Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I'm a woman in my late 20s and I've been dating a guy for a couple months. I've fallen in love with him, and he seems to be really into me too.
He goes out of his way to spend time with me but he's really cagey about how he sees "us." I'm not super driven by labeling relationships but something disturbing happened recently. We took a day trip together and took all kinds of photos -- photos of him, me, both of us and things we saw along the way. Not sexy photos, just happy, exploring-Alaska photos.
Later that week he posted many of the pictures on Facebook and included only the ones of him or of the sights -- it was like I wasn't even on the trip, even though I took many of those photos myself!
I don't want to freak out over nothing but it seems like he doesn't want people to know we even hang out, let alone are involved. In guy-world, what does this mean? I'm his secret sex friend and he's keeping his options open?
-- Feeling burned by Facebook
Wanda says: It's so tempting to post a "gotcha" comment on one of the photos -- say something super-sweet like, "Hey gorgeous, so glad I was there to take this photo of you. What an amazing day!" By doing so you'd trap him into either engaging in the visible couple-speak or forcing his hand -- in this case, seeing how rapidly he moved to delete said comment and maintain his image as adventurous single guy.
Are these photos doubling as his newest Match.com profile pic? Is he trying to appear unattached so he can keep his options open? Maybe. And maybe not. Some people are incredibly private. Today, with so many aspects of our life on full online display, they may simply want to shield personal details from family, coworkers, exes and all the other random "friends" who make up an online audience.
Don't jump to conclusions. Tell him you respect privacy, boundaries and differences in pacing but you are curious about his omission of your image from the awesome day you shared. Who knows: Maybe he's trying to respect your privacy. Or, maybe he is keeping his options open. While the latter possibility isn't pleasant to ponder, better know now and move forward than waste time playing cameraman while he builds his visual online dating portfolio.
Wayne says: In Guy World, this means it's time to have the always enjoyable D.T.R. conversation -- Define the Relationship.
Many relationships play out organically: You hang out, you spend more time together, you spend the night, then suddenly you're basically boyfriend/girlfriend, then suddenly you're living together, then suddenly ...
But it seems like you and Mr. Downlow have hit a roadblock on what was smooth sailing. You've been dating a few months. You're spending quality time together, on the road and in the sack. Now is the perfect time to clarify where you are, where you're going and what you each want and expect.
So, ask him, ''What's going on here?'' Are you an exclusive couple or not quite there yet? Boyfriend and girlfriend or friends with benefits? Is he hiding your relationship, being protective or private, or just being a clueless dude? Be clear with what you want and expect moving forward -- like an "unlabeled" but exclusive relationship and being tagged in his Facebook photos.
It's a tough talk but it's time for answers and peace of mind. Good luck.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.