She’s in a long-distance open relationship

Still looking for long-distance couples to tell me how the virus stuff is affecting how they see each other. Also, I'm curious: is it making people less likely to meet up with someone they match with on an app? What about first-date making out/kissing? Tell me your thoughts. I'm at meredith.goldstein@globe.com.

Dear Meredith,

For the last month, I have been dating a woman who is in an open long-distance relationship with her boyfriend of years. She disclosed this to me on our second date, but also indicated that their relationship has been tumultuous and that they nearly broke up last year.

Her boyfriend is currently living across the country, so they still see each other every couple of months, but by the end of the year he intends to move out of the country, while she intends to stay here. I initially hesitated and continued to go on dates with other women, but it was obvious that we had made a rare, genuine connection. Due to my strong first impressions of her, as well as my general fatigue with the dating scene, I decided that it was worth the risk to continue seeing this woman. Since then, things have been moving quickly. For the past couple of weeks, we've been seeing each other most evenings, and we've both admitted that we're developing feelings for one another.

While I am not asking her to make a decision at this point, I have told her that I can only proceed in this relationship if there is a chance that we can one day become exclusive. She has been very understanding and has acknowledged that she's put me in a tough position. While she's not ready to commit to me at this point, from our conversations it's clear that it's a very real possibility going forward. I can tell that she genuinely cares about me, and it doesn't feel at all like she's just leading me on. She knows she needs to make a decision, but has said that if she splits up with her boyfriend, she doesn't want me to be the reason for the breakup.

With her boyfriend soon coming to town for a week, she recently mentioned that despite our feelings for each other, I should continue to seek dates with other women, if only to even out the power dynamic in our relationship. While I acknowledge that this makes sense, I feel like it is already too late for me and that I have my heart set on her. What would you advise that I do? Thanks so much!

– Falling


It's only been a month. Keep reminding yourself that this is still new.

Instead of forcing yourself to date other people when you don't want to, think about spending a few more nights alone. Maybe with friends. If this woman isn't ready to commit, I'm not sure she should be your focus "most evenings." That's so much time.

It sounds like she needs to see this boyfriend before she makes any big decisions. Good thing that's happening soon. If his visit results in her telling you she can't see herself leaving him, you should take that as an answer. But if she needs time and space at that point, give it to her.

It doesn't sound like she'd be breaking up with him for you, by the way. They barely see each other, and they almost ended their relationship last year, before you existed in her life. But don't assume that if she ends things with him, it will become serious with you. That will take time.

Reevaluate after the boyfriend visit, and in the meantime, be conscious of how many nights you spend in her company. It's not about pulling back to change the power dynamic (that sounds like manipulation), it’s about saving coupleish behavior for when you're an actual couple.

– Meredith

Readers? What's happening with the power dynamic here? What about the pace?