Dear Dr. Romance:

I started dating a man 2 years younger than me, who is from another country. I thought he was very sweet and gentlemanly and of course I'm really attracted to him, and he eventually asked me on a date. We've had several dates, and he's very considerate, very discreet at work, pays for everything, drives me, walks me to my door, opens doors for me. He isn't shy about holding hands in public with a black girl.

We've kissed, but we've only gone as physically far as kissing; he called me his girlfriend.
I told him I had had a bad experience and he is okay with not sleeping with me, so our sleepovers have been fully clothed! He's called me beautiful, smart, sweet, tender, as well as pet names like
"my baby", "my queen" (lol), he told me a story about a famous poet whose grandfather was black (it's silly but I looked it up!) He texts me sometimes to wish me a goodnight, and always seems interested
in what's going on with my life, he's makes me laugh, and he has introduced me to his roommate. I know it's still very early to be making judgments; we've only been going out for a month now.

He never ever calls me. His English isn't perfect and I thought maybe it could be that he's not sure how to carry a conversation while we're not face to face, because sometimes in person we misunderstand each other. He does text, though, usually to ask me out.

I got nervous early on that he just wanted a work fling, and I started talking about relationships on the third date, I think. I asked the dreaded "where is this going" so early it's ridiculous, and he got wide-eyed and told me he wasn't looking for a girlfriend. The next date, he told me how much he wanted a certain girl to be his girlfriend, but he was afraid she would say no. After our 5th date in the morning, I woke up and saw Pavel on his laptop chatting with a white girl, and I asked to be taken home immediately. On the ride home I told him I had been hoping that things would lead to us being exclusive but I didn't think we were on the same page, and Pavel was like "I don't understand what you're talking about, I was just talking on the computer, I didn't think something like that could make you so upset, I'm not dating you and I will stay your friend".

I was so confused and I cried the whole night. The next day at work I was polite when I saw him but I gave him the cold shoulder,and I think he picked up on it because he tried to make conversation a few
times, he asked me what was wrong and I acted indifferent. Then the next day he found me again and asked me if he could see me again. I said I would be busy, and he seemed so

Do you think I overreacted? When he did call me his girlfriend the following date, it wasn't because I mentioned it first.

He's very open with me and tells me things without my asking. He's told me stories about himself and
his ex-girlfriend in Russia, and it makes me wonder if he's on the rebound or not completely over her.
I just like him, but I don't want to be taken advantage of or deceived, or get hurt. I'd really appreciate your help.

Dear Reader:

I think you're doing a pretty good job of keeping your budding relationship with Pavel clear. You
were able to say "no" when he wanted to move too fast, which is good. However, I think you
must be really hurting from what happened in the past, which is affecting your ability to know what's OK and not in this relationship. You're also very insecure about your ethnicity, even though he has shown you that raciel differences are not important to him.  

It takes months, not just a few dates, to really know if a guy is trustworthy or not. It's important to take your time, not get ahead of the early stage of this relationship, and allow things to develop before you decide this is the one for you. "Friends With Benefits" will help you understand the difference between meaningless sex and a relationship; "Guidelines for Being Understood by Your Partner" will help you navigate communication issues; "Guidelines for Successful Dating" has guidelines you can follow to make sure you're not going too fast; and "How to Keep Yourself Out of a Violent Relationship" shows you how to keep yourself safe.

Therapy would be very beneficial for healing the issues of your past, and making sure you don't carry them with you to the next relationship. Check out the Mental Health America website search tool  Low cost video counseling is available at LoveForever 

I think you've made a good start here, with a guy who sounds like a good bet, but you won't know
for a while. Just keep the conversation open and moving, until you know what you need to know, and you have a chance to work things out together. Don't do anything you don't want to do. I'm wishing you love and a lasting relationship. The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again will guide you through the entire dating process.

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.