General Question

Dannyfanpooch's avatar

How do you know when you’re officially dating someone as an adult?

Asked by Dannyfanpooch (70points) November 10th, 2018 from iPhone

I feel like men aren’t supposed to ask women to be there boyfriend anymore as an adult, how do you know when you’re dating someone and not supposed to date anyone else?

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11 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

Assuming you don’t want to just leave it to chance and hope that everyone is on the same page, you have a conversation about your relationship during which you explicitly talk about exclusivity. It doesn’t have to be some big, heavy thing like, “hey, we need to talk about our relationship.” It’s as easy as saying something like, “I’m really enjoying our time together, and I want you to know that this is the only relationship I’m focusing on right now. How about you?”

Unfortunately, a lot of people just sort of assume that its obvious when a relationship is exclusive (or they assume that all relationships are automatically exclusive). This is why it’s important to have an explicit conversation, but you also risk upsetting someone by treating it as a question at all. I’m not particularly interested in people who can’t have that kind of conversation, but there are ways of backing into the discussion if you’re worried about how your partner might react to the direct approach.

One way is to just say something like, “I was telling one of my friends about you, and he was jealous that I managed to find such a great girlfriend.” The key point is to drop the word “girlfriend” (or “partner” or whatever you both prefer) into the conversation in order to see how she reacts to it. Is she happy that you called her that? Does she reject that way of characterizing your relationship? Either way, it opens up an avenue to further discussion. But honestly, the direct approach (which does not have to be blunt) is probably the best.

josie's avatar

I would ask

Dannyfanpooch's avatar

I’m just kind of worried that it won’t end up the way I want and then I’ll never want to talk to her again or waste my time, we go out every weekend, on a Friday or Saturday for drinks and dinner sometimes then we hook up.. I text her everyday not long conversations but ask how her day is and she responds but we do communicate daily, it’s just hard to tell if I’m the only person she’s talking to or if she’s even interested in me like that

kritiper's avatar

Either doesn’t want to see anyone else, and you’re seeing each other on a very regular basis.

Kardamom's avatar

You do need to have a comversation, but you can keep it light and sweet. I think most women would love it if you said something like this:

“Mary, I just wanted to tell you again, in case you didn’t know, that I really like you and I hope you feel the same way about me. I want to be exclusive with you, and I just wanted to make sure that you want that too.”

She will either be pleased, or she will say she is not ready for that yet, and then you can ask her if she’s dating anyone else (kindly, and without judgement) and then you can decide whether you want to continue dating casually like you have been, move it to the next level of intimacy (shared pronouncement that you are both exclusive) or break up if you don’t want to be one of several people that she is dating.

None of this is a weird conversation to have. It’s kind of sweet, and quite intimate, and it will get you the answers you need to move forth.

Good luck, and report back : )

zenvelo's avatar

It’s “official” when you talk about it and each express a willingness to be exclusive or primary. That’s the adult way.

You are almost there when each of you realize that you expect to spend free time with each other and that you will join each other in plans and activities.

LadyMarissa's avatar

It has been my experience that most adult mails abhor a clingy woman; so, my rule of thumb has always been that it’s NOT exclusive until the man “chooses” to have that all IMPORTANT convo with me expressing his desire to become exclusive. Even then, I may or may not want to become exclusive. I NEVER assume what someone else expects of me!!! I strongly suggest that you have that convo with this lady. She may well be waiting on you to bring up the subject. I don’t care IF every other man in the world is avoiding the subject…they are afraid of commitment. IF you’re ready, it’s time to let her know & you’ll discover whether or not you’re wasting your time or IF she’s on the same page as you are. Good luck!!!

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Dannyfanpooch “I’m just kind of worried that it won’t end up the way I want”

That’s always a risk, so what you need to do is assess your priorities and game out the different possible outcomes. How valuable is it to you that you clarify your relationship status right away, and how does that compare to the potential value of ending up in an exclusive relationship with this person?

If you have the conversation now, you will find out sooner rather than later what she thinks about your relationship status. The risk here is that you end up pressing the issue too soon and she pushes you away (even if she might have been interested in developing what you have into an exclusive relationship).

If you don’t have the conversation now, you can still have it in the future. But if you’re only looking for a long-term partner, then the risk here is that you are spending time on someone who isn’t interested in having that sort of relationship (or who isn’t interested in having that sort of relationship with you).

“and then I’ll never want to talk to her again or waste my time”

Okay, but if a certain outcome would result in you never wanting to talk to her again or feeling like you are wasting your time, isn’t that a reason to have the conversation sooner rather than later? Having the conversation can’t change whether or not you are wasting your time. It can only change whether or not you are aware of that fact.

I do think it’s important to know how long you’ve been seeing this woman, however. If it has only been a few weeks, it’s too soon to be worrying about exclusivity unless you aren’t willing to be any non-exclusive relationship (in which case, that’s something you should have brought up right away). If it has been a few months, then the conversation is probably overdue.

ucme's avatar

Even the word dating is, pardon the pun, dated.
You meet someone, are civil, which leads to friendships & if you then wind up in a relationship, then just let that happen rather than play the “am I dating here?” game.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I mean if a couple goes on more than two or three dates then it moves into the exclusivity zone. For most people nothing even has to be said past the third or fourth date.

Adagio's avatar

I’m with @ucme on this one. It just sort of happens, nothing formal about it.

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