Dear Wayne and Wanda,
You've written a lot lately about online dating. Well, I've got a question for you about that. I've been doing the online thing for a while now. I wasn't meeting a girl I liked by hanging at the bars, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I've gone on lots of dates. Mostly these consisted of OK or good conversation with women who were nice, but there were no real sparks until I met this new woman. I'll call her Sarah.
Sarah is exactly what I've been looking for. She's funny, sexy and smart. She has a good job and fun hobbies. Like me, she has never been married and says she eventually wants kids. The physical connection between us is hot too. I love how she makes me feel.
Here's the thing: Since meeting her, I've been totally disconnected from online dating activity. I logged on yesterday and clicked on Sarah's profile and it said "online now." And under recent activity it said she updated her profile information. I think I want to be exclusive with this girl -- that maybe I found what I've been looking for. But now I'm worried it's not mutual and that Sarah is still window shopping.
What should I do?
-- Web Watcher
Wanda: Online dating is like shopping, isn't it? So, like shopping, it helps if you know what you're looking for, what you can afford and when it's time to check out. Sounds like you're a satisfied customer, but Sarah may still be browsing.
This is one of the pitfalls of online dating. Surrounded by options, with people winking, nudging and poking you, liking and commenting on your photos and sending emails full of thoughtful and seemingly sincere inquiries -- well, it's hard to turn away from that level of attention unless you're ready. It also begs the question, how does one truly connect with a new love interest when she is making probing small talk with others? Clearly there's a way to make it work because many people have met online and found love (and other pleasures) that way.
It's time to level with Sarah. See where she stands. What's the worst that can happen? You realize you're on different pages and get out back on the sales rack. That's better than languishing on layaway status.
Wayne: Check out Wanda with the savvy shopping analogies. No surprise there. She's a pro at breaking hearts and crushing credit limits!
And I'm right with Wanda when I ask if you have actually let her know how you feel? Have you told her you're ready to log off the online dating and log on to an exclusive relationship with her? If not, I don't think you should be surprised about her online activity. In her mind, you're both still free agents, and it's perfectly acceptable to keep looking.
So, how are you going to stand out when she has hundreds of other options? I'll run with Wanda's shopping vibe for a moment here ... Get yourself a fancy new wrapper! Provide best-in-class quality for all models in your class! Promise more bang for her buck! And tell her this offer is for a limited time only!
If you really want her, put your best foot, and words, forward. Show her why you are the best product out there and tell her why you think you two have a future. I'm guessing she'll jump at the deal. But if she's not ready to buy, then perhaps it's time for you to start pushing your cart up another aisle.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.