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. 211
    Clare

    I agree with you Paragon. The only reason to “leave the door open” for him is because you secretly hope that he will come walking through it. You secretly hope that your behaviour will cause him to want to invest, to want to commit, which to me says that you are care and are more emotionally invested than you are willing to admit. Hence my belief that this Circular Dating idea is actually simply a protective mechanism.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I simply don’t believe love works this way. I think loving someone to the point that you want to be married to them means being all in. Maybe it’s just me but I cannot see on what planet you can actually be deeply in love with someone, and still be willing to disinvest and hurt him by going on dates with other people.

    The honourable and authentic thing to do, if you really feel that this relationship is a dead end and you want to explore other options, is to break up with him.

  2. 212
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#227)
    “If I were to break exclusivity with someone I would not continue co-habitating with them.”

    Nice attempt at dodging the question.

    Fine. Revised Scenario 2:
    You stay with a family member for those two weeks. You find out from a third party that he went on five dates (overnight twice). He also went on two dates with you. At the end of two weeks, he says he’s decided that he wants to marry you.

    Do you feel the same about Scenario 1 and Revised Scenario 2?

  3. 213
    Selena

    Karl,
    I believe there are people who would – and do – go back a level in a relationship.

    Like Helen, I also believe sometimes what people say they would do in a particular situation, may not be what they would actually do in that situation.

    Your scenarios are not going to change my opinion.

    Shall we move on?

    1. 213.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Yes, we can move on, Selena. Very much like your boyfriend will after you start seeing other guys. Very much like a woman should do when her boyfriend sees other women.

  4. 214
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#230)
    “I believe there are people who would – and do – go back a level in a relationship.”

    You earlier gave the example (#222) of trial separations. That’s an interesting choice for an example. If a white woman separates from her husband, there’s a 98% chance she will be divorced 6 years later. (There’s a 80% chance if she’s hispanic, and a 72% chance if she’s black. These are statistics from a CDC report.)

    I am quite aware that some people go back a level in their relationships. I’m also aware that it usually spells the end of the relationship.

    If someone is about to gamble their relationship, Evan and I will tell them that 98% happens more often than 2% (and 72% happens more often than 28%).

    Selena said: (#230)
    “Your scenarios are not going to change my opinion.”

    As far as I can tell, you have never practiced this type of circular dating. As far as I can tell, you have no intent of ever practicing this form of circular dating. As far as I can tell, you would not tolerate having a man do this type of circular dating behavior to you.

    It’s not your opinion I’m trying to change. Your opinion appears to be identical to mine (which explains why you keep dodging my questions).

    I’m trying to sway the opinion of any women who might be foolish enough to listen to someone who is preaching the validity of a system that she’s opposed to practicing.

  5. 215
    Paragon

    @ Helen

    ““Men are motivated by competition. They can say, “If that happened to me, I’d break things off because I deserve better.”

    But when the actual scenario presents itself? – Most men compete.””

    I would like to add that men compete, out of necessity – that *successful* men are amenable to competition, should come as no surprise to anyone(on the other hand, how many habitual *losers* should we expect enjoy the *thrill* of competition?).

    @ Selena

    “Do trial separations, taking a break from a relationship always result in the end of a relationship? Same deal.”

    Less so, perhaps – and only because of the increased male liability posed by divorce.

    But, this is classic cherry picking – a strategy doesn’t need to fail EVERY time, for us to justifiably conclude that it is a losing strategy.

    “She’s giving him the choice to be in the picture.”

    Yes, that’s my point.

    She wants him in the picture.

    BUT, if she is using circular dating as a strategy to cajole committment, it is the opinion of myself and others,
    that this strategy is likely to backfire in a big way(for reasons that have been specified already, ad nauseum).

  6. 216
    Colette Kenney

    Evan, I’m on your “side” not that we’re taking sides.

    I’ll be honest, I’ve skimmed both yours and Rori’s blogs, but I’ve pretty much got the jist and my intuition tells me that this is a fear-based tactic to protect yourself from getting hurt.

    The reality is, there are NO GUARANTEES in love, and as you mention again and again, it becomes plainly OBVIOUS by a man’s actions if he’s really into you and true boyfriend material.

    Now if you want to MAKE SURE he’s husband material, well, you’ve got to be confident and secure enough to have a mature conversation with him about it (and even then, there are still no guarantees).

    Oh, and, a mature conversation doesn’t not include “if you don’t want to propose, I’m out of here, and buddy, it’s your loss.”

