The Blind Spot In Rori Raye’s Circular Dating

The Blind Spot In Rori Raye’s Circular DatingIf you saw a woman who was about to drive off a cliff, would you tell her?

You’re standing on the sidewalk. She’s plowing over orange cones and through the yellow police tape towards a towering precipice.

Yeah, you’d try to stop her.

And the faster she accelerates, the more frantic you get, watching her willingly (and confusingly) speed towards the chasm.

I’m even gonna bet that if you were witnessing something so damaging, you might even put yourself in harm’s way to protect the innocent drivers. Maybe you wouldn’t dive in front of the car, but you’d run and wave your hands and scream at the top of your lungs – anything to avert what is sure to be a serious accident.

This is what it felt like to be featured on my friend Rori Raye’s blog last week, in a post entitled “The Circular Dating Argument”.

I went there to save some lives – and took quite a beating for doing so.

First of all, I need to establish that Rori’s a good friend and I have no doubt that all the women who read her are kind people. Over the past few years, Rori’s products have taken off like a rocket, inspiring a legion of passionate followers. Any time I’d like to think that I’m making a big impact on the world over here, I remember that Rori’s mailing list dwarfs mine.

Which is why I’m always flattered when Rori reaches out to tell me she enjoyed one of my newsletters or wants to mention me in a blog post.

And after an interview I did with her last week for her audio series, we engaged in an email dialogue about one of her signature concepts: Circular Dating.

The definition on her site is benign: “Dating several men (at least 3) all at the same time. You accept the date with the man who calls first, and do not shuffle times or even think about manipulating the schedule in order to get dates with the man you like best, or dates to the most fun places. Circular dating is about Free Therapy and practicing Rori Raye Tools. It is not about finding Mr. Right.”

Nothing to argue with here. What Rori calls Circular Dating, I just call “dating”. Be proactive, date lots of people, have fun, don’t get too excited about a promising prospect – we’re all on the same page so far.

Where this concept of Circular Dating breaks down for me, however – the reason I wanted to guest blog on her website – is this idea:

The concept of circular dating (CDing) is ostensibly supposed to last all the way up until you’re married. Meaning: a woman can tell her devoted boyfriend of a year that since she doesn’t yet have a ring, she’s going to see other people.

You hear that sound? It’s a record scratching.

Yes, there’s something highly discordant about this principle, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for nearly a week.

Believe me, I understand the emotion behind Circular Dating. All you have to do is read this blog to know that I am intimately familiar with the frustrations and fears of women. And because way too many women have invested way too much time in men who decided that they didn’t want to get married, CDing is, presumably, a way of protecting oneself.

My argument against circular dating has nothing to do with a failure to understand women’s needs, a defense of selfish commitmentphobes, or a personal axe to grind against Rori or her readers. My argument against circular dating centers around only one simple premise: it doesn’t work when you have a good boyfriend.

My argument against circular dating centers around only one simple premise: it doesn’t work when you have a good boyfriend.

If you have a boyfriend who is consistent and kind and also wants to be married one day, and you tell him, in a moment of insecurity, that you can’t stand waiting any longer – “it’s been seven months and we’re not engaged, so I’m going to start seeing other men” – you’re essentially taking a dagger to the heart of your relationship. And if you have a boyfriend who isn’t consistent, isn’t kind, and never wants to be married, there’s no need to “circular date”. Just dump him and find the man who treats you well and ultimately wants a commitment. And yes, it is that simple.

The friction here comes from women who want to KNOW that their investment in a man is going to lead to marriage. The problem is that you CAN’T know. All you can know is whether he’s a man of high character, a man who has spoken of a future, a man whose heart is in the right place. Beyond that, there are no guarantees.

No one wants to feel insecure and off-balance. No one wants to waste time on a dead-end relationship. But just because a man isn’t positive he wants to marry you doesn’t mean you break the bonds of exclusivity. If I’m your boyfriend and you start seeing other men, you are essentially cheating on me, and it doesn’t make me feel better about you, our relationship, or our future together.

That’s pretty much the gist of what I said to Rori’s readers. I used metaphors, anecdotes, capital letters, and wrote the way I normally do on here – blunt, powerful, and very confident that what I wrote has a sound basis in truth.

Not my opinion. Truth. About how men think. Good men. The men you want.

If you start to “circular date” when you have a man who is on the precipice of wanting to spend the rest of his life with you, you might actually be driving him away.

And try though I might, I can’t think of too many confident men who feel that their exclusive girlfriend has a right to date other men after 6 months, 12 months or 18 months, merely because she’s insecure that he might not marry her. She can certainly dump him (which is a good strategy when you’re getting past three years of dating.) But seeing other guys while you’re boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t sit well with me. I speak for most men and remain firm in this sentiment. (By the way, if there are any guys here who are cool with your girlfriend dating other guys as a way of protecting herself and forcing you to shit or get off the pot, please speak up. I’m open to being wrong here.)

Predictably, then came the blowback.

I won’t go into details but I was told in a number of ways that I was wrong. That I was arrogant. That I don’t understand women. That I was verbally abusive. That my marriage was suspect. That my wife was a doormat. And so on and so forth.

