I was reading Evan Mark Katz’s blog this morning. The article was about whether or not 3rd date sex is the “new normal.”
I was amused by one comment in particular. The woman was claiming victory because she and her guy have been dating 6 whole weeks and they agreed to be exclusive after date 5. Also making her proud was that she laid down the law about how she wouldn’t have sex until they were exclusive. And he agreed.
Now, I can’t think of a bigger recipe for disaster than this. Basically, it’s an impulse purchase. In the moment it’s what they want. Then they get it home and try it on and it doesn’t quite fit or work properly.My question would be…why? Why is this person so quick to make the sacrifices that commitment requires?
A woman who does this just doesn’t care about sex. Since sex and sexual issues are one of – if not the – leading causes for break-ups/divorce, it’s kind of a big deal. To agree to swear off all other partners when you don’t even know if this particular person will satisfy you is a huge risk.
A man who does this is hard up or doesn’t like/care about sex or doesn’t think it’s a priority. In which case, the relationship might work. Fingers crossed, kiddies.
But let’s examine the bigger issues of exclusivity and commitment. Why would someone commit after a handful of dates/weeks? Is it that they’ve met someone so incredible that they can’t bear to lose them? I suppose that could happen. More likely, though, the guy was coerced into committing or committed knowing he was eventually going to leave. It’s not really a pledge or commitment. More like an open-ended promise. “I’ll agree to stay with you for as long as this works or until I meet someone else.” Commitment, true commitment, does not include or involve takesies-backsies. Agreeing to be exclusive with someone,, while thinking in the back of your mind that you’ll just break up if things don’t work out, is not commitment.
Let’s look at this another way. If a man isn’t getting sex regularly anyway, what is he sacrificing if he agrees to wait for sex until he commits? Even bad sex is still more sex than he’s getting. If the woman can’t manage to find any guy to commit to her, then what is she sacrificing? In both cases, nothing. So what makes the commitment sacred in any way? Call me cynical and jaded all you like…I think the shelf-life of a relationship that starts off like this or where exclusivity is decided upon within the first month is very brief. Before people come back at me with examples of how they committed to someone before they had sex or within a few weeks of dating, I want you to ask yourself one question: how long did it last? Because if it lasted a year or two, I’m sorry, that doesn’t count unless your goal is to have a series of short-lived relationships. Swearing off sex with other people and giving up your independence for a year or two isn’t an accomplishment.
I don’t know how anybody can think that, after 5 dates, you can determine whether or not you and another person are compatible in the long term. I don’t even know how people can do that after a year, what with how people are constantly evolving and changing. I understand why most women do this, though. The need to say that they have a boyfriend overpowers them. Without a man in their life (or without male attention) their lives are empty and meaningless. That’s why you hear women say things like, “What do you know…YOU’RE SINGLE!” To them, nothing is worse then being alone. They need to have a man to refer to so they can feel confident in themselves and in their opinions. Having a boyfriend gains them immediate access into a club to which they’ve always longed to belong. One of the membership perks is trotting her man out at weddings, parties, blog comments or on Twitter. Often times these women aren’t even all that interested in the men they bamboozle into committing to them. What they become dependent upon is the attention and the validation the relationship provides.
It’s shocking to me how so many people here underestimate the power of attention. Men are just as guilty of this. Some men have such a bottomless need for it that they’ll intentionally seek out women that are, as one male commenter lovingly called them, below their weight class, as they’ll shower them with adoration. Classy.
So…back to the original topic/question:
Would you commit to someone or pledge exclusivity before you have slept with them? Why or why not?
How long do you typically date someone before you agree to be exclusive?