Her Mouth, Not Ours: Why You Should Never Assume with Men

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By Muffie Bradshaw

Having strong feelings, spending a considerable amount of time together, having sex, meeting the parents, etc. are not indicative of exclusivity. You go to the movies, meet for happy hour and have even gone on a few quick weekend trips. It’s the perfect relationship until you find out he is also having that type of fun and intimacy with someone else. You think about all the time and emotion you’ve invested and you’re disappointed in what you ended up with.

One thing that I learned very quickly during my early dating experiences as an adult is to never assume anything — especially when it comes to exclusivity. When you’re under the assumption that he is seeing only you, you’ve already set yourself up for major disappointment. I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure that my person of interest is on the same page as I am BEFORE I take my heart from under my sleeve Spanx® and put it on my sleeve.

Think of it like this: You wouldn’t assume that you have a full tank of gas before you and the girls make that six hour drive to D.C. would you? Of course not, you would check your tank to ensure you can get to your destination without getting stranded. Same thing goes for assuming when you’re dating someone. When you assume exclusivity, you risk being stranded; stranded with your emotions left out there with no certainty of the end result. When you know from the beginning that the person you have interest in is dating other people it allows you to “fill-up your tank” with the appropriate emotions so you don’t get stranded during your dating journey. In other words, don’t put all your lip gloss in just one hobo.

Here’s the bottom line, if you’re dating someone, take it for what it is: DATING.  A lot of times we women choose to invest our time in someone who won’t even verbalize commitment, which makes no sense. Granted, it is easy to get wrapped up in the assumption of exclusivity when he makes you feel good, but you can’t let your heart do all the leading ALL the time. No matter how good you feel, that doesn’t change the fact that he may being seeing someone other than you (and that’s okay if you can handle it). Feelings have no relevance when it comes to knowing if you’re exclusive or not. Period. The ONLY way to know where you stand is to ask. Trust me, you won’t seem like Thirsty McJackson if you ask him if he’s dating someone else. Ideally, the “Are-You-Dating-Other-People” question shouldn’t be brought up after your first martini. But it should be brought up in one of your conversations sooner than later. If he says no, take his word for it and don’t-over think things. If he says yes, props for the honesty and don’t over-think things. Regardless of the answer, it’s still vital to keep the lines of communication if things change.

The best way to not fall into the assuming exclusivity trap is to set boundaries and expectations for your dating relationship. No matter how much you like the person you’re dating, don’t provide them with boyfriend/girlfriend perks if you’re not exclusive. Perks are extremely subjective and are not one-size fits all. For example, a boyfriend perk for me is sex. If we are not exclusive with one another and we have not made a commitment to be, it’s not going to happen no matter how good he looks in a suit. This perk may not be realistic to some people, which is totally understandable, but know ahead of time what limits you’re going to set for yourself when dating. Setting limits makes it easier to walk away from a dating relationship that’s not conducive because you know upfront what you’re willing and not willing to do. A lot of times we’re so busy trying to figure out what the person we’re just dating will do for us, we forget to truly assess the things we will and won’t do for them. I assure you that once this is done, the thick line between exclusivity and dating will be much clearer.

Muffie Bradshaw is a Cleveland native who shares her dating experiences through writing. As a 29-year-old single, she has had the opportunity to experience the many different elements of dating: Good, bad and ugly.  It’s her humor, wit and subtle advice conveyed through her writing that keeps her readers yearning for more.  Check her out on her site or find her on twitter

 

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From Our Partners

  • Mr_SD

    It's ironic, today I was having a conversation with myself about how necessary women are to the world. Y'all bring an amazing balance to my very black/white, either/or and is/ain't world. In this conversation I named you ladies the "gray area". This post is so gray it's beautiful..lol I've been single on and off for the past 3 years and I must say declaring exclusivity is so very black and white in my book. Either we are or we're not. How does either party get to a place of uncertainty? How is that conversation not had EARLY?

    • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

      Not every woman sets boundaries and not every woman knows when to ask the right questions regarding exclusivity. many are scared to be rejected anyway…

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan.

        gold star for you…i've been in plenty dating situations where she already knows what the answer will be so her solution, don't ask. Ignorance is bliss I guess
        My recent post Today’s Word is… POTENTIAL

        • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

          Yes and that's the thing when you are immature as a woman you might hold on to a guy that definitely doesn't want to commit. Just because he's cute or hung… Then again a guy might know a lady wants commitment and still stay enjoying her company and sweetness while knowing he will never give her what she truly wants.

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan.

          True as well. #50ShadesofGrayarea.
          My recent post Today’s Word is… POTENTIAL

      • Mr. SD

        So rather than hear the truth ya'll just-keep-swimming nemo style?

        • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

          It's the false hope that keeps these ladies from KNOWING they are in fact nemo-loving up in this B….

        • Mr. SD

          Thats crazy, but I guess its all part of the game

    • Smilez_920

      But when dating does exclusivity automatically equal committed ( bf/gf) ?