I tried, in vain, to reiterate my point of view – which is that I’m offering a constructive, not destructive, criticism of circular dating. I don’t stand to gain anything from “being right” in this situation. But if you start to “circular date” when you have a man who is on the precipice of wanting to spend the rest of his life with you, you might actually be driving him away. And that’s dangerous if you believe that this is solid advice that considers how men think. It is not. It doesn’t consider how men think. It’s advice that may make women feel better, but doesn’t do what it’s designed to do. Which is why I felt like the guy standing on the side of the road, waving his arms, determined not to let any women go over the cliff with this well-intentioned, but ultimately misguided, take on how to get a man to commit.

Naturally, I got run over in the process. C’est la vie. At least I tried. But since I still believe my take on the male mindset is equally valuable as any woman’s take on it, I wanted to respond to the main areas in which Rori’s readers falsely dissected and misinterpreted my argument:

He should know if he wants to marry me. No, actually, he should not. That’s why men date. To figure out, over the course of time, if he wants to spend the next 35 years with you. And that’s exactly what you should be doing with him, as well. Nobody told you to invest three years of your life in a man who has stated that he never wants to get married. Definitely not me. But if you have a boyfriend who wants to get married one day, but he’s not sure if it’s to you, your best bet is to give him lots of time to figure it out before proposing. If you’re under 40, we’re talking at least two years. Over 40, at least a year. But trying to make him figure out the answer to something that he couldn’t possibly know is a recipe for a breakup. Men don’t respond well to being told what to do. As Dr. Pat Allen said: “If you tell a man what to do and he listens, he isn’t a man.” I’m not stating whether this is fair or not; I’m merely stating that it’s true.

Some men just know after 3 months, therefore all men should know that fast. Actually, anyone who claims to “just know” that it’s “right” after one week, one month, or three months has a very selective memory. I “just knew” that my girlfriend in 2003 was right for me. She dumped me after 6 months. Same with the one in 2004, who dumped me after 3 months. So much for “just knowing”. Look back at your history. You have a similar story.

The right man knows right away. You might have a strong chemistry and a great feeling about a guy, but lifetime relationships take years to forge, not months. Lots of marriages began with the man knowing right away. And a majority of those marriages ended in divorce. Be careful about rushing into things: you very well could marry the wrong man – where if you dated him for two years, you would have learned more about him and potentially averted a mistake.

A man who is right for you would not risk losing you to another man while he makes up his mind. Au contraire: the right man is a responsible decision-maker. And a responsible decision-maker doesn’t make the decision to marry a woman until he knows her for a really long time and can see how she handles life situations. He may rightfully determine that if his exclusive girlfriend handles her insecurity by insisting that she “circular date”, he could find a healthier relationship without all the drama, fear, and insecurity.

Playing it cool is denying my true feelings. We don’t have to live our lives as mere victims of our feelings. After all, just because you feel something doesn’t necessarily make it true. I had one girlfriend who nearly had a heart attack every time I picked up a Maxim magazine. She may have been entitled to her feelings, but her insecurity that I couldn’t be attracted to her if I was also attracted to a model ended up destroying our relationship. Even her own therapist told her that I was a normal guy and that she should temper her jealous overreactions. So while I’ll never tell you that you’re not entitled to feel what you feel, if what you feel (anxiety, fear, insecurity) becomes your boyfriend’s problem – when he hasn’t done anything wrong – it’s really on you to deal in a healthier fashion.

I don’t want to be the girlfriend, I want to be the wife! You don’t become the wife unless you’re the amazing girlfriend first. If you think that he should marry you because you’ve been together for three months and you love him, then he should have also proposed to about a dozen women he dated for three months before you. Right?

I should be allowed to CD ‘til my wedding day because I don’t want just “a boyfriend”. No one is asserting that you should be content to be merely a girlfriend forever. All I’m saying is that if you’re with a man who believes in marriage, you have to allow him to come to his own conclusions over time. And if you think you’re restricting your options by being faithful, then, by all means, circular date. You’ll just end up losing your boyfriend when you do.

A man who doesn’t marry you is selfish. A man who knowingly strings you along for three years when he has no intention of ever marrying you IS selfish. I’m not talking about that guy. I’m talking about men who do want to get married, but aren’t positive if they want to marry YOU. If I didn’t marry my wife after 16 months of dating, it wouldn’t mean that I knowingly used her for that time. It simply meant that I was trying on the relationship for size to see if it fit for the rest of my life and decided it wasn’t a good fit. MOST relationships break up because either the man or the woman comes to this conclusion. Yet MOST people end up getting married one day. This seems to conclude that most men are marriage minded; they might not necessarily want to marry you, though.

Your way gives men all the power, Evan. By letting men take their time to decide if they want to get married, women are relegated to become the selectee and not the selector. Not remotely true. Who said he has the power? Aren’t you 50% of the relationship? Aren’t you thinking clearly about his flaws and whether you can live with them for the rest of your life? Don’t you have the right to break up with him at any point if you conclude that he’s a good guy, but not your soulmate? Why, yes you can! Which means that BOTH parties are taking an equal risk when committing to each other without a ring – not just you.

CDing gives me my power back over a hot-and-cold man. Maybe it does. But I have a slightly different take on this. A) Don’t date other men. Dump him. Walk away with your head held high and say, “I really care about you, but I’m not getting my needs met here. This is too inconsistent for me and I need to feel safe. Good luck.” And don’t look back. THAT’s how you handle the hot and cold guy. If he comes running back, you may have a boyfriend. If he lets you go, he’s not the guy for you. B) Do you really WANT a guy who is so hot and cold, who leaves you walking on eggshells? Do you really want to be in that relationship for 35 years, where he’s so selfish or such a poor communicator that you never know where you stand? If so, then do everything in your power to get him back – including CDing. But the smart money – given that people rarely change – is on dumping him.

