Q & A Wednesday: To be exclusive or not, that is the question!
I’m in my late fifties, and I find it hard to meet men online that I want to date more than once. I’ve been out on four dates with ‘Johnny’. I like him enough to continue getting to know him, but not enough to be exclusive. After our last date, Johnny told me he wanted to be exclusive with me. When is the ‘right’ time to let him know that I’m not yet ready for that kind of relationship with him? I want to keep my options open. What’s the best way to tell him? I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Relationships are complex, aren’t they? To find someone whose personality, values and goals are aligned with yours is hard enough. But to be in perfect alignment in terms of a relationship timeline? Now that is even more difficult to achieve.
I am not sure whether you’re just not that into him but want to keep dating him because he’s pleasant enough. I know how difficult it can be to meet a guy who is date-worthy.
I don’t mean to sound negative, only realistic. Looking for love is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. You just keep looking and looking, or in your case, dating and dating, until you find the one.
Keep on dating Johnny if he is someone you enjoy spending time with, if you look forward to seeing him, and if the relationship is escalating forward.
It’s perfectly fine that you’re not in the same place he is in terms of commitment.
I would be honest with him, the sooner the better.
I would say something like this, “Johnny, I’m really enjoying getting to know you. I am flattered that you want to be exclusive with me. I’m not at that point yet, and I know I need to trust my own timeline. If I am exclusive with you because I want to make you happy but I’m not ready, it won’t be good for either one of us.
You’re free to do whatever you like, but I am not ready for an exclusive relationship with you. If that works for you, let’s continue to see each other and see where this goes. If that’s not going to work for you and you need to move on and find someone else, I understand.”
And then see what he says.
Hopefully he will value you enough to trust your timeline. If not, you will feel good with the knowledge that you were honest and open with your feelings. You’ll both know where you stand, which is so important in relationships.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!