When Do You Ask A Guy If Things Are Serious?


Name: MzLadyJ
Question: I’ve been single for about 5 years; mostly by choice, partially by circumstance, and I decided that as of the new year I was ready to get back out into the dating scene. My objective is to be in a monogamous/long-term relationship, that would lead to marriage. But I don’t lead with that, I’m okay with the process, and prefer to take things slowly. I’m open to stepping out of my comfort zone, and have met some decent guys. I get a lot of dates, but I’m finding that the men that I’m interested in investing time in, usually fizzle out; things start off strong and I think we’re on the same page, only to have them ghost me.  Currently, I’m seeing someone that I feel could lead into something genuine. We both agreed that it’s not a fwb, but we aren’t official; he asked that we only exclusively be intimate with each other (I agreed). We spend quite a bit of time together; random days, planned dates, and have even spent weekends together. Our conversations are deep and he’s even wanted to introduce me to his family (I declined the first 2 times he asked, but eventually agreed). Things are going nicely, except that after our most recent weekend together, he’s been communicating less (phone and text). I sent him a text just asking if things were okay and he did respond (he said he’d had a stressful day and would call me after work, never did, very unlike him to say he’d do something and not). After a similar exchange the following day, I ended up calling that night to ask why he was so hot/cold, and if he’d prefer if we take a breather (maybe things were moving quicker than either expected). Honestly, I just wanted him to answer why he was putting me on the back burner all of a sudden, but we ended up letting our emotions get the best of us, and ended the call abruptly. My thing is, we mutually agreed on taking things slow/friends first, but he expressed that he’s catching feelings but is now acting “different”. I’m not looking to rush into anything, and am okay with no titles, but I don’t want to waste my time. What are my next steps? Do I carry on as normal, have “the talk”, or just keep it moving? We’ve been communicating for about 3 months.
Age: 33

First things first: if a man or woman asks you to be monogamous, then the very next thing out of your mouth should be, “So I assume that means neither of us will be dating anyone else?” That this guy asked you not to sleep with anyone else really bothers me, as it doesn’t sound like he really promised anything in return. He’d dictating how the relationship unfolds while you’re sitting there wondering what the hell is going on. It’s one thing to be easy going. It’s entirely another to be a doormat. You’re so afraid of scaring this guy off that you’re going along with whatever he says and just waiting for him to figure out what he wants.

Uh, hello? What do you want?

My objective is to be in a monogamous/long-term relationship, that would lead to marriage. But I don’t lead with that, I’m okay with the process, and prefer to take things slowly. I’m open to stepping out of my comfort zone, and have met some decent guys.I get a lot of dates, but I’m finding that the men that I’m interested in investing time in, usually fizzle out; things start off strong and I think we’re on the same page, only to have them ghost me.

Yes, and that’s happening again with this guy.  Why? Because you’re letting it happen by being too passive. By the third or fourth date you need to be making it clear to these men that you’re looking for something with the potential to go long-term. These guys will happily drag relationships out knowing they don’t see long-term potential. That’s likely what’s happening here. You’re dating men who aren’t in it for the long haul and know it but aren’t letting you in on the secret. You’re going along to get along – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but you’re doing the very thing you say you wish to avoid: wasting your time.

You don’t have to lead with your expectations. In fact, I advise against discussing them for the first few dates. Figure out whether or not you think there’s potential for long-term compatibility first. I emphasize potential because it takes a very long time to determine true compatibility. Once you and a guy have gotten to know each other bit, then tell him what you’re looking for. If he hems and haws or talks around the subject, cut your losses. If he ghosts, well, you have your answer.  Definitely do not broach this topic right before you sleep together for the first time. Many guys in that situation will say anything to get laid or that will not blow their chances of eventually getting laid. It’s also not fair to do that to a guy. It’s kind of manipulative. Don’t use sex as a bartering chip.

It’s been three months with this guy. That’s plenty of time to justifiably ask him what’s up. You need to be clear and direct with him. “It’s been three months, I find myself developing real feelings for you, and I want to be sure we’re on the same page before we take this any further. I’m looking for XYZ. If you don’t think there’s real potential for that, then tell me.”

Stop leaving it up to these men and take control.


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15 Responses to “When Do You Ask A Guy If Things Are Serious?”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    “We both agreed that it’s not a fwb, but we aren’t official; he asked that we only exclusively be intimate with each other (I agreed).”

    If he asked you to be sexually exclusive, then you should also establish whether of not you are “official”, if that is what you want. Otherwise, you are just casually dating and sleeping together. After 3 months, it’s time for the title of “girlfriend”, if you want to move forward.

    I don’t think it’s manipulative to have an exclusivity talk at any point before sleeping together. A man can lie, but you will find out if he’s dishonest eventually anyway. Personally, I prefer to discuss this before we sleep together so I can make an informed decision. If he lies (or changes his mind), then that’s on him and it’s a good reason to break up.

