In a relationship jam? Lemme unstuck your life: [email protected].
Q: Is there a way to tell a woman that you are not ready for a long-term relationship without her suspecting you of being immature and/or promiscuous? A few weeks ago, I got out of a long-term relationship. Last weekend, I met someone, and we hit it off enough to get drinks. She’s expressed interest in hanging out again and more often. While I like her, I am not ready to get into another long-term relationship. Should I be up front immediately? I’m afraid of leading her on, but I also have a tendency to overthink everything, so I don’t want to say anything too soon.
A: Bless you WTL. I’m going to give you all the cookies for taking this woman’s feelings into consideration — and I’m stingy with my cookies. My girls and I have drained entire cases of wine over Ain’t-Shit Dudes who’ve wasted our time when they knew they weren’t ready to get serious. Go on ahead and let her know up front where you’re at emotionally. Otherwise, she might get upset you didn’t tell her sooner, or take it personally and think you’re just not that into her.
So maybe like a third of that wine my girls and I have drained was due to self-inflicted emotional turmoil. We got with some guy we really liked, and he told us clearly he wasn’t ready for a relationship, but because he was being sweet to us, we were having a good time and we really liked him, we let this tiny bit of hope bloom that his feelings would change. Looooooooooolz. Nope.
This isn’t entirely our fault. Heteros are conditioned by society to believe true love is the reward for waiting. The nerd wears down the hot chick. The prince shows up when the princess needs him most. So, there’s a chance that this woman, at some point, will begin to believe your relationship-readiness status has changed.
What I wish I had done in those cases is say to the man, “I can respect that, but that means I need to put some boundaries in place.” Good-morning texts and long emotional conversations basically mean to me we go together now. I just can’t help it. So, tell her what your boundaries are, and find out what her boundaries are, too. You can also check in every few weeks just in case anyone’s feelings begin to change.
Q: My boyfriend wants to try some “alternate” options in bed, and it makes me little uncomfortable. How do I tell him I’m not ready without pissing him off?
A: Looks like you and your beau have hit a speed bump in the bedroom. First and foremost, no one should ever get pissed off because you’re saying “no” to something in the bedroom. If that’s how he’s going to behave, let it be known he doesn’t deserve any of your options — alternate or otherwise. But maybe you really meant “disappointed,” in which case, let’s proceed with your question.
Real quick, let’s clarify. Is it:
A) You’re not ready
B) These “alternate” options are not your jam and are never gonna be your jam
Let’s run through your options for each.
A) If you’re not ready, you and your partner can talk about what you need to be ready. You don’t have to feel bad about needing more time. Remember that point in all of our lives when we didn’t think we’d ever be ready for handj… er holding… hand holding. And now we hardly even consider that a step on the way to more involved activities! In the meantime, suggest some things the two of you haven’t tried together yet. He might be surprised to learn the array of options that are available to him.
B) I always say I’m saving “Option A” for my 50th wedding anniversary. But seeing as how I’m 32 with no future husband in sight, what I’m really saying is that door is forever closed to all my paramours. I find that when I go against my wants, I mentally and emotionally check out during sex, and that doesn’t make me feel good about myself or my partner. To be fully present and actually enjoy myself, I made the choice not to hook up with men who push me to do things I’m not into. Sometimes, as a woman, it can feel like a radical act to put what you want first in the bedroom. But I encourage you do it and make it clear this is not an opportunity for negotiations, aka coercion. After all, no means no.