Dear Dr. Romance:
Status confused I met a really great guy online a few months ago. We see each other about once a week, or once every two weeks. He is always doing things for me like working on my car and helping me out in any way he can. However, I am not sure if I am considered his "girlfriend." I also feel like I cannot bring this topic up with him without scaring him off. How can I be sure of my relationship status with this man? Do actions really speak louder than words? And how do I broach the subject to find out if he thinks of me as his girlfriend?
If he's working on your car, it's a good sign. Some men show their affection by doing things for you more easily than they can find words. Also, this man may be slow to make up his mind about his feelings. It's important to appreciate what he's doing for you, and let him know that you are grateful. If things are going well, count your blessings, and don't push for change too quickly. I could understand this anxiety if you had been together a year or more, but not in just a few months.
I understand that you'd like to know the status of your relationship, but it's important not to push too hard. Being in a rush to clarify things can work against you. You may need to help him understand and express his feelings. Choose a relaxed time, tell him you are really enjoying your time together, and ask him how he feels about it. Use my "Guidelines for being better understood" as a guide for keeping the conversation going well.
Ask him if your friendship is going as well as he would like, or if there's anything you can do for him. Then, whatever he answers (which may not be much, if he has trouble putting his feeling into words), just let the conversation go to other topics. This will give him a chance to think about how he feels about your relationship. Wait a week or two, and try again. It is still early in your dating situation, so take your time and let the discussion grow. If the situation continues until you're dating for a year or more, it may then be time to ask directly. However, I think if you follow the gradual, low-key method, you'll find out how he feels and what his intent is long before a year has passed. Try to avoid the dreaded "We have to talk about our relationship." It's less intimidating if you ease into it as part of a normal conversation. Following the "Guidelines for Being Irresistable to your Mate" will help you create a relationship that both of you will cherish.
You might want to read Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences for more strategies to create a healthy, loving relationship.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org