Do You Trade Sex For Exclusivity?

Name: D
State: CO
Age: 43
Comment: I’ve been seeing a woman (let’s call her Jean) for the past month or so. We get together 2-3 times per week, and we’ve been having sex since our third date. I think there’s long-term potential, but I’m not ready to be exclusive yet. In the meantime, I’ve also been dating other women, though none of them have led to sex.

Last night Jean & I had a conversation about expectations. I have a long-distance FWB who comes to town about once every 5-6 weeks. She’s due in town again in mid-October. I had told Jean about her previously and said we have an agreement that if one of use finds someone we want to be exclusive with, we’ll stop hooking up. (This is 100% true. As it happens, I told the FWB just a couple days ago that there’s a good chance I’ll have to invoke that rule soon.)

Jean told me that she’s not asking for exclusivity, but she doesn’t want me to have sex with anyone else as long as she and I are having sex. So that means no seeing the FWB, which she specifically asked about. She said she was not asking for exclusivity, but that this particular case was a deal breaker.

I’m fine with that, but I’m not ready to be exclusive, and there’s a non-zero chance that I’ll have sex with some of the other women I’ve been seeing.

My question is, what’s my obligation here? Should Jean & I stop having sex for a while? Or do I only do that after I have sex with someone else?

I don’t lie, but I don’t necessarily volunteer everything. Jean hasn’t asked about any other dates I’ve been on, but since she pointedly did *not* ask for exclusivity, she’s at least theoretically aware I’m seeing other people.

 

Jean told me that she’s not asking for exclusivity, but she doesn’t want me to have sex with anyone else as long as she and I are having sex. So that means no seeing the FWB, which she specifically asked about. She said she was not asking for exclusivity, but that this particular case was a deal breaker.

Asking you not to see or sleep with your FWB is most definitely asking for exclusivity. She’s just using the back door entrance. I’m sure she believes she’s not trying to pressure you, but she is.

I had told Jean about her previously and said we have an agreement that if one of use finds someone we want to be exclusive with, we’ll stop hooking up.

This is why you don’t talk in any kind of detail about your extra curricular pre-exclusivity activities. You were honest. Foolishly honest. And now she’s using it against you in order to force your hand and commit.

My question is, what’s my obligation here? Should Jean & I stop having sex for a while? Or do I only do that after I have sex with someone else?

You’re not obligated to her unless you agree to give her what she wants. At that point you’re locked in.  If you give in on this, she’s just going to continue to put down these demands. I mean, really? She doesn’t even want you seeing your FWB? I mean, I completely understand why she’s uncomfortable with it. But she’s not your girlfriend. You’ve only been dating a month. She’s dictating not only who you have sex with but who you hang out with. Give in on this and you’ll never be able to re-gain any ground. I guarantee you that if you had been even more honest and told her outright that you’re actively dating other people, she’d have laid down an edict against that as well.

My advice is to make it clear to Jean that exclusivity is not on the table yet and that it won’t be until you’re both ready for it. If she bails, then you dodged a bullet.

Call her bluff. Tell her that, since you’re not ready to be exclusive, that you think it’s best that you and she stop having sex since you know she’s not comfortable with that. Basically, she’s using sex as a bartering chip in order to get what she wants. Two can play that game. So tell her you understand her concerns and you feel it’s best that you and she table the sex until you’re both ready to commit. Then see what she says. She’s going to get upset, of course, because what you’d actually be telling her – you know, in a back door kind of way – is that you’re sleeping with other people. Or at least want to. What she’ll really be pissed about is that her trick didn’t work.

If she’s smart she’ll say, “Okay. No problem. In fact, I agree.” Or she’ll say that you and she can continue sleeping together but she doesn’t want to know what you’re doing when not with her and that you have to use condoms. She’ll probably ask you to still tell her if you’re sleeping with anyone else.  If that’s what she says she wants, then give it to her. ( Though she really doesn’t want to know. That’s another false sense of security check point that pretty much always backfires.)  Then she’ll drop the subject, keep her own options open, and either you two will become exclusive naturally or she’ll find a guy who will give her what she wants and you’ll get out of a potentially tense and unhealthy situation. Or she’ll take her toys and leave the sandbox. Win/win all around if you ask me.

The thing is, just because she tried this approach doesn’t necessarily mean she wouldn’t be a great partner. She feels threatened because she likes you. That’s a good thing. Sometimes we let our insecurities rule us. It happens to the best of us.  But if she tries to push or force something before you’re ready, then she’s demonstrating to you that your needs and feelings aren’t terribly important to her. That’s a bad thing.

 

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197 Responses to “Do You Trade Sex For Exclusivity?”

  1. Selena Says:

    Jean doesn’t feel comfortable sharing her body with someone who is sharing his with other people. She’s certainly not the only person, woman or man who feels that way. And it is a discussion she should have had with you before deciding to have sex with you the first time. Now it appears she’s trying to set “rules” after the game is already in play. Possibly unrealistic rules at that. If you both have the option to date other people, what’s to prevent you from having sex with them if you so choose? You don’t have a commitment. You don’t even have an agreement to be focused on each other.

    That’s what ‘exclusivity’ used to mean and still does for many people: choosing to focus on each other – for now instead of dating multiple people at a time. Not a “commitment” the way it is sometimes looked as. People can decide to only date each other while getting to know one another without it having to be a big deal -a declaration of future intentions.

    So D, she has put the ball in your court on this: you either choose to have sex with her and only her, or you don’t agree to it. Up to you to decide if that would be unreasonable at this juncture or not. How do you feel about it?

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    • Trouble Says:

      Not totally true, Selena, because Jean is having sex with him knowing that they are not exclusive. But, now she’s playing the “we aren’t exclusive but don’t sleep with her” card. I call B.S. on Jean’s act. If Jean really held these values, she wouldn’t be sleeping with the OP.

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      • Selena Says:

        I call BS on Jean’s “halfway” exclusivity as per J’s post below.

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        • Andrew Says:

          The only rule is that there are no rules in love and war. What I genuinely dislike is people trying to do things in an absurd confrontational way. I suppose if you follow the rule I first mentioned, then that’s ok, but really I would rather not hang around for that and a lot of guys feel the same way.

          It’s not always what someone does, it’s often about the way they do it. I think it’s important to own one’s feelings. Clearly state that the way you feel has changed. Clearly express to the other person that you would be understanding if they cannot adjust to the new feelings you have. I think if she had followed such a path, the OP would be in an entirely different mindset.

          The problem is that people like to lay down the way things are going to be. Everybody is a hardass. But in the end we all hate ultimatums and barely tolerate veiled ultimatums. So we really need to watch how we are putting them out there.

          He has many paths. the major three paths are:
          1. Total rejection
          2. Accomdation by some degree of mendacity
          3. Acceptance
          I imagine the OP will do pretty much what most people do when faced with confrontational ultimatums. Settle somewhere into one of the first two categories. Whichever one he settles into is entirely up him, and I would be the last person to judge him.

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          • Selena Says:

            Whenever we issue an ultimatum we are not only giving it to the other person, we are giving it to ourselves as well.

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  2. Paula Says:

    I agree with Moxie that you should call her bluff. If she doesn’t want to share you with anyone else, then she shouldn’t have slept with you until you mutually agreed that you were ready to be exclusive. You can’t go changing the rules after the fact.

    My ex and I dealt with this situation…he had some unresolved feelings for an ex, which he told me about, and I had him spend the weekend with her (near Valentine’s Day, to boot) with my blessing (I knew there would be sex if they spent the weekend together, so while we didn’t specifically discuss that, it was definitely on the table as far as I was concerned.) It was a calculated risk of the “If you love somebody set them free” variety, but it worked. He came back and was ready to commit as my boyfriend, and I got major coolness points from him for letting him work this out without my trying to interfere with it.

    If “Jean” were writing in, that’s what I would urge her to do. But Jean’s not writing in, and I’m not sure an appeal to logic would work in these circumstances (she’s not going to snare D by trying to interfere with his relationship with other women before he’s ready to be exclusive). However, if D makes it clear that he will respect the no-sharing rule, but won’t cave in to exclusivity yet, then it either compels her to be rational and respect the existing boundaries and rules in place…or she will behave very irrationally and emotionally, and you’ll have your answer.

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  3. WO7 Says:

    This is a common move for girls. They say they don’t want to be exclusive, but then say they don’t want you sleeping with other people while you’re sleeping with them.

    Sometimes I wonder what these girls think exclusivity is, if not stopping sleeping with other people to only sleep with them…

    You were definitely “too honest” in the beginning, and that is hurting you now. If you’re going to be non exclusively dating her, then you need to act as if the other girls don’t exist. Going on a date? You’re going out with the guys. Avoid all questions she asks about other women. She doesn’t have a right to ask until she is your gf.

    I think you have to be honest here, and just say that you’re not ready for exclusivity yet; and that you only make that kind of commitment with someone you’re exclusive with.

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    • Paula Says:

      In addressing the “too honest” thing…in this circumstance, I don’t think he was too honest.

      If I felt like he was either trying to hide the existence of the FWB, who has obviously occupied a significant place in his life and still is a current factor, even though she’s long distance, or that he was suddenly unavailable without explanation for an entire weekend after we’ve been seeing each other 2-3 times a week, then that would personally cause me more anxiety than “I have a FWB and am dating other people, because I don’t think we’re at the exclusive stage yet.”

      So if this blows up due to Jean’s premature jealousy, I hope that D doesn’t take the lesson from it that he shouldn’t disclose or has to hide the existence of other people before he’s exclusive with someone. Sometimes I think the reason that jealousy plays such a big factor in relationships is that we let it do so…we give it so much credence that it takes on a life of its own, instead of placing the onus on those with an outsized amount of it to keep it under control.

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      • Trouble Says:

        D was in fact too honest, Paula. He could have clearly stated that he wasn’t ready for exclusivity without providing any details. Providing the details was what got him into trouble here. It’s entirely possible to be clear that you aren’t ready to commit yet and aren’t exclusive, without discussing the gritty details of the people you’re sleeping with. I’d do the former and avoid the latter, because the latter is simply TMI. No one needs these sorts of specific details.

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        • Paula Says:

          That’s your opinion, Trouble, especially after D shared the context in which he told Jean about the FWB. It wasn’t part of a conversation about exclusivity — it was part of a conversation about travel on the third or fourth date (which may have been before D and Jean slept together, since he also said they started sleeping together on the 3rd date).

          Again, if I was engaged in a conversation with D on one of our dates early on, and he hesitated and/or lied about who went with him to Australia, or he later said that he was unavailable for a particular weekend after we had been spending several days a week together, that would raise much more of a red flag for me about potential unfinished business or deceptive tendencies than sharing that an FWB was still in his life occasionally. YMMV, of course.

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          • Trouble Says:

            In a non-exclusive relationship, she wasn’t entitled to know who he was going on a trip with. Had he said, “A friend,” the conversation would have stopped at that point. “A friend” would have been accurate, truthful, and factual, but would not have required the complicated explanation he tendered, and the subsequent discussion. If you aren’t exclusive, you aren’t exclusive. What he’s doing when he’s not with you falls into the category of “nunyas.” Can’t deal with that? Don’t have sex with guys you aren’t exclusive with.

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            • Paula Says:

              But if you barely know someone, you may not know you’re entering a minefield. I went to Australia on my honeymoon (prefer not to discuss). I went to China with a tour group and a second time by myself (no problem discussing). How would a relative stranger, which someone I’ve been out with 3 times is, know that?

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        • Andrew Says:

          I gotta go with “trouble” a bit here. These FWB’s, non-exclusives, and casual things work better when certain types of information are not shared. People may claim to want know the details but really most people can’t handle the details. I am always ammused by the woman I just met, who literally wants to inquisition me about who I am having sex with, but certainly having no intention of reciprocating with the gory details of her sex life. And if I told her the truth, she couldn’t handle it.

          Putiing people on the spot is always a bad thing. He certainly did by volunteering gory details. And she countered with an ultimatum to him, also putting him on the spot. He can now, reject, lie, or accomodate. And trust me, there is no wrong or right here, especially in these casual type relationships.

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  4. joe-f Says:

    Jean is ready to be exclusive but you are not. The situation is awkward but a guy goes through that stage when dating multiple girls and trying to choose one.I feel you are an honest guy, like me, and there is nothing wrong with being honorable even if it means you will get less sex. Date other girls until you are ready to be exclusive with Jean but if you chose to sleep with them, don’t sleep with Jean. If you are ready to commit to Jean, then you will do the right thing, which is not sleep with other women.

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  5. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Stunningly good insights and advice from Moxie. Especially since we know the character “D,” I would definitely call her bluff in the way Moxie advised. Though highly manipulative on your part, I think there is a good chance it will be successful and you will have incidentally increased your stature with her since this is essentially a contest of wills.

    Also, seriously. Too much talking. Mystery is your friend.

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    • Trish Says:

      My understanding of mystery is when there’s something you find intriguing about someone. Small glimpses into an interesting life, etc. and you want to find out more.

