I need help on how best to navigate the period between when I meet someone I am interested in dating and when we actually decide to date exclusively.
Here’s my situation. I’m a guy, and about a month ago I met a guy (T) that lives in a different city that is a 4-hour drive away. We met while we were both on vacation in a beach resort and we hit it off immediately. He is a good quality guy that seems awesome for me except for one item – I am not 100% sexually attracted to him… I’m at about 60%. He is a great kisser (a huge sexual factor for me), and the over-all connection is there so I’m still trying to figure out if the level of sexual attraction is a deal breaker or not.
Since meeting T, I have driven twice to his city and we have spent 4-5 amazing days together on each trip. We’ve had a great time together each time. When we are apart, we text each other daily. He is planning to spend next weekend with me in my city.
A few days after I met T, but before my first trip to his city, I met another guy (M). M lives in the same city I do, plays the same sport (which is how we met), and on a scale of 1 to 10 in sexual attraction, M is a 12!
Initially, I thought M was just going to be a short-term sexual fling. There is a big age gap between us, so I didn’t have any expectations for it being anything other than a one or two-time sexual thing. However, to my surprise, we’ve been seeing each other almost every day, having meals together, going to the movies, museums… pretty much – dating. We seem more compatible than I initially expected.
Neither guy knows that I am dating two people. Hell, it’s possible they are also dating other people. Right? However, my conscience is starting to pressure me to make a decision. Yet I am not quite ready to choose one person to date exclusively… My brain right now chooses T, while my junk chooses M.
My question to you is – what is the best ethical way to navigate this initial period? This is the first time I’ve dated two people at the same time. Do I continue the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule? Explicitly telling them I’m dating other people seems like a sure way to shoot my own foot and lose both.
Thanks for your help!
Exploring before choosing
I got out of a long-term relationship (2.5 years) recently. It was a mutual, polite and extremely amicable break-up, to the extent that a mutual friend who is consoling both of us has called it the most amicable break-up ever. We collectively realised that we wanted different things out of the relationship – I was too much of a planner for her, she was always more about spontaneity – and parted ways. I am doing okay, your advice about an ended relationship not being a failed relationship has helped me a lot.
One of the reasons I’m not 100% better that I can’t really talk about with my friends because we move in HEAVILY overlapping social circles is… the sex. For context, we lost our virginity to each other within the first few months. This was, in large part, because my ex helped me through my initial anxieties (I was 22 the first time we had sex).
We were, I would say, certainly compatible on a basic level, but I always had a higher sex drive than she did. For the first year and a half this wasn’t so much of a problem, because we were having sex regularly enough that I could deal, but then I got a new job with less flexibility. That lead to us not having the time (since it pretty much killed any chance of “wanna stay the night?” without lots of planning, which was anathema to her) and combined with the steady loss of intimacy (and a corresponding growth in my anxiety) our sex life completely petered out.
The core of my issue… I think I might have scared my ex off sex. And I feel really guilty about this.
The last time we attempted sex was 12 months before we broke up; a spontaneous moment after we had run back to my house from a freak rain shower. (Before that, a gap of a few months for the summer; before that, a few months for exams – so we were already on the wind down). After a few failed attempts at penetration I tried going down on her and, presumably because of nerves, that didn’t do the job either. My ex was never really someone who needed much foreplay, so I knew something was wrong. Once everything cooled down I told her about vaginismus – because I genuinely thought that she might have it and that she would be willing to maybe get some help and work through it – and promised that I would help her.
I then embarked on what I thought was helpful but which I can now see was probably pressuring behaviour. I tried to ask her what I could request in the bedroom (essentially, if penetrative sex was off-limits, then I wouldn’t ask for it) and got told that she didn’t know. I bought her a vibrator so we had more options in the bedroom, she reacted with disgust and later told me it never got taken out of its packaging. Weeks went by and I got increasingly frustrated that not only were we not having sex, but we weren’t even doing anything that might potentially lead to it any more. Eventually at the end of the academic year once everything was over – and after plans for her to stay the night had fallen through again – I flat out asked if I should be worried about the lack of sex, to which I was told that sex was horribly stressful and she wasn’t up for it because of her exams… which didn’t really solve the rest of the issues I was worrying about at the time.
Long story short, we went on our first – and obviously now last – holiday together about a month before we broke up. It was, in hindsight, a disaster. We were, a few good moments aside, constantly stressing out at each other from planning right through to the airport home. Most of all, on our 2.5-year anniversary night (which I had based a fair bit of the holiday around) suffice it to say things did not go as I had planned; possibly because while I didn’t explicitly state it outright I think I probably made it a little too obvious that I was expecting things to end with a bang. In hindsight that was the moment we stopped working, because our expectations had so clearly diverged.
But… women don’t just stop wanting sex for no reason, right?
I feel like I failed her, because she was able to help me with my anxiety issues and I couldn’t help her with hers. I’m scared my ex is about to become one of those statistics you hear about women who can’t enjoy sex because of negative past experiences. Most of all, we broke up saying we both wanted the other to be happy and I’m upset that I might have cost her a large part of that chance. I want to deal with this guilt – partly because otherwise I reckon I’m going to be an anxious wreck in the bedroom if/when I do end up dating again – but I don’t think asking my ex about her sexual hang-ups is a good idea right now assuming it ever was. Any advice you have would be appreciated.
Help me Dr-Wan Kenobi you’re my only hope.
Did I Break It?
If you’re looking for advice on dating women, then you’re going to find many, many self-proclaimed experts in the female mind. The problem is that most of them are almost entirely wrong. Worse, they set men up for failure by insisting on an outlook that puts men and women in conflict. It’s time to talk about WHY men often have a hard time understanding and relating to women… and why it’s so important, if you want to be socially successful.
- Why so much “advice” about women causes conflict instead of helping to resolve it
- How we convince ourselves that we know more than we actually do
- How the “Men Are From Mars/ Women Are From Venus” dichotomy gets it wrong
- The REAL reason men and women don’t understand each other
- What the most successful lovers have in common
…and so much more.
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I recently realized (well, “accepted” would be more accurate) that I qualify as someone who is a toxic friend. A couple of months ago, my friends pointed out I would not behave in the same way depending if I was with one of them alone or if I was with a larger group. At the time, I didn’t thought about it, the very idea that I may be an asshole to them didn’t even occur to me.
However, it finally hit me. See, when I’m with a large group, I start making “jokes” (and I mean very very stupid jokes) and passive-aggressive comments, mostly at the expense of one of my friends. These get to the point that…I don’t know how she can still agree to talk to me. Almost everything turns into a weapon I use. The only reason I say “almost” is because there is still a line that I didn’t cross with those “jokes”, and that I’m very afraid of crossing one day.
(There is also one last important information regarding our friendship; I do have a crush on her, which wasn’t the case when we met and started to hang out. Honestly, as I’m typing that, I don’t even know anymore if I can call myself a friend of her.)
I’m ashamed of this. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I don’t want to hurt those who are close to me, and I don’t want to drive them away. I don’t have any excuses. I mean, I think I know why I act like that in front of a large group (lack of social skills, stupidly high level of anxiety) but I’m fully aware that it’s wrong. I need to get rid of that behavior, otherwise, sooner or later, I will lose my friends.
So, I’m asking you: can you give me some advice on where to begin? Is apologizing to her a first step? How can I work on stopping to act like an asshole? Feel free to bring the Chair Leg of Truth, Doc. I need your help, I want to be able to be a good friend and if you think the best medicine is a harsh medicine, then don’t spare me.
Heel Face Turn