Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: whiterose on April 18, 2014, 12:42:59 PM

Title: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 18, 2014, 12:42:59 PM
Expanding on a situation that I posted as part of another thread a while ago- copying and pasting from my own old post, with a few modifications.

Jenna and Ralph meet at an alumni event for the very large university they both attended. A couple months later, they run into each other at another alumni event and get to know each other better. They talk on the phone and go on 3 successful dates. They have kissed- but that's it physically.

They go on their 4th date. By now, over a month has passed since their first date (and even more since their first meeting). Jenna is hoping to define the relationship on that date. Ralph receives a call during the date while waiting to be seated at the restaurant. It is a very short and perfunctory call- so he takes it in front of Jenna (he had never taken a call in front of her before- and smartphones did not exist at the time, so Ralph had no way to know who it was ahead of time by a special ringtone or possibly even caller ID). She asks if everything is fine- Ralph says it was just Deborah (whom he had not mentioned before). Jenna asks casually if Deborah is his friend- Ralph says it was a woman he met. Jenna asks if he was interested in her- he said no, that they went out just once (one night he was not seeing Jenna- sometime between dates 2 and 3 with Jenna) and he could tell she was not a good match for him, and that she now was more of a business contact since they work in the same broad industry. Jenna does not bring it up on the rest of their dinner and movie date...

Until they are in the car on the way back to drop Jenna off at her place. Ralph asks Jenna if she has a problem with his dating other women. Jenna said yes. Ralph replied "I never said we were dating exclusively".  Jenna replied "true"...but she said that she was the kind of person who by 4 dates needed exclusivity and was hoping to discuss it. Ralph does not think he did anything wrong in wanting to date Jenna only casually. While Ralph has no plans on ever seeing Deborah again unless it is through their jobs (they both work at different units of the same very large hotel chain), he wanted to keep going out on dates with new women he met, and keep seeing Jenna too without making a commitment to her- but Jenna could not deal with that.  Ralph and Jenna part ways cordially that evening, but Jenna is still hurt because she really liked Ralph and she thought he liked her back and all.


Now my question is- other than taking Deborah's phone call in the middle of his 4th date with Jenna, did Ralph do anything wrong?

A) Not at all. Exclusivity should not be expected until it is explicitly discussed and mutually agreed upon.

B) Only delivery failure. He did nothing wrong in wanting to date casually- but he should have relayed his intentions way before the 4th date.

C) Only circumstantial. Had Ralph met Jenna and Deborah through an online dating site, casual dating multiple women would have been acceptable. But since he met both of them IRL and in platonic ways, it is not so appropriate to date more than one person at a time- especially so many dates with one of them.

D) Maybe. Kinda. Sorta. Perhaps. Possibly. Going on one date with Deborah between dates 2 and 3 with Jenna may have been okay for Ralph to do; but after 4 successful dates with Jenna, Ralph needs to either go steady with Jenna OR end things with her altogether.

E) Definitely. If Ralph likes Jenna that much to keep going out with her, he needs to focus on her and only her.


Also, add any other regional or cultural differences that could affect this. While I am using a male name for the one who wants to keep dating casually, and a female name for the one who wants a commitment- would there be a difference if the man wants a commitment and the woman wants casual dating? If the couple were same-sex, would there be a difference as well? Please do comment on this.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 18, 2014, 12:55:27 PM
I fall somewhere between "not at all" and "delivery failure."  I think Jenna is absolutely fine to expect exclusivity, and Ralph is absolutely fine to not want exclusivity.  I think it is not very wise to "expect" exclusivity without an express conversation about it, however.  So I don't know that Ralph did anything wrong in not saying, "I intend to date other people if I feel like it" since that, to me, is the default unless and until the conversation of "I want to date you and only you - do you agree?" happens.

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: SingActDance on April 18, 2014, 12:59:12 PM
If someone wants to define the relationship or discuss exclusivity, they need to speak up. IMO, nobody is under obligation to divulge that they are dating other people until 1) they are asked directly by a romantic interest, 2) things venture into scrabble territory (even this is iffy, because if if it bothers you to sleep with someone who may be sleeping with someone else, you should have employed point #1). The genders make no difference for me.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Deetee on April 18, 2014, 01:07:50 PM
I don't think that either of them did anything wrong. Jenna was perfectly right to want an exclusive relationship and Ralph was perfectly right to want to date other women. I think the timing of the discussion was fine.

If anything, I think I would put a little more fault on Jenna for not being clear earlier that she would only be open to an exclusive relationship. But that is quibbly.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 18, 2014, 01:10:24 PM
If anything, I think I would put a little more fault on Jenna for not being clear earlier that she would only be open to an exclusive relationship. But that is quibbly.

Yeah, I agree with this.  I have never dated more than one person at a time, but I have always made it clear upfront I expected exclusivity if we were going to date. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Allyson on April 18, 2014, 01:41:13 PM
I think that sounds like very early days in the relationship--4 dates, and no talk about the relationship. It doesn't have to be--I think it would really depend on the intensity of the dates and the communication between dates. If all that's happening is that they are going out once a week to say, dinner and a movie, with little communication outside of the dates except planning them, and mostly still talking about generalities, I would think that sounds very casual still.

If, however, they're talking every day, and those dates are 8 hours of intense conversations, I think that's a bit different. I've been in *both* those situations, and while technically in each it's only been "4 dates" in the second one I would be much more hurt if he had seen someone else (he didn't, we've been dating almost 4 years now.) Though I would think it perhaps not the best idea to be in the second situation and not bring up "hey, so are you seeing anyone else/planning to?"
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: JoyinVirginia on April 18, 2014, 02:30:23 PM
I vote a,B,c. If exclusivity had not been discussed, them there should be no expectation of it. Whether you meet in real life or online. But each person dating has the right to feel however they want. So its not that either were wrong, just that expectations were different.
That said, you can have fun casually dating different people. dating someone does not mean you are going to marry them.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: diesel_darlin on April 18, 2014, 04:05:20 PM
Jenna is the one who had a set time line in her mind as to when exclusivity should happen. She can't expect Ralph to know this if she doesn't bring it up.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: #borecore on April 18, 2014, 04:17:17 PM
Jenna is the one who had a set time line in her mind as to when exclusivity should happen. She can't expect Ralph to know this if she doesn't bring it up.

This is a really good point. Everyone's timelines or expectations are different. "Four dates" is only a magical number in one person's head.

Expecting anyone to know that if it were a cultural norm with widespread applicability would be tough; when it's just random, it's nigh impossible.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Miss Marple on April 18, 2014, 04:38:54 PM
I think neither of them did anything wrong. They both behaved like mature adults and stated their expectations. I think more woman could learn from Jenna about stating their expectations.

It just seems she realized before he did she wanted to be exclusive. The only thing I would have done differently is I would have waited a bit longer before deciding if I wanted to be exclusive. I am interested to hear the male ehell members take on this, as I have at the back of my mind that often women know before men they want to be exclusive and patience can pay off.

I also applaud Ralph for being honest and not stringing her along.

They both behaved well.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TheBardess on April 18, 2014, 05:25:24 PM
Jenna is the one who had a set time line in her mind as to when exclusivity should happen. She can't expect Ralph to know this if she doesn't bring it up.

This is a really good point. Everyone's timelines or expectations are different. "Four dates" is only a magical number in one person's head.

Expecting anyone to know that if it were a cultural norm with widespread applicability would be tough; when it's just random, it's nigh impossible.

This, plus, even if four dates was universally agreed upon as the point at which you become exclusive, Ralph's date with Deborah happened between the second and third dates with Jenna- a point at which, even going by her own timeline, Jenna can't expect exclusivity.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 18, 2014, 05:44:00 PM
So- the way Ralph met Jenna and Deborah does not matter then? Would not make a difference if they met on an online dating site, IRL platonically, in a message board for a mutual interest, or set up by mutual friends?

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually? Or was it time to either make it exclusive or end it altogether? Assume that  there was mutual attraction between Jenna and Ralph from the first date (or possibly even earlier than that)- that he is not just going out with an otherwise perfectly pleasant woman to see if chemistry will eventually spark up.

Also give Ralph the benefit of the doubt in that he did not arrange for Deborah (whom he certainly did not want to keep dating) to call him during his fourth date with Jenna in order to deliberately let Jenna know that there were other women.

Yes, I think too much.  :P
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: #borecore on April 18, 2014, 05:48:25 PM
None of that affects my opinions.

If you want to be exclusive, bring it up. If the other person doesn't want to be, they have every right to ask not to be for now or forever, just as the person who wants exclusivity has the right to say no to their proposal.

I understand that you like hypotheticals, but is there a real situation you want advice on?
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 18, 2014, 06:07:28 PM
While not entirely hypothetical, this certainly does not apply to any current situation I am in.

Although since my boyfriend (whom I met on eHarmony) and I were both focusing on only one person- each other- from the very beginning (even though I did not bring up the talk explicitly till date 5), I am curious as to whether there is a societal norm in any way that we were the exception to. Or if we were the norm and that past situation was the exception.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: VorFemme on April 18, 2014, 06:17:22 PM
Four dates across a time span of more than three months (time mentioned between first date and "running into each other again") is not enough to support exclusive dating unless they've been friends and know each other a LOT better than most people do after four dates.

Whoever wants to be exclusive that early...is pushing things through a little early in the "getting to know you" part of the romance. 

Granted, I started dating in the 1970s and haven't dated at all since getting married. 

But four dates & "I want to date ONLY you"?  I'm seeing warning flags about someone who wants commitment that early - not red flags, more like yellow flags.  But too fast for things in the culture I grew up in, even today (USA).
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 18, 2014, 06:53:56 PM
I've noticed that expectations for the timeline for a significant relationship vary pretty widely.  I've been on dates with some guys that terrified me because they expected exclusivity after I agreed to a second date.  I dated a guy for 6 months where we had discussed exclusivity at the beginning and decided not to be exclusive at the time - I broke up with him when we revisited the subject and he didn't want to get more serious.  Generally I don't expect exclusivity until we discuss it and agree to it - and I tend to end things after about the fourth or fifth date now if I don't want to have that discussion with the guy.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Winterlight on April 18, 2014, 07:10:17 PM
I think at most Ralph committed delivery failure. He didn't lead Jenna on, he was honest when the topic came up. Perhaps he should have brought it up at the beginning of their dating, but that's as much as I can "blame" him for.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: shhh its me on April 18, 2014, 07:29:51 PM
    I don't think how they met matters.   I do think the content of the dates and conversations matters more then how they met or how many dates they went on.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Mary Lennox on April 18, 2014, 07:45:03 PM
Perhaps he should have brought it up at the beginning of their dating, but that's as much as I can "blame" him for.

At the same time, why couldn't she say "After 4 dates, I expect to be exclusive. Are you okay with that?"
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: blarg314 on April 18, 2014, 10:25:48 PM

 I would say nothing wrong.

Four dates in over a month with no physical intimacy is still very casual dating, getting to know each other stage.

Exclusivity is one of those things where you shouldn't make assumptions, or you're going to get hurt. Actually, in relationships if something is important to you, you shouldn't assume the other person feels the same way - you should talk about it. People can have very different mutually exclusive needs or desires without either wanting something wrong.

My guess would be that Jenna assumed going on more than one date = exclusive couple, while Ralph assumed that they were still in the getting to know each other and seeing if they want to take the relationship further stage.

I actually think Ralph acted more maturely. When he saw Jenna being jealous/inquisitive of his relationship with other women, he realized that she may have different ideas that he did, and brought the topic up directly. Jenna, on the other hand, assumed that they were exclusive without discussing it, and only brought up her needs after he raised the issue.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: miranova on April 19, 2014, 12:07:37 PM
How they met makes no difference to me.  The number of dates is arbitrary, different people have their own standards and expectations, which is why things need to be discussed in the first place.  I don't think there is a "norm", not really.

For me personally I was always able to figure out if someone wanted to keep seeing me/see me exclusively.  It was pretty obvious in one way or another.  Either they were giving me signs that they were seeing someone else, or they wanted to refer to me as their girlfriend, in both cases their intentions were pretty clear.  I don't remember having a lot of misunderstandings over this issue.

With Dh we had the exclusivity conversation after about 3 weeks of dating (which was more than 4 dates for us) but I wasn't really surprised at the outcome, we definitely seemed to be on the same page.

I don't think either person in your scenario did anything wrong according to etiquette. Morality is different from etiquette however.  I probably wouldn't think highly of someone's character if they want to continuously date multiple women all at the same time with no intention of becoming connected with any of them....but that's a values judgment and has nothing to do with etiquette.  The guy in your story was perfectly polite and I actually would commend him for his honesty at least.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 20, 2014, 03:43:01 AM
I think it depends on the region. In my country (Australia), four dates plus kissing WOULD signify exclusivity, and Ralph would be considered a bit of a jerk/clueless for expecting to keep on dating Jenna casually.

But us Aussies don't really do casual dating. It's either "hanging out as friends" or being an "exclusive couple".
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Ceallach on April 20, 2014, 04:51:57 AM
The fact that Jenna went into that last date wanting to have a talk to "define the relationship", tells me that she hoped, rather than believed, that they were exclusive.  It strikes me that she asked a question, didn't get the answer she wanted, and was upset by that.   I realise she didn't actually ask the question - it answered itself before she could - but it makes me wonder if there's any way that date could have gone down where she *wouldn't* have gone home unhappy.   They want different things.  That was going to come out regardless of whether it was via an unfortunately timed phone call from another date, or from a heart to heart conversation.    I can understand her feeling hurt to hear the guy she liked didn't like her back the same way, but I hope she realises that's just part of life, better to find out then than further down the track.   Unreciprocated feelings do suck, but he wasn't dishonest with her in any way.

Personally 4 dates in a month sounds like nothing to me - when DH and I started dating we saw each other nearly every night, because we were really into each other.   If I really liked somebody I wouldn't go days without seeing them.  Then again, I'm pretty decisive about these things.    Maybe it's that aussie thing that LifeOnPluto mentioned - I know a lot of couples here who dived right in.   Very all or nothing!  I assume that there are people here who date casually though. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: sparksals on April 20, 2014, 09:00:28 AM
Jenna ' s expectations were way off base.  There was a month between the 3rd and 4th date.  That would not imply exclusivity to me! 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: shhh its me on April 20, 2014, 09:20:25 AM
Jenna ' s expectations were way off base.  There was a month between the 3rd and 4th date.  That would not imply exclusivity to me!

I thought it was a month between 1st and 4th , which in the right context may imply exclusivity.  I keep coming back to context.............. 4 dates that last 8 hours in quick succession and lots of phone calls in between/making plans for the next date right away etc.  might seem exclusive.  A 40 minute cup of coffee on Wend. , 60 minute  jog in the park on Thurs morning ,  90 afternoon at an craft fair on Sunday and  2 hour dinner on Monday over 6 weeks with 3 day between calls and 7 days between having a date and planning the next one I'd probably not think exclusive.

There are signs beside "the talk" that things are exclusive but I think number of dates is probably one of the least important.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 20, 2014, 09:39:23 AM
Jenna met Ralph at an alumni event. Two months after that, they met at another alumni event and exchange contact info. They talk on the phone a couple times. They go on their first date about a week after the second alumni meeting. A little over a month passes between this first date and the fourth date- they had gone on two dates in between that, plus several phone conversations and email correspondence in-between.

While there is a stereotype that women want exclusivity before men do, the one that seems to happen more often in my experience is that the less attractive person wants exclusivity first. However, Jenna and Ralph were similarly attractive, both were in their mid-twenties, and both were in similar places in life- so those variables are being controlled for. They even belonged to the same religious denomination (albeit, it is the largest denomination of the largest religion)- another controlled variable, so no uber-strict denominations with uber-strict courtships either, but neither were non-religious people who had no moral/etiquette boundaries to what could be done.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 20, 2014, 05:18:23 PM
Jenna met Ralph at an alumni event. Two months after that, they met at another alumni event and exchange contact info. They talk on the phone a couple times. They go on their first date about a week after the second alumni meeting. A little over a month passes between this first date and the fourth date- they had gone on two dates in between that, plus several phone conversations and email correspondence in-between.

While there is a stereotype that women want exclusivity before men do, the one that seems to happen more often in my experience is that the less attractive person wants exclusivity first. However, Jenna and Ralph were similarly attractive, both were in their mid-twenties, and both were in similar places in life- so those variables are being controlled for. They even belonged to the same religious denomination (albeit, it is the largest denomination of the largest religion)- another controlled variable, so no uber-strict denominations with uber-strict courtships either, but neither were non-religious people who had no moral/etiquette boundaries to what could be done.

You might want to reconsider that comment.  Lack of religion does not mean a lack of morality, and I have never heard etiquette tied into religiosity at all! 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 20, 2014, 05:26:35 PM
In no way did I mean to say that lack of religion = lack of morals or ethics. I am just saying that some religions have some restrictions on what unmarried people can do, that may not necessarily be present for people who do not follow any religion. I apologize if my comment was offensive- certainly not my intention in any way. Just trying to give background that while their denomination did not have uber strict courtship where there is barely any physical contact before marriage, there were still some restrictions regarding premarital activity (no scrabble, but where line was drawn before that is much more ambiguous) that not everyone else may have. Hope this makes it clearer.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: JenJay on April 20, 2014, 06:42:18 PM

 I would say nothing wrong.

Four dates in over a month with no physical intimacy is still very casual dating, getting to know each other stage.

Exclusivity is one of those things where you shouldn't make assumptions, or you're going to get hurt. Actually, in relationships if something is important to you, you shouldn't assume the other person feels the same way - you should talk about it. People can have very different mutually exclusive needs or desires without either wanting something wrong.

My guess would be that Jenna assumed going on more than one date = exclusive couple, while Ralph assumed that they were still in the getting to know each other and seeing if they want to take the relationship further stage.