    If you’re at 3-9months into a relationship and you’ve had a mature conversation about your desire to be married, he may have said it’s what he wants too, because he doesn’t yet know if he does, but he knows that he likes you enough to not want this relationship to end.

    Can’t blame a guy for that. How many things do us women not know 100% what we want. How can we be so pompous to sit there an judge men for not being absolutely clear on one of the biggest decisions of his life: Going from lone wolf to part of a pack. It’s scary as hell for most men, even the ones who feel sure it’s what they want.

    If you’re together forever, 3 months or 9 years, and then one day he decides he just doesn’t want to do it (get married), I say, Oh Well. It sucks, but oh well.

    Everything is purposeful and perfect. Nothing is a sure thing. Even marriages end in divorce. And, more than anything: Everything happens FOR you, not TO you.

    Sometimes you get what you need, not what you want.

    CDing, in my opinion feels manipulative, controlling, and against the flow of life.

    I love your advice Evan. I quote you all the time in my session with clients.

    xo Colette

  7. 217
    Heather

    Great blog. I read very critically. I’ve been reading off and on Rori’s posts on her mailing lists. Here advice is good, but in some cases seems a bit over the top. I totally disagree with telling your guy you are going to date other men – assuming he’s a good guy. Just as you said, if he’s a bad guy, he needs to get dumped. End of story. Any man that I’d want would tell me to go pound salt if told him I was going to go date other dudes.

  8. 218
    Gina

    So yeah I have been listening to the Rori Raye stuff and some of it doesn’t seem to make sense. Basically she tells women do not call a man ever. do not text him. do not ask men out etc. Seems to be quite a generation gap going on here. So I’ve been trying to follow her deal and I can tell you that it has not garnered me any more interest from men. I’ve been trying my best to do the steps she proposes and I have had much less dating activity than before.I just don’t get how your supposed to get all these dates if you are not even communicating with the men. most women are excited to get asked out by one guy its not like they are just falling out of the sky here. I was hoping to find some feedback from women who took her advice and were successful with it. The Cdating does seem unorthadox but I think it can be a tool if you are dating a non committal man.( or maybe he’s the tool ha ha ) One of the points that was missed is that in cir dating you also date yourself. Meaning you don’t even have to date other men just find what you enjoy and do it. This way the woman Isn’t totally focusing on the man which is good. She just wants women to stop wasting their time with guys who don’t care about you as a woman. A non-commital guy wont care who you are seeing and it gives the woman some emotional distance so she can see he doesn’t care and be in a position to dump his ass. Also she says you should not be sleeping with these men you are dating ( another generation gap issue I think )
    Basically it boils down to this and I agree with her here. If you have a non committal guy and he is dragging his feet and doesn’t want to move forward, saying to him “well you can have all the time you want to decide about a commitment but you cant have me all to yourself while your deciding.” would create a little distance for a man to realize he doesn’t want to lose you. But if he does want to lose you or just doesn’t care then you ARE better off with out him, and should get out and date other men. my problem with Rori is that she is giving dating advice from the prospective of a woman who has been married for 20 yrs Kudos on a lasting marriage but she hasn’t dated in a loooong time and things are different now than in the sixties or whenever she was dating. Also she obviously has a commitment minded man because he married her and she wasn’t doing all this cir dating crap with him when they were so how can she know that it works ?

  9. 219
    Loren Bump

    Virtually all of whatever you articulate happens to be supprisingly legitimate and it makes me wonder why I hadn’t looked at this in this light before. Your piece truly did switch the light on for me personally as far as this particular topic goes. But at this time there is one point I am not really too cozy with so whilst I make an effort to reconcile that with the main theme of your point, permit me see just what the rest of the subscribers have to say.Very well done.

  10. 220
    Amy

    I have been a big fan of Rori and a frequent reader on her e-mail list. She really captured a point with connecting to a man through his emotions. The one thing that always plagued me was exactly your point.. circular dating.  I knew this was not it for me who have been in a relationship with a good guy for 4 years. And his response to Rori’s idea of this was mild outrage. This leaves a big gaping hole for not only long steady relationships but also marriage. Finding an answer to the question, “So, what about after marriage?” Seems to be an impossibility. But my point it I heartily agree with you that this is the major flaw.
    I have read a few of your articles before while browsing around and I have to say that one thing leaves me feeling a little bit irked. I realize most articles about love are probably written from a females point of view and as long as this world exists males and females and the differences will excite arguments. But I just have a question and would like to make a point by it. I have been an insecure female as I take one of your past relationships seemed to be, from what I read. And I have worked through a lot of that inside myself. My partner is also somewhat jealous and insecure as well. My question is this. If you saw your wife looking at glossy photos of men regularly, what would go through your mind? Would you wonder why she needs this separate satisfaction? And this leads me to ask, do you hold yourself to the same standard of confidence? Are you as confidant as you require your partner to be? Personally in my relationship I see a double standard and in the end, even though the score is even,  I am the insecure one. 
    Yes, kind of a rant of my own. In the end we are all just self absorbed and human. But somehow their can be a beauty in it. Anyways, thank you for the article, you are good to write it and maybe save a few innocent people from wrecking their lives. Wow, dramatic sounding but true.

