is this thing going’ conversation, try to plan it a little beforehand. Make sure you’re in a chilled environment where you can’t be easily overheard. Be direct, rather than skirting around the issue vaguely. That’s hard to do, I know, but here’s a handy script you can use:

“The past couple of months have been awesome. I love hanging out with you, and I’m finding more and more than I just don’t want to date other people. How about you? No pressure to answer straight away, but I’d love to know if we’re on the same page.”

The good news is, if he does completely freak out and run screaming from the pub / café / picnic blanket you happen to be sitting on at the time – well, that’s okay. Good, even. You know then that he’s not the type of guy you should be dating, and he’s just saved you a heck of a lot of time.

Love, reality chick


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the RC Question Box! (Questions may be edited.)
Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).

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