Are you on the same train to boo-ville?

by Dating Goddess on May 10, 2010

What determines if you are an item? Is it agreement about exclusivity? Is it the fact that neither of you is interested in seeing others?

You may think that his regular calls, texts and weekly dates makes him your beau. He may think that you are just one of the women he is seeing, even if at the moment he’s not seeing anyone else. You may feel that by your sleeping together regularly, you are going together. He may feel that you are a woman he’s hanging out with.

Don’t jump to the conclusion that he feels that you are both on the same train to boo-ville. You may be taking the express and he’s taking the local. You are many steps ahead of him, perhaps wanting him to meet your friends and family, taking vacations together, maybe even thinking you’ll be moving in together. Yet he’s moving at a much slower pace, thinking you are seeing each other and determining if you want to continue. He may not even see you as exclusive unless you’ve had that discussion.

So don’t derail the train by assuming you’re on the bullet train to relationship bliss. Allow yourself to slow down, even if you really like the guy. In fact, throttle back especially if you like the guy as if you make assumptions too fast, he’ll jump off the train at the first opportunity. Or throw you off — and ow, that hurts!
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Want to know about how to tell if he’s a keeper? Real Deal or Faux Beau: Should You Keep Seeing Him?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mitsy May 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm

All true, yes. And he also might say & do a lot of things to lead you to believe that he’s serious about you or wants a long-term relationship only to bail later. I agree w/the advice about taking it slow. However, I have been in dating situations where the guy was moving much faster and when I tried to talk to him about where we were, he balked and later bailed on me. I don’t believe in keeping an online dating profile viewable if I’m dating someone exclusively. However, I found out that he was a player much quicker than if I had just gone on for the ride. I wasn’t going to sleep with him until we’d been dating for some time and I felt like there were things we should have been discussing before taking things any further. Beware of men who say & do things to lead you on but don’t have the backbone to actually stay in a relationship long enough to see if it might work. I’m a bit smarter now than when this incident happened.

Beth May 11, 2010 at 7:08 am

Thanks so much for the timely blogpost! I’m just dipping my toe back into the dating pool and I think I’ve been hesitant about being more assertive about diving in because of all of those expectations that come with starting new relationships. It seems like the advice is to pay attention and be careful.

Anna May 11, 2010 at 10:09 am

I would ask him what train he considers you are both on. Just come out and ask him directly because I would never expect to share my seat on the train with any other woman, even if just dating. If a guy does not respect this wish of mine, then he is not the guy for me. If his answer means you are on different trains, and/or different journeys then jump off yourself before he throws you off.
ps I once had to literally jump off a slow moving train in a rural part of Thailand, and that hurt a lot less than being hurt emotionally. But thats another story!

Mark May 12, 2010 at 10:10 am

I think it’s always a good idea to slow things down. And really, even if you both think you are on the same train, you need time to see if it’s real. You can’t know after a few months. I’m not even sure if you be certain after a year. You need a lot of time together so you can see each other in as many different circumstances and situations as possible.

Karen May 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I totally agree with Mark—-you have to give it time. Anyone male or female who is moving too fast is a “red flag”–ie something is off, even if they don’t even know it themselves.

On the other hand, I favor the direct approach to figuring out if you’re “exclusive”–just ask! And I think you do have to ask, and not just assume.

Relationships are always better when they involve communication!

Related: I’ve been alarmed by several (male) suitors I’ve had since getting divorced and dating in midlifle–they *all* wanted to get married to me, and they told me so very early in our dating (around the 3rd or 1st date or before the 3 month mark—all equally alarming and “too soon” in my opinion!) I was surprised since it’s supposed to be the man who is reluctant to marry…. ? And I was alarmed because my divorce has made me very careful about considering marriage again.

These guys were all divorced also, and they were all solid people, not “players”—-so what gives? Do “nice” midelife divorced men tend to idoloze marriage despite their experiences?

