Gents,

I apologize for yet another thread on relationships. I feel the forum has been full of them lately. Nonetheless, I couldn't find anywhere this topic had been addressed previously.

What expectations, if any, should be formed when in the process of building a relationship? I'm talking basics here- expectations about dates and talking times (be it through texting, phone calls, or carrier pigeons).

I'm seeing this girl now; been seeing her for the past month/month and a half. She was telling me today that we shouldn't have any expectations about dates or talk times or anything. We should be in "casual mode"- and not be offended if one of us just breaks everything off suddenly. On the other hand, I believe that by now it's fair and safe to assume (and expect) that we'll continue seeing each other until we decide to make the relationship exclusive (or not, if that's the route we decide is best). Of course, we can technically still see other people because the relationship isn't exclusive yet. But after a month and a half of consistent, exclusive dates I've become pretty invested into her, and her me, and I'm, at least, not interested in seeing anyone else. Are my expectations of consistent dates and discussions reasonable?

I suppose what I'm looking for here is perspective. Am I off kilter, or is she? And are our two views of relationship building reconcilable or is this doomed to fail?

Thanks for the help, guys. It is much appreciated.

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Up until now it's been about a date a week for a total of 6/7 dates. And, up until now, we talked at least once a day for a significant amount of time (entire conversations, not just one or two messages).

I would say she is invested into me. She's told me as much. Not those words ("I'm invested in you"), but she got the message clearly across. Heck, I gave her my number before she gave me hers. She was the one that started pursuing me. Once I picked up on what she was doing I went with it.

Thanks for the reply LShieldes.

What was the conversation that brought this up? Well, she was afraid that we weren't on the same page regarding our standing as love interests (legitimate concern). She wanted to make sure that I was cool with taking things "extra casual"- no expectations for future dates, or even conversations for that matter. I didn't really have an immediate answer because it was a lot to take in all at once. My silence caused some conflict I suppose.

Every circumstance is different and you will never be fully aware of exactly what she is thinking but I would say that if you are feeling invested in her and aren't interested in seeing other people, at least from your perspective the relationship is mutually exclusive and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  

I think LShieldes is correct in that the only way to gauge her investment is by how often you two are interacting, and if she is instigating or if she is just responding to you.  Does she initiate most of the calls/texts/emails? Does she propose dates or are you the gas pedal?  Girls often like to play the "chase me" game but a good indicator of early relationship potential is how often the girl chases the guy. There should be a healthy balance, for me personally I am comfortable doing 50-60% of the planning. Everybody is different.

Do you know if she is still casually seeing other guys? If she is then, as hard as it is to swallow, she is nowhere near where you are. That doesn't mean all is lost but it does mean she has the power in the relationship.

She follows the Brad Pitt rule: if she's not open we'll work out a different time to get together. I'm unquestionably the initiator but she reciprocates, for the most part.

As far as I know she has not seen anyone else since we've been seeing each other, and I say that with pretty high confidence.

I am no expert.  But I'd say:  scale back, see a little less, and then suggest to her that you want to be exclusive with her.

And to not be offended if everything is broken off?  I think that's a way of saying, "We're not committed to a huge degree."  Which is reasonable, until the two of you feel the need for a stronger commitment.  Best not push.  But again, I'm no expert.

Yes, scaling it back certainly couldn't hurt. I'm of the thought that a relationship can flourish with minimal contact, assuming that both parties are on the same page with it all. I don't think that's happening here though. Well, not yet anyway.

Welcome to love, where your happiness is dependent on another person remaining happy with you. I agree with the advice you're getting that 6 weeks is pretty short. You can't put someone into your timeline, anyway. 6 months isn't short, but if she needs more than that to be ready to "be exclusive" or whatever, you have to respect that. (If you're tired of waiting, she has to respect that, too.)

Her "casual mode" and your "until we decide to...exclusive" are 2 sides of the same coin. Until you decide to be exclusive, you're in casual mode. Isn't that part of what the decision would be? You'd then be taking it seriously, rather than casually. And, while there are basic issues of politeness in ending a romance, I don't think a romance of 6 weeks demands discussion before it's ended unilaterally.

It sounds like you want to have an exclusivity discussion, and she's not ready to be exclusive. It's fine to have a discussion, to get a sense of what she needs before she's ready to "take that step." You just can't expect her to follow your timeline, or even have a timeline, or be equally invested as you are at every moment.

Well stated, Rebekah. Upon reflection, 6 weeks is indeed pretty short. It's easy to lose sight of that perspective when you're in the middle of everything.

