Is He Relationship Material or Just Wasting Her Time?


Full Name: Ellen

Age: 42

Your Question: Hellloooo ladies! After 2 serious relationships in the last 3 years, I made the decision to date multiple men casually until 1 rises to the top and becomes my boyfriend. I desire a life partner (ie marriage) and have been divorced for 11 years. There is one man, D, that I've been seeing 1x or 2x a week for the past 2 months. We actually first met 6 years ago at a single parents group and then reconnected recently on Hinge. I like him. He is a single dad of 4 (I'm a single mom of 1) and we have similar careers in marketing. We've been moving slowly which is great because I'm not attached and staying level headed. So what is the dilemma you ask?


Well, I'm finding myself questioning whether this is just a quality casual man or if he is actually boyfriend minded. He has never once called me--of course, I had not called him either until last week when I face-timed him while I was traveling. He often texts me and then once we've gone back and forth a few times, he doesn't ever respond to my last message. I'll hear from him 24-48 hours later with "Hey! How's your day going?". That's WEIRD to me. I did a little check in with him a couple weeks ago to see if we were on the same page. I told him that I'm not in a rush, but I do want to be mutually intentional about our relationship and that I am looking for long-term compatibility. He said he's looking for the same and has set the pace deliberately. Ok, cool.


But something is nagging at me. It's probably fear of being duped (as I have been in the past). But here's another thing. I followed him on IG last weekend and looked to see what accounts he follows. He follows several nude lady accounts and a couple rude-ass man accounts. I have never once heard him say anything even slightly offensive and he seems very dedicated to his 4 kids, going to every single event they have and making sure they're staying emotionally connected.


So...here's my question. Do I bring these accounts up to him? Do I take them as the red flag they appear to be and say buh-bye? I am continuing to date other men. But so far I have not felt as at ease and comfortable with any of them as I do with D. However, I also have a history of ignoring red flags because I'm attached and then being sorely sorry later. What's your take on my dilemma, feministas?


I think the first order of business is addressing this "I'm not attached" stuff. To some degree, I would think you are attached, which is okay. More than okay. None of this would matter if you weren't invested in this situation. I think women feel pressure to insist they're capable of being objective and detached when it comes to romantic/emotional situations. The assumption behind that being that women can't be both invested and objective. Which, of course, is not true. We're more than capable of being both at the same time. Getting attached is not a weakness. It's a normal reaction to being physically and emotionally intimate with someone.

Now, as for his unwillingness to call you, I'm not sure this is a red flag...yet. In general, I think many people avoid talking on the phone, even with their close friends. I happen to think this is a sign of how detached we, as a society, have become. The only time I ever called my ex was because I wanted to avoid having my tone misconstrued. Other than that, we relied upon text messaging and in-person conversation. Some people just aren't phone people. For now, I wouldn't hold it against him. Disappearing from text conversations is also pretty common. As long as he's not dropping out during crucial points - a total dick move - I wouldn't worry about it.


Things sound like they're moving along nicely. Right now, you're really into him so you're feeling kind of anxious. Totally normal! Where you veer off into cray-cray territory is when you start checking his social media. Again, this is totally normal and something many of us do. Unfortunately, it's something you're going to have to keep in the vault for the foreseeable future. Asking him why he follows certain accounts will come across accusatory. From there, things are likely to snowball into an argument. Or, worse, he'll silently resent you for the implication that he's a creep. So, tuck that one away for now.


All in all, things appear to be chugging along nicely. It sucks, but I think you're just going to have to wait this out. Only time will tell where this relationship is headed. I'm sure you know what it's like to have to consider your kids when you're dating as a single parent. He can't just jump into things, However, don't let him use his children as an excuse to control how the entire relationship unfolds. You have a right to want to set the pace, too. If, in a couple of months, things feel stagnant, then revisit the conversation. Just understand that if this guy is really who you want, you might have to be more patient than you have been in the past.


Good luck!


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