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Have you ladies ever had the experience of thinking a guy must REALLY like you if he did a certain outstanding thing early on in your courtship — only to find out it's the kind of thing he does all the time?

Not long ago, I was dating a guy who was pursuing me fairly aggressively. We were going on two dates a week and e-mailing a lot. He was also making plenty of healthy references to how attractive he thought I was. We hadn't discussed the question of whether we were dating other people, but because he seemed so into me, I assumed he wasn't.

Ho, ho!

After about a month, I had a rude awakening: He casually mentioned that he was dating two other women at the same time. (Luckily, I hadn't had sex with him, because my two-month rule is in play.)

I find that other women often think like I do: If a guy is exhibiting dating behavior that the woman thinks is unusual, she assumes the man is only behaving in that "unusual" way toward HER ... when in fact, it's probably not unusual behavior in his eyes. Instead, unless he says something about how it's not the kind of thing he usually does, it's likely he acts that way with most people/women/dates.

So, ladies, to help protect you against your incorrect assumptions, I give you ...

STUFF YOU THINK MAKES YOU SPECIAL TO HIM, BUT HE ACTUALLY DOES WITH EVERYONE

1. He tells you something deeeep on the first night. Not very long ago, a female friend of mine was telling me about her first date with a male friend I'd set her up with. In explaining the big connection she felt they had, she said to me, "He even told me about his [huge childhood trauma] on the first date." The fact that she'd used this as evidence of their major connection made me nervous, because my male friend is very straightforward about his unhappy childhood — it's a fact of his life and he doesn't try to hide it. About a month later, my two friends were no longer dating. So much for the big connection.

2. He's very aggressive about pursuing you. He's probably that way with everyone — and may very well be aggressively pursuing other people at the exact same time. As the dude I was dating was doing. And he wasn't doing anything "wrong," but I was not-quite-pleasantly surprised nonetheless.

3. He starts holding your hand right off the bat. Again, he probably does that with everyone.

4. He invites you to hang out with his friends (or family members he spends a lot of time with) very early on. It's probably not a very big deal to him. Have I ever mentioned the friend of mine who brought a girl he was dating home for the holidays with him — after they'd been seeing each other a mere three months — only to break up with her on Valentine's Day?

I'm sure this list is missing a few items. Want to help me fill them in?

Now, if he never does that kind of thing ... you can consider believing him.

I'm not trying to be a killjoy, here, ladies. I'm just advising you to be skeptical until you have some serious reason to believe he's treating you in a manner that is unusual FOR HIM — rather than treating you in a manner that seems unusual IN GENERAL but is actually his typical M.O.

What Do You Think?