Getting a Man To Commit Means Nothing

May 15th, 2015

Casual sex, Dating Realities, NEW!, Sex

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Comment: I’ve been dating someone for a month and he seems really into me. He has been pursuing me for several months. One thing led to another the other night and we slept together. He cooked me breakfast the morning after. He compliments me, raves etc. all day every day. Initiates texts every day. Talks a lot about trips we’ll take etc. But no mention about exclusive since the other night.

I am mad at myself for not having the talk before. Is it too soon to expect him to bring it up, or too late to unring that bell? The worst part is that I’m not sure that I am ready to be exclusive myself just yet, I just hate the idea of him sleeping with other people at the same time as sleeping with me. Can you help me decide what to do next please? Thank you.

I’m sure you know that your logic regarding this situation is flawed, yes?

There’s nothing you can do. You’re not even willing to be exclusive with him. I mean, I’m sure you would agree to it if it got you what you wanted, but you’re failing to see that he could do the exact same thing to you. He could promise exclusivity but not be fully committed to the idea just because he thinks it will get him what he wants. That’s a very shakey foundation on which to build a relationship.

So, I guess you should ask yourself how you would feel if you knew he agreed to see you and only you but was only saying that because he knew that’s what you wanted to hear and not because he meant it.  That’s probably what will be the case should you bring this up now. It’s just be a string of words strewn together to make you feel good and nothing else. Agreeing not to sleep with anyone else is not a legally binding contract. There are no repercussions should he go back on his word.

The truly upsetting thing about all of this is that you’re not even sure if you want to lock this down. You don’t even know if this is someone you want to date seriously. The only thing you do know is that you don’t want him sleeping with anyone else because..why again? What does that signify?

That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is: nothing. All that would do is provide you with a false sense of security.

I’m not sure the origins of this kind of twisted thinking. I think it’s related to this idea that we (women) are bad or pathetic or slutty if we “give it up” to a guy who offers nothing in return. You gave him sex, so now you want him to reciprocate with something equal in value in return to prove himself to you. That way you can maintain your virtue for performing the ultimate sacrifice of giving him access to your vagina. It’s all rooted in insecurity and tragically outdated ideas about female sexuality. You just don’t want to feel like you were played. I get that. I truly do. Nobody likes feeling they were duped. But that’s a reality of dating. If you can’t handle that, then close up shop now.

As I’ve said before, telling a guy right before you sleep with him that you’re afraid he’ll bolt after sex or asking him if he’s sleeping with anyone else is setting yourself up for disappointment. Most people in that situation will either outright lie or skirt the question and just say what they think will be acceptable. If you don’t want to sleep with someone until you’re exclusive, then stick to that. It’s not up to someone else to give you the all clear sign. That’s your job. Getting a guy to promise something before you have sex is just a way many women justify having sex. It’s time we got over that.

Going forward, you need to date at your own risk. Not everything is going to be served up to you on a silver platter or spelled out for you. I find that the people who need to be coddled and indulged or who require weeks of emails or phone calls or who have a litany of questions they need answered are the biggest wastes of time. Simply put, they’re too much work.

I think you should proceed assuming he’s sleeping with other people. It’s not at all odd that after a month he hasn’t tried to make things exclusive. I think bringing that topic up now, when you’re not even sure what you want, will spell disaster.

 

 

Thoughts?

Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)

@ATWYSingle

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15 Responses to “Getting a Man To Commit Means Nothing”

  1. Ben Iyyar Says:

    I am happy that after they slept together this OP”s partner treated her respectfully and really very sweetly. He also had the courtesy to speak with her about life matters in a way that made her feel that she was important to him.
    Does this mean that he is or should be expected to make and keep some indication of exclusivity or even commitment? Well,no, and even if he did why should the OP believe him?
    Since there is no foolproof way to tell if someone is being truthful, or intends to keep their word, the OP will simply have to rely on her own personal feelings about her partner’s loyalty and trustworthiness. And coming to trust anybody really does take time, all the more so when it comes to sexual intimacy and possibly marriage to that person.
    Some manipulative men do flash the prospect of a long term relationship possibly leading to marriage to their partners to convince them to go to bed with them, but I have not met too many like that.
    More likely the OP”s partner is just as confused and uncertain as she is about the relationship. The only way to find out is for them to talk honestly with each other about their goals and expectations.