      The mystery defined here is called deception.

      Someone honest and not manipulative by nature is going to trip up here.

      OP, yes, you like her, but maybe the timing is just bad. Go your separate ways without animosity.
      If you end up together based on deception and manipulation, you’ll remember that’s part of the foundation of your relationship.

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  6. D Says:

    Thanks all for the comments. One quick note that may or may change your opinion: the FWB is a close enough F that we took a trip to Australia together back in the spring. The reason Jean knows about the FWB is because she asked who I took the trip with (it had come up in conversation about travel). I thought about just just saying “a friend,” but decided to go ahead and tell her the truth. This conversation happened on our third or fourth date.

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    • dimplz Says:

      I know Moxie mentioned that just because she’s using sex as a bartering chip it doesn’t mean she won’t be a good partner, but keep your eyes open. She does seem to have a jealous streak. I know most people feel a twinge of jealousy here and there, but you have to consider whether you can handle her level of jealousy. It does seem to be quite high for someone seeing you casually.

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  7. Laura Says:

    I’m really confused why D still HAS a friend with benefits. It sounds like he’s getting the “benefits” from Jean, and the whole definition of a friend with benefits is having a backup plan when you can’t get sex elsewhere. It’s not so that you can get sex in multiple places – that would imply some sort of interest in your FWB outside of sex, in which case they’re not really a FWB.

    That said, Jean sounds like she wants to have her cake and eat it too. Either she’s fine with him sleeping around or she isn’t. It sounds like SHE wants to be able to sleep around but doesn’t want D to do the same.

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    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      I’m really confused why D still HAS a friend with benefits. It’s not so that you can get sex in multiple places – that would imply some sort of interest in your FWB outside of sex, in which case they’re not really a FWB.

      If D were a female, all the women would be telling her to keep her options open. Would you advise a woman to cut off her FWB relationship because she’s been dating a guy for a month, before the guy has committed to her?

      He’s been dating Jean a month. That’s hardly enough time to discern if she’s long term material. He’s also friends with his FWB, so I don’t think he should be expected to cut off all communication with her simply because he’s been dating someone else for all of four weeks.

      Also? People like variety in their sexual partners.

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      • Selena Says:

        I agree a month is not enough time to discern if someone is long term material. But it might be enough time to discern whether you want to focus on getting to know that person without the distraction of dating/sleeping with others.

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      • Laura Says:

        If D were a female, I’d STILL be saying “why are you sleeping with your FWB?”

        For me, a FWB is a last resort for sex (well, okay, not a LAST resort or they wouldn’t be good enough to be a FWB, but last resort compared to someone I am actually interested in). If I’m hooking up with someone else, there’s no need for me to go to a FWB too; that’s just if you are sexually frustrated because you have nowhere else to turn.

        For me, a second date with someone else would be enough to cut things off with a FWB – of course, understanding that the date might absolutely not work out, in which case I’d go back to the FWB. But the point of a FWB is flexibility and no commitment, so it’s not like you’re doing anything wrong by cutting them off and then starting things up again.

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        • Paula Says:

          I think the key words here, Laura, are “for [you].” I’ve had several FWBs and don’t feel that way at all. Basically, “different from” doesn’t always mean “inferior to.”

          Often, they’re what keeps the relationship from moving too fast or being considered something that it’s not. A lot of people try to turn a casual/FWB situation into a relationship or call it that when it’s not, so if you have something that actually is a functional FWB happening, it can give you the clarity to figure out whether a relationship is actually giving you more of what you want and need than what you otherwise have.

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          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            Often, they’re what keeps the relationship from moving too fast or being considered something that it’s not.

            In a situation like that, actively maintaining the FWB (unlike D’s situation where they only see each other once every couple of months) seems to me more like a safety net and a way to sabotage a new relationship. While I might not tell my FWB that I’ve started seeing someone, lest they feel like they are disposable, I’d simply not pursue or avoid getting together with them until i knew where things were headed with the guy I was dating. If anything, I think maintaining the FWB while dating someone provides the opposite of clarity.

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            • Crotch Rocket Says:

              “I think maintaining the FWB while dating someone provides the opposite of clarity.” I find it to be the opposite, but that’s probably just a case of us being wired differently. I’ve gotten into many bad relationships just for the sex because it clouded my judgment; if I know I can get laid regularly either way, it’s a lot easier to evaluate the relationship on its own merits rather than as something I have to put up with to get laid. And, well, the first few times with anyone new tend to be awkward, so while we’re working through that, I still know I have someone else I know won’t disappoint.

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            • Paula Says:

              I think I’m wired like Crotch Rocket, or if not wired that way, have become that way as a result of my experiences. It’s like Trouble described elsewhere, if there’s only one person involved, I can get too emotionally attached, whether or not that is a good idea. If it is a good idea, I know I can move to a one-person situation in due time. But if it’s a bad idea, I don’t want my need for sex or intimacy to compel me to choose someone who’s wrong for me.

              Also, I tend to think that FWB situations tend to be more occasional than active anyway. Either you’re not involved because they’re out of town or one or both of you is too busy to maintain a relationship, or they drive you crazy too much to have them around all the time (which is why you’re not in a relationship with them.) If you’re not emotionally involved, you aren’t strongly compelled to be with them nearly as much.

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        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          I get what you’re saying. I think, for me at least, there’s a hesitancy to sleep with more than one person at a time. So while i might not try and prevent the guy I’m dating from sleeping with others, I’d probably hold off simply because I wouldn’t be comfortable sleeping with two guys so close together.

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    • Selena Says:

      You raise an interesting point Laura: is Jean holding herself to the “sexually exclusive, but not dating exclusive” rule?

      And D, how do you feel about Jean having sex with other men as well as you?

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      • D Says:

        That’s a great question. I’m fine with it, but that makes me wonder if maybe I’m just not that into her and wonder if I ever will be.

        OTOH the FWB sleeps with other guys and we’re still quite close.

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    • Paula Says:

      Or…a friend with benefits can be someone with whom you like to have sex, but a relationship between you isn’t possible…such as due to the long-distance. He has told the FWB he will end it if he’s exclusive with someone else, but otherwise, why shouldn’t he continue sleeping with her?

      Sex isn’t a fungible commodity, where if you meet your quota with one person, you’re completely devoid of desire for anyone else. You may choose to limit it to one person because you’re exclusive, either by agreement or as a result of how you feel for that one person, or you may not be as horny for someone else if you’re regularly getting it from one person, but it is possible to desire multiple people and not have what’s happening with one person sexually affect the other person.

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      • Selena Says:

        “…but it is possible to desire multiple people and not have what’s happening with one person sexually affect the other person.

        Sure. As long as BOTH people are on the same page as far as having sex with multiple partners goes.

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        • Paula Says:

          I was actually referring to D or someone in his situation…now that he’s sleeping with Jean doesn’t necessarily limit his desire to sleep with his FWB or vice versa.

          I don’t think Jean has any right at this point in time, however, to demand he be on the same page with her. She can try, and she has, but it may backfire, as people here have noted.

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          • Selena Says:

            Agree. Which is why I’m curious as to how D would feel if Jean was having sex with other men she dated. What if Jean was the one who had a FWB coming to town?

            Much of this discussion has involved Jean’s supposed “manipulation”, but it’s possible Jean has her own “rules” and is laying them out to D to determine if he’s on the same page.

            I’m not keen on half-assed ‘exclusivity’- but the point of this blog is to understand different points of view. Shrug.

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            • Crotch Rocket Says:

              “it’s possible Jean has her own “rules” and is laying them out to D” If that’s the case, though, she should have laid out those rules before sleeping with D, not several weeks afterward. Instead, she decided to wait until the hook was set before trying to reel him in.

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              • Selena Says:

                Yep. I wrote that in my first comment.

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              • Cricri Says:

                D didn’t say anything either, was he trying to reel her in also? D’s friend sounds awfully manipulative just reading people’s comments. It’s pretty staggering nobody can put themselves in her shoes.

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  8. j Says:

    This is the problem with non-exclusive arrangements. Where to draw the line?

    Dinner/drinks OK, but not intimacy. Or maybe some intimacy but not going all the way.

    If I’m with someone she will get 100% of my attention and if hooking up becomes a possibility, I’m going to pursue that, no matter what I’ve agreed with someone else.

    If you’re exclusive, be completely exclusive. If you’re not exclusive, be prepared for things you might not like.

    Arrangements halfway between have never worked for me, and I don’t see how they could work for anyone.

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  9. Craig Says:

    If a woman asks a guy to stop sleeping with other women, she is most definitely asking for exclusivity. How this fact escapes the OP’s grasp is beyond me. I mean c’mon – for the typical male what’s the point of dating others if fucking is off the table? The request to stop sleeping with other women is not an unreasonable one. If a woman is allowing you to enter her body, I don’t think it’s unduly burdensome or unreasonable for her to ask that you only do so with her.

    The only question here is whether the OP is ready to immediately stop banging other chicks or not. If the answer is yes he’ll stop sleeping around, then he’s now got himself an exclusive girlfriend and there will be no more new pussy. If the answer is no, that’s fine too. But the price of that decision will be that he loses the woman he’s currently dating. Quite the conundrum. I’d think it through carefully.

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  10. Crotch Rocket Says:

    “I had told Jean about [my FWB] previously” Overshare much? If you’re not exclusive, she has no need to know that. If you are exclusive, there is no need to mention the FWB since you’re not screwing her anymore. Either way, you screwed up.

    “she’s not asking for exclusivity, but she doesn’t want me to have sex with anyone else” In other words, she wants exclusive control of your sex life. That is the very meaning of exclusivity–she just doesn’t have the guts to admit that’s what she wants, which IMHO is a bad sign.

    “that means no seeing the FWB,” She does not get to dictate who you are friends with. It would be reasonable to ask that you only meet opposite-sex friends in public places, but that’s as far as it goes. Otherwise, she’ll soon be dictating even which guys you’re allowed to hang out with, i.e. only ones she likes–and probably ones that are coupled up like she wants you to be. And then, once she has complete control of your personal life, she’ll move on to other areas and you, as an independent person, will cease to exist.

    “I’m not ready to be exclusive, … Should Jean & I stop having sex for a while?” Yes. She is now conditioning sex on exclusivity, which you’re not ready to give her. Therefore, it is unethical to continue to have sex with her.

    “Or do I only do that after I have sex with someone else?” Sorry, but no. Whether you have actually slept with other women or not, you obviously intend to, and that is what matters.

    When confronted with any moral dilemma, the more difficult choice is usually the correct one, as it is in this case.

    “she’s at least theoretically aware I’m seeing other people.” Sorry, but there are enough women that assume sex equals exclusivity that you should make it clear when reality is to the contrary–preferably before having sex with her, as that may influence her decision.

    “she’s using sex as a bartering chip in order to get what she wants.” However, it’s being done in an underhanded way, using blatant manipulation rather than having an adult discussion. If it weren’t so common, I’d call that a red flag.

    “… either you two will become exclusive naturally …” Is that a realistic outcome? I’ve never had that discussion go well, but that could just be because I’m not as good at getting the messaging exactly right.

    “She feels threatened because she likes you. That’s a good thing.” It worries me that she’s attached enough to be “threatened” after only a month–yet apparently not enough to put on her big-girl pants and say she wants to be exclusive.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

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    • D Says:

      I should clarify that I did tell Jean I still wanted to see the FWB for lunch or dinner or some other non-sexual activity while she’s in town. Jean was ok with that, though she admitted that she’d prefer it be lunch over dinner. (She did not veto dinner, just shared her feelings.)

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    • k Says:

      “She feels threatened because she likes you. That’s a good thing.” It worries me that she’s attached enough to be “threatened” after only a month–yet apparently not enough to put on her big-girl pants and say she wants to be exclusive.

      I realize this is an old post but i want to weigh in here.

      Is it really that unreasonable that “attachments” have formed? It has been my experience that this can happen rather quickly, especially in light of the fact that they are intimate with each other. It really isn’t that uncommon.
      And no, i don’t feel Jean is asking too much! I think at this point in the game it’s her right to ask for exclusivity, and so what if she changed the game rules, nothing was written in stone. Now whether or not D complies is an entirely different story. In any case, it doesn’t sound like he’s that interested!!

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  11. sensation Says:

    Wow–just learned a whole lot about myself. I’m in a similar situation and I’m behaving the same way as the girl in the piece. I didn’t realize I was pressuring my guy even tho he TOLD me that I was. weird. thanks-very helpful article!