  11. 221
    mezzanine

    “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.”

    Says who? Dr. Presumptuous? I stopped reading your post at this point because I don’t understand how an experienced relationship blogger could make that assertion, as if you’ve never given it a second thought, as if this is the way things have been since the 1970s so that’s the way they should remain. Did you decide yourself that relationships have been working well using this model? Please check marriage and divorce statistics.
    I don’t agree with everything Rori advocates, but I do know that people don’t necessarily get to know each other better, deeper, or with more quality as gf & bf than they do simply dating non-exclusively until there’s a real comittment in place. And come to think of it, there are no gf/bf relationships in Rori’s philosophy — that would be YOUR blind spot. The whole point of circular dating is to keep yourself open and available for Mr. Right instead of burying yourself in a bogus commitment with Mr. Who Knows? 
    It’s also my personal belief that getting to know someone is much more efficient without a sexual involvement or cohabitation, because you’re seeing the person clearly rather than through a sex-fog or a familiarity-fog. It doesn’t take 3 years to know what you want with someone you’re dating, unless you’re having sex with them. 
    I hope you’ll examine your biases sooner rather than later. What may seem radical to you and many of your readers could be just the concept  we need to begin finding balance, harmony and contentment in our relationships. 
    For instance – have you read Dr. Patricia Allen, whose groundbreaking ideas Rori bases much of her work on? If you’re not familiar with her work then nothing you say here has credibility to my mind, and you’re just another irresponsible attention-greedy blogger. If you have read her work, then evidently you need a refresher.

    1. 221.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @mezzanine – I know marriage and divorce statistics far better than you do, but that’s neither here nor there. Here’s all that matters:

      Show me one man who proposed to a woman who was NOT his girlfriend. Seriously.

      What possible incentive would a man have for buying a ten thousand dollar ring for a woman who is NOT committed to him? Why would a man propose to a woman who is “circular dating” to potentially be available to a different Mr. Right? Objectively, if you can date other men while I’m committed to you, you will NEVER get a ring. And if I’m dating other women (circular dating), you’d have every right to question my commitment to the relationship.

      And if you can’t understand the logic behind that – if you’re so ground into your fantasy that women can be unfaithful (circular dating) and STILL get a ring – well, we can’t have a real conversation.

      Finally, I know Pat Allen. I’ve read Getting to I Do. She’s a bright woman with a lot of good ideas. And if Dr. Allen concludes that a man will propose to a woman who is keeping her options open until her wedding day, then, by golly, I’ll have to tell her that she’s wrong, too. Just ’cause you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you’re always right, you know.

      So instead of insulting me for telling you the truth about how men think, maybe you should listen to what an actual MAN has to say about commitment. And if you don’t believe me, try this experiment: round up every man you know and ask him if he’d propose to a woman who is NOT his girlfriend. Lemme know how it goes.

  12. 222
    Clare

    Since posting my above comment, I have read Rori Raye’s work, and I must say, I ADORE her concepts about connecting to your man through being authentic about your feelings.  Her concepts about being feminine, being in your receptive energy and being able to make yourself happy regardless of what a man does, is gorgeous too.  Basically, her work is great for women, and shows a really wise understanding of women.

    Until you get to the circular dating argument. I cannot get on board with this concept. To me, it ruins her other great work. For one thing, as Evan rightly points out, breaking exclusivity and dating other people is cheating. I cannot understand the need to go that far. Why can’t you just use Rori Raye’s tools of expressing your feelings about what you are unhappy with to your man, and if that doesn’t work, breaking up with him?

    For another thing, YOU are allowed to circular date, the guy is NOT.  She makes this very clear. He has to remain faithful to you, but you don’t owe him this obligation. I don’t know how this can be justified as anything other than an unacceptable double standard, and all the best of LUCK trying to get any guy to agree to it.  Also, at what point (or not) do the relationships with these other guys you are dating become sexual?