I actually think Ralph acted more maturely. When he saw Jenna being jealous/inquisitive of his relationship with other women, he realized that she may have different ideas that he did, and brought the topic up directly. Jenna, on the other hand, assumed that they were exclusive without discussing it, and only brought up her needs after he raised the issue.

I agree. I haven't dated in many years but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be ready to commit to only seeing one person by the 4th date. It would be okay if he did, I'd be open to considering it, but I definitely wouldn't be making that assumption.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Sara Crewe on April 21, 2014, 06:45:35 AM
I think it depends on the region. In my country (Australia), four dates plus kissing WOULD signify exclusivity, and Ralph would be considered a bit of a jerk/clueless for expecting to keep on dating Jenna casually.

But us Aussies don't really do casual dating. It's either "hanging out as friends" or being an "exclusive couple".

I think it's pretty much the same in the UK (I don't date and things may have changed since I was young).  Unless there is a specific 'just friends' or 'still looking' conversation, after 4 serious dates, I think a lot of people would assume exclusivity and an attempt by either party to argue 'I never said I wasn't dating elsewhere' would not go down well.

I wonder how often two people have got their feelings hurt if one comes from the 'multiple partners at the same time' culture and the other comes from the serial monogamy culture.

I expect the actual numbers are about the same for both - it's just that one person may date 4 people at the same time for 4 months while the other dates each person for one month at a time with no/minimal overlap.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 21, 2014, 08:10:32 AM
...an attempt by either party to argue 'I never said I wasn't dating elsewhere' would not go down well.


This is why I think it always makes sense to be up front about these thing and not assume.  I am not saying a person should spend 45 minutes on the first date defining "the relationship" that does not yet exist, but never assume the other person is on the same page as you are (general you).  For me, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone I could not speak openly with about these things anyway.

I don't have a problem with playing the field, so long as everyone knows what the deal is. I have a major problem with being in an exclusive relationship and cheating, but that is not at all the same thing.  In the latter situation, it makes sense that a person would be hurt.  But if you are not exclusive, while a person may be hurt, the one playing the field did nothing wrong.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 21, 2014, 08:24:05 AM
...an attempt by either party to argue 'I never said I wasn't dating elsewhere' would not go down well.


This is why I think it always makes sense to be up front about these thing and not assume.  I am not saying a person should spend 45 minutes on the first date defining "the relationship" that does not yet exist, but never assume the other person is on the same page as you are (general you).  For me, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone I could not speak openly with about these things anyway.

I don't have a problem with playing the field, so long as everyone knows what the deal is. I have a major problem with being in an exclusive relationship and cheating, but that is not at all the same thing.  In the latter situation, it makes sense that a person would be hurt.  But if you are not exclusive, while a person may be hurt, the one playing the field did nothing wrong.

They would be in Australia and the UK, it sounds like. I didn't date a lot before I met DH, but as far as I know, here, going out on a date with someone generally means you have no other prospects lined up. I would be dumbfounded to discover that someone I dated twice in two weeks had been on a date with someone else between them. I wouldn't expect a commitment, but I'd expect that if a man went on a couple of dates with me, that he'd wait until he'd decided that he wasn't interested in me any more before dating someone else.

Anyone with a different experience in Australia can feel free to correct me - lack of vast experience here, as I said.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Winterlight on April 21, 2014, 08:54:01 AM
Perhaps he should have brought it up at the beginning of their dating, but that's as much as I can "blame" him for.

At the same time, why couldn't she say "After 4 dates, I expect to be exclusive. Are you okay with that?"

Perhaps "blame" isn't the best word. Maybe he just didn't realize that she was ready to be exclusive? He might have been a little clueless, but I agree, if this was important to her she could have brought it up sooner.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on April 21, 2014, 09:39:34 AM
Four dates?  And not on four successive nights, but over a period of time?  I have been in the situation that she was, but I was not upset because for me to assume exclusivity at that point seems outrageously presumptuous.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Sophia on April 21, 2014, 09:46:12 AM
Shoot, my husband didn't even know my address by the fourth date.  We'd met on a dating site so we proceeded slower than usual.  I think at that point he still ranked 3rd in my boyfriend ranking.  After a few months of dating, I fell in love, hard, and since then I've only had eyes for him. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: 123sandy on April 21, 2014, 09:55:22 AM
Exclusive after 4 dates over a month seems very quick to me. It is a very long time since I was dating so maybe my memory is bad...
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 21, 2014, 09:57:32 AM
[I wouldn't expect a commitment, but I'd expect that if a man went on a couple of dates with me, that he'd wait until he'd decided that he wasn't interested in me any more before dating someone else.

I think this *is* expecting a commitment, and expecting it unfairly if this expectation is not communicated.  I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to be the only person the person you date is dating, but that it should be communicated.  I know for me, if I "liked" someone I always asked whether they were seeing anyone else, and that way I could be informed about the situation.  If the answer was, "yes," and I wanted exclusivity, I would explain that I wanted exclusivity and if they couldn't give it to me, then no harm no foul but I am moving on.  If they did want exclusivity, then viola!  We were officially dating!

But to never communicate your wants/needs and then get upset that the other person did not read your mind....well, that seems like a recipe for hurt feelings and drama that could so easily be avoided.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: bah12 on April 21, 2014, 10:01:56 AM
Jenna is allowed to want exclusivity after 4 dates and Ralph is allowed not to want it.  I do think that if Jenna wants definition for a relationship and especially since the definition she wants, IMO, is not the default, then she needs to speak up. It's not fair to Ralph to expect that he's going to read her mind and have a convesation she expects to have to define a relationship he doesn't expect to have.  And I don't think he did anything wrong in neither bringing it up nor sensing that she wanted something more and being clear that he didn't.   And Jenna, knowing where he stands shouldn't expect anything more.  If it's not what she wants, then she needs to move on. 

As for the phone call.  I don't think he should have taken it in the middle of a date.  The fact that he did speaks volumes about how much he wanted to focus on Jenna.  I also don't think it was polite for her to ask him who it was and quetion him about the nature of the relationship with the caller.  After four dates and one month, she isn't owed that kind of information.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: sparksals on April 21, 2014, 10:23:32 AM
Jenna ' s expectations were way off base.  There was a month between the 3rd and 4th date.  That would not imply exclusivity to me!

I thought it was a month between 1st and 4th , which in the right context may imply exclusivity.  I keep coming back to context.............. 4 dates that last 8 hours in quick succession and lots of phone calls in between/making plans for the next date right away etc.  might seem exclusive.  A 40 minute cup of coffee on Wend. , 60 minute  jog in the park on Thurs morning ,  90 afternoon at an craft fair on Sunday and  2 hour dinner on Monday over 6 weeks with 3 day between calls and 7 days between having a date and planning the next one I'd probably not think exclusive.

There are signs beside "the talk" that things are exclusive but I think number of dates is probably one of the least important.


I reread and you are right, it was over a month between 1st and 4th date.  I still believe that more dates would be required to imply exclusivity and no one is exclusive until they both agree.  If over a month passed, it was less than one date per week.  That is hardly exclusive dating.. it seems far more casual to me.

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: wolfie on April 21, 2014, 10:26:48 AM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 21, 2014, 01:05:15 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

This confuses me because in romantic relationships it simply does not work that way.  If I want an exclusive relationship, the only thing that would "make it work" would be an exclusive relationship.  If I want to play the field, well, if a guy I am dating is fine with only dating me knowing I am dating other people, then fine, but he doesn't get to say I am "cheating" on him or not treating him fairly - we are not in an exclusive relationship, even though he wants one.  The only way relationships work is if both people want the same thing regarding exclusivity.  There isn't room for compromise because, well, then that isn't exclusivity!
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: wolfie on April 21, 2014, 01:49:53 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

This confuses me because in romantic relationships it simply does not work that way.  If I want an exclusive relationship, the only thing that would "make it work" would be an exclusive relationship.  If I want to play the field, well, if a guy I am dating is fine with only dating me knowing I am dating other people, then fine, but he doesn't get to say I am "cheating" on him or not treating him fairly - we are not in an exclusive relationship, even though he wants one.  The only way relationships work is if both people want the same thing regarding exclusivity.  There isn't room for compromise because, well, then that isn't exclusivity!

In the very beginning of a relationship I could see where I would want exclusivity but he doesn't yet (or vice versa) and I decide that i am willing to give it a little more time before saying "exclusive or nothing". It would depend on a number of factors but I might not be in the "all or nothing" frame of mind yet - just that i am ready to move forward but am okay with standing still for a little longer too. So I would say it is worth talking about to see if the other person wants X now, or if they would like to move there but are okay with waiting a bit.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: daen on April 21, 2014, 01:51:33 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

I think that, in a sense, the bolded is what does happen. The level of the relationship is ultimately dictated by the person who wants the lower level of intimacy, be that "exclusive" or  "not-exclusive" or "nodding acquaintance" or "completely cut off." If you are presented with a situation where the other is firm that s/he wants a non-exclusive relationship where you want more, you may choose the non-exclusive relationship or go to a less-intimate level than that.  Both people in the relationship have veto power, and that's as it should be.

However, I fully agree that it's not a case of "first to speak," where whoever first states what they want out of the relationship has set the only terms possible, and all that remains is a yes or no response. If Jenna says she wants exclusivity,  Ralph has every right to say he is not ready for that and suggest a non-exclusive relationship. Jenna can then decide if she's okay with dating Ralph casually a while longer before looking at an exclusive relationship again, or if she has now learned something that rules out Ralph as a romantic partner.

(or what wolfie said.  :) )

Some things regarding relationships are worth compromising on. Some are not. If anyone can explain how to clearly and consistently distinguish the one from the other,  there's a fortune to be made on the self-help circuit.  :)
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: bah12 on April 21, 2014, 01:57:06 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

I'm actually responding to the OP's question here:  Of course it's acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna that he doesn't want to date exclusively. It's the truth!  Just because it's not what Jenna wants to hear, doesn't make it wrong. The phone call has absolutely nothing to do with it.   I get that Jenna was hurt...but her hurt stems more from  the rejection that Ralph isn't in the same place as her than it does from anything that Ralph did or said wrong.  You didn't provide too much detail, but from what is stated, it doesn't sound like Ralph did anything to lead Jenna on either.  They went out four times.  They kissed. Only a month has gone by.  I get Jenna's feelings on the matter (mine used to be the same...dating around wasn't my thing). To want exclusivity is understandable.  To be hurt that it isn't happening is understandable.  But to expect that it be given automatically or to asign any blame or rudeness to Ralph because he's not on the same page, isn't.

As for the bolded...I agree in principle.  But to me, this only practically works in already committed relationships.  If I want my DH to behave a certain way towards me (say, hypothetically, always include me in conversations he has with other women) and he doesn't feel that he should, then yes, we both get to say what we want and work out a compromise.  But when it comes to exclusivity, or just dating in general where no commitment has been made, I think that the person who doesn't want the exclusivity sort of has the upper hand.  There's no compromise there.  If I don't want to date you exclusively, you can't force me to.  And if you don't want to date me unless I'm committed to you, I can't make you date me anyway. 

I can kind of see a scenario where Ralph would say "I'm not ready to date exclusively yet.  But perhaps after we get to know each other better and develop the relationship better, I may be willing to make that step with you.  I can't promise that now." and Jenna replying with "Ok, but I'm not interested in doing X, Y or Z unless we are exclusive, and I'm going to date around too" as sort of a compromise.  But honestly, if Jenna is the type of person that is uncomfortable dating someone unless he's only seeing her (even if they aren't serious) and Ralph is the type of person that likes to date around until he's made a commitment, then they aren't likely a good match anyway.  It was smart of Jenna to move on.  Neither is exactly wrong in their desires, they just aren't very compatible with each other.

ETA: I see you already said something similar in your other post :)

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: shhh its me on April 21, 2014, 01:59:16 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

This confuses me because in romantic relationships it simply does not work that way.  If I want an exclusive relationship, the only thing that would "make it work" would be an exclusive relationship.  If I want to play the field, well, if a guy I am dating is fine with only dating me knowing I am dating other people, then fine, but he doesn't get to say I am "cheating" on him or not treating him fairly - we are not in an exclusive relationship, even though he wants one.  The only way relationships work is if both people want the same thing regarding exclusivity.  There isn't room for compromise because, well, then that isn't exclusivity!

In the very beginning of a relationship I could see where I would want exclusivity but he doesn't yet (or vice versa) and I decide that i am willing to give it a little more time before saying "exclusive or nothing". It would depend on a number of factors but I might not be in the "all or nothing" frame of mind yet - just that i am ready to move forward but am okay with standing still for a little longer too. So I would say it is worth talking about to see if the other person wants X now, or if they would like to move there but are okay with waiting a bit.

I think its worth talking about , I think almost everything is worth talking about. 

I think the first post  in the tree was referring to the fact that if Jenna brought up exclusivity on the 4th date (My understanding was that was her intentions )and they were in firm  agreement or disagreement, the phone call and the fact Ralph went on a date with someone else between dates 1-4  is moot.  The result would have been the same , Jenna didn't expect exclusivity before date 4. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 21, 2014, 02:00:26 PM
So I would say it is worth talking about to see if the other person wants X now, or if they would like to move there but are okay with waiting a bit.

Absolutely it is worth talking about, but as daen said, the person who wants the least level of intimacy "wins."  Person A says, "I want to be exclusive."  Person B says, "I am still seeing persons C and D, but I would like to see you too."  Person A can either say, "Okay, I will continue to see you while you also pursue C and D" or "Okay, I am moving on because I want an exclusive relationship with someone." Person A cannot demand that Person B stop seeing C and D.  Person A either accepts Person B's terms (or vice versa) or they go their separate ways.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Garden Goblin on April 21, 2014, 02:00:31 PM
If someone asks me out, I do expect disclosure on whether or not they are seeing anyone else at the same time.  Casually dating multiple people simultaneously might not be an issue, depending on what I'm looking for at the time, but failure to be upfront about that being what is happening would qualify as dishonesty to me, and that is always going to be an issue.

Therefore, I do have a problem with Ralph's behavior.  As soon as he started seeing someone else, he should have been honest and told Jenna, or been up front from the beginning that he was also seeing other people.

I'm not saying she had the right to expect him to go exclusive on the fourth date, but she does have the right to know if he is seeing other people and especially to know if he is intimate with other people.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: wolfie on April 21, 2014, 02:04:38 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

I'm actually responding to the OP's question here:  Of course it's acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna that he doesn't want to date exclusively. It's the truth!  Just because it's not what Jenna wants to hear, doesn't make it wrong. The phone call has absolutely nothing to do with it.   I get that Jenna was hurt...but her hurt stems more from  the rejection that Ralph isn't in the same place as her than it does from anything that Ralph did or said wrong.  You didn't provide too much detail, but from what is stated, it doesn't sound like Ralph did anything to lead Jenna on either.  They went out four times.  They kissed. Only a month has gone by.  I get Jenna's feelings on the matter (mine used to be the same...dating around wasn't my thing). To want exclusivity is understandable.  To be hurt that it isn't happening is understandable.  But to expect that it be given automatically or to asign any blame or rudeness to Ralph because he's not on the same page, isn't.

As for the bolded...I agree in principle.  But to me, this only practically works in already committed relationships.  If I want my DH to behave a certain way towards me (say, hypothetically, always include me in conversations he has with other women) and he doesn't feel that he should, then yes, we both get to say what we want and work out a compromise.  But when it comes to exclusivity, or just dating in general where no commitment has been made, I think that the person who doesn't want the exclusivity sort of has the upper hand.  There's no compromise there.  If I don't want to date you exclusively, you can't force me to.  And if you don't want to date me unless I'm committed to you, I can't make you date me anyway. 

I can kind of see a scenario where Ralph would say "I'm not ready to date exclusively yet.  But perhaps after we get to know each other better and develop the relationship better, I may be willing to make that step with you.  I can't promise that now." and Jenna replying with "Ok, but I'm not interested in doing X, Y or Z unless we are exclusive, and I'm going to date around too" as sort of a compromise.  But honestly, if Jenna is the type of person that is uncomfortable dating someone unless he's only seeing her (even if they aren't serious) and Ralph is the type of person that likes to date around until he's made a commitment, then they aren't likely a good match anyway.  It was smart of Jenna to move on.  Neither is exactly wrong in their desires, they just aren't very compatible with each other.

ETA: I see you already said something similar in your other post :)

I can see I didn't word it very well! :-) I kinda meant what you said. I was answering the question in the op's post. I kinda wanted to say what you did - that it isn't that the first person gets to define the relationship and that is that. But that both people get to say what they feel/want and then they go forward deciding if they both are okay with that or if it is a dealbreaker.   I wanted to say that everyone gets to put their cards on the table and then they can see what happens. That if Ralph isn't ready yet he doesn't have to say "okay we are through" he can say "i'm not ready - can you work with that" and see if Jenna is able to do so.

And anyone can end a relationship for any and all reason - no obligation to stay when you don't want to.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 21, 2014, 02:06:20 PM
I'm not saying she had the right to expect him to go exclusive on the fourth date, but she does have the right to know if he is seeing other people and especially to know if he is intimate with other people.

I think it is on Jenna to ask questions that would elicit answers that are important to her.  I don't think it's lying to not tell someone you are just getting to know every little thing about you.  It happens on a need to know basis, as the relationship develops, or doesn't.  If Jenna is considering becoming intimate with Ralph, she should ask the questions that could be deal breakers rather than expect Ralph to know what her personal deal breakers are.   
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: bah12 on April 21, 2014, 02:26:55 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

I'm actually responding to the OP's question here:  Of course it's acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna that he doesn't want to date exclusively. It's the truth!  Just because it's not what Jenna wants to hear, doesn't make it wrong. The phone call has absolutely nothing to do with it.   I get that Jenna was hurt...but her hurt stems more from  the rejection that Ralph isn't in the same place as her than it does from anything that Ralph did or said wrong.  You didn't provide too much detail, but from what is stated, it doesn't sound like Ralph did anything to lead Jenna on either.  They went out four times.  They kissed. Only a month has gone by.  I get Jenna's feelings on the matter (mine used to be the same...dating around wasn't my thing). To want exclusivity is understandable.  To be hurt that it isn't happening is understandable.  But to expect that it be given automatically or to asign any blame or rudeness to Ralph because he's not on the same page, isn't.

