Dear Love from the Brain,
I’ve been seeing this one guy regularly since St. Patrick’s Day and we are like totally into each other. He’s recently divorced and before meeting him I had just gotten out of a long term relationship so we both decided that we should take things slow. So, while we are not seeing other people we are not officially boyfriend/girlfriend.
Here's the thing. Before me, he was online dating and he still has his accounts and he still checks them daily. I know this for a fact. I asked him about it and he told me he only wants to date me and that he’ll stop checking his accounts. But he hasn’t stopped. My questions are 1) Why would he feel the need to keep checking his account? 2) Is this normal or should I be worried that he will always be looking for something else, 3) How can I bring this up again and let him know this is a deal breaker without seeming totally crazy?
Too Good To Share
Dear Too Good To Share,
I’m no online dater so I cannot speak on what is “normal” online dating behavior. However, my gut tells me that because this relationship is fairly new, this guy is keeping his options open despite the fact that he might genuinely be into you. It’s like he wants to be with you but just in case this doesn’t work out, he doesn’t want to left with no prospects. That’s what it sounds like to me. Maybe, as the relationship between the two of you grows, and he begins to feels more confident that this is a long term situation, the accounts will disappear.
However, based on question three, this online account checking is a deal breaker. Deal breakers are those behaviors that we cannot accept or tolerate. They are the behaviors that we reject. When we reject the behavior, we reject the owner of the behavior. When we reject the owner of rejected behavior, we reject the relationship. I suggest that you seriously reconsider if this behavior is a deal breaker. If it is a deal breaker, break the deal. Walk away. If it isn’t, I say tolerate it for now while you’re still in “take it slow” mode and try to focus on what he does when he’s with you and not what he does when he’s not. When the time comes to make it official, make the elimination of all online dating accounts a condition of the new deal.
By the way, he’s lying and you’re snooping and that’s enough to ruin any relationship. If you really want this thing to work, I suggest you work on creating a honest and open relationship rather than focusing on behavior that has yet to present a real threat to what you got going on between you.
I hope this helps.
I have many conversations with men and women who are in relationships and spend most of the time in the relationship policing the other party. They are tracking the other’s moves. Checking the other’s phones. Reading their emails. Monitoring their online usage. One person I talked to has gone so far as to leave work early to go and verify that the other person is where they said they would be. When I ask these people why they are doing all of this they say that they have found shady stuff in the past so they continue to watch for more shady things. When I ask why they don’t just walk, they go silence.
If you are in a relationship where the entire relationship is about policing the relationship, then you need to walk away. You are holding on to something that doesn’t want to be held or doesn’t mind giving you a small percentage of themselves.
I say, “grab everything with the willingness to let it go” and I truly believe that is the way that we should operate in relationships. When we are willing to let go, we allow ourselves to be ourselves and we allow others to be themselves and we create an environment where togetherness or estrangement can naturally occur. Furthermore, when togetherness or estrangement does occur, we are able to embrace what is happening because we were willing to let go from the beginning.
Remember. No always. No never.
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