Why should one man monopolize my time? I want to explore all my options. I’m still having trouble fathoming this: the woman ostensibly wants a husband but doesn’t want a boyfriend because she should be out playing the field. Um, I hate to tell you, but the only guy who’s ever going to propose to you is the guy who has been your exclusive boyfriend for a year-plus. And if you refuse to stop exploring your options, no guy worth his salt is gonna stick around. This is the epitome of false female empowerment. You’re not keeping your options open if you’re dating other guys outside of your boyfriend: you’re cheating.

Why should I spend 5-10 years with a man without a ring? Beats the hell out of me. Everything I’ve ever written tells you to leave a guy who a) never wants to get married or b) doesn’t propose to you in a reasonable amount of time.

Which is a great opportunity for me to distinguish between a man’s reasonable amount of time and a woman’s reasonable amount of time…

Waiting investing and being vulnerable is the best way to find loveIt terrifies me to potentially spend 2 years with a man without a ring. How am I supposed to know which is which? I can completely empathize with your fear. Millions of relationships have endured for far too long, even though they were dead ends. Especially when they’re dead ends. Once you’ve sunk enough time into anything, it’s hard to walk away, even if the relationship isn’t right. So my contention isn’t that it’s easy to be in a relationship when there’s no guarantee of a happy ending. It’s difficult and scary and insecure and all those other feelings you associate with being in limbo. My contention is simply that waiting, investing, and being vulnerable is the BEST way to find love. At the very least, it’s far superior to being fearful and insecure, to the point that you break up with a marriage-oriented man after four months because he can’t guarantee you a ring.

Once again, I’m not basing this on my personal feelings about this. I’m basing this on common principles of human behavior: the way things ARE instead of how we WANT them to be.

My contention is simply that waiting, investing, and being vulnerable is the BEST way to find love.

Sure, it’s scary to be with a guy for 24 months and not have a ring. But the only way you GET the ring is by investing 24 months and being the kind of woman that he can’t imagine living without. If you start to make waves about how nervous you are after three months, six months, one year, etc… you’re putting a lot of pressure on the man before HE’S ready to make his decision.

And that’s the one thing that the Rori followers almost universally did NOT seem to get – that 50% of the relationship is about what HE wants. I know Rori’s message is about female empowerment, having confidence, etc. But if you’re tone deaf to your partner’s needs, you’re going to find yourself without a partner.

Same as the guy who tries too hard to get laid on the first date.

Same as the guy who thinks it’s fair that you pick up the check because you wrote to him online and make more money.

Same as the guy who never wants to hear about your day and only wants to talk about his…

This may or may not be a bad guy – but his refusal to understand your needs means that he will probably alienate you and lose the prospect of dating you.

And just because YOU want him to know that he wants to marry you within eight months doesn’t mean that HE’s going to know.

Case in point: I have five close friends who have gotten married in the past three years.

We are all college educated, literate, six-figure earners. We are readers, we are sports fans, and we dream of having families. We’re very comfortable around women, yet none of us would be termed an “alpha male”. We’re nice Jewish boys.

Every single one of these men – all GREAT catches – waited 3 years before proposing. Three of them even have older wives – 40, 41 years old – just like I do.

Why did it take so long?

Because they take marriage very seriously.

Because they didn’t want to make a huge mistake.

Because they really wanted to be POSITIVE before buying a diamond ring.

And if dating for two years, moving in together, and proposing when they felt it was right meant that the men felt confident going into their marriage, it seems to me that all five women who did it “my way” by playing it cool ended up WINNING.

They got married. They got the guys they wanted.

By playing it cool, not getting consumed by insecurity, and trusting that the man that you love does NOT want to hurt you, you allow him to choose you on his timetable, instead of putting pressure on him to choose before he’s ready.

However, the ONLY way that all of us got married was because our girlfriends DIDN’T start dating other men when we were together.

If they DID start dating other men when we were together, the relationships would have been undermined – and, likely, destroyed. CDing wouldn’t make me feel closer to my wife. It wouldn’t make me feel like like I was losing my soulmate. It would make me feel like I’m losing someone who has no respect for my timetable, and is making a threat that is completely tone-deaf to my needs.

By playing it cool, not getting consumed by insecurity, and trusting that the man that you love does NOT want to hurt you, you allow him to choose you on his timetable, instead of putting pressure on him to choose before he’s ready.

So even though the idea behind Rori’s Circular Dating is to establish self-love and healthy boundaries, dating other men when you have a good, marriage-oriented boyfriend is simply NOT EFFECTIVE. And if you don’t have a good, marriage-oriented boyfriend, I submit that you should break up with him. Who knows? Maybe that’s the only difference between Rori and me.

Taken to its extreme – which is what I’m talking about here – Circular Dating is a fear-based mechanism to protect women from commitmentphobes – yet it will alienate any man who is rightfully wants to take his time to figure out if he wants to spend the rest of his life with you.

To sum up, you should date around all you want until you have a boyfriend.
But once you have a boyfriend, the ONLY way to make it a healthy relationship is to TRUST. Your fears about wasting time only indicate that you believe that he is not a good enough man to want what is best for both of you.

