Dear Shmuley,
I had protected sex with someone I just met. He is divorced after 23 years of marriage and I am divorced after six years of marriage. We had fun and enjoyed each other and seemed to hit it off. He is freshly divorced and I am ready to date. We are at different stages in life. Did we really blow any chance for a relationship of any kind? Do I just sit back and wait or just chalk it up to a good time?

This is all new to me. I have only been with my husband and now this man---what next?

Hi T.S.,

You have not completely blown the future of this relationship, but you have dealt it a serious blow.

From your question, I infer that you haven't heard back from this guy yet. But even if you have, having sex with a man too soon in a relationship is one of the most certain guarantees that he won't get serious about you. Sex without anticipation, build-up, desire, and lust is just not exciting or erotic. It's hormonal. It feels good while it's happening and feels lousy right afterward. (Hence, your serious doubts about the encounter.) And it sends the man the message that he doesn't have to work to earn you. A guy has to understand that you are a woman that has to be wooed and won, not bedded and abandoned.

But don't sweat it. It happened; now you need to move on. If he calls you, you should go out with him again. But don't suddenly become a prude by telling him on the date that you're not going to bed with him.

That would sound too harsh and judgmental, especially after having had sex with him once already. Rather, show him with action that you intend not to repeat your mistake. Meet him in public places. Do not let him upstairs to your place. Don't accept an invitation to his place. If he asks what's the matter, tell him nothing's wrong, that you enjoy his company and simply want to get to know him better.

If he doesn't call back, well, there are a lot of fish in the sea, and you don't have to only date deep-sea divers. Be confident of what you have to offer. Tell your friends and family that you'd like to meet someone and that they should be on the lookout for you. Whatever happens, don't give your encounter with him another thought. Just move on and learn from your mistakes. And don't act desperate about men. Desperation on the part of women invites womanizers and manipulation, in place of gentlemen and commitment.

Good luck and G-d bless you.

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