How Do You Find Out If They’re Sleeping With Someone Else?

Name: Erin casual-sex2
Question: I’ve been on 7 dates with a man I really like. It’s getting to the point that sex may be the next step, but I don’t want to sleep with him if he is sleeping with anyone else. How do I go about bringing that up? Especially since we are not exclusive
Age: 35

Here’s the thing. You could ask him and he could tell you he’s not sleeping with anyone else, but you have no proof that he’s telling the truth. None. If he wants to get laid, or if he really likes you, he’s probably going to lie if he’s smart. You know as well as I do that if he admits that he is sleeping with other people, you’re going to be pissed or hurt and it will lead to an argument. No matter how dead inside someone may be, no matter how much they say they wouldn’t care, they’d care. It’s a normal and natural and reaction to be bothered by such an admission. That’s why there is absolutely no point in asking him if he has other sexual partners. If you’re concerned about STDs, then ask for testing history, not sexual history, and use condoms. Again, you are not guaranteed you won’t contract an STI or STD.  These people are not swearing under oath to tell the truth. There are no repercussions beyond the inevitable break-up that might occur. There’s no jail time, no financial liens, no nothing. To many people, breaking up isn’t the end of the world so they just shrug and say, “What the hell?” and go with it. That’s why all the drama that develops when these questions are asked are for naught. All you will be given is a bunch of words and a promise.

What you’re trying to do is discern if this guy is dating other people and if he’s serious about you. You want to know where you stand with him. Again, totally fair question and you have a right to know if you need that information to proceed. That’s why the question should be about the direction of the relationship and not if he’s doing it with anybody else. Because, this just in, he could be doing it with someone else even when he’s committed to you. Again, you have no guarantees that he’s going to be faithful or that the relationship will last.

The reason I am driving that point home is that, in order to take things to another level, you sometimes have to take a leap of faith and trust that no matter how it all shakes out, you’ll be okay. I’ll answer the question for you: is he sleeping with someone else? Probably. 7 dates and no sex? Yeah, there’s a really good chance he’s getting it somewhere else. That doesn’t mean he won’t cut that off if that’s what it’s going to take to keep you. He might. But the only way you’ll know is if you ask him the question you should be asking.

Don’t use sex as the excuse to bring this up, as you’ll be perceived as using sex to get a guy to commit. No man in his thirties or older wants to deal with that. It’s an immature way to approach commitment. Also, nobody with a decent amount of options is committing without taking things for a sexual test drive. Sex is important, as is sexual compatibility. That’s not a shallow need. You’re attempting to use the promise of sex as a way to back into a bigger, more important, conversation.  See, if you approach it that way you can say that you’re asking for sexual health reasons or use some other excuse for the conversation in order to avoid asking the tough question of where things are going.

If you want him to commit to you, you need to ask for commitment. You might get it, you might not. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. But at least, either way, you’ll know.

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41 Responses to “How Do You Find Out If They’re Sleeping With Someone Else?”

  1. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “If you want him to commit to you, you need to ask for commitment. You might get it, you might not. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. But at least, either way, you’ll know.”

    She won’t know. I thought that was the point made above, which I agreed with. Asking for “commitment” is really asking for some words. She may very well get the words without the commitment. Your original point was correct. There is simply no way to know for sure whether someone is sleeping with someone else. So, the best you can do is build trust, over time, until you can at least have a basis to believe that the other person is committed and honest.

    Unfortunately, for people like the OP, the amount of time it takes to earn trust in reality is much longer than most people (men really) are willing to “wait.” The way things are are very often different than what we would hope them to be. Life requires compromise.

  2. msM. Says:

    There was that discussion that came from Evan Katz’ blog where he said that women looking for LTRs should not sleep with a guy until there is an agreement that the relationship is exclusive. If that is what you want, you should be direct about it. However it doesn’t seem realistic to me, demanding commitment before sex. Obviously you risk losing the person if you do that but that’s your call. I find it hard to imagine how one can go about 7 dates without sex but to each their own. The point is that you can’t manipulate people into committing to you, it has to be given freely, not under the gun.