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  2. D. Says:

    The worst part is that I’m not sure that I am ready to be exclusive myself just yet, I just hate the idea of him sleeping with other people at the same time as sleeping with me.

    It strikes me that this line in the letter pretty much encapsulates the OP’s problem. When I read this bit, all I hear is “I want to have the freedom to decide when/if this relationship progresses or end.” In other words “I want total control of the situation.” She wants to know that this guy is fully into her and won’t bail just in case she starts wanting more from him, but she still wants the ability to say “Nah. Not interested,” if she decides she’s done.

    Well, too bad. That’s not how dating works.

    You don’t get guarantees. You don’t get total control. You have to accept the risk that this other person may well lose interest in you, yes, even after you have slept with them. This is just something everyone in dating needs to accept and become comfortable with, because if you can’t relax about this, you will likely repeatedly allow your anxieties to get the better of you and lead you to shoot yourself in the foot.

    From the sound of it, the guy in this case does seem interested. While none of what the guy has done would qualify as serious heavy lifting, he at least seems genuinely interested in deciding whether there might be something substantive there. In other words, his goal is not to fuck and run. He’s evaluating the situation, the same as the OP is, and is seeing where it’s going to lead. Maybe he’ll want to get serious, maybe he won’t, but he sounds like he’s at least giving things a chance. Ultimately, when you’re only a month in, that’s about the best you can hope for from anyone.

    My advice would be….relax. Enjoy yourself and enjoy spending time with the guy. Stop worrying about “Where is this going?” and be more focused on being present in the moment with him.

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    • GeekGurl Says:

      “My advice would be….relax. Enjoy yourself and enjoy spending time with the guy. Stop worrying about “Where is this going?” and be more focused on being present in the moment with him.”

      How much of the angst and over analyze that is so draining and kills the MAGIC of just discovering a connection with another person could be avoided if this simple advice was taken! Isn’t the whole point of dating to do just that? You are not buying a gizmo on Amazon, and reviewing every minute detail of suitability — you are discovering another human being – and yourself in the process!

      Yeah, down the road in the next reality stage – adult conversations on each person’s wants/needs/expections of the “RELATIONSHIP” are appropriat and should be done … but not before there is actually a “RELATIONSHIP” …. sorry – that word as generally used just makes me shudder – like “RELATIONSHIP” is an entity unto itself – to be worshipped ….

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  3. Fyodor Says:

    Also, to the extent she wants exclusivity, she needs to bring it up. Many men, even those that are serious, wait for women to raise it.

    He may also just think that it’s understood/implicit that they’re having a serious/exclusive relationship, which is poor planning and practice on his part, but doesn’t mean that he’s dating other people.

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    • D. Says:

      He could also be recognizing that she’s kind of on the fence about it herself, so even if he does want an exclusive commitment right now, he might not want to bring it up yet for fear of pressuring her.

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  4. Sarah Says:

    This is an unsolvable problem. You don’t get to ask for exclusivity until you give exclusivity — and a month is probably not long enough to know where this is going, unless you’re very inexperienced, very religious, or very gullible. But on the bright side, there’s a possibility he’s NOT juggling multiple women: Dating is expensive, as we’ve discussed here ad nauseam.

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  5. bbdawg Says:

    If you TRULY want exclusivity from a man, it’s best to date multiple men at the same time. Because “exclusivity” doesn’t really exist until someone is your “boyfriend” and that is no longer a guessing game. So until that happens just assume that you are NOT exclusive and keep dating until you have that convo with one of the guys you are seeing. Nowadays I started thinking, everyone is single until they are married.

    “Dating” – until it becomes a public thing where you’re introduced to friends, family and make plans for the future – is pretty meaningless and should not be counted as a major step towards anything really…

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  6. John Says:

    BBDAWG said :
    ““Dating” – until it becomes a public thing where you’re introduced to friends, family and make plans for the future – is pretty meaningless and should not be counted as a major step towards anything really”

    I disagree with this statement. With that mindset, you will chase away relationship minded men. I am sure there are many guys who will default to exclusivity in their own mind even without such a talk. To be honest, when I meet someone I am totally into, I have zero desire to date anyone else and I don’t. I don’t need to have a talk in order to know. It just doesn’t feel right if dated anyone else.

