Too fast? How fast??
May 22, 2014 9:41 AM   Subscribe

I met a lovely woman and I'd like to talk about making the relationship more serious, but I'm completely clueless about norms around this relationship stuff.

I met someone on OkCupid and I need some suggestions about social norms for moving forward. I'm clueless about these things. I was in a very long term relationship that started in my teens and so I'm really brand new to the dating world.

-We had coffee on Tuesday the 10th - hit it off and agreed to see each other again.
-Dinner and coffee on Friday the 13th. Really nice, 4 hours together.
-Spent all day together on Sunday (drove to Woodstock and back) We had a fumbling and adorable kiss at the end of the evening.
-Had a walking around Port Jefferson/Dinner Date last night. We got a little hot and heavy in the making out at the end of the evening.

I'm 31, she's 33. We've both expressed a desire to be in a serious/long-term/marriage relationship ultimately (both in our profiles and in our conversations.)

I really like her. We've been texting non-stop and last night after our little make out session she got very suggestive of wanting to take the physical part of the relationship to the next level. (Pretty much said she wants to get me alone asap.)

So, none of that is a problem. Actually... it's quite awesome. This is where I'm nervous/need some advice/reactions.

I'm not a prude but I'd like to be in some kind of expression of a committed relationship before I'm psychically intimate. Some questions:

- What are commonly accepted words and conventions around the current stage we are in and what I would like to be next? (Is dating correct for this part and would boyfriend/girlfriend be the correct next "level"?)

- How do people in early "dating" talk about getting more serious? (Please use specific examples. I'm tone deaf in this area and generalities aren't what I'm looking for)

- I'd like to say something like, "Hey, I really want to get more physical with you too, but I'm really looking to do that in the context of a committed relationship. How do you feel about that? Is this a relationship you are willing to make __________" I need help with the blank. I'm thinking, 1.) more serious 2.) exclusive 3.) formal.

Of course, please any general comments, experience, thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated. As you can see... I'm hopeless. Help!

Thanks :)
posted by meta x zen to Human Relations (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You are already dating, so yeah what you need to articulate is that you would like to date exclusively.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:44 AM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

If I were her, and you told me you wanted to be in a committed relationship before having sex, I would take that to mean "I am not yet ready to have sex with you, let's go on some more dates first."

Do you want "commitment" as in "we both agree that we are off the market," or as in "we call each other boyfriend/girlfriend and meeting the parents etc is fair game"? For me, four great dates is enough for the former but not the latter. That's just me, though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:49 AM on May 22, 2014

Sounds like things are going great! I really appreciate that you confirmed that you have goals for a LTR and that you want commitment before sex.

When you talk about it, just say, "I'm just crazy about you and I want to take things to the next level, are you ready for us to be exclusive?"

Or you can do the more adorable, "Want to go steady?" You can even give her your fraternity pin.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:50 AM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

"I'm not a prude but I'd like to be in some kind of expression of a committed relationship before I'm psychically intimate."

Part of dating like a grown up is learning what you want and what you're comfortable with and asking for it. It's completely reasonable to want to be exclusive before you guys have sex or do whatever it is that you're planning to do, so just say so. Like DarlingBri says, the key word here is "exclusive". Avoid girlfriend/boyfriend/dating if you feel awkward using those kind of terms, and just go for exclusive.

Congrats and enjoy, have fun, etc!
posted by phunniemee at 9:50 AM on May 22, 2014 [8 favorites]

Seconding showbiz_liz here; the pattern seems to be:

casual dating to see if you like each other -> exclusivity -> boyfriend/girlfriend
posted by Maecenas at 9:51 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I too mourn the passing of the phrase going steady because it was so clear, but alas.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:52 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, you are so sweet! I adore you based on this post and if she does not, there is something really wrong with her.

Just talk to her. Say, Hey, I like you a lot. I want to be with you and that means something to me. How do you feel?

Then listen, and talk. I would be over the moon to find a guy like you. She should be, too.
posted by Punctual at 9:59 AM on May 22, 2014 [10 favorites]

You're both looking for something serious, you seem to hit it off & you've had four dates and its heating up.

You say: "I really like you, I want to see where this goes and give it the attention it deserves. I'm interested in seeing you exclusively. How do you feel about that?"

Scenario 1:

She says: "Sure!"

You say: "Great! I've got a girlfriend! Best. Thursday. Ever." and plant a big wet one on her.

Scenario 2:

She says: "I don' know..." or "Well I'm kinda also seeing this other guy..."

You say: "Well I am definitely interested in still getting to know you, but if things heat up any more than this I would want us to be exclusive. So we can either take a break so you can you sort out how you feel, or just hang out and see how things go."

So the key terms are: exclusive, boyfriend/girlfriend

If she's sorta seeing other people: it is totally ok to pull yourself out of the race and tell her "well I know I'm interested. If you find you're interested too, you know my number!" and then leave her to sort it out. It depends on your disposition and how quickly you get attached, and whether you're comfortable keeping it light and 'just seeing each other.'
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:07 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

A good way to being the exclusivity conversation is by asking if she's seeing anyone else.

When you guys are going for a walk, not in any particular hurry, and there's a lull in the conversation say, "So... are you seeing anyone else?" Then you say, "No, me neither. And I don't want to. I really like you and I want to see where this path we're walking together goes."

