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Dating - when to have 'the talk'

(27 Posts)
weekendninja Tue 28-Nov-17 21:38:08

I've been dating a guy for eight weeks or so. Both of us have been single for a long time and he's in the middle of divorce proceedings. We see each other about 2/3 times a week, mainly eating out/cinema, that kind of stuff.

At the beginning we never really established what either of us were looking for and it didn't really cross my mind because I've not dated for years and I just thought it best that I go with the flow.

It's at the point now where I'm really keen on him. Is it the done thing to ask him where he sees this going? I'm not even asking for exclusivity or for us to take it to the next stage...I just don't want to appear too clingy or overbearing.

Any thoughts?

purpleangel17 Tue 28-Nov-17 22:12:11

I was in your position about a year ago. I didn't say anything till 4 months at which point he told me he had met someone else and wanted to be serious with her.

I think if a guy wants exclusivity he asks for it. If he doesn't, he doesn't. If it matters to you, you make it clear from the beginning what your expectations are in that regard. Personally in the future I would move on after three months if he hadn't indicated a desire for exclusivity. But I know I want a committed relationship.

ComtesseDeSpair Tue 28-Nov-17 23:05:53

I think two-three months is a fine point to establish what each of your expectations are - and I think it's absolutely fine to ask outright whether he sees this as a casual dating arrangement or is looking for something longer term. If you want the latter, you have the right to make that clear. However, you can phrase it in an entirely open-ended way if you prefer: "We've been seeing each other regularly for a while now and I'd like to know what direction you see this going so I know we're both on the same page." It puts you in the driving seat and removes the opportunity to some extent for him to just tell you what you want to hear, as asking if he wants to be exclusive can result in.

I usually ask this fairly early on, albeit for the opposite reason - I want to establish that we both understand that we aren't exclusive and that things won't head that way until we specifically have that conversation.

Don't be afraid of asking the questions to get the answers. If he's the type to be scared away by this sort of conversation then it tells you that he's not after the sort of relationship you are and that you're best off parting ways.

chatty1234 Tue 28-Nov-17 23:11:45

I think having the chat sooner rather than later is best. Otherwise both could be looking for different things. Doesn't have to be all serious but an honest conversation. Me personally asked after about 4 weeks as I felt I didn't want to be wasting time and getting to know him more if he was looking for something more casual. Thankfully we were on the same page.

MiniTheMinx Tue 28-Nov-17 23:36:13

I've never had to instigate this sort of conversation. If I was to do so I'd probably be as blunt and straightforward as I am with most things. "I hope you're not seeing other people, as I'm not" if the answer waivered from "I'm not seeing others" in any way I'd leave him to pick up the bill and book a cab home.

In my experience, if a man meets you and is really keen on you, you won't need to instigate this sort of conversation at all. He will tell you it's exclusive because he won't tolerate the idea of you potentially choosing someone over him.

Plus there is another way to avoid this entirely. Most people (men incl) will ask questions on a first date. My response has always been the same "I won't waste your time, if you don't waste mine, so it's either we date or we don't, you want to date others, I'm out" I've always taken the view that if I like someone enough to date them I only want to see them, I expect the same in return. If after a few weeks it's a hopeless cause it's time to move on and stop seeing them. But second dates have always lead to ltr. I always know from the first, I've never wasted energy over any sort of dithering from a man, and I can't be arsed to give a man my attention unless he is totally and obviously very into me. I'm not one of many, I'm my own person, if anyone had to stop to compare me to Jane, or Sophie or Christa or whoever else, then they clearly don't really like me enough! I sound like a princess.....I am and it works for me.

trojanpony Wed 29-Nov-17 06:06:43

in my experience, if a man meets you and is really keen on you, you won't need to instigate this sort of conversation at all. He will tell you it's exclusive because he won't tolerate the idea of you potentially choosing someone over him.

This.

LesisMiserable Wed 29-Nov-17 06:36:20

The best time for the talk is 'never'. Let him develop organically. If a man wants you to himself he will make it very clear. Fast forwarding it will end it. Sit back. Chill. Enjoy. Relationships and Friendships can't be rushed. Would you ask a new female friend what your friendship status is? Nope. Also, 8 weeks in and divorce proceedings, right now he wants light relief with good company not relationship talks I imagine. Put yourself in his shoes?

SaturdayNIghtAtTheMovies Wed 29-Nov-17 06:40:28

I don't think you need to wait for thean to choose you though.

If you want to know, start the conversations and ask the questions.

Anyone who is scared off by it would have walked away at some point anyway.

