Play the Field

Q: What is your opinion of a woman dating a man seriously, but still wants the option of dating other men if she chooses? She has been divorced less than a year, while I have been single and unattached for 4 years. Am I over-reacting to her request? She tells me she really doesn't have a desire to be with anyone else and I do believe her. Could it be she needs more time to get over her divorce? Is this normal for women? Thanks for any help, I'm quite confused and not sure how to react to this. - Frank, 53

Dr. Susan: I'm going to be personal here, Frank, and share with you the first few weeks of my own current relationship. I had been dating a couple of guys when I met Stephen. We hit it off immediately and he would have liked an exclusive relationship from the start. But I was divorced less than a year myself, and although I could see there was great promise here, I also knew that if he and I made it as a couple, I would never be with anyone else again. So I told him I wanted to keep my options open a while. He agreed, rather than pressure me and probably lose me. Within a fairly short time, I knew he and I were better together than the other guys I'd been seeing, and probably better than anyone else I might meet. That's when we committed to being monogamous. About a year later we married, and that was 25 years ago. So my advice to you is to hang loose and allow her her freedom, while being clear that if she actually gets to the point of wanting to sleep with another man, you would like to know and it's possible you won't be able to handle it. But if she needs to see what else is out there for a while longer, give her the gift of freedom and trust that if you're good together, she'll realize it before long.

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