Question: Dear Moxie — I have a question about online dating and exclusivity that’s sort of tangentially related to your most recent piece on whether or not first-date sex is always the kiss of death. My specific question may be a topic you’ve covered in a previous blog, but I can’t find anything similar in the archives so I thought I would ask it again.
I’ve been on OKC in my area for a little more than 2 months. I’ve gone on a fair number of dates (I think I’ve met 12-13 people in that time), but I’ve only felt strongly about 2 (in one case, I was into the guy but it wasn’t reciprocal, and in the other case the guy is not only geographically undesirable but geographically impossible. He lives in CA and I live in VA).
Anyway, I finally found someone that I like, and we’ve been out on 4 dates in the span of 8 days. The dates have gotten progressively better/more comfortable and yes – things have gotten physical. Everything in this guy’s profile — and everything that he’s said while we’ve been out — indicate that he’s looking for a girlfriend, and not just looking to screw around. (And yes, I know that he could still be full of sh** about this, but the sense I’m getting is that he wants a girlfriend.)
So here’s the deal: I know that this is OKC, and that with this site (and with any other online dating site) you have to assume that the person you’re seeing is seeing multiple other people at once. I’m positive in this case that this guy is (or at least should/could be) seeing other people; he’s 33 and extremely attractive and educated and successful (He’s an OKC unicorn, really). I can’t fault him for this and I know it’s way to early to ask for (or even discuss) seeing each other exclusively.
That said, I don’t want to be the girl he is f***ing while he looks for a “real” girlfriend, if that makes any sense. In other words, I am happy (OK, not *happy,* but at peace with) being one of multiple people he’s seeing before deciding on which one to consider his “girlfriend.” But, because I slept with him relatively soon (on date 3), I’m concerned that he’s not considering me “girlfriend material” and that I’m just in his “rotation” for possible sex when he’s bored or otherwise available.
Is there any way to delicately broach this in conversation (ie, ask him if he sees any LTR potential with us or not) or do I just let it go and ride it out until he either a) dumps me, or b) we end up dating exclusively? Like I said, I know I have to accept he’s going to be seeing other people, especially since we’ve known each other a week. But if he doesn’t consider us to have any LTR potential, I’d rather cut my losses now and take myself out of the running before I become too emotionally attached.
Thoughts? Are there signs I should look for that will tell me that I’m just someone to sleep with and not a potential GF? Or can I come out and ask?
You’ve only had 4 dates. I think you’re going to have to suck it up for awhile. If things are moving as quickly as you say, then it sounds like he’ll tell you if he wants to be serious or exclusive. A number of successive dates doesn’t always mean that you and the guy are on the same page. Take this scenario for example:
I had about 5 dates with a guy. About 2 a week. I liked him, I enjoyed him, I was attracted to him, the sex was good. But I wasn’t feeling that “thing” we all like to feel for people we’re dating. Not yet, at least. But I liked him enough to just keep my mouth shut and go along until things either progressed or came to their natural conclusion. One night, while texting, he invited me over to watch a particular TV show that I like. I was exhausted. I turned him down. Two nights later I get a call and he wants to talk about where we were headed. He said that he was looking for something mid to long term and he didn’t feel that’s where we were headed. I said okay. Just..okay. He then went on to say that we had plans the next night and wondered if I still wanted to go out or did I feel it was a waste of time. I said I thought it was a waste of time. Just that. “I think that would be a waste of time.” He then went on to tell me how much he’s enjoyed being with me and getting to know me. I told him I appreciated that. Then we hung up. The next day I realized that he was feeling me out to see how I felt. I knew when I turned down his offer to go over to his place to watch TV, I was probably sending a certain message. I wasn’t ready to shut the door just yet. I just needed time to figure things out. Since I wasn’t in a rush I figured I had time.
You said it yourself: you’ve met the OKCupid Unicorn. Instead of trouble shooting this after 4 dates, why not just enjoy it? At any given time, you might be the girl that a guy is “just sleeping with” as he continues his search for Ms. Right. There’s no escaping that. Even if you ask him where you stand, he could still tell you what you want to hear only to dump you a couple weeks or months later. It’s just too soon for both of you to tell where things are headed. Bring it up now, and you’ll possibly do damage to what you’ve established. Let go of this need to “know.” Stop fearing that you might get dumped or that you’re just a step along his journey to twu wuv. That’s dating. It won’t kill you. The more you do it, the more you build up a tolerance.
Men and women can go along to get along for a very long time. There’s no way to know for sure what they’re thinking. Even asking them doesn’t guarantee that how they say they feel in that moment will be how they feel in 2 months. There is no way to make these things fool-proof. If he does move on, it doesn’t mean you were a speed bump. He could have been giving you a trial run. It didn’t work. He took a pass.
If you insist upon saying something, and I highly advise that you don’t, then you just need to be honest. Just ask him if he’s dating anyone else. Then you’ll have your answer.