You, Him and Her: How To Handle The Pre-Exclusive Zone

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From MadameNoire:

You’ve been on a few dates with a guy you’ve recently met and you’re excited about the possibilities. Over drinks you find yourself telling your closest friends just how great this guy is and how he would be perfect for you. As you and your friends drink wine and nibble at shared appetizers, he walks in the door. You didn’t plan on seeing him, he didn’t know you’d be there, so this is an absolute surprise. What’s more of a surprise is that he’s not alone. He’s with another pretty woman who makes you wonder if that’s a relative, platonic friend, or another girl that he’s dating.

Deep down inside, you know that it’s not his cousin or a platonic friend. You’ve just met the competition.

It’s important to note that when you first start dating someone the expectation of exclusivity does not attach itself until the conversation happens. That means, unless you’ve sat down with one another and made it clear that you are only dating each other, you can’t be mad when situations like the one above occur. However, what can you do at a time like this to not lose sight of your self-respect but still pursue a future with him? Life’s not fair, and more than that, matters of romance are definitely not fair. I think there are ways that you can survive and thrive in this situation. I think that as men we go through this all the time. We’re well aware that men are vultures and have no allegiance to one another. Most times when we meet a woman we’re aware that there are probably other suitors vying for face time too. Women can’t necessarily operate under the premise that if they’ve found a guy, he’s going to exclusively only court them early on in the process. But again, what can you do?

First, I believe that you have to avoid overcommitting in the situation. Only give him what he’s willing to give you in return. Many women lose their dignity because they begin to accept situations that are not in their favor. If he’s not going to be exclusive with you, you can’t afford him the liberty of being exclusive with only him. While this may not translate into you actually seeing another guy at the same time, it’s a subtle position of not letting the exclusivity expectation set in. He has to know that if at any moment another man approaches you, you’re more than welcome to accept another man’s advances.

Read the rest here.
A few questions of my own:
Do  you think you could survive in a non-exclusive situation for some time while the guy figured it out? Would you continue to pursue things with someone knowing that they still have unresolved feelings for their ex? Do you think it’s possible to keep your self-respect while allowing a guy to decide between the two of you? Have you ever been in a situation where you found yourself deciding between two relationship candidates? If you chose to not date exclusively, what are the rules involved with accepting that situation?

- Dr. J

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From Our Partners

  • BlueSteele

    Honestly, the whole dating multiple people thing gets old. I do it because it would be a waste of time not to, but after a while ish gets old and I need to cut someone off. Likewise, I can honestly only deal with a guy dating other women for a month or two before I slowly start to fade to black. I'm not comfortable with the idea of "competing" for a man or a relationship; if the decision is that difficult I'd rather make it easy for him and withdraw. I'm impatient and way too comfortable being single, charge it to the game. #AintNobodyGotTimeForThat

    • http://sensesocommon.wordpress.com Candi

      Can I cast my vote in for this right here? Thanks!!

  • ugh-me

    So I definitely need advice on a topic similar to this. So me and my Tony (we’ll call him Tony lol) have been know each other for years now. When we first met we were casually talking but we were in high school and he was already wayyyy more sexually advanced than me. Anyway, he entered a relationship with another woman and cut me off because she didn’t like him talking to me (we weren’t actually dating yet, just flirty friends). But, he did cut me off. For two years and until they broke up. He went on and on about how it was a mistake to pick her just because she was easy and giving him sex after a week. I did forgive him and we entered a official relationship a couple months later. We didn’t have sex immediately and when we started I was giving oral sex but receiving it. Anyway, we have broken up twice now and after the second time we entered a unofficial-but-committed to each other type of relationship. I go to college in another state from him so it was a lot of pressure and communication expectations that couldn’t happen. Anyway, now he is having sex and kind of dating another woman and hasn’t been communicating with me like he usually do. I told him I didn’t want anything with him if he would be having sex with other women. He has been having unprotected sex with her. He told me he couldn’t commit to not doing that anymore. For me, I think he likes everything to be easy and our history and our relationship has always been complicated. I don’t want to lose him but at the same time I don’t want to lose all respect for myself in the process.

    I’d like someone to shed some light on why men do this? What’s the thought process? Does this mean he doesn’t love me? How can we find a common ground/compromise within this situation so we both feel okay?

    Thanks

    • beautifulsoul

      Hey hun, I hope I don't come across as harsh, but it may be best let this guy go. From your story It seems like he has his own best interests in mind more than the best interest of your relationship.

      HE'S HAVING UNPROTECTED SEX WITH ANOTHER WOMAN. Not only is damaging to you emotionally but it could be potentially life threatening if you two meet up and do anything unprotected in a moment of passion. You're young & in school- so enjoy focusing on what you really want out of life & what makes you happy instead of obsessing about a guy who is clearly about himself right now.

      I wish you the best as you navigate through this situation & find the path back to you *e-hugs*, I hope to hear this situation gets better for you :-)

  • nayonowen

    Until you are married, your free to date and enjoy life with anyone.

  • Magg

    It's kind of too much to ask to be exclusive from the 1st date, but after some times, if we both enjoy being together, i don't see why we wouldn't be exclusive. Unless you are enjoying someone else's company more than mine… In that case you need to be with that somebody!!! (This is how the friend zone begins, you keep on dating someone knowing nothing serious will happen… hum hum)

    And to answer the other question: Don't try something with someone who's not over his/her ex! Just don't! Especially when you know!!! Who do you think you are SUPER CUPIDON?! Please, save yourself time, headaches and heartbreaks; let that person deals with his ex-issues ALONE!!! Being the rebound gilr/guy is no fun! (Karrueche can't say we didn't tell her, sorry the picture makes me react lol)

    • BlueSteele

      "Karrueche can't say we didn't tell her"

      LOL! YES!

      Cosign on the the rebound comment!

  • BreBre

    My general rule of thumb is being honest about my feelings. In the beginning, its fair game. But if we share enough to the point of attachment (which has to happen in a logical manner, not cause im lonely or horny), we then have to have a conversation. If we can agree to exclusivity, then we will, if we dont, we continue to date, but i pull back in the way i need to stay safe. And I make this clear.