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  12. Cricri Says:

    Why isn’t anybody seeing that D is also putting a pressure on his lady friend? He is either very smart or very stupid to reveal to her that he has a very close FWB with whom he does plenty of exciting things like vacations and sex and who’s about to come to visit ( !!!). If a guy I just started seeing told me that, I would flat stop seeing him since obviously he’s telling me that there is nothing special about me. At least, I’d be worried that he’d be trying to make me compete for his attention, which is actually manipulative on his part. I believe it is the pressure D is putting on her that is making her say contradictory things like she doesn’t want to “pressure” him with being exclusive but yet cannot reconcile with knowing he’s having sex with other women.
    This right there is some bad dating/social skills or some pretty manipulative streaks right there, pick which one you like best, but the result is the same.
    D, I’m very afraid you’re about to ruin that little fling, you shouldn’t have started having sex with her without stating your unwillingness to be exclusive at that moment. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You pushed your friend in a corner and she responded by pushing you right back so you have to make a decision. If potential “strange” sex is better than what you’re having right now and you feel exploring exclusivity for one or two more months before deciding whether the relationship is worth foregoing all others is too much for you, then it might be better calling it a quit right now and saving each others time.

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    • C Says:

      Cricri, I am so on board with you!

      First of all, why are these two people avoiding exclusivity like the plague if they really like each other?! Ugh. Hello? If it’s that big of a freakin’ mental struggle, then maybe there ISN’T potential. Food for thought…

      This guy and “Jean” are basically developing a FWB situation if they keep it up. If he truly sees long-term potential with Jean, he is going to ruin it by sleeping with anyone else. Relationships are built on trust…dating and sleeping with other women does NOT exhibit that you see long-term potential with someone and that you can be trusted. It just doesn’t. Sorry.

      Is his once-every-five-weeks-or-so hook-up with the old FWB so important to him that he is willing to throw away a relationship that actually has potential? It’s not like he has to give up sex cold turkey for Jean in order to see where the relationship is headed. You are a 43-year-old [grown!] man. This isn’t a toughie, I promise.

      My advice? Choose sex and a relationship with Jean or…sex with anyone else. Either way, you get sex. Win, win…I guess.

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      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        D said a few times that he isn’t and likely even wouldn’t have sex with anyone else. The sex with someone else isn’t what he’s holding on to. What he’s questioning is the way Jean is going about getting him to agree to not sleep with anyone else. She’s using all the back door ways of finding things out under the guise of making conversation. “Gee, who did you take that trip with?” Why is that even any of her business? It’s not. She wanted to know about his history/past without seeming like she’s prying or being insecure. Which she is. On both counts. And then she’s using what he reveals against him.

        Is his once-every-five-weeks-or-so hook-up with the old FWB so important to him that he is willing to throw away a relationship that actually has potential?

        This woman isn’t just someone he’s sleeping with. This is a woman he considers a friend. So should he cut off all friendships with women because he’s been dating someone for 4 weeks?

        Relationships are built on trust…

        And what about Jean’s ultimatum seems trustworthy? Everything she’s learning about D, she’s learning by “tricking” him in to admitting it. And then she says, “I’m not asking for exclusivity, but I don’t want you sleeping with your FWB.” So he can sleep with anybody else? I don’t understand. Why is she adverse to him sleeping with this woman in particular? Or does she just not want him sleeping with anyone else, and this woman is the only one that she knows about and can therefore use her to gain exclusivity? Because once he agrees to not sleep with her, it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier to get him to swear off other women.

        If she had said, “I’m not comfortable sleeping with you while we’re dating other people” and then not slept with D, then she’d have a leg to stand on. But this is just a manipulative way to get a guy to commit.

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        • loveliee Says:

          Everything she’s learning about D, she’s learning by “tricking” him in to admitting it.
          I can’t be the only one here who thinks he kind of messed up by “admitting” anything. He wasn’t tricked..He could have simply decided not to answer.

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        • C Says:

          When I saw this post pop up in my inbox, the subject read: “The Wrong Way to Get Him to be Exclusive”…it should have read: “The Wrong Way to Get Her to be Your FWB”.

          How does her stating that she doesn’t want him sleeping with other women while he is sleeping with her untrustworthy (she didn’t say no sex with the FWB, she said no sex with anyone else)? Or even manipulative? I think it’s actually her being…honest. She didn’t say no dates. She said no sex.

          If this FWB woman is a close friend who understands the limits of their FWB relationship, he should be able to tell her that he met someone that he sees potential with (which he did, so I’m not even sure why he is wringing his hands over this one). I’m not saying he just tosses the friend away, I’m just saying he takes a moment to evaluate where his priorities are and where their “friendship” fits into that. If this relationship with Jean–or any other woman, for that matter–progresses, the relationship with the FWB will/should change. I don’t see how it couldn’t. But I gaurantee that if he continues to have sex with the FWB at any point during his developing relationship with Jean, it will cause mucho issues in the present and future.

          The way you have approached the advice on this one, acting like he needs to stand up for himself with a “manipulative” woman is a little wacky in my opinion (and perpetuates that pesky little stereotype that women are clingy and irrational). I really dont think his behavior is justifiable SIMPLY BECAUSE he said: I see potential with this woman. I bet he has given Jean that impression to at least some degree, too. <–Maybe because they have had 2-3 dates a week for a month?

          It would be a whole different story if he said: I just want a casual relationship with no strings attached and he and Jean were hooking up after a night at the bar 2-3 times a week.

          Honestly, though, if he is so uncomfortable with giving up sex with other women, and Jean can't even admit she wants to be his girlfriend, then they should just quit while they are ahead. This is a bad start to any relationship. Why is this even a conversation? I mean, are we seriously surprised or apalled at Jean's concerns? I'm more appalled at D's expectations to be able to continue to sleep with other women and develop this "potential" with Jean. It's wacko!

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            “I think it’s actually her being…honest. ” It’s not honest when she says she isn’t asking him to be exclusive and then tells him she expects him to act like they’re exclusive. That’s manipulation.

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            • Selena Says:

              Or she justs wants exclusivity in one area.

              The manipulation theory is based on the assumption that Jean only wants to date D. If she wants to date D AND other men, where is the manipulation? She would only be asking for what she herself was willing to give.

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          • k Says:

            Amen sista!! It’s toooooo bad you can only like a comment once in this forum.

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        • k Says:

          This woman isn’t just someone he’s sleeping with. This is a woman he considers a friend. So should he cut off all friendships with women because he’s been dating someone for 4 weeks?

          I don’t believe “friendship” is the issue here. It is the fact that they are sleeping together that makes it an issue. In an update posted by D he mentioned that Jean was okay with the two of them dining together.

          And then she says, “I’m not asking for exclusivity, but I don’t want you sleeping with your FWB.” So he can sleep with anybody else? I don’t understand. Why is she adverse to him sleeping with this woman in particular? Or does she just not want him sleeping with anyone else, and this woman is the only one that she knows about and can therefore use her to gain exclusivity? Because once he agrees to not sleep with her, it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier to get him to swear off other women.

          I think what she meant here or at least what i took it as is he can go on dates with other women but that’s were is stops (no sex) To me this doesn’t sound horribly unreasonable.

          If she had said, “I’m not comfortable sleeping with you while we’re dating other people” and then not slept with D, then she’d have a leg to stand on. But this is just a manipulative way to get a guy to commit.

          I don’t see the need to get entangled in the semantics here. The fact is, like most people, she agreed to something at the time believing she could handle the situation, but has since, like most women, become emotionally involved. I don’t necessarily see this as manipulation. I think she’s probably jealous (which is normal- i would worry if she weren’t). And i would also venture to say she is hurt hearing all the gory details of his extra curriculars.
          We would all like to think we are “adults” and can handle these situations with a degree of “soundness of mind” but i am pretty sure most of us in similar situations would not do much different.
          The only problem i see is the way this was handled by D.

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        “dating and sleeping with other women does NOT exhibit that you see long-term potential with someone and that you can be trusted” Really? I am much more likely to trust someone willing to tell me an unpleasant truth to their own detriment than I am someone who always tells me what they think I want to hear (be it true or not). And what long-term potential can there be without trust?

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    • Jen Says:

      Exactly. If Jean is smart she will start dating as many men as possible. What’s good for the goose…

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      • dimplz Says:

        Then she’s just doing what he’s doing and not what she feels is good for her. We all agree that she should have established her place before sleeping with him. She should do what is within her control, rather than trying to do what’s not within her control. She can say she doesn’t feel comfortable sleeping with him now that she knows he’s not ready to only sleep with her. Then walk away and let him continue doing his thing. Controlling and threatening doesn’t work. Maturity does.

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        • Cricri Says:

          I don’t see where she threatened him. She merely exposed what she wanted, stating what you want clearly and being assertive doesn’t make you a crazy bitch, does it?
          The point here is that she put the onus on him to make a choice instead of making a choice herself, which means she’s invested in the relationship progressing and actually wants to keep seeing D. D is the one who wants to keep having sex with other people, not her ( according to the text), so in fact he is the one threatening the good stuff they have going on with his FWB and other “displayed” dating activities. Perspective goes a long way!

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          • dimplz Says:

            I never said she was crazy. I am responding to Jen’s suggestion that she should do what he’s doing because “what’s good for the goose…” If she followed Jen’s advice, that would be more along the lines of trying to make him feel threatened because she’s opening herself to other guys and he might have to make a move just to keep her. A decision based on fear.

            Clearly, this isn’t what Jean wants to do, or she would have done it. She wants to know he’s not sleeping with anyone else. That is controlling, even if she feels something deeper for him, because they aren’t exclusive. Since when is trying to control someone crazy? Don’t you know people who have children?

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            • Jen Says:

              There is nothing wrong with Jean dating other men. D clearly has no problems being involved with other women.

              It may not be what she feels like doing, but it is what she should doing. They aren’t exclusive, so why should she wait around for him? I would be dating other men until I found someone who felt the same way I do. Clearly it isn’t D.

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    • D Says:

      I didn’t “just tell her” anything. I answered her questions truthfully. The other night she asked if/when the FWB was next coming to town. As it happens, she’ll be here in about two weeks.

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      • Trouble Says:

        What did you think would be the benefit to telling her about your FWB? Did you want her to be off-balance and feeling a little bit insecure about her chances with you? If not, that’s what you accomplished. We are all adults here. We all understand that when we are non-exclusive with someone, that person may very well be sleeping with other people. But, none of us really wants that information rubbed in our faces. That’s what you did, D, with your truthfulness…you rubbed the reality of your FWB in Jean’s face, and she probably can’t think about anything else. She’s jealous and feels insecure.

        Either you like that, and you’re an asshole, or you are simply socially inept and hurt her unintentionally. I’d suggest that if you are going to date multiple people non-exclusively that you learn some discretion.

        You can be completely truthful without sharing too much detail.

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        • D Says:

          Fine, next time she asks when my FWB is coming to town, I’ll just lie. Happy about that?

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            The cat’s out of the bag now, so there’s no way you can weasel your way out of telling her if she asks; that would require a lie of commission rather than merely one of omission. Just take this as a life lesson: some things really don’t need to be shared.

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          • Trouble Says:

            It’s too late with Jean, D. She’s already troubled and insecure about your relationship with your FWB. You caused her upset by sharing specific details about another person that you are sleeping with. You could/should have simply let the question about Australia lie: “A friend.” You are not obligated to provide any more information than that, and by over-sharing, you created this particular scenario.

            You can be petulant with me, if you’d like, but this can either be a learning experience for you, or you will repeat the situation until you figure it out.

            In a non-exclusive scenario, the person you are dating doesn’t need details about other people that you’re screwing, and in fact, sharing these details will cause harm. So, don’t do it anymore.

            Don’t lie…be truthful. But know when to stop talking.

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            • D Says:

              Next time I will say a friend. The only thing I resented was your insinuation that I somehow get off on making her insecure.

              Also, you said you shouldn’t have started having sex with her without stating your unwillingness to be exclusive at that moment.

              I believe that burden was on her, not me.

              And BTW this is how the FWB came into my life. We dated for a while. She wanted to be exclusive. I said no. She decided that she could deal with that and so we still see each other.

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              • Trouble Says:

                The words that you’ve attributed to me, “You shouldn’t have started having sex with her, without stating your unwillingness to be excusive” aren’t words I said, or words I would ever say. In my mind, both parties are assumed to be non-exclusive unless this is addressed, and both parties agree to exclusivity. In other words, you aren’t exclusive until you talk about being exclusive. Being non-exclusive is the default.

                If I were Jean, I’d have told you that while I liked you, I don’t have sex outside of an exclusive relationship, and let the chips fall where they may. I would not have slept with you without some kind of commitment to being exclusive to each other for the course of the relationship, however long that is. I know my limitations.

                As far as asking if you meant her to be insecure, I’ve known guys who do exactly that to keep every women in their life slightly off-balance and competitive with each other. I dated a guy for a year who did it, and it took me a while to grasp that his goal wasn’t transparency, it was a head game. It’s a sick situation when people do that, but what amazes me is that I tolerated it.

                These days, I always wonder when a guy shares too many details about his sex life what his end-game is. Hence me asking. I’m not going to apologize for being blunt, I see no point to beating around the bush here, we don’t know each other in real life, thus complete candor in our Q&A saves everyone’s time and energy.

