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Mario Rosenstock advises: Am I being too clingy and needy?

I'm the kind of girl who, once I start seeing someone, tends to concentrate on just them; I don't want to date anyone else at the same time. I suspended my account with the dating site once I met this man, and even updated my Facebook relationship status to 'in a relationship'.

A girlfriend of mine emailed me last week to say that she was going through the same dating website and saw my guy still listed as 'single' on his account. What's more, she could see from his homepage that he'd logged into his account just hours beforehand, which means he's still talking to other women and presumably meeting them for dates and who knows what else.

I did mention this to him, and he replied, calm as can be, that he has paid for six months' membership, so he might as well keep it like that until the subscription ends. I wasn't happy with that explanation and wouldn't let it go, so eventually he admitted that he didn't want to close off all his options in case we didn't work out.

He could see I was upset about this, so he explained that he likes me, but that it's still early days and he's trying to keep the pressure off us so that our relationship, if it's to last, can blossom naturally. Part me of admires his pragmatism, and, indeed, two of my friends tell me I should act the same way.

This guy lived in the US for a while, so I guess he's used to this style of dating a few people at once, but I don't know if it's for me. Honestly, I'm annoyed that he doesn't seem to be making enough of a commitment and almost seems to be expecting us to fail. But am I being too clingy and needy? My head is wrecked and I'd appreciate an outsider -- and male! -- perspective. Annie

Mario replies:

I see where you are coming from. I've been thinking about this one, and I guess the best thing to do first is to take what some famous analysts might say and then narrow it down and see what we're left with.

For example, if I was Dr Phil, I would say, "Darlin', you gotta confront this guy and tell him what this is doing to you inside".

Unfortunately, Dr Phil would then expect you to start bawling and saying things such as, "I've been throwing up blood thinking about this" -- but you don't sound like that kind of person. Besides, it's a fact that we Irish prefer to avoid confrontation at every possible turn.

Let's see, who else? I guess you could go down the Jeremy Kyle route, but he would just tell you to get your boyfriend to take a lie-detector test in front of a baying, judgmental mob early on a weekday morning, compounding your humiliation. This would probably not be the best approach either.

Dr Ruth (do you remember her?) would tell you he "eez insecooore mit hiz peniz", and our own Joe Duffy would just ask you when you first started "stalkin' men on the 'Inthernet'".

I don't think any of these people will help you.

But let's look at it objectively. This guy was in America for a while, where the concept of dating is a bit looser. As I think you understand yourself, it's common practice there for people to date all around them for quite a while before they commit to one person. I think they call it 'going steady'. You're ready to 'go steady' now ahead of his schedule, and that's what's getting to you.

So, if I were you, I would give him the benefit of the doubt on this. To me, he doesn't sound dishonest or sneaky, although I would be worried about his attitudes to money -- only using the dating site because he's paid up for six months? Please!

Annie, I would say that your best bet is to cool off and let him do what he wants for a while. Show some confidence. Concentrate on your friends, work or something else, such as a hobby, so that all of your energies aren't simply being devoted to this guy and whatever potential relationship might come of it. Dare I suggest that you even do likewise and go on the odd date with other guys to take the edge off, and keep your options open too?

I think that if he likes you, he will let you know all about it. Annie, it's important to remember that men like to feel attached without feeling that they're tied down -- even when they are clearly tied down. Cool your jets.

Or, failing all that, you could take a harder line, and tell him what I've been telling Jim Corr for years: Dude, get off the net! Good luck. Mario.

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