      You and a man could be dating , you ask ” hey r u seeing anyone else” he goes ” no I’ve decided I just want to see you ” . Now while he’s decided to exclusively date you, he didnt really make any mention of committing to you. It’s like ” yea I’m only dating you , but your not my girl”. I feel like some women get in this situation , ( assuming that exclusive automatically equals gf status) and then they get hit the ” well you not my girl”. How do you play your cards in that situation ?

      Side note: to me if your scared to ask him if he’s seeing other ppl, there’s a good chance you feel like he is anyway, and you don’t want to hear the truth. I rather know so I can keep my options open . Maybe he’s not quite ready to date me exclusively , that’s cool , but I hope he understands that if he’s out here dating Kim, Vicky and Beth then trust I will be keeping my eyes open for some other players to put on my team.

      I also agree with the sex piece. If men can have sex without dating a woman , than a woman can date with our sex being involved . Dating as in getting to know a person.

      • Mr. SD

        Bottom line is if he wants you to be his and his only, he will make it know.

        • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

          That's what I believe in!

        • GirlSixx

          That's riiiiigghhhttttt….

        • Bree

          And he will make it know thru his Actions as well as his Words.

      • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

        Basically you need to know what your significant other considers a "committed relationship" before you even go there.

        • Mr. SD

          Nah we to grown to not know what committed means. Damn that!

        • cynicaloptmst81

          THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • BlueSteele

          *fans self*

      • MaggK

        Im co-signing all your first paragraph!!!

        That's exactly what i was asking myself after reading Mr_SD's comment. Yall men create that grey zone, with that "i'm only dating you but you're not my girlfriend".

        • Mr. SD

          If a man says "I'm only dating you but you are not my girlfriend" run far far away from him.

        • MaggK

          LOL! Ok just to make sure i understood: exclusivity means being in a relationship?

        • Mr. SD

          if anything its the first step to a serious relationship. I can't speak for all men but if I say I am exclusively dating you then yea you're pretty much my lady. We can apply titles when you're ready. It's all the same to me.

        • MaggK

          It would be cool if all men could come up with a consensus on that one LOL!

          In my book there are 2 types of men anyway, the ones on their right mind who don't make me overthink the word exclusivity when the word itself says it all, and the #yourewastingmytime type.

        • BlueSteele

          Like at FloJo speed

        • Larry

          *Lee Corso voice* Not so fast my friend!! lol

          Just because a man has basically trimmed his "roster" down to one and just going out on dates with one person at the time doesn't necessarily mean he wants to fully commit. He is just taking the next step and wants to spend more time to really be sure. Maybe this just applies to older men…late 20's and beyond…because when you get the g/f title that means he sees you as someone he will marry in most cases.

          Trust, if he is only dating you, but finds out after spending more time that taking it to the commited relationship level isnt in his best interest for one reason or the other than he will open back up dating options…as opposed to going through some sort of formal break up after 3 weeks of "being together".

        • cynicaloptmst81

          "Maybe this just applies to older men…late 20's and beyond…because when you get the g/f title that means he sees you as someone he will marry in most cases."

          Can I get a show of hands from all the fellas who agree with this statement? I'm not so sure about this one…

        • Larry

          I guess let me expound. Every person (man or woman) usually gets to a point in their dealings with the opposite $ex in which they don't date just to date…they decide to date with a purpose of finding a long-term partner/spouse or what have you.

          Based on my personal experiences with those I know personally, family and other comments I see from the interwebs it would appear many men tend to get more serious about dating with a purpose the older they get. Clearly there isn't empirical evidence I can provide, but it's just what I have observed.

          Now just b/c he sees you as someone he will marry doesn't necessarily mean he will ask you to marry him in the timeframe you prefer , which is a whole other topic all together which is discussed pretty often around these parts, lol.

        • KitKatCuty84

          Sometimes the older they get while still dating without ever having married, the LESS serious they take dating. Sometimes they give in to that bachelor lifestyle and get set in their ways.

        • Larry

          Of course there are some men that don't even get married or just wanna live the bachelor lifestyle….that goes without saying. The older men thing is purely just relative to their younger counterparts. And as I mentioned if a woman gets g/f title, in MY obervations, in the situation I explained the man would see the woman as someone he would marry (doesn't mean he will) in most (not all) cases. That's all I'm saying.

        • Mr. SD

          Larry has a point. It definitely depends on where you are in life. At 23 its all about keeping all options open, keeping thing vague and gray…lol But at 33 I'm not about that life no mo. So yes, you are more than likely future wife status if you get the the g/f title at this stage of the game.

        • BlueSteele

          "So yes, you are more than likely future wife status if you get the the g/f title at this stage of the game."
          http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/social_assets/nfl/W
          \

        • oh ok…

          nice gif!

        • KitKatCuty84

          Late 20s is "OLDER men"? I agree with MaggK upthread. This new "dating exclusively but not my girlfriend" thing is a totally arbitrary gray area, created by those that don't want to commit. That's some sort of extended test drive option that my model doesn't offer.