    • HammersAndNails Says:

      >The point is that you can’t manipulate people into committing to you

      Sure you can. This guy already sounds like a chump. Maybe he will go for it.

      Is it a good idea? Probably not. Will you likely lose your “best” options this way? yes.

    • xyzed Says:

      Whats so hard about going on 7 dates without sex? If a woman is respectable and there is a strong connection physically, emotionally and intellectually what is wrong with waiting more than 7 dates? If she loses him then good riddance!!!

      • James Says:

        The whole idea of dating is ultimately sex. Most men will not hang around if they are not getting a return on their investment of time and money. That’s the name of the game. If you can do without sex then good luck finding a compatible partner!

  3. Tinker Says:

    In the very early stages of dating someone, before talking about exclusivity, I just assume they are sleeping with at least one other person. When we decide to give it a go, that’s when the benches get cleared.

  4. LostSailor Says:

    Moxie’s right. You can never really know. If you ask, you invite lies. If your aim is to hold out for exclusivity and commitment, you’re probably going to wait too long.

    There are no guarantees in life, dating, or sex. Accept that he may (or may not) be having sex with someone else and use your judgment about his character to decide if that’s a deal-breaker. And use condoms.

    But I’d be more interested in learning the reason(s) why Erin is concerned about this. The obvious reason is that she fears she’s just one of many. But he may not be having sex with anyone else at the moment, but is still a player. If she’s concerned about STDs/STIs, even if he’s not actively having sex with someone else right now, that doesn’t mean he’s clean.

    So, I’m more interested in what her fears are and what she hopes to accomplish even if she could know for a fact that he’s not currently having sex with anyone else.

    • HammersAndNails Says:

      Terrible job understanding women. It’s not about sti’s. That’s a smoke screen a rationalization to avoid stating the real reason. She considers sleeping with him a risk to herself. She doesn’t want to take that risk for a guy who has options and is still considering them.

      Nothing wagered nothing gained.

      • LostSailor Says:

        Which is why I prefaced the idea of STIs/STDs with an “if” and suggested it’s perhaps one reason of many, the mostly likely being insecurity.

        Of course she considers having sex with the guy a risk. She likely considers having sex with any guy a risk that she is trying to protect herself from.

        She doesn’t know if he has options. If he’s still engaged after 7 dates without sex, there are really only a few possibilities. One is that he’s getting his rocks off elsewhere; but he’s still dating her, so there is at least some interest there. Maybe he’s playing a long con and will disappear once he gets it wet or maybe he’s waiting to see if the goods are worth giving up extra-curricular activities. The other is that he’s not getting it elsewhere, really likes Erin and is willing to wait because he wants to see whether there’s a solid thing here. Or he’s gay and looking for a beard, which is the weirdest option.

        The thing is, she can’t know. So, no, not a terrible job understanding women. She’s afraid of something whether it’s disease or heartbreak.

        I do agree, however, that nothing ventured nothing gained.

  5. Selena Says:

    “It’s getting to the point that sex may be the next step, but I don’t want to sleep with him if he is sleeping with anyone else. How do I go about bringing that up? Especially since we are not exclusive”

    You bring it up by being honest. You say, “I’m not comfortable sleeping with someone who’s sleeping with others.” Say it light, playful, smile.

    People who don’t practice ‘one at a time’ do understand how it may be important to others. If this is your boundary, you have now made it known.

    It is not a commitment after 7-8 dates – more like a “we will see how it goes” agreement. IF.. your romantic interest does agree. He may not.

    After 7 dates, how many hours in total?, only you can gauge how well you think your boundary will be received.

    • Yvonne Says:

      Agree. It’s not a commitment to anything other than exclusivity, and probable boyfriend/girlfriend status. “We like each other and we could see this possibly going somewhere” doesn’t mean “we are getting engaged next year”.