Then you make out.
posted by itesser at 10:07 AM on May 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

PS yeah I'm on board with Punctual, if she's not texting her girlfriends OMG I met the best guy evar right now then its totally her loss
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:10 AM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

There is only one thing you need to know - is she seeing someone else?

After 4 dates, the answer to this question means everything. What's exclusive talk going to get you? She says Yes, and then 1 month later you break up. Relationships are fast moving in the beginning stages; commitments don't carry the same weight at this stage.

Compared to you, she is aggressive. She hasn't asked for some exclusive commitment from you before suggesting more physical side to your relationship. Often, women want some level of assurance before having sex for the first time. Not here. Therefore, keep the "talk" simple from your side. All you should be concerned about is if she is seeing someone else as well.
posted by Kruger5 at 10:27 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

When my partner and I first met I was 'seeing' other people (FWB). After several dates I broached the subject along the lines of: "I really like you and I'd really like for us to be exclusive. What are your thoughts on being a 'couple'?"
posted by stubbehtail at 11:21 AM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

First of all, you are not hopeless. This sounds awesome! You can be very direct with her and say something like: "I'm really into you, find you attractive on multiple levels, would love to be intimate .. I want to be in a committed relationship before getting sexual. I'd like like to talk about moving things to the next level/becoming exclusive. What do you think?"

- What are commonly accepted words and conventions around the current stage we are in and what I would like to be next? (Is dating correct for this part and would boyfriend/girlfriend be the correct next "level"?)

Dating. Seeing each other. Boyfriend/girlfriend implies some level of commitment and possibly exclusivity (depending on your arrangement) -- you should talk to her about what these terms mean to you both..

Also? A few things that come to mind as I read your post:

1) If you haven't already, you'll want to talk about STDs. Have you both been tested recently? Since you've been out of the dating game a while, this is something you need to be prepared to tackle up front.

2) Do you know enough about her to know you want to be exclusive and in a committed relationship? Sometimes this happens early on and that's completely okay! But given that you're coming out of a really long relationship that started in your teens (and the fact that you probably, as a consequence, have very little dating experience), I am wondering why you seem so eager to settle down with this lady after four dates.
posted by Gray Skies at 11:51 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hmmm, after such a short period of time dating, albeit very hot and wonderful, I would hold off on this conversation for a bit. You could mention "Since I met you I have no desire to meet anyone else!" but don't ask her if she is planning to do the same. Let her say it when she's ready. Maybe you will get lucky and she will respond right after hearing this, but defining a relationship so early would make some people nervous and they don't even necessarily know why.
posted by waving at 1:07 PM on May 22, 2014

I think you need to tread very carefully here. You are a hetero man and she is a hetero woman. Like it or not, you being the "prudish" one could very well be taken as a bit of an insult from her side of things. You describe your kiss as "adorably fumbling" and say you are inexperienced. To her the fumbling may not have been as "adorable" as it was to you. She basically came onto you on your last date and you possibly turned her down. Long story short, you are in a delicate position.

I would emphasize greatly that you want her, that she is attractive, that you trust her and don't think she's going to give you STDs (I mean, don't say it like that, but demonstrate warmth and trust.) and then say, "I like you so much that I see this going somewhere long term."

Don't hold sex hostage, though. That will make things weird and is kind of the reverse of when the lady does it I guess and it doesn't make it any better when it's the dude.

I mean, disregard if she's totally on the same page- slow and steady, really likes you, inexperienced, whatever. It sounds like she might not be though. Nothing wrong with having that conversation honestly, it's just good to be aware that this might go either way.
posted by quincunx at 1:22 PM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think the answer to this question depends on what you mean by 'committed.' If all you mean is that you want to be exclusive before you guys have sex, then I think you can say that using one of the many great scripts mentioned above. However, when I hear the word 'committed,' I tend to think of something more than that, something along the lines of "I see us as being in a serious relationship where we are actively thinking about/considering/moving toward things like moving in together, meeting each other's families, marriage, etc."

I see it as totally fine to want either of those things before wanting to have sex, but you should be clear about which it is (both to yourself and to her). For me, I would feel perfectly fine about agreeing to stop seeing other people after 4 great dates, but I would probably feel like it was too fast to start talking about a serious/committed/we're working toward marriage sort of relationship after only 4 dates. Of course, everyone will be different in this regard -- there are people who get engaged after knowing each other for a month! But, I think many people might be a little scared off by super serious relationship talk this soon.
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:26 PM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

In the past, I've said 'I'd really like to, but I'm more comfortable doing so if I know we're not seeing other people." Keeps it less HEAVY. But I seem to be kind of alone on this front on metafilter.
posted by namesarehard at 3:25 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think I have seen this said yet:

It sounds to me like what you are saying is "I would like to have sex with this lady BUT I don't do that outside of a committed/exclusive relationship."

I think that is the piece you need to communicate: "I like you a lot and I would really, really like to have sex with you. BUT I don't do that casually. Are you ready yet to agree to a committed/exclusive relationship? If not, hey, I am happy to keep dating and see if we can get there."

I don't sleep around casually. I don't see any reason why you should feel that is some sort of problem. I don't think it makes you "prudish" to want sex within the confines of a relationship.
posted by Michele in California at 3:35 PM on May 22, 2014 [13 favorites]

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