If a boyfriend’s once-a-week “casual date” feels cheap and wrong, then think that through and possibly take action, writes advice columnist Carolyn Hax.
DEAR CAROLYN: I have been seeing this guy for a couple of months now. He started very fast, being very involved with me, but a few weeks later he took a step back and said he liked being around me but when he realized he was getting real feelings for me he was scared. Now he doesn’t text or ask me out every day, but we hang out once a week and call it “casual dating.”
Although I like the casualness of it and not having to report to someone every moment of my day, I also don’t want us to just “hook up.” It feels cheap. He says he likes what we have and likes me a lot. Should I continue or stop?
DEAR E.: His love burns so brightly he can only bear it once a week?
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It’s always your prerogative to say no to something that doesn’t feel right to you, or just sounds like total crap. Think of it as your emotional immune system.
It only works, though, when you don’t talk yourself out of whatever it’s trying to tell you.
So, yes, stop having sex with him, since you’re bothered by the terms; if that drives him away, then there’s proof your immune system was right.
By the way — healthy, mutual commitments are about trust and unforced inclusion, not “report[ing] to someone,” yes? In case your remark wasn’t just for effect.
DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend’s work schedule shifts around from week to week, with a mixture of mornings and nights. Mine is a standard weekday, 9 to 5, but I work a second job till 10 p.m. a couple of days a week as well. We’re both happy with our setups, so no problems there.
He’ll often text from work when I’m off to ask what I’m up to, and if I happen to be doing something fun, he will say he’s “jealous.” Here’s where I become the language police. I know he doesn’t mean to use that word in a malicious way. He doesn’t want me NOT to be having fun. And I could just ignore it.
But it bugs me that he is implying that I’m getting to enjoy something he doesn’t get to, when there are plenty of nights when I’m working and he isn’t, and when there is nothing stopping him from enjoying some of the same things during the times when he’s not working.
I know it seems like I’m just nitpicking, but this small thing feels somehow like a big thing. What do you think is my deal?
DEAR ANONYMOUS: I think you’re nitpicking and language-policing when you could just ignore it.
Or just recognize there is more than one interpretation of “jealous.” If you assume the most charitable one, and text back accordingly — “Miss you!” or “We’ll come back here the next night you’re off” or, if you have text skills like mine, “We’ll comeback hernia night Europe” — then you might find this is just a resounding nonissue of his wishing he were out with you, versus stuck at work.
Maybe he has a history of scorekeeping, which would change the answer completely (to “And you are dating this person, why?”), but otherwise I’m going with this: Unless you’re certain what someone’s implying, you are merely inferring. Any reason you’re inferring the worst?