You know the only guy among my friends who got engaged before 3 years? Me.

Of course, that’s because I’m a sensitive guy who spends every waking second listening to women’s needs and the last thing I wanted to do was waste my wife’s biological clock on my inner turmoil. After proposing to her in 16 months (half the time of my friends’ courtships, twice as long as most Rori fans seem to think it should take), I still wasn’t “positive”. But since I’d dated hundreds of women, and coached thousands more, I figured I was making a highly informed decision about my future. It turned out to be the right one and we’re the happiest couple we know.

Yet if a man had a marriage go bust, has been burned by relationships before, or has very little experience with women, so that he doesn’t really know WHAT he’s looking for, it will take him a LONG TIME to figure out if he wants to marry you.

I implore you, from the bottom of my heart, to allot him that time.

He’s a good man. He doesn’t want to hurt you. He just wants to be sure.

Playing it cool certainly doesn’t guarantee marriage, but it DOES maximize your chance of marriage.

And, as a dating coach for women, that’s really what I’m here for – to help you make good, informed decisions that will be effective in landing the man of your dreams.

Whether you’ve been reading me for a long time, or if you’re a Rori fan who just came over here for the first time today, I hope that my intentions are clear:

I’m YOUR advocate. I speak on YOUR behalf, not on behalf of men.

But just like a man can’t have a successful relationship if he’s ignoring your needs, you can’t have a successful relationship and ignore what your man is thinking.

I hope you’ll highly consider this respectful rebuttal from an informed male perspective and we can all go back to finding love once again.

Warmest wishes,

Evan

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Comments:

  1. 121
    Karl R

    GingerSky said: (#124)
    “men CDing is just a sign he’s not husband material or doesn’t want you…”

    And men view women’s Circlular Dating the exact same way. She’s not wife material or she just doesn’t want me.

    It’s that simple.

    And no matter how long and convoluted your explanation (or Rori’s), the good, decent men aren’t going to accept it. Actions speak louder than bullshit.

    Because I know I’m a decent guy. I know how I treat women. And when I want a commited relationship with a woman, I know that I don’t screw with her like that.

    GingerSky said: (#124)
    “men can now claim a woman as their own with *no commitment*,”

    Bullshit.

    If we are dating exclusively, than I have made the exact same commitment that I expect from you.

    The only difference is I don’t try to claim that an equal commitment is somehow unfair to me.

    GingerSky said: (#124)
    “C[ircular] D[at]ing doesn’t ever have to mean dating other men…”

    And Bill Clinton claimed that oral sex wasn’t actually sex.

    If it had nothing to do with dating, then it would be called something else.

    GingerSky said: (#124)
    “Rori just sees ‘girfriending’ and ‘marrying’ as two different, usually mutually exclusive tracks (which I agree with in most every case)…”

    Do you actually believe what you’re saying?

    Girlfriending is different from marrying … except for the one time that the girlfriend eventually ends up becoming my wife.

    It’s one track. Most girlfriends derail before the “marriage” point. And if you Circular Date, you’re derailing the relationship at that point.

    GingerSky said: (#124)
    “And it’s about ridding ourselves of that ‘girl on tap’ vibe and energy, so we can becom the best we can be, and be good wife material…”

    Bullshit.

    If a woman wants me to commit to her while she circular dates, then she’s not good wife material.

    GingerSky,
    If a man fed you this line of bullshit about why he wanted to circular date, would you believe it?

    What makes you think men are more trusting (or gullible) than women?

  2. 122
    Liza

    Six months isn’t a long time? Six months is an awful friggin long time if you want to be married. Remember ladies, we are the ones with the expiration date. If we want to have kids we have to do it by a certain time. Men can have kids when they’re 90 years old. They have different priorities and all the time in the world.

    What Rori suggests is not ever getting in the boyfriend-girlfriend trap in the first place if we want to be married. It just caters to the men’s needs, not ours.

    It is tricky once we’ve agreed on the exclusivity thing , but terms in a relationship are always negotiable. If things don’t seem to be progressing then you’ve got to change what you’re doing.

    Men don’t like it, but competition makes them step up for us. The competition quotient has to be there or they have no incentive to take the leap into marriage. Evan here, is just expressing the (lazy) male point of view.

     

  3. 123
    Karl R

    Liza said: (#126)
    “What Rori suggests is not ever getting in the boyfriend-girlfriend trap in the first place if we want to be married.”

    I suppose you’d also like to get a great job without getting into the “trap” of job applications and interviews.

    Most men don’t marry strangers or acquaintances or platonic friends. Men marry their girlfriends.

    Liza said: (#126)
    “Six months isn’t a long time? Six months is an awful friggin long time if you want to be married.”

    As a man, I’d like to be married for the rest of my life. Thirty to fifty years is a long time. Six months is nothing.

    At six months you’re still getting to know each other. At six months you’re still infatuated with each other. You don’t know how you’ll feel about each other when the infatuation wears off.

    Liza said: (#126)
    “The competition quotient has to be there or they have no incentive to take the leap into marriage.”

    Evan is married. His wife didn’t circular date. His desire to start a family was sufficient incentive.

    I’m engaged. My fiancée didn’t circular date. My desire to spend the rest of our lives together was sufficient incentive.

    But I have no desire to be in a long-term relationship with a woman who thinks that running around with other men provides “incentive”.

