Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dear Jamy: juggling cats

This week, I received two questions and I decided to answer both. As always, feel free to second guess me in the comments.

Dear Jamy,
I am definitely a one-man woman when it come to dating, and have had three serious long term relationships. Now, I find myself single once again but with not one, but TWO, interested men. I consider you an expert in the area of dating multiple people and would like some advice on juggling prospects. Do you also have any tips on playing hard to get?

Thanks ever so much!
Beth the Librarian

Dear Beth,
I am most definitely not an expert on juggling men, despite blog evidence to the contrary. It is a long standing goal of mine to achieve "overlap." Overlap is when you have a date with Guy A, then a date with Guy B, then another date with Guy A. And so on. I have done this maybe once. When I start dating the guy who I want to be my boyfriend, I cancel all my other dates or the other dates disappear. How do they know?

Now that I have established that I have absolutely no credentials to answer your question, I'll give you my opinion. It's great that you have two men you like and who like you. Until you have promised exclusivity to one, you are at liberty to keep dating both men. You should be open about this--though it's not necessary to tell the guys about each other (use your own judgment here). After a few dates, many people (men too!) will assume exclusivity. To avoid hurt feelings, be clear that you reserve the right to date other people.

Also, you need to make a decision before you sleep with either of these guys. If it were me, and I were in a nonexclusive relationship, I need it to be exclusive before I sleep with him. I'm not interested in having sex outside of an exclusive relationship. Maybe you are comfortable with that. Men may be more likely to say they are comfortable with such an arrangement, but who knows if it's true. On thing I do know is that way lies hurt feelings. I recommend picking one guy before you start sleeping with either. It's not required, but it would make life a lot less complicated. And if you don't choose, be honest and use condoms.

You also asked about playing hard to get. Another topic about which I know nothing. My only advice on that is to keep your normal schedule--see your friends, go to the dance/club/whatever that you usually would on Tuesday night. Never cancel a previous engagement for a man and don't rearrange your schedule for him. It's not playing hard to get, exactly, but it a good way to set a healthy pattern should you get into a long-term relationship.

Good luck and have fun.


Dear Jamy -
I have a desperate problem. I've recently started dating a new boy who I like very much. He is nearly perfect in every way you can imagine. Here's the bad part - he's allergic to cats!! I'm having the most awful time trying to decide if being in love and being happy with a boy is worth giving up cats. What do you think?


Dear Jo,

Do you have a cat? If you do, there is medicine he can take for his allergies. If he really loves you, he will try the medicine. However, these pills can make some people craaaazy, so proceed with caution.

If you don't currently have a cat, then it's you who must make the sacrifice. The current relationship trumps a future relationship with a strange cat.

That said, he may not be allergic to dogs or other pets. You may still be able to have a furry creature in your life.

As long as we're talking about cats, I met a woman recently who asked me if cats were a problem for dating. Like me, she is a single woman, living alone, with a cat. She is worried that boys may think she is a crazy cat lady (one cat does not a cat lady make--the break point is more than four cats per lady). I had this same worry before adopting Tabitha (my cat). I got the cat, then bought my condo and I have a PhD. The condo and the advanced degree seemed like more than enough to scare off a large number of men--add in the cat and would I become untouchable? (Short answer: no.)

You know what I discovered? Tons of single guys have cats. They just don't talk about them. But if you mention your cat, they will mention theirs. Or their childhood cat. And then you have something in common! Wonderful.

I told my friend what my mother said when I asked her if having a cat would scare off guys: "It's only a problem if he's allergic to cats."


Need advice? Send a question and I will answer it next Tuesday.

Grateful for: my cat.

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