    Finally, as Amy rightly points out, what happens once you are married? If you are unhappy in your relationship then, then circular dating is no longer an option.

    To me, circular dating is a superfluous part of the entire model. Sure, encourage women to go out and do things which make them happy, encourage them to hold out for a real commitment, but to carry on several relationships at once? I don’t think most women can emotionally handle it, and I don’t think most men would stick around for it.

  13. 223
    Lynn

    Evan, thank heaven for your sanity and frankness.  I can`t believe this concept of circular dating, I would never stand for it in a man, so why should I do it to him?  If I don`t like what I am getting from a man, I just leave, full stop.  Why would I want to blackmail a man into being with me?  There seem to be a lot of very insecure women around.  Sorry.

  14. 224
    Dagaz

    @mezzanine.
    Well, why not. Circular dating might work out perfectly. And woman will get married, after all. IF her only goal is to get married, period. you know, the whole nine yards: ring on the finger, wedding, honey moon and some pants walking in the house, so she can point out and to proclaim: see, I AM married!
    Oh boy. she will get the same man: extremely unsecured, full of fears and desperate to get married, just for the sake of it.
    because this circular dating is only for this type of women. and it will naturally weed out confident and easy-going men, because for them seeing the circular-dating woman is the biggest turn-off.
    Oh yes, she will get married, i guarantee it, if she wants only that.

  15. 225
    Fusee

    When I learned about this concept of circular dating I could not believe that it was seriously recommended to modern occidental marriage-minded women.
     
    If we’re talking about casually talking to several men until deciding for the most promising one, a special man to investigate a relationship with, then sure! However I highly doubt that any reasonnable man will want to marry a woman who would be dating multiple people, regardless whether she has sex with them or not. 
     
    I would actually be wary of the decision-making process of a man who would desire to unite in marriage without some in-depth committed courtship beforehand (with sex or no sex). I think it is impossible to build the foundations of an emotionally and physically monogamous marriage within an emotionally or physically non-committed courtship. After all, even in the most conservative Christian circles, a courtship period where the man and the woman are exclusive precedes a proposal and a wedding.
     
    Is a wedding all you are after? Then, go for it if it were offered to you in such circumstances. But if you’re looking to build a solid, healthy and happy marriage that has a chance to last for life, it is going to take much more than receiving a proposal out of desperation of losing a “deal” (“deal” consisting of a woman claiming love but dating other people).
     
    Look, I can relate to the desire of avoiding non-comittal men. I’ve explained in other threads that I do not have time and energy for more trial-and-error/dead-end LTRs, investing the most precious years of my life with men who would rather stick to the status quo than challenging themselves and outgrow their commitment fears. The thing is, there are more effective ways to avoid such scenarios than by following this ridiculously unwise circular dating advice. Let yourself be known, communicate your needs with clarity from the beginning, focus on exploring your partner in depth and encourage him to do the same, but be purposeful and limit the courtship to a reasonnable but shorter period of time and do not cohabite prior to marriage.
     
    One thing is certain to me: there is no way to create a solid, healthy, and happy marriage without a period of exclusive exploration and building of foundations. There is no way to build such marriage without being an authentic and devoted partner, without the willingness to be vulnerable, and without taking the risk of being hurt if the courtship ends instead of leading to marriage. This is what a courtship is all about: finding out if both partners are compatible for life. The answer might be a “no”. This would be sad but much better than a divorce.
     
    This whole circular dating thing seems to be stemming from fear and/or desperation to me. Not the best ground to build the foundations of a life-long marriage…

  16. 226
    mezzanine

    @ Evan Marc Katz. If you really think your experience, in which no man has ever proposed to a woman before sex, is relevant to a discussion about progressive relationship philosophies, you have a much longer way to go than I thought when i posted my comment the other day. Open your mind. Read some history. 
     
    Your ideas aren’t conducive to helping people develop better relationships, whereas Rori’s and Dr. Allen’s are. I have to wonder if that’s even an interest of yours. I fault myself for assuming so when I first visited this blog. You seem more interested in maintaining the status quo, which just so happens at the moment to favor men’s interests – which is exactly why radical ideas like Rori’s are so popular.
     
    But congratulations on your blog traffic, that’s where your talent can be seen, The rest is just nonsense, and will remain nonsense until you open your eyes, and grow a larger perspective. 
     
    Bye now. 

