3 Dates Is All He Needs

Q: At school people call me "Three Date Charlie" because I go on dates with lots of girls but always only three times (or less). It's not because I don't like them, I am just afraid of commitment. It seems this would be normal, but everyone else wants to have a steady bf/gf right away which seems silly. It's not like they are going to get married. My strategy is beginning to backfire because people at school think I stop after three because three is usually the date when people hook up. I have not even hooked up with most of these girls. Do I need to date someone longer to prove that I can do it even if I don't like her? Or am I supposed to not go on dates with any girl unless I know I'll really like her and want to go on more than three dates with her? (Which is impossible since the purpose of dates is to find out if you like a girl.) — Charlie, 18

Dr. Susan: You're pretty sharp, Charlie. You may have to get used to the idea that your reputation isn't fair. But to change your behavior because you're afraid of what others will think would be the wrong move. It makes perfect sense to play the field at your age until you find someone you like enough to date longer. The whole "going steady" thing isn't new. It's at least due to some people's poor self-esteem and feeling that if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, everyone will think they're more worthy. I would suggest keeping your dates fairly casual until you get to know the girl better, and avoid hooking up until you like someone well enough to continue dating after that. Above all, don't let other people's silly teasing affect your actions against your better judgment.

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