Poll

Did Ralph do anything wrong?

Not at all
131 (62.1%)
Delivery failure
56 (26.5%)
Circumstantial
2 (0.9%)
Kind of- maybe
16 (7.6%)
Definitely
6 (2.8%)

Total Members Voted: 199

Author Topic: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff  (Read 12812 times)

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whiterose

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Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« on: April 18, 2014, 01:42:59 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.
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TurtleDove

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2014, 01:55:27 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.


SingActDance

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2014, 01:59:12 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.
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Deetee

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2014, 02:07:50 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2014, 02:10:24 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. 

Allyson

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2014, 02:41:13 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?"

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 03:30:23 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.

diesel_darlin

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2014, 05:05:20 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.

jmarvellous

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2014, 05:17:17 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.

Miss Marple

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 05:38:54 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.

TheBardess

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2014, 06:25:24 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.
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whiterose

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2014, 06:44:00 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.

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jmarvellous

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2014, 06:48:25 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?

whiterose

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2014, 07:07:28 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.
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VorFemme

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2014, 07:17:22 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).
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