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              • k Says:

                “She feels threatened because she likes you. That’s a good thing.” It worries me that she’s attached enough to be “threatened” after only a month–yet apparently not enough to put on her big-girl pants and say she wants to be exclusive.

                I realize this is an old post but i want to weigh in here.

                Is it really that unreasonable that “attachments” have formed? It has been my experience that this can happen rather quickly, especially in light of the fact that they are intimate with each other. It really isn’t that uncommon.
                And no, i don’t feel Jean is asking too much! I think at this point in the game it’s her right to ask for exclusivity, and so what if she changed the game rules, nothing was written in stone. Now whether or not D complies is an entirely different story. In any case, it doesn’t sound like he’s that interested!!

                @D no i think the burden is on you! That is such a dick thing to say!

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    • Paula Says:

      They’ve only been dating a month, and he revealed what happened with his FWB several months ago…not as part of an exclusivity conversation and right around the time that they started sleeping together. If he hadn’t disclosed his recent sexual history to her when they started sleeping together, some would consider that irresponsible and deceptive too.

      I understand some people want a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about someone’s dating history, so they can continue to think they’re a special little flower. However, I expect everyone I meet at my age and their age to be either 1) currently dating and sleeping with someone, but not exclusively or in a committed relationship; 2) recently broke up from someone with whom they are dating/sleeping; or 3) if they’re not dating/sleeping with someone, it’s involuntary, either because they haven’t met someone recently, or are so devastated by a breakup that they haven’t been dating long enough to find someone new. 2 or 3 have just as much if not more baggage than 1, so I don’t get why everyone’s so hung up on guys who are in the 1 situation and are honest and upfront about it. Wouldn’t you rather know that someone is sleeping with someone else but has chosen not to be involved with them than to have someone who is pining away after someone he can’t have? I would, anyway.

      You’re not someone special until you are…that is, this expectation of exclusivity from the time you start dating, or even the time you start sleeping together, seems pretty unreasonable to me. How can you even know whether you want to be exclusive until you’ve slept with someone and know if you’re sexually compatible? And if you’ve only known them a month, you’re supposed to automatically sever all other ties in your life before you know whether this one is even going to amount to something special (it’s two months shy of that magic 3-month mark from the other recent post). We’re back to chuckrock’s situation…I hope he rejoins us at some point, as I enjoyed his posts and hope all is going well with his ladyfriend.

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  13. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    She merely exposed what she wanted, stating what you want clearly and being assertive doesn’t make you a crazy bitch, does it?

    No, she didn’t. She said:

    Jean told me that she’s not asking for exclusivity, but she doesn’t want me to have sex with anyone else as long as she and I are having sex.

    THAT’S EXCLUSIVITY. But she says she’s not asking for that. Only she is. THAT’S what makes her “crazy” in a man’s eyes.

    D is the one who wants to keep having sex with other people

    And here’s another trait that men consider “crazy.” Hearing what you want to hear. D said:

    So that means no seeing the FWB, which she specifically asked about. She said she was not asking for exclusivity, but that this particular case was a deal breaker.

    I’m fine with that, but I’m not ready to be exclusive, and there’s a non-zero chance that I’ll have sex with some of the other women I’ve been seeing.

    So he’s willing to forgo sex with the FWB and he doesn’t have any intention of having sex with anyone else. So how does this imply or even mean that he “still wants to have sex with other women.” He could still have sex with other women. The only woman that’s been taken off the table is the FWB. He has other options, options that he’s said he’s probably not going to sleep with. Yet, despite what he says, you’re still hearing “oh he just wants to have sex with other women.” Maybe he doesn’t want to lock himself in to something before he’s ready. It’s been A MONTH. Just because he doesn’t want to commit doesn’t mean it’s because he wants to sleep with other women. it means he’s not ready to commit. Those are two different things.

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    • Cricri Says:

      But D also said:

      “My question is, what’s my obligation here? Should Jean & I stop having sex for a while? Or do I only do that after I have sex with someone else?”

      I think the confusion comes from the confusion between commitment and exclusivity for most people , just because in sane traditional dating, both go together. Being sexually exclusive with someone can exist without there being a commitment. Committing on the other hand implies being exclusive.

      What is the matter here? D says ” I don’t want to be exclusive”.
      Does he mean “I don’t want to stop having sex with other women” or does he mean that “after a month of dating, I don’t think we are a couple yet” ?
      Maybe he could clarify that for us.
      If Jean understood the former, then she would have ground to object and pose whatever ultimatum she’d like (granted a month old fling isn’t much to hold on to, but if you ask me they’re shouldn’t have been sleeping with each other to avoid that mess.)
      If D had stated the latter, then I’m pretty sure Jean would have been more understanding and accepted his opinion because it is legit. I can understand a guy saying he’s not ready to commit but still want to be sexually exclusive and date. At least it tells me he’s making the efforts to see this thing through.

      So what is it? What did D tell her?

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      • D Says:

        Does he mean “I don’t want to stop having sex with other women” or does he mean that “after a month of dating, I don’t think we are a couple yet” ?

        It means, I am dating other women, and some of those dates may result in sexual encounters. The way i see it, I could :

        1. Date other women but hold off on sex
        2. Date other women and if I think one of them is likely to result in sex, tell Jean
        3. Date other women, and if one does end in sex, tell Jean after the fact (at which point and she and I stop having sex)

        That’s what I mean by wondering what my obligation is.

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        • joe-f Says:

          1) ok
          2) Not Jean’s business if you are likely to sleep with another woman. You are going to make her upset because by telling her you are going to sleep with someone else, you are breaking up with her. Sleep with the other girl and make a decision on what you want to do: exclusive with Jean, exclusive with the other girl, continue dating around to find another girl etc. Just don’t sleep with Jean one night, a second girl another night while you are looking for a third girl.
          3) no need to tell her but don’t sleep with her. You don’t want to be the bull in the glass shop.

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          • C Says:

            joe-f: Your advice seems incredibly deceitful.

            If he wants to continue sleeping with other women, he needs to let Jean go. She has pretty much established that as a deal-breaker.

            Furthermore, if you don’t want to upset the woman you are dating, you don’t accomplish that by doing the things that you know would hurt her and then lie to her about them or keep them from her!

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        • C Says:

          So basically, these other women don’t know that there is a potential for you to be having sex with any of them at any given time? Was Jean the only one that questioned you on it?

          You must not really see potential with Jean because all of your options above imply that you are still going to continue dating and sleeping with other women. Maybe “potential” means something different to you. Like, “I see potential for her to eventually give up and do things my way”.

          I definitely do not recommend appraoching Jean one day with “Um, hey, so turns out I am sexually attracted to one of the women I am dating and we are probably gonna do it. Just FYI.”

          :::friendly punch on the shoulder:::

          Kidding aside, I don’t think Jean is prepared to handle that. Even if she was, it would still sting a little. Just seems kinda cruel.

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          • Selena Says:

            I don’t get this “You can date other people just as long as you don’t have sex with them” idea. Why would anyone want to date people they didn’t want to sleep with? What do you do if they want to sleep with you? “Sorry, no can do. Dinner & a movie only.”

            Foolishness.

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  14. LT Says:

    I agree with Moxie that Jean should had been completely honest and admitted that she wants to be exclusive since telling a guy you don’t want him to sleep with anyone else is what being exclusive is! As a woman, I get why she said what she did because she thought she was being the “cool” girl by not admitting she wanted to be exclusive after only a month but it was definitely said to trick him into an exclusive relationship without having a “title”. If you are going to have a mature relationship you have to be confident enough to tell a man exactly what you want, even if it means your feelings will be hurt when he doesn’t want the same thing.

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    • dimplz Says:

      I think it could also be as simple as she’s just territorial. Hell, I know I am. But then again, I wouldn’t put myself in a situation like that because I know myself. I think the problem here may be that she doesn’t.

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    • Selena Says:

      I’m not buying that it was some kind of trick. My guess is she didn’t tell D before she had sex with him because it was only their 3rd. date and she wasn’t sure what would happen. After a month she probably likes him alot more and really wants to be the only woman he’s sharing his penis with.

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      • C Says:

        Well said, Selena. Maybe now that she also sees potential, it’s more important to her that they don’t sleep with other people.

        I think his expectation to continue sleeping with other people is more irrational and “tricky” than her expecation to not do it.

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        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          “I think his expectation to continue sleeping with other people is more irrational …” What is so irrational about expecting today and tomorrow to be pretty much like yesterday? Apparently she’s been perfectly fine with having sex without exclusivity for three weeks or so, yet suddenly she wants to change the rules without warning and expects him to just roll over? And she can’t even admit what she’s asking for? That seems a lot less rational than his behavior.

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      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        “she probably likes him alot more and really wants to be the only woman he’s sharing his penis with.” If that’s what she wants, she needs to put on her big-girl pants and say it. That’s how adults handle this. No word games, no ultimatums (express or implied), no tests, etc. Just say what you want from the other person and let them decide if they want to give it to you; if they don’t, then you figure out if you’re willing to wait or it’s time to walk away.

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        • Selena Says:

          She DID say what she wanted from D and it’s up to him to decide if he will give it. If he says no, then she will have to figure out if she’s willing to wait or walk away. Pretty straightforward.

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          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            … except that she denied she wanted (exclusivity) while making a transparent attempt to trick/bully him into giving it to her.

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            • Selena Says:

              She didn’t trick/bully him into anything. she doesn’t want me to have sex with anyone else as long as she and I are having sex.

              He’s a big boy. He either agrees or he doesn’t. End of story.

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              • Crotch Rocket Says:

                That’s what she said on the surface. However, any guy with a clue is going to see the implied ultimatum: you will be sexually exclusive with me now or I’ll stop having sex with you. Ultimatums are always manipulative, but in this case it’s particularly bad since for three weeks she was apparently fine with non-exclusive sex and she specifically denies wanting exclusivity while at the same time demanding exclusivity. That is not adult behavior.

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                • Selena Says:

                  If cutting off sex with someone who doesn’t want to be monogamous is an ultimatum, she is giving it to herself as well.

                  And so what if she cuts the sex off? D has other “options” for sex; his FWB, the other ladies he’s been dating he see’s as possiblities. The only thing he’d be losing would be a potential relationship with Jean, which given what he’s written on this thread…doesn’t seem like a big loss to him anyway.

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  15. Selena Says:

    Why does choosing to date (sleep with) one person at a time translate into commitment and “locking” oneself into something before they are ready? Choosing to date one person vs. several IS NOT akin to deciding to move in together. It IS NOT some kind of pre-engagement. It is merely an agreement to date only each other and see how/where that goes. A month is not “too soon” to make such an agreement, hell sometimes people do it naturally without ever having a *talk* about it.

    If there were a time limit to decide to only date each other, what would it be? The 3 month mark? Heh.

    Point is: D, do you want to date only Jean and see how/where that goes? Or not?
    If not, why not? There is your answer.

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    • Paula Says:

      Because if you are involved with other people, you have to sever whatever tie you have with them, whether it’s dating, sleeping together, or both, to satisfy the one person you’re dating. So it is locking yourself into something with one person and making a commitment you wouldn’t make otherwise.

      Then, if it doesn’t work out — say Jean dumps him at the 3-month mark because she just isn’t feeling it — then it’s generally not possible to say, “oh, FWB, I know I severed this thing we had going for several years (or whatever) because of this woman I’ve been seeing for a month, but we’re not seeing each other any more…will you still come to visit and sleep in my bed?” FWB says, “D, you’re a douche.” Jean’s already said “goodbye, c-ya.” And those other “non-zero possibilities” who called in the meantime are also gone too. So Jean has successfully ended not just one situation, but several, when she should only have any influence over her own situation with D.

      Manipulation is when you try to extend your reach beyond your own sphere of influence to affect someone else’s, which is why Jean is being manipulative.

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      • Selena Says:

        She’s not being manipulative, D has the right not to agree to sexual OR dating exclusivity.

        And isn’t the nature of FWB relationships that the ‘benefit’ part is easy come, easy go depending on who each person dates? What kind of loyalty is “owed” a FWB if that is the arrangement agreed to?

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        • Paula Says:

          Everyone’s FWB situation is different — maybe it wouldn’t affect things. But if she’s already made plans, for example, to stay with him when she comes to town, suddenly changing that could negatively affect things. She’s not a fuck buddy, she’s a friend who he remains close to. I wouldn’t suddenly tell a friend who had planned to stay with me (even if we were not sleeping together) that a woman I’ve known a month now requires that she stay elsewhere.

          We’ll have to agree to disagree on the manipulation part, since if D doesn’t agree to exclusivity, either she will end it, or is bluffing without consequences, both of which are undesirable behaviors.

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          • Selena Says:

            Why is ending it if D doesn’t agree to exclusivity an undesirable behavior? Seems like the honest thing to do if sexually exclusivity is important to her. Aren’t you all about honesty?

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            • Paula Says:

              Because anyone who demands exclusivity one month into a relationship is more territorial, clingy, needy, jealous, etc. than I think is appropriate under the circumstances. If they see each other 2-3 times a week, that’s only 8-12 dates.