As for the bolded...I agree in principle.  But to me, this only practically works in already committed relationships.  If I want my DH to behave a certain way towards me (say, hypothetically, always include me in conversations he has with other women) and he doesn't feel that he should, then yes, we both get to say what we want and work out a compromise.  But when it comes to exclusivity, or just dating in general where no commitment has been made, I think that the person who doesn't want the exclusivity sort of has the upper hand.  There's no compromise there.  If I don't want to date you exclusively, you can't force me to.  And if you don't want to date me unless I'm committed to you, I can't make you date me anyway. 

I can kind of see a scenario where Ralph would say "I'm not ready to date exclusively yet.  But perhaps after we get to know each other better and develop the relationship better, I may be willing to make that step with you.  I can't promise that now." and Jenna replying with "Ok, but I'm not interested in doing X, Y or Z unless we are exclusive, and I'm going to date around too" as sort of a compromise.  But honestly, if Jenna is the type of person that is uncomfortable dating someone unless he's only seeing her (even if they aren't serious) and Ralph is the type of person that likes to date around until he's made a commitment, then they aren't likely a good match anyway.  It was smart of Jenna to move on.  Neither is exactly wrong in their desires, they just aren't very compatible with each other.

ETA: I see you already said something similar in your other post :)

I can see I didn't word it very well! :-) I kinda meant what you said. I was answering the question in the op's post. I kinda wanted to say what you did - that it isn't that the first person gets to define the relationship and that is that. But that both people get to say what they feel/want and then they go forward deciding if they both are okay with that or if it is a dealbreaker.   I wanted to say that everyone gets to put their cards on the table and then they can see what happens. That if Ralph isn't ready yet he doesn't have to say "okay we are through" he can say "i'm not ready - can you work with that" and see if Jenna is able to do so.

And anyone can end a relationship for any and all reason - no obligation to stay when you don't want to.

It's been a long time since I dated and maybe this isn't the case, but I would kind of take Ralph saying "I want to date other people" and not offering anything else outside of that (changing that arrangment later for example), as him saying "This is all there is for me.  I don't want to even lead you to believe there will ever be more, because right now, I don't feel that way at all."  And this is why I think Jenna made the right choice to just let it go. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: wolfie on April 21, 2014, 02:30:10 PM

Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually?

Why wouldn't it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna what he wants and then see if they come to a compromise first? They are both in the relationship so both their opinions matter. It's not for one person to define the relationship and the other to take it or leave it. They both get to say what they want and then see if they can make it work.

I'm actually responding to the OP's question here:  Of course it's acceptable for Ralph to tell Jenna that he doesn't want to date exclusively. It's the truth!  Just because it's not what Jenna wants to hear, doesn't make it wrong. The phone call has absolutely nothing to do with it.   I get that Jenna was hurt...but her hurt stems more from  the rejection that Ralph isn't in the same place as her than it does from anything that Ralph did or said wrong.  You didn't provide too much detail, but from what is stated, it doesn't sound like Ralph did anything to lead Jenna on either.  They went out four times.  They kissed. Only a month has gone by.  I get Jenna's feelings on the matter (mine used to be the same...dating around wasn't my thing). To want exclusivity is understandable.  To be hurt that it isn't happening is understandable.  But to expect that it be given automatically or to asign any blame or rudeness to Ralph because he's not on the same page, isn't.

As for the bolded...I agree in principle.  But to me, this only practically works in already committed relationships.  If I want my DH to behave a certain way towards me (say, hypothetically, always include me in conversations he has with other women) and he doesn't feel that he should, then yes, we both get to say what we want and work out a compromise.  But when it comes to exclusivity, or just dating in general where no commitment has been made, I think that the person who doesn't want the exclusivity sort of has the upper hand.  There's no compromise there.  If I don't want to date you exclusively, you can't force me to.  And if you don't want to date me unless I'm committed to you, I can't make you date me anyway. 

I can kind of see a scenario where Ralph would say "I'm not ready to date exclusively yet.  But perhaps after we get to know each other better and develop the relationship better, I may be willing to make that step with you.  I can't promise that now." and Jenna replying with "Ok, but I'm not interested in doing X, Y or Z unless we are exclusive, and I'm going to date around too" as sort of a compromise.  But honestly, if Jenna is the type of person that is uncomfortable dating someone unless he's only seeing her (even if they aren't serious) and Ralph is the type of person that likes to date around until he's made a commitment, then they aren't likely a good match anyway.  It was smart of Jenna to move on.  Neither is exactly wrong in their desires, they just aren't very compatible with each other.

ETA: I see you already said something similar in your other post :)

I can see I didn't word it very well! :-) I kinda meant what you said. I was answering the question in the op's post. I kinda wanted to say what you did - that it isn't that the first person gets to define the relationship and that is that. But that both people get to say what they feel/want and then they go forward deciding if they both are okay with that or if it is a dealbreaker.   I wanted to say that everyone gets to put their cards on the table and then they can see what happens. That if Ralph isn't ready yet he doesn't have to say "okay we are through" he can say "i'm not ready - can you work with that" and see if Jenna is able to do so.

And anyone can end a relationship for any and all reason - no obligation to stay when you don't want to.

It's been a long time since I dated and maybe this isn't the case, but I would kind of take Ralph saying "I want to date other people" and not offering anything else outside of that (changing that arrangment later for example), as him saying "This is all there is for me.  I don't want to even lead you to believe there will ever be more, because right now, I don't feel that way at all."  And this is why I think Jenna made the right choice to just let it go.

I think that she made the right choice - doesn't sound like they were that compatible. The original question just didn't sit right with me. It implied that Jenna set the rules for the relationship and Ralph had no options at all - if he wasn't okay he should just shut up and go away. And I do think he has the right to say "no but this would work for me" and if it won't work for Jenna then it won't and they move on. But he has the right to express it.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 21, 2014, 02:37:49 PM
The original question just didn't sit right with me. It implied that Jenna set the rules for the relationship and Ralph had no options at all - if he wasn't okay he should just shut up and go away. And I do think he has the right to say "no but this would work for me" and if it won't work for Jenna then it won't and they move on. But he has the right to express it.

I guess this still really confuses me - what original question?  Anyone has the right to discuss anything and I didn't see anyone say otherwise.  But the person wanting a lower level of intimacy does basically set the rules for the relationship because you cannot force someone to "love" or "like" you or be exclusive.  In the OP, Ralph DID express what he wanted (to see Jenna and other new women he might meet), and Jenna was not okay with it.  So I guess I am not understanding your perspective here because both Jenna and Ralph did express what they wanted, they simply were not compatible.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: wolfie on April 21, 2014, 02:43:25 PM
The original question just didn't sit right with me. It implied that Jenna set the rules for the relationship and Ralph had no options at all - if he wasn't okay he should just shut up and go away. And I do think he has the right to say "no but this would work for me" and if it won't work for Jenna then it won't and they move on. But he has the right to express it.

I guess this still really confuses me - what original question?  Anyone has the right to discuss anything and I didn't see anyone say otherwise.  But the person wanting a lower level of intimacy does basically set the rules for the relationship because you cannot force someone to "love" or "like" you or be exclusive.  In the OP, Ralph DID express what he wanted (to see Jenna and other new women he might meet), and Jenna was not okay with it.  So I guess I am not understanding your perspective here because both Jenna and Ralph did express what they wanted, they simply were not compatible.

I don't know how to quote many posts. This question

"Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually? "

And I just think it is acceptable for Ralph tell her he does not want to date exclusively but see her casually. And if she isn't okay with that then that is that and they move on. I don't understand why it wouldn't be okay for him to say that is not what he wants but he wants Y instead. Jenna doesn't have to accept that if that isn't what she wants, but I don't understand why it wouldn't be acceptable for him to voice his preferences.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 21, 2014, 02:58:08 PM
The original question just didn't sit right with me. It implied that Jenna set the rules for the relationship and Ralph had no options at all - if he wasn't okay he should just shut up and go away. And I do think he has the right to say "no but this would work for me" and if it won't work for Jenna then it won't and they move on. But he has the right to express it.

I guess this still really confuses me - what original question?  Anyone has the right to discuss anything and I didn't see anyone say otherwise.  But the person wanting a lower level of intimacy does basically set the rules for the relationship because you cannot force someone to "love" or "like" you or be exclusive.  In the OP, Ralph DID express what he wanted (to see Jenna and other new women he might meet), and Jenna was not okay with it.  So I guess I am not understanding your perspective here because both Jenna and Ralph did express what they wanted, they simply were not compatible.

I don't know how to quote many posts. This question

"Had the phone call not happen or been taken, and Jenna had brought up exclusivity at the end of their successful fourth date, would it have been acceptable for Ralph to tell her that he does not want to date exclusively/seriously, but that he wants to keep seeing her casually? "

And I just think it is acceptable for Ralph tell her he does not want to date exclusively but see her casually. And if she isn't okay with that then that is that and they move on. I don't understand why it wouldn't be okay for him to say that is not what he wants but he wants Y instead. Jenna doesn't have to accept that if that isn't what she wants, but I don't understand why it wouldn't be acceptable for him to voice his preferences.
Ah - totally agreed - it is always acceptable to voice your preferences, and in fact I wish it were mandatory!  Life would have been so much easier for me and nearly everyone else I know!  :)
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: bah12 on April 21, 2014, 03:01:16 PM
The issue with the original question "Did Ralph do anything wrong?" is the implication that Ralph should have been on the same page as Jenna.  If Jenna had never said anything to Ralph about her 'four date exclusive' rule, then expecting Ralph would be on the same page and wrong for him not to be (i.e ask her out on date four with no intention of being exclusive), is not realistic. 

There is no universal dating code that I'm aware of.  Expecting that someone would tell you, when they asked you out, where they stand with other relationships is unrealistic.  When I was new to dating, I wrongly assumed that everyone wanted the same thing I did.  To find the person that they would eventually marry and stay with forever and ever.  So, I agreed to go out on dates with that purpose in mind.  As soon as I realized that there was some trait or chemistry issue that made him undesirable for me to marry, I'd break up (and often times to the utter confusion of the guy 'who said anything about marriage, we're just dating!'). And anytime I went out with someone and then found out that they never intended for the relationship to be anything other than casual, I would feel hurt and blame him.   But, not everyone wants the same thing and even if they do want the same thing eventually that doesn't mean they have the same purpose for asking you (general) out as you did for agreeing to go out. 

So, if you have a strong aversion to even going out on a date with someone who is also going on dates with other people, then I really think the onus is on you to make sure that is known before accepting the date.  Not everyone feels that way.  It's like the advice I always gave girlfriends "If you expect that by being intimate with a guy, he's committed to you, then you need to make sure that he's committed to you before you become intimate."  Not everyone takes intimacy so seriously.  So, if the guy promises that you are his one and only just to get you to agree to be with him and turns out he's lying, then yes, he's a jerk and you need to stay as far away from him as possible.  But if you assumed that he wouldn't ask you out several times or be intimate with you unless he was committed to you and you never had that conversation with him, then it's kind of hard to put all the blame on him.  Sure, he could have assummed that you may feel that way and purposely didn't bring it up so he'd have an out later, but really the onus, I think, is on the person who expects something more to communicate that.

(And I'm using the genders that I'm using, only because I tend to have these expectation issue conversations with women...I understand it works both ways.)
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: wolfie on April 21, 2014, 03:08:19 PM
The issue with the original question "Did Ralph do anything wrong?" is the implication that Ralph should have been on the same page as Jenna.  If Jenna had never said anything to Ralph about her 'four date exclusive' rule, then expecting Ralph would be on the same page and wrong for him not to be (i.e ask her out on date four with no intention of being exclusive), is not realistic. 

There is no universal dating code that I'm aware of.  Expecting that someone would tell you, when they asked you out, where they stand with other relationships is unrealistic.  When I was new to dating, I wrongly assumed that everyone wanted the same thing I did.  To find the person that they would eventually marry and stay with forever and ever.  So, I agreed to go out on dates with that purpose in mind.  As soon as I realized that there was some trait or chemistry issue that made him undesirable for me to marry, I'd break up (and often times to the utter confusion of the guy 'who said anything about marriage, we're just dating!'). And anytime I went out with someone and then found out that they never intended for the relationship to be anything other than casual, I would feel hurt and blame him.   But, not everyone wants the same thing and even if they do want the same thing eventually that doesn't mean they have the same purpose for asking you (general) out as you did for agreeing to go out. 

So, if you have a strong aversion to even going out on a date with someone who is also going on dates with other people, then I really think the onus is on you to make sure that is known before accepting the date.  Not everyone feels that way.  It's like the advice I always gave girlfriends "If you expect that by being intimate with a guy, he's committed to you, then you need to make sure that he's committed to you before you become intimate."  Not everyone takes intimacy so seriously.  So, if the guy promises that you are his one and only just to get you to agree to be with him and turns out he's lying, then yes, he's a jerk and you need to stay as far away from him as possible.  But if you assumed that he wouldn't ask you out several times or be intimate with you unless he was committed to you and you never had that conversation with him, then it's kind of hard to put all the blame on him.  Sure, he could have assummed that you may feel that way and purposely didn't bring it up so he'd have an out later, but really the onus, I think, is on the person who expects something more to communicate that.

(And I'm using the genders that I'm using, only because I tend to have these expectation issue conversations with women...I understand it works both ways.)

you said pretty much exactly what I am thinking. What didn't sit well with me was this assumption that because they weren't on the same page someone was right and someone was wrong. And they might be wrong for each other, but there is no right or wrong in dating - just what works for those two people at that point in time.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: blarg314 on April 21, 2014, 07:57:44 PM

My experience is also that the expectations/style tends to be different when you're dating someone you already know, and dating strangers or near strangers.

If you've known someone for a while in a non romantic way - a friend, a coworkers, a classmate - and you ask them out, you've usually decided you are interested in them based on what you know of them, and if they accept the date, they likely reciprocate that interest. So you're starting from a position of knowing each other and being mutually interested. That's very different than going out with someone you meet on a dating site, club, or alumni event - there, you've got maybe a total of an hour interaction in person (or nothing but email exchanges), and you're starting at a much earlier phase.

For internet dating or meeting people at clubs, there tends to be a very low success rate - for one good match, you go on a lot of dud dates, and there are a lot of people who look good in email, but there's not spark in person (or who aren't that great when you're both sober). So if you're communicating with one person at a time, and have a rate of one date every week or two, you're going to have a pretty low chance of meeting a good match. So a lot of people will communicate with and casually see multiple people. If they know someone is not a match, they stop, and if they meet someone who is a good fit, they taper off the other contacts.

I will say two things about expectations in a relationship.

I do think that after four dates there is zero obligation to work things out, or come to a mutually agreeable solution, or compromise for the sake the relationship. This is the stage where you are figuring out if you are interested and compatible. If it turns out that you're not, you can walk away and try someone else, and neither person is at fault. If you communicate clearly, aren't deliberately hiding things, and speak up when you realize there's an issue, it's not your responsibility if the other person is hurt or angry because you don't have the same system or expectations they do.

The second is that ultimately, if you make assumptions it doesn't really matter what your personal set of rules or expectations are, you can get burned. There's a *huge* range of variations in what people want or expect in relationships or romantic encounters - from extremely conservative to extremely casual, and an equally large variation in what they consider important. If you assume that the other person agrees with your views and act accordingly, and it's something that matters to you, you're setting yourself up for heartbreak, no matter what the issue is.

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Raintree on April 21, 2014, 08:15:29 PM
By the fourth date in a month, with kissing, I'd be assuming Ralph was interested in me, and by interested, I mean I'm not one of several women he hangs out casually. I'd expect him to be upfront about it if he wanted to date other people, rather than wait for it to come up unexpectedly like this.

I'd not be thinking it was getting serious or anything, but I'd at least expect that he'd put his "other dating" life on hold until a fair trial period with me had passed while we decided whether or not it was going anywhere.

I'm not really sure he did anything wrong, but I think each of them had differing expectations and it's good she found out now. I think it would be perfectly fair of Jenna to say, "I'm not into dating multiple people at the same time, so if that's what you want to do, it's OK by me, but I don't wish to have a 5th date unless you are going to make up your mind whether or not you want to date me exclusively." Ralph then has a choice, but so does Jenna.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: DavidH on April 21, 2014, 08:23:51 PM
Four dates over a month seems pretty casual, so I don't see an issue with not wanting to date exclusively or not having discussed it. I suppose that I consider the default to date casually until the decision is made to be exclusive.  At the time one party thinks dating should be exclusive, the onus is on them to bring up the conversation, since that is increasing the level of intimacy.  At some point, exclusivity could, perhaps, be assumed, for example, seeing each other multiple times a week, over a period of months, or when the default assumption is that you'll be together every weekend unless you specified otherwise, or after being invited to meet the other person's parents on a major holiday, but it is still better to have the conversation. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Ceallach on April 21, 2014, 11:08:54 PM
...an attempt by either party to argue 'I never said I wasn't dating elsewhere' would not go down well.


This is why I think it always makes sense to be up front about these thing and not assume.  I am not saying a person should spend 45 minutes on the first date defining "the relationship" that does not yet exist, but never assume the other person is on the same page as you are (general you).  For me, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone I could not speak openly with about these things anyway.