    If a woman (or man) can’t act with integrity and fidelity through a year or two of dating, I expect that pattern will repeat itself throughout a 30 to 50 year marriage.

  4. 124
    starthrower68

     and @ karl 127,  i agree with you karl. i have plenty of non-romantic but healthy and appropriate interaction with good men who are more like brothers or dads etc. they are an example to me of the sort of man to look for. circular dating may work better for younger people who are still learning about themselves and the world but i think it might be different for older people who have a little bit more life experience. where i’m at in life, if i meet a good guy and we’re looking gor the same things and the ingredients are there i’m going to give that my attention so we can go through “the seasons of life” together and see if it’s a good long term bet.

  5. 126
    SP

    Evan,

    I’m curious what your take is on the latest Rori Raye thread. Is a man crazy for bringing up the subject of marriage after three weeks, or is that something one might expect from a guy who’s really taken with a woman? I have friends who have been married within months of meeting each other (and these aren’t twenty-somethings I’m speaking of) who are happily married years later, and known others who have known their partner for years, took years to tie the night and had it end in disaster. Of course I also have friends who dated a year or more before they got married who are happily married years later. This is an ongoing debate for me and I’m just curious what your take is on the subject.

    I was recently thinking I’m crazy to believe that a current date of mine might be thinking exclusivity after only three weeks. Then I remembered that you say a man should know after a month – three at the most – if he wants to date you exclusively and if not, dump him. Kind of beside the point here unless I’m incorrect and am crazy to believe this.

    Btw, I’ve been following Rori and agree with a lot of what she says, but I tend to take bits and pieces from anyone smarter about men than I feel and do what feels right to me at the time – to varying degrees of success. I agree with you somewhat on the circular dating deal, but there are a lot of guys out there who will keep you at the girlfriend stage indefinitely. Don’t you think there’s some truth to the saying, “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”  

    1. 126.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @SP – What Karl said. And…

      I haven’t been reading Rori’s blog, but I know this was the subject of my interview with her in August. As a guy who makes up rules (or, actually observes them in the behaviors of men), I always want you to be wary of rules. There are always exceptions and those exceptions are the ones you’re citing. The person who gets married after 3 months and stays together for 40 years is an exception. The responsible, college educated couple who dated for 6 years before tying the knot in their mid-30s and then got divorced is an exception. Taking a long time to screen a partner is a good idea. Taking no time to rush into a wedding is not. And no amount of exceptions will have me waver from the rule.

      A guy who’s talking marriage after three weeks is simply infatuated and out of his head, and shouldn’t be held responsible for the literalism of his statements. He means what he says, all right, he just hasn’t thought it through. He’s attracted to you, he likes you personally, he wants to be married, and he combines all of those statements into something daffy after three weeks like “I think I’m falling in love with you and I see a future together.” Down, boy. That’s just the hormones talking.

      Science says that the “thrill” and the “in love” feeling generally wears off in 18-24 months. Which is why it seems highly irresponsible for anyone to get engaged before the thrill is gone. If you get engaged in your honeymoon period, well you’re in for a big surprise when you get married and five years down the road you finally start seeing that he has no sex drive and has a dangerously short temper. You just didn’t see this in the first 18 months because you’re intoxicated.

      And that’s why all of the Rori acolytes who seem to believe that a man should propose within 8 months or some such nonsense are ultimately hurting themselves. If you think that you KNOW that HE’s the one after 8 months, why not wait another year to see what other character traits get revealed. Is there any harm in doing so? I don’t think so. But this fear-based worldview (when is he going to leave me? why buy the cow, etc) is simply disempowering.

      He needs you as much as you need him. He wants to take his time to make sure he’s not making a colossal mistake. This is responsible decision making. Getting engaged after 6 months to 1 year? Not very responsible. Pretty shortsighted. And the probable cause for most divorces – two people locking it in while in the passionate stage, only to find out down the road that they’re fundamentally incompatible.

      Finally, men aren’t with you for access to regular sex, which is why the “milk for free” argument doesn’t go very far. If he’s your boyfriend, he’s spending time with your family, taking care of you when you’re sick, listening to you after a hard day – that’s a pretty big price to pay just for sex, dontcha think? Once you realize that he’s as invested in the relationship as you are, perhaps you won’t feel so weak. Then, and only then, can you take on the stance that you have just as much right to walk away from a relationship as he does, which gives you EQUAL power. And you’ll have all the information you need to make that decision after 2-3 years of dating, not at any point in the first year.

  6. 127
    Karl R

    SP asked: (#130)
    “a man crazy for bringing up the subject of marriage after three weeks, or is that something one might expect from a guy who’s really taken with a woman?”

    At three weeks you’re still practically strangers. At three weeks you’re also still infatuated, and infatuation tends to blind you to a person’s flaws.

    The man may be really taken with a woman, but that doesn’t make marriage a good idea. At this point, neither of them have a clue whether they’ll work in the long run, so it’s a gamble if they jump in now.

    SP said: (#130)
    “I have friends who have been married within months of meeting each other (and these aren’t twenty-somethings I’m speaking of) who are happily married years later,”

    When you gamble, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

    They got lucky. When the infatuation wore off, it turned out that they still liked each other, they were compatible, and they didn’t become disillusioned because the infatuation was gone.