      7 dates with no sex doesn’t mean chaste hand-holding either. Surely there’s been lots of kissing and making out, and even oral sex (for those of you who don’t consider oral sex SEX).

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        It’s easy for women to diminish “exclusivity” like this because they don’t value non-exclusivity in relationships for the most part. Why don’t you redefine “commitment” as “Giving up something I actually value” and see if your theoriy holds up.

      • HammersAndNails Says:

        You guys are being ridiculous. What other commitment is there really before you bring the law into it?

        Dropping the other girls you are sleeping with and forsaking any future sexual opportunities is commitment. The rest is small potatos and window dressing.

        To highlight the speciousness of your argument… If a man offered you every single commitment short of marriage except continued to sleep around, what has he offered you? Not much.

        Asking a guy to forsake all other sexual outlets, present and future, is asking for 98% of everything. Stop playing semantics

        • Yvonne Says:

          It’s not “asking a guy to forsake all other sexual outlets, present and future”, it’s asking him to forsake all other outlets for the present. The future is still undefined at this stage. Deciding on exclusivity may take several weeks or a few months, not a couple of weeks. But either party can still break up at any time.

          And what is with the idea that only men “give up” something by dating exclusively?

          • HammersAndNails Says:

            What is it that women give up that hurts? Don’t list every little thing. Just the things that women very much like that men ask them to give up.

          • Goldie Says:

            *** What is it that women give up that hurts? ***

            Options. Just like you guys.

          • HammersAndNails Says:

            You are honestly telling me you think you want to go out and get some strange tomorrow night and some more Saturday night as much as I do?

            It’s like a husband who likes beer and a wife who likes wine both giving up wine for lent. Sure it’s the ‘same’, but it’s certainly not equal.

          • Nicole Says:

            @Hammers and Nails…
            Women give up the opportunity to pursue other relationships, same as men do.

            I agree that for most women, forgoing the possibility of sex with multiple men isn’t a big deal. Lots of women don’t want/ engage in that anyway… Those who do know they can always break up with the boyfriend tomorrow and have a half dozen new partners in no time. So becoming exclusive doesn’t come with much opportunity cost to women with regard to sex.

            But there is an opportunity cost – a woman is agreeing to stop dating other men and (temporarily, at least) give up possibility of meeting someone “better”. No matter how awesome a guy is, there’s someone smarter/hotter/richer/etc out there. And when a woman takes down her online profile, or spends her evenings with her Mr. Great Boyfriend, instead of at a bar or a social activity… She gives up all those chances to meet Mr. Even Better Boyfriend.

            Both of these are theoretical, obviously. Most guys wouldn’t be banging a different supermodel every night if they were single. Most women aren’t going to go out tomorrow night and meet a billionaire who writes them love poems and can’t wait to get married. It’s the possibility of these things that we’re giving up.

            And, as others have pointed out, there’s always the risk that your partner isn’t being honest. Some men have casual sex on the side after committing. Some women are always hoping to trade up. But in theory, both are forsaking other opportunities in order to pursue the relationship.

          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            Nicole, that is a good response. But, I still think you are overestimating the value women place on the lost opportunity. That’s why it’s unusual, at least in my experience, for the man in a relationship to be seeking exclusivity with the women holding out for a “better deal.” It’s always the reverse. You can think if something more concrete though. Like, you can’t date me unless you agree to stop talking to your oldest, best friend. It’s not a lifelong commitment. It doesn’t have to be forever, if we break up you can hang with her again. But, while we’re dating, you need to give her up. Sorry. In exchange, I will agree not to sleep with other women. Fair deal?