    1. 226.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Dear Mezzanine, I’m afraid you’re suffering from reading comprehension problems. Nowhere did I say that men have never proposed to women before having sex. I said men don’t propose to women who aren’t their EXCLUSIVE GIRLFRIENDS. And if you’re “circular dating” while he’s faithful and trying to figure out if he wants to marry you, you’re probably undermining the relationship and not going to get a ring. The challenge remains: go find me a man who proposed to a woman who was not his girlfriend.

      As to your other specious claims about my ideas not helping people develop better relationships? Well, I’ve got over 1000 reader testimonials in my inbox that would indicate otherwise.

      Your statement about the status quo “favoring” men only further illustrates your bias and blindness. Dating doesn’t favor men. It favors people who are confident, self-aware and have genuine self-esteem. If you’re a woman with all three of these things, you will have no trouble finding a committed man. If you do not have these traits, you will probably find that the status quo favors men’s interests, or some such bunk.

      I wish you the best of luck, no matter what, and would encourage you to continue to read my blog/newsletter for free so you can learn what men think from a man’s point of view. Rori is wonderful, but the one thing she is not and can never be – is a better judge of what men think than I am.

  17. 227
    Maggie Ram

    Well, there seem to be some lunatics on this thread (@Mezannine)
    Anyway, I have read this concept of taking the relationship one step back from Dr. Grey, but in reality, it is just stopping being bf/gf and going back to just dating. I personally tried this once and it is just a slow death- a breakup for cowards. It is better to grow a spine and end it up. If the guy is serious he will try to get back with you. If not, you retained your dignity- at least there is not this feeling of “I continued giving this guy my time and he did not take the initiative to step things back up”. Because let’s not sugar coat it, it is an ultimatum- he knows it and you know it. Ugh. Regarding the other concept of just making more time for other things “dating yourself” or whatever- why use such a misnomer and make it so confusing? sounds more like an attempt to brand a technique that is really not innovative at all, just common sense.

  18. 228
    Clare

    @ Fusee

    I agree with you. Communication, communication, communication.  In my experience, sincere, skilfull and diplomatic communication is hands down the most effective thing in any relationship, this circular dating thing just seems so unnecessary and goes too far.

    I can certainly understand the intentions behind it. And like you, I can CERTAINLY understand the frustrations of waiting around for a non-committal man, and would never want to go there myself. But the way through this is by being strong, being your own advocate for your own needs and choosing guys really carefully, not by shopping your time and attention around.

    Sorry Rori, I love ya, but I just don’t see it.

  19. 229
    ashley

    These days, Rori Raye’s CDing seems to be criticized a lot. I’m not her fan, but i still think she has a point. Evan, you compared marriage-seeking and CDing woman to a man who wants to get laid in the first night. I think it’s a good comparison, how long would you advise this man to wait exclusively for sex? Two years? How long could you wait for sex, exclusively? Ok, if a man thinks she is the “one”, he can wait for days, months; but years, exclusively? So you advice women to wait their men at least two years till they make their mind. For women over 30, the need for commitment feels as urgent as the need for sex; yet many dating coaches, a lots of men, and unfortunately women blame women for this natural need; they advice women “not to be desperate, not to be needy, be understanding etc”. How long a man could have been understanding, not desperate, not needy without having sex for years? Would you be still confident, secure if your wife haven’t slept with you for 2 years? You may say that it’s not the same; and the need for commitment is not an urgent need like sex. Well, for some women, if not all, it’s urgent due to their biological clocks and they want to be married “yesterday”. Let’s assume that as a man you waited your “one” to decide having sex with you exclusively for 2 years patiently, and finally she agreed to have sex with you, would you feel satisfied? Won’t you prefer a woman who enjoys sex and wants to have sex with you in the first place, who doesn’t make you wait for it at least two years? I definitely think that Rori’s advice is empowering for women, who don’t like to wait for their boyfriends to make their minds for years, which is not a secure place for women. A lot to ask from women, wait exclusively for it at least to years, don’t be needy meanwhile, well, in the end he may or may not ask for serious commitment, you may or may not waste your precious years waiting. My cousin waited his marriage oriented boyfriend 4,5 years to propose, he couldn’t put his act together, she decided to keep her options open and dumped him 6 months ago, now she is with an another man, who is ready to walk his talk, and they are already making marriage arrangements. Well, when a man is serious about  and ready for commitment, he looks forward to it and won’t delay it for 2 years. 

    1. 229.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Sorry, Ashley. There’s a big difference between waiting two years to have sex and two years to get a diamond ring. I think it’s difficult to suggest otherwise.

