Dear Carolyn: I would like to hear your thoughts on what happened with a girl I was dating for two months. We went on dates every weekend, where I also stayed at her place. We texted each other during the week. On our last date, she said that I don’t text enough and that she had started to chat with someone on a dating app because of it. They have been on two dates and she is interested in him, and can’t date two guys.
I wonder now if I had offered to be exclusive whether that would have changed anything. I don’t understand why she couldn’t have just talked to me instead of jumping to another guy.
Carolyn says: Because she’s a really bad bet and you’re lucky to be out before you got any more deeply invested.
For what it’s worth, if she had been completely straight-up about her weirdly specific texting needs and her interest in meeting other people, and if she didn’t pull the feeble stunt of blaming her actions on you, then we’d be talking about a much better person — and you’d still be better off out of the relationship. Not interested is not interested.
As long as you did your best, there’s nothing else you can do about it except recognize she wasn’t the right person for you.
And if you didn’t do your best, then apply any lessons you learned about yourself to any relationships you have from now on.
OK with compromise?
Dear Carolyn: As a woman (of any age) in this postmodern, “woke” era: How does one distinguish the fine line between “compromising with” and “submitting to” a man within a relationship?
Carolyn says: Compromise is when both people give a little to their mutual benefit.
Submission is when only one person gives to the other’s benefit.
The fine line you’re looking for, then, is in how you regard your end of the deal.
It isn’t just about what you get out of it, either, or just in the short term. The sense you have of being heard, understood and respected is a huge part of your ability to be at peace with an agreement.
As is your sense of autonomy. If you feel heard and understood and respected in the moment, but come away from an agreement feeling as if you got maneuvered into something that goes against who you are and doesn’t resemble what you had asked for, then what you agreed to wasn’t truly a compromise.
How you feel in the long term about a deal might be hard to determine in the moment, but it’s worth weighing as your days with someone — and compromises — start to add up.
You can make one bad deal and still not feel as if you’ve surrendered your power to someone, especially if you’re able to bring this up, articulate your concerns and revisit the terms of the deal.
But when the need to make a deal feels constant and relentless with someone, and/or the deals never seem to tilt in your favor, then each compromise can become one pixel in a larger portrait of submission.
And? It’s not just about women and men. It’s about having a voice, and knowing you’re able to use it.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with her at 11 a.m. Friday at washingtonpost.com.