Ask Natalie

DEAR NATALIE: So I just broke it off with my longtime boyfriend. I'm newly single and ready to mingle! I started hooking up with a guy I met online recently, and he doesn't want anything serious, either. But I feel conflicted. While I'm not ready for a relationship, when I don't hear from him for a few days, it bothers me. Then, when he texts me, it's just to hook up. Is this what I should expect from dating? I'm totally confused. What do boys want?

 -- Girl on the Loose

DEAR GIRL ON THE LOOSE: What do boys want? I'm not always sure. But why you are asking yourself that question instead of asking yourself, "What do I want?" Do you want to be a "girl on the loose" as you suggested in your tagline, or do you really want to be fulfilled by a partnership? If you want to date casually, go for it, but remember that casual often means no strings attached. So, if that isn't what you really want, then stop engaging in those types of relationships. Men follow our lead when it comes to dating (even though they will never admit that), so if you want the type of guy who calls you the next day, then look for that guy. Stop wasting your time with what isn't fulfilling to you so that you can make room in your life for something great. And until he comes along, have fun dating yourself for a change. 

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: If you are new to networking, you don't need to look far to find connections. Join a college alumni group and reintroduce yourself to old colleagues who are all there for the same purpose. This reduces the anxiety level of having to seek out brand new contacts and gives you something in common from the start. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to nbencivenga@post-gazette.com or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

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