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- Things Men Do The Second They're Interested In Someone Else
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I would like to clarify these two points: I have never even been tempted to cheat on someone I was exclusive with, but Some Guy I'm Dating wanting to know who else I hang out with feels, to me, similar to a girlfriend going "Oh, you can't go to the movies Tuesday? Who are you hanging out with?!? This was not a case of me - clearly kind of a hussy for daring to go to the movies with two dudes in one week! Thanks for the advice to be frank, and to bring it up early on. I would tend to assume nothing until we've had a conversation about exclusivity, but this is, I now realize, not something I should assume about other people.
I assume that everyone involved could be seeing other people unless otherwise stated, but once someone asks the right thing to do is to be honest, and not with the sort of technical truthtelling where you sidestep the question and distract the person from it either. I don't think it's his business if he isn't yet my boyfriend. Asking such a question may be his way of trying to establish if he is your boyfriend. If that's the case, and you don't want to answer, then you obviously want something different, and you're doing both of you a favor by answering honestly, even if that results in the end of the relationship.
Maybe he just wants to see where he stands? Don't sidestep it, be honest. Though if you are bothered by the question, why don't you tell him that the question bothers you and explain why it bothers you. Or if this is all too much, you can always run away screaming and waving your arms: Don't be irritated, let him know gently that you're seeing other people, and if he freaks out and runs away, you don't want to be dating him anyway.
If it were me, I'd think to myself "OK, I'll be patient and let her find out what I'm like, and hopefully she'll wind up wanting to date me exclusively. He's asking because he wants to know where he stands. You may see this as just a way to spend some time, but he may be thinking this could go somewhere or be more interesting. If you're not looking for that, that is completely fine, but it's not out of line for him to bring it up at some point.
If the relationship were going to go somewhere, how would he be expected to know? It's not his business to tell you what to do, but it's certainly his business to ask you what's up and where he stands in it all. If you're happy keeping things casual, just make that clear. Some people may also ask this question before getting physical. The reason I find this irritating is because the fellows who have asked me this have been sort of overwrought about it sort of like some of these answers. It's not them, it's you. Consciously or not, you are leading them on.
For one thing, the "seeing multiple people" thing is mostly a relic of an earlier age.
Most girls don't have a different suitor every night of the week anymore, any more than they go to box socials and neck in Stutz Bearcats. Sure, some girls enjoy juggling as many guys as they possibly can, but its not the norm, and they're usually so flagrant about it that the guy isn't surprised.
Just for the record, hmsbeagle, as a young-ish urban guy, I think drjimmy11's comment above is completely out in left field. I don't think there's anything at all unusual about dating multiple people, in fact I think it's downright common and completely to be expected. Sure, most people are doing it with the ultimate goal of getting serious with someone, but that doesn't mean you're being "awkward" or "leading people on" in the meantime.
I'd say answer honestly if and when asked, and definitely point it out if things are going to move forward into a more physical basis, but otherwise it's up to you. At the level of commitment you are describing, an expectation of exclusivity is unreasonable. I think the folks kicking it at the box socials were more interested in monogamy in all possible relationships than folks are now. Indeed, in grandfather's day, if you went to the moving pictures with a gal, that meant you were engaged.
Of course, you got to bundle then, which was nice. There is a difference, even though that difference is often very subtle. However, it most assuredly IS his business. Anyone who believes otherwise for even one moment is delusional. If you will bear with an extreme example, if you were dating some guy just casually, would you want to know if he were married?
What would your response be if you asked and he avoided the question or said "none of your business"? If asked, a simple "Yes, I am seeing a few other men casually" is sufficient. If he wants to know more after that, he'll ask. However, understand he is probably asking because he probably cares. As evidenced above, there are some people like rkent who think it is completely normal to have many suitors, and you have people like drjimmy who believe it is abnormal.
A lot of it has to do with the goals. Some people view dating as a social activity, having someone to go to the movies or to dinner with, no big whoop. Others date as primarily a mate-finding activity. Those in the second category will be very interested to know if you are dating others, and may very well be scared off if you are.
When I was single, there were three classifications of girls I was interested in: A female to go grab a bite with or see a movie. No expectation of romantic feelings or sex. No dating, probably no dinner and no movie, just sex; hook-ups. People I was sexually and emotionally attracted to that I was auditioning for the role of sole partner. The world is divided rather starkly between people who consider 1 "dating" and 3 "dating".
My limit was always 1 other suitor.