              It’s fine if it’s important to her, but I still consider it undesirable behavior. And everyone else has discussed the back-door exclusivity part, so I won’t rehash it, but I’m not even sure she’s being that honest.

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              • Selena Says:

                D wrote: Jean told me that she’s not asking for exclusivity, but she doesn’t want me to have sex with anyone else as long as she and I are having sex.

                You translate that into demanding, territorial, clingy, needy, jealous, etc. Paula? I don’t. MANY men and women both prefer to be sexually exclusive. And it isn’t unreasonable to have a discussion about it if they have been seeing each other several times a week for a month. When should such a discussion take place? After a year? Please.

                Given what D has written, it sounds as though she may be more into him than he is into her. If that’s true, she might be better off bowing out after a month rather than spend any more time getting further attached. Sexual exclusivity can serve as a catalyst for not prolonging something that isn’t a good fit.

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                • Paula Says:

                  He says they slept together on the third date, and they’ve been seeing each other 2-3 times a week for a month. Which means to me (and D can verify) that they started sleeping together within a week or 10 days of starting to date.

                  So she started sleeping with him not needing sexual exclusivity, and with the knowledge that he was seeing other people including the FWB, and 2-3 weeks later, she thinks it’s serious enough that exclusivity is warranted? Yes, I translate that into demanding, territorial, clingy, needy, jealous, considering she didn’t go into it with the approach that she needed to be exclusive or needed some commitment before she would consider sleeping with him (as some here do).

                  It’s too soon — it should go hand-in-hand with the commitment talk, and 3 months is the earliest I would think that conversation should happen. If both agree and it happens naturally, so be it (some have been so on the same page that they’ve never slept with/dated another from the moment they met), but if you have to have a conversation, at least give things some time to develop into an agreement that is naturally and reciprocally given, not extracted as a condition for continuing.

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                  • Selena Says:

                    I think it would work well as a condition for continuing. Better than prolonging a casual relationship indefinitely if that wasn’t what was desired.

                    Now I’m wondering though, if Jean is the one who wants to keep her options open. She gets to date other guys to see if she finds one she likes better than D, whilst having a sexually exclusive relationship at the same time. Hmm.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      It’s not a casual anything — it’s the FIRST MONTH!

                      I realize that some of you don’t want to sleep with someone who won’t be exclusive and/or committed to you only. Have those values all day long, and don’t stray from them. But you’re trying to apply *your* set of rules to a subgroup of people who haven’t agreed to your rule set. It’s like one team is playing tackle football, while the other team is playing flag football, and wondering why they keep getting knocked on their ass.

                      If you don’t need exclusivity in order to sleep with someone the first time, then you don’t have a right to demand it before you’re in a committed relationship. And expecting someone to be in a committed relationship after one month of knowing and dating them is just absurd. You haven’t met their family. You may not have even gone through PMS with them yet, or a stressful work period, or any time apart. You simply haven’t had enough time to get to know them, see what they’re like in good times and bad, and assess whether they’re someone who is likely to be an enduring part of your life.

                      If the escalated commitment happens naturally, that’s great (personally, I think it’s too much too soon, especially if one of their prior relationships ended traumatically, but if it works, it works — sometimes you just know and you’re right). If you both agree to wait to have sex, that’s fine too — it’s important for this value to be a shared one in this day and age. But if you’re just feeling each other out, date-wise, personality-wise, sex-wise, and every other way, how can you think you’ve done your due diligence after only a month? Or that it’s reasonable for one person to dictate the other how quickly they feel comfortable in figuring things out?

                      Most people take longer than a month to buy a car, or to buy a house, or to make any other significant life decision, yet he’s supposed to decide whether he wants to be exclusive? There’s nothing that anyone can say that can convince me that’s a reasonable expectation.

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                    • Dimplz Says:

                      If you can still have a lasting relationship by having sex on the first date than on the 20th, I’m not sure how this is different. All time does is give you a chance not to make a mistake, but it’s not that much of a difference.

                      “But you’re trying to apply *your* set of rules…” whose rules should we be trying to apply? Is there some special rulebool out there that I don’t know about? Because that would explain a lot.

                      ” And expecting someone to be in a committed relationship after one month of knowing and dating them is just absurd. You haven’t met their family. You may not have even gone through PMS with them yet, or a stressful work period, or any time apart.” These sound like *your* rules, because they certainly aren’t mine nor do the apply to me at all.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      Paula, for you exclusive=Big Commitment. To me exclusive means merely dating one person at a time. Easy, no angst about it.

                      I wish Jean had been the one to write in so she could explain why she wants sexual exclusivity, but not dating exclusivity. She since didn’t all we can do is speculate. Wheeee.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      People who are out there “dating,” are, by and large, not just dating one person at a time. Nathan can call it a “shopping mentality,” and maybe it is, but whether you’re online dating, speed dating, or going to some other kind of singles events, you’ve got a lot of people coming through your life, and you’re trying to figure out what works. That doesn’t mean you’re a player, it just means it’s a volume game.

                      I’ve probably had at least 20 dates this year, and at one point, 6 of them were still possibilities. Over time, things sorted themselves out, and only a couple are still in my life, but there would have been no way I could have pointed to one in a month and said “him.” If I had done that, I probably wouldn’t have picked the ones who are still in my life, because various events unfolded over time to make them rise above the others (not the least of which that they were doing the same thing, and I had to rise to the top of their lists too).

                      If you’re not “dating,” but ending up in relationships with specific people in your life, it’s different. You may fall in love with the next door neighbor, or your coworker, or the person who enters your life in a random way, but you’re with that person because you’ve developed a connection with that specific person. When that happens, it’s easier to make a decision to be exclusive (whether sexual or dating — I think the distinction is silly, because you’re not going to shut down a date just when it starts to get sexual — either don’t go on it, or go on it without restrictions) because you’re probably exclusive already, or at least have singled out that person for a reason anyway.

                      That’s why I think there’s a different rulebook and exclusivity is a bigger deal, depending on whether you both go into it from a place of dating a bunch of people, having uncommitted sex early on to test compatibility, and choosing one person from a bunch, vs. mutually falling for one person at a time (which was probably building over a period of time as you got to know each other before you were dating — otherwise, after a month, it hasn’t had time to develop beyond a surface crush/infatuation).

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                    • Selena Says:

                      I thinks it’s best to assume anyone you go out with might be dating/sleeping with others. Nevertheless, despite the popularity of online dating many folks (both genders) prefer to date/sleep with one person at a time. Not because they are demanding, needy, clingy – blah, blah, blah – just because they find juggling multiple partners unappealing, even tiresome.

                      I don’t believe there is a “rule book”. Whether someone is dating one person at a time or several, they are still evaluating whether a particular individual “fits” with them or not. A preference for sexual monogamy, or non-monogamy is a huge factor in compatibility. A month is plenty of time to have a discussion about it and draw a conclusion whether or not it’s going to work out for the two people involved.

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                    • nathan Says:

                      I tend to move slow and pay close attention to what’s going on before making major decisions. That’s true not only in dating, but in my life in general. And yet, at the same time if I start seeing someone on a more regular basis, I stop seeing any others, and focus on her. Why? Because it’s so much easier to get a sense of whether we’re compatible or not when it’s only us – when I’m not also thinking about two or three other women at the same time.

                      When I wrote above about shopping mentality, what I was speaking about is placing the desire to maintain options and open doors above any form of commitment. The problem is that very few of us are really adept at multitasking dating. People think they are, but they rarely are. Because your focus is splattered all over the place, you miss important cues, confuse details, and frequently end up placing too much faith in fickle emotional states and highs.

                      So, the way I see it, a month is enough time to decide whether you have enough interest in someone to give them your focus. It’s a step towards commitment which might not go any further than that. But in my view, it’s more about maximizing the possibility that you’ll actually learn enough about someone to know if they’re a good match or not.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      Nevertheless, despite the popularity of online dating many folks (both genders) prefer to date/sleep with one person at a time. Not because they are demanding, needy, clingy – blah, blah, blah – just because they find juggling multiple partners unappealing, even tiresome.

                      If you’re dating multiple people, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sleeping with one person on Friday, another person on Saturday, and someone during the week, and it’s not necessarily an unappealing or tiresome situation.

                      It usually looks a lot like what D described: mostly dating Jean, occasionally dating a couple of other people which haven’t developed to the sleeping together stage yet (but they could) and a holdover from before Jean (the FWB) which only happens occasionally. But they’re all still in your life and have to be factored in before you make a decision to only be with one of them.

                      We’ll have to agree to disagree…I think a month is too soon to realistically expect that decision to take place, even for someone who is perfectly happy to be monogamous/exclusive/committed when he or she has made that decision. Or put another way, I’m completely monogamous in my relationship life, despite how non-monogamous I might be while in the dating process, so when I make that leap, it’s because I know I want to be that person and only that person.

                      Until that point, someone trying to force me to be on their timeline is going to be viewed as manipulative, and either I say yes, chafe against it because I wasn’t ready and wonder what other ways they’re looking to control the progress of the relationship, or I say no and risk ending things. Neither one is a desirable outcome.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      Paula, why is risking an end with someone who doesn’t share your values/timeline an undesirable outcome? You don’t want what they want – what is desirable about keeping them on your string?

                      All the language you use: demand! dictate! force! manipulative! control! is really all about you – you are the one those adjectives apply to. Someone wants something that you don’t, or is not on your timeline? How dare they?! Why can’t you just say “No, that doesn’t feel rigt for me” wish them well, and cross them off your “roster”? Wouldn’t that be a more reasonable way to look at it rather than “chafing” under their vision of a relationship, or being soooo pissed they wouldn’t go along with your agenda?

                      I can see why FWB deals are so appealing to you.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      OK, I think I have it…I feel like I’ve been struggling to express something that I wasn’t quite getting at…

                      Some people are serial daters. Some people are multitasking daters. (Serial monogamy and polyamory are completely different things, and I don’t think how you are as a dater reflects who you’ll be in a relationship.) Serial daters and multitasking daters operate with a different set of rules and timelines. It sounds like D is a multitasking dater. Jean may or may not be a serial dater — we don’t know — but assuming that she is, she’s trying to make a multitasking dater conform to her ruleset and timelines.

                      Think about it at work: if you had one, and only one project to complete in the next month, a month from now you will have made considerable progress on it. If you were juggling several projects in the same month, you might get farther on one than the others, but at the end of the month, most of those projects are probably still on your plate, and you might not have gotten far enough with any of them to demonstrate major progress. If your boss suddenly demanded that you only work on one project, you might finish that project to his or her satisfaction, but you’re going to screw up the others. Maybe that’s OK, and maybe it isn’t — depends on how important that one project ends up being compared to the others.

                      You can debate what kind of person you are, and whether you need, like Nathan says, to focus on only one person at a time in order to do it right. You can also debate which is more desirable: a quality vs. quantity debate. But ultimately, if you look at the people you know who are “dating,” but not in a committed relationship, they’re generally either one or the other. I think that’s why people are coming at this from such different perspectives.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      Selena, I guess it’s because I don’t think whether you’re a serial dater who focuses on one person at a time, or a multitasking dater who needs multiple people to compare and contrast (or is currently in that situation due to an approach which generates volume, like online dating), really reflects on your values.

                      Assuming that someone who dates multiple people doesn’t have the capacity to commit or be monogamous and exclusive, just because they can’t do it on someone else’s timetable is a false assumption. You may want exactly what they want, but just go about getting there differently. We’re not talking about a couple who’s been together for 5 years, with one wanting to get married and the other unable to commit to even living together, or the impasse created when one who wants a commitment before sleeping together and the other wanting to sleep together before making a commitment.

                      It’s a premature end to a relationship that might have otherwise worked really well.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      It’s not working well Paula if one person wants sexual monogamy and the other doesn’t.

                      It’s not working well if one person wants sexual monogamy and the other doesn’t but believes they shouldn’t be “cut off” from sex with that person either.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      What if the person ultimately wants, and is capable of sexual monogamy, but thinks that’s an important decision that should only be made with careful, thoughtful consideration, rather than just because the other person demands it on a particular timeline?

                      You’re making a judgment that if someone can’t do it in the same period of time that the other person can, they can’t do it at all (or their values are incompatible.) You can say it’s not working well because the other person should be capable of doing it from the inception or the point in time where they think there’s “potential”; I say it’s not working well because the other person shouldn’t be demanding it on such an unreasonable timeline.

                      If I don’t want sexual monogamy in a month, but do want it in three months/six months/as soon as I feel we’re committed to each other, why is that considered “not wanting sexual monogamy” warranting a breakup? That’s sexual monogamy on your timeline, not a mutually agreed one or mine.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      First of all, there you go again using the word “demand” to describe a person wanting monogamy with you. And what may feel unreasonable to you apparently does not feel unreasonable to him. Why is that so hard to understand? It’s all about you, what you want, what your timeline is – if you even KNOW what it is. Why isn’t the other person allowed their feelings? Their wants? Their timeline?

