Thursday, April 03, 2008

Are You in an Exclusive Relationship -- Or a Harem?

Just before Easter, I made the acquaintance of Scot and Emily McKay, two dating coaches who met online. I particularly liked this refreshing and empowering article of Emily's:

Relationships can be so confusing sometimes, especially when communication is not at its best.

It's easy to automatically think that the other person feels the same way we do. The fear that we may be wrong prevents us from talking about it. So many people believe they are in an exclusive relationship when the other person just sees him or her as one of many available options.

There are at least 5 very easy ways to avoid confusion as to where you stand:

1. You and a man you are seeing should have a talk about your feelings about each other and about how you two feel about seeing other people. If he does not want to share you with other men, he will make sure you know this. But make sure he will reciprocate. Sometimes a man is capable of building a harem with women who are faithful to him while he still allows himself all the ladies he wants. If he wants a harem, then you are free to date whoever you want. Just remember the two of you are no more than friends with benefits.

Last night Scot and I went out to a live music dance club. This place is special to me because it is where he made me more than just a friend. Scot let me know his intentions to be good to me and protect my heart. He asked me to be his girlfriend--for us to be in an exclusive relationship with each other. This was made very clear without doubts.

Remember: If you have to ask, then you are not exclusive.

2. If a man is focusing on you alone, he will want to see you as often as he can in a week--especially if you live in the same city and work allows free time. Seeing each other at least three times a week portends this fairly accurately. Men and women only have so many days out of the week to go out on dates. Are those times spent with you or are they shared with a list of other women? If you only see him every other week, then most likely you're not the only one he is seeing.

3. A man who is interested only in you looks forward to making plans for weekends with you, and may be planning trips for the two of you to go on. While it's true he may be spontaneous and call you at the last minute to join him for an outing, a good sign thathe has a harem is that he always waits until the last minute to ask you out. This usually happens because he's not so sure if the one he asked as his first choice will show up. Maybe she even canceled on him.

Don't confuse this with spontaneity. I'm not talking about a surprise or a gift; I'm talking about if the "last minute notice" is a habit. He is waiting to see if someone better to go out with will be available, as being pinned down to plans does not leave him options. Think about this if he calls you Friday at 6:00 to invite you to a concert for that day, and he had the tickets for 3 months. Why would he not give you more notice?Because the person he planned to take flaked out on him, that's why. If you did not know about it at all then it absolutely was a girl who flaked out, not one of the guys.

4. As his exclusive girlfriend if you need to reach him for something important, he is ok with you calling him at home or on his cell phone any time of the day or night. But if you are part of a harem, there are rules like not calling at night or on his home phone. Also you always seem to get voice mail, having to wait for when it is convenient for him to call you and talk. If he leaves on a trip and will not talk to you while he is gone, then this is a red flag that he has at least one other girlfriend or maybe even a wife.

5. The famous words of a harem builder are, "I would love to settle down when the right woman comes along". This statement is used to pose a challenge to you, which will make you feel that you have to prove that you are the right woman and that if you stick around he will figure that out eventually. After you have been dating for a few months things should be moving forward, in an exclusive relationship. Not that you have a ring on your finger yet, but that you have conversations about the future together, kids, and getting to know one another. This also needs to be demonstrated with actions, not just words. An example would be going from seeing you once a week inthe start of a relationship to increasing it over time to 2, 3, or 4 times a week.

If a relationship you are in has been on for a while but is the same as day one, it's time to consider what we've talked about today as a very possible reason why.

Emily McKay is a dating coach and Internet radio talk show host with X & Y Communications. Her latest program, Click With Him, empowers women to find and attract the right man, online OR offline. It can be found by clicking here. Emily and her husband, Scot, are also available for personal dating and relationship coaching by phone. For information, click here.