Dear Amy: I am a 32-year-old male. I have been in a string of monogamous relationships for the past 18 years, the shortest of which was one year, and the longest, ending in divorce two years ago, was 8 ½ years. All of my relationships (five in total) were back to back — no courting period, zero to 60 really fast.
I am truly happy on my own and have real self-confidence. I feel ready to enter the dating world.
What is the etiquette for dating multiple people? Is it expected to be exclusive when things get physical?
I am still not 100 percent comfortable with seeing more than one person, as it is against my instincts to some extent given my history, but I know it is best for me.
Amy says: If you are not comfortable seeing more than one person at a time, then don’t. If you are a serial monogamist, then you will be in good company.
The big, huge, obvious thing you need to do differently this time, vs. the previous five relationships you’ve had, is to take it slowly. Dating can be wonderful, but if you are launching yourself into relationships at the first meeting, then you are not dating, you’re flinging yourself toward your next breakup.
It will be very good for you to be more in control of the pace of a relationship. Dating is ideally a process of gradual discovery. If you aren’t getting sexual and attached on the first meeting but are getting to know people first, then you can pursue other relationships casually and ethically.
You should expect to move toward exclusivity when things get physical, but talk frankly with any potential partners to see if they are on the same page. You will find that some people want to leap right in, but remember — this doesn’t work for you.
Co-worker’s remarks offensive
Dear Amy: I work in a small office at my church.
Another person who has worked here much longer than I have makes inappropriate remarks and racist jokes. I’ve made disapproving remarks, ignored the comments and walked out of the room.
I’m considering going to the pastor, but if I do it will cause a huge rift among staff and the congregation, and I’ll likely end up having to leave a job I really like and need. What can I do?
Amy says: First, you should state to this co-worker, “Really, please stop making these offensive comments. None of this is funny, so please stop.”
Then you must speak with your pastor. Be prepared with specific examples.
Your pastor should handle this as a confidential workplace and pastoral matter, not as a confrontation within the congregation.
Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at email@example.com.