        • Larry

          Yes, older RELATIVE to younger men….geez y'all, lol. smh. No one ever wants to commit until they actually do commit..nothing new there….if they don't do it in one party's (man or woman) preferred time allotment then I assume the other party moves on. *shrugs*

        • Muffie Bradshaw

          I agree 100% with you on this one. Good job, Larry. What sense is there in committing if you can not see yourself marrying someone? (If your plan is to NEVER get married, that's an exception)
          I date with the same mentality…

        • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

          LOL!!! Can't you make a ""when to Usain Bolt away from a mofo"-post?

  • blackphilo

    A couple questions, which may or may not resonate with other folks.

    Why not simply ask whether the person you're "dating" wants an exclusive relationship, rather than more vaguely asking whether he or she is "dating" other people? As a grown man, I wouldn't necessarily know how to answer the latter: "dating" hasn't really begun, from my perspective, until physical intimacy has; and there can be physical situations without dating. Also, time frame is an issue: even if I'm not now dating anyone else, I might have been two weeks ago and might be two weeks hence.

    Next, why do many women still seem to think of sox as a unilateral "perk" or favor bestowed upon a man? I have been assuming that independent women are having sox mainly for their own reasons and given their own desires–and not as an act of sacrifice, selflessness, or benevolence. Presumably, an enlightened and skilled man would like to believe that sox with him should be at least as good for the woman. The motivation and the pleasure would be mutual.

    • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

      Even if the pleasure is mutual. S3x is considered an emotional act by our female bodies. Most of us get attached to a man we sleep with physically even if we know the guy is not compatible. So to not fall into a trap where your body yearns for a man that doesn't want to commit, we have been taught these social codes regarding s3x and men. I believe those codes only work if you put off s3x until you are actually in a committed relationship.

      • oh ok…

        Whoa! Just realized what S3x is… ok carry on! lol!

    • http://singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery WisdomIsMisery

      Black, if I may, I think you're doing something here that I've been widely accosted for here and in real life lol – and that's applying logic to subjective/emotional subjects. As long as you're fine with that, all good. Just thought I'd point that out.

      I'd also say that, despite the many, many, many voices to the contrary, the idea that "sox" (appreciate you editing that by the way, makes life easier around these parts), is not and will not ever affect men and women the exact same way. The progressive minded men and women of the world are trying to ignore science. I don't understand why that particular topic continues to be up for debate. That ship has sailed, folks.

      • blackphilo

        WIM, I appreciate what you're pointing out re "logic" and "real life." I recently came out of lurker status in an effort to try to get and promote some clarity–because many of these BM/BW topics seem forever frustrating. Naively, I imagined there would be more hope for cold clarity in fairly intelligent online spaces. But that's evidently not the purpose for most people, though a few (like you) already were trying.

        As a side note, I wasn't doubting the standard view that women in general experience sox differently from men re emotional impact. I was asking why many grown women still seem to view sox as a unilateral "perk," benefit, privilege, favor, etc. unilaterally "given to" men. Maybe this sensibility is a holdover from younger times–when males were thirstier, and females were presumed to barely like sox. But we know better now, after high school and in the 21st century.

        • BlueSteele

          I think you're looking at the term "perk" in a sense of an extra bonus that you get for upgrading a woman to gf status. While I no doubt believe that that's how many women think (I have myself), I think it's more of an experience that many prefer to share exclusively with people with whom they're committed to. I don't think the so-called "independent" status that most women proclaim necessarily calls for any differences in that thought process since they are, after all, personal preferences.

          In all honesty, "sox" is a perk for both men and women (although we like to "forget" that fact) in a relationship. But I think the major point is that everyone has limits on what they're willing to do/give to someone who's not interested in committing to them.

        • blackphilo

          I accept the main point you describe. But I wish the notion of sox as an "extra bonus" for men would wither and die. Some ways of thinking/speaking do not help in the larger scheme of things.

        • BlueSteele

          "Some ways of thinking/speaking do not help in the larger scheme of things."

          Now THAT I agree on completely!

          Especially when we all know that we engage in "sox" purely because we want to, not just because someone has decided to update their relationship status on FB!

        • Mr. SD

          I always thought "sox" was a perk because its an intimate part of yaself you decide to share with someone else….no?

        • BlueSteele

          Yes. All I'm saying is that "perk" works both ways so to imply that men are the only benefactors from that gift just doesn't sit well with me.

        • blackphilo

          That doesn't make sox a privilege, favor, bonus, etc. Sox can be a natural, normal part of a healthy life. But, yes: good sox is a shared, intimate, mutually pleasurable experience.

  • MaggK

    The day i've been told "But hey, u're not my girlfriend" i got SO mad at myself that i understood that concept of not assuming immediately.
    COMMUNICATE!!! Ask questions, and accept the answer… If you can't handle it move on! Of course some honesty from the other part is expected (i find it SUPA DUPA childish to lie, don't lie when you're grown!)