    • Bluegrass Says:

      I think you make a good point. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with only wanting to sleep with people that you think you’re likely to become serious with. I think Moxie was just saying that it is kind of manipulative to bring it up very close before you would otherwise hookup. That would make it look like you really want to have sex, regardless of whether or not the guy commits, but are trying to use it as a gambit to get commitment from the guy. I dunno, I can understand wanting to sleep with a guy but being concerned about the commitment, but I think that the point is that if you wait until you’re practically in the process of hooking up to broach the topic, it could influence the guy to say he wants to commit when, in the pale light of day, he doesn’t (even if he weren’t out to outright lie about it). So try to have that conversation in advance of the time when you’re getting romantic like that if it’s an important consideration for you in being intimate.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      You mean you want to *be* exclusive before sleeping together, or find out if he’s relationship minded? Wouldn’t knowing if he’s any good in bed better help you make an informed decision?

      • fuzzilla Says:

        (Not an informed decision about whether he’s relationship minded, but about whether you WANT to be in a relationship with him).

      • Yvonne Says:

        I see your point, but I’m assuming we are already fooling around and the chemistry is good. If the actual sex ends up being bad, I guess all bets are off, but it depends what you’re comfortable with.

        I basically agree with Betty, though. I like to be clear about things. Of course, the situation can still change and there are no guarantees, but if a guy hands me the “I’m not sure what I’m looking for” line, I’d rather hear that before we have sex, so I can proceed accordingly.

        • Bluegrass Says:

          I also feel like, if the sex is bad, does that necessarily mean it’s unsalvageably so? I figure if the guy is amenable to instruction it can be improved (especially if you’re otherwise compatible), but then again I can see it being very humbling to hear you’re not doing things right for the person, so maybe it’s usually not worth it to try to fix things?

          • fuzzilla Says:

            I mean, sure, it would have to be pretty bad to be a deal breaker, but stranger things have happened. And I suppose I wasn’t really considering fooling around leading up to sex, I was thinking of a talk about their (general) feelings on relationships at the hand holding and sharing apps stage, like, “Whaat?”

  2. Betty Says:

    What a sad world when we can’t even ask someone we are intimate with where it is going. I think we’ve all been there and we are enabling these weak wishy washy men who hide behind the cloak of “I don’t know what I want.” Everyone wants to be the cool girl but you know what the cool girl gets? played. I’m done with it and now ask very directly what they’re interested in. It’s a hard lesson to learn but nobody will protect you but yourself. And no, it’s not all bleak, there are plenty of guys who ask me what I want early on because they don’t want to waste their time on something casual either. Those are the ones you want. It doesn’t take anyone beyond a few dates to know that they like someone and want to see where it goes.

  3. Nicki Says:

    I don’t think there’s any recipe on when to ask and when not to ask about where things are going. I think you just kind of know. With that being said, if this guy isn’t replying then I think he’s saying all that she needs to know. In the words of Greg Behrendt, “If the guy you’re dating doesn’t seem to be completely into you, or you feel the need to start ‘figuring him out,’ please consider the glorious thought that he might just not be that into you. And then free yourself to go find someone that is.”

    I’m going to just assume that she meets these guys online and this brings me back to the post you made in the last few weeks about whether online dating/dating is broken. It’s likely that this guy is just keeping his options open or something better came along or Tinder/Bumble/Match/Whatever has made him think the grass is greener somewhere else.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Agreed. I think it’s extra weasel-y of the guy to pull that after all that, “Meet my family! Don’t sleep with anyone else!” talk.

      • Nicki Says:

        Yeah, and I think when someone invites you to meet their family that you should be talking about where things are going right then. I mean, I have brought friends to meet my family who are both male and female, but I make sure that relationship is defined before it even comes up.

        • fuzzilla Says:

          Kinda reminds me of the guy who was reluctant to introduce me to his daughter- which I totally get, you wanna be absolutely sure before you involve kids. Except he kept doing this weird push/pull thing about it. “My daughter and I are totally gonna stop by your place this Sunday! Wait, no we’re not. Yes, we are. No, we’re not.” Dude, just DON’T MAKE PLANS ’til you’re sure, is that so hard? Uggh.

      • Parenting Says:

        There is the chance that he is just cooling on her and isnt pulling any kind of anything. Bottom line is that he doesnt seem to be feeling it any more. Not worth overanalyzing. Next.

        • Selena Says:

          That was my feeling also. That he might have been “into her” the first 2 months, then the shine of new infatuation faded and so is he.

  4. Beta Male Says:

    Although you did not go into the reasons why or when you declined meeting his family the first two times, maybe he just came the conclusion that you weren’t into him after you declined the first two times.

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