    SP said: (#130)
    “I was recently thinking I’m crazy to believe that a current date of mine might be thinking exclusivity after only three weeks.”

    Exclusivity is a different matter. I was sometimes willing to date exclusively at 3 weeks or less if I thought the woman had a lot of long-term potential.

    Dating exlcusively just means that I won’t date anyone else until we break up (or until we change our mind about dating exclusively). There’s no promise that it will be long-term (though that was the desired goal). Therefore if things don’t work out, I can bail.

    If a man hasn’t decided to date you exclusively by the 3 month mark, it’s probably because he has already decided that there’s no long-term potential (consciously or unconsciously). If you confront him on it, he’ll either step up or let you walk away.

    SP asked: (#130)
    “Don’t you think there’s some truth to the saying, ‘why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?'”

    Not in the way the phrase is normally used.

    If I want a cow, I’ll buy a cow. If I don’t want a cow, I won’t buy a cow.

    If a guy is not interested in a cow (and just wants free milk), you will never be able to force him to buy a cow. You can only force him to get his milk from a different cow.

    SP said: (#130)
    “there are a lot of guys out there who will keep you at the girlfriend stage indefinitely.”

    There’s a difference between a guy who is moving forward slowly, and a guy who is no longer moving forward at all. Learn that difference and you’ll know when it’s time to leave.

  7. 128
    SP

    Karl R.,

    Knowing when to leave is not my problem. THAT, I’m very good at. I was simply curious what Evans take is on that saying. That being said, I feel good knowing that at three months, I actually had given the man enough time to make up his mind, so thank you for that.

    As far as “buying the cow,” I didn’t mean it in the traditional sense, but I do love your take on that, and especially the way you phrased it.

    Thanks for the feedback. It’s much appreciated. 

  8. 129
    SP

    Oh! And another thing (Karl R @ 132) – if, after three weeks we’re still practically strangers, why the heck are we having sex? I mean, I’m WITH my dad on this one. He and his (now) wife (my mom passed away) and she told him they didn’t know each other that well, and he looked at her, looked down at himself and said, “I beg to differ. I’d say we know each other pretty intimately.”

    I mean, I’m all for waiting to have sex. But do I need to be waiting until the guy’s really sure about me before we have sex. Because sex doesn’t produce as much oxytocin in a man as it does a woman (scientifically proven), so is it better to wait until he’s more emotionally bonded before we start opening ourselves up to bonding more closely (say, 18-24 months?)? Or are we golden if he’s still around after a month?

  9. 130
    Karl R

    SP asked: (#134)
    “if, after three weeks we’re still practically strangers, why the heck are we having sex?”

    Are you asking for the male perspective? I usually decide whether I’m interested in sex within the first minute of seeing a woman.

    Details that are important for marriage:
    1. Do we want kids?
    2. If so, do we have similar views on child-rearing?
    3. How well do we make decisions together?
    4. How well do we resolve our disagreements?
    5. Do we have a similar approach to financial decisions?
    6. How often do we like to have sex?
    7. Do we sexually satisfy each other?
    8. Do you have a shared set of values?

    Have you ever known the answer to all of those questions at the three week mark? At the three month mark?

    SP asked: (#134)
    “But do I need to be waiting until the guy’s really sure about me before we have sex.”

    Two of the aforementioned questions are generally answered by having sex. It seems that the majority of men won’t be sure about you until those questions are answered.

    SP said: (#133)
    “I feel good knowing that at three months, I actually had given the man enough time to make up his mind,”

    You have given the man time to make up his mind about dating exclusively (instead of trying to juggle two or three women at once). Dating exclusively doesn’t mean as much as Rori seems to believe. It just means that I’m focusing my attention on one woman … until I decide that she’s the right or wrong woman.

    The decision is still pending.

    SP asked: (#134)
    “so is it better to wait until he’s more emotionally bonded before we start opening ourselves up to bonding more closely (say, 18-24 months?)? Or are we golden if he’s still around after a month?”

    One woman initially told me that she was not interested in a serious relationships with me; she was interested in a serious relationship with someone else instead.

    Three months later she had fallen in love with me, and was somewhat surprised that I was not on the same page (despite frequent sex). I had consciously avoided bonding with her, since she had explicitly told me that she wasn’t interested in that kind of relationship (and she hadn’t informed me when the situation changed).

    Men compartmentalize. If a woman wants to hold me at arm’s length (for her own protection), I find it easy to do the same (for my own protection). The only way the relationship progresses is if we’re both willing to get hurt.

    If you’re not willing to get hurt, you’re not ready to date.

  10. 131
    Cheri

    Karl R said: (#135)
    “Dating exclusively doesn’t mean as much as Rori seems to believe.”

    On the contrary, Rori says nothing much up to a man proposing means anything at all. Not meeting his family, not sex, not much of anything that women think means the relationship is moving toward marriage means much at all unless there’s an engagement ring involved. Which is exactly the reason she encourages circular dating.

    Also, I see a lot of comments here about women ruining a relationship with a good boyfriend by continuing to date. However, Rori encourages women to not be a girlfriend, therefore if someone were to follow her concept to the letter, it would be impossible for her to “cheat” on her “boyfriend.”

    Seems to me like many of the commentors on here don’t have much of an idea about what Rori’s theories actually are, or much of an open mind to learn about it before they do comment. And frankly, I feel surprised that since Rori and Evan are friends, that this article doesn’tmore accurately portray what circular dating is. While I haven’t seen where Evans’ flogging took place on the Rori’s blog, I have to wonder if it wasn’t due to a lack of understanding of the parties involved as much as anything else.

