Here’s a question from Cindy that starts out one way – asking about seeing other men while being “committed” to one – and though I normally would talk about Circular Dating here, and the “No Girlfriend Speech” – you’ll see how I take this in a completely new direction:
“Rori, Is there a way to be sexually exclusive with one man while dating others until I’m in a committed relationship … after already agreeing to be in a “traditional” boyfriend-girlfriend relationship …. without it blowing up in my face? .
Been seeing my guy 9 months. Early on (after 1 month) he asked me to be his girlfriend, saying “it only takes 1 good one, I’ve found her, I don’t want to date anymore.” I told him it was too soon. After another month, I agreed. On the plus side, there was no wondering: he wanted a relationship and me as his GF. He said he didn’t want me dating others, and I had no desire to, but if I had said THEN that I would – for a while – he would have respected that boundary. But that’s not what I did, and we agreed to not see others.
He has sole custody of 2 teens. Divorced 2 years after being with one woman 25 years. We see each other only weekends, typically Saturday night thru Sunday afternoon (with occasional exceptions). He’s financially strapped, and doesn’t take me out (but he’ll cook and bring dinner over sometimes; if i go to his place he’ll cook). He’s respectful, sweet, phones me every night.
Sometimes romantic. My friends and family like him. We laugh, we’re on the same page intellectually, have great physical chemistry. I’m his sounding board; he’s a bit self-absorbed, I’m a bit nurturing. He is a good man, devoted father. He tells me he appreciates how wonderful and awesome I am, because I’m understanding about his situations.
I’m not needy, I make myself available to see him but also do my own thing … but I feel off-balance because of inconsistent energy — sometimes I feel he is not in love. He’s a relationship guy, but I wonder if it’s less about me and more about him missing being in a relationship. He may view me as temporary comfort, or as his future – but I have no idea!!
I want to date others not because my interest is waning, but because (1) I want to take care of myself and (2) make sure he values and pursues me, so that I can see if he’s what I want. BUT, I did not establish upfront months ago that I’d keep options open until I had a formal commitment. I love him but don’t yet know if I want a future with him.
I’m OK in the present as we continue to get to know each other, but again, I want to take care of myself. Is there a way to fix this without jeopardizing any potential we may have? We’ve developed a certain level of intimacy that comes with trusting your partner is not actively out looking, and I don’t want to ruin that. If I were to date other men during the week without telling him I would feel as if I am cheating on him. And I’m not a cheater.
Thank you for your help.
Cindy – I have many ideas from what you’ve written, the first thing I’ve thought is that weekends are NOT enough after 9 months, and has there been discussion of living together or marriage, or adding another 2 nites to the week?
If you’re not that into him, then he REALLY has to pursue you!
Circular Dating doesn’t mean you have to “date” someone – you can go places and talk to men, you can have coffee when you meet someone…you can explore without guilt if you don’t have sex with anyone…
The moment you meet someone you WANT to have sex with – you have to talk with your “boyfriend” about how this is going to proceed.
In the meantime – try my newest Tool - it’s actually the only “strategic” thing I do (and please try one or all of my new Coach Trainees to help you with it – it’s complex) – I call it “Settling Him In.”
You Settle Him In by getting him to spend more time at your home (which you clearly can’t do because of the kids) – and so you’ll have to spend more time at HIS home.
The thing here is to get the feeling of a comfortable, easy-going, living-together kind of thing where he feels no pressure, and you feel happy.
You want to put a STOP to the “dating” conventions of “him taking you out” – and instead do what “couples” do – hang out.
Go for walks. Go to the gym together. Walk dogs together, take kids to soccer practice together. Run errands together.
Share space where he’s doing what he does, and you have plenty to occupy yourself at his house when he has the kids – and at YOUR house when he doesn’t!
And what about ALL of you at YOUR house, watching TV! Get a big-screen TV and put on the SPORTS!!!! Sit with them, give them popcorn, and then go do whatever YOU do, and leave them together in front of your big TV!
(If your home isn’t comfortable enough to be a great place for them all to want to hang out – then you’ll have to go to his house, and establish some “girl space” there…)
There are a lot of moving parts here...and so contact one of my Trainees…(see post on Rori Raye Relationship Coach Trainees…)
Also – because you’re doing all the “wanting” and he’s happy with the way things are, you’re emotionally detaching from him and thinking about other men.
In many ways – this is a GOOD thing – by treating a man as a “friend,” you skip the whole needy/desperate vibe.
The problem happens when this simmering frustration makes you shut down and go “cold.”
The whole “Modern Siren Combo” is about creating BOTH “Distance” AND “Warmth.”
Thank you! As a PS, I am VERY into him. That’s the “problem” — does that change your advice any? There has been NO discussion of living together or seeing more of each other.
So – you have your answer. Settling Him In is how you do it.
Seeing more of each other has to be an important step for “both of you” to decide if this is going to work. It needs to be a REQUIREMENT for continued exclusivity.
Instead of making an “ultimatum,” though – what you want to do is share how important it feels to you to be around each other. To spend time together hanging out in his home casually, hanging with the kids. “Parallel Play,” where he’s doing his thing, you’re doing your thing, and you’re just “sharing space.”
This is what married life is like – and you want to approximate that.
No one has to “entertain” anyone. You’re just sharing space, having fun – and having sex.
From there, it either moves forward or it doesn’t…and if you stay alert and still work the Tools, it’ll move faster than you imagine.
If you set YOURSELF a “Timeline” – and he isn’t moving forward and Settling In – That’s the time for the No Girlfriend Speech and a “Shock-And-Awe” approach.
Note: Don’t tell HIM about your Timeline – it isn’t for him or about him. It’s about how long (perhaps 3 months) you’ll invest in exclusivity with him (this does NOT prohibit Circular Dating in any and all forms except an actual, traditional “date” where YOU’D feel weird and disrespectful of the agreement you’ve created in your OWN mind…) before you totally walk away if he isn’t moving forward.
This is just a small idea of the Settling Him In concept….go get someone (or ALL my Trainees) to guide you through it!