Yet another dating advice thread

The background:

I’m 30. I’ve been separated from my wife for three months, and the divorce will be final in a few weeks.

I have a demanding job, and I just started grad school part time. School is kicking my ass - they do a trial by fire for the first quarter, and I have about 20 hours of combined homework per week. In fact, I should really be doing homework right now.

I’m not really looking for a girlfriend right now, for obvious reasons. Still, I’d like the occasional female companionship, if they’re smart and funny.

I’ve been on a handful of dates and had a handful of drunken and not-so-drunken make-out sessions with a few women since the split. None of them have really worked out, but they’ve all ended amicably.

Hell, I’m even pretty good friends with one of them now, to the extent that she’s constantly trying to pimp me out to her friends.

Anyway, I’m now facing a bit of a dilemma.

a) Tonight, I’m having a couple of drinks with a cute 21-year-old who is WAY too smart and mature for her age.

b) Tomorrow night, I’m having a couple of drinks with a cute grad student, who is my neighbor, who is every nerd’s wet dream (she’s really in to Sci Fi.)

From my post-first-date impressions, both A and B have different types of potential. A for a medium term fling, and B for a medium-to-long term actual relationship.

Problem is, I don’t want a medium term relationship right now. Hell, I’m still technically married, and I’m just now getting used to living on my own again.

And the pisser is, I’m not the one who initiated contact with either of them. Both of them are aware of my marital situation, and though neither of them are aware of each other specifically, I’ve been very clear that at this stage, I’m not looking for exclusivity.

If it were six months from now, I’d let A down gently and continue on with B. If B weren’t around, I’d continue seeing A, with the understanding on both of our parts that the long term probably wouldn’t work out.

So what do I do here?

I want to do the right thing, but I’m not sure what the right thing is.


Sounds a lot like how the love of my life and I ended up together. He was recently divorced, I had just ended a long-term relationship, and we had just exchanged an email discussing how being “exclusive” was out of the question for the time being. And then, it happened. We spent one night together and that’s all it took. I’ve never been so in love, and I’ve never been happier. They say it always happens when you least expect it, and certainly when you’re not looking for it. So my point is, just go with it. Be open about where you stand with seeing other people, and see what happens. You never know.

The right thing is whatever you want it to be. You can date multiple girls at once. It’s not like a few dates with either one locks you into a commitment.

I don’t think you can go wrong if you continue to be honest with everyone you encounter romantically - you aren’t quite divorced yet, you are very busy, and you aren’t looking for THE ONE at this point. A woman who falls for you after you’ve made these things clear is going forward at her own peril.

As long as you’re honest with everyone, it’s all good. Just go out and have fun.

You’re assuming that they both want an ongoing relationship with you?

It’s pretty arrogant to think that this is all about you, and what you want, and what you are ready for. You’re assuming that you’re the one who is going to determine the course of the relationship. It’s not all up to you. These women have their own desires, interests, and agendas, and they probably have nothing to do with becoming the second Mrs. rabbit.

Did it ever occur to you that maybe they’re thinking “hey, this guy is just separated, he doesn’t want anything exclusive or serious, and he’s too busy to demand too much of my time! He’s exactly what I want right now!”

Sheesh. I get so tired of men who assume that all women are dying to hook them into serious romantic relationships. Sometimes girls just want to have fun.

Yep. I’m really not seeing the problem here.

Your point is well taken.

I’m just very, very cautious about this. If you knew my history with the current Mrs. Rabbit, you’d probably understand why.

Let’s just say I’m completely dedicated to being totally honest, and almost paranoid about avoiding any sort of unspoken misinterpreted expectations.

It’s also, I think, a function of having been recently married, and the internal conflict I feel between the (mostly learned) compulsion to be completely honest and the desire to be avoid being completely crass.

I’ve never been much of a player. I’m just learning a new set of boundaries.

ETA: Thanks for all of the responses, folks.

We’ve had a lot of threads here lately about when and if people should (or shouldn’t) expect their relationships to be “exclusive.” There are a lot of different viewpoints out there, but I think one thing everybody agreed on is that communication is key. Problems seem to come when one party is working from one set of assumptions and the other is working from a different set of assumptions.

If you’ve truly made it clear that you’re not looking to be exclusive, then you’re covered. That’s as “totally honest” as you need to be. If you’re asked a direct question about anybody else you may be seeing, you certainly shouldn’t lie, but you can refuse to answer the question.

And if you start to get the idea that a woman thinks that your relationship is more serious/exclusive than you think it is–then the right thing to do is to bring it up and clarify things. Hiding behind the “well, I told her I didn’t want to be exclusive/serious way back when” thing may be technically accurate, but it’s a dick maneuver nevertheless.

Good luck.