    No disrespect intended, Evan. I’m not attempting to make excuses for any poor behavior. Simply making the observation that if the misconceptions expressed in the article were expressed on Rori’s blog, I imagine there were many misunderstandings on both sides of the debate.

  11. 132
    Evan Marc Katz

    Respectfully, Cheri, if you’re “not a girlfriend” as Rori suggests, you’re not going to be a wife either. What am I failing to understand?

  12. 133
    Cheri

    I’m not sure what you’re missing, Evan. Rori’s the expert on CDing. She’s the one who came up with the concept, practiced it and has been happily married to the man for many years. I was simply pointing out a few misunderstandings I saw here around the concept of CDing. As a woman who’s done things your way, been engaged twice (neither engagement occurred less than 2 years into the relationship) and still never been married, I’m perhaps a bit more open-minded about exploring other ways to find a happy relationship than many of the people on this site (or maybe even you). While it was my decision to end things both times and I don’t regret it, I know that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over while expecting a different result. I also know that in CDing and committing myself to focusing on my happiness rather than focusing on any particular man (which CDing greatly facilitates) I’m a lot closer to walking down the aisle with someone I can be happy with the rest of my life than I’ve ever been. Will I become a “girlfriend” before that happens? I don’t know. I know that the quality of the men I’m dating now is much higher than any of the men I used to date. I know that I am more authentic, more confident and more open than I’ve ever been. So when I find myself in that situation, I feel confident that I’ll be able to discuss it with him and come to a decision that’s acceptable for both of us. And there will be some communicating about it. Which feels better to me than just hanging out, being cool and hoping he really is a marriage-minded man and a good prospect. I also know that if I were to agree to exclusivity, Rori wouldn’t beat me over the head and say, “no, no, no! Exclusivity didn’t work for me and it can’t possibly work for you,” or anything else that would make me feel “wrong” or “less than” in any way. I hate to see something that’s worked such wonders in my life discredited out of hand due to misunderstanding. That’s all.

    1. 133.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’m glad you’re happy, Cheri. I’m just letting you know that men propose to their girlfriends. They don’t propose to women who are dating other men.

  13. 134
    Cheri

    Thanks, Evan. Love your way with words and I’ll take that under advisement. 

  14. 135
    sammie

    When I first looked at this site I was triggered but on rereading I agree I personally found this the biggest challenge in Roris teachings. 

  15. 136
    Barbara

    Rori has some great ideas regarding the dynamics in a romantic relationship, however, any relationship, especially between a man and a woman, has to be based on mutual trust and respect. Having said that, I also believe that men are “hunters” by nature and need the thrill of “chasing” and “winning over” the women that they love. Rori is really good about teaching that, however, the Circular Dating takes that concept of not being completely committed or available, much further, dangerously so, I would say. I don’t think a woman needs to go that far in order to keep her boyfriend’s (or… whatever we’ll call him ;) attention and to arouse his interest and a desire to be with her. On the other hand, I often see women who are too afraid to clearly express what they really want from a relationship, ending up dating some loser for many years, only to be dumped by him at the end. So… it all comes back to a healthy self-esteem and knowing what one wants from a partner.

  16. 137
    TJ

    Seems like a fair, sensible, and balanced critique to me!

  17. 138
    LC

    Most guys know if they’re open to getting married or not whenever they first meet you.  That’s why the run off the minute things seem “serious.”  Women shouldn’t wait for men.  You should date as many men as possible and NOT SLEEP with them!  See who likes you as a person and is a good friend to you.  My Grandmother & Mother both dated lots of guys, and the special men who actually cared about them stepped up and married them!  Dating for years is insane!  You’re either committed to making it work, or you’re not, and it’s all very simple.  Everyone is afraid to marry the wrong person, but it does no good to act out of fear.  Men are mostly just looking for the Bigger Better Deal if they’re stringing you along for years with no marriage.  A good man wouldn’t waste your time.  Men use women that they don’t consider marriage material to satisfy their sexual needs, and then they move on to the woman they would marry.

  18. 139
    Maria Rosa Lucia Isis

    Hello Goddess

    You are making a difference sis-star trust in that

    I understand your questioning, for me it is resolved by Christian Carter’s question, is it the ring on the finger that we really want, or the quality of the relationship ?

    big LoVe all
    Maria Rosa Lucia Isis 

  19. 140
    Dagaz

    i can’t agree more to Evan) for the god’s sake, mean are not cars! don’t reat them this way: oh, i don’t like this model, i will exchange it for another one.
    yes, you can get a boyfriend or a husband by doing CD, but hm, i would stay away from the types of men who would fit in such picture. from such marriage, too.
    man, relationship, feelings, words, actions – it’s very, very sensitive energy. don’t think about it like a typical consumer. you always will get what you’ve planted: you can’t get the lasting, faithful and loving relationship based on fear, insecurity, demand etc, for what CD is, if you look closer.