    So if I suspect a girl I am dating is seeing other guys, I will assume she just isn’t that into me. WHy? Because if she was into me, she wouldn’t have any desire to date others.

    Also, I do not introduce a girl to any of my friends or family for at least 4-5 months even though I am totally into her and see a future with her. The reason is because it has to stand the test of time of at least a few months. So if I was seeing a girl I was interested in and had plans to introduce to my family/friends and then I found out that she was dating others “because we never officially had the talk” then that relationship would end.

    I get not putting all your eggs in one basket. But in refusing to do so, you may chase away guys that really were committed to you and really did want a future with you. Something to consider.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **To be honest, when I meet someone I am totally into, I have zero desire to date anyone else and I don’t. I don’t need to have a talk in order to know. It just doesn’t feel right if dated anyone else.**

      I believe you, and I feel the same way, but I think bbdawg is right – assume nothing that isn’t explicitly stated. You may not need “a talk” to know how you feel, but something needs to be said, a quick check in or something, so that the other person knows how you feel and confirms whether they’re on the same page or not. “So, are we boyfriend/girlfriend? Is this going somewhere? Yeah? Cool.” Boom, done.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **I get not putting all your eggs in one basket. But in refusing to do so, you may chase away guys that really were committed to you and really did want a future with you. Something to consider.**

      Fair enough, but by the same token, by refusing to check in and verbally confirm you’re committed and on the same page, you could be letting good women slip through your fingers because they thought you weren’t interested. She may be reluctant to bring it up herself because women are trained to “not pressure” guys, or may want the guy to “lead” or what have you.

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    • bbdawg Says:

      Thanks I agree with you, broadly speaking, that has also been my experience prior to online dating. After online dating, I just feel like everyone has a lot of options (especially in NYC and other big cities) so it’s sort of unrealistic to expect that just because you’re seeing someone once a week for a month or whatever you are dating exclusively.

      “Assumptions” in dating are dangerous territory. I just feel like you can’t “assume” anything, when you “assume” things you are projecting your own expectations and behavior onto others and that often that does not reflect the other person’s experience or intentions. It’s really just a “wait and see” type of thing.

      My comment also implied that you are not telling the other person you are seeing other people, obviously.

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    • mistori Says:

      Re: John’s statement:
      “I don’t need to have a talk in order to know”
      You don’t need to have a talk but maybe she needs to have a talk. You may be sincere & you may be sincere “with her” & she may not “want” to see other men, but how does she know that? How does she know that she is someone you are “really” into & how does she know that for you in particular that because you are sincere that your definition of “really into” means exclusive “in your own mind” & not like maybe other guys she met that she thought were “really” into her & maybe were really into her but weren’t really into being exclusive with her (or anyone) but led her on & she may have wasted time putting all her eggs in one basket. I’m just saying that a lot of people have been burnt & they may just be trying to be smart & not get burnt again. In today’s dating world I think the standard is that most people assume non-exclusivity. So I think it would be unfair to hold it against someone if you refused to verbalize exclusivity, i.e. refused to communicate & then broke up with them because they were not exclusive with you in return. They very well may have wanted to be more than you know but maybe were just being protective since you were not being communicative.

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  7. Mark Says:

    To the LW;

    This is the way you letter reads to me:

    I want what I want. What he wants is open to negotiation.

    I think that’s a pretty fair reading.

    The problem is, it doesn’t quite work that way.

    You seem taken with the fact that he spent quite some time pursuing you. But when you two slept together a bunch of other thoughts popped into your head. Yet my impression is that you really are not focusing on how to make things work with this guy. Rather, the thoughts seem to focus on the possible constraints and limitations placed on your freedoms.

    Well…. What is is you want?

    I ask that because I really don’t think you have a clear idea. If you want to date casually, then great. But he gets the same allowances. If you want to be serious with him, ditto.

    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. So pick and choose. But choose wisely because you may get what you wish for.

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  8. Lisa Says:

    Can you just ask him??

    The next time he brings up plans for the future or something relationship-y, can you just say, “that sounds great. But first things first…I never even asked you if your dating other ppl or what?”

    Just listen to what he says, don’t debate with him, and plan accordingly.

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