    And I can tell you that sometimes meeting parents means absolutely nothing because 1) some parents (especially mothers) are their son's partners in crime… They been asking "Which one is coming to dinner the light skinned or the dark skinned (ahahah oh my god im sorry, i kid!!) "?, and because 2) the way you're being introduced says a lot. If he goes like "Hey Mom this is Gina, Gina that's my mom" Just like that? For a first meeting? LOL, girl i can tell you, you're still on the walk to exclusivity (give up!)

    • BlueSteele

      Lol, you know you're wrong!

      • MaggK

        LOL i know… i couldn't resist x_x!

        • Oh ok…

          Girl, Tell Them!!!!

    • Larry

      " If he goes like "Hey Mom this is Gina, Gina that's my mom" Just like that? For a first meeting? LOL, girl i can tell you, you're still on the walk to exclusivity (give up!)"

      I assume if y'all haven't had "the talk" about being b/f and g/f officially yet I guess I would ask how would you like to be introduced? lol. Honestly, if I'm introducing a woman I'm out on a date with or what have you to someone I know that's pretty much exactly how I do it. Either that or, "This is my date, Gina." *shrugs* I guess I would assume the first time you officially knew he considered you his girlfriend wouldn't be from an introduction, but a private conversation between you two…but then again this whole post is about not assuming ish, lol.

      • MaggK

        LOLL i assume that if we haven't had "the talk" but you want to indroduce me to your parents you just decided to go over "the talk" step LOLLL… Assuming complicates everything lol!
        Look, to me meeting parents is a big thing, i don't introduce every men to my parents (we don't do that where i'm from). And i used to assume that it is also a big thing for everybody else… Life showed me that it's not… And it's all good!

  • Graciela

    This is a very gray area in dating. Especially when it's commonplace to "see how it goes" before committing. This is on both sides. While it's very smart not to assume when dating, it's also very smart not to put unnecessary pressure on a man to commit to you or think about exclusivity. Let the man fall in love with you so he brings it up. Men like to be in charge of these things. It's also good for you too.

    Commitment or exclusivity is a big deal to me . And I take that seriously because I know how I am in relationships. I like focusing on a person and getting to know the well. The last thing I personally need while I'm getting to know him is figuring out how to make him commit or go exclusive. It goes both ways, just like guys need the time to figure out who to be exclusive to, women need it too.

    My instincts are pretty much on point so I know within a couple of months if it's a good match for the long term. If it's a good match, then I'm going to figure out the exclusivity thing. Not before. I clearly remember a relationship I had years ago that started out as "let's just have fun" . That turned into a 5 year relationship. Now if I was focused on wondering and figuring out if he was willing to be exclusive from the gate, then I would've missed out on one of the most important relationships of my life.

    Of course you can't go out blind. If you're looking for the husband, then find someone who is willing to be a husband. Men are usually very upfront about these things because men who are serious about commitment won't waste time. That happened to me once. I wanted to date and keep it chill, he was looking for a wife. Needless to say, we went our separate ways.

    Always keep a time limit on how long you're willing to date someone, knowing he'll be probably dating someone else in mind. That's the best way IMO.

    And as far as withholding sex until you get exclusive, I couldn't do that. I don't like to date around much (I'm pretty much a serial monogamist) and for me to get exclusive with you, we need to have s3xual chemistry along with all the other points.

    It reminds me of that Sex and the City episode where Charlotte was waiting to get married before she slept with her doctor fiancé. Then the rest of the crew convinced her that she should do it because she should "test drive" the dude. Charlotte goes and does it and guess what? Dude can't get it up. She finds this out the day before they get married. I'M AVOIDING THAT.

    My point is, there wouldn't be these kind of rules, boundaries or parameters if we just trusted our instincts, go with the flow and not worry about it so much. If you have a feeling you're both not on the same page, get up and leave, that's it. Women don't need a man's "confirmation" that he's not into commitment. They show all the signs if given enough time to watch them from the distance. The cracks will always show.

    Focus more on watching and listening to a man instead of trying to assume ANYTHING.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan.

    I gotta hop on of these guest posts one of these days….*shrug*

    This one of them classic "who farted" posts, everyone swear it aint them but its coming from somewhere. Men assume, women assume all the time. We hate rejection so much we play oblivious. Guys end up in the friend zone because they afraid to straight ask a girl if she's feeling him, instead he lurks in the shadows assuming she'll come around. Women end up in one sided relationships because they are afraid they'll lose him altogether. Yet everyone swears they bout that communication life, that they go all or nothing…then why are so many people with only a bit something to show for it.
    My recent post Today’s Word is… POTENTIAL

    • Secretsweetlady

      I died at “lurks in the shadows”…

    • oh ok…

      Dude, its sad becuz I think ALOT of people miss out on relationships due to not communicating correctly. Whether to keep the relationship or just get out!

  • BlueSteele

    There have been times that I knew very early that nothing would come out of the dating situation so I avoided asking questions because he could still fulfill a need that I had at that moment. (Friendship, +1 to certain events, sex, help me move…) I knew it, he knew it, it was fine. Otherwise, I can't not have that conversation. After a month or so of a) dating a few guys concurrently or b) dating a man who is also seeing other people I start to lose interest and need to make some cuts.

