Dear Abby: Men I date don’t get that I want relationship, not just a hookup

Single woman needs advice on how to tell a guy that their first meetup won’t get physical.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a 32-year-old woman. My 20s were spent in a serious long-term relationship. It was a lot of firsts for me. After we split, I took a couple of years to sow my wild oats and find out who I am as an individual.

I’m now looking for something more than “friends with benefits.” However, the last few men I’ve met and gone on dates with, as wholesome as they seemed on dating sites (which have been my main source of meeting men), were really just looking for hookups. I want to find a life partner.

I have been chatting with a potentially great guy I met online, and we have a date scheduled. But I’m nervous that when we meet that he’ll expect more than a date. I’m over that. Like I said, I want an actual relationship.

Can you give me some advice on what to do and say, or not, on a first or second date to help move it in the right direction without scaring the guy away? — PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION

DEAR PROCEEDING: Your dating profile should clearly state what you are looking for, including the fact that you are seeking a relationship and not a hookup. When you meet in person, relax and just be yourself. Show initiative by asking questions, getting answers, explaining how important honesty is to you and being interested in what he has to say. If you are hit on after that, rather than try to meet someone on the internet, put out the word among your friends, family and co-workers that you would like to meet someone nice with whom you could possibly build a future. Then pray.

DEAR ABBY: Our son and his wife are professionals who reap the financial benefits of their chosen fields. Our daughter-in-law goes to her workplace most days, while our son works from home. As such, he is tasked with much of the cleaning, shopping and cooking. Our DIL has a large cadre of college friends and she’s often away to sunny, exotic locales, posting pictures of herself along with others, all holding drinks in their hands.

Recently, she went on a trip with her “best friend,” a gay man, posting poolside, restaurant and bar photos with both wearing big smiles. Meanwhile, our son is home working and taking care of their pets. This arrangement may work for them, but it doesn’t sit well with us. Frankly, despite his insistence that things are fine, we are not convinced.

They are both in their prime reproductive years and, while they have no children yet, our DIL’s mother recently moved nearby. My spouse and I realize that it is “their lives,” but we remain concerned and confused about the viability of their relationship. Your insights would be most appreciated. — DAD OF GREAT GUY IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR DAD: I’m sorry the dream you had of your son’s marriage has not come to fruition. Comfort yourself with the thought that whatever their arrangement may be, it is working for them. Apart from that, MYOB and resist the urge to stir the pot, or risk creating turmoil and unhappiness where there isn’t any.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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