Exclusivity in dating has become a popular topic during my discussions with friends (male and female). To protect your heart, it is suggested not to put all of your eggs in one basket. Date two, three or four different people…get to know them..see who you click with the best. This is an understandable concept especially when you are just beginning to get out there in the dating scene. But…..When is the appropriate time to focus your attention on one person and cut-off other prospects?
Discussions with male friends who I consider “chronic daters”, exclusivity is not in their near term focus. Now this is not that they don’t want a person to eventually settle down with..as this is often mentioned as one of their aspiring goals. Reasons often cited include demanding career or they have not found the “one”…when in many instances they have found the woman, but there are some apprehensions due to past relationship experiences or the woman is lacking a minutiae quality off of their checklist. Yes men are picky too. Despite their masked reasons, in my opinion men are just better protectors of their hearts than women. So to avoid disappointment and heartache they date a few women. And if not ready to pursue the next step with one special woman….they fall back and keep her in the wings but continue to occupy themselves with other women in the meantime. To avoid the risk of total loss….in case while that relationship is in hiatus…there is a Plan B.
We as women aspire to meet and become exclusive with a special gent as well. But sometimes, we may also have personal matters to deal with, recently out of a relationship or are career focused. We currently cannot give a man all the attention that he needs or have the time to address all the emotional aspects of a relationship. So we prefer to establish friendships with a possible plus one at a social event. Or we as well are just as picky. So maybe that person is only scoring a 95% on our potential mate checklist and the gent scoring 100% is not emotionally available.
Timing of our interests and the men we pursue is often off. When we are ready it is typically out of sync with the other person wants. So why the man we date may not be ready for exclusivity…we begin to date other men and give them an opportunity to shine and pursue our heart. We don’t want to be that woman where years has passed….and we are still dealing and putting up with the same B.S. of this man who is stringing us along and committing to only hanging out when it is convenient for him. So us woman sometimes may have our heart with one person but understand that exclusivity is not discussed. Therefore, there is a risk that the gent we have interest in is possibly dating others…so this is an open playing field for us as well. We sometimes…like men, we keep the man where our heart lies in the mix…who knows when that person will be ready. Nothing is wrong with the guy to completely cut him out of your life…the timing is just not in sync. So why not maintain a friendship and just let life flow?
There is a point where timing does match and after getting to know one another over a period of time, both are ready to discuss exclusivity. The next step of the relationship phase begins. But I realize that this is not a commonality at present and there is variation. Some couples have been friends for years, dated on and off without exclusivity then just decided let’s stop playing around and do the relationship thing..finally exclusivity is achieved. Other couples after two or three dates, are ready and decide to exclusively date one another. However, I have become more of a witness recently of both men and women not discussing exclusivity and the dating routine becomes a never-ending cycle. No one gets too deep in the dating traunches to shield their heart. Men and women entertain more than one dating prospect…and if feelings become too deep with one…either the man or woman pulls away and turns to entertain the prospect that has a lesser hold on their heart.
At a certain point….the games do eventually end. Sometimes, consequently when it is too late…when that person who has your heart finally moves on to someone else who is ready to achieve exclusivity. I do think it is important to keep your options open and meet a variety of great prospects. However, after you find a person that you are attracted to, gets you (your fabulousness and quirks) and can and is willing to adjust to your lifestyle….exclusivity or timeline of when you may be ready to be exclusive should be discussed. Give that person an opt out if the timing is not in sync. I think as long as two people are honest with each other, exclusivity or pursuing other options while dating….there are no ill feelings. If it is meant to be, it will happen as long as there is no intentional deceit while two people are pursuing what makes them the most happiest.
How is Your Dating Game? Are you a One Person at a Time Dater or Multiple Dater?
6 thoughts on “The Dating Game: Exclusivity vs. Keeping Options Open”
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