How long is it OK to talk to multiple guys whether it’s on a dating site or wherever before you settle down? I’m starting to catch feelings for this person, and I would like him to let me know if he’s on the same level. We've been sleeping together for about a month, but things aren’t going exactly as I want them to go timeline-wise. But every time I try to ask, he tells me we'll talk about it later. Or won't respond. The last time I brought this up I texted, "I always want to make you feel amazing, that’s why it kills me when you ghost me for days at a time. I just want you to meet me halfway and if you can’t that’s ok I’ll move on." He wrote back, "I understand and I need to be better. Let’s get some rest and discuss this more." That was like a week ago. We've talked since, but he hasn't brought up anything and I'm not going to. I just wonder when I should stop talking to other guys.
Torn Up in St. Petersburg
Oh, my dear Torn,
I'm quite certain you're texting, not talking.
You're one of these.
We all are. This is how we "talk" now. But this leads to problems in the romance department. It makes it much easier to present a controlled image. Of course, this is exactly what can happen in early stages of a relationship. But over text, the ruse can be kept up for much longer. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Now, when you are having sex, of course you speak, but commitment is about the worst thing you can bring up in post-coital cuddling — we've all said things we don't mean while we're under the influence of sex. But this much you seem to know. The truth is, texting isn't the way forward either. In fact, there's no ideal path for this except delay. Put off that conversation as long as humanly possible. Better to let the other person bring it up, or to let it to come up naturally. Like, if it hasn't come up, don't take the guy to a wedding and noodge. More like, if he needs you to walk his dog while he's out of town which means you'll need a key. And yes, I mean wait that long.
He's probably not ghosting you, he's probably out with someone else. Don't ask. He should be out with someone else. You, too. Both of you need to get to know each other and there's no slower way than texting. Until you're able to pick up the phone and use the voice end of it anytime, you should keep talking to other people. If it so happens there's no one else on your radar, stay close with your friends and keep doing what you love doing. Do your best not to stalk his online profile to see when he was last active. It "proves" nothing and sets up a dysfunctional dynamic that will crater your relationship eventually.
But here, my dear Torn, is my most heartfelt, soul response to your letter. The strongest advice I have for anyone at any time. The only person you should be worried about making feel amazing at all times is YOU. Recognize your own divinity.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
It's probably been at least six years since I heard the most world-changing wisdom drop from the lips of a stranger. I was at a dharma talk in Manhattan, and people were sharing their post-meditation experience. Some random guy I never saw again said something like this, "When I realized I had to stop looking for someone to make me feel good all the time and instead find someone I trusted enough to hurt me, that's when I fell in love."
At first I was all, WTH? But then, it dawned on me. Of course. There is no way to make my own self feel amazing all the time (yet I get to try!), so how would I ever do that for someone else? If I'm not capable of it, why should someone else be? In fact, when I really thought about it, I've hurt everyone I've ever loved. My quest had to shift. Instead of searching for someone who could make me feel good, I had to look for someone who wouldn't throw salt on our wounded places. I had to feel good first, and then find someone to match that. Try that out.