under Date Night
Here’s the scenario a JDater recently asked my advice about:
“I’ve been poly-dating as you recommend in your book, but I’m afraid I’ve let it get too serious with two guys at the same time! Now I feel like I’m two-timing. Each relationship is just progressing naturally and I haven’t had “The Talk” with either, but I feel like I’m betraying both of them because I like both of them. What do I do?”
In short, keep dating both of them unless you feel stronger about one, or until you have “The Talk” with one. People, particularly women, are not used to poly-dating and feel guilty. “Betrayal” is an accurate word for how people feel, but unless you are in a committed, monogamous relationship, then you are free to date whomever you want and you’re not betraying anyone. Poly-dating is not for everyone. But if you are finding yourself in a pattern where you fall for each new prospect too quickly and then get hurt, poly-dating may be something you ought to start practicing. It will keep you grounded and prevent you from falling too quickly for anyone… and it’s fun (just practice safe poly-dating and no one should get hurt!).
How do you know when you’ve found The One? So often we get caught up in the hot and heavy of a new relationship – everything is hearts and flowers, you can’t keep your hands off of each other, you both want 3 kids and a dog – and we forget to have the serious nitty-gritty conversations. Often, you’ve never gotten close enough to marriage to even know what one of those conversations looks and sounds like and are then blind-sided when you are faced with one of life’s challenges. Sex and chemistry can only take you so far. At a certain point you will need to talk about what kind of income you want to live on and what happens if that income decreases when, for instance, you have kids and one of you wants to stay home, or, another good example, you decide to pursue your dream and suddenly your income plummets? How will your mate react to you changing your mind about what you want to do with your life? These are what married couples (with and without kids) deal with. This is not a conversation to be had on a first date. This is the talk you have when you feel close to getting engaged. You need to know how your partner adjusts to change. Will he or she hold over your head what you said five years earlier (ie. “I don’t want to be a stay at home mom” when you realize you do once the kid comes or “I like practicing law because I get paid big bucks to argue” when you decide to go back to school for your MBA to become an entrepreneur) or will they support you and encourage you to do what makes you happy even if it means a short-term dent in the wallet? Food for thought…
under Online Dating
How do you deal with the question, “Why are you still on JDate?” after you’ve been dating for a month? How long after you’re dating someone should you pull your profile?
Dear JDate and Your New Date,
There’s no timetable for when you should pull your profile. You could be dating someone for a month but only have seen them a few times. You could be dating someone for a week but have seen them everyday. You have to pull your JDate profile when you feel ready to make a commitment to your new date. If you’re just on a few dates and are still getting to know each other then there’s no reason to feel the pressure to pull your profile. If you’re getting serious emotionally and physically then you should probably have a conversation with your partner about becoming exclusive. It’s really easy to cyberstalk your new prospect by checking when the last time they logged in to JDate, but try really hard to restrain yourself. By the way, when you are cyberstalking them, you are also logging in! If you really like someone and don’t feel like logging in because you want to give that person your full attention, then don’t — but don’t automatically assume your date is going to do the same thing.
In most relationships there comes a point in time when you need to have “the talk.” Usually what precipitates this conversation is the feeling by one, or both, of you that you aren’t on the same page regarding where the relationship is, what your expectations are, and where it has the potential to go in the future. However even though having this conversation might seem like a positive for any couple it is not always easy to initiate, or have, especially if you have a very unclear picture of where you stand with the other person.
Additionally if, like me, you’ve had bad experiences with these types of conversations in the past, then you know how ominous the time leading up to them feels, and the impending doom that might very well ensue during and after the talk. The last time I had one of these “talks” with a woman I was seeing it started with me asking her, after we had a few drinks, how she would classify our relationship (casual, exclusive, other?); she ended up reacting defensively and threw the question back at me. In a panic I decided to change the subject since I had clearly touched a nerve and had tried to bring up a subject that she wasn’t ready, or willing, to discuss at that point in time.
The feeling of not being on the same page as someone that you are seeing can be uncomfortable; however, I think that in spite of those feelings it is important to do what you can to have an open line of communication with people you are dating. I have been casually seeing a woman for a couple months now and am beginning to feel like we need to have “the talk” because I am not totally sure how she feels about things and where she sees the relationship going. In the end, even though, to a certain extent, I am dreading this conversation because it might not go well, I know that even if I don’t hear what I want, it’ll be better to have the opportunity to put my cards out on the table instead of remaining unclear on how she views me and our relationship.