What are the signs that someone’s desire for exclusivity is really about YOU, rather than a sign of his need to control?
I’ve been casually dating for three years since my divorce, and have had my share of all the various issues that most of your readers have experienced, like being a commitment phobe or fast-tracking relationships. The newest guy has his share of initial red flags flying. Most concerning to me is that he is an alcoholic in recovery for 12 years. He mentioned that he struggles at the holidays and one of the current struggles includes some regrets over an old 4-year relationship of his that he messed up. He works his program and has many friends and family supporting him, which is all very good.
What has my radar up is that we have only been dating for three weeks and he already wants to be exclusive. He’s the first person in a long time that makes me feel like I enjoy him enough to have the possibility of an actual relationship, but it just seems so soon. We already had physical intimacy and now he wants us to take our dating profiles down, and date exclusively.
When I expressed some hesitation, he requested that at the very least, I tell him before I enter into something sexual with someone else. I think that’s fair, but parts of me wonder if his focus on exclusivity so early in the dating process is a controlling behavior that is characteristic of his addiction. Three weeks just seems too soon for his decision to really be about ME. I would love an exclusive relationship with the right guy, but I want to be the catalyst for him wanting exclusivity in our relationship status, not his need to control.
I recently sent out a related newsletter about this, but since not all of you have read my emails, I will attempt to recap what I said.
Namely, that when you’re positive about a man from the get-go and believe he is the one, all you want to do is let down your guard and be “real” with him. You may have that “you just know” feeling and nothing seems more right than to give in to the moment, become an insta-couple, and change your status on social media.
That’s the way we want our love life to feel — organic, passionate, and FAST. No waiting, no games, no B.S. “I want you. You want me. Let’s give this a go.”
But a Serious Relationship Isn’t Always That Easy
Like Communism, it sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.
Take Exhibit A:
His name is Bill. He thinks you’re the bee’s knees. He likes spending time with you and wants to make you his girlfriend. All of his behavior illustrates that he finds you the most divine creature on earth.
And all you can think is: I’m on a fast train to Red Flag City.
Immediate questions abound:
Does this man have no self-esteem?
What’s wrong with him that he likes me so much?
Does he like me or is he projecting his need for a relationship with the woman before him? Is he like a stalker or something?
What did this man do BEFORE I came into his life?
The bottom line is that when YOU feel strongly about some new guy, it’s normal and natural on your part. When a guy feels that way about you, it’s creepy and weird.
I only bring this up to point out our hypocrisy about letting our feelings show. It’s cool when we make sure we’re “honest” and “real”; not so cool when others do the same thing to us. It’s human nature.
I only bring this up to point out our hypocrisy about letting our feelings show. It’s cool when we’re “honest” and “real”; not so cool when people do it to us.
To your credit, Shirl, you’re asking a good question. And, as I am not a Dr. Drew type addiction specialist, it’s not my place to say whether he’s a guy who wants to “control” you or if he’s just, well, excited about you, like any boy with a crush on a girl..
The good news is, you’re going into this relationship with your eyes wide open, which is a good sign that will serve you well in dealing with his real red-flags — his alcoholism and his regrets. Truth is, it’s too soon to know his intentions or what his character is made of. These are the things that will be revealed over time.
I think, if you like him, it would be a shame to toss him aside because of your fears about what MIGHT happen. Recently I’ve been talking to far too many women who break up with guys at the first hint of trouble — and, as a result, never end up in a relationship.
Give him the benefit of the doubt for now. See how he treats you. Hold back a little bit emotionally to avoid getting his hopes too high. In a few months, you’ll have a much clearer picture of this man and your future with one another. And with that information, you’ll decide whether he’s interested in a committed relationship with you, or a relationship with anyone.
I’m confident you’ll make the right decision.