I don't have a problem with playing the field, so long as everyone knows what the deal is. I have a major problem with being in an exclusive relationship and cheating, but that is not at all the same thing.  In the latter situation, it makes sense that a person would be hurt.  But if you are not exclusive, while a person may be hurt, the one playing the field did nothing wrong.

They would be in Australia and the UK, it sounds like. I didn't date a lot before I met DH, but as far as I know, here, going out on a date with someone generally means you have no other prospects lined up. I would be dumbfounded to discover that someone I dated twice in two weeks had been on a date with someone else between them. I wouldn't expect a commitment, but I'd expect that if a man went on a couple of dates with me, that he'd wait until he'd decided that he wasn't interested in me any more before dating someone else.

Anyone with a different experience in Australia can feel free to correct me - lack of vast experience here, as I said.

Well, yes and no.  On the one hand, yeah 4 dates with kissing I'd normally assume exclusive, and I agree in Australia there is more of an assumption of exclusivity - relationships here seem to move really fast.   EXCEPT for the timeframe here.  If a guy only saw me less than once per week I would assume he wasn't that into me.    That to me sounds like very "casual" dating in terms of frequency, therefore it wouldn't shock me if he were also casually dating others on the other 6 nights per week.   (Well, every night would surprise me, but I wouldn't expect him to be sitting home alone every night).   

Is it normal for most people to enter into a romantic relationship with a person who they wish to pursue an exclusive longer term relationship with, but only see them once per week?    To me it seems really casual.  If I like somebody enough to keep seeing them then I like them enough to be in contact most days and see them several times per week.   
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 21, 2014, 11:40:58 PM
There's different ways of maintaining relationships these days. When DH and I were dating we saw each other once a week at the least, which was rather tricky as we lived on opposite sides of Sydney. We talked through FB and text a lot. We didn't talk about exclusivity but there was the expectation when we were seeing each other there wouldn't be anyone else.

I'm not sure if relationships move faster here, we dated three months before becoming engaged. I think it had more to do with our age and the fact we were looking for someone to be with that caused that.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 22, 2014, 02:41:59 AM
There's different ways of maintaining relationships these days. When DH and I were dating we saw each other once a week at the least, which was rather tricky as we lived on opposite sides of Sydney. We talked through FB and text a lot. We didn't talk about exclusivity but there was the expectation when we were seeing each other there wouldn't be anyone else.

I'm not sure if relationships move faster here, we dated three months before becoming engaged. I think it had more to do with our age and the fact we were looking for someone to be with that caused that.

I'd say they do - I'm in an urban area on the east coast of the U.S. and the one pair of friends I have who started exclusively dating each other within a month and were engaged in less than 4 months definitely got some strange looks and "Didn't they just meet?" conversations between mutual friends.  I introduced them a year ago - they were friends of mine from two different social circles who had never met. 

Most of my serious couple friends dated for years before getting engaged, and it seems that about a year is a pretty normal timeline between engagement and marriage.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 22, 2014, 04:07:16 AM
There's different ways of maintaining relationships these days. When DH and I were dating we saw each other once a week at the least, which was rather tricky as we lived on opposite sides of Sydney. We talked through FB and text a lot. We didn't talk about exclusivity but there was the expectation when we were seeing each other there wouldn't be anyone else.

I'm not sure if relationships move faster here, we dated three months before becoming engaged. I think it had more to do with our age and the fact we were looking for someone to be with that caused that.

I'd say they do - I'm in an urban area on the east coast of the U.S. and the one pair of friends I have who started exclusively dating each other within a month and were engaged in less than 4 months definitely got some strange looks and "Didn't they just meet?" conversations between mutual friends.  I introduced them a year ago - they were friends of mine from two different social circles who had never met. 

Most of my serious couple friends dated for years before getting engaged, and it seems that about a year is a pretty normal timeline between engagement and marriage.

Three months until an angagement isn't the norm here. I suspect that the same sorts of duration of dating apply here as in the US. A couple of years of dating and a year of engagement soounds pretty normal to me.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Another Sarah on April 22, 2014, 04:29:20 AM
I think the cultural background makes a big difference here. In the UK, exclusive dating is the "cultural default" if you like, so I personally would be horrified if Ralph turned around and told me he was dating other girls like it wasn't an issue. But judging from these comments, in the US it would be the opposite way round - So I guess the requirement to state things upfront lies with the person whose expectation is outside the norm for where they are. If I met Ralph and he told me he wanted to date non-exclusively then I wouldn't have a problem.

What I think would only make a difference is the nature of the date. There are casual, fun, non-intimate dates that are more appropriate for non-exclusive dating, but if Ralph has been treating Jenna to romantic dinners and the like, then I think Jenna would be justified to feel a bit strung along.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 22, 2014, 06:16:33 AM
My boyfriend and I only see each other once a week. Why? Because we live an hour apart. And because we both have full-time jobs, often involving the weekends. If one of us can score a vacation day where we do not have to work, then we will get extra time to see each other during the week. Our dates are over 6+ hours each, often involving long conversations. We did go exclusive after 5 dates in the span of a month- even though we met on eHarmony. Neither one of us had been seeing anyone else at the time, nor wanted to. We communicate with each other every day, at least twice a day, often more. It has been almost 2 years that we have been together- two very happy years that are working out great for us.

Needless to say, this story was not about him. Although since we met two years ago, details in the story (such as lack of smartphones) do reveal it is certainly not about my beloved boyfriend.

I had a guy (that I met IRL and was friends with first- this was before online dating sites really existed) asking to go exclusive during the middle of the second outing- not even sure if to call it a date, since our second outing was a group activity. I had another guy that I met on an online message board (for a shared interest- totally platonic) and was friends for over a month asking me to go exclusive at the end of our third date (3 dates in the span of about a month and a half due to our work schedules and priorly scheduled trips out of town- BUT plenty of communication in between). Neither one of those cases involved kissing on the lips- just hugging/cheek kissing. Both happened in Florida.

Hence my curiosity as to why if Jenna and Ralph had gone on four dates in the span of a little over a month, plus they had kissed, plus they had had two platonic IRL meetings and at least one phone call before going on their first date, Ralph would still want to see other women. OK, so this may be ethics rather than etiquette- but Jenna was not willing to do anything beyond kissing unless she and Ralph were exclusive, and Jenna was not happy with Ralph kissing other women (possibly more) in addition to her. Perhaps ethics, perhaps culture clash (even though it happened in the USA), perhaps etiquette indeed.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 22, 2014, 06:33:34 AM
The best way to explain it is that there are no hard and fast "rules" when it comes to romance. You cannot force feelings that simply are not there, and so long as everyone understands there is not exclusivity, it is entirely appropriate to casually spend time together for months, years or decades. If a person wants a committed relationship it would be ill advised to date casually, but plenty of people at various times only want an occasional pleasant evening, whether with a kiss or more or not, and are no looking for marriage or even some lesser commitment. It is absolutely fine to enjoy spending time with more than one suitor so long as no one is being lied to.

In the OP, no one was lied to. Jenna was hurt, but that is because she made assumptions and not because Ralph did anything wrong.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: wolfie on April 22, 2014, 08:08:24 AM
Hence my curiosity as to why if Jenna and Ralph had gone on four dates in the span of a little over a month, plus they had kissed, plus they had had two platonic IRL meetings and at least one phone call before going on their first date, Ralph would still want to see other women. OK, so this may be ethics rather than etiquette- but Jenna was not willing to do anything beyond kissing unless she and Ralph were exclusive, and Jenna was not happy with Ralph kissing other women (possibly more) in addition to her. Perhaps ethics, perhaps culture clash (even though it happened in the USA), perhaps etiquette indeed.

You have to ask Ralph that but my guess is that while he liked Jenna well enough he just wasn't feeling enough of a spark or whatever you want to call it to stop looking for someone else that would be a better match. Or he wasn't interested in being exclusive or in a committed relationship at all at that point in his life. 

And I really don't think it has anything to do with ethics at all. There is nothing unethical about not being on the same page as someone else with regards to where your relationship is going.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 22, 2014, 08:24:00 AM
And I really don't think it has anything to do with ethics at all. There is nothing unethical about not being on the same page as someone else with regards to where your relationship is going.

POD.  If anything, Ralph showed exceptional ethics by being honest with Jenna.  The fact person A does not want to date person B says nothing about person A or person B aside from they are not compatible as romantic partners. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Daydream on April 22, 2014, 09:48:44 AM
I voted that Ralph was not in the wrong at all since four dates in a month is very early in the dating process to me.

I think the cultural background makes a big difference here. In the UK, exclusive dating is the "cultural default" if you like, so I personally would be horrified if Ralph turned around and told me he was dating other girls like it wasn't an issue. But judging from these comments, in the US it would be the opposite way round - So I guess the requirement to state things upfront lies with the person whose expectation is outside the norm for where they are. If I met Ralph and he told me he wanted to date non-exclusively then I wouldn't have a problem.

What I think would only make a difference is the nature of the date. There are casual, fun, non-intimate dates that are more appropriate for non-exclusive dating, but if Ralph has been treating Jenna to romantic dinners and the like, then I think Jenna would be justified to feel a bit strung along.

This is interesting to me because with most of the guys I've dated here in my part of the US, dinner is usually a standard part of most first and subsequent dates.  It's often at a place that might seem romantic, if you're in that mood (quiet, dimly lit).  However, it has never seemed romantic to me during a first to fourth date because I'm still in the "just getting to know the guy" stage at that point.

For me, it is sometimes the more casual dates that strike me as more romantic, either appropriately with a boyfriend, or inappropriately suggested by a new guy. 

I remember two guys who each asked me out on first dates that would take place during the afternoon.  That was unusual in itself, but they also struck me as too intimate of a plan.  I am a very cautious person, so their reaction to my gently "objecting" to their plans made the difference in whether I went out with them. 

One guy wanted to go to a rather secluded outdoor ice cream stand.  This stand has no seats at all, so if people stay there to eat, they either lean up against their cars or sit inside them in the parking lot, which is not very close to the stand. Neither of those options seemed comfortable or safe when just getting to know a guy.  There was a good chance there might be no other customers hanging out there.  So, I told him that while I like that place, we might be able to talk better at another ice cream place nearby that had seats inside and was a family-friendly 50's style soda shop.  He agreed and we had a good time.

The other guy wanted to go on a picnic, which I'd never done before but had always imagined being something I'd like to do with a guy I was in love with.  Sitting together on a blanket in a park, which can sometimes be empty, was not a first-date thing to me.  But when I told him that was too cozy of an idea for me, the next activity he suggested was worse!  I got a bad vibe at that point, so no date with him.

As for where I meet guys, I have never tried online dating or gone to bars or nightclubs.  So, I tend to meet them in what I've come to think of as "the usual way," like attending some business or cultural event, or being at the grocery store or post office and another customer chatting me up and asking for my number.

I'm not big on dating as a "hobby" though, so of the guys who've asked, I've only given my number to a small percentage.  Then when they call, I only go out with a few of those.  (It's amazing the unappealing things some guys will say during that first call!) 

Usually, by the middle of the first date, I know that I don't want to go on a second.  It occurs to me that there's only been one guy I've gone on four dates with that didn't end up turning into a long-term relationship.  I knew when he leaned in to try to kiss me for the first time at the end of that last date that it wasn't going to work out.  I'd been trying to do something different by "giving him a chance" and seeing if I could learn to like him, and that was a mistake.

Since I've never dated a lot just for the heck of it, it just so happens that I've never gone out with more than one guy at a time during the early stages.  I'm not officially against it, but I don't think I'd like it for myself.


Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Another Sarah on April 22, 2014, 11:46:27 AM
I voted that Ralph was not in the wrong at all since four dates in a month is very early in the dating process to me.

I think the cultural background makes a big difference here. In the UK, exclusive dating is the "cultural default" if you like, so I personally would be horrified if Ralph turned around and told me he was dating other girls like it wasn't an issue. But judging from these comments, in the US it would be the opposite way round - So I guess the requirement to state things upfront lies with the person whose expectation is outside the norm for where they are. If I met Ralph and he told me he wanted to date non-exclusively then I wouldn't have a problem.

What I think would only make a difference is the nature of the date. There are casual, fun, non-intimate dates that are more appropriate for non-exclusive dating, but if Ralph has been treating Jenna to romantic dinners and the like, then I think Jenna would be justified to feel a bit strung along.

This is interesting to me because with most of the guys I've dated here in my part of the US, dinner is usually a standard part of most first and subsequent dates.  It's often at a place that might seem romantic, if you're in that mood (quiet, dimly lit).  However, it has never seemed romantic to me during a first to fourth date because I'm still in the "just getting to know the guy" stage at that point.

For me, it is sometimes the more casual dates that strike me as more romantic, either appropriately with a boyfriend, or inappropriately suggested by a new guy. 

I remember two guys who each asked me out on first dates that would take place during the afternoon.  That was unusual in itself, but they also struck me as too intimate of a plan.  I am a very cautious person, so their reaction to my gently "objecting" to their plans made the difference in whether I went out with them. 

One guy wanted to go to a rather secluded outdoor ice cream stand.  This stand has no seats at all, so if people stay there to eat, they either lean up against their cars or sit inside them in the parking lot, which is not very close to the stand. Neither of those options seemed comfortable or safe when just getting to know a guy.  There was a good chance there might be no other customers hanging out there.  So, I told him that while I like that place, we might be able to talk better at another ice cream place nearby that had seats inside and was a family-friendly 50's style soda shop.  He agreed and we had a good time.

The other guy wanted to go on a picnic, which I'd never done before but had always imagined being something I'd like to do with a guy I was in love with.  Sitting together on a blanket in a park, which can sometimes be empty, was not a first-date thing to me.  But when I told him that was too cozy of an idea for me, the next activity he suggested was worse!  I got a bad vibe at that point, so no date with him.

As for where I meet guys, I have never tried online dating or gone to bars or nightclubs.  So, I tend to meet them in what I've come to think of as "the usual way," like attending some business or cultural event, or being at the grocery store or post office and another customer chatting me up and asking for my number.

I'm not big on dating as a "hobby" though, so of the guys who've asked, I've only given my number to a small percentage.  Then when they call, I only go out with a few of those.  (It's amazing the unappealing things some guys will say during that first call!) 

Usually, by the middle of the first date, I know that I don't want to go on a second.  It occurs to me that there's only been one guy I've gone on four dates with that didn't end up turning into a long-term relationship.  I knew when he leaned in to try to kiss me for the first time at the end of that last date that it wasn't going to work out.  I'd been trying to do something different by "giving him a chance" and seeing if I could learn to like him, and that was a mistake.

Since I've never dated a lot just for the heck of it, it just so happens that I've never gone out with more than one guy at a time during the early stages.  I'm not officially against it, but I don't think I'd like it for myself.

To me, dinner is one thing, romantic dinner is another. I could go to the same place with two different guys and have two different experiences, one all chitchat and getting to know you, one all candelight and violins. That's what I meant by the nature of the date.
It's like your example of a guy coming on too strong, "Let's go on a picnic in the country" sounds much more like the guy is focused on the romantic angle than say "Let's go paintballing in the country".

If Ralph has been cosying up to Jenna and proposing romantic interludes, then it's very easy for her to get the wrong impression about how serious he is and Ralph needs to be aware of that, because it's perfectly possible to lead someone on without meaning to.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: lakey on April 23, 2014, 02:46:02 PM
I don't think either of them did anything wrong. They each have their own idea of the level of commitment they are looking for. The guy is entitled to play the field, the woman is entitled to look for something more serious. It is just a matter of their communicating their expectations. It is a good thing that this phone call occurred because it gave Jenna the opportunity to bring up the subject of her expectations in a natural way.

It is unfortunate that she feels hurt, but it is better that she finds out that he isn't the guy for her after only 4 dates, than for her to get even more attached to him, then find out that he is never going to want the same thing that she wants.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Twik on April 23, 2014, 04:24:33 PM
And I really don't think it has anything to do with ethics at all. There is nothing unethical about not being on the same page as someone else with regards to where your relationship is going.

POD.  If anything, Ralph showed exceptional ethics by being honest with Jenna.  The fact person A does not want to date person B says nothing about person A or person B aside from they are not compatible as romantic partners.

Have we really reached the stage that being honest with someone indicates "exceptional" ethics?
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 23, 2014, 04:29:09 PM
And I really don't think it has anything to do with ethics at all. There is nothing unethical about not being on the same page as someone else with regards to where your relationship is going.

POD.  If anything, Ralph showed exceptional ethics by being honest with Jenna.  The fact person A does not want to date person B says nothing about person A or person B aside from they are not compatible as romantic partners.

Have we really reached the stage that being honest with someone indicates "exceptional" ethics?

Hah!  Some people seemed to be saying that Ralph was unethical for telling Jenna that he wanted to date more than one person at a time.  My point was that he was actually being ethical in telling her this.  It would be unethical to lead Jenna to believe he was seeing only her when he was in fact seeing other people too.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Twik on April 23, 2014, 06:11:38 PM
No, they're not saying he was unethical for *saying* he wanted to date other people but for actually doing so. Telling the truth about it is a good idea,but scarcely more than any decent person would do.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: blarg314 on April 23, 2014, 08:17:15 PM
No, they're not saying he was unethical for *saying* he wanted to date other people but for actually doing so. Telling the truth about it is a good idea,but scarcely more than any decent person would do.

It's very easy to equate "this is what I want/expect in relationships" and "this is what is ethical/normal/right in relationships, and anyone who disagrees is wrong".

But as we've seen on this thread alone, there are wildly varying ideas of what is considered normal. I've met people who think that it's immoral to be alone with someone of the opposite gender who isn't a relative or spouse, and thinks cross-gender friendships are inherently wrong.  I know people who are out happily enjoying one night stands and friends with benefits, or who are in committed open relationships, and are doing so in an ethical manner.

