I always think of the third and fourth dates as the decision point in a new relationship. Either youre ready to move forward and get to know the person some more, or your ready to drop it and pursue other people.

It can be a difficult time, because you dont know each other that well or where each of you stands in the other persons thoughts

So Harry and I cleared the third date hurdle. I went to his house and we cooked dinner together. You really learn a lot about a person by seeing where and how they live. His place screamed his personality little home-improvement projects left undone, books and movies everywhere, nice cast-off artworks and furniture from his family (his parents regularly purchase antiques and artwork and then give the old stuff to him). His small kitchen contained cooking implements, but he wasnt sure where they were stored. The refrigerator contained condiments and miniice cubes (for the Sapphire martinis on the rocks, extra dry, with olives).

Like many single, urban, professional men, he doesnt cook for himself. To them,leftovers is a dirty word. Turns out hes a great cook though. He marinated great steak tips and cooked them on the grill with veggies. It took us an hour and a half to prepare and then we enjoyed a leisurely meal.

Now, heres the thing about cooking with someone. Its an analogy for a relationship can you develop a rhythm for the preparation, how do you resolve differences of opinion in how you like something prepared, red wine or white. We were able to navigate in his little kitchen helping each other with little things.

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I feel very comfortable with him. I can be myself, honest and speak up. So after dinner when we were relaxing on the couch discussing the merits of VH1s Pop-up Video and the relevance of video plots on MTV Soul our hand-holding eventually turned into a make-out session.

We both admitted it seemed a bit high schoolish to be making out on the couch with MTV on in the background, especially at 35 and 40. But isnt that part of the fun of a new relationship? You dont find couples married for 25 years making out on the couch. Its part of the exploration process of a new relationship. Do you like what you feel above the clothes? Is the person a good kisser?

I could have jumped right into bed with him. Ive done that before on the third date, but it doesnt usually end well. So when he started moving a bit too far for me, instead of just pushing his hand away and playing coy, I spoke up and said, Its too easy to hit the home-run. I like you and I dont want to move fast because it can ruin things. He agreed and slowed down.

The evening ended well and were seeing each other again this weekend.

Heres the thing though is this the tipping point? How does one decide to bring up the future of the relationship thing? Does it just evolve into exclusive dating? Its been so long since Ive found myself at this point in a relationship I dont know what to do. I think that Ill just ride it out, enjoy myself and see what happens.

Im trying not to prognosticate the future of this relationship or project us in a life together. Although he did share some stories about his family that concerned me. His mother is Iraqi and, as Harry puts it, a cultural Muslim. When Harrys sister was dating a Christian man, all of the siblings hid the relationship from the parents for two years because they knew the mother would have a problem with it. The sister ended up marring an Iraqi-American man, much to the delight of the family.

Harrys younger brother married a Christian woman and the mother doesnt have a great relationship with the wife. Its all very foreign to me (pardon the pun) because Ive never had to deal with different cultural extremes in my life. As set in their ways as my parents are, they would always be outwardly accepting of anyone I brought into the family at least I hope they would.

I hate to say that I have to issue him an ultimatum (i.e. fish or cut bait) but if hes not going to take the incentive to move this relationship forward, its probably time to ask him about his intentions.