I know that my ex husband and most recent exbf would have been horrified at the idea a relationship wasn't exclusive from the very first date.

LesisMiserable Wed 29-Nov-17 06:43:26

Its not being 'chosen' though is it and framing it that way is the problem. Its adult to get to know someone and see if you're compatible over time. Choosing a virtual stranger a few weeks in as a potential life partner is not very sensible and smacks of desperation and how is that attractive in a man? Or woman. Keeps the relationship boards busy though I guess.

MiniTheMinx Wed 29-Nov-17 08:47:40

Can you imagine finding the perfect party dress in the first shop, what would you do? Would you leave it there, there is only one in your size and it might not be there when you return. Would you leave it and hunt around everywhere looking for alternatives? How would you feel if eventually deciding on that dress when you got back it was gone? What if you were bold and decisive and bought that perfect dress without any hesitation, after all it's just a dress. You can wear it for a while, and later if you want a different one you can go shopping, because there are lots more dresses out there. But the perfect dress was perfect at the time. It's a one off, not everyone is wearing it. Or would you go to every shop, try every dress and come home empty handed, disappointed? Could you justify that by saying ah, but I tried them all on and it was fun? Or would you consider it a waste of time?

Being decisive and bold, even making a commitment to be loyal from day one doesn't lock you into a lifelong obligation. I've never married as an example. I therefore have never divorced. But plenty of people do! But telling a man you'll date him whilst he shops for alternatives to you gives only the impression of desperation.

LesisMiserable Wed 29-Nov-17 12:55:36

I completely disagree. A dress is not a relationship. And OP wants a relationship. They are not instant and hopefully shouldn't be as disposable as a dress, they take time. Poor guy never mentioned shopping around. So why the assumption? Honestly, why the rush to label? Do you think someone who will fuck about wont do it because they're official? If you fall for someone you can't even think of anyone else, it comes naturally. With or without a status what will happen will happen. But a few weeks in? Chill !!

username24 Wed 29-Nov-17 13:28:07

I remember a comment coming up about being exclusive and my partner saying 'I'm hoping we can be'..he said and did this while peering round his kitchen cupboard! Makes me smile thinking about it! We'd been together about the same time as you and I knew it was what I wanted but hoped he'd say it. We've been 'exclusive' ever since.
I think if it's what you want there's no point in not mentioning or asking what both want from it.

grobagsforever Wed 29-Nov-17 18:02:32

This is not Sex in The City. This trend to date multiple ppl for any period of time is ridiculous. OP after 2-3 months I'd be pretty cross if he was seeing anyone else. When did we stop valuing ourselves and our time FFS.

CoyoteCafe Wed 29-Nov-17 18:26:45

If a man told me on the first date he expected me to see only him, I'd run like hell. That's just way too full on.

Considering how much cheating I've seen in my life, I suspect that some men who easily go along with "lets be exclusive" aren't. They just say what you want to hear.

I'm not sure how I would handle this if I were dating again. I think around the 2-3 month mark is the right time for the chat. I think I would try to keep it open ended so that if he doesn't want to be exclusive it is VERY easy for him to say so. And I don't think I'd want the conversation to be about more than being exclusive vs staying open to seeing others.

A lot of people (both men and women) who are divorced have been cheated on and lied to. I'd keep the conversation low key and contained. I think "where is this going" would be quite scary to someone still in divorce proceedings.

weekendninja Wed 29-Nov-17 18:31:33

Thanks so much for all of your replies. Each and everyone I can completely see where you are coming from and it makes sense.

It's very clear to me that we are both equally happy in each other's company and I don't worry that he is dating anyone else. I think it's just me as a person wanting to know everything about everything and perhaps I just need to let it develop organically and chill the hell out.

You're right in what you say LesisMiserable in that I would never check the status of a friendship. And we've also had a pretty crap time of it over the past few years so I suppose it's been nice to get away from the drama that is separation and divorce.

What is good to know is that if I do feel that the conversation is heading that way, talking about it is fine too. Like I say, I don't necessarily want to ask him for exclusivity, or for us to be 'in a relationship', I just want to know I'm not wasting my time and my emotions and if I really think about how we are together, I don't think I am.

Thank you again for your advice and opinions...doing this earlier in life seemed so simple and now being older, more guarded and cynical has made it a lot harder the second time around!

SaturdayNIghtAtTheMovies Thu 30-Nov-17 07:14:49

Its not being 'chosen' though is it and framing it that way is the problem

It's the way it's being framed by many posters on this thread if you read it and the language being used. And it's clearly not liberating either.

