Dear Wendy: “How Long Should I Wait To Be Exclusive?”

Sometimes the advice for people who email me is so obvious I wonder if they just need to hear someone else say it to truly believe it themselves. Today’s column is dedicated to those individuals.

I have been talking to/dating this girl for a little over a year. We both agreed not to be exclusive, which was fine at the time. Now, a year later, I am ready for more. I told her that I am open to becoming more and her response was what I expected. She was not sure what she wanted. Over the last few weeks, she has made it clear that she is not saying no but that she is confused. Making comments such as “My friends think you’re great and that I am stupid, and I agree with them.” I understand she is scared of the commitment and I have no problem being patient, as I have told her. My question today is how long should I wait? I do not want to walk away from something I feel could be great. I know she wants to but is scared to make the “jump.” At the same time, I don’t want to put my heart on the chopping block. — Running out of Patience

If after a year of dating, your girlfriend isn’t ready to be exclusive, she’s just not that into you. She’s keeping you around so she won’t be alone while she waits for someone better to come along. Dump her and find yourself someone who thinks you’re the best.

I started grad school back in September, and met a great guy (let’s call him Rocky) after a couple of weeks. We hit it off, and since then have hung out quite regularly. Rocky’s pretty shy, quiet around most people but we’ve found that we can talk for hours, and have (at least from my end) really great chemistry. But that’s the trouble. All we’ve done since then is talk, hang out (alone and in groups — most people that see us together think we’re dating) and that’s about it. We flirt quite a bit but nothing ever happens from it. No kiss, no date, nothing. I’m starting to wonder if he’s just being slow about all this on purpose or if he just truly sees me as a friend. How can I figure this out? What do I do? — Friend or More?

If he’s shy and quiet, he’s probably scared to put the moves on you. Make it easy on him — and you! – and call him up, or pull him aside and tell him you enjoy his company and want to know if he’d like to go on a date sometime. Don’t ask if he wants to “hang out,” or “grab a bite to eat,” or “get a drink.” Use the word “date” so there’s absolutely no ambiguity at all. You’ll know by his answer and the way he acts towards you afterward what his feelings for you are. And if you do go out with him and the date goes well and he doesn’t kiss you by the end of the night, lean in and take matters in your own hands. If he backs away, he’s not interested in being more than a friend. If he kisses back, he’ll probably reward you for being the brave one to finally get things started.

I recently got out of a long six year relationship that began when I was still a teenager. Now I’m seeing someone new and everything appears to be going smoothly except for one thing: he barely calls or texts me. I’m going out of my mind wondering why he hasn’t called. Granted, he’s nine years older than me so he has a career and he goes to school. He is more set in his ways, while I’m still learning how to date as an adult. I have met a ton of his friends, we have gone on many dates during different times of the day, been affectionate in public, and he bought me a really thoughtful present for Christmas that shows he pays attention to me. When we are together all is well. We have great chemistry in every aspect. But when I’m not with him … I’m not really hearing from him. We hang out quite a bit, but I cannot wrap my mind around why he isn’t getting in touch with me when we haven’t planned to do something. He’s assured me I’m the only one he is seeing … but I am all too new to dating and all the rules. Should I be worried? — New to the Game

Girl, you need to check yourself! Unless you’re going days without hearing from your boyfriend, you’re being unreasonable and needy. Your boyfriend has a life outside of you — a career, school, friends, family, and hopefully hobbies that take his time. You can’t expect him — or anyone — to give you 100 percent of his focus all the time. You’re going to push him away if you continue being insecure and greedy for his attention. Let him know that if you go a day or two without seeing him, you’d love to touch base at the end of the day with a quick call. If you’re going days and days without hearing from him, then definitely have a discussion about your expectations. You may discover that he isn’t quite as serious about the relationship as you are yet and needs a little time before he commits more of himself to you.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at [email protected]