          • Goldie Says:

            *** You are honestly telling me you think you want to go out and get some strange tomorrow night and some more Saturday night as much as I do? ***

            Oh my, someone has a good weekend planned! Haha, no, I meant something similar to what Nicole said – let’s face it, nobody’s perfect, and, when we decide to become exclusive with a man, it’s usually going to be a man with imperfections, flaws and quirks. (In my age group, anyway.) A woman can’t help but wonder, even if she likes this guy, if someone less flawed and quirky, who’s a better fit for her, is just around the corner. Or, if she already has several guys lined up that she likes, and has to choose one to become exclusive with, she can’t help but wonder if she’s making the right choice.

          • msM. Says:

            Nicole’s example is really good. In the example of women, it could work – if a woman is REALLY popular AND dating a few guys at the same time. So I have to agree with that old saying that women are gatekeepers of sex and men are gatekeepers of commitment. There is an important distinction between a man who *shows interest* and a man who *commits long-term*.

            That is the riddle that most of us women try to assess, who is in it for the long ride. In the case of the OP it remains to be seen whether Mr. 7 dates is willing to actually be exclusive with her. Because no matter how much she pushes only if a man deems her a true catch, will he give up on the other options altogether. *They* may not be having sex, but *he* may actually be having sex with someone else already.

          • HammersAndNails Says:

            It’s really interesting to see your responses because it really highlights the difference between how men and women think. The way you think men are only hurting for models or upgrades is how women think.

            Everytime a pretty girl offers a man a hint of sex and he has to say no its like lighting a pile of money and a plane ticket on fire. Even if your girlfriend is gorgeous and the new one is ‘just’ cute. Just because she probably makes different sounds and her hair smells a little different I’m dying to find out and it kills me to walk away.

            The supermodels I might have sex with if i was at the bar every night instead of home with my gf? That’s so easy to give up. I feel about them the same way you women seem to feel about it. Sure, I might be missing out but whatever.

            When you are actually in the moment, and have that chance that will never come again and have to let it go forever though it just hurts. Not to mention the mere possibility of those moments is a spring in my step. Sure, my weekend might go not so great, but just the possibility that I might get to see some new boobs has me amped up already. Letting that anticipation die also hurts.

            2nd point: Women can still get validation and meet guys in relationships. You said you can’t meet the bigger better deal. You can and women do. If you meet a guy at a party and kinda hit it off but tell him you have a boyfriend, you can facebook stalk him 4 months later and tell him your broke up and he will likely still be game.

            Girls who offer sex are nothing like that. Once it’s gone, it’s gone most of the time.

            Guys don’t get validation from flirting the way girls do. As a guy, you don’t get to feel desirable until a woman lets you see her naked. For a woman, it’s pretty easy to skirt the line and get an ego boost from knowing you could have a guy without completely disrespecting your relationship.

          • msM. Says:

            Hammers, your letter exemplifies just what we women seek: to separate the wheat from the chaff. To be able to tell what kinds of men are in it for the long run and which ones are flattering you just for sake of variety and sex. It’s no secret that male blogs mention numbers and getting laid and women’s blogs are about finding “the one”. That is what the OP is doing essentially and what most books and advice directed to women do: trying strategies that will keep the players away and keep the ones who will jump though the hurdles and commit to you.

            What I think you get wrong is that women aren’t really all that into the “ego boost” about being naked with some random dude. “Validation” for a woman is NOT being naked with a dude, it’s being in a relationship with someone you can count on. Very few women get excited about having slept with many men, the true prize for us is having ONE that we keep. In other words, what you describe, the rush of variety, does not really apply to women that much. In fact, what you describe is exactly the type of man most women want to avoid – a man who treats you like a disposable numeral. That doesn’t mean women don’t like sex, that just means women like sex – when it’s part of a committed relationship.

          • HammersAndNails Says:

            MsM, I completely agree with you, which is why the discussion was about what people give up. Since sex with one good man is what women want, giving up sex with varried multiple sex partners is not much of a sacrifice for women. Other women were claiming that women give up just as much as a man by entering into a relationship, and claimed that giving up options was just a big a sacrifice for a woman as a man, which I just don’t think is the case.

