Rules of the Dating Game: Exclusivity

This week I’d like to answer a couple of questions sent in by a serious dater who wants to know, “when to be exclusive with just one person, and how to politely say no thank you, especially when you will see that person in future social situations, perhaps in shul tomorrow, etc etc, or its through a set up via a good friend….”

Regarding the exclusivity question, the only honest answer I can give is that you should always plan to date only one person at a time. You’re dating to find that one person who you want to spend the rest of your life with.
Dating adviceThat person has to be right for you based on who they are and how you feel about them, not on how they compare to other people. If you’re not sure what you want in a spouse, you need to stop and figure it out on your own or with the help of a coach. Experimenting on live specimens is cruel. It plays with the time and emotions of other serious daters, and it usually ends up confusing, instead of clarifying, your thoughts. Once you know what you’re looking for in a spouse, you need to evaluate each potential independently, and make your decision to either continue or move on.

There is an exception to what I’m saying, which is why I wrote, “you should always plan to date only one person at a time.” Sometimes, the date that you set with someone gets delayed or pushed back because of illness, work, travel, vacation, or any other reason you can conjure up. In the interim, you either meet or are set up with someone else. Now you find yourself with two dates, neither of which you feel comfortable canceling. (You could, of course, cancel one of the dates. It’s happened to me before, and it’s probably the right thing to do, but I can see how it might be impossible, so read on.)

So you go out with each date, and hopefully are able to eliminate one from the race right away. If both are ok? Well, now that you’re in this mess, you need to go out with each one again, until you make your decision. How many dates can you do this for? Not more than three; never more than five. If either dating relationship get physical, the other one (obviously) must be ended.

What if you’re dating someone and then happen to meet someone else who really dazzles you? You have two choices. You can either continue dating #1 until you’ve reached a decision, or say goodbye and date #2. Dating both is not an option, as I explained above. Focus.

The answer to the second question, how to say no, is clear: just say no. Be sensitive and nice, but be firm. You are the only one who controls what you do and with whom you do it. If you’ve given it the proper amount of thought and decided that you’re not interested, then convey that message clearly so as not to leave any confusion or mixed signals in the air. The person on the receiving end might not like your answer, but they will appreciate your honesty (when they mature).

If you’re saying no to a potential soulmate, you don’t have to give them reasons. The objective is not to insult them or destroy their self image. Just say that you’re flattered by their interest but are not interested in dating them. You could also lie and say that you’re already involved with someone, but that can come back to haunt you in the future…and lying is bad. If you’re saying no to someone who wants to set you up, you should give them a reason (unless it’s just too uncomfortable) so that they can know how to better set you up in the future.

Keep sending in your questions and comments!

What do you think about these topics? How do you say no?

Keep reading jcoach.com for more dating advice and relationship advice, and please contact me if you’d like personal coaching or advice.

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