    P.S. if i would be a man and my girlfriend would start to vent about CD and to get married ASAP, i would break up with her ASAP. because it’s far away from the woman in love and far away from the trusting friend.

    to LC (#144).
    i have a really hard time to imagine a man who wouldn’t try to sleep with me or at least to try to get more… intimate to me after the first date))) and i’m not a bimbo or vulgar or so, i can assure you.
    so, to follow the advice, i should be stuck with first dates forever?
    when you are agree on the date with a man, on the second date, on the third one etc – he naturally assumes that i am interested in all aspects of the relationship, not just having a dinner and occasionally holding the hands like a classmates.
    …and just in case: i’ve red ALL books of Rori and have listened to all her classes.
    some points are good – like to raising self-esteem, but there are tons of ways to do it without being manipulative (i mean CD in particular)

  20. 141
    Carolyn

    I never got the impression from Rori that she meant to start circular dating while dating someone exclusively.  I felt like she meant starting a circular dating theme in her life, to find who she does have things in common with, who she’d want to date even longer, who she might want to marry, not promising anything to anyone, dropping those who aren’t matching up, keeping the sex out of it because women tend to attach emotions with sex. It forces you to get to know one another for more than a sexual attraction, and frees you up to accept offers of dates from the man who might actually be Mr Right, whom you’d never have met had you been “tied down” with “not Mr Right”.

  21. 142
    DinaStrange

    Trust and all, it’s good. But when a man takes his time thinking, whether he wants to marry her or not, woman’s valuable biological time is getting wasted. In three years a man still great catch, while she is 3 years older…

    And let’s be fair in today’s world men value beauty AND youth…while women mostly value status and personality in men…think about that. If a man takes 3 years to decide if he wants to marry you…maybe u should be with someone who is gonna make that decision faster.

  22. 143
    Dagaz

    Rori’s main idea is: if there’s no ring involved – keep CD-ing. and to tell a man right away, that my goal is to marry.
    but, please, the ring cannot be involved after 3 month. or 6 month. or a year. or two and more years. and it’s totally NORMAL.
    there can’t be a generalization, for how long couple should be existing, until they merge to happily ever after. every couple is a unique situation and the timing until the final decision might be so different.
    and how poor guy would know for sure out of blue right away that this particular woman is a wife material, while he doesn’t know her at all?
    so, if the man and woman are dating/seeing each other for a year – by Rori’s advice woman suppose to see other men meanwhile. i cannot imagine, by all means, a good man who would tolerate it. and i can’t blame him.
    our tense “omg! time is flying!!!” doesn’t do any good to anyone. by following this feeling we forget to appreciate the nice, teaching, thoughtful moments in the relationship, we simply loose the ability to appreciate the man, because of this selective filter “faster, faster, commit!!!”

  23. 144
    chicklet

    dude, sh*t or get off the pot!

  24. 145
    Sarah B.

    I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your post and your honesty — Even as a guest blogger going against Rori’s “advice” — I don’t know how i found her but somehow I got on her e-mail list. As a monogamous dater I have to say that the CD principal definitely makes me squirm and I’ve never cared about who has the “power” in a relationship. thank you for offering more reasonable alternatives to “driving off the cliff.” especially “if he’s that bad just dump him.” Well duh. I hope more women find you before their losing their integrity in any relationship or worse yet a really great guy by falling into the lies of “women empowerment.” which is really just praying on our fear, insecurity or providing “protection” from just being vulnerable. Thank you. I’m listening. Sarah

  25. 146
    amy

    Yeah, I have a friend who’s been pushing this on me. It’s just the Southern Model, Ev. I wouldn’t take it so seriously. Here’s her problem — maybe here’s the problem with all these dating coaching things: it’s just a clusterfuck unless the men understand the rules too. If you’re doing this in the South in 1950, cool, everyone’s on the same page, everyone gets it with the ring. Otherwise, a guy’s all wtf, and what the woman’s prompting him to do is to make a hasty decision.
     
    In any case, the ring means so little. I’m standing here typing this while wearing my very favorite ring: one that was meant to be a wedding band. It’s gorgeous, carved 18K. (And no, I don’t feel bad about it.) I wear it on my right hand, and get asked about it often, just because it’s so beautiful.
     
    I don’t know. I think it’s dumb. If you want to get married, the main thing is to find someone else who wants to get married and isn’t yet getting measured for a pine box. What I’d really counsel first is finding out what in hell marriage and motherhood actually are — and what stepmotherhood actually is — because boy oh boy, do a lot of women get surprised.
     
    (How bad do they get surprised? I just booked my first vacation-vacation in 15 years. I rented a gorgeous cottage in a secure undisclosed location, and I got local mothers crawling out of the woodwork begging me to take them along. Begging. With desperation. They’re not trying to be funny; these are people who’ve lost themselves, lost their lives, and won’t get a chance to recover them for um years. Thank God the airfare’s expensive.)

  26. 147
    N.Dylan

    I really appreciate this view point.  My friend just loaned my Rori’s CD’s.  There are many wonderful ideas and tools that resonated with me — but as a female the “dating until marriage” felt off.  All of my friends who are in successful marriages and healthy relationships, have not done that.  It does feel manipulative and contrived.  I feel Marc’s views on this are much more authentic.  Thanks for your thoughts, Marc!

  27. 148
    Heather

    Thanks Evan, Really great post, nice to see a return to sanity and common sense.

  28. 149
    kellyduffy

    everyone says something different

  29. 150
    Dawn montefusco

    Thank you for writing this. I agree. It’s a hole in Rori’s philosophy. I have only recently begun reading and listening to her, and this particular issue was a red flag for me.

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