            I’m willing to give it all up for the right girl, but its a real sacrifice.

          • Goldie Says:

            H&N, it’s not about validation or ego boost. Most mature balanced adults don’t actually need a whole lot of that. It is about the fact that, when I’m in a relationship with a guy, I spend my time and effort on making him happy, I merge my life with his, meet his friends, share his interests, put up with his idiosyncrasies and so on. That’s a big life change. So when I decide to commit to that, I want to make sure that this is a change I won’t regret. Most men I know feel the same way, btw. Again, at least in my age group, I don’t meet a lot of men whose top priority is having a new pair of boobs every night. Most of them have already seen enough boobs.

            Granted, sexual exclusivity is not the same as being in a relationship I just described, but in most cases it’s the first step on the way to that relationship.

            ***You said you can’t meet the bigger better deal. You can and women do. ***

            You do realize that this is cheating on your partner, right? That’s not how I roll.

          • jane Says:

            Abso-freaking-lutely! Thank you! What are you “giving up” if you’re currently exploring potential with one partner. At that point you are getting sex and anything you need from that person and if at any time you decide there isnt any more potential – you leave. The “committment” only lasts as long as you want it to, so how is it asking that much that you stop having sex with other people…oh no, the anguish of not having a harem is just too much to lose!

          • Jesse Says:

            It all sounds good that what women give up when being exclusive is the chance to be with a better person, but the fact is most women are constantly keeping an eye peeled for the “next big thing”. Yes , they will believe they are not, but confronted with what they believe is the right opportunity, they will jump ship, lickity split.

        • Goldie Says:

          Yes, when you put it that way, it does sound like playing semantics. And yet I have a feeling that “hey, got to tell you – I cannot do casual sex” or “I can only do exclusive” would go over much better with the guy than if the OP tells him “you can only have sex with me after you commit”. A little semantics can go a long way.

  6. manwich Says:

    It’s not just the quantity, but the quality of the dates that matters; also, his overall availability.

    Players usually don’t last for 7 dates without sex unless they are lame dates. If you have been meeting at a happy hour every other Tuesday for the last 14 weeks, he may not be very invested.

    Have these 7 dates happened in under a month? Is he is making a priority of spending his Fridays and Saturdays with you? Is he planning, initiating, and paying for fun activities he thinks you like? Is his schedule open to your availability?

    If he is an attractive guy, he probably has other options, but are you his priority option? You can’t blame a guy for having options, but when we really like a girl we are willing to give up those options. If he’s cute, and he has a life, then he probably has some FWBs, and hookups. Unless a relationship is exclusive, assume it isn’t. If you want to be exclusive, ask for it. If he cheats, dump him, but you can’t blame him for having a history before you became exclusive.

    I don’t blame a woman for wanting a sexual relationship to be exclusive. Sex is different for girls. Most guys anticipate this. If it was up to us, we would be having casual sex every night until we meet a girl we don’t want anyone else to have casual sex with. Exclusivity is a fair trade to keep other guys off a girl we really like. Deep down inside it is flattering to hear that a special girl wants sex to be special. If he has gone 7 quality dates without sex, he probably wants you to be that kind of girl. (or he’s gay, impotent, hiding a micropenis…)

    Moxie is right that directly asking about his history is prying, but the STD talk is a good way to work around this and get a clue. The problem is, it seems presumptuous to talk about STDs or exclusivity outside the bedroom, but then you are forcing his hand. Ya can’t trust a naked man.

    If you like the guy and want an exclusive relationship, I say you bring it up outside the bedroom. Make it about what you want, not what you don’t want him doing. Make it about two happy romantic people who really like each other. Don’t make it an inquisition about how all men are players.

    You also have to accept that in guy language, saying we “are” exclusive, means from now on. It means first thing in the morning cancel all FWB appointments. It doesn’t mean we weren’t exploring other options while waiting 7 dates.

