Question of the Day

Dear John,

I am a divorced 35-year-old woman. In February, I was introduced to a 39-year-old man who has never been married. After seeing each other at least weekly and speaking on the phone daily, I am starting to develop strong feelings for "Malcolm" and believe that he is beginning to care for me. We are dating each other exclusively although that is an "unspoken" choice. When we first started dating, Malcolm told me about "road trips" he takes with some of his buddies (who are very wealthy). He described to me the antics of the prostitutes whom a couple of the men bring along on these trips to entertain them. He laughed as he told me about these "sexcapades" and claims he has not participated in them, but I find that difficult to believe. Now I am dreading his next trip. I don't want Malcolm to have any sexual contact with these women, but I'm not sure if I have the right to say anything to him or ask him to avoid these women. How can I handle this situation? Do you think I'm wrong to expect him to be "faithful" to me given the short time we've been seeing each other?

~ Keeping the Faith, in Buffalo, NY

Dear Keeping,

From Malcolm's standpoint, he has already told you that he is not getting involved in these sexcapades. He doesn't realize that, in order for you to hear him, he still has to listen to you express your own concerns. Let Malcolm know that you truly appreciate his abstinence during these trips, yet the thought of what happens on these trips brings up insecurities you have regarding your relationship.

By sharing your feelings in this manner, you are reinforcing his positive actions on these trips. You're also allowing him to clarify any exclusivity the relationship might have at this point. When you become intimate with a partner, you have the right to discuss whether or not he is at this time also being intimate with others. But remember, the decision as to whether he is intimately exclusive with you is his, just as your decision to be intimately exclusive with him is up to you. If the relationship is not as exclusive as you've assumed, you'll be able to determine if you want to live with the decision he's made at this point of the relationship—or if you want to reevaluate the relationship based on your own personal needs.