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DEAR HARRIETTE: I met a man on a dating app, and we’ve gone on about four dates. We talk often, and I thought we were starting to get somewhere. I deleted the app after our second date. I downloaded the dating app again just out of curiosity and noticed that the man I’ve been seeing has been updating his pictures, status and bio — meaning he is still very active on the app. Should I take this as a subtle sign that he is not interested? — Dating App Problems
DEAR DATING APP PROBLEMS: Slow down. Four dates do not a marriage make — or even a commitment, necessarily.
Rather than jumping to any conclusions, talk to this man. The two of you are still getting to know each other. What are your goals and plans? Have you discussed those things? What are you looking for in a relationship? Do you want to find a partner? It sounds like that. Does he? Or is he looking to have fun? Find out what his goals and expectations are so that you can determine if the two of you are aligned.
You jumped to the conclusion that since the two of you were enjoying each other, you had no more need for the app. You should talk about that with him as well. Ask him if he intends to keep dating and exploring with other women or if he wants to see if there’s something special between the two of you. Find out his thoughts on monogamy. Ask until you are clear as to where he stands. But also don’t rush. Get to know each other, and you will learn whether you share values, interests and goals.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is constantly insisting on paying for everything, buying me nice things and taking me on expensive dates, only later to throw everything in my face when we get into an argument. It’s getting to the point where I don’t even want him to do anything nice for me if he is just going to hold it over my head. To me, nothing is really genuine if he is keeping track of every single purchase. How should I handle this in the future? — Manipulative Boyfriend
DEAR MANIPULATIVE BOYFRIEND: Pump the brakes. Evaluate your relationship. Make a list with two columns: pros and cons. Write down what you appreciate about your relationship and what you do not. Be specific, critical and balanced. Review the past week, month and year. What stands out that made you happy? Since your boyfriend gives you lots of gifts, write down each gift and the circumstances for receiving it, followed by the moment that it blew up in your face. What happened then?
Now look at other scenarios. What does your boyfriend do for you or with you that makes you happy? Describe those things so that you can fully see what you like about being with him. When you have exhausted that list, go to the cons. What do you not like? What upsets you, hurts your feelings, makes you anxious?
Compare your lists to decide whether it is worth it for you to stay with this man. If you think it is, it’s time to change some things. Stop accepting the gifts, at least for now. Let your boyfriend know the things he does that upset you. Ask him to stop his manipulative ways. You will need to point out when he does it, as he may not realize what he’s doing. Over time, notice if he is attempting to improve. This will help you decide if you should stay.