Her "casual mode" and your "until we decide to...exclusive" are 2 sides of the same coin. Until you decide to be exclusive, you're in casual mode.

Yes and no. I agree that we should take things casually for now and we should both be open to seeing other people. Yet at the same time (and here's the problem) she rejects any expectations that occur. As I explained in my OP, I believe it is reasonable for me to expect to go on more dates with her because we've been on a decent number already. She rejects that notion all together and says we shouldn't even have expectations like that. What do you think- are my "more dates, more conversations" expectations reasonable or not?

And, while there are basic issues of politeness in ending a romance, I don't think a romance of 6 weeks demands discussion before it's ended unilaterally.

Discussion, no. Explanation, yes. I think my... partner... would answer "no" to both questions.

It sounds like you want to have an exclusivity discussion, and she's not ready to be exclusive. It's fine to have a discussion, to get a sense of what she needs before she's ready to "take that step." You just can't expect her to follow your timeline, or even have a timeline, or be equally invested as you are at every moment.

Yes, well said.

Have you ever been dumped? ever dumped someone? I've been on both sides, and am of the opinion that there's either no meaningfully helpful explanation, or the explanation is already painfully clear by the time of the formal break-up.

As for day-to-day expectations, first, there's a Seinfeld episode about this: "Friday nights - Do you call in advance and make plans, or do you just assume you're going out?" Second, yes, 6 weeks is enough to establish the pattern you describe, and therefore create certain objective expectations. (By "objective" I mean things like "She'll call in the evening" as opposed to "She's getting more into you")

But, that can be smothering to people. I've almost ended romances because after a few months, having to plan out every weekend around the other person's plans and wishes was just too much. Likewise, at some point in my university years, keeping my parents apprised of my day-to-day plans was just too much. She's doing you a favor by negating your natural objective expectations. And the fastest way to get me to resent you is to make me feel obliged to talk to you on the phone, but I'm weird and hate the telephone.

Have you ever been dumped? ever dumped someone? I've been on both sides, and am of the opinion that there's either no meaningfully helpful explanation, or the explanation is already painfully clear by the time of the formal break-up.

I've been on both sides as well. Getting dumped was much worse than pulling the trigger. In the case here I'm saying that it would be nice, if she ended it, to at least offer an explanation why she's ending it. Perhaps I could ask- "what can I do better in the future with other women?" End it amicably I suppose.

As for day-to-day expectations, first, there's a Seinfeld episode about this: "Friday nights - Do you call in advance and make plans, or do you just assume you're going out?" Second, yes, 6 weeks is enough to establish the pattern you describe, and therefore create certain objective expectations. (By "objective" I mean things like "She'll call in the evening" as opposed to "She's getting more into you")

I'm afraid I don't understand the distinction between "objective" and "subjective" expectations. Objective in the sense that we're reaching common developmental milestones? (i.e., exchanging phone numbers).

She's doing you a favor by negating your natural objective expectations.

Sorry, but I'm not seeing this either.

But what explanation is useful? Usually, the dumpee has either been a jerk and knows it, or the explanation is some version of "It's not you, it's me" or "I'm just not that into you." I find that, yes, some line like these is part of the politeness I first mentioned, but I don't find such lines helpful. (And Brett implicitly agrees with me in his piece on dumping)

Objective - Can be verified by the senses of sight, hearing, etc. Subjective - dealing with the internal emotions. I guess I should have said "expectations of objective events."

She's doing you a favor, because usually her objective acts would reasonably lead to an assumption of subjective realities. If she's called you every night for the last 6 weeks, it would usually be reasonable to conclude she's really into you. She knows this. Instead, she doesn't want you to get the wrong impression, so she's explaining her actions, at least partially.

Also, it would be reasonable to conclude she will call the next night. But, apparently she doesn't work this way. Again, maybe she doesn't want to feel obliged to call. Maybe she wants to be able to make other plans with no heads-up to you (an issue for me when I was dating my husband).

It reminds me of a story I heard from 2 of my college friends. They knew each other in grade school, then one moved away during high school. The one who moved away would call every evening, but not at a precise time. The family receiving the call would wait, and at some point near 7pm conclude the caller was skipping that night, and begin the Rosary. And, of course, always, the caller would call in the middle of the Rosary.

Grown-ups should make a rule: If I haven't called by 6:45, I won't call (or I won't call until 8pm).

I'm just asking her out more:

"Hey did you want to go out tonight and get some dinner?"

"Want to come over for a few hours?"

"We both have tests tomorrow. Can we study together?"

Stuff like that.

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