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Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. I met a guy for a date and we hit it off. We seemed intellectually compatible; I have a master’s, he’s pursing a second degree. We discussed our goals, and eventually . . . we had sex. He had to be at work at 6 a.m. At 4:45, he was up, preparing to leave my place. He mentioned calling me at lunch, but never did. We made a plan to go shopping together.

This was Thursday. I haven’t heard anything from him and it’s now Sunday. I’m concerned because we did not use protection (I know that was stupid!). I think this all happened because it had been more than nine months since I’d been with someone. I feel like I really messed up. I knew it was too good to be true. Why would he want an easy woman? I felt his energy and chemistry . . . but now what? — Now what?

A. We spent a whole episode of the Love Letters podcast exploring when to have sex with someone you like, partly to dispel the notion that if you sleep with someone too soon (whatever that means), you’ll lose them forever. We found evidence that the timing of sex does not affect the outcome of a relationship. That’s comforting, and it matches what I see in real life. Many great couples I know got intimate with each other on early dates.

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Also, let’s never use the phrase “easy woman” ever again. You both chose to have sex. Your pace was the same.

I won’t scold you for the choices you made that night when it comes to protection — it sounds like you’re doing that on your own — but consider the possibility that the impulsiveness of the evening led to the confusion you’re dealing with. Maybe the stakes seem higher or more fraught for both of you. I don’t know.

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All I can say is that you’re still evaluating each other. He has not earned your longing and unwavering desire just yet. You want to be with someone who follows through, and so far, he hasn’t. Sex might not have killed the potential in this relationship, but that doesn’t mean there was much to begin with. We have no idea whether he would have pursued a second date had there been no sex. We have no idea if a second date would be any good.

I will say the invite doesn’t have to come from him. If you haven’t reached out, you can ask to see him again. The early stages of any relationship can be a bit awkward. Maybe if you make a move, you’ll both feel some relief. — Meredith

READERS RESPOND

Don’t beat yourself up. You had fun (I assume), and you’ll know for next time to take it slow (if you want). ENJOYEVERYSANDWICH

Agree with Meredith to not play into the “easy woman” trope. Women shouldn’t be faulted more than men for choosing to have sex on a first date. BKLYNMOM

When it comes to dating, sometimes people say whatever at the end of an evening (or in your case, the morning), and they have little to no intention of following through. I’ve learned to ask myself before sleeping with someone early on, how hurt would I be if we fizzled out after this? If the answer is very, I probably wait it out. BRAVE-NEW-WORLD

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At 4:45, he was up, preparing to leave my place. Every time guys stay over they turn into farmers. IRONMASK

Catch Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast. Get it at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.


Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.