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 11290 times)

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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #60 on: April 22, 2014, 12:40:58 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.

greencat

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2014, 03:41:59 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.

CakeEater

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2014, 05:07:16 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.

Another Sarah

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2014, 05:29:20 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.

whiterose

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2014, 07:16:33 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.
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TurtleDove

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #65 on: April 22, 2014, 07:33:34 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.

wolfie

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #66 on: April 22, 2014, 09:08:24 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #67 on: April 22, 2014, 09:24:00 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. 

Daydream

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2014, 10:48:44 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.



Another Sarah

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2014, 12:46:27 PM »
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.

lakey

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #70 on: April 23, 2014, 03:46:02 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.

Twik

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2014, 05:24:33 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?
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TurtleDove

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #72 on: April 23, 2014, 05:29:09 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.

Twik

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #73 on: April 23, 2014, 07:11:38 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.
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blarg314

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Re: Etiquette of defining exclusivity- a spinoff
« Reply #74 on: April 23, 2014, 09:17:15 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.