                      Paula do you understand that there are people who are just very uncomfortable making love to someone knowing their partner is doing the same with others? For any number of reasons: std risk, pregnancy risk, social, emotional, moral – whatever, they are just uncomfortable with such a situation. Why should you expect someone to be uncomfortable for 3 mos, 6 mos, with non-monogamy? It’s their choice to go along with it – or not – just as it is your choice to not be monogamous for as many months as it takes you to feel comfortable.

                      That’s why I say it’s an incompatibility issue. Not that the person who wants monogamy early is *right*, or the person who doesn’t want monogamy is *right*, but if they can’t agree on something as basic as sharing their genitals…? Then no, the relationship isn’t working very well for either person. And a breakup is likely a better solution than either person feeling pressured into something they know they don’t want and building up resentment about it.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      I call it a “demand,” because it is one. It’s “stop having sex with other people, or forego proceeding in a relationship with me.”

                      Paula do you understand that there are people who are just very uncomfortable making love to someone knowing their partner is doing the same with others?

                      Yes, I understand that. But if you’re that kind of person, you make sure that is the case before you sleep with them the first time, making sure you’ve had the birth control/safe sex/sexual history/exclusivity talk — whatever you need to be comfortable proceeding. Otherwise, it’s not borne out of all of those things — it’s borne out of jealousy, needing to stake out your territory, declare yourself the winner in the competition with other people, etc.

                      Generally, the kind of person who ends up in bed with you on the third date, a week or ten days after meeting you, is *not* that kind of person. And if you’re “making love” on the third date — you’re moving too quickly. Probably your partner isn’t making love to you, but having sex.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      And your demand would be, “Keep fucking me even though you want monogamy and I won’t give it to you.”

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        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          “She’s not being manipulative, D has the right not to agree to sexual OR dating exclusivity. ” True, but the implied ultimatum in what she said is that if he doesn’t agree to her new terms (i.e. exclusivity), then she’ll stop sleeping with him herself. That’s manipulative.

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          • Selena Says:

            Nope it’s exactly what you said she should do in another of your posts – decide to wait, or walk away.

            D also has the choice to walk away if he doesn’t want to be sexually exclusive.

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          • Selena Says:

            Crotch,
            I think the whole “let’s be sexually exclusive, but not dating exclusive” deal is absurd. But it’s just another variation of the old CS/FWB/Fuck buddy scenario – sumbody wants to make sure they get sex while still free to explore “what’s out there”.

            Nathan got it right – it’s just a shopping mentality.

            I’m beginning to believe that people who have this find exactly what they need, if not what they want. Others like themselves.

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            • Trouble Says:

              If I had a longstanding FWB relationship with a guy, and I was dating other people, why on earth would I abandon a satisfying situation for something before I have some certainty about the guy?

              Let me put it like this. When my fiance and I started dating, it was in mid December of 2007. He’d moved to our town in October of 2007, and for 3 months prior to that move, he’d carried on a FWB relationship with a woman in Seattle. He moved, we met, we started dating, we went on 2 dates before Christmas rolled around. He went home to Seattle. I’m fairly certain he met up with his FWB and they had sex (I’ve never asked, but I think I’m accurate here).

              Things were heading in a good direction with us, but we had not had sex, and we were not exclusive (after 2 dates). He came back to Florida after Christmas, and we took up where we’d left off. In February, we had sex. At that point, we were fully exclusive, not dating anyone else, and settled on having a longterm relationship with each other.

              Why exactly should it cause a problem if he slept with his FWB before we were exclusive? He and I weren’t having sex, I was still dating other people, etc. I certainly don’t have any heartburn about this scenario if it happened. It would have been totally fair and well within the boundaries of what I see as “the rules.”

              You think that people should commit to exclusivity on the first date? I don’t get what you’re saying here, Selena.

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              • Selena Says:

                You don’t get what I’m saying because I don’t think in terms of “commit to exclusivity “. Exclusivity is simply choosing to get to know one person at a time to me. In that sense, I’ve been exclusive on the first date many times.

                Commitment (to me) is a relationship that has progressed to the point of “I love you”, acknowledgment of being a “couple” and carries the expectation that the relationship will continue.

                One can be exclusive without having a “commitment” of any kind.

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                • Paula Says:

                  >>>I’ve been exclusive on the first date many times.

                  But that’s your choice — not something you’re imposing on someone else at the same time. Or would you consider your values incompatible with anyone who wouldn’t be exclusive from the first date?

                  I’ve never separated exclusivity and commitment — I think they go hand in glove, as one warrants the other. And I don’t think that makes me emotionally defective or a commitment-phobe, but pretty typical of those who have chosen to engage in the process we call “dating” in the 21st century.

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                  • Selena Says:

                    “Or would you consider your values incompatible with anyone who wouldn’t be exclusive from the first date?”

                    When I was in my 20’s I often had the assumption anyone who was interested in dating me was automatically exclusive as well. It was until finding out otherwise (after a few times, and a few tears) I learned it was best to assume I wasn’t the “only girl” until I got to know the guy better.

                    I’ve have dated men I knew (or found out later) were dating other women. Some chose me. Some didn’t. Some I didn’t want. That’s dating; c’est la vie.

                    YOU have never separated exclusivity and commitment – doesn’t mean it’s true of everyone. Just as some have never separated sex and love – not true of everyone either.

                    And dating in the 21st century appears to be quite the jumble of conflicting expectations, mixed messages, and debate. The thing that hasn’t changed Paula is choice. We all still have the choice to continue dating someone who does or does not share what we feel is important, or to break it off.

                    Thank GOD.

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                    • Crotch Rocket Says:

                      “in my 20′s I often had the assumption anyone who was interested in dating me was automatically exclusive as well.” Wow; that’s a serious ego trip. You haven’t even been out on a first date yet, but you’re already assuming you’re the center of a guy’s universe and that he needs to stop even thinking about dating other women until you’ve rejected him?

                      “I learned it was best to assume I wasn’t the “only girl” until I got to know the guy better.” I assume that’s why nearly every woman I’ve been on a date with has asked me, on either the first or second date, whether I’m seeing anyone else. Why wouldn’t I be, unless I was such a loser I couldn’t get any other dates? This isn’t High School, where you pretty much knew someone before you asked them out; until a few dates in, you don’t even know who someone is, much less whether you’ll want to see them again…

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

                  • Selena Says:

                    I’ve never separated exclusivity and commitment — I think they go hand in glove, as one warrants the other.

                    Polyamory would be an example where people may be committed, but not exclusive. Those who choose the lifestyle don’t feel one warrants the other either.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      Yes, but I think the number of people in polyamorous relationships and/or who would even consider being in one is quite small (although they must all be on OK Cupid), so when we’re talking about reasonable expectations for someone you’re dating, I don’t think having a minute percentage of people in existence who separate them out that way really changes much.

                      We’re trying to figure out whether Jean’s demand was reasonable or unreasonable (about which we’ll apparently never agree) but pointing to something that most people would still consider a “fringe lifestyle” doesn’t advance things toward reasonableness, in my opinion.

                      Or put it another way, if Jean had said “I’m only looking for someone who wants to get married,” and D said “I’m a marriage-minded kind of guy.” Then when the question was popped, Jean reveals “you know I want an open marriage, right? I don’t think commitment requires exclusivity.” That’s what the sexual but not dating exclusivity and not a commitment disclosure feels like — a distortion of what is typically meant by exclusivity.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

                  • Cricri Says:

                    “I’ve never separated exclusivity and commitment — I think they go hand in glove, as one warrants the other.”

                    I think this is where we have a misunderstanding. One doesn’t warrant the other necessarily; that assumption is what makes some people think in strict terms that make them see others demands or suggestions like attacks on their “independence”

                    Exclusivity can exist without commitment; Commitment can exist without exclusivity as well ( I recon I said earlier that Commitment included exclusivity but after considering the tricky sexual acrobatics of today like swinging and open relationships, there maybe some subtle degrees of exclusivity as well).

                    You can be exclusive with someone without committing to them. This is what happens when you decide to date one person in particular and only have sex with that person. It doesn’t mean that you’re already planning the wedding, it just means that you like each other and are trying to see where your chemistry and compatibility takes you. Most people mistake chemistry for compatibility which is why they usually break up after that 3 month mark when they realize chemistry is not all that.
                    You can also commit without having exclusivity, where you decide to marry and merge your lives together with the understanding that having sex with others is not off the table, just regulated.

                    So equating exclusivity with commitment is actually a extremely traditional ( and quite radical imo) view and it is not what that post is about, nor is it what we’re advising D or Jean to do here. While it may be somewhat early to talk about commitment, it is not the case when it comes to exclusivity. D and Jean could have been exclusive during the time they dated each other and decided it wasn’t gonna work in one or two months if compatibility issues had arisen after sexual exclusiveness wasn’t enough.
                    Coming from your Point of view, Paula, would be to assume that you’d have to expect your partner to be dating other people UNTIL you have a ring on your finger. Am I getting it right? I think we can agree no woman/man would decide to jump the broom if they suspect their partner might be sleeping with other people. Everybody dates exclusively for sometime before they decide to commit. At least this has been my experience, pretty successful so far.

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                    • Crotch Rocket Says:

                      “You can be exclusive with someone without committing to them. This is what happens when you decide to date one person in particular and only have sex with that person.” When you make that decision for yourself, that’s true. However, as soon as you commit to the other person that you’ll continue acting that way, it becomes a commitment.

                      “It doesn’t mean that you’re already planning the wedding,” Of course not; spending the rest of your life with that person is an entirely different commitment than merely not dating anyone else for the time being.

                      “Commitment” is just another word for “promise”.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

                    • Paula Says:

                      >>>Coming from your Point of view, Paula, would be to assume that you’d have to expect your partner to be dating other people UNTIL you have a ring on your finger. Am I getting it right? I think we can agree no woman/man would decide to jump the broom if they suspect their partner might be sleeping with other people. Everybody dates exclusively for sometime before they decide to commit. At least this has been my experience, pretty successful so far.

                      Nope, I would only expect my partner to be dating other people until we have the “you’re the one for me, fatty” [Morrissey reference] conversation. We might never put rings on each other’s fingers, but it’s when we agree we’re a couple, when you call each other “boyfriend/girlfriend” or “significant other” rather than “the person I’m dating” or “the person I’m sleeping with and don’t know how to define where it’s going yet, whether it’ll end up ending, remaining casual or progressing towards a relationship.” I know I’m not the only one who knows the difference between those two categories, and who reserves exclusivity for the former.

                      You know those people who have no respect for any relationship short of marriage, and will flirt with your boyfriend right in front of you? I’m not one of those, and I’m rarely accused of being traditional.

                      >>>Everybody dates exclusively for sometime before they decide to commit.

                      Commit to marriage, perhaps, but commit to being part of a couple? Given the diversity in opinions on this thread, including from people like Trouble, not everybody does — not even close.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

                • Trouble Says:

                  I understand what you’re talking about here, Selena, but I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work for me. I get too emotionally absorbed in that person if I put all of my eggs in a single basket at that point. I would not say that I am incapable of committing, just that I can’t get too emotionally attached initially or I will get hurt when things don’t work out. It helps me maintain some emotional distance when I date more than one person at a time, non-exclusively, until I find someone worth committing to.

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                  • Selena Says:

                    Yes Trouble, I also understand where you are coming from. I don’t think there is anything wrong with dating more than one person at a time. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dating one person at a time. I simply think it’s worth noting that not everyone uses the Exclusivity= Major Committment formula.

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                    • Trouble Says:

                      Exclusivity means exclusivity. At least, as I approach it, it’s a commitment only to being exclusive for the life of the relationship, however long that relationship lasts. It’s saying, “I think you could be someone with whom I could find a future, but it will take time to figure all of that out, but for now, we’re going to concentrate on each other.”

                      Do you consider that a major commitment?

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

                    • Selena Says:

                      No. I also define exclusivity as “for now, we’re going to concentrate on each other.”

                      I don’t need the ““I think you could be someone with whom I could find a future” prelude. That remains to be seen as we get to know each other.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • Cricri Says:

        Yeah, aren’t FWB supposed to be “back up” relationships? How come you want to conserve a stronger bond with your FWB than with your potential life partners? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. FWB are supposed to be casual stuff where people won’t be mad at you if you’re exploring something else with a real date. If you take your FWB that seriously, I can see why you’d think you owed them the respect you don’t want to give your dates. Don’t get me wrong, I want everybody to be treated with respect, reason why I personally avoid those CS/FWB business. But a FWB by definition doesn’t a “less than” thing so I don’t see why D’s FWB would call him douche because he took a chance to meet his new girlfriend.

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        • Paula Says:

          A “potential life partner” after one month? If I was the FWB, I wouldn’t be mad because he was exploring something else (and would be expecting him to), but I would really wonder how he could consider something that serious after a month.

