DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I have a bit of an ethical dilemma:
A few months ago I met someone online and we clicked. After a few dates she said she wasn’t looking for anything beyond that point as she’d been through some pretty choppy relationship seas before then and I really appreciated her honesty and directness in a world where the slow-fade and ghosting is a thing, my anxious brain appreciates that kind of candor. We both agreed that hanging out was fun and agreed to remain friends and have hung out for coffee and a chat a few times, and it’s been good. I appreciate her friendship.
I now suspect that a few months on she might be considering me differently. I don’t really have any hard evidence of that, just a feeling (my flirting radar doesn’t really work). I’m not one for circling back historically, but I probably would have been open to giving it another go had I been asked and had I not very recently met someone and started seeing them. It’s very, very new and who knows if it will even be a consideration by the time you read this, although I’d like it to be.
I’m not sure if or when I need to tell the first person that I’m seeing someone now. I think we’ve all been in that situation where we were too slow with a crush and see them holding hands with someone and feel our stomachs drop to the floor, so I don’t want to inflict that on anyone, but neither do I want to awkwardly and arrogantly assume she’s feeling something for me that simply isn’t there. This could also be a non-problem – she could be seeing someone for all I know, and I’d be really happy for her, but relationships have never really been in our topics of conversation.
Is there a conversation to be had here?
Paragon or Renegade?
DEAR PARAGON OR RENEGADE: You’re making this more complicated than you need to, PoR. You aren’t dating, you don’t have any commitment to one another or the expectation of anything approaching exclusivity. More to the point, you also don’t actually know that she’s got feelings for you. This is all pure speculation on your part. And then on top of that, you admit that your social radar isn’t the greatest.
So I suspect a lot of this is your reading into things that aren’t strictly there. Which hey, we’ve all been there and done that. It’s a sort of wishful thinking; even if we’re not actively hoping to start a relationship with a person, there’s something validating about knowing they’re into us. Just because you’re not going to the party doesn’t mean that it’s not nice to be invited, after all.
As it is though, not only do you not have an obligation to tell her that you’re dating, but you’re so early in the process that it’s a bit presumptive to say anything at all.
My advice? Leave things well enough alone. If you and your new squeeze last long enough that you reach a point that you’re introducing her to your friends, then you can let your buddy know.
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