I do want another long-term partner, and possibly marriage, but my conservative timescale would put marriage somewhere after years of dating. I wouldn’t even consider co-habitating without a lot of thought!

Are midlife dating men just different than women or is my experience just weird?

Mark May 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

That’s interesting, Karen. I really don’t know if your situation is the norm, though I’m guessing it’s not.

I do think we middle-aged guys who have been married realize that we will be happier with someone than without someone. It can get lonely.

Also, it’s not all that easy to meet a good person you click with.

So if you came across as a good, solid person and they felt they clicked with you, maybe they were so wowed they felt you were the one.

I’m like you, though. I want several years of dating.

Dating Goddess May 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Karen: I’ve had the same experience you’ve had with men talking about marriage way too soon. I chalk it up to them being needy, lonely, and yes, horny. They meet someone they think is compatible and boom, they think they could live quite well with you. They also may assume that many women want to get married, so why not just put it out there! For many (most?) of us, it’s a huge turnoff.

Richard May 18, 2010 at 4:50 am

Maybe I’m being naive, but I can read people a lot faster now than when I was in my 20′s. I am also better at spotting potential relationship issues. People in their 40′s also tend to be who they are. Where they are accomplished is where their interests, talents, and drives are. If they are not accomplished somewhere, that speaks volumes too.

So, when you find a gem, things can develop quickly. That said, it does take time to get past the rose colored glasses stage in order to make sure you really are a match for the long term.

Sometimes it is hard to enjoy the ride when you are on the express train and are excited about getting to your destination.

Cathy J May 22, 2010 at 2:35 am

This is a tricky one. Men and women are so different.

Women become committed much sooner. I saw a fantastic ABC documentary called ‘Secrets to Love’ which explains this from various perspectives, including from science and social science perspectives.

The trick is for us gals not to be too keen too quick. For sure, enjoy the moment and get excited but with your girlfriends….. even if the guy professes love, hold back and let him get used to that idea first! This is a lesson learned the hard way more than once!

William May 29, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I’m definitely not the guy the original topic describes. But I may fit the other mentioned pattern as a 40′s guy. I prefer the slow train for co-habitation and marriage, as I’m in no rush to make snap judgments on major life decisions. But I dive head-first into relationships, especially if I sense a good match and minimal red flags. I’m often the one who has to slow down emotionally (as painful as it is) and wait for the woman to catch up. I understand the merits of going s-l-o-w-l-y, but I’d rather find the issues and incompatibilities sooner and get the heart-ache out of the way – or get to the good stuff of a solid relationship.

I’m not saying this is the best way about it, but it’s been my pattern for the last 9 years. And I’m sure I’ve ruined several potentially good relationships because of it. If the woman is moving too slowly, I feel like she’s not interested and that she’s just playing me or using me. Or I feel that she may be interested but is not available for whatever reason (job/friends/emotional issues/etc).

My fear in saying, and believing, “Its ok, just chill out”, is that I’ll be dragged thru the dirt at an excruciatingly slow pace then left for dead. Or that by the time we do get around to opening up, the passion will have long fizzled out.

When I finally try to communicate my thoughts, I’m already far down the road of paranoia and negativity. Instead of clearing the air, I end up sabotaging the budding relationship.

I need to learn how to keep my heart from racing ahead when I meet someone special, to believe in my potential partner and not in my irrational fears.

So… aside from the usual distractions of work, friends, and hobbies, how does one slow down without going crazy?

Mark May 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm

William, what do you mean by a woman moving too slowly?

For me, if we’ve been dating for a couple of months and we aren’t enjoying some bedroom time by then, I’d at least expect to have had a conversation about it. It’s 2010 and we’re middle-aged people who have had previous partners, so I’d expect intimacy at some point. If a woman isn’t interested in that it may signal a problem.

Or, it could be that there’s plenty of intimacy but there’s something else you want that you’re not getting? Would that be time together? I think that’s a tricky one. A lot of us are used to some independence now; we may not want to give up too much of that, no matter how we feel about the person we’re dating.

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