QUESTION: I divorced in my late 40s and have been internet dating ever since. About three months ago, I met a man I really like and we have started sleeping together. However, he’s never used the words “girlfriend” or “partner” or introduced me to any of his friends, so I’ve kept replying to messages from other suitors and am still in touch with an on/off lover. My friends say I’m being dishonest, but is it such bad behaviour when he won’t commit?
ANSWER: You accuse your new man of being ambivalent about you without seeming to notice you’re behaving in exactly the same manner.
Is it entirely this man’s job to declare that the pair of you are in an exclusive relationship? At the age of almost 50, I’d hope you’re capable of having a frank conversation about emotional trust with a man without feeling compromised.
I don’t think you’re a bad person for keeping in touch with other men, but you’re clearly hedging your bets - and no one likes that.
I wouldn’t say you’re being downright dishonest, but you’re certainly being ambiguous. Just as you feel a certain lack of commitment in your man’s approach, so he will sense that in you.
Of course, many people fall into relationships gradually and it’s difficult, in retrospect, to spot the exact moment when casual dating becomes more formal.
When you’ve been disappointed in love (as you have with your marriage) it’s easy to behave in a cynical fashion. But I wonder how you would feel if you discovered that this gorgeous man - with whom you’d like to enjoy an exclusive relationship - was still seeing another lover? Wouldn’t you feel jealous and angry?
Wouldn’t you feel anxious about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases if you’re seeing someone who has multiple partners?
Call me old-fashioned, but the Charles Kingsley character, Mrs Do-as-you-would-be-done-by from The Water Babies, is as relevant today as ever. The daftest thing here is that you’re seeing other men out of a sense of self-preservation and fear, rather than active desire. That’s no way to conduct your love life.
If you really treasure this man, you must do him the honour of being truthful.
It’s time to jump off the fence and say that you would like to feel you are in a committed relationship, where you can meet each other’s friends and family and won’t date other people.
You may find he’s on the same page. After all, he hasn’t said anything to the contrary.
But if he wants to short-change you, why stay with this man? As you know, there are plenty of fish in the sea. - Daily Mail