I feel a way that exclusive dating died and someone forgot to tell me.
Was there a death announcement? A funeral? A meeting on Black Twitter? Anything!
I wish that before I started seriously dating about a year ago that I was informed that exclusive dating was so 2014. I was very bothered by this idea and I had questions.
How can you really get to know someone when that person is dating multiple people?
Is this person having sex with all these people they are dating?
Do you really think I’m about to compete with these other women you’re dating? Look at me. *flips hair*
I heavily resisted non-exclusive dating because I was so hung up on the answers to these questions. However, once I got over it and accepted that non-exclusive dating was the norm I started considering the potential benefits.
Before I get into the top 3 benefits of non-exclusive dating, I want to dispel some myths about non-exclusive dating.
Myth #1: If you are seeing multiple people then you must be having sex with them.
Truth: You can choose to have sex with no one or choose to exclusively have one sexual partner. Sexual partners and dating partners are not synonymous. Communicate with the people you are dating and establish clear boundaries that you feel comfortable with for each person.
Myth 2: I barely have time to date one person, so it’s impossible to date multiple people.
Truth: You have the time to date multiple people; however, you may have to limit the amount of time that you are spending with each person. That may not seem ideal; however, remember you are just in the “getting to know each other phase.” This is not bae. (Still not convinced you can date with a busy schedule. Check out 5 Tips to Find the Time to Date with a Busy Schedule).
Myth #3: I can’t get to know someone if I’m dating more than one person.
Truth: Yes you can, and you already do this in other areas of your life. You are able to maintain friendships with multiple people at once, so apply the same skills you use to balance your various friendships to your dating life.
Now that we have the myths debunked. Let’s get to the top 3 benefits for non-exclusive dating.
Benefit #1: Prevents you from acting like you’re in a committed relationship.
Whether people intend for it to happen or not, they treat exclusive dating the same as being in a relationship. This then leads to you expecting relationship behaviors from someone that you’re just getting to know. What exactly are relationship behaviors? Things like expecting this person to call you every day, to begin to seamlessly incorporate you into their daily lives and planned activities, and most of all seeking some form of commitment.
Benefit #2: Allows you the opportunity to fully explore your options.
I know, I know, we are in the swipe right [or left] culture, where people don’t necessarily commit because of the thought that there is always something better out there. However, I argue that not settling can be a good thing. Specifically, people often settle for someone because they were the first person they met or they have invested so much time and energy in a person that they never provide themselves with the opportunity to explore whether or not a more ideal fit exists for them.
Benefit #3: Ability to establish clarity about your desires in a relationship.
Dating non-exclusively helps you get clear about what you really want in a partner. You often start dating with an idea of what you THINK you want in a partner (or you could be like me and have no idea what you want), but until you’re actively dating you can’t be sure of what you really want (or need rather). Dating non-exclusively allows you to refine your vision of an ideal partner and get more specific about the things that matter to you the most.
Are you convinced that non-exclusive dating is the way to go? Talk to me.
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