Dating Over 40: Getting to Exclusivity

You meet this great guy who seems very interested in you. He connects with you often via email and text. He calls you once a week and you see him one to three times a week – with him it tends to vary. Your time together is fun, he “gets” you and you can see falling for this guy.

The Question of Exclusivity

The big question is, is he seeing anyone else? Exclusivity comes into your mind. So, how do you find out if he is seeing other women?

As your dating coach, I want to speak plainly with you. I’m just going to come right out and tell you exactly what you need to hear. Expect that he is seeing other women.

Now it’s true, some men might not be seeing others. I’ve heard of guys who just want to focus on one woman to see if she’s a good fit before moving on to the next. He’s a rare guy. This strategy is called “Serial Dating,” when you get into relationships quickly that aren’t right, because you rush exclusivity.  I don’t recommend this.

Serial Dating is not efficient because it takes time to gather data on a guy to make sure he is the right one. Is he worth taking yourself off the market and closing out your options? Does he treat you right and consistent in his attention?  You cannot determine compatibility without spending considerable time with a man. That’s the only way to get to know him.

With Serial Dating, you are in and out of exclusive relationships frequently which can take its toll on your willingness to keep going. It brings more heartache and drama to your love life.

On the other hand, Rori Rae recommends Circular Dating. This strategy has you remain open to all options until a man asks you to be exclusive and you agree. On the other hand, if the man you’re seeing doesn’t ask you, Rori suggests you tell him you’ll continue to date others or start up again if you have lapsed.

When you choose to work with me as your dating coach, I recommend “Volume Dating”, dating several men simultaneously until they naturally fall away, you weed them out, or they meet your needs and are consistent enough to remain in the running. This just makes sense rather than getting your heart attached to a man prematurely, before you know he has Mr. Right potential.

However, once your heart is set on a guy, it will be too difficult to start dating other men. Why bother if you can’t seriously consider the new men you meet? That’s where Rori and I part company and why I agree with Evan Mack Katz . He recommends walking away from a guy who doesn’t want to be exclusive, rather than pressuring him into it. Most of the time, Evan’s advice and mine jive and I feel he is right on the money.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to your age. In your 20’s, you have to give guys more time to commit to exclusivity. At 30 something, you start to feel the bio clock ticking, so commitment becomes more important. And, in your 40’s, if men are scared off by the idea of commitment – I say “Good riddance!” Thanks for opting out and making your choice easier.

So, if you are in your 40’s and in search of a long-term relationship (any maybe marriage), then date lots of men casually until the prospects shake out and you can select one guy. In 3 months, if your guy hasn’t brought up exclusivity, bring it up yourself.

Here’s how. The best way to bring up a tough topic is when you are on a walk or sitting in the car. Being side by side is less confronting for men because they don’t’ have to look you in the eye. Then ask him with one of these questions:

1) Do you think it’s time to hide our profiles? I still have men contacting me.

2) How do you feel about exclusivity?

3) This is awkward, but the other day a guy asked for my number and I wasn’t sure if I should give it to him or not. So I thought I’d ask you.

Then be quiet. Do not say another word. Let him say something, anything before you start talking again.

As you can see, these are not direct questions about exclusivity. You aren’t saying, “I think we should be exclusive – what do you think?” These questions have been crafted to give your man the ability to have exclusivity seem like his idea. The sentence structure and message are less confrontational.

Still, men might squirm. Expect this. You are not striking up an easy conversation. But it is needed. Be brave and go for it. Keep in mind, exclusivity doesn’t mean you’ll get married. But at least you’ll be focusing on each other to see what may come of it.

I also suggest giving your guy time to come around. He might not immediately embrace exclusivity. Give him up to one month to see what happens. If he can’t commit to exclusivity by then, he is not the right man for you. He has demonstrated that he’s not relationship ready and that disqualifies him from Mr. Right status. You might as well find out before you invest six months or more. That’s when you’ll have to walk away so you can look for a man who is ready.

If you have any questions about getting to exclusivity, feel free to give me a call.203-877-3777. This week I’m offering 15 minute sessions for just $37. That’s affordable for anyone!

Photo Credit: Oberazzi

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

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