Every week, we receive dozens of questions from readers. Over time, we started noticing trends - similar questions bubbled up from the larger group. It was clear that some of these concerns were shared, connecting readers without them even being aware. To remind us that it’s a small world after all - every quarter, we will be sharing the 3 most commonly asked questions from readers, accompanied by our editor’s responses.
1. Dawn, 47, NJ: “When is a good time to have the, are we exclusive talk?”
Similarly, Barb from Kansas City, asked: “How long should you date someone before it becomes a committed relationship.” This list goes on. Our editor’s take:
When is a good time to have the are we exclusive talk? I wish I could provide a formula, but there’s no prescribed timeline. It depends on the relationship, and each party's situation and unique set of needs/wants.
That said, the best time to have the talk is when you feel the moment is right and you're 100% sure you want that too - and not because 'that's what people do,' but because you really want to be in a monogamous relationship with that one person. I recommend it being in a comfortable spot, in a great outfit, enjoying a tasty beverage. Alternatively, broach the subject while on a hike, or city-stroll together. Movement facilitates conversation, and helps manage nerves.
Before wading in, be clear on what you want. But drop all expectations - your partner may feel differently. These kind of talks break people up when either party isn’t receptive - but more importantly, respectful concerning their partner’s own priorities, thoughts and feelings . Sometimes these talks go our way, and sometimes they don't. The important thing to remember: all relationships are different.
Be prepared either way, and know, without any doubt, that what you want is valid and attainable - even if it's not with the person you're seeing right now.
2. Pam, 61, MO: “I pretty much work all the time, and I'm not interested in the clubs; so how do I meet men?”
Our editor thinks this is the most commonly asked question from both men and women ever, since the blog’s creation circa 2015. it’s ironic that so many people are asking this same question - if we’re all looking, why aren’t we finding each other? Our editor likes to talk about “offline” dating when readers ask this question. She says:
I advise my friends to date "offline." Join a sports club, or a culture club, go to local events - food tasting, wine tastings, galas, charity benefits, even parades. Spend your weekends at free festivals organized around your area - vintage festivals, craft festivals, car shows, art shows. I popped into a vintage festival in Houston last year, and was blown away by all the attractive, interesting people I met there - across many age groups. The best part about this:
The potential of meeting someone isn’t even the biggest draw to attending events like this. No, this is about you. Do something for yourself, learn something, treat yourself to a special day, a special gift, a moment you can’t prescribe.
That’s what life is really about. it’s in those moments, in that mindset, that love lives and grows.
Aside from that, dating success sometimes takes a bit of creativity — and of course, courage. But, I believe that by talking to people you're interested in "offline," and creating a dynamic social/cultural life for yourself (alongside the pursuit of a partner), creates a much happier 'you.'
We are naturally drawn to people who are happy and feeling their best. It’s powerful. Choose the things that make you feel that way, your most powerful, your most content. Be curious, engage! The more you do this, the better you will become at it. I really like Matchmaker Alyssa Bunn's, perspective on this, she says:
"When you put yourself out there, especially spontaneously, you get uncomfortable. And when you're uncomfortable, you grow — and with that growth comes confidence... and when you're confident, people pick up on that. People want to be around people that are confident, and sure and certain."
"It's not always pretty. it's not always exciting. It's not always flawless (it's actually never flawless), but we learn. We learn to really appreciate people that are unlike us... we realize "the list" isn't all that important after we put ourselves out there and gain a little perspective."
If getting started feels a little too daunting and you don’t know where to begin, try Meetup. It's free, and it’s designed to connect groups of people based on hobbies and interests. It's a community-building too (not a dating site). Who knows who you'll meet, or what friendships you'll form that will lead to other connections. Another good resource with specfic suggestions, check out: 6 Unexpected Place To Meet Offline.
I’ll end with a fun fact - Alyssa, the matchmaker quoted above, met her partner after (literally) holding the door open for him.
3. Eric, 37, PA: “Met a woman and it’s been pretty ideal. We took it slow at first, things heated up, we’ve shared a lot in terms of time and I know also, enjoyment being together. it’s been about 5 months. Lately, communication is becoming more infrequent, I sense an ending, but there’s been no conversation about it. I wonder if I did something wrong and why she’s not being clear.”
What did I do wrong, it’s over and I don’t know why, I’ve given so much and it’s not being reciprocated… these are all comments we receive on a regular basis. How refreshing would it be if everyone clearly communicated instead of retreating? That said, sometimes we don’t know exactly how we feel, do we? Or even why we feel that way. Our editor’s thoughts on how to deal:
This is a situation many of us can relate to - things starting out well, affection, camaraderie all there, and then at some point relations fizzle, no red flag, no warning. One of our VPs (she's also a certified matchmaker) once told me that all relationships have a natural lifecycle. She went on to say that even though it's difficult to let something go (especially when it's been so good), that's often the healthiest choice.
But why does it happen? I’ll state the obvious, it's possible this person has some kind of aversion to lasting commitment - after all, that kind of thing isn’t for everyone, all the time.
It sounds like the relationship was connective and real, so it's also possible she wants to take a step back before diving in deeper (in order to really make a conscious choice). Either way, I believe your best move is to follow her lead - be prepared to let it go and then see what comes back to you — or what doesn't.
When we cling, we often end up breaking things.
Time is the great equalizer. From what I can gather, you might find your way back to each other. Even if you don’t, you had a really nice time getting to know her and I imagine you learned some valuable things along the way that can aid other, future relationships.
Unless you ask directly, there's no way to know what inspired this new distance. So why not ask? If you sense it’s a good time, and can deliver it a good way, start a conversation to gather her point of view. I think we’re often too reserved when we can so easily ask a direct question that will help everyone move forward, or even find closure.
If you don't feel comfortable doing this, remember that we should all really being holding out for our “yes!” person anyway. Not a 'maybe' person, who is on-and-off — but someone who chooses you every day, no matter how crazy life gets. Being single, having opportunities to meet new people and take care of oneself is much more fun than being strung along by 'maybe.’.