          But I don’t consider FWBs to be “backup” “less than” situations when compared to relationships…if it’s compared to a bad relationship where the couple is not going to end up as potential life partners, then the FWB may even be “better than,” even though it’s not committed or exclusive. The FWB also can be someone who has proven themselves over time to be your friend (unlike the new dating partner), with the addition of the “benefits” part not significantly changing the character of the friendship. It all depends on the situation.

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          • C Says:

            Seeing potential for a life partner after one month of dating is not that far fetched. It doesn’t mean they gotta put a ring on it right then and there. Just means there is a strong connection.

            I don’t think that’s what’s happening in D’s case, but the only potential he see with the FWB is sex (beyond the actual friendship), so what’s the big deal about cutting it off? He really screwed himself here by admitting that he sees potential with Jean. If took away “potential” from his original question, then this would be a different discussion altogether.

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            • Selena Says:

              Raises another question C: if you don’t see “potential” after a month of dating – why continue?

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              • nathan Says:

                I’ve refrained from commenting on this one until now because situations like this give me a headache. All I could think of when I first saw this post is “why do people put themselves though these kind of situations?”

                Anyway, here are a few thoughts beyond that initial reaction.

                1. If you still desire to keep an FWB in the picture, you might want to consider how interested you are in the person you’re currently seeing.

                2. If the FWB is a long time friend, like Paula suggests above, that person should be able to handle a change in conditions. Any good friend would, in my opinion, place the friendship above occasional sex.

                3. Although I’m sure to get some thumbs down for this comment, I really think that the shopping mentality that is commonplace in the American dating world these days is hurting us. Instead of moving towards focusing on a single partner, people want to “keep their options open” for months on end, and will argue to the bone that exclusivity must be earned. To me, this isn’t much better than hoping from store to store waving the other store’s coupons in a sales clerk’s face and saying “Can you do me better?” I say this knowing that the OP’s situation is still pretty new, and I’m not accusing him of falling into this pattern at this point. But whenever these kinds of situations come up, I start to look for that shopping mentality. Because another thing shoppers love is collecting all the “freebees” stores offer.

                4. Even the few long term couples I know that are into polyamory have been very careful with adding or subtracting partners, and don’t seem to have any qualms about setting limits designed to protect the most important relationships in their lives.

                5. I really think the OP, if he hasn’t already asked, needs to find out if she’s also willing to stop having sex with others. Because frankly, her demand doesn’t feel very compelling, given her own lack of interest in commitment at this point.

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              • C Says:

                I agree.

                It seems to me like D has two different types of “potential” that he has to weigh:

                1. A potentially fulfilling relationship (assuming that’s what he meant when he said he saw potnential with Jean),

                Or…

                2. A potential once-every-five-weeks-or-so hook-up with the FWB (which, honestly, seems kinda like a frustrating tease of a situation). But hey, at least she doesn’t expect anything from you…that you know of.

                Which is more desireable, D?

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                • D Says:

                  Right now I’m leaning toward #2, but ask me again tomorrow.

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                  • nathan Says:

                    Choosing number 2 is just fine D, but the fact that you’re leaning towards your FWB strikes me as clear evidence that you are, at best, ambivalent about Jean. I guess I don’t understand how that kind of ambivalence translates into “I think there’s long term potential.”

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                    • D Says:

                      I thought there was potential when I wrote the post, but I wasn’t sure. Putting it up here has forced me to think a little more deeply about it.

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                  • Vox Says:

                    It’s definitely time to end it with Jean. I am guessing you enjoy her company, you like her as a person, and you enjoy sleeping with her too. But there is just no way you truly feel like there is potential with this woman, not with what you are saying in this thread. The longer you keep this up, the worse the ending is going to be.

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        • Trouble Says:

          A good FWB is far more valuable than someone who is already causing drama after a month.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “Why does choosing to date (sleep with) one person at a time translate into commitment ” It doesn’t. It does, however, translate into exclusivity–the exact thing she denied she wanted.

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  16. Mike Felber Says:

    What folks have a right to ask is distinct from what is good for them, & where they are coming from. Jean seemed manipulative since denied wanting exclusivity, but effectively sought it by making him give up his 1 occasional partner to see her. This is likely coming from an insecure place.

    Others can want early exclusivity due to thinking it is the best way to be serious with another, & showing mutual interest. Many are not going to like this because of all the counter conditioning out there, but what about regular conversations re: feelings & intentions, but no restrictions besides being safe on romantic & sexual connections? Meaning you still mutually decide if you want a LTR & to be central to each other’s time & life.

    If you think the motivation behind anyone touting this is lots of different partners, that is an unsupported, stereotypical answer. It MIGHT be, is for some. But you can be perfectly content with one person, & just not “marry” monogamy to commitment-& may not see anyone else for ling periods. I have overwhelmingly seen one person at a time-& never carried on a lasting relationship with more than one woman-but want both parties to be free to have anything from lust to love with another.

    If I love a girl there is no rational cause to be jealous or upset if she desires another man. And it need not be defamed as “shopping”. Sure, tons of drama results from affairs, since they are by definition CHEATING, & while never OK, this would not happen if many did not hold our unexamined the decency & worth of jealousy. Folks can be ensure safety without trying to own another’s liberty.

    As kids we have ennobled & selfish impulses. We encourage the ones filled with empathy & love, & try to reduce those coming from fear, selfishness & possessiveness. It is bass-ackwards ;-) to try to repress human freedom, growth, exploration & make Holy reducing anything that causes discomfort: if we got beyond this self defeating pattern, I am confident there would be less broken marriages & families when the inevitable cheating occurs.

    “Nothing is true but thinking makes it so”. Like expecting all valid love to be heterosexual, we cause ourselves & beloved more pain by not examining the patterns & models we are given-in God, love, & much more. The idea that loving or lusting after another MUST be bad, a sign of discontent, or unwillingness to commit, is tremendously cynical. Not all that is different comes from pathology. But trying to define all that is unconventional as low & harmful IS low & destructive to stability.

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  17. Ant Says:

    God is this really a dilema for a 40 yr old adult? This is like a slow weeks plot on some teen show. It’s sad this is like a serious dicussion in an adult forum. I’m glad I met someone and didn’t let this type of ‘dilema’ keep me from getting married

    btw, i hope you all are having safe sex ( somehow I doubt it), cus it’s even more sad being a single 40 yr with genital warts

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    • D Says:

      I always have safe sex and get tested 2-3 times per year.

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      • Vox Says:

        I’m curious, do you REALLY get tested 2-3 times a year? People say this online, yet I don’t know anyone who actually does so IRL. I suspect it’s a lie people tell to make their sexual escapades seem less risky. unless you work in porn, I just don’t believe it.

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        • Cricri Says:

          It doesn’t matter whether it is true or not, who cares. What it tells us is that there is a matching active sex life that warrants such testing…

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        • D Says:

          I’ve been tested 5-6 times in the last 2.5 years. Most recent was last week. Previously I think it was March. Some of these are just add-ons to my yearly cholesterol check.

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          • Vox Says:

            Why do you get tested so frequently? So that if you learn your dick is tainted, you won’t taint anyone else? Or is it because you want to know you are still dodging bullets after all these years? Is it because you are a swinger type, fuckin through a crowd of folks so high risk you should be ready to present documentation? Or is it another option I haven’t considered? I’m seriously curious.

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            • D Says:

              I more or less do it every time I have a new partner. I always practice safe sex. But a couple years ago I dated a woman with herpes (she disclosed it to me ahead of time).

              So I’d rather be safe than sorry, and if the results came back positive I would disclose it to any new partners as well as whomever I think I caught it from.

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            • Paula Says:

              Wow, Vox, that was pretty offensive, even for you. A guy is a responsible sexual being by making sure he’s not infecting a new partner, and you have to throw around words like “tainted dick” and “fuckin your way through a crowd”?

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              • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                Drop it. Seriously. Nobody is interested in debating you or vox on this issue.

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                • Vox Says:

                  I gave you a thumbs up on this response… Didn’t write my opinionto start a debate with prolific posters.

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                • Paula Says:

                  Nothing to debate. Responsible people get tested regularly, as you teach in your Sex Ed Salons and have repeatedly stated here.

                  And the commenting guidelines say: “DO NOT attack or malign other commenters. You can disagree with them and you can debate them. But leave the hateful or sexist comments off the blog.”

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                  • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                    You’re right. They also say stop beating a dead horse. But you had no problem with me allowing you to vehemently, endlessly debating the merits of exclusivity, did you? So i think you can let that one slide.

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          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            Wow. You really do cave easily.

            Its like a woman waves a red cape and you can’t hep but charge. Jesus. Close your pie hole.

            How often you get tested and why is nobodys business.

            And no, Cricri, its pretty standard to get tested every six month regardless of number of partners.

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  18. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    People who are out there “dating,” are, by and large, not just dating one person at a time.

    I don’t agree with this at all. I think people truly looking to build something substantive with somebody else aren’t juggling multiple people at a time. They’re also cutting off people who aren’t available so they don’t waste emotional or mental energy on them. I agree that a month is too soon to decide if someone is ready to commit. However, requiring that someone experience all sorts of milestones with someone before deciding , to me, sounds like an excuse to avoid commitment. As does maintaining relationships with men that you don’t even see on a semi-regular basis. Why would those guys “rise to the top” when you barely ever see them? I think you’re comparing your apples to Selena and Dimplz’s oranges. I don’t think it’s so much about there being a different rulebook for people. I think some people are emotionally available and some people aren’t. Those that aren’t tend to have more items on the checklist that need to transpire before making a decision.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “I think people truly looking to build something substantive with somebody else aren’t juggling multiple people at a time.” It’s a numbers game; I think Craig said he had to date ~2000 women to find his gal, and that simply wouldn’t have been possible had he dated only one new gal per month–and barely possible even at one per week. In many cases, it will take multiple dates to figure out they’re not a good fit. That means having several on the roster at any given time. When you do find someone with potential, you want to be fairly sure about that before you drop the others, lest you be back to zero when things don’t work out–which is the normal case. Also, what if you find two with potential at the same time? It takes time to resolve that stuff, and a month or two is not unreasonable.

      I think one of the reasons we get so many women (and a few men) writing in with such crazy stories, so obsessed with one person who is obviously not that into them, is that they’re putting all their eggs in one basket at a time. When you’re only dating one person, it’s harder to walk away from something unhealthy because the only alternative is being alone–and you’re meeting fewer people overall, which means it’s less likely you’ll find something healthy in the first place.

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      • nathan Says:

        Learning how to be alone is a totally underrated practice in this day and age. And those who can handle being alone tend to make much better partners because they understand boundaries, and aren’t dependent on the relationship for everything.

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      • Trouble Says:

        You can be okay with being alone and still understand that dating is a numbers game and that you may have to pursue multiple options in order to find someone who is a good fit. Dating is an interview for the position of “committed relationship.” I dated multiple people, at once, to find my guy. All of the men I went on dates with (non-serious, little or no physical contact, I paid my fair share of costs) were nice people with whom I superficially had a lot in common. My fiance was exceptional. However, it’s a mystery. You really never know who exactly it is going to work out with based upon a first date. I was averaging 2-3 dates a week when I met my fiance, and he was one of several possible men with whom I thought there might be potential.

        When I met him, it was like the heavens opened and angels sang, but I had no idea whether he was similarly into me. We dated casually for a couple of months before becoming exclusive, and during those 2 months, I was also dating other men who were possible good fits for me (and vice versa…I was a possible good fit for them, or at least, they seemed to think I was). When J and I had “the talk” and decided to become exclusive, I called each of the men, thanked them for taking the time to get to know me, and let them know I’d met someone that I planned to date exclusively. It was polite and undramatic. There was absolutely nothing wrong with any of those men. I just realized, over a period of a couple of months, that J and I shared many common values, goals, and a similar paradigm about life. We were clearly a great fit with each other.

        But it didn’t happen in 2 dates.

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    • nathan Says:

      The thing about that statement is that it’s probably true for a short period of time, but really problematic beyond that. I might go on two dates in a given week, and maybe will go out again with the same two women the next week, but given that I’m not into casual relationships, I almost always will either move towards one person, decide neither fit, or have been rejected by one or both of the women themselves.

      I can only think of one instance in all the years of dating where I had two women I was interested in enough that I needed to spend more time with both of them before deciding. And that lasted about a month before one had obviously risen above the other.

      It just seems to me that people who have that kind of thing happen frequently are creating the “equality” dilemmas in their minds because it’s exciting, dramatic, and keeps the options open and commitment postponed.

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    • Paula Says:

      Crotch Rocket couldn’t have said it any better. It’s a numbers game. I don’t think any of us would describe Craig, from what we know of him here, as a player or incapable of commitment, but he did go on a lot of dates.

      For me, my schedule is also a factor, in that I can’t get enough dates in with a single person in the course of a month, and if I’m dating another busy person (which is generally the case), it’s compounded. I guess I could stop dating at all, since to some people, that would be considered “unavailable,” or means I take longer to achieve the milestones (whatever those are — I don’t have a huge checklist, but I know them when they’re mutually experienced).