    I've noticed that some guys loathe the "where is this going" and "are you seeing other women" conversations but they seem to be at ease once they realize that it's okay to be honest. Honestly, depending on where I am at the moment, it may not make much difference I just need to know so I can establish rules of engagement.

    • Mr. SD

      "I've noticed that some guys loathe the "where is this going" and "are you seeing other women" conversations"

      Not I! Id rather we get it all out in the open. I would need to know how many other negro's you have courting you so we can discuss ya exit strategy with them…lol

      • BlueSteele

        "I would need to know how many other negro's you have courting you so we can discuss ya exit strategy with them…lol"

        This guy! lol

    • http://twitter.com/SecretSweetLady @SecretSweetLady

      Hence, if he is that into he will love to hear you speak of commitment. if he isn't it's annoying.

      • BlueSteele

        Yup! Nail on the head Lady!

    • oh ok…

      @1st BlueSteele comment!
      ^^^Yup…and there it it is. ^^^^^

  • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

    I was going to comment in detail but the following seemed earlier…

    ALL OF THIS!

    No matter how much you like the person you’re dating, don’t provide them with boyfriend/girlfriend perks if you’re not exclusive. Perks are extremely subjective and are not one-size fits all. For example, a boyfriend perk for me is sex. If we are not exclusive with one another and we have not made a commitment to be, it’s not going to happen no matter how good he looks in a suit. This perk may not be realistic to some people, which is totally understandable, but know ahead of time what limits you’re going to set for yourself when dating. Setting limits makes it easier to walk away from a dating relationship that’s not conducive because you know upfront what you’re willing and not willing to do. A lot of times we’re so busy trying to figure out what the person we’re just dating will do for us, we forget to truly assess the things we will and won’t do for them.

  • Dr. J

    "So much to say… so much to say…" – Tweet #swoonfest

    I am almost too clear about where I stand with a woman in a relationship or lack thereof. I've got my own 'Christian Grey' ways of communicating the rooms that she is allowed into and not allowed into. I'm not opposed to telling her the questions she's not allowed to ask and the expectations she's not allowed to have. I'm also very clear that it would not be fair to me to put all my eggs in one basket on day one.

    But yeah, I reserve the right to allow open competition… it's MY future i'm concerned about not YOUR feelings. At what point do I get to worry about myself? That's just how I feel. I'm more of the Lou Holtz mindset about life.

    • heyheynow

      Dr. J you must be single or not dating black women. There’s no way on earth some woman would be cool with oh yeah you’re not allowed to ask that question wth…Chrisitan Grey is a fictional charcter with emotional issues who needed counseling you shouldn’t act like him..lol anyway this a great article and I love the name muffy bradshaw that’s cute or whatever…it makes perfect sense I would say after dating about a couple of months or so I would want to know are we exclusive because if we aren’t that gives me ample time to chuck deuces before I get my feelings hurt and have to bleach a nigga clothes like Beyonce in the emotions video…lol jk jk

      • BlueSteele

        Here we go again "D@mn Gina!"

        • Dr. J

          She totally negated her comment when she said, "bleach a n*gga clothes…"

      • GirlSixx

        "Dr. J you must be single or not dating black women"

        Wowwwww… .. Just like that?!!!!! *smhl*

        It's too early in the morning….*pullsgoosedowncomforteroverhead*

        • MaggK

          LMAO

        • Dr. J

          I know right…

      • cynicaloptmst81

        Really??? First sentence of the first response?! I canNOT with you people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LMBO!

        The worst part is that I don't think heyheynow has been around enough to know SBM insiders like that…so that comment was probably not posted maliciously.

        • BlueSteele

          Poor Dr.J, can't even catch a break from the (assumed) newbies, lol

    • Smilez_920

      Lol no ones trying to take your right away to talk to other women. It’s just that one particular woman wants to know where you and her stand. Maybe she is acting others but she is taking a strong liking to you, instead of just dropping everybody and hoping you are only dating her, she going to ask you where y’all stand . If you hit her with the I’m not ready to be exclusive , that’s cool just understand that like you she’ll be exploring her actions.

      If your tryig to sleep with me I have all rights to ask whatever question I want lol now you have the right to answer however you want. If you respond with no answer Welp,I know what to do.

    • FlyyLibrarian

      All of what you wrote is why I like you. I believe that you are just too real/honest for some peoples taste.

  • Turi

    I make a rule of not asking questions because I don’t want to be questioned. I always assume a guy I’m seeing is seeing others because I’m surely seeing others. If I want to talk about the possibility of being exclusive or heading in that direction, I’ll bring it up. Seems pretty cut and dry to me.

    I’ve never been stuck in a position where I’m just going through the motions and hoping I’m chosen. I know there’s competition, but I don’t try to outdo what I don’t know about. I just do me. If that reels him in, then good.

