By Hannah Joseph

Dear Hannah,

The man I’ve been dating for a month asked me to be his girlfriend last week, but I’m not sure whether I should or not. I have an intense attraction to him and we get along great, but I can’t help but notice little things, here and there. By “little things’ I mostly mean hair clips, lip balm, the occasional jewelry strewn about his apartment. Oh, the empty box of condoms in his trashcan was also a nice touch. When I casually confronted him about the items, he said that his friend left them when she “crashed” there. And the box of condoms? It was left over when he combined two packages. Only later did I realize that there was one missing. I don’t want to be his girlfriend, necessarily, but I feel like I might be more inclined to if I felt I could trust him. Even if he was seeing other people and was upfront about it, I would feel better about the situation. Right now I’m just in limbo.

Lisa * 27

Dear Lisa,

Did you say that you don’t ‘necessarily’ want to be his girlfriend? You wouldn’t mind if he was seeing other women? Before you start worrying about trust, take some time to decide if your feelings for him are strong enough to warrant a monogamous relationship. While jealousy can certainly be detrimental to relationships, it can also be a healthy indicator of invested emotions. If you harbor no jealousy at all, I think you have your solution. Maybe you’re just not that into him. Sort out your feelings first, then choose a course of action.

If you decide that you would rather remain friends with benefits, wear a condom every single time you have sex. I cannot stress this enough. Intimate partnerships that include three or more persons leave all parties involved vulnerable to infection. I’ve done the research and the statistics aren’t pretty: up to 26 percent of New Yorkers have herpes. There are at least 80 different types of HPV and about one in 25 men living in Manhattan are infected with HIV. That is just to name a few scary facts.

If you realize that you are ready to commit yourself to the relationship, consider the facts. He’s admitted that his female friend sleeps in his bedroom and you have discovered enough items to know that it isn’t a once-in-a-blue-moon deal. Ask yourself the following questions. Are you comfortable with the idea of a platonic coed sleepover? Is it as platonic as he says? Why do his actions say about his own commitment to the relationship? And where did the last condom go? You are the only person who can gage how much you can trust him, so if you feel like you don’t have enough information to make a decision just yet, give it some time until you do. If he truly wants to be your boyfriend, he will wait.

All the best,


* Name has been changed to ensure anonymity.

Originally published April 2009
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