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Thread: Exclusive vs non-exclusive dating

  1. #1
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    Exclusive vs non-exclusive dating

    So I've been living under a bit of a rock dating-wise up until now. I had a boyfriend until a few weeks ago, but he was the first guy I had ever been with and I never went on any dates before that either. But I've changed quite a bit since my high school days where I wasn't the most popular or confident girl, I'm available again, and I'm moving to a big city soon and planning to meet lots of new people, so who knows what might happen.

    Now, I always thought the 'normal' thing to do was to date one person at a time. I don't mean relationship-type of dating where you already know you two are great together and want to take it further; I'm talking about 'doing different things together to see how we click'. But I've come to realise that a lot of people have this concept of non-exclusive dating, where it's fine to see different people as long there's no fixed commitment, and once both people realise they like it each other very much etc they discuss this and decide to be exclusive. This used to be completely alien to me, but I'm beginning to understand it, as in If two interesting guys asked me out tomorrow, sure, I might say yes to both of them for now and see what happens.


    But now again I wonder how you go about these things. How common is this non-exclusive dating? Is that something I ask the person I'm dating about? I could not imagine how I could bring up the question of 'hey are you dating other people also, because I am (not)' and not sound weird, but then again it might be good to know if the two people have totally different views. And where do you draw the line anyway, what sort of behaviour is still considered acceptable for a non-exclusive date, i.e. Do I have a right to be annoyed if my date spends his Friday night making out with his other date and then does the same thing with me Saturday?

    I don't know, the whole thing makes a certain amount of sense I guess, but I get the impression it also has the potential to create a lot of problems and confusion. I'd love to hear your input.

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    Guys are often afraid that the women they're dating will assume they're in an exclusive "BF/GF" relationship right off the bat, and will appreciate it if you are straight with them about it, and tell them that you'd like to just date for a while, and not be exclusive until and unless you both agree at some point in the future to be so. Be clear in your communications.
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    I used to hate non-exclusive dating, either for the other person or myself. Meaning, I didn't want to see other women and I didn't want my date to be seeing other guys, so we could just figure out if we could be a couple. Eventually, I came to accept that the first couple of dates aren't in the context of a relationship, they are just about discovering if there is enough compatibility and chemistry for a relationship. But I'm still not interested in a lengthy period of non-exclusive dating, because that doesn't feel right to me, it feels like cheating and a setup for too much drama and confusion down the road. I don't think it would be out of line for you to ask for exclusivity after a few dates if things are going well.
    Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from bad decisions.

  4. #4
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    When my girlfriends and I are single, we date many men at once - but once we find one we really like, it annoys the hell out of us to think he's maybe dating other women. If I've been on say, half a dozen dates with a guy, I start to expect he's not seeing other women, and if, after a couple of months, he hasn't brought up the subject of exclusivity, then I will - because it's usually at that point I want the relationship to progress physically. I'm just not cool becoming intimate with a guy who is intimate with other women. I think it's best if the guy initiates the Talk, but if he doesn't, then I think, after a few weeks, you would have every right to do it, and to let him know you're not interested in continuing to see him unless he wants to be exclusive with you.

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