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Dear Philippa:

I recently met a man using an Internet match site. We got together and hit it off right away. Even though I'm a big woman, my weight didn't seem to bother him. We went hiking and talked and we even talked about having a future together. Then I found out he was back online trying to meet other women and I was devastated. I wonder if I said something wrong or if my weight really is the problem.

�June, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Dear June:

I totally relate to your experience. I used to feel the same way when I found romance print ads run by someone I was dating. I felt hurt and outraged. But the reality is that when we first date someone, they have the right to meet and date anyone else they like.

I think these feelings have to do with our desire for instant intimacy, especially if we've been alone for a while and tend to over romanticize new relationships. It takes time to get to know someone and decide if they are long-term material. Sometimes when you are in a romantic setting, like sharing a nature hike, you get caught up in the closeness of the moment and you both enjoy imagining future possibilities. This doesn't mean that your date has decided that you are the one, or that you should think that they are the one for you.

Forget the self-criticism. This has nothing to do with you doing something wrong or being the wrong size. There are many reasons why this man may have decided to keep playing the field. It doesn't really matter why he did. All that matters is that you decide what you want. You may decide to date several different people, sharing different interests and activities with each of them, as a way of safeguarding yourself from getting too romantically involved with one person too soon. You may also want to have an open discussion with your dates about each of your dating styles. Let each other know that you'll be meeting different people, so you can discover what you both want in a relationship. This will take the pressure off for both of you.

Also keep in mind that online and personal ad dating are some of the least expensive methods to meet a lot of people. Because of the minimal financial investment, people use this approach to find dates for a variety of reasons: just to have fun, to explore their sexuality, to bounce back from failed relationships, as well as to meet the love of their life.

Be cautious, take it slow, and get to know and like your dates as their true self unfolds over time. The results can pay off big time, as many successful online daters can tell you.


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