If you date in a closed community, where a common set of expectations is shared, you're safer in making assumptions. If you're dating from a wide social pool (including exchanging numbers with someone you meet at an alumni event) you need to adjust your expectations and not assume that the other person shares your assumptions.

As an aside - when my mother was young, dating multiple people consecutively was considered quite normal. You did so until you met someone you wanted to get more serious about, at which point you decided to "go steady", and stopped seeing others. She was quite surprised at people of my generation very quickly settling into exclusive relationships after a date or two, and though it was rather limiting.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 23, 2014, 11:15:08 PM
There's different ways of maintaining relationships these days. When DH and I were dating we saw each other once a week at the least, which was rather tricky as we lived on opposite sides of Sydney. We talked through FB and text a lot. We didn't talk about exclusivity but there was the expectation when we were seeing each other there wouldn't be anyone else.

I'm not sure if relationships move faster here, we dated three months before becoming engaged. I think it had more to do with our age and the fact we were looking for someone to be with that caused that.

I'd say they do - I'm in an urban area on the east coast of the U.S. and the one pair of friends I have who started exclusively dating each other within a month and were engaged in less than 4 months definitely got some strange looks and "Didn't they just meet?" conversations between mutual friends.  I introduced them a year ago - they were friends of mine from two different social circles who had never met. 

Most of my serious couple friends dated for years before getting engaged, and it seems that about a year is a pretty normal timeline between engagement and marriage.

Three months until an angagement isn't the norm here. I suspect that the same sorts of duration of dating apply here as in the US. A couple of years of dating and a year of engagement soounds pretty normal to me.

I agree with CakeEaster. relationships in Australia move fast in the sense that most people go straight from "just friends" to "exclusive couple". But it's rare for a couple to actually get engaged (or married) only months after they met.

I think the cultural background makes a big difference here. In the UK, exclusive dating is the "cultural default" if you like, so I personally would be horrified if Ralph turned around and told me he was dating other girls like it wasn't an issue. But judging from these comments, in the US it would be the opposite way round - So I guess the requirement to state things upfront lies with the person whose expectation is outside the norm for where they are. If I met Ralph and he told me he wanted to date non-exclusively then I wouldn't have a problem.

What I think would only make a difference is the nature of the date. There are casual, fun, non-intimate dates that are more appropriate for non-exclusive dating, but if Ralph has been treating Jenna to romantic dinners and the like, then I think Jenna would be justified to feel a bit strung along.


Yep, I'd say exclusive dating is the cultural default in Australia too.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 24, 2014, 11:26:17 AM
There is a reason why I put the "circumstantial" option:

A few years ago, I joined the most popular online dating site for a month's trial membership. I ended up going on first dates with two fellows I met on it- both in the same week. And that is something I would have never imagined I would have done- nor would I have done had I met both of them in any other way. One of those dates clearly did not go anywhere; the other one I would have given a second chance to and was discussing it, but it did not go through. But when I joined eHarmony, I only went on a first date (and many, many subsequent dates :) ) with my now boyfriend. I do not know if due to eHarmony being more expensive and selective, its users are likelier to just pursue one person at a time (this may be a very interesting assumption on my part)- but both my boyfriend and I focused on just one person at a time, since both of us (and I assume most eHarmony users- correct me if I am wrong) were searching for long-term spouses.

However...

To me, it seemed that meeting somebody at an alumni event was more like meeting someone IRL through an organization based on a mutual interest (class, house of worship, hobby convention, etc.), and not so much like meeting someone through an online dating site (or IRL speed dating, or even an online message board for a fandom). Hence if Ralph and Jenna had two IRL meetings and at least one phone call before their first date, it gave them a chance to experience chemistry and attraction before their first date. It was not in a situation where both were aware from the beginning that the other one would possibly be meeting other people through the same channel. 

Hence I hope that it was not hypocritical (at best) or having a double standard (at worst) to be amenable to go on first dates (but probably no further than that) with more than one person if meeting on an online dating site; but to expect to date one person exclusively (and then move on to another only if things do not work out with the first one) if the two of you met IRL in a totally platonic way. Hence Jenna's confusion and disappointment.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: bah12 on April 24, 2014, 02:20:38 PM
I really don't think it matters how one person meets...whether it be online, at an event, through mutual friends, etc.  Everyone dates differently and has different goals for dating and to expect that it will all be communicated or known on the first date, or even within the first few dates, is, IMO, unrealistic.

I live in the US, and can only speak to my experience here.  I would never assume that there was any implication of exclusivity until the conversation took place explicitly. I was never one to date more than one person at a time, but I never assumed that the guys I went out on dates with felt the same way.

At the end of the day, I think that if you have  a dealbreaker, it should be communicated.  Whatever it is.

And no, I don't think you had a double standard or were hypocrtical to go on dates with two guys you met online even though it was something you chose not to do with your current bf or other dates before him. You aren't required to date the same way everytime and you can do what makes you feel comfortable.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: gollymolly2 on April 24, 2014, 02:27:20 PM
I agree with Bah. It doesn't matter how you met someone. Everyone has different ideas about when you should be exclusive, and  nobody's opinion is wrong. You just need to both be honest and communicate.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 24, 2014, 02:35:54 PM
No, they're not saying he was unethical for *saying* he wanted to date other people but for actually doing so. Telling the truth about it is a good idea,but scarcely more than any decent person would do.

And my point was that it is in no way unethical for Ralph to want to date other people.  It is not unethical to actually date more than one person at a time.  I don't think it involves ethics at all, aside from Ralph was ethical in being honest about it. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 24, 2014, 02:42:35 PM
For me, personally, casual dating doesn't need to be exclusive.  I define casual dating as no heavy makeout sessions and/or scrabble involved.

If I got to the point with someone that I wanted to do those things, we'd be having a conversation about exclusivity.  And if he wasn't ready to be exclusive, then those things wouldn't be happening.  If I felt he was worth the wait while he figured things out, I might keep casually dating him.  Or I might just tell him to call me when he felt he was ready to be exclusive and not go on any more dates with him.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.  If he was ready to be exclusive, I would break off with any other men I was casually dating.  I see exclusivity as a safety thing in terms of STDs and all that.

For other people, the definition of casual dating might be different.  And that's OK as long as you communicate it to your date and you both end up on the same page.

So I don't think George did anything wrong.  They hadn't had the conversation yet.  And until Jane speaks up, George has no way of knowing that she's thinking along those lines.  4 dates over the course of a month really isn't a lot of time together.  And, frankly, as told to me by more than one male friend, guys are dumb.  ;D  They need this kind of thing spelled out for them.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Daydream on April 24, 2014, 03:00:08 PM
If Ralph has been cosying up to Jenna and proposing romantic interludes, then it's very easy for her to get the wrong impression about how serious he is and Ralph needs to be aware of that, because it's perfectly possible to lead someone on without meaning to.

I see.   :)  You've caused me to think further on this point that, in a “traditional” situation (which mine always are) where the guy plans the first several dates, it's he who sets the tone.  So, candlelight and violins would show how he feels.  If I am not feeling the same way, they may not sway me.  But if I *am* feeling that way, it would be reasonable to assume he is, too, based on his choice of date.


However...

To me, it seemed that meeting somebody at an alumni event was more like meeting someone IRL through an organization based on a mutual interest (class, house of worship, hobby convention, etc.), and not so much like meeting someone through an online dating site (or IRL speed dating, or even an online message board for a fandom). Hence if Ralph and Jenna had two IRL meetings and at least one phone call before their first date, it gave them a chance to experience chemistry and attraction before their first date. It was not in a situation where both were aware from the beginning that the other one would possibly be meeting other people through the same channel. 

Hence I hope that it was not hypocritical (at best) or having a double standard (at worst) to be amenable to go on first dates (but probably no further than that) with more than one person if meeting on an online dating site; but to expect to date one person exclusively (and then move on to another only if things do not work out with the first one) if the two of you met IRL in a totally platonic way. Hence Jenna's confusion and disappointment.

I don't know if this part applies to any of my situations since any guy that's approached me has been clear about wanting to date me from the start.  I've never really had any male platonic friends, and I've never had a guy that I knew in another capacity ask me out (like a coworker or hobby group member -- a couple of them seemed to be hinting at it, but never actually did it). 

But, I guess I've always just assumed that if someone is confident enough to ask for my number at a reception at the museum, or in line at a department store, etc., then it's likely they've asked other women out recently in similar situations as well.  Maybe since I rarely went on a second date with those guys, I just hadn't gotten far enough to that point of wondering.

For instance, with the guy I mentioned having four dates with in my last post, I'm certain I never thought about whether he was seeing anyone else.  Looking back, I guess that's because I didn't really like him *that* much yet. 

In Jenna's situation, the fact that we met at an alumni event wouldn't make me think Ralph couldn't have asked a woman out at a ballgame or something the same week.

So, since I tend to move slowly in developing those feelings, the thought I keep having about this is, "Wow, Ralph must really be a heck of a guy to have Jenna feeling this way so early on!"   

It could also be that she was developing feelings for him prior to their first date since they knew each other before then.

I can see that I might just be odd, though, and more women may feel like Jenna than like me regardless of whether Ralph is all that amazing or not, or whether they knew him before dating or not.


Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Deetee on April 24, 2014, 03:02:47 PM
When someone is hurt, it is very common to look for someone to blame. Jenna was hurt so blaming Ralph is ready. But in this case, Ralph did nothing wrong. He liked Jenna enough to keep dating but not enough to only date her. There is nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 25, 2014, 12:08:28 AM
No, they're not saying he was unethical for *saying* he wanted to date other people but for actually doing so. Telling the truth about it is a good idea,but scarcely more than any decent person would do.

And my point was that it is in no way unethical for Ralph to want to date other people.  It is not unethical to actually date more than one person at a time.  I don't think it involves ethics at all, aside from Ralph was ethical in being honest about it.

Cultural differences at work again. In Denmark it would be very unethical, unless explicitly agreed upon in advance. Like in Australia / NZ and the UK, exclusive dating is the default here.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 25, 2014, 12:28:30 AM
I think a lot of people in the US don't necessarily date people they've known socially for an extended time first, at least not well - so the first few dates are more for getting to know a new person than part of a formal transition of a relationship from friendship to romance.

It would be very odd to me to make a commitment to someone I barely knew.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: shhh its me on April 25, 2014, 07:16:27 AM
There is a reason why I put the "circumstantial" option:

A few years ago, I joined the most popular online dating site for a month's trial membership. I ended up going on first dates with two fellows I met on it- both in the same week. And that is something I would have never imagined I would have done- nor would I have done had I met both of them in any other way. One of those dates clearly did not go anywhere; the other one I would have given a second chance to and was discussing it, but it did not go through. But when I joined eHarmony, I only went on a first date (and many, many subsequent dates :) ) with my now boyfriend. I do not know if due to eHarmony being more expensive and selective, its users are likelier to just pursue one person at a time (this may be a very interesting assumption on my part)- but both my boyfriend and I focused on just one person at a time, since both of us (and I assume most eHarmony users- correct me if I am wrong) were searching for long-term spouses.

However...

To me, it seemed that meeting somebody at an alumni event was more like meeting someone IRL through an organization based on a mutual interest (class, house of worship, hobby convention, etc.), and not so much like meeting someone through an online dating site (or IRL speed dating, or even an online message board for a fandom). Hence if Ralph and Jenna had two IRL meetings and at least one phone call before their first date, it gave them a chance to experience chemistry and attraction before their first date. It was not in a situation where both were aware from the beginning that the other one would possibly be meeting other people through the same channel. 

Hence I hope that it was not hypocritical (at best) or having a double standard (at worst) to be amenable to go on first dates (but probably no further than that) with more than one person if meeting on an online dating site; but to expect to date one person exclusively (and then move on to another only if things do not work out with the first one) if the two of you met IRL in a totally platonic way. Hence Jenna's confusion and disappointment.

While I don't think its hypocritical to have different expectations for dates if you met someone online or in person, I don't think its a given either.  I don't even think its a majority opinion.   I like you , let's met for coffee next week.  I think carry's the same implications whether you met from online dating or at a convention.  It's not wrong to feel otherwise I just don't think its a universally accepted expectation.

    I could make the argument that you know someone better(in some ways) from an online profile then 2 in person happenstance in a  large group meetings.  Online profiles have a lot of facts but you wont know that you enjoy each others company until you met. Meeting first you may know you enjoy each others company but not some of the deal breakers commonly found in online profiles.

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Twik on April 25, 2014, 09:13:19 AM
No, they're not saying he was unethical for *saying* he wanted to date other people but for actually doing so. Telling the truth about it is a good idea,but scarcely more than any decent person would do.

And my point was that it is in no way unethical for Ralph to want to date other people.  It is not unethical to actually date more than one person at a time.  I don't think it involves ethics at all, aside from Ralph was ethical in being honest about it.

I agree with you that it is not unethical in general, but it's clear that this is not a universal standard. However, I don't think anyone has said he was unethical for saying what he wanted to do.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: DavidH on April 25, 2014, 12:00:03 PM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 

To me, you can set whatever parameters you want and be ethical, exclusive, not exclusive, etc, but once you lie, you've crossed into unethical. 

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Sophia on April 25, 2014, 12:49:16 PM
...As an aside - when my mother was young, dating multiple people consecutively was considered quite normal. You did so until you met someone you wanted to get more serious about, at which point you decided to "go steady", and stopped seeing others. She was quite surprised at people of my generation very quickly settling into exclusive relationships after a date or two, and though it was rather limiting.

I used to be quickly exclusive, then I changed when my mother reminded me about the story of first date with my father.  She'd accidentally agreed to three dates on the same evening, and she kept the one with dad because she couldn't reach him to cancel, but she could reach the other people.  Looking back I realized I had said No to people I was interested in, and probably would have been happy with, because I had just started seeing someone else.  Must notably the one now known as Mistake.  If I hadn't gone exclusive with him so quickly, I would have seen earlier what a jerk he was.  Whereas I never would have dated DH, who is ideally suited to me, if he'd required exclusivity.  I was also dating someone I'd had a crush on for a long time. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: miranova on April 25, 2014, 01:58:47 PM
No, they're not saying he was unethical for *saying* he wanted to date other people but for actually doing so. Telling the truth about it is a good idea,but scarcely more than any decent person would do.

And my point was that it is in no way unethical for Ralph to want to date other people.  It is not unethical to actually date more than one person at a time.  I don't think it involves ethics at all, aside from Ralph was ethical in being honest about it.

Ethics and morality are personal and vary considerably from person to person and culture to culture.  I don't think any of us get to decide what is or isn't unethical when it comes to how people treat the people they are dating.  We are all going to have different opinions of that, and there isn't one universal standard.  I do think we can all agree that communication and honesty are important.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 25, 2014, 02:31:24 PM
No, they're not saying he was unethical for *saying* he wanted to date other people but for actually doing so. Telling the truth about it is a good idea,but scarcely more than any decent person would do.

And my point was that it is in no way unethical for Ralph to want to date other people.  It is not unethical to actually date more than one person at a time.  I don't think it involves ethics at all, aside from Ralph was ethical in being honest about it.

Ethics and morality are personal and vary considerably from person to person and culture to culture.  I don't think any of us get to decide what is or isn't unethical when it comes to how people treat the people they are dating.  We are all going to have different opinions of that, and there isn't one universal standard.  I do think we can all agree that communication and honesty are important.

Yes, and presumably if a person has a problem with dating someone who is also dating other people...they would ask for exclusivity and if they do not get it they would not want to date that person, so problem solved!
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 25, 2014, 05:56:28 PM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 

To me, you can set whatever parameters you want and be ethical, exclusive, not exclusive, etc, but once you lie, you've crossed into unethical.
I wouldn't say necessarily from the first date, but certainly the ones after that. When I was dating DH neither of us were seeing anyone else, but if we had that might have changed things for is to continue dating.
Though I wouldn't take DH and myself as a typical example. Neither of us dated much before we met each other and when we met we were both looking for long term commitment and didn't want to waste any time. We are also both rather introverted people and the amazing thing is we both took that big risk for each other.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 26, 2014, 01:29:09 AM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 


Yes, even the first time you meet for coffee, I would assume that my date had on other prospects lined up, and wouldn't ask anyone else out until we had decided whether to date again, or not. I would be pretty shocked to discover that I had dated someone twice and they had been to coffee with another partner in between.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 26, 2014, 02:02:59 AM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 


Yes, even the first time you meet for coffee, I would assume that my date had on other prospects lined up, and wouldn't ask anyone else out until we had decided whether to date again, or not. I would be pretty shocked to discover that I had dated someone twice and they had been to coffee with another partner in between.

I agree with this. If it was billed as a "possibly romantic meetup" exclusivity would be assumed.

Of course if one or both thought they were just meeting up as friends it would be a completely different kettle of fish, but that's another scenario entirely.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: jedikaiti on April 26, 2014, 02:06:46 AM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 


Yes, even the first time you meet for coffee, I would assume that my date had on other prospects lined up, and wouldn't ask anyone else out until we had decided whether to date again, or not. I would be pretty shocked to discover that I had dated someone twice and they had been to coffee with another partner in between.

I wouldn't even assume that was a date, much less any indication of exclusivity! I went out with DH 3 or 4 times (plus a number of phone calls in between) before I was sure he was interested in more than hanging out as friends. Granted, I am rather clueless in that respect, but even if it had been apparent (even to me) that there was definite possible romantic interest, I wouldn't consider meeting for coffee (heck, even going out for dinner the first time) as anything more than the most basic of getting to know you encounters - finding out if they have reasonable hygiene standards, that you're able to communicate with them, neither of you finds the other completely repulsive, that sort of thing. I can't imagine committing to one person until I've gotten to know them well enough to know I want to spend some real time with them - not just a coffee here or a dinner there or drinks with friends. And that's going to take multiple one-on-one meetings, and probably some chatting via phone and/or online in between, and establishing that we're looking for similar things in a relationship. Sure, sometimes you can meet someone and get that gut feeling and it works out well, but I'm not inclined to hand over heart & soul without a very good idea of what I am getting into.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Ceallach on April 26, 2014, 03:51:40 AM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 

To me, you can set whatever parameters you want and be ethical, exclusive, not exclusive, etc, but once you lie, you've crossed into unethical.

