Welcome to Seattle Dating Scene, featuring readers’ thoughts and stories about what it’s like to date in Seattle.

For our next feature, follow this promptHave an anniversary coming up this month? In under 500 words, tell us how you met your significant other, and send in your story and a photo.

By Thursday, Dec. 3, please email your submissions to: dating@seattletimes.com or submit them via Instagram direct message to @dating_in_seattle, and they may be printed in a future edition of The Mix.

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Ask Marina

Marina Resto, who runs the lively @Dating_in_Seattle Instagram account, answers reader questions about dating — or finds a special guest to answer the ones she can’t!

Dear Marina,

Long story short, I paid for our first dinner, and he paid for our second, I went to the bathroom and when I came back, he had already paid. I said, “I can pay you half or I can get the next one.” And he replied, “Since you’ll be gone for three weeks I’ll need you to split the check and Venmo me for half.” I was taken aback because I felt like he either wasn’t interested in me, extremely cheap or felt like I wasn’t worth investing in. Splitting the check is weird to me, plus it was $18 and at that point I would have honestly rather paid the whole bill since I hate splitting, it’s so awkward. How do I tell him that this bothers me?

Sincerely, Splitting the check

Dear Splitting the check,

I also hate splitting the bill. Maybe it is the way I was raised, but I’ve always been an advocate for the “I’ll get this one, you grab the next” mentality. It all evens out in the end, and who cares if I paid a bit more than the last date? I’m not keeping score. It’s a big turnoff for many people and it seems that you feel the same. Communication is the key to success here. Here’s a way you can address him with your concerns:

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“Hey (insert name), I’ve been enjoying our time together and want to continue to go out and get to know you more. However, I want to be honest and tell you that it really bothered me when you insist we split the check because I was going to be out of town. It made me feel like you weren’t interested or didn’t want to invest in this relationship because you weren’t getting something out of it immediately. I like the cadence of paying every other time and knowing that in the end, it evens out. What are you feelings?”

Addressing the issue is No. 1. If something bothers you, then share it! I think so many times (especially for women) we tend to not want to ruffle feathers, when in actuality, it’s crucial to communicate what we like and don’t like. If someone doesn’t respond well to you sharing your concerns with them, maybe they aren’t the best fit overall. We are allowed to feel the way we do, and the best way to resolve our hurt feelings is to talk through it in a respectful manner.

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Dear Marina,

I went on a date last week and we really hit it off. We’ve gone on two dates and have been texting each other a lot in between the first and second date. However, after the second date, things got a bit awkward once we got back to their place. I think I just got anxious when we were in their room. I really want to see this person again but I don’t know what to say or how to ask them out. I feel like I ruined it, how do I ask them on a date?

Sincerely, Asking them out

Dear Asking them out,

This is salvageable! You may have to do something that can be quite uncomfortable which is the big “c” word … confrontation. It takes vulnerability and can be difficult, but it gets easier the more you do it. Reaching out to them and letting them know how you felt at the time and what your intentions are will clear things up. My advice is to address it head on with something like this:

“Hey (insert name), I had a great time with you on the last few dates we’ve had. I’m sure you noticed, but I got pretty nervous once we got to your place. Maybe it’s just the jitters, but it felt a bit awkward to me. But I don’t want that moment to ruin all the fun we’ve had leading up to that point. What do you say about another date on (enter specific day), we can try (enter date activity here)?”

Get straight to the point and sprinkle in adding a date idea/activity to show you’re really interested. See what they say. Many people find it refreshing when we are forthright and honest. At the end of the day, what do you have to lose?

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Dear Marina,

I’ve been dating someone I was really into for a few weeks, but recently felt extremely pressured and uncomfortable with their sexual references. I told this person I wanted to take things slow, but the conversations have shown red flags indicating that this person is really just in it for sex. I’m of course disappointed, but need to end it since it appears we want different things. What’s the best way to do this without ghosting them?

Sincerely, To ghost or not to ghost

Dear To ghost or not to ghost,

No need to ghost! And no need for a long explanation of why you don’t want to see this person anymore if you don’t want to. The easiest way to deal with severing ties is to simply say, “Hey (insert name), I am not feeling this relationship anymore and have decided it’s best I end things between us. Thank you for respecting my decision.”

First off, you don’t owe this person much besides a respectful message. You are allowed to say no and not provide an explanation. Second, it’s your decision! You don’t need to feel bad about it. If it’s not serving you, then let it go! Your time is precious, don’t waste it on those who aren’t worthy of it.

Here’s an example of another way to sever ties by giving the person some more context:

“Hey (insert name), as much fun as I had getting to know you, I’m not feeling the chemistry anymore. In the spirit of being honest, you made me feel uncomfortable making things all about sex suddenly. It’s clear we want different things since I mentioned wanting to take our relationship slowly. I’m hoping this gives you some clarity on my decision not to see each other again. Thank you for respecting my decision.”

I love adding “thank you for respecting my decision” at the end of these “breakup messages” because it’s a clear reminder that there is no negotiation. When you say this and mean it, there is no need to respond after sending this message. Don’t drag things on or give fuel to their fire. Just let it go and move on.

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Here’s the monthly “Seattle Dating Scene” lineup:

  • First week: “Dating Question of the Month” — Readers respond to a dating-related question we’ve posed.
  • Second week: “Happy Anniversary, Tell Us Your Story” — Have an anniversary coming up this month? In under 500 words, tell us how you met your significant other, and send in your story and a photo.
  • Third week: “Best Date/Worst Date” — In under 250 words, tell us an anecdote from the best or worst date you’ve been on.
  • Fourth week: “Ask Marina” — Marina Resto, who runs the lively @Dating_in_Seattle Instagram account, answers reader questions about dating — or finds a special guest to answer the ones she can’t!
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