      You seem to be able to consider things from your perspective, but not his. So let me just give you some facts to contrast with your feelings. The three biggest predictors of divorce are:

      1) People who get married too quickly. You know, like the Rori fans who think that if a man “just knows” he should propose in eight months. Yeah, those don’t end well when both people discover who their partners really are after three years.

      2) People who break up and make up. Rocky courtships lead to rocky marriages.

      3) People who wait a really loooong time before getting married – because it means that one or more of them didn’t want to get married.

      However, if you understand things from a more objective perspective, you’ll see that while 4.5 years IS a long time before proposing, 2.5 years is quite normal.

      So if you freak out that he wants to be SURE before buying you a ring and committing to you for life, you’re likely to sabotage a great relationship. All out of fear and your failure to understand HIS timetable. Ignore my entreaties at your own risk. But don’t tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Because I do. You just don’t want to hear it.

  20. 230
    ashley

    Dear Evan,

    Thank you for your prompt response, which I was not expecting. I feel sorry that you felt that I was telling you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I could be wrong, but I was trying to tell my opinion and may be playing the devil’s advocate a bit, I had no intention of questioning your skills as a dating coach. If you don’t want to hear different opinions you can also ignore them or close the comments section. You’re right about that I was considering things from my perspective, not his. I value your point of view and most of your advice, as a male dating coach, that’s why I’m reading your articles; but sometimes I feel that you don’t understand female perspective and I don’t agree with all of your advices, which doesn’t mean that I say that you don’t know what you are talking about, I just cannot follow any advice blindly without questioning. But I didn’t like your attitude implying not to question your advice or skills as a dating coach or shut up.

    The problem is there are so many women, who ignore their own needs at the expense of their boyfriends, in fact it’s in feminine nature to consider  “his perspective” first. So you advise women to ignore their own needs and put his first, when the problem for most women is that they  are already sacrificing too much for the sake of relationship. Of course the diamond ring is not a “biological need” like sex, but it is closely connected to female’s “biological clock”, it’s a feminine need. Ignoring your own biological clock and giving the priority to your boyfriend’s timetable is not always easy when your clock is ticking, that was what I was  trying to say.  You’re right about that acting out of fear and making hasty decisions is not a good thing; but dating two or more years itself don’t make a rock-solid relationship. I could be wrong, I’m not an expert and I might be doomed to the singlehood for not followind your advice, but I still think men are more like taxis (yes, it’s from Sex and the City episode), they got married when their commitment button is on. If their commitment button is off, it doesn’t really matter how long you wait. 

  21. 231
    marymary

    Evan 
    This post is golden. 
    If I am allowed to circular date until the wedding day, I assume the man is too. I WOULD NOT BE COOL WITH THAT! So why should he be?But we don’t multiple date in the UK anyway, so I guess it’s academic.
    I like what you say about slowing down.  We put more thought into buying a car than we do our marriage partners. There is NO substitute for time. Chemistry and sex don’t cut it. In fact, you probably need to wait for that chemisty to fizzle out a little and take a good hard look at the relationship in the cold light of day. Do you still like what you see? Is there something substantial there?
    And, yes, do not date from a fearful standpoint.  If you cannot STAND the idea that the relationship may fail and you’ll be “alone” (though there’s nothing more lonely than being in a bad relationship) then you need to get your house in order. You have to be vulnerable, you have to risk getting hurt. There is no way round it. Rori can’t guarantee you won’t get hurt. Evan can’t guarantee it. But I think Evan is proposing your Best Chance. Protect yourself from vulnerability and you protect yourself from love. And, no, I’m not proposing stupid risks. if he’s not treating you right (or you’re not treating him right) it’s time to bail.
    Rather, choose well and let him be who he is.
    And it’s ridiculous to suggest that the solution to a relationship problem is the insertion of a third party. It only multiplies the dysfunction. Don’t do it to yourself!

