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Are we dating, or is this a "relationship?"

After months of visiting singles bars and going on a string of first dates, you finally meet a great looking, friendly guy. The two of you go on a couple of fun, getting-to-know-each-other dates, which lead to a few intimate encounters. Days, and possibly weeks, go by. Things are starting to heat up... and it feels like this might be going someplace positive. You talk on the phone at least once a day and start seeing each other after work. Then, one night, out of the blue, a friend calls and says, "Hey, I just saw your boyfriend at a bar snuggling up to another girl. I thought you two were getting serious. Are you still dating?"

Eeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrck.... as your brain brakes to a shrieking halt, a zillion questions pound against your skull. "How can he be out with another woman? Are we 'just dating'? I thought we had something special. Don't we have something special? Aren't we in a relationship? Maybe he thinks that this is just casual. Is this just casual? He is my boyfriend, right? Help...what am I doing here?"

Uncertainty can strike with lightening force in a budding relationship. This is a confusing stage in the dating process, with one or both partners wondering if they are ready to be exclusive, or if they should still date other people. The ultimate question is: "Should I turn this 'thing' into a 'real' relationship?"

As soon as we begin to feel that we would really like to get to know someone, it is quite natural to suddenly start questioning the relationship's potential and to feel unsure and insecure. We could actually be dating our soul mate, but during this stage of dating we may not know it. Unfortunately, many singles do not recognize this as a necessary stage and mistakenly assume that, if they are not certain, this must not be the right person for them. Why do many men continue to look at, and sometimes pursue, other women during this stage?

For many men, the grass can temporarily look greener on the other side of the fence; a man's new objective in this stage is to stop looking at the grass and start digging for the gold. If a man is dating more than one woman, his challenge is to date one woman for a while and see what happens. When a guy is dating more than one woman, he has a tendency to make comparisons. If he compares a woman who he has been dating for a few weeks to a gal he met last week, the competition will be very unfair. The new gal will not have had an opportunity to show any of her less then glamorous sides and she will always look better in his eyes than the woman that he has dated long enough to see that she is less then perfect.

When a man picks one woman to date for a while and lets her stand on her own merits, he will find out if she is a good match. He can start to ask himself certain questions, such as, "Could I possibly be the right man for her? Do I want to make her happy? Do I miss her when I am away from her?"

A man's doubts are dispelled not by what a woman does for him, but by how she responds to what he does for her. It is very important for the man to do little things for the woman so that he can repeatedly test and experience the idea that he has the power to make her happy. Now he can focus on the question, "Am I the right man for her?," and find clarity to move forward into an exclusive relationship or to stop seeing this particular woman and start again with someone else. What can women do to manage their insecurities and questions during this stage?

While a man tends to question whether he wants to pursue a relationship, a woman tends to question where the relationship is going. If a woman begins to sense that her guy has pulled away, she may panic and question his intentions and whereabouts: "Where were you last night? Why didn't you call me? Where is this going?" and "Are you seeing other women?" Each of these questions sends the wrong message to a man, especially if, in his mind, he has done nothing wrong. Instead of feeling that she cares for him and wants to deepen the relationship, he walks away feeling that she is needy, dependent, and "high maintenance!"

When a man stops pursuing, a woman's task is to resist the enormous urge to find out what has happened or to do something about it. The problem with this advice is that she is left with her insecurities and questions. How can a woman keep her head and not panic to her partner directly, and still honor her feelings? That is a very good question. She needs to talk about her feelings. Generally speaking, the bigger her panic, the more her fears are rooted in old hurts and disappointments. Someone, and this may be several people, has hurt her, and her fear of this happening again has risen to the surface. The only way to deal with this pain is to find its origin and face it once and for all.

In all relationships, there are good moments to talk about issues, and there are bad ones. At the beginning of a relationship, it is normally not a good idea to air all of your emotional dirty laundry with a person who hardly knows you. That being said, if you feel that you're being disrespected, or treated unfairly, there are ways to talk about your feelings without pushing a man further away. The coaches at Ask Mars Venus are trained to help you find the right time and place to talk about your sensitive feelings. They are also trained to do this in a way that motivates a man to give you more of what you want and need from your relationships.

If you're a man reading this article and you're wondering how to deal with a woman who suddenly changed from sweet and caring to needy and dependent, our coaches can help you to determine if she's just feeling insecure about your "future" or if she's genuinely troubled.

Not sure if your partner is the "one?" A Mars Venus Telephone Coach can help you to sort through your uncertainty and get to the bottom of how you really feel about the person that you might want to get "serious" with.

To learn more about this program, click here:

About the author:
John Gray is the author of 15 best-selling books, including Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, the number one best-selling relationship book of the last decade. In the past ten years, over 30 million Mars and Venus books have been sold in over 40 languages throughout the world.

An expert in the field of communication, John Gray's focus is to help men and women understand, respect and appreciate their differences in both personal and profes

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