I don't think having self respect means you are 'desperate' hmm

By the second or third (at the absolute latest) date I would know whether someone at least had potential or not. I wouldn't be making any unbreakable commitments at that point, but I don't see how you can even begin to get to know someone intimiately if you're juggling dating 2 or 3 people at the same time. How on earth can you begin to build any sort of trust or emotional attachment with someone if you're spreading yourself that thinly?

I don't have a huge amount of time to spending talking/texting/meeting multiple people. If I were interested in someone, why would I want to dilute that by seeing lots of other people at the same time?

Neither would I want to waste any of my precious time with someone who was also seeing a couple of other people. If someone didn't think I was even worth being exclusive with, even if it only ended up being for a couple of months, then I wouldn't want to waste my time with them.

I suppose the only time I can see any value to it would be if you were not at all discerning in who you dated and were so 'desperate' for a man that you would say "yes" to anyone who asked, just on the off chance that they were The One.

ELT1982 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:48:07

My thoughts would be that you shouldn’t feel that you need to have ‘the talk’; the fact you do potentially means that perhaps (especially being in the middle of a divorce) he’s not quite in the right place and possibly just happy with how things are, now I don’t know about you but that wouldn’t be enough for me (and you posting on here possibly means it’s not enough for you either?) there shouldn’t really be any guessing needed when two people feel strongly about each other and are in the right place to be together...it’s possibly a bit sexist of me or old fashioned I don’t know, but generally a man should want to make sure you’re his...he should be doing the chasing! That’s it to say there’s anything wrong at all with ladies that propose or do the chasing, it’s just how I feel & what I need from a man, I hope that makes sense smile

LesisMiserable Thu 30-Nov-17 18:53:30

she never said he was dating two or three people ffs!!! What are you reading that I'm not seeing???! She's been seeing him 8 weeks. He's in the middle of a divorce. They both seem happy enough. WHERE'S THE F***ING PROBLEM??! I can't help but thinking some of you are encouraging OP to go too fast and basically, mess it up. What's the rush?? Where's the fire?! hmm

glow1984 Thu 30-Nov-17 18:57:48

We had the “conversation” after a month. We were at dinner and DP asked me what he could call us to his friends “like, are we in a relationship?” And I was like “yes, we are”
And that was that :D

So romantic lol

LesisMiserable Thu 30-Nov-17 19:00:15

Same here glow I introduced now dh has an escort jokingly at a party as I wasnt sure what to call him yet (about ten weeks in)..he was a little put out...and after we left said by the way I am not an escort I am your boyfriend! And that was that. It has to happen naturally. You'll both know when the time is right. It wont be forced, rushed or obsessed over.

ELT1982 Thu 30-Nov-17 19:13:24

If that’s in response to my post crikey...I thought I was just doing what everyone else was doing in giving an opinion and trying to help? That way, OP gets lots of different perspectives and can make a judgement herself ....they both seem perfectly happy do they???? WEIRD...why on earth would a perfectly happy person come in here to ask for advice/ opinions if they were perfectly happy? I see what you’re saying about how you would run a mile so early on but that’s YOU & your opinion which you are perfectly free to give, but slating other people’s opinions is just bad character and OP didn’t just want your individual opinion and if people’s opinions about someone else’s business upset you that much that you feel you need to get so animated then perhaps you need to join another forum.

LesisMiserable Thu 30-Nov-17 19:19:42

Its not opinions that are the problem. Its the assumption that because this poor guy has not instigated a talk yet he's quite obviously wanting to date multiple people. Which is just so black and white as to be ridiculous. Maybe he's just deciding about OP. But that's not ok because he's a man and a man doesn't get to 'choose' if he actually likes a woman or not does he? hmm only women get to choose, or it's being desperate. Its piffle. Sorry.

LesisMiserable Thu 30-Nov-17 19:20:15

Being animated is a really good thing. Try it. Its liberating.

isseywithcats Thu 30-Nov-17 19:35:28

i asked my now partner on the second date if it was open or exclusive and he said i only do exclusive so we then took it from there, i logged out of my dating site so did he and four years later we now live together

CoyoteCafe Thu 30-Nov-17 23:35:50

My thoughts would be that you shouldn’t feel that you need to have ‘the talk’; the fact you do potentially means ...

I disagree. I think that having a talk is REALLY good idea at some point because it makes sure that both people are on the same page with the same ideas. Otherwise, it is making an assumption that they think about the relationship and dating however you do. That's a foolish assumption.

If it doesn't just come up naturally, I'm not sure of the perfect time or manner; I just think clarity is a good thing.

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