How Soon Is Too Soon To Define The Relationship?

Hi. I just met you. And this is crazy. Are we in a relationship??
by Logan Hill
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How many dates should you go on with someone before having a conversation about what kind of relationship you want? I don't want to mention it too early, but I think I may often wait too long.

Anytime you want—and as early as the first date.

Frankly, it doesn't make much sense to talk about your particular relationship before you even get to know each other. But, if you're looking for a serious relationship, you don't want to waste your time on people who are trolling for nothing but casual sex. That's why you should have that talk early, but frame it in such a way that it's not specifically about the two of you, and is, instead, about your general dating approach. 

Just say, "I know we've just met—and I have no idea if we'll click. But I've been on some dates with people who want very different things, so I feel like I should ask: Are you only interested in dating casually? Or would you be open to something serious with the right person? Don't lie." 

That way, you can get a sense of where your date is coming from—without it feeling premature. If you find yourself falling for someone, have that conversation about exclusivity as soon as it matters to you—and remember that you can talk about what you want without delivering a do-or-die ultimatum.

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I have had two serious relationships in which I ended up cheating on my exes. But I never regretted any of it. And after that, I have been with a series of guys only in a physical sense and no relationship whatsoever. Is something wrong with me? I enjoy sex and it doesn't matter to me if I end up cheating on the one I'm in a relationship with. Please help. 

You're actually talking about a few different things here—and it might help if you separate them.

First, there's nothing "wrong" with simply enjoying sex, or just casually hooking up with guys and not wanting a relationship. There are plenty of healthy reasons for not settling into monogamy. Maybe you just like being single, in which case you don't need to apologize for your independence. Maybe you haven't met the right guy, in which case you're right to move on. Maybe you're afraid or unable to be in a real relationship right now, in which case you might be wise not to force it. You don't have to feel guilty because you don't want to be with any one guy.

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Second, there doesn't have to be something "wrong" with you for you to be doing the wrong thing. People make mistakes and make them repeatedly. We all do. That's life. It doesn't make you a bad person because you do a hurtful thing. As Samuel Beckett wrote, "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

That said, cheating on a partner is hurtful and disrespectful and just plain crappy. It's lying because it seems easy. It's hurting someone before they hurt you. It's breaking promises and being dishonest with yourself. It's selfish. You know this.

My question for you is: Why pretend you want a monogamous relationship in the first place if you're going to cheat? Wouldn't it be easier to keep things casual?
 

Maybe you find that it's easier to use cheating as the nuclear option that ends a relationship, rather than dealing with more complicated feelings or making yourself actually vulnerable. 

My advice: Don't tell someone you want to be monogamous unless you really do. And, the next time you're sure you want to cheat on someone, try breaking up before you hook up with the next guy. It will be a lot easier on both of you.

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My boyfriend and I were in the new-relationship, can't-keep-our-hands-off-each-other phase and were about to start having sex when he had to go to the hospital for a medical issue. Now he's going to be recovering for quite some time, and I'm completely OK with waiting to be intimate with him, but I'm slightly worried that we won't be able to get back in that new discovery phase we were in. I'm also worried that once we can start doing things again, it will be awkward to get back into the swing of it. The relationship is new, but we have both liked each other for quite some time and first got together when he was in a relationship with someone else. We are already very serious about each other; I'm just worried that it's going to be hard for us to begin to be intimate like that again. 

I don't think you have much to worry about here. If you wanted to jump each other's bones before his hospital stay, I bet he'll be twice as anxious to have fun when he gets out. Guys' libidos are generally like the monsters in horror movies: Just when you think they're dead, they come roaring back. 

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As for sex being awkward, sex is always awkward with a new partner. It's always a process of trial and error. Don't worry about getting it right, have fun learning what makes you both feel good. Think of every new challenge as an opportunity: Even if his doctor prescribes "bed rest," you don't have to be that restful in bed.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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