    • Dr. J

      "I make a rule of not asking questions because I don't want to be questioned. "

      BING.

    • Larry

      " I always assume a guy I'm seeing is seeing others because I'm surely seeing others. If I want to talk about the possibility of being exclusive or heading in that direction, I'll bring it up. Seems pretty cut and dry to me. "

      BING x 2

    • Graciela

      BOOM.

  • ReRe

    I wish I had read this circa january 2011…could have saved me a year of heartbreak!! I agree meeting family, friends, the PARENTS, etc doesnt mean anything for some men nowadays. More importantly that experience taught me exclusivity does NOT necessarily mean you are in a relationship!!! If I had this post then I would’ve realized to run faaaar away from him! Plus some one who says you’re exclusive but not in a relationship probably is not really being exclusive(which i realized he wasnt later on) or they want to keep their options open, so he may be exclusively dating you for NOW but as soon as he meets someone hes really interested in he can play the “but we’re not bf/gf” card!

  • GirlSixx

    "Women don't need a man's "confirmation" that he's not into commitment. They show all the signs if given enough time to watch them from the distance. The cracks will always show."

    LOVE THIS^^^^^

  • Smilez_920

    Closed mouths don’t get feed. It goes like this . When I first start dating someone , I don’t go in thinking I’m the only one. But I also don’t go around worrying about being the only one either. First couple of dates I’m just want to make sure I enjoy your company as a ” friend ” and overall person. Plus I may still have some other options available that I want to check out. Every good guy won’t be a good partner for me. As we progress , depending on how I feel, maybe I don’t want a serious relationship right now and I’m just dating; if I am starting to really like the guy and I want to explore something more with him, I don’t see anything wrong with asking ” hey are you dating other ppl or where would you like this situation to go etc…”. I mean for the most part the guy will usually let it be known upfront . But time frame wise , it seems like what’s a short period of time is for a man is an eternity for a woman. So if you kind of bring it up first , you could just be beating him to the punch. But you can’t let fear of rejection , have you living in fake gf la la land. Maybe he’s not ready for anything serious, but he’s a great guy. That’s fine, just don’t waste your time worrying about being an option , that you forget that he’s not the only good man on earth, there are others .

  • Larry

    Great post and more or less agree with everything in it.

    Personally, I actually do make assumptions.However, my assumption is any woman that I am out on a date with and getting to know hasn't been living under a rock for the last 6 months and has been and/or is currently going out on dates with other suitors. Now, I understand the reality may be different for many women, but from an expectation management standpoint I live in the "under promise/over deliver" mindset, lol.

    Now if I happen to have been going out a dates with another woman or two, but I find one I'm becoming more interested in one, naturally I'm going to start spending more time with that person…and my goal is to get her to spend more time with me and less time with any other suitor she's giving her time to. At some point you're pretty much dating exclusively, while having convos along the way, and then make a decision on your official relationship status.

    Simple, but not easy.

  • bellatrice1

    This post has made it clear just how trifling, complicated and tiresome dating can be…after reading many of the comments, I don't even really understand what a relationship is anymore! How is it that you can be exclusive and NOT in a relationship?? It just shouldn't be this difficult smh.

    I think men have created all these gray areas to avoid the inevitable lol.

    As Larry said above, I've found that older men, late 20s and up, usually don't get in a relationship where they are exclusive unless they see themselves marrying the person they are entering a relationship with. Now, exclusivity or gf status means you are headed towards marriage. Everything else is just dating and means very little in the grand scheme of things.
    My recent post SBF Seeks Long Term Living Arrangement

    • Poetic Justice

      "…after reading many of the comments, I don't even really understand what a relationship is anymore! "
      I just wrote to SBM this week about a current suitor and after having a convo with him yesterday, I realized this was the problem; we defined "relationship" differently. He said he wanted to have "the talk" so before I went I doodled my "relationship road map" on a sticky note. It went something like: Meet someone, go out 2-3 times, if that goes well we become friends and date, after a variable amount of time dating (could be 2 months, could be 6 months) based on chemistry, if we haven't already, check in with each other on if we're ready to date exclusively, if yes we are now in a relationship and I'm your girlfriend, if no I'll probably fade to black.
      At different points in your life (ie: 23yr/old vs 33yr/old) that map may change so it's important to update it so you can be honest and hold yourself accountable to not sending mixed messages about what you want to receive or what you're willing to give (<— that goes for the ladies and the gents.)

      • bellatrice1

        I think what you suggest is logical and definitely doable for men and women, but what happened to just meeting someone, liking them, falling for them, and marrying them (if that is the desired result)??