I'm in Australia, the majority of people I know got together with people they met through others - sometimes a friend, but often just a friend-of-a-friend they are introduced to at a party or similar.   Therefore the person already comes with "credentials" so to speak.     There wasn't the formality of "let us date and get to know each other" it was more hitting it off, and then getting together.   The getting to know each other part initially was in the group situation.   (And yes, the fact is, a lot of the long-term committed relationships I know the intimate part came very quickly, my own included).    I must know some very decisive people I guess!    But I think there's a huge difference between a stranger you meet in a pub vs.  somebody your friends can vouch for.  In my case DH worked with my brother and had socialised with him for awhile, and brother said he was the nicest guy he'd ever met.  (Very generous thing to say about the guy who was hitting on his baby sister!)   

In terms of situations I've seen where it is a stranger they meet in a bar or similar, it might mean exchanging numbers but then texting etc for awhile to get to know each other, or inviting them to join a party or meet up where you are with your friends, before seeing if sparks fly.   I don't know many people who go straight to a 1:1 date with a person they barely know, which I see happen in movies and tv shows all the time.   It may be common in other circles though I guess!
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 26, 2014, 05:34:33 AM
I do not think that agreeing to go on a first date with someone automatically means you have a crush on that person and want to get into a romantic relationship with him/her. Especially nowadays that online dating is so popular.

In fact, I do not even think that going on a second date with someone does...although if you have a successful second date, then perhaps. Maybe. Possibly. But mainly it means that you are not feeling a no (although you may not be quite feeling a  yes either), and that you have not discovered any dealbreakers in the other person (and the person probably meets more preferences than not).

However, after four successful dates in the span of a month and involving kissing, I would assume that both partners do want to keep seeing each other exclusively. Maybe it is due to the fact that the times I have made it to the fourth date with someone, it was never the final date. Usually, a no was felt by the third date- and in the one case where I was not feeling a no but did not feel a yes either, I decided to not enter a relationship with him when he asked at the end of date 3 (I eventually figured out the reason why I did not feel the same way for him). Maybe due to cultural norms- there seems to be something special about making it to/past the third date here in the US of A.

Hence Jenna hoped that Ralph was feeling the same way for her and wanted to start calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend. Hence Jenna disappointment about Ralph not only having gone on one date with another woman between dates 2 and 3 with her, but mainly about his wanting to keep dating (if not downright actively seeking) other women while still seeing her casually and not making a commitment.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 26, 2014, 06:06:19 PM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 


Yes, even the first time you meet for coffee, I would assume that my date had on other prospects lined up, and wouldn't ask anyone else out until we had decided whether to date again, or not. I would be pretty shocked to discover that I had dated someone twice and they had been to coffee with another partner in between.

I wouldn't even assume that was a date, much less any indication of exclusivity! I went out with DH 3 or 4 times (plus a number of phone calls in between) before I was sure he was interested in more than hanging out as friends. Granted, I am rather clueless in that respect, but even if it had been apparent (even to me) that there was definite possible romantic interest, I wouldn't consider meeting for coffee (heck, even going out for dinner the first time) as anything more than the most basic of getting to know you encounters - finding out if they have reasonable hygiene standards, that you're able to communicate with them, neither of you finds the other completely repulsive, that sort of thing. I can't imagine committing to one person until I've gotten to know them well enough to know I want to spend some real time with them - not just a coffee here or a dinner there or drinks with friends. And that's going to take multiple one-on-one meetings, and probably some chatting via phone and/or online in between, and establishing that we're looking for similar things in a relationship. Sure, sometimes you can meet someone and get that gut feeling and it works out well, but I'm not inclined to hand over heart & soul without a very good idea of what I am getting into.

No-one's handing over heart and soul on their firsts date. You just assume that if someone is showing any kind of interest in you as a potential romantic partner that they have no other prospects for romantic partners on the go at the same time. There's no need for the 'are we exclusive?' conversation, because if you decide to go on another date, and then another, you 'know' that you are, by default.

If you decide after one date or two that you don't mesh, you don't date again, and find someone else.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Raintree on April 26, 2014, 10:48:54 PM
No-one's handing over heart and soul on their firsts date. You just assume that if someone is showing any kind of interest in you as a potential romantic partner that they have no other prospects for romantic partners on the go at the same time. There's no need for the 'are we exclusive?' conversation, because if you decide to go on another date, and then another, you 'know' that you are, by default.

If you decide after one date or two that you don't mesh, you don't date again, and find someone else.

I agree with this. I'm of the "date one person at a time, and if it doesn't work out, stop dating that person and find someone else" mentality. OK maybe "first coffee meetings" in the on-line world don't really count as dates, but four dates in one month that seem to go well, do count.

But I can see that others don't see it the same way, so I guess if I were on the dating scene, so to speak, I'd want to find out expectations fairly quickly. Mind you, it's hard. Do the "where do we stand" conversation too early and guys are notorious for running for the hills. Like, come on, I'm not asking to get married, I just want to find out if we're on the same page.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 26, 2014, 11:20:12 PM
No-one's handing over heart and soul on their firsts date. You just assume that if someone is showing any kind of interest in you as a potential romantic partner that they have no other prospects for romantic partners on the go at the same time. There's no need for the 'are we exclusive?' conversation, because if you decide to go on another date, and then another, you 'know' that you are, by default.

If you decide after one date or two that you don't mesh, you don't date again, and find someone else.

I agree with this. I'm of the "date one person at a time, and if it doesn't work out, stop dating that person and find someone else" mentality. OK maybe "first coffee meetings" in the on-line world don't really count as dates, but four dates in one month that seem to go well, do count.

But I can see that others don't see it the same way, so I guess if I were on the dating scene, so to speak, I'd want to find out expectations fairly quickly. Mind you, it's hard. Do the "where do we stand" conversation too early and guys are notorious for running for the hills. Like, come on, I'm not asking to get married, I just want to find out if we're on the same page.

This is what I find interesting about non-exclusive dating culture. People here are implying that exclusive dating implies more commitment, when to me it's the other way around. If you assume exclusive dating, then there's no need to discuss any kind of commitment after a few dates. Ie, are we exclusive? It must be awkward to be the one who brings that up?
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 26, 2014, 11:38:11 PM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 

To me, you can set whatever parameters you want and be ethical, exclusive, not exclusive, etc, but once you lie, you've crossed into unethical.

I think "exclusive" can be used in two different ways.

As my fellow Aussie posters have said, in Australia most people date one person at a time. In that sense, if you go on a first/second date with someone, you're "exclusive" in the sense that you are not dating anyone else. However, you are not yet "exclusive" in the sense that you're a committed couple, calling each other "boyfriend and girlfriend". That second definition of "exclusive" generally comes once you've kissed/had some sort of physical contact.

So, as an example:

Bruce and Sheila go on two dates, There is no kissing or physical contact. Bruce and Sheila still consider themselves "single", however, it's an unspoken convention that neither of them is dating anyone else.

Bruce and Sheila go on a third date and end up snogging on Sheila's doorstep when Bruce drops her home. It's an unspoken convention that they are now a couple, in a relationship.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 27, 2014, 01:33:37 AM
^^^ This chain of events is the norm in Denmark as well.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 27, 2014, 02:09:44 AM
The recently described chain of events is not my experience at all in USA. I think to expect exclusivity based on a couple dates, and BF/GF status after kissing, would set a person up for heartache here.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: jedikaiti on April 27, 2014, 02:11:28 AM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 


Yes, even the first time you meet for coffee, I would assume that my date had on other prospects lined up, and wouldn't ask anyone else out until we had decided whether to date again, or not. I would be pretty shocked to discover that I had dated someone twice and they had been to coffee with another partner in between.

I wouldn't even assume that was a date, much less any indication of exclusivity! I went out with DH 3 or 4 times (plus a number of phone calls in between) before I was sure he was interested in more than hanging out as friends. Granted, I am rather clueless in that respect, but even if it had been apparent (even to me) that there was definite possible romantic interest, I wouldn't consider meeting for coffee (heck, even going out for dinner the first time) as anything more than the most basic of getting to know you encounters - finding out if they have reasonable hygiene standards, that you're able to communicate with them, neither of you finds the other completely repulsive, that sort of thing. I can't imagine committing to one person until I've gotten to know them well enough to know I want to spend some real time with them - not just a coffee here or a dinner there or drinks with friends. And that's going to take multiple one-on-one meetings, and probably some chatting via phone and/or online in between, and establishing that we're looking for similar things in a relationship. Sure, sometimes you can meet someone and get that gut feeling and it works out well, but I'm not inclined to hand over heart & soul without a very good idea of what I am getting into.

No-one's handing over heart and soul on their firsts date. You just assume that if someone is showing any kind of interest in you as a potential romantic partner that they have no other prospects for romantic partners on the go at the same time. There's no need for the 'are we exclusive?' conversation, because if you decide to go on another date, and then another, you 'know' that you are, by default.

If you decide after one date or two that you don't mesh, you don't date again, and find someone else.

If I'm serious enough to exclude all others, then yea, I am handing over heart and soul. Or at least access to them. I would not exclude all others unless I thought there was a pretty good shot they were The One.

And I think this is where the confusion begins - I won't consider exclusivity without that, but it seems some folks won't consider that possibility until there is exclusivity.

I think "exclusive" can be used in two different ways.

As my fellow Aussie posters have said, in Australia most people date one person at a time. In that sense, if you go on a first/second date with someone, you're "exclusive" in the sense that you are not dating anyone else. However, you are not yet "exclusive" in the sense that you're a committed couple, calling each other "boyfriend and girlfriend". That second definition of "exclusive" generally comes once you've kissed/had some sort of physical contact.

So, as an example:

Bruce and Sheila go on two dates, There is no kissing or physical contact. Bruce and Sheila still consider themselves "single", however, it's an unspoken convention that neither of them is dating anyone else.

Bruce and Sheila go on a third date and end up snogging on Sheila's doorstep when Bruce drops her home. It's an unspoken convention that they are now a couple, in a relationship.

I think you hit it on the head. I wouldn't call it exclusive unless I was willing to commit, and my partner is too. To me, exclusivity indicates a relatively serious commitment. It seems that for some, it means you're giving Partner 1 a test drive, and won't consider Partner 2 unless Partner 1 doesn't work out. But I won't rule out Partner 2 unless I have a strong indication that a) Partner 2 won't work, and/or b) Partner 1 is The One. Just because Partner 1 is getting a shot, doesn't mean Partner 2 isn't.

It's more like test-driving a car to me - I won't rule out one unless it's ruled itself out, or unless I am ready to buy another. I wouldn't declare exclusivity to one person unless I was sure I didn't want anyone else (either because that one person was That Compatible, or the other available options had ruled themselves out).
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 27, 2014, 03:16:49 AM
The recently described chain of events is not my experience at all in USA. I think to expect exclusivity based on a couple dates, and BF/GF status after kissing, would set a person up for heartache here.

Just goes to show how extremely important it is to figure out the cultural norm in advance. Neither is any more right or wrong than the other, but going by the AU/DK model in the US would set you up for heartbreak there and going for the US model in AU/DK would give you a bad reputation.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 27, 2014, 03:33:12 AM
I'm curious, in the areas were exclusivity is automatically assumed from the first date, are we talking about the same thing?  I think of a date as any time you invite someone out with the potential for romantic involvement either then or in the future.  What I mean is that, for example, you meet someone at a party and exchange numbers.  Even the first time get together afterwards, say for coffee, that would qualify as a date, as would the times after that when it is not the first, get to know you, moment.  In archaic terms, there is a difference between dating, which may or may not be exclusive and "going steady" which mean exclusive. 


Yes, even the first time you meet for coffee, I would assume that my date had on other prospects lined up, and wouldn't ask anyone else out until we had decided whether to date again, or not. I would be pretty shocked to discover that I had dated someone twice and they had been to coffee with another partner in between.

I wouldn't even assume that was a date, much less any indication of exclusivity! I went out with DH 3 or 4 times (plus a number of phone calls in between) before I was sure he was interested in more than hanging out as friends. Granted, I am rather clueless in that respect, but even if it had been apparent (even to me) that there was definite possible romantic interest, I wouldn't consider meeting for coffee (heck, even going out for dinner the first time) as anything more than the most basic of getting to know you encounters - finding out if they have reasonable hygiene standards, that you're able to communicate with them, neither of you finds the other completely repulsive, that sort of thing. I can't imagine committing to one person until I've gotten to know them well enough to know I want to spend some real time with them - not just a coffee here or a dinner there or drinks with friends. And that's going to take multiple one-on-one meetings, and probably some chatting via phone and/or online in between, and establishing that we're looking for similar things in a relationship. Sure, sometimes you can meet someone and get that gut feeling and it works out well, but I'm not inclined to hand over heart & soul without a very good idea of what I am getting into.

No-one's handing over heart and soul on their firsts date. You just assume that if someone is showing any kind of interest in you as a potential romantic partner that they have no other prospects for romantic partners on the go at the same time. There's no need for the 'are we exclusive?' conversation, because if you decide to go on another date, and then another, you 'know' that you are, by default.

If you decide after one date or two that you don't mesh, you don't date again, and find someone else.

If I'm serious enough to exclude all others, then yea, I am handing over heart and soul. Or at least access to them. I would not exclude all others unless I thought there was a pretty good shot they were The One.

And I think this is where the confusion begins - I won't consider exclusivity without that, but it seems some folks won't consider that possibility until there is exclusivity.

I think "exclusive" can be used in two different ways.

As my fellow Aussie posters have said, in Australia most people date one person at a time. In that sense, if you go on a first/second date with someone, you're "exclusive" in the sense that you are not dating anyone else. However, you are not yet "exclusive" in the sense that you're a committed couple, calling each other "boyfriend and girlfriend". That second definition of "exclusive" generally comes once you've kissed/had some sort of physical contact.

So, as an example:

Bruce and Sheila go on two dates, There is no kissing or physical contact. Bruce and Sheila still consider themselves "single", however, it's an unspoken convention that neither of them is dating anyone else.

Bruce and Sheila go on a third date and end up snogging on Sheila's doorstep when Bruce drops her home. It's an unspoken convention that they are now a couple, in a relationship.

I think you hit it on the head. I wouldn't call it exclusive unless I was willing to commit, and my partner is too. To me, exclusivity indicates a relatively serious commitment. It seems that for some, it means you're giving Partner 1 a test drive, and won't consider Partner 2 unless Partner 1 doesn't work out. But I won't rule out Partner 2 unless I have a strong indication that a) Partner 2 won't work, and/or b) Partner 1 is The One. Just because Partner 1 is getting a shot, doesn't mean Partner 2 isn't.

It's more like test-driving a car to me - I won't rule out one unless it's ruled itself out, or unless I am ready to buy another. I wouldn't declare exclusivity to one person unless I was sure I didn't want anyone else (either because that one person was That Compatible, or the other available options had ruled themselves out).

It's very interesting to me how different places work. Here, you don't do that. You try one 'car' at a time, as a rule.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: perpetua on April 27, 2014, 12:50:41 PM
In the UK we generally do the one-at-a-time thing too and I would be pretty horrified if someone I was dating told me he was seeing someone else/playing the field. I wonder if exclusivity carries a slightly different meaning. What I'm reading is exclusivity infers a serious relationship. It doesn't here, necessarily. It just means that you only date one person at a time. There's no long-term commitment involved, one or other of the parties can still end the relationship if they don't want to take it any further, but you don't date/sleep around. It's seen as very poor form here and most people would consider it two-timing or that the person doing it was a player.

Dating seems to be far more of a direct activity over there. Here, we seem to do the dance a little more, which probably ties in with the ask/hint culture thing we've had so many discussions about (although we do have askers, hinting is much more the norm here). In my experience you probably wouldn't ask someone out in the first place if you weren't at least a bit interested in having some kind of relationship with them. You'd generally meet someone in a social activity, get to know them a little bit, decide that you're interested in them, maybe develop a bit of a crush on them then spend a while working up the courage to 'ask them out' (and the other person probably wouldn't agree if they weren't reciprocally interested). So, by the time you get to 'going out with someone', you already pretty much know that you really like them and the 'dating' phase is more of a 'see if it works out' kind of thing. If you're asked out for a second date it's pretty much understood that the person doing the asking likes you and is interested in progressing things.

From what I'm reading here, dating in America seems to be the complete opposite: ask someone out if you like the look of them, *then* decide if you're interested in them, so, I can see why the 'dating multiple people' thing happens.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: zyrs on April 27, 2014, 02:14:41 PM
I was in my twenties during the 1970s, so things might be different now.  And this would be during my dating years - I'm happily married.

Say I meet Jocelyn, Sheila, Babs and Linda within a few days of each other.  In talking to them I find out a few things about each of them.

Each of them has a personality that is attractive and none of us have had a talk about exclusivity.  At the most I have only seen each of them a few times for a couple hours each time.

I have tickets to a rock concert on one day, tickets to the movies on another, passes to the museum for a third day, a pass to a pool hall on another day and an upcoming trip on a charter fishing boat for a different day.

Yes, I will ask each of them to the event that they like.  If I then meet Sue and she likes to fish, I will ask her out on the charter boat.  If not, I will go alone or with a friend that enjoys fishing.



Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 27, 2014, 02:20:15 PM
I was in my twenties during the 1970s, so things might be different now.  And this would be during my dating years - I'm happily married.

