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 12381 times)

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greencat

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2014, 07:53:56 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.

Winterlight

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2014, 08:10:17 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.
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shhh its me

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2014, 08:29:51 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.

Mary Lennox

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2014, 08:45:03 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?"

blarg314

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2014, 11:25:48 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.

miranova

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2014, 01:07:37 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.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2014, 04:43:01 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".

Ceallach

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2014, 05:51:57 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. 
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sparksals

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2014, 10:00:28 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! 

shhh its me

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2014, 10:20:25 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.

whiterose

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2014, 10:39:23 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.
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greencat

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2014, 06:18:23 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! 

whiterose

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2014, 06:26:35 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.
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JenJay

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2014, 07:42:18 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.

Tia2

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2014, 07:45:35 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.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 04:38:02 PM by Tia2 »