  22. 232
    LS

    This was VERY interesting to me. I’ve actually checked out a couple of Rori’s products, and was actually very impressed. I remember when I heard the Circular Dating idea, and it threw up a red flag. Rather than dismissing the idea entirely, I decided to apply it in a way that I am comfortable with for myself, since really the idea behind Circular Dating is to help you know that men find you desirable as a confidence booster.
    So rather than actually dating any other men, I practiced opening myself up in public – making eye contact with men and smiling at them. Some of them talk to me, some of them don’t. Some of them say ridiculous pick up lines to me. Just knowing that I had the power to possibly date someone at any time was empowering. And yes, my man noticed. Big time. Maybe it was a certain vibe. Maybe it all ties in to being confident and secure.
    That being said, I do love much of Rori’s advice. I also think Evan is right on when it comes to a man’s version of Circular Dating. Men can be just as insecure, jealous, and needy as women sometimes. Regardless of who’s advice you take on this, the one thread that carries through every relationship advice expert out there is to stop being obsessive, find some hobbies, and be more relaxed and confident. Love yourself first, and your man will find it contagious.

  23. 233
    Mary

    I agree!! I was dating a kind and gentle older mam who talked about a cruse and moving into his home next year when my daughter moves on to college..he bought me a beautiful necklaceas a toke of his love..and ased that I return his offers witj a promise of exclusive dating privlidges..I thought I wanted that and said no that until he provided me with assurance that this was jeading to marriage I could not..the advice of Cdating…well he freeked out..felt that I was never prepared to comitt to him and I was playing with his feeling..place a dagger in his heart..now the damage has been done amd he doesnt trust me..he believes I am playing mind games and feels he does not want to put his heart and his life in the ” hands” of someone who cant comitt to the first step of being exclusive…I am now quietly waiting to see if he ever will come around..I am dating otjers but none feel so right as he did…I just asked for too much tpo soon

  24. 234
    Maura

    Thank you, Evan. I wholeheartedly agree. I love much of what Rori has to say, but CD never quite sat right with me. I actually casually mentioned that I’d read about the concept of CD to my boyfriend (definitely not as a threat), and he looked a bit horrified. We’ve been together over a year, and he’s the man I want to marry eventually. A tiny part of me is anxious, but in the meantime of whatever happens, we are cultivating a beautiful relationship, supporting each other emotionally and having fun. The thought of dating anyone else, especially to inadvertently put pressure on him, gives me a sad and empty feeling. So, no to that!

  25. 235
    Misty

    I specifically remember Rori saying in one of her programs – because it hit home to me and changed my views on circular dating – that if you find a good man who you care about, who wants what you want (even if he may not be certain yet that he wants to marry you, he is marriage minded and committed to you, the relationship, and putting in the time and effort to see where it goes) and who is moving the relationship forward, showing up for you, and meeting your needs – that you should NOT continue to date other men if he asks for exclusivity, and you have both clarified what that means to you. 
    She does not say that circular dating is about fear, or keeping your options open if a good man isn’t fast enough.  It’s if he begins withdrawing, NOT showing up for you, in general NOT “being a good boyfriend” as you put it, Evan – that’s when you may decide to return to “just dating” as you defined it.  She doesn’t say dump the guy completely if you love him but he isn’t meeting your needs.  Be honest, tell him how you feel, ask him what he thinks, if he’d like to resolve it.  If he does not, leave a door open for him if he wants to walk through it, but move on with your life.  He has the option of deciding if he DOES want to step it up and put more effort into the relationship, meet your needs, etc. or if he wants to “dump you” himself and move on. 
    I agree with what you said, Evan.  But I think you and Rori are on the same page, not in conflict at all.  She doesn’t say cheat on a good boyfriend in a committed relationship that is progressing.  Going back to dating is about taking care of yourself when he is NOT being a good boyfriend or the relationship isn’t going anywhere.  She’s just a little less harsh in leaving the step it up option to him instead of slamming the door with the “dump him” advice.  I think it’s up to the woman (or man in a similar situation) to decide whether she dumps him outright because he simply doesn’t have what it takes, or whether she both loves him enough and believes he has it in him to be the man she needs that she is willing to not cut it off completely, but allow him the time and freedom of choice option on his own timetable. 
    In dating, you do have to be confident, value yourself, and look for someone who can and will meet your needs.  Because in a committed relationship or marriage you need to trust that the person will do that at that point, and then put loving your partner first.  I think Rori’s programs are actually all about respecting men and treating them well, but coming from a place of love, respect, and high regard for yourself.  The goal is 2 emotionally healthy people building a healthy relationship, choosing to be together because they want to be, and because they mutually value love and commitment.

  26. 236
    stacy

    I agree with you Evan and I’m glad I stumbled on this discussion because I too found the Circular Dating concept quite troubling on my conscience. That being said, I do believe that Rori Raye means well and there may be some good in the CD concept. As for those that comment on the site, well that is a different story. So much so, I don’t read readers comments on Rori’s site because often the comments have nothing to do with the articles. So take heart, you’ve got the right crowd!

