Ready to Date Exclusively But He’s Not? Here’s What to Do.

pensive woman dating

You feel ready to move forward in your relationship and want a commitment to date exclusively. He hasn’t brought it up. What is a smart, single, over 40 woman, who knows what she wants supposed to do? Just wait it out patiently? Or cut and run?

Neither. There are definitely things you can do to move the relationship forward. Read my advice to “K.”

Hi Bobbi,
I met a man at the beginning of January. He is kind, considerate, funny and there is no doubt that we enjoy each other’s company. I am extremely attracted to him on all levels.

We are both busy and have full lives, however, he is a shift worker so getting together is more dependent on his availability (he’s a cop) than mine.

We are both busy and have full lives, however, he is a shift worker so getting together is more dependent on his availability (he’s a cop) than mine.

We have had 6 dates (all fabulous) and I feel confident that he initiates contact (texts) as often as I do. I do not doubt his sincerity and I know he likes me. He is considerate, does very kind things for me, is very touchy in an appropriate way …

Before we met he said that he rushed into his first few relationships right after his divorce and he wasn’t going to do that again so I don’t say a word about “status”….(I take part in your webcasts and read your articles…I am learning how to date like a grown up, thanks to you. Lol). We both also established that neither of us wants to get hurt (who does) and that we each have our walls up to protect ourselves.

I have a tendency to rush into things too or to force them. This time is different. I am deliberately exercising patience, refraining from reaching out excessively, respecting the space between us.

I am having fun and dating other men who ask me out (only if I’m interested in them..I don’t need to “fill a void” in my downtime), however, my heart isn’t into other men. It is him that I want but I don’t know how to navigate this.

I have been on my own much longer than him so I that much farther along the continuum….
Can you offer me advice? Thanks for everything.

Hi K,
I see the signs that he’s definitely into you. And that you’re feeling impatient. I understand, but still think it’s best that he make the ‘formal’ move to express his desire to be exclusive. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t give him every signal that you’re ready.

What does that look like?

  • When he asks you out, make sure you let him know how happy you are to be able to be together.
  • Let him ‘lean in’ and make most the plans and moves, but made some of your own here and there. This shows him your clear interest. Get tickets for a play, suggest a movie or restaurant. Even offer to set up the whole date and pay. (Do this after a few or several dates.)
  • Make sure you tell him how happy he makes you. (Don’t assume he knows.)
  • Share with him that you are loving getting to know him more and more and starting to truly care about him…and even though that scares you, it also feels good.

In other words, don’t be shy about your feelings for him. There’s no need to do the hard-to-get crap or play any games. If you’re both scared and neither of you communicate your feelings, your relationship is doomed.

Someone has to be the one that says shares straightforward, yummy feelings. It’s okay if it’s you, I just don’t want you to be the one asking the ‘where are we going’ question or making the suggestion. (I know that seems old-fashioned, but there’s a reason it’s been this way for eons; men generally want to lead when it comes to these things. I say let him.)

Is putting yourself out there this way a little risky? Maybe. But it is SO worth it when you help him feel more comfortable so you can start talking more freely about your feelings, what you each want in a relationship and how you see your future. (Note I said start talking. He may not be in the same place, but starting the conversation can move you forward in leaps and bounds, regardless of the ultimate outcome of your relationship.)

Remember, too, that deciding to date exclusively doesn’t mean you’re getting married. It just means that you have decided to focus on each other because you think there is potential for something wonderful together.

One more thing: Kudos for continuing to date other men, even if your heart isn’t fully in it. This will help with your impatience, keep your dating skills sharp and remind you that if it doesn’t work out, there are a ton of nice single men out there.

With love and support,

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