    • Eliza Says:

      love it…he may be hiding a “micropenis”! never heard it described so eloquently! lol. have to remember that. By the way, in “girl” world….saying we “are exclusive” also means from hereon – going forward. At least, that’s how a logical being would interpret that since we can’t change our pasts. So yes, cancel all future rendevous sessions with your FWB’s for both parties.

  7. Mark Says:

    One never knows, do one.
    – Fats Waller

    Pretty much agree with moxie on this one. Both of you are adults and each of us has our own motivations and goals. But after seven or so dates you probably have a pretty good handle on the different aspects of the guy. We don’t. Ditto for him regarding you. So if you are reasonably sharp and grounded, probably the best test is the gut test. Couple that with matching up his words and actions and you should have a pretty good idea of where things stand with both of you. Not with certainty, but at least you have an educated guess.

    Moxie’s advice on the specifics seems pretty reasonable. So follow your instincts and use your head to get you there. Think it through, just don’t over think it.

    Hope it works out for both of you.

  8. Curiositykills Says:

    Why would you care if he has other sex partners? It’s so damn early in the process. Way overthinking it IMO. Also why would you want to commit to exclusivity before you knew if he was good in bed? What if he’s lousy? You want to stay committed to that?

    • Eliza Says:

      I agree with CKills…that’s the thing, do you really want to buy the car if after the test drive it doesn’t perform to your expectations? Sorry to use that as an anology – cars vs. humans. But you get the concept. And that applies to both genders…that is, if any of the parties involved give much importance, or some importance to sexual compatibility. It’s quite important – because it does involve communication, ability to be vulnerable with someone else, and expressive to a point. You both want to know that you do mesh in the bedroom. I guess for someone asexual it wouldn’t make a difference.

    • Yvonne Says:

      If he’s that bad, you can always dump him.

  9. GI_JANE Says:

    On point Moxie, on point!!!

  10. Just Saying Says:

    Seven dates? Jeez… If I’m not getting any by the 3rd, she’s a wash and not interested in anything serious, other than wasting your time. And 3 is pushing it…

    Until a woman has “skin” in the game, she’s not really interested or serious. Till she’s in my bed she’s one of many – and she wants to be “exclusive” before he has any data to base his decision on? Come on – get real. You’re just a waste of his time and effort.

    You’re 35 – that’s no spring chicken. Younger women give it up a LOT sooner with a lot less drama. Either catch up with the times, or get another cat – you’ll end up with lots of them, and no man. But hey – I’m just a guy – what would I know about how guys think? Women seem to come up with all sorts of non-sense related to that subject.

    • Eliza Says:

      You can get your point across without being so crass. “Skin” in the game? imbecile. There is a word – look it up – “Ignorante Antipatico”!
      Just Saying!

      Respect other people’s thresholds. Everyone is different…and we all move at different paces.

  11. Lola Says:

    About the micro penis…. I was dating a guy once. Good looking, charming, fun, initiated dates, etc. We went on a few great dates – one of them even included a day-long skiing trip. Problem was, he never really tried to be too physical – never even got to the 2nd base. By date number 5 or so, I started to suspect he is either friend-zoned me, or wasn’t that interested. And one day I actually initiated sex. Turns out, it WAS a case of micro penis…

  12. AC Says:

    Help me out here. The title of the article when I clicked on the email was “signs he’s a really shitty person.” I don’t see any indication that this guy has done anything wrong. In addition to that, I didn’t see the OP accuse him of doing anything wrong thing wrong either. Simply she really likes him and wants to know if he’s been sleeping with anyone else. In short, I don’t see how the title correlates to the question that was asked. Did I miss something?… By the way…totally not being sarcastic just curious if I missed something here.

    • Lamont Cranston Says:

      Your browser’s gotten confused. This isn’t “Signs He’s A Really Shitty Person.” It’s “How Do You Find Out If They’re Sleeping With Someone Else?” Different article entirely.

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