  27. 237
    crystal2

    I think Misty (256) makes excellent points about the positive things Rori promotes. First let me say I have had several long successful relationships including a marriage and I’m in a lot of agreement with Evan of CD. Not only could I not even get to the point of kissing one guy and still having coffee with another. And I’ve met many men who feel that same way, my own boyfriends, ex-husband, and male friends. I agree taking a step back in a relationship is not cheating, that “cheating” and “integrity” are inflammatory terms. I don’t know how “open cheating” even means anything because the dishonesty part is cheating and if it’s open, it’s honest. Though not healthy for someone who wants a commitment to pretend to tolerate. I agree it’s better to just break up. The 2 women I know who are doing CD are the most insecure people lacking in self-esteem who have been accepting crumbs and ignoring red flags from the beginning. For them, it’s a pretense of not caring when there’s no getting around that they do.
    So overall I really like your thinking, Evan. I was just noticing what seems like a “male” reaction to Ashley (249, 251) although I think you are really out to help women. It’s not the opinions or facts but the tone. I thought Ashley’s comparison of the man’s urgent desire for sex with the woman’s urgent biological clock was really original and heartfelt and actually humorous and charming and not totally wrong. I’ll bet she knew it wasn’t an exact comparison. I mean, you probably appreciate a large, diverse readership but did it occur to you to notice anything positive in that post? “Point taken” or whatever. And maybe not jump to statistics. I didn’t feel she was attacking you but she was right to feel sort of attacked. Maybe being reminded of the vulnerability of needing something so badly from another person (welcome to the human race) hit a nerve?
    With that little comparison, Ashley hinted at inequality between women and men, even though you are living an equal relationship apparently and you bring up equality because either party can decide to leave or stay. That’s all true. But in the bigger picture, and you haven’t gotten there yet in your life and never will be where any woman can find herself… women’s childbearing and child-related roles or even latent capacity, really does create a very real threat of inequality LATER in marriage or rather after a marriage with kids ends. Just the huge reality of that, even if it’s abstract now or you think it won’t happen in your case, is symbolic of an astronomical (economical, emotional, practical, sexual, life-altering) vulnerability for women that no upstanding nice guy can take away. It sometimes comes through in seemingly flawed examples. But needing sex vs needing commitment in very needy ways really does relate, I think.
    Also, it is WORLD WIDE web so I think cultural discussions are relevant, why not? Including going back some decades in the US, or what different religions have done like no sex before engagement or whatever – however antiquated that seems. Also, I’m sure the whole 2-3 year thing is true, the scientific measuring of when infatuation wears off. But let’s remember maybe sometimes the exceptions like the quick marriages that work forever, might be more than flukes. Sometimes I think bigger things like previous lifetimes could be at work. In those cases success might mean something totally different. I’m probably at the older end of the age scale here and two important relationships of mine had some element from I have no idea where and for one thing they didn’t become marriage. I knew the significance to my life of both these men and felt I knew them from week one and they did too. Not successful in terms of leading to marriage and off all the statistics, yet profound and loving and essential and functional in their own ways. Which is to say in an irrational feminine way maybe the focus on 18 exact months here, 3 months there, X is X and Y is Y damn it – maybe details are not the end-all and be-all, valid as they are.
    I also agree with almost all of Karl’s points but I found myself recoiling from the angry repetitive tone that wants to just stamp out the fine points of what a woman says if she disagrees! Citing things like a research paper, confronting the smallest statements like it’s war. I don’t think right or wrong excuses that. Maybe we could take the opportunity to be kind even in disagreement. Everybody’s doing their best.

  28. 238
    Kat

    I was confused about the circular dating topic on Rori’s site. I live in LV,Nv. I am in my early 30’s and I look 20’s. I was going to try circular dating but every guy I have met wants sex so I decided not to do it. I am just not really attracted to a lot of men I see. I see a MUCH older guy and have been for a few years and I am considering maybe living out the rest of my days alone(like other older relatives whose husbands died years earlier than them) or never married female relatives. I enjoy seeing my BF, he is the first guy I have ever been in love with. An older female friend at a church I used to attend at the time told This woman pastor I did not know. who supposedly is blessed with the gift of second sight that i was “fornicating” and I got some bad advice from her as she was still bitter about her husband leaving her for another woman (she told this long story). She embarrassed me in front of others belittling me and the guy I am seeing! I was angry and decided I learned my lesson and I don’t really trust anymore. I do not live with my