If you’ve been dating a guy for two to three months (or potentially longer) and you’re wondering if he’s seeing anyone else, that’s a fair question. Women often want to know what’s going on behind the scenes and usually with good reason. A woman wants to know if because she:
- Is falling for him and hopes the feeling is mutual
- Has bonded with him through sex and is worried about health issues of multiple partners
- Is thinking about a future with the guy and wants to know if he is too
- Has the baby bio clock ticking loudly and is hopeful to move the relationship to ring status soon
Whatever the reason, the best approach is the direct approach.
My friend and author Jeff Mac, of Manslations.com fame completely agrees. He has answered a question from a reader beautifully on this topic. Jeff suggests asking the exclusivity question, but immediately following up with your own feelings and why you want to know.
Some men will actually bring this up on their own. But let’s face it, that is rare. Most often the woman has to move the relationship forward, one phase at a time of course. It’s just the way nature seems to work.
Here are some of my own tips on how to go about bringing up exclusivity and the approach that will make it maybe a little less painful for both of you.
1. Don’t start with – "We have to talk." People only say that in the movies (or on TV) If you do say this, i can guarantee your man will get his back up and brace himself for an awful conversation. Why put in him in defense mode? Don’t do it. The only way to start this conversation is to hold your breath and go! Sort of like jumping off a cliff, but better than making it a big production before you even get the words out of your mouth.
2. Keep your tone of voice calm and as unemotional as possible. Sort of casual even if you can manage it. Tone dramatically affects how any message is delivered and received, so be careful to avoid sounding demanding or aggravated. You don’t want to put him on the defense which will get in the way of a productive conversation.
3. Don’t beat around the push because he won’t "get it." Be direct with your question. For example, you could start with. "I want to talk about exclusivity. Right now I’m not seeing anyone else because I feel we have something special happening here. I’d like our relationship to be exclusive, What about you?" As Jeff suggests – a) How you feel,, b) What you want, and c) Why you want it.
4) Shut up. Stop talking. Don’t fill the empty space because you are uncomfortable. Use the power of that discomfort by leaving it be. He will at some point start talking and that is what you want. It’s like a negotiation technique that works.
5. Ask clarifying questions after he speaks, but stay calm and proceed slowly. Avoid outbursts or rapid-fire questioning.
6. Lastly, be prepared. You are walking on dangerous ground and rocking the boat. But the alternative to taking this risk, is not knowing the answer. Remember than no answer IS AN ANSWER. You may have to read between the lines to understand what he ahs said, but if there is a gray area, chances are strong that he is either seeing someone else, thinking about it, open to it and unwilling to give up the candy store of opportunity and other women.
That may seem harsh, but it is the honest truth.
Some women worry about pushing a man away with this approach. well it could happen. Be realistic about the time frame. And age does matter here. Over 35, things are different than under 35. Younger men (and women) have less reason to hurry. So a guy of 25 might not be ready to get serious. Just keep that detail in the back of your mind.
However, knowing he doesn’t want exclusivity is still a good answer. Maybe not for this particular relationship. but it does free you up to find a man who has the same dating agenda as you do – a fun, loving, healthy, exclusive, relationship, leading to long-term romance and potential marriage for some. (Not everyone wants to get married, I know.)
I cal this "Asking the hard questions". It’s a right of passage in any relationship. Never shy away from the hard questions because these conversations help define your relationship and if it has merit, deepen and strengthen it as well.
Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony, MSN.com, MORE.com, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.