        There's all these different stages now, talking but not dating, in a rel but not exclusive, exclusive but not in a rel, dating but just friends…it's really getting ridiculous.
        My recent post SBF Seeks Long Term Living Arrangement

  • InsomniaPoet

    I’ve ended up in the exclusive but not together space many times before. But I cannot blame it all on the men. I totally had responsibility in us being in that space.There were times where I started dating someone and wasn’t even thinking about where it was going, then ended up doing totally relationship type things (meeting fams, going to events, cleaning house and cooking, having relations, spending crazy amounts of time together etc. etc) and enjoying it. I wasn’t concerned about having the talk b/c I felt pretty confident that he wasn’t out there and even if he was I was happy. The issue is making sure you are happy. I have serious commitment issues, so I avoid this talk because you try and give me a title and I’m running. I am totally the – if it aint broke why fix it type of girl…but that’s probably why I’m not married so don’t listen to me. HA!

  • EveryNowandThen

    This article came at a great time. I always read and never comment on these things but this time I had to. I'm a firm believer in communication. Personally from date number 2 or 3 I ask if my "date" is seeing anyone else. Kinda for them and kinda for me too. As a woman this isn't the norm, but I keep what I affectionately call a team. A few men in my back pocket who all serve a purpose. If this "date" and I get serious (meaning I enjoy his company and want to focus on him), I need to know right away if I need to put my team on hold. My team are never potentials for exclusivity. They are good for what they are good for. And that's it. If a team member gets too emotional with me, they're cut. Larry hit the nail on the head from me though. You date to know who you want to be exclusive with. If you realize after a while that your "date" won't be a potential gf/bf then you saved yourself the drama. Dating doesn't mean exclusivity, ever. This is something that younger men/women don't tend to catch on to. Don't assume that just because a man/woman is spending lots of time with you that you are his one and only. He/she might just be testing the waters.

    • InsomniaPoet

      Does your team know they never have exclusive potential?

      • EveryNowandThen

        Yes they always know. Team members usually started out as dates, but for whatever reason, I chose not to make it more serious. So I keep them around for whatever I feel they are useful for. Be it occasional movie dates just to get outta the house, someone to take me to work when my car is in the shop, or a friend with "benefits". But they're told ahead of time that no matter what you do, there's nothing to us.

        • InsomniaPoet

          I was asking b/c I've done the same and someone told me that was using the person. I didn't agree so I was trying to get your perspective. I don't necessarily have full disclosure w/ my "team" though…

        • EveryNowandThen

          Yes. I don't have full disclosure with them either. And they don't with me. I don't ask them details in their live because I usually don't care. That's usually with the "benefits" team players. I don't care about your life or your aspirations. Just come over when I text you!! It's not using! It's being resourceful.

        • bellatrice1

          LOL *dead* at "someone to take me to work when my car is in the shop."
          My recent post SBF Seeks Long Term Living Arrangement

        • EveryNowandThen

          LMAO!!! What??? I made him dinner in return!

        • bellatrice1

          ok, I guess that's cool lol. I guess it's just funny because you listed specific ways in which they are useful to you…hilarious!
          My recent post SBF Seeks Long Term Living Arrangement

    • Larry

      "Larry hit the nail on the head from me though. You date to know who you want to be exclusive with. If you realize after a while that your "date" won't be a potential gf/bf then you saved yourself the drama. Dating doesn't mean exclusivity, ever"

      *Pats self on back* lmaooo #ConfirmationBias :-)

  • cynicaloptmst81

    Its only so much that I'm gonna allow myself to say on this here topic…#TooSoon. But, men ASKING FOR relationships with women…men that are very much ok with stringing along said women knowing full well they will NEVER marry said women is VERY REAL post age 28. Was that vague enough?! LOL… #sorry

    What makes this topic so difficult for me is that I'm a horrible…HORRIBLE…multi-tasker when it comes to men. Dating multiple people at one time is just not my thing. I'll juggle several phone calls/emails/texts from suitors for a bit. But, I quickly zero in on the 'best of the bunch' and focus my mojo there, lol. I don't cut the others off…but trust, they aren't really getting any real QT. I do this fully aware that the other person may be juggling…and I'm cool with that. Is this just me????

    • Bananeira

      "…men that are very much ok with stringing along said women knowing full well they will NEVER marry said women is VERY REAL post age 28."

      Yep! And more than likely those men post age 28 are still single and "dating"…

  • Larry

    "But, I quickly zero in on the 'best of the bunch' and focus my mojo there, lol. I don't cut the others off…but trust, they aren't really getting any real QT. I do this fully aware that the other person may be juggling…and I'm cool with that. Is this just me???? "

    This was basically what I was getting at in my comment. The differences between each person is how "quickly" they zero in on one person….for some (such as yourself it appears) it's rather quick. For others it could be a bit longer. But the idea is essentially the same.

  • X's Dad

    Period point blank, we are men. If we don't come right out and say "Look here gurl, it's you that I need and nobody else" then assume you're not the only one he's dating. People put too much stock in certain things. Most men won't just come right out and say what's on their minds (sorry fellas) but when he does, please take heed to it, positive or negative.

  • Cookie

    Whatever you do, just be honest with your ish…that way everyone knows what's what, and the likihood of confusion and drama is minimal…basically don't use people just for your own personal benefit..save the games for the kids..