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My goal of dating was generally to find someone to have a relationship with, so I am firmly entrenched in 3. In fact, I don't consider 1 "dating" at all. If a girl had 3 or 4 suitors, then she was no longer in the running for 3 and got moved to 1 pretty quickly. If he's going to read too much into it, he's going to read too much into it. The best you can do to reduce this is to honestly answer the question he asked. After that, you might consider saying 'Why do you ask? If you are not prepared to take his answer at full face value, one or both of you has something seriously wrong with them: He's got an honesty problem, or you've got a preposterously wrong understanding of what relationships are, or both.
So if you can't discuss this with someone, stop going out with him. Assume this guy wants to know where he really stands with you. This is pretty reasonable. Maybe he wants to go exclusive. Maybe he doesn't, but he wonders if you do. Maybe it's something else. Whatever it is, if you are going on dates with him, the significance of those dates is certainly his business: A date is a communication, and any communication deserves an accuracy check. So he's got to determine this.
He can use the only realistically effective, decent means of finding out, namely asking; and he can seek out the only authority on the subject, namely you. Or he can assume you lost all interest in everyone else the moment you first saw him, or assume he will always be just a plaything to you, or assume that you went exclusive if you accepted a third date, or a fourth date, or some other number that he heard from a friend or read in a men's magazine or rolled on 2d6 divided by two rounded up. Or he can follow you around and count your other engagements himself.
Now, which of these responses is the problem, again? See also beans, plate of. But if you're interested in a perfect answer, see wemayfreeze above, and quest within to discover the mindset that led to it, and disregard the rest. Also, while you may be the type of person who can casually date a number of people without enduring undue stress, he may not be. We have unenthusiastic sex or no sex then lie awake next to them for the remainder of the night.
In casual relationships, we stop answering text messages or provide short, uninterested answers. We say we're busy for the next couple weeks. We say we're busy forever. I used to say "I just don't like hurting people. I've since realized that sure, I don't like hurting people, but what's really happening is that I don't like guilt and anxiety and conflict, so I ignore or avoid the "problem" to gain the illusion that "it's" they've gone away And the reality is that they might go away, but they do so wondering what the heck just happened and sometimes send a string of angry text messages.
So before I offer some tips on breaking up with someone, I want to qualify this. I've been on both sides, many times. I've had my heart smashed to bits twice, and I'm pretty sure I've smashed a couple. I've been on the receiving end of a casual relationship ending over text message, Facebook Chat, the "phase-out," and the "I'm gonna drink few glasses of wine while you tell me you're seeing someone more seriously now and we can no longer talk.
And maybe it's because my current relationship has actually lasted longer than two weeks I wouldn't be surprised if our friends had a betting pool going so it won't seem completely insensitive to blog about it, or maybe it's because I feel convicted enough in my research to let the judgment fly, but either way, let's talk about breaking hearts. Carrie Bradshaw told us that there is a good way to break up with somebody. But I disagree, and I think one of the reasons we have so many "phase-outs" is because heartbreakers believe they should probably have the face-to-face conversation but can't tolerate what they might feel if they do.
Things Men Do The Second They're Interested In Someone Else
So ease up on your expectations. Just set your goal to actually communicate to your in-the-dark admirer that you're no longer interested. Thus, the number one tip for breaking up with someone is to actually break up with them. If you can't do it face to face, do it over text message, email, or Facebook Chat.
This is better than a phase out. Let's change the culture from the all-or-nothing face-to-face or disappearing act to make space for the means in-between. Your ex will thank you, and you'll appreciate it when you're on the other end in the future. For example, don't say "I'm not emotionally available" or "You deserve better. Try something like, "I'm not totally invested in this, and I don't think it's fair to you to continue stringing you along," or "I've been seeing someone else and I think we're a better fit for each other.
Don't keep liking their Instagram photos and FB statuses, sending them messages "Thinking of you!
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If you feel compelled to do any of the above, ask yourself if you're doing it for them or for you. I have a really hard time knowing people don't like me, but it's unrealistic to expect that an ex is going to just let a breakup slide off their back and switch to being buds with you. Being rejected hurts, angers, and confuses peeps. The more selfless thing you can do in this situation is be firm with your decision. Remind yourself that feeling anxious, guilty, and conflicted and anything else is OK. It means you care. Don't try to ignore the feelings or tell yourself you shouldn't feel uncomfortable because you're choosing to end it.
Be kind to yourself. Anger is a natural reaction to hurt. Remember you're likely not impermeable to insult, so ensure you have supports as well to debrief any negative feedback you receive. At the end of it all, it sucks for both parties. Hurting someone sucks, and so does getting hurt. But remember that uncomfortable feelings and difficult experiences are all part of being a human. And, if you feel guilty, it's a good thing — it means you have a conscience. Food has the power to create a happier and healthier world. Celebrity Nutritionist Kelly LeVeque will show you how.
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