The Hook Up: Is casual monogamy a thing?

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I’m 30 years old and this is my first time dating a woman! It is so confusing or maybe I’m the one that’s confused. I met “M” three months ago via a dating website. We spoke via phone and text for about two weeks before we actually met. We had a nice first meet and greet and got to know each other better. There is an hour of distance between us. The next time we saw each other, we became intimate! I know it was definitely too soon but we couldn’t resist. Shortly after that we established that we weren’t going to sleep with other people, which was cool with me because I’m not that type of chick!

So we’ve been dating now for three months but I’m so confused. For someone who doesn’t really “have time for a relationship” (M’s words to me), it seems like she just wants me when she wants me. She’s asked me to delete the online dating account; we’re not sleeping with other people; she doesn’t want me to go on dates or “holler” at other chicks nor spend late nights on the phone talking to anyone but her. All of that I’m fine with but my question is: If she’s saying that, isn’t that a relationship vs just dating? It could honestly just be my own issue due to the fact that I haven’t dated much, or me wanting more than she’s willing to give at this moment! Please help. —A

Anna says: You’re in a long-distance, monogamous relationship. Also, she sounds kind of possessive. No talking on the phone with other people late at night? What if your mom calls, as mine often does, to tell you about the feral pigs that won’t stop eating her tomatoes? Are you just supposed to ignore her plight?

Are you upset over the semantics of “dating” versus “relationship”? Do you want to call her your girlfriend and she’s uncomfortable with that term? What’s the real issue here? Do you want to see her more? You say you’re an hour apart but how much time do you actually spend together?

I think your confusion is less about the words themselves and more about what they mean to you and your lady person. Thus, a conversation needs to be had where you talk about your relationship—she may be iffy on the word, but once you’ve agreed to stop dating and sleeping with other people, I think we can safely say that you are in one. People don’t usually become monogamous in a casual or platonic way—I’m trying to think of a scenario where that would even happen and am failing. Nuns are monogamous with Jesus but they don’t date. I once knew a guy who was polyamorous but could only sleep with one person at a time, but he could date whomever he wanted. Anyway, not the point.

While you’re chatting about your concerns, ask her what she means when she says she “doesn’t have time” for a relationship. It might be a simple time commitment issue. Like, she likes you, but because she’s so busy with her nine to five job at the Verizon store that she can only come visit on weekends, or something. And if that’s the case, is it going to be that way for a long time? And if whatever she says is agreeable to you, then, great. If that’s not the case, and you determine that you would like to see your paramour more often than on the weekend, then you’ll have to figure out if this is the kind of relationship you want to grow and cultivate—it’s still very early, after all, even in lesbian time, which is like dog years, that is, regular years times seven.

Long story short: Do you want the same things or do you have wildly different ideas of what your ideal relationship should look like? These are heavy questions for a newish relationship, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to get the conversation started.

And welcome to the wild world of women! It’s like the wild west, but with more leather chaps.

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