Search Me (My Blog)

Apr 23, 2013

Exclusivity, Commitment, and Serial Monogamy

When I first thought of dating and relationships, it was pretty clear to me that from the moment I asked a woman out or accepted a suggestion that I would date her exclusively.

In particular this meant several things in my mind:

1) Placing all other/pending/future suggestions on hold, telling them that I am busy.
2) Dedicating myself and my energy to getting to know this one woman. In other words, prioritizing dating and the relationship with her. 
3) Staying involved until (a) I am certain I know her well and (b) I've clearly determined she's not for me.

Thinking back, I see this as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I do enjoy focusing my energy on one woman. I happen to be very one-on-one focused, and I experience a unique joy in spending time with individual friends in contrast to group hangouts. On the other hand, it's a high level of investment, commitment, and dedication for someone I have never met and -let's be honest -owe nothing to aside from the aforementioned date.

This type of serial monogamy in dating is likely the culprit for my (a) continuing to ask women out after a date or two based on the assumption that I don't know her well enough to make a decision, (b) feeling pressured to cram more and more into less time, and (c) feeling committed to someone I've barely met.

As an added consequence, I'm often much more interested in talking through our differences in values, viewpoints, observance, or things I hear (or witness) that bother me. I am often ready to do this even on a first date or an initial conversation, though my experience is that most people take months to get to that point.
I also am willing to become invested, to be open and vulnerable quite early on. I'm the type of person who feels it's important to have an open heart and isn't worried about being rejected or hurt -my heart is strong enough to handle that.

What I have felt is stress and pressure, particularly with respect to my predetermined dedication. At times I feel like I'm pressuring myself to be prematurely committed to her. I also have experienced exhaustion, and a feeling of unbalanced reciprocation. I rarely feel that the woman I'm dating is giving me the same chance or dedication I give her, and it can be a frustrating feeling. 

I'm still teasing out all these feelings, and trying to balance my values with some of the frustration I experience. I also expect that this part of my personality has a significant effect on how I present myself on dates, and in particular how it impacts the first impression I give off.

1 comment:

  1. I just discovered your blog and had some thoughts on your posting.

    I, in contrast to you, hold back quite a bit. What I show of myself on the first couple of dates is the superficial me. Not that I'm pretending to be someone else or to have/not have certain qualities. But I won't expose the real me completely. It's a matter of protecting myself. (Plus, sometimes it's more of like, why bother, if it's obvious at first glance that the relationship won't be going further? The system we have means that most of my dates are blind dates, so more often that not, while the guys are nice, I totally have no interest in ever seeing them past two dates.)

    My heart too is strong enough to handle rejection. That's how G-d created us humans. No one in this world has the power to break me and make me not want to keep living and enjoying life. But unless you know first-hand how much your heart can truly hurt, I'm not sure it's possible for one to comprehend the full extent of the pain.

    You can compare it to any other part of your body. For example, I can hurt my hand without it breaking at all. I can sprain it or whatnot - there are no cracks at all, but the pain is still excruciating. Even if I hurt it doing something I love, if that something causes that type of injury frequently, you can bet that I won't want to do whatever it is all that often. Or, at the very least, I'll wear super protective gloves to protect me :)