Say I meet Jocelyn, Sheila, Babs and Linda within a few days of each other.  In talking to them I find out a few things about each of them.
  • Jocelyn likes movies, but hates playing pool, fishing,  museums, or rock concerts.
  • Sheila likes to play pool but really dislikes fishing, museums, rock concerts or going to the movies.
  • Babs loves museums, but is meh about playing pool, rock concerts, going to the movies, or fishing.
  • Linda like rock concerts but doesn't enjoy doing any of the other things.

Each of them has a personality that is attractive and none of us have had a talk about exclusivity.  At the most I have only seen each of them a few times for a couple hours each time.

I have tickets to a rock concert on one day, tickets to the movies on another, passes to the museum for a third day, a pass to a pool hall on another day and an upcoming trip on a charter fishing boat for a different day.

Yes, I will ask each of them to the event that they like.  If I then meet Sue and she likes to fish, I will ask her out on the charter boat.  If not, I will go alone or with a friend that enjoys fishing.

This is much more my experience, especially when I was online dating - have a bunch of first dates scheduled, and possibly second or third dates, without getting serious with anyone.  I tend to take awhile to make up my mind about a guy, seeing as how many jerks can pretend to be nice guys for about a month before their true colors show through!

And, to be very clear, a few guys that had UK/AUS style expectations of exclusivity upon agreeing to the second or even third dates, were thought clingy and controlling, by myself and friends I was venting to, and things ended with them.

It really does seem like there's a major cultural difference!
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: perpetua on April 27, 2014, 02:31:50 PM
It's a huge cultural difference.

I can't imagine having a bunch of dates with different people 'scheduled', like business meetings. That's like picking people out of a lineup to me, or conducting job interviews!

Things have changed a bit with online dating, I know, but I can't imagine that. I really can't. I wouldn't go out with someone unless I was interested in them in the first place and neither would a lot of other people I know. I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 27, 2014, 03:11:05 PM
It's a huge cultural difference.

I can't imagine having a bunch of dates with different people 'scheduled', like business meetings. That's like picking people out of a lineup to me, or conducting job interviews!

Things have changed a bit with online dating, I know, but I can't imagine that. I really can't. I wouldn't go out with someone unless I was interested in them in the first place and neither would a lot of other people I know. I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

With either online dating, where you can at least get some idea of the other person's interests and personality, and dating people you meet through friends, it's not "completely random people" - it's people you suspect you may have an interest in, but you need to get to know them a bit better, one-on-one, with the idea that you might want to date.  There are often, especially with online dating, several people that might be potential matches that need to be evaluated. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: perpetua on April 27, 2014, 03:47:56 PM
I agree. I think online dating is a very different thing and I can see why you might potentially go out with two or three people at the same time, (although I personally would go out with one person first, then if I didn't feel a spark, not go on another date with him then go on a date with someone else, because why *would* you go out with them again if there's no spark?). But it's the idea of doing that with 'real life' people (bad phrase, but you know what I mean!) that I can't wrap my head around. I can't even imagine a situation in which I'd be agreeing to a date with someone unless I already knew them, ie, we'd met through a shared social activity first and both parties had expressed an interest, let alone more than one person at the same time.

I think it's the 'idea that you *might* want to date' thing I'm having trouble wrapping my head around. Here, at least in my experience, you (general) probably wouldn't go out with someone in the first place unless you had a fairly clear idea that you wanted to date them - although again, this is being changed by online dating, I know; I'm talking about in-person encounters, mainly.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: zyrs on April 27, 2014, 03:58:16 PM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.
 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: jedikaiti on April 27, 2014, 03:59:57 PM
Another classic example of how the US and other English-speaking nations are separated by a common language. :-) In one place, exclusivity is assumed after a first date. In another, it might get you thought of as a creeper.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: perpetua on April 27, 2014, 04:15:57 PM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.

But that isn't really dating, in my book. That's just playing pool with someone and if something grows from that, great. Perhaps even the way dates are conducted is different?

dating here? More like: you meet someone in the course of your everyday life, there's a mutual interest/attraction, you get talking at the shared activity (say, for example, i meet someone i click with at orchestra, in my case), spend a bit more time together there than usual, eventually one or the other of you plucks up the courage to ask the other one out and you might go out for a meal or a drink or to the pictures, or or or, but there's an expectation that it's because the person is interested in you, not just because they want to see XYZ film or eat chicken for dinner that night. So, you probably wouldn't even *go* on the date in the first place if you weren't interested in that person in return.

Another classic example of how the US and other English-speaking nations are separated by a common language. :-) In one place, exclusivity is assumed after a first date. In another, it might get you thought of as a creeper.

I don't think that's quite correct either - I'm having trouble articulating it!

'Exclusivity' in US dating seems to imply a serious relationship and that isn't quite the same as it is here. It's not like you're automatically assumed to be serious boyfriend/girlfriend after the first date. You might go on a date with someone and one or either of you decides not to take it any further and that's fine. It's just that if you *were* really interested in someone after that first date, you probably wouldn't be seeing anyone else in the meantime. You might have a second and third date with that person and then decide it's not working out and that's fine, but you probably wouldn't see anyone else during that time. So you'd finish it with that person and then start looking again/seeing other people.

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 27, 2014, 04:20:01 PM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.

I think the main thing here for me would be whether the game of pool was considered a date by either/both parties. That is, do you and Sheila view the game of pool as a getting to know a potential romantic partner, or are you just having a nice game of pool with a new friend? The second, I wouldn't really consider to be 'dating' if you met a new friend who shares your love of pool who happens to be female.

Interesting indeed that assuming exclusivity early on would be seen as clingy in the US.  :)

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: perpetua on April 27, 2014, 04:23:45 PM

Interesting indeed that assuming exclusivity early on would be seen as clingy in the US.  :)

It's very interesting, and I think our definitions of exclusivity must vary. Exclusivity in the States seems to imply a serious relationship. Here it's more 'I'm seeing person X right now'.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 27, 2014, 04:57:44 PM

Interesting indeed that assuming exclusivity early on would be seen as clingy in the US.  :)

It's very interesting, and I think our definitions of exclusivity must vary. Exclusivity in the States seems to imply a serious relationship. Here it's more 'I'm seeing person X right now'.

Yes - exclusivity implies that you are in a relation.ship.  I wouldn't be willing to be "exclusive" with someone I've only been on a few dates with, because I'm generally not ready to enter a relation.ship at that point.  Ergo, I would still be willing to accept invitations for dates with other men.  You don't "exclude" other people until you're settled on the one person. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 27, 2014, 07:30:03 PM
I was in my twenties during the 1970s, so things might be different now.  And this would be during my dating years - I'm happily married.

Say I meet Jocelyn, Sheila, Babs and Linda within a few days of each other.  In talking to them I find out a few things about each of them.
  • Jocelyn likes movies, but hates playing pool, fishing,  museums, or rock concerts.
  • Sheila likes to play pool but really dislikes fishing, museums, rock concerts or going to the movies.
  • Babs loves museums, but is meh about playing pool, rock concerts, going to the movies, or fishing.
  • Linda like rock concerts but doesn't enjoy doing any of the other things.

Each of them has a personality that is attractive and none of us have had a talk about exclusivity.  At the most I have only seen each of them a few times for a couple hours each time.

I have tickets to a rock concert on one day, tickets to the movies on another, passes to the museum for a third day, a pass to a pool hall on another day and an upcoming trip on a charter fishing boat for a different day.

Yes, I will ask each of them to the event that they like.  If I then meet Sue and she likes to fish, I will ask her out on the charter boat.  If not, I will go alone or with a friend that enjoys fishing.

Yes, but would you have kissed all of them? Would you snuggle with all of them? Would you gaze into the eyes of all of them?

Or would you just engage in the activities as friends?

Also, would you have issues with their casually dating other fellows- especially if they kissed?

If you started developing romantic feelings for one (and only one) of them, would you keep dating the others if the one you like that way also shows signs of liking you back the same way? Would you keep seeking out other new women to date as well, even though you actively like someone who likes you back?

Since Jenna and Ralph had kissed (and done physical things that come before that, such as holding hands and hugging tightly), there is definitely a romantic undertone. Jenna has as much of an issue with Ralph doing physical things with other women as she does with his taking them out one on one with more than just friendly intentions.



Also, the USA, UK, AU, NZ, and DK are all countries where there is a very high amount of gender equality. Hence I am a bit surprised that there are so many cultural differences in dating.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: blarg314 on April 27, 2014, 08:37:12 PM

I can't imagine having a bunch of dates with different people 'scheduled', like business meetings. That's like picking people out of a lineup to me, or conducting job interviews!


That's pretty much what online dating is - you look at a profile, you pick out people who you think might be interesting, you exchange a few emails, and you arrange a meeting to check each other out. The answer may be "No Way" or "Yeah - I like them and are attracted to them and want to see more of them" or "I'm not sure - I need a date or two more to find out".

Personally, I prefer meeting people in a more casual way, but sometimes you just aren't meeting interesting/eligible people (and the 'join a new activity' approach to meeting people tends to be low efficiency and depends on you having a lot of free time), or you have something fairly specific as a dealbreaker/requirement that you want to filter.

Think of it this way - it's a more formal version of going to a party and chatting with a lot of people. Most of them you not be interested in, if you are interested in someone, you chat for longer, and maybe ask them out/exchange numbers. Online dating is a somewhat more detailed tool for meeting a bunch of people who might be potential partners. The first date is the equivalent of chatting with someone at a party, and you wouldn't go to a party, pick a single person who looks interesting when you walk in the door, and restrict yourself to only chatting with them at that event.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Ceallach on April 27, 2014, 09:07:04 PM
I was in my twenties during the 1970s, so things might be different now.  And this would be during my dating years - I'm happily married.

Say I meet Jocelyn, Sheila, Babs and Linda within a few days of each other.  In talking to them I find out a few things about each of them.
  • Jocelyn likes movies, but hates playing pool, fishing,  museums, or rock concerts.
  • Sheila likes to play pool but really dislikes fishing, museums, rock concerts or going to the movies.
  • Babs loves museums, but is meh about playing pool, rock concerts, going to the movies, or fishing.
  • Linda like rock concerts but doesn't enjoy doing any of the other things.

Each of them has a personality that is attractive and none of us have had a talk about exclusivity.  At the most I have only seen each of them a few times for a couple hours each time.

I have tickets to a rock concert on one day, tickets to the movies on another, passes to the museum for a third day, a pass to a pool hall on another day and an upcoming trip on a charter fishing boat for a different day.

Yes, I will ask each of them to the event that they like.  If I then meet Sue and she likes to fish, I will ask her out on the charter boat.  If not, I will go alone or with a friend that enjoys fishing.

I wouldn't necessarily think of those as dates to be honest, just spending time with somebody who shares my interests.   Although if it's somebody I don't know well I'd typically include others in the invitation too, e.g. if I met Sue who likes to fish I'd invite her to join me and my friends on a trip.   I wouldn't want to go 1:1 on an outing with somebody I barely knew - too much potential for it to completely ruin my experience of the concert/trip that I'd been looking forward to, if it turned out they weren't good company or had some unpleasant habit.  For actual "dates" with a stranger such as I might have from internet dating, I would do coffee or something where there's less commitment.    Again, I guess it's that whole all or nothing mindset around here!   
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 28, 2014, 12:44:38 AM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.

I think the main thing here for me would be whether the game of pool was considered a date by either/both parties. That is, do you and Sheila view the game of pool as a getting to know a potential romantic partner, or are you just having a nice game of pool with a new friend? The second, I wouldn't really consider to be 'dating' if you met a new friend who shares your love of pool who happens to be female.

Exactly. Just hanging out like that wouldn't automatically be seen as a date here. It might turn into one if things suddenly "clicked"  ;) but it wouldn't be one at the outset.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: marcel on April 28, 2014, 02:09:29 AM
Another classic example of how the US and other English-speaking nations are separated by a common language. :-) In one place, exclusivity is assumed after a first date. In another, it might get you thought of as a creeper.
Since denmark has already been mentioned, this statement is not truly correct :) I can confirm that the Netherlands is similar, and am pretty sure about other north european countries.

Since I tend not to date women from my own country, these things can sometimes get a bit difficult, but I try only to date one woman at a time, except if I know it is ok to date someone else.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: greencat on April 28, 2014, 03:29:18 AM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.

I think the main thing here for me would be whether the game of pool was considered a date by either/both parties. That is, do you and Sheila view the game of pool as a getting to know a potential romantic partner, or are you just having a nice game of pool with a new friend? The second, I wouldn't really consider to be 'dating' if you met a new friend who shares your love of pool who happens to be female.

Exactly. Just hanging out like that wouldn't automatically be seen as a date here. It might turn into one if things suddenly "clicked"  ;) but it wouldn't be one at the outset.

For online dating, it is assumed that the first meeting is a date.

For people you've met socially once or twice: more often than not, you have to spell out that you mean a one-on-one outing with a new person (someone that you've not known long) that you mean it not to be a date, rather than the assumption going the other way around.

I have, however, witnessed a great deal of confusion when one party intended some outing with an acquaintance to be a date, and the other person was not so good at interpreting social cues, and thought it was just a friendly outing.  That, and online dating, have taught me that not all Americans date by the same rules either, but the general expectation is a period of casual, non-exclusive dating, followed by agreeing to stop seeing other people.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 28, 2014, 03:54:43 AM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.

I think the main thing here for me would be whether the game of pool was considered a date by either/both parties. That is, do you and Sheila view the game of pool as a getting to know a potential romantic partner, or are you just having a nice game of pool with a new friend? The second, I wouldn't really consider to be 'dating' if you met a new friend who shares your love of pool who happens to be female.

Exactly. Just hanging out like that wouldn't automatically be seen as a date here. It might turn into one if things suddenly "clicked"  ;) but it wouldn't be one at the outset.

For online dating, it is assumed that the first meeting is a date.

Well, yes. I was talking about non-online dating, like mentioned in zyrs post above.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 28, 2014, 06:36:25 AM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.

I think the main thing here for me would be whether the game of pool was considered a date by either/both parties. That is, do you and Sheila view the game of pool as a getting to know a potential romantic partner, or are you just having a nice game of pool with a new friend? The second, I wouldn't really consider to be 'dating' if you met a new friend who shares your love of pool who happens to be female.

Exactly. Just hanging out like that wouldn't automatically be seen as a date here. It might turn into one if things suddenly "clicked"  ;) but it wouldn't be one at the outset.

For online dating, it is assumed that the first meeting is a date.

For people you've met socially once or twice: more often than not, you have to spell out that you mean a one-on-one outing with a new person (someone that you've not known long) that you mean it not to be a date, rather than the assumption going the other way around.

I have, however, witnessed a great deal of confusion when one party intended some outing with an acquaintance to be a date, and the other person was not so good at interpreting social cues, and thought it was just a friendly outing.  That, and online dating, have taught me that not all Americans date by the same rules either, but the general expectation is a period of casual, non-exclusive dating, followed by agreeing to stop seeing other people.

Sadly, often one has to repeat over and over again that you want to be just friends if that is truly your intention. Often, the other one is blind (or refuses to see) your lack of romantic interest.

I do agree that one can assume that with online dating, the first outing is a date. Also safely assume that with IRL romantic ways to meet- brick and mortar dating services, personal ads in newspapers, speed dating, setups, and probably with singles groups (probably- not definitely). However, with online platonic ways to meet it may be trickier- even if you are not meeting up one on one, someone you may meet off an online message board for an interest/fandom may still assume romantic interest. Hence definitely spell it out early.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: DavidH on April 28, 2014, 10:57:56 AM
For me, the major learning is that it is critical to discuss expectations, since they seem to vary much more than I'd intended.  For example, if I met someone at a bar playing pool who I was interested in, I might suggest meeting there on another night, or maybe getting coffee sometime.  Those, to me, would be a date, but wouldn't have remotely suggested exclusivity until they had occurred multiple times.  Similarly, having 2 or 3 first dates with people from an on-line site wouldn't seem odd to me at all, since, to put it nicely, not everyone is the same in person as they are on line or on the phone. 

To answer whiterose's question, "Yes, but would you have kissed all of them? Would you snuggle with all of them? Would you gaze into the eyes of all of them?" Maybe, not sure on what snuggle exactly implies, but I assume more than a kiss, less than scrabble, so No, and Maybe.

 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 28, 2014, 10:41:16 PM
I can't fathom the concept of going out with a completely random person to see if anything clicks.

I think I may not have been clear enough and caused an incorrect assumption.  None of these people would be completely random; they would all be people I had met in the course of my life.  Say I meet Sheila in a class I am taking - during class break we get to talking, find out we both like to play pool so I invite her to play pool.  The expectation from this is that we will go play pool and hopefully have a great time.  From this, Sheila and I might mutually decide we'd like to go play pool again.  We may play pool once a week, it might from there blossom into a romance or we might stay friends.  Or we might play pool and realize that we are incompatible in every other way and decide not to see each other again.

I think the main thing here for me would be whether the game of pool was considered a date by either/both parties. That is, do you and Sheila view the game of pool as a getting to know a potential romantic partner, or are you just having a nice game of pool with a new friend? The second, I wouldn't really consider to be 'dating' if you met a new friend who shares your love of pool who happens to be female.

Exactly. Just hanging out like that wouldn't automatically be seen as a date here. It might turn into one if things suddenly "clicked"  ;) but it wouldn't be one at the outset.

For online dating, it is assumed that the first meeting is a date.

For people you've met socially once or twice: more often than not, you have to spell out that you mean a one-on-one outing with a new person (someone that you've not known long) that you mean it not to be a date, rather than the assumption going the other way around.

I have, however, witnessed a great deal of confusion when one party intended some outing with an acquaintance to be a date, and the other person was not so good at interpreting social cues, and thought it was just a friendly outing.  That, and online dating, have taught me that not all Americans date by the same rules either, but the general expectation is a period of casual, non-exclusive dating, followed by agreeing to stop seeing other people.

