When do you know when you’re in a relationship? I was dating someone for almost two months until it ended rather abruptly. We seemed to have an instant connection. He told me he really liked me on our first date and each time we hung out afterwards. We had these epic hangouts for nearly 24 hours. I cooked for him, we went out, we had romance, affection, and never ran out of things to talk about. We saw each other a couple times a week and talked nearly every day.
I finally got the courage to ask him if he was seeing other people. He told me he was seeing another person, intermittently, and she wasn’t really around too much. I was crushed and honestly, I couldn’t understand how he could have the time to be with someone else or have the same affection for another woman. I had tried to bring it up earlier, but he gave me vague answers whenever I asked subtle questions about seeing other people. I’m trying to be better about not letting my anxiety silence me, but it takes me a while to find my words in person, but for me, this was a deal breaker. I left and we haven’t spoke since.
Obviously, I’ve heard it all: My friends say that I’m better off, that there wasn’t anything I could have done to prevent him from having feelings for this person and that he is a total jerk. Now that I’ve set clear boundaries by telling him I wasn’t interested in seeing someone who was having another relationship, I’m left by myself without his company.
So, Kadeejah, the question I have is: How do I prevent this from happening again? I wish I could go back in time before sleeping with him on our second date and bring up how I felt earlier, but it seems like it should be pretty self-explanatory.
-Dumbfounded in LA
Dear Dumbfounded in LA,
Your friends are pretty smart — you’ve done nothing wrong and you’re probably better off with someone who can actually have these types of adult, honest conversations about a relationship.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to prevent this from happening again. You can’t control another person’s honesty nor can you control their feelings for another person. What you can do, is be upfront with potential matches from the get. That’s easier said than done: It’s not uncommon to mate before we date which makes having the exclusivity convo feel even more confusing.
I want to be clear: Just because you chose to have sex before having this conversation doesn’t mean you don’t deserve honesty and respect. As you said, your subtle approach was met with vague answers. That was no accident — he purposely withheld the truth from you.
Something tells me you don’t want to be with someone who casually omits the truth. He didn’t do this to save your feelings, he did it to save his own!
Thanks to you, the cat’s out of the bag because you were asking the right questions. Don’t beat yourself up because it took you longer than you anticipated. You still got there and held your ground about how you want to be treated. Mad props and respect to you for that.
The next time you start feeling a connection with someone, don’t be afraid to speak your truth upfront. Once you make a habit of clearly stating your expectations and boundaries, you’re going to attract people who are also direct, honest, and know how to communicate. It’s all about practice, trust me.
To add to your friends’ comments: This guy may be an adult, but his behavior wreaks of an emo teen who needs to be force-fed adult conversations while he fiddles with his chain wallet. His subpar communication skills are someone else’s problem now. Godspeed.