  • FoundLove

    Love this post! I’ve always felt the same way. But then you get those guys who are honest and say “yes I date other women, but don’t think you can go on dates with other men”, uhhhh…. *side eye*

  • Concerned8888

    You have valid points in your say so, it all comes down to this… Dating. It means going out and seeing other women/men. You’re not exclusive, not just yet, you’re seeing whats out there. I have been asked that question on the first date and I’m honest, I tell them what is what. First thing that comes out of their mouth is that you DO have a girlfriend. Not true, oh but you as a female can date, but a man can’t. I ask, are there other guys that you are seeing? By seeing, I mean sleeping with. Body language says another thing all together. Not everyone has the time or the energy to be exclusive, work plays a major factor, keeping your job !! Also, I go buy this saying…’a pig in a suit, is just a pig in a suit’. Need I say more? As for saving your body, sex for a boyfriend. Girls don’t have a chance at my body as I am a man. I want a woman, and as a woman you should be looking for a man not a boyfriend. Boyfriends come and go, a man steps up.

  • Bree

    My comment is simply this – know Exactly, Precisely, and Specifically what you want and don't want and be able to clearly convey that to whomever your involved with. Once you make it known what you want and don't want Do Not Under Any Circumstances "Settle" for less than what you want and/or anything you don't want.
    Many times the problem is that people end up "settling" for things they know good & hell well they don't want and/or "settling" for no status, no title, and no commitment when they know good and hell well thats what they want. This is how you become a "wife" by default and end up in a "common-law" marriage because you've been together "living in sin" for so long, but have no ring or legal benefits to show for it.

  • Bree

    Sometimes, (men and women) in dating and relationships can be like car sales. You get the base model of a person. You end up really liking the base model and want "more," like extra features and perks. The base model is sold "as is." You don't get the extra features and perks and 10 yr warranty. So that you don't lose the car you "settle" for the base model, knowing in your heart of hearts you badly want all the extra features and the 10 year warranty. You get scared to ask for the extra features and warranty for fear of losing the car altogether. So you settle for the base model hoping, praying, and wishing on a star that in time the sales person will want to just give you the extra features and 10 year warranty because you've treated the car so nicely and been so very good to it and made all your payments on time.

  • Bree

    If and when you do decide to take a chance and "yolo" it and ask for the warranty and extra features the salesperson tries to convince you that you don't really need them and that your getting more than enough with the standard base model. Not to mention the fact that the extra stuff will cost you more money. Yet again, so you don't lose the car, you take whatever you can get and once again "settle."

  • Peter Parker

    I think you should not assume with either of the sexes. I have learned over the years that it’s best to not only show you are interested, but to also let it be known you are interested as well. Women nowadays have to be told through spoken words that you are interested, despite the fact you call them on a regular, take them out, and spend alot of time with them.
    Just to make a point that was made by Larry…”decide to date with a purpose of finding a long-term partner/spouse or what have you.” As a man mature and esp. if he has a lot to offer a potential spouse, he definitely is not dating just to be dating. Too much to lose and very little time to spare with someone who is not interested in building a team, so while it may not be as fun as slaying mutiple women, dating to find your queen is a quest only a mature man is ready for.

  • SweetSass

    Women should never date just one guy. That is a trap, ladies. Date many men. Let one LOCK YOU DOWN. Not vice versa.

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  • sanmarino

    Agreed. The only reason people feel disappointed is because they invest too much. If we are not a couple, I don't have sex. It makes not sense and in my book it's disgusting and immoral to have sex with multiple people in the same timeframe. Men unfortunately are VERY promiscuous these days. Why have sex with someone, date them, and have feelings when they aren't even your bf? Women need to stop giving boyfriend and husband privileges to men who barely even look at them as a gf.

    A lot of the times these men haven't even earned these privileges. If you haven't had a conversation about being exclusive, your'e note. Simple as that. I would assume he's then seeing other women and would be extremley mindful of how far i got with him in terms of emotions and the physical.

    Traditionally to court someone has been to date them and get to know them and them only. People casually date while others don't see the point of someone who's dating multiple women after all how will things progress if he's sleeping with everyone. Back in the day things were more simple. You liked a girl, you asked her out, and then things progressed.

    Now it's you like someone, they are dating/sleeping with multiple people, how is it going to work? yada yada yada

    Everyone needs to know their boundaries and what they do and don't wants and most importantly COMMUNICATION.

  • The Enchantress

    This article is a no-brainer but nothing will ever protect you from falling into the trap if the other person is a flat out dog. I just ended a relationship where I was pursued. He kept saying he wasn’t about games, he loved hard, and he only wanted one woman. I set boundaries, took the appropriate measures, made it clear that it will only be him and me, and he said the same thing- then found out he had another girlfriend he was trying to juggle when she came over and I made him let her in. The jig was up then and there was no way out for him.

  • http://loveklinicblog.com Ngah Benoit

    Men are sometimes unpredictable so you should never assume with them. You might get yourself into problems based on the assumptions you make so avoid it.
    My recent post How To Get Over Your Ex