The Australian/UK/Danish approach has definitely caused some confusion as to whether an outing is a date or not!

Case in point: a friend of mine got a promotion at work. A male colleague offered to take her out for dinner to "celebrate her promotion". My friend accepted, thinking he was just being very kind and generous. Halfway through the meal, he made it clear that he intended it to be a date! She was quite surprised.

(Luckily, it wasn't too awkward, as she was in fact open to the idea of dating him. They kissed on their second date, and in true Aussie fashion, started calling themselves "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" from that point onwards!)
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 30, 2014, 06:12:46 AM
Perhaps Jenna was confused as to why after 4 dates, Ralph wanted to keep dating other women instead of going steady because none of the other men she had dated after graduating college and entering the real world seemed to do so. Before meeting Ralph, Jenna had gone on a few dates with Terry, whom she was set up with via a mutual friend. The next person Jenna dated after Ralph was a fellow named Kyle, whom she met on a sci-fi message board. And after that came Philip, whom Jenna met through the largest online dating site. None of them were seeing other women at the time- nor wanted to. All of them were fine- if not downright enthusiastic- with defining the relationship after 3 dates.

In all those cases, the first meeting was the first date (although one could argue that with Kyle, there was friendship first- arguably). Hence Jenna was very surprised that since Ralph was the only one of the four whom she could have experienced chemistry before their first formal date, that he did not want to go steady with her after 4 successful dates involving kissing.

I guess it is a cultural norm. But all 3 other fellows also lived in the US of A, were born and raised there, did not belong to specific groups practicing norms divergent from the main culture, and had families living in the USA for several generations now. Hence Jenna's shock.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Owly on April 30, 2014, 07:59:02 AM
Hm, well some people just prefer to move more slowly than others. I admit that I'm one of them. If I were Ralph it would have nothing to do with how much I liked Jenna - chemistry isn't the most important thing in a relationship, and we could still end up not actually working very well as a couple. After only a handful of outings with her I wouldn't have enough experience with her to tell, and I'd rather wait to commit until I am reasonably confident she is right for me.

I also live in the US, and I've also met people who wanted to move more quickly than I did - I think a lot of it boils down to personal comfort levels, which are not going to be the same for everyone. My advice to Jenna, not that she asked for it, is to use this as a learning experience. She now knows that not everyone wants to progress at the same pace, and can adjust and/or express her expectations to potential boyfriends with that in mind.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Onyx_TKD on April 30, 2014, 11:51:18 AM
Perhaps Jenna was confused as to why after 4 dates, Ralph wanted to keep dating other women instead of going steady because none of the other men she had dated after graduating college and entering the real world seemed to do so. Before meeting Ralph, Jenna had gone on a few dates with Terry, whom she was set up with via a mutual friend. The next person Jenna dated after Ralph was a fellow named Kyle, whom she met on a sci-fi message board. And after that came Philip, whom Jenna met through the largest online dating site. None of them were seeing other women at the time- nor wanted to. All of them were fine- if not downright enthusiastic- with defining the relationship after 3 dates.

In all those cases, the first meeting was the first date (although one could argue that with Kyle, there was friendship first- arguably). Hence Jenna was very surprised that since Ralph was the only one of the four whom she could have experienced chemistry before their first formal date, that he did not want to go steady with her after 4 successful dates involving kissing.

I guess it is a cultural norm. But all 3 other fellows also lived in the US of A, were born and raised there, did not belong to specific groups practicing norms divergent from the main culture, and had families living in the USA for several generations now. Hence Jenna's shock.

I think Jenna could be reading a little too much into her previous dates' behavior. The fact that they didn't date anyone else while dating her doesn't necessarily mean they felt any obligation to stay exclusive. It's entirely possible that they shared her views of exclusivity. However, it's equally possible that they just didn't happen to have any other potential romantic partners on the scene at that particular time. Just because the culture allows people to date multiple people simultaneously doesn't imply that everyone will choose to at all times. It's an option, not an obligation.

For example, if I started dating someone right now, it's highly unlikely that I'd date anyone else at the same time. But that's not because I feel any obligation to date someone exclusively in the early stages of dating. Instead, it's because (A) I don't date much in general, so the odds of me having two potential dates come onto the scene at the same time is low, and (B) I don't have a lot of spare time at the moment, so carving out the time to date not just one but two people would be prohibitively difficult.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: angilamae on April 30, 2014, 01:06:38 PM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 30, 2014, 02:08:11 PM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.

No, the break up talk is only necessary if you've moved on to the girlfriend/boyfriend stage. During the dating stage you can just stop accepting invitations.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: jedikaiti on April 30, 2014, 02:20:14 PM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.

No, the break up talk is only necessary if you've moved on to the girlfriend/boyfriend stage. During the dating stage you can just stop accepting invitations.

But if you're dating & exclusive, doesn't that mean you're in the gf/bf stage?
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 30, 2014, 02:22:08 PM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.

No, the break up talk is only necessary if you've moved on to the girlfriend/boyfriend stage. During the dating stage you can just stop accepting invitations.

But if you're dating & exclusive, doesn't that mean you're in the gf/bf stage?

Yeah, this is my question also!  This is exactly why I guess I prefer the "let's have an exclusivity talk" way of approaching things so there is far less confusion!
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: whiterose on April 30, 2014, 02:51:00 PM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.

Actually, I have read somewhere that (in the USA), if you go past a certain amount of dates with one person, even if there is no relationship talk or kissing, it is a good idea to let the person know you are ending things. IIRC, if you go on 1-2 dates there is no need for anything. But 3-4 dates merits a conclusive email. And 5-6 dates warrants at least a phone call. And if you go on at least 7 dates, then you should end things in person.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: #borecore on April 30, 2014, 03:10:45 PM
Again, those numbers seem totally arbitrary.

I would say that in my book, anything less than 1 month/10 dates, whatever comes later, you just don't call again; if asked, you mention that you'd rather not continue. Beyond that, you should probably let the person know that you're not interested. But my marker is totally different from some other people's, of course.

I went through a period of about two years in my early 20s, with five or more 2 1/2- to 3-month "relationships," plus lots of 1-5 date experiences, trying to figure out what I really wanted. It was an interesting time, and where we stood when those things ended varied wildly, based on cultures, experiences, 'where we were in life,' how much time we spent together, etc. (I will say that 'how we met' was not a factor, to my understanding.)

Trying to set rules for yourself is fine; trying to set rules for America is ... just not going to work.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: TurtleDove on April 30, 2014, 03:18:25 PM
Trying to set rules for yourself is fine; trying to set rules for America is ... just not going to work.

Yes!  Well put.  The saying "all is fair in love and war" comes to mind, not because I believe love to be "fair" necessarily, but because the things that are "unfair" in love cannot be remedied.  If someone does not love you, you cannot make them love you.  If a person does not want a relationship, you cannot make them want one, with you or with anyone else.  And you cannot stop someone from wanting a relationship, with you or with anyone else, either.  The best way to look out for yourself is to be clear with the person/people you are interested in what *your* expectations are, and to ask what theirs are, and to make decisions based on compatibility.  Because wanting what the heart wants is never "wrong."  The only wrong is in lying to people about how you intend to treat them.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: angilamae on April 30, 2014, 03:38:45 PM
If i care about someone enough to go on multiple dates with them, of couse I would let them know I was no longer interested. But since 1 date seemes to imply exclusvity to some people, I just wasnt sure how the ending it would work.

personally, I tend not to date tons at the same time anyways because tht is just how it works out and I'm a chicken about dating anyways but I did go through a phase about 5 years ago where i was "dating" multiple guys and not exclusive with any.  And neither were they.  It worked out fine and eventually they dwindeld to the one that lasted 5 years
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: CakeEater on April 30, 2014, 03:54:25 PM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.

No, the break up talk is only necessary if you've moved on to the girlfriend/boyfriend stage. During the dating stage you can just stop accepting invitations.

But if you're dating & exclusive, doesn't that mean you're in the gf/bf stage?

No - it still means you're casually dating, just only one person at a time. And I would think that if you went on two fairly casual dates with someone, and decided that they weren't for you and you didn't want to go on any more dates with them, that you would a) not issue any invitations yourself, and b) have a mini breakup talk after the second date or when a third date was proposed - eg. No thanks, I don't think this is working out.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: jedikaiti on April 30, 2014, 06:01:44 PM
I think we have our difference - to me, exclusivity implies a more serious relationship than casual dating.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 30, 2014, 10:10:24 PM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.

No, the break up talk is only necessary if you've moved on to the girlfriend/boyfriend stage. During the dating stage you can just stop accepting invitations.

But if you're dating & exclusive, doesn't that mean you're in the gf/bf stage?

Nope. As mentioned in my last post, there are two different type of "exclusive":

1. dating one person at a time exclusive. You're still "single" but just not dating anyone else; and

2. Boyfriend/girlfriend exclusive. You define yourselves as a couple, introduce each other as "my bf/gf", attend events as a social unit, etc.

For definition #1, you don't need to have The Breakup Talk. You just stop issuing/accepting invitations. For definition #2, you definitely need to break up formally.

Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: MariaE on April 30, 2014, 11:59:32 PM
^^^ What CakeEater and LifeOnPluto said. It's still casual dating, it's just casually dating one person at a time. There's no serious commitment just because it's "exclusive".
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: marcel on May 01, 2014, 06:28:59 AM
This may have been answered before but if you are european exclusive (for lack of a better term) and only dating one person from the outset, do you have to break up with them as well?  Like have a break up talk?  In America (for me at least) if I go on a date with Joe-Bob and either of us could also be dating someone else because we haven't had "the talk", I can just not go out on further dates with Joe-Bob if I am not feeling it with him.
I think the part about for lack of a better term, get's to the hard of the issue here.

There is no term, and people do not talk about exclusivity because, dating is an exclusive matter. It is simply bad form to date multiple people at the same time, you go on one or more dates with someone and if it doesn't work out, you stop dating. The latter needs to be expressed, but I think the same goes for the US.

"the talk" as Americans like to say it, doesn't really exist, or not in the way it does for Americans. You are dating a person therefore, in normal circumstances, this person is not dating anyone else. After a number of dates, a certain level of intimacy, for me this includes feeling at home in the other person house, it is clear that there is more then just datinbg and you are in a relationship. By already having the implied exclusivity, ;ess of a formal talk about a relationship os necesary.

Off course there are exceptions, but situations where you are seeing others, do in general need to be discussed.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: blarg314 on May 01, 2014, 10:59:28 PM

There is no term, and people do not talk about exclusivity because, dating is an exclusive matter. It is simply bad form to date multiple people at the same time, you go on one or more dates with someone and if it doesn't work out, you stop dating.

"the talk" as Americans like to say it, doesn't really exist, or not in the way it does for Americans.

See, I think the first of these is the point people are disagreeing on.

Many people people prefer to date one person at a time. I'm one of them - I found I didn't have the time or mental energy to do more. But I don't think there is anything wrong with seeing multiple people in the early stages of dating, and then getting exclusive when you realize you've found someone who fits well.

And I do think "the talk" does exist, and needs to exist. Not everyone has it - it's quite common for two people to be mutually interested and turn out to have the same idea about where the relationship is going. But telling someone after a few dates that you're not interested in them is having the talk.

But I've also seen enough cases where not having the talk backfired - Person A assumed that because they've been on X number of dates, or because they played Scrabble they were an exclusive couple, and then got hurt when they found out that their date didn't agree - they thought they were dating casually, or just getting to know each other, or that they were friends with benefits, or it was just a drunken hookup and didn't mean anything.

I've personally been in a situation where someone had invented a romantic relationship out of thin air from a purely platonic friendship. No physical intimacy, not even hand-holding, no romantic dinners, paying our own way, but they came to the conclusion that we were a couple and told *other* people this, without talking about it with me.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: Another Sarah on May 02, 2014, 03:54:24 AM

There is no term, and people do not talk about exclusivity because, dating is an exclusive matter. It is simply bad form to date multiple people at the same time, you go on one or more dates with someone and if it doesn't work out, you stop dating.

"the talk" as Americans like to say it, doesn't really exist, or not in the way it does for Americans.

See, I think the first of these is the point people are disagreeing on.

Many people people prefer to date one person at a time. I'm one of them - I found I didn't have the time or mental energy to do more. But I don't think there is anything wrong with seeing multiple people in the early stages of dating, and then getting exclusive when you realize you've found someone who fits well.

And I do think "the talk" does exist, and needs to exist. Not everyone has it - it's quite common for two people to be mutually interested and turn out to have the same idea about where the relationship is going. But telling someone after a few dates that you're not interested in them is having the talk.

But I've also seen enough cases where not having the talk backfired - Person A assumed that because they've been on X number of dates, or because they played Scrabble they were an exclusive couple, and then got hurt when they found out that their date didn't agree - they thought they were dating casually, or just getting to know each other, or that they were friends with benefits, or it was just a drunken hookup and didn't mean anything.

I've personally been in a situation where someone had invented a romantic relationship out of thin air from a purely platonic friendship. No physical intimacy, not even hand-holding, no romantic dinners, paying our own way, but they came to the conclusion that we were a couple and told *other* people this, without talking about it with me.

I think Marcel was talking specifically about Europe
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: siamesecat2965 on May 02, 2014, 12:04:27 PM
I agree with a lot of what’s been said here. Mainly that different people have different ideas about everything, including the nature of any r@lationship you might have. So if you want exclusivity, you need to bring it up and have a discussion about it. And then be prepared to accept whatever the other person’s views are on the subject. Never make any assumption about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

I know for me, it really depends on the nature of things. How often have we seen each other, how far have things progressed, are we in contact constantly, say if we can’t actually see each other that often, things like that. And I also get a feeling about how the other person feels as well. As I’ve been single (by choice) for a number of years, I know and have said repeatedly, I’d have to be really comfortable with someone before even thinking about becoming exclusive, and four dates sure isn’t it.

That being said, I’ve known people who met, clicked immediately, moved in together within days, and are still together. So not to say it never happens, but I think what it really comes down to is communication of expectations between both people.

I’m seeing this now with a friend. She’s been doing online dating for a couple of months, not much longer than that. Had some read duds, and now has met someone she really likes and claims to have “clicked” with. But they’ve been on only two “dates” and the second one she went to his place and spent the night, so we all know what happened (she told me so I DO know). She however, is talking like he is “the one” and has suspended her dating profiles on both sites she’s on, and putting all her eggs into this one basket. Me? I’m much more cautious, and perhaps a bit cynical and not as “trusting” but after such a short time, even though I may have hit it off with someone really well, and been “scrabble attracted” to them, it doesn’t mean and I wouldn’t think we are exclusive, nor that I need to actually act on the “scrabble attraction” part. just because you want something doesn't always mean its a good idea to act upon that want.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: jazzgirl205 on May 03, 2014, 02:01:41 PM
When I dated in the 80s, I felt that fidelity should only be expected if the couple was married or engaged.  I dated the guy who asked me that week no matter how I felt about someone else.  Then again, I wasn't having sex with these young men either.  dating exclusively with no intention of commitment seemed wrong to me.  Not dating exclusively meant that a man could not take me for granted, that he had to decide what he wanted out of the relationship.
Most of the men I dated knew each other therefore knew with whom I would be dining on a particular Saturday night.  I was a skinny, large breasted blonde who was attracted to nerds.  Hey, they were most mostly attractive, very intelligent, and did not date with a sense of entitlement.  They wore a suit and tie, were perfect gentlemen, and seemed to enjoy what I had to say.  I am still friends with many of these men.  They are wonderful husbands and fathers.  I got 5 marriage proposals before I graduated college.  These young men helped me realize what kind of personality best suited me and what to expect of a gentleman. 
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: blarg314 on May 03, 2014, 08:33:00 PM

I think Marcel was talking specifically about Europe

I've got good stories about Europeans too. One of the most extreme - a friend who took a leave of absence from her studies to move to a neighbouring country for a promising relationship, only to discover that what she assumed was a serious exclusive relationship, he was looking at as a girl in city X to have fun with when he was there on business, and to flirt with on line.


Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: marcel on May 04, 2014, 08:36:29 AM

I think Marcel was talking specifically about Europe

I've got good stories about Europeans too. One of the most extreme - a friend who took a leave of absence from her studies to move to a neighbouring country for a promising relationship, only to discover that what she assumed was a serious exclusive relationship, he was looking at as a girl in city X to have fun with when he was there on business, and to flirt with on line.
I have that one as well, but we talked about things, so we know where we stand. We decided that since neither of us wants to move 3000 kilometres, we will never get a serious relationship so can flirt online, and be a bit more when seeing each other at events, parties or on visits to eachothers country. to do this without discussing it is a different matter though, and not acceptable in my opinion.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: knitwicca on May 04, 2014, 01:00:23 PM
I find this entire thread very interesting.

I am in my 50's, divorced nearly 5 years. I dated one man met via an on-line site for a few months but only a handful of times due to scheduling. We were exclusive because neither of us had the time to date others. We ended things kindly and still talk at random times.

I have dated two guys I met through friends. Neither worked out as romantic partners but we are still casual friends.

Then there have been two long-distance situations. One was a casual thing. Friendly dates when we had the opportunity.  He introduced me (fix-up) to a friend. Friend and i dated for over a year...talking daily, texts multiple times daily, traveling to each other at least once per month. He brought up long-term, permanent plans and goals for the two of us. Discussed where we would reside together, etc. We had met each other's friends and familues. Until I overheard a bartender in his town ask "is that your girlfriend?" "No, just a friend".
Sometimes even when exclusivity is stated, the meaning is different between two people.
Title: Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
Post by: bopper on May 20, 2014, 03:14:01 PM
I think Ralph's mistake was telling Jenna about Deborah.  He can date multiple women.
However, it is equally valid for Jenna to not be cool with it. She is under no obligation to compete.