      In the past, I was guilty of doing what Crotch Rocket described…putting all my eggs in a basket full of holes, and wondering why I was eating scrambled eggs alone. Maybe juggling multiple people instead of focusing on just one won’t net better results, but from my current perspective, it couldn’t net worse results.

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    • Paula Says:

      >>>They’re also cutting off people who aren’t available so they don’t waste emotional or mental energy on them.

      That’s definitely important, but can take a while to discern. Some of the most unavailable people do the best job at trying to convince you (and themselves) that they really are available. Hence so many letters to you filled with several months worth of details from confused people who think “he did X, Y, and Z — that means he wants a relationship, right?”

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  19. D Says:

    Update. I decided to break it off with Jean.

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    • Selena Says:

      Whew!

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    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      What? What was her reaction? Did you call her bluff or dump her cold turkey? More info please.

      I’m far more interested in this than hearing about irrational fears over genital warts. Though, I admit, those pesky warts are the scourge of humanity.

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      • D Says:

        I just told her I wasn’t as invested in the relationship as she probably wanted, and that I didn’t see that changing, so best to call it quits. She said she was disappointed, but understood. This happened over email, so less confrontational.

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        • Cricri Says:

          Hum… so what is the etiquette these days? People we sleep with don’t deserve a call anymore?
          You’re a class act my friend!

          I feel that whole thread has awakened fears of dating for me. People don’t even give each other chances to know each other, too much other people to sample, test run and so on. Really saddening and frightening imo.

          Anyway, good luck!

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          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            Actually, he emailed her on my suggestion. See, women like you – the shrill harpees who were clearly poisoned by somebody to hate men? Yeah. you’re the reason why men don’t call. So if you want men to call you and deliver such news, why don’t you lead by example and stop perpetuating a stereotype.

            Granted, D set himself up to be abused in this thread by being some compulsive oversharer/doormat/attention hound. But you’re just obnoxiously relentless. You epitomize the screeching vulture stereotype that men have in their heads. Thanks for that.

            And D? Stop talking. Seriously. Watching you, again and again, stick your foot in your mouth is PAINFUL. Its like watching a boxer try to get up as the ref counts down to 10. Dude, stay the fuck down already. Some of these women smell blood in the water because you’re over-explaining yourself. Kinda like Jean.

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            • Cricri Says:

              You really need to tone it down Moxie, you have no idea who I’m and what I’m about so as usual you’re being emotional about little stuff.
              When I share my body with someone, I expect at least that if they do not want to meet me and break off the news, they can at least pick up the phone and stay stuff. FYI, I have never gone off on a man for telling me such news so I don’t know where you draw your stereotypes. It’s quite a shame actually because I actually it’s women who also let guys treat them that way who end suffering at the hands of the same men who feel no qualm dumping them through email.
              They didn’t sleep together through email or by phone, the least he could do is call and say it. Don’t be surprised when all your reactions and emotions are called dramatic and confrontational when D couldn’t even get the courage to call her and say he preferred banging other randoms rather than getting to know her.

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              • dimplz Says:

                Now you’re making assumptions. Why not just drop it and keep your personal feelings about what he did out of it? He didn’t ask you what you thought of his decision nor does he need or want your approval.

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              • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                You really need to tone it down Moxie, you have no idea who I’m and what I’m about so as usual you’re being emotional about little stuff.

                I don’t have to tone anything down. I’m not the one dancing on someone’s grave. You jumped on D without even knowing that I was the one who encouraged him to email the woman and you made assumptions. Wrong assumptions. You can’t even admit that you made a mistake.

                They didn’t sleep together through email or by phone, the least he could do is call and say it.

                The conversation was initiated, by Jean, via email. If she wanted to say something to him..well, D. shared his body with her! She should pick up the phone! Again, you didn’t even have the full story, yet you couldn’t wait to jump all over him.

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                • Cricri Says:

                  Moxie,

                  Whether you or D are behind the choice to go the less confrontational route is irrelevant since it is the choice that was made in the end. Do you think I would find that choice better because the suggestion came from a woman? No. I actually find it even more…pathetic. I’m sorry to say that but that is the truth. I find it pathetic that a grown man who needed no advice or suggestion to sleep with a woman now runs to another to ask about how to break it. I find it also pathetic that a woman would advise a guy to dump another one through email because you know “women are crazy”. Last time I heard such thing, I was in middle school. It just shows the lack of thinking lots of people do; they are unable to deal with each other yet are ready to jump with haste in things they do not even understand. I may have gone a bit overboard and I sincery hope D is as clueless as he seems (I truly don’t want to believe he is some type of douche who goes around doing this) and that he will learn from that episode as well as the back and forth that has been going on here. I actually like men and to keep liking them I make sure we all show each other respect, no one has ever dumped me through email or phone and I have never been dramatic about break ups, it hurt but I have dignity. And I believe Jean has too, well she didn’t respond with anything crazy (yet)! Maybe he should have called her and said it, she would have reacted the same and moved on.
                  People have to stand with dignity and respect, for themselves and for others; all of this saddens me.

                  I’m a foreigner so maybe I have another vision of human relationships that is not so contained and where people don’t qualify engaging others being confrontational or dramatic, reason why it frightens me since the slice of american dating info I get here is not a respectful one (I’m not even going to say successful). If I disagree with something we’re discussing, I’ll say it since it is a forum and a space allocated for discussion. If it is not anymore, let me know.

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                  • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                    You’re ignoring the fact that I told you that Jean was the one to initiate the whole exchange via email. Now, if it’s “pathetic” for a man to use email to break things off with a woman, then I’d think it’s equally “pathetic” for a woman to initiate the conversation and request that he not sleep with anyone else via email. I don’t understand your logic. I would think both resolutions/requests were of equal importance. So why is Jean not pathetic for using email to ask D. to to sleep with his FWB?

                    You’re defending Jean simply because she’s a woman, not because she’s right. That right there disqualifies everything you say, because you’re not objective or consistent with your expectations.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      Ah, but we didn’t know Jean initiated this “expectations’ convo via email. There is no mention of that in D’s original post.

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                    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                      The conversation I’m referring to happened after the one in the post, where she clarified her expectations/request.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      Ok. Makes sense. Also makes sense for him to decline the request via email as well.

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            • D Says:

              If people ask questions that I think are reasonable, then I answer them. Like any conversation. If they don’t like the answers, that’s their problem.

              I had no idea discussions of STD testing is taboo on this blog. Especially given previous posts about whether anal sex is more intimate or herpes a deal-breaker

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          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            The problem all along is your insistence (along with Dimplz and Selena) that your unreasonable expectations are reasonable merely because you have a vagina and declare them to be reasonable – and your latest comment illusrates this further. Paula clearly had the better argument there and the real life outcome illustrates why. You have correctly identified the problem. There are so many options available to men – including an abundance of REASONABLE women- that many men do not have to put up with an otherwise desirable woman who raises her price ever so slightly by making a simple, but unreasonable request . Go back and read that NY Post article because the author makes the point very well. If you want to stick to your guns and maintain high expectations or traditions simply because of you think you have a monopoly on your vagina, that is 100% your right – just as it is D’s right to break up with Jean by email. I would be frightened and depressed if I were you too.

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            • Ant Says:

              -“So why is Jean not pathetic for using email to ask D. to to sleep with his FWB?”

              Clearly they are both pathetic rolling into thir 40’s and having a Carrie Bradshaw mindset. I’m still amazed that people think her exclusive sex request was demanding or irrational. Is it that grim out there for women they need to ‘lower’ their standard to dating a guy who is sleeping with multiple persons…and someone well past his 20’s who still has a FWB.

              This thread is good, should motivate people to grab on to anyone who is decent and get the hell out of the festering dating pool.

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              • Trouble Says:

                There is nothing wrong with asking for exclusivity. It’s the manner in which she did so that is problematic for many of us. If Jean wanted exclusivity, the best time to talk about it was prior to sleeping with D. If he wasn’t ready to give her that, they could potentially have negotiated that. However, you can’t be sleeping with a guy (knowing that he is sleeping with other people) and suddenly start making demands that he not sleep with one of his current partners, while claiming that you don’t require exclusivity.

                There is nothing at all wrong with asking for exclusivity. People just need to stop playing games about it. 55 is way too old to think that you have a golden magical vgaina and that if you just use it to lay out the welcome mat, the guy will suddenly fall madly in love and stop wanting to sleep with other people.

                If you want exclusivity, as for it. Be open about your needs/wants. Talk about what you’re looking for in terms of dating. Don’t just engage in magical/wishful thinking and then get huffy if the guy doesn’t somehow read your mind and give you what you want.

                Why is this so hard to figure out, for people?

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                • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                  This is right. Her exclusivity request was unreasonable because it was obviously disingenuous. She was being territorial and jealous. Common, natural and normal? Sure, but still unreasonable.

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              • D Says:

                To be clear, I didn’t think it was particularly demanding or irrational. I wasn’t sure what I thought, which is why I posted it here.

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                • Selena Says:

                  D,
                  What I find most curious about this is, if a man I had been dating several times a week for a month, told me he wanted us to be sexually monogamous, but I could still date other men – I’d want to know why. If we agree to be sexually monogamous, why date other people? Why the two-tiered, halfway, made up on the fly version of exclusivity? How was this to benefit either of us?

                  What did you tell Jean when she brought all this up? What kind of discussion was there?

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                  • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                    You’re trying to rationalize an irrational situation. Both D. and Jean’s behavior was questionable. I honestly believe neither one of them knows why they said what they said. Their statements and reactions seem more compulsive and driven by insecurity and a need for attention. To me, they’re both people who probably regularly sabotage themselves when it comes to relationships, completely unaware that they’re even doing it.

                    There’s no point in belaboring this situation. The only reason this topic has gone on as long as it has is because people (not you, Selena) are using it as a spring board to talk about themselves.

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                    • Selena Says:

                      I suppose you’re right Moxie. I’ve just never heard of this ‘version’ of exclusivity and can only imagine my reaction if it were asked of me. ;)

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                    • D Says:

                      Actually, I am very definitely not insecure or an attempt to self-sabotage. I was definitely very conscious of what I was doing and why, but I won’t go into it here.

                      I may handle it differently in the future, but it was most definitely not subconscious behavior.

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                • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                  Ha, yeah, but you also announced on the Internet that she had “long term potential” but then immediately dumped her because of her non-demanding and rational request. So, one of you is not being 100% reasonable.

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                  • Trouble Says:

                    Sorry, DMN, I meant to click that I liked your post, and hit the wrong button. I do agree with you.

                    D, if this is a person about whom you feel there is longterm potential, you need to approach things in an entirely different fashion. I can’t help wondering if you got a little panicked and sabotaged things (even subconsciously).

                    How exactly did you think that Jean would react to hearing that you are sleeping with other people, and giving these women names/faces/identities inside her head? If you expected her to react calmly and rationally to this information (no matter how much she might understand that you weren’t yet exclusive), you’re deluding yourself. There are very few women that I’ve known who wouldn’t be driven completely insane by the information you shared, if they cared about you at all.

                    I mean, think about it. If you’re dating a woman, and you really feel a connection, how exactly are you going to feel if she tells you that she’s sleeping with another man that she knew before you and once dated? Rationally and calmly? I think not.

                    Most men I know would say, “she’s crazy and playing mind games.”

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                    • D Says:

                      I’ve been in plenty of long term relationships and am looking for another one. I didn’t act subconsciously. In the future I will respond differently to the question if it comes up, but it wasn’t compulsive or emotional unavailability that drove it.

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          • Trouble Says:

            Wow, seriously, Cricri? Overreact much?

            I see nothing wrong with writing a thoughtful e-mail. He dated the woman for a month and she had all the warning signs of being a major drama queen.

            D: i’m sorry it didn’t work out.

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  20. Mike Felber Says:

    A request for exclusivity is rational. Pretending you do not want this yet trying to prevent a FWB situation is hypocritical. D could have wanted to end things for this reason alone reasonably. D could have been more careful re: what he shared, but seems motivated by trying to be decent & honest.

    Some comments here are too cynical & even mean. “Pathetic” if someone middle aged has a FWB? ‘”festering dating pool”? This just shows irrational contempt & a kind of intolerance. Also it is absurd folks who choose to open up about their lives do so for selfish reasons, rather than to help, shed insight, & connect meaningfully.

    Assuming pathology & base motivations for those who are open & brave enough to share, like the OP did here, is just immature & kind of cruel. Those who so frequently see low conduct & intent behind things need to check their own souls.

    Since Jean wrote the request by E-mail, a response to deny the request the same way seems fair. And I agree she seemed about drama & breaking up is fine. But I see no reason that you should not give the person at least a conversation if you have been sleeping with & caring about them. That someone is imperfect does not obviate that we should not give them human contact when dealing with a rough thing. Our moral obligations do not end just because we do not want anything from someone anymore. it tales little effort to have the small kindness of talking to her to break up.

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