If you had a friend who said, "I'm dating this awesome new guy. Oh, by the way, he dates multiple people as a way of dealing with his low self-esteem and I am one of those people," what would you tell them? I get the sense that you maybe have a tendency to throw caution to the wind when you're caught up in the passion of dating someone new and getting excited about them, maybe sometimes to your own detriment.
I think it's a good thing if this guy excites you and makes you happy and all that, but I also think that you sound like someone who's fundamentally monogamous and trying to reason herself out of being monogamous so she can keep having the thrill of this guy. And that doesn't work. You can't reason with the heart. That said, if dating this guy right now is working for you, then that's awesome and you should keep doing it.
I don't think there is a way for you to force yourself to be okay with his dating other people, and it may get harder as time goes on. Truthfully, this doesn't seem like a relationship that has a hugely promising future, at least from where I sit. Also, both because of the overall question and the way you described your behavior in past relationships: Even people who are really into poly and like it for its own sake find it stressful at times. Don't fight yourself if you don't want to do it. This kind of says it all. Maybe you should just enjoy it for now knowing that he has given you permission to break up guilt free.
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Once you get past the first throes of sexual desire some of his issues will likely start to bother you more. It's perfectly reasonable if you don't want someone you're having sex with to be having sex with someone else. Normally I'd say six weeks was way too soon for exclusive dating, but then I'm one of those old-fashioned people who would wait longer than six weeks to have sex with someone.
Once you've crossed that Rubicon, I am also old-fashioned enough to think it changes things. Put me in a glass case and stand me in a museum, I guess. But apparently it did change things for you. You started the relationship on nonexclusive terms, so he's not misleading you. But it turns out that what he's offering is not what you want. You have every right to change your mind, but that means walking away.
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Otherwise, you have to face that or you're going to be emotionally torturing yourself. Asking this question is like asking how you can saw your arm off at the elbow without feeling pain at any point. You should take some time to work on your control and trust issues, but even when that's settled, it's totally ok to want a monogamous partner. I wouldn't want my dude dipping his pretzel in someone else's mustard either. Having already been married twice, and now questioning a six week relationship, maybe in addition to the control and trust issues, you should look into whether or not "settling" is an issue for you.
Do you go along with partners that seem "good enough" even if in your gut something is bothering you about the relationship, like right now? As far as living in the present, do whatever the hell you want. IF you don't then don't and allow yourself to do so without an excuse. These relationships only work if both of you are open about it from the beginning. As a guy, it sounds like he just wants to hook up and have fun. If you are OK with that, go for it, but be aware that it may not last.
I think this is an excellent opportunity to practice enjoying someone without losing yourself in the limerance and the struggle to form a permanent bond.
1. You can still date whoever you want and not get in trouble for it.
I say this coming out of a long period of quickly developing heavy relationships with codependant qualities myself. It is a huge relief to finally have a crush on someone and enjoy it without making it into my raison d'etre. Can you spend time with him, have sex with him and even love him in a way that doesn't involve engineering yourself to be suited for this relationship? If you can't, then you should start seeing a therapist and stop seeing him and learn how. Please, please don't try to "fix" yourself for him. The therapist will help you with that, but they certainly won't do it so you can date this person.
Non-monogamy is great for many and maybe you can swing it with him, but you won't end up anywhere good thinking about this the way you are now.
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It's not a question of "being ready to commit" to one person when someone's preferred relationship style is non-monogamous; I know plenty of people who are committed to two or three or more partners. It sounds like you are also self-medicating via your interactions with this guy. What you describe sounds more like getting high than being in a relationship. You're married contentiously divorcing , so not exactly available yourself; you have a lot of grown-up responsibilities and forgive me, but "kids who take some of my time" raises an eyebrow This guy is probably a very welcome diversion from all that.
Since breaking up with him isn't an option, per your Ask, then you have two options as I see it: He chooses to end things with you at some point, for whatever reason on his end. Are you OK with getting dumped after spending x-amount of time bending yourself to fit what he wants? Will you feel used, or will you feel OK that it was just a temporary, mutually-fun time? You find yourself getting increasingly anxious, and start to play out your previous patterns of behavior, and it escalates into something extremely painful for you, and you end up breaking it off, and then having to spend x-amount of time undoing the damage.
He's told you exactly who he is, and how he sees you as medication, as an emotional bong-hit. He has no incentive to change. As long as you are OK with the temporary high of dating this guy, with the knowledge that you will crash hard and have a long detox afterwards, then carry on. It kind of sounds like you want a monogamous relationship but feel like you should be fine with a nonmonogamous relationship, so you're trying to figure out how to stop wanting the thing you want, which is exclusivity.
It seems like you've sort of bought into the idea that wanting monogamy is inherently backward, and accepting nonmonogamy is more advanced, so you're trying to achieve being okay with it. I think what the folks here are telling you is that whichever you want, that's kinda what you want, and you probably shouldn't fight yourself about it.
The fact that monogamy isn't guaranteed to be successful doesn't mean you shouldn't do it; nonmonogamy isn't guaranteed to be successful either. People in multiple relationships or open relationships still get hurt, lied to, damaged I'd recommend listening to yourself and realizing that monogamy is actually pretty important to you, so you want to look for somebody who wants that, too. I spent a year in a previous relationship trying to be okay with non-monogamy, even though it deeply bothered me.
I wanted it so badly to work, the chemistry, the butterflies, everything you describe was there. I knew if I just tried hard enough I could be the "cool girlfriend" he needed and I'd make everything work and he'd see how awesome and freethinking and amazing I was. But it was just wrong for me.
I don't know if it's possible for me to overstate the massive toll the whole thing took on my mental health. The relationship ended over seven years ago, and I'm in a much better place now, but there are still areas where I'm dealing with the emotional and logistical fallout every day. You have to do what's best for yourself, and while I certainly don't know exactly what that is for you, your description of this relationship especially the guy's "low self-esteem" spiel and the high intensity and of your feelings in it hits really close to home for me.
There is nothing wrong or controlling about wanting monogamy, and you aren't less of a person for needing it. That was a hard realization for me, but now that I know that it's something I fundamentally need, I can be honest about it with others and most importantly, with myself. Take care of yourself above all else. There sure is a lot of "this is the way relationships have to be"-ism here. Is it mutually satisfying and growth producing?
Can it be made so? If so, it's as good as relationships get and you should both keep it, as long as possible. Note I did not say anything about exclusive, committed, or permanent. Those aren't the same. Folks pushing you to get into a commitment zone might want to take note that a you didn't do too well in the prior one and b neither did they if they are normal adults how many had just one? Woman, you are powerful.
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You are in charge. You can do whatever you want. No one can tell you how or when to be happy and no one, not your family, friends, or community, can stand in your way of trying on different clothes, as it were. If this man makes you happy for a year, what a year it will be.
If 10, you will be 3 beyond most married folks. The best model is what works for you, and for NewGuy. Even if that's conventional commitment.
I'm just not a fan of one-size-fits-all. Goodness me, without the chemistry you're experiencing this guy sounds terrible on paper frankly - barely holding it together in multiple ways it seems - and further, he seems exactly structured to bring out and fan your absolute worst insecurities and behaviours.
Good luck to you if you stick to it, but yikes, he doesn't sounds like any kind of relationship material - open or closed - to me, and it's super dooper clear you emotionally want and need something more than friends-with-benefits, which is all this is ever going to be. You're allowed to want things in a relationship and not have them solely on someone else's terms, that's okay.
If you persist with this I think you should totally continue dating. It's unlikely for someone who wants to be monogamous to be ok with a non-monogamous partner. This is the origin of a large amount of the pain people face when trying to be non-monogamous in this culture. This suggests a "maturation model" in your mind, wherein he'll ripen into someone who does want exclusivity sometime. Many non-monogamous people do not and will not. I suggest you treat him as such and keep your expectations of your relationship here limited and short: On a separate note, people with such low self-esteem assuming your diagnosis is correct that they need the external ego strokes of multiple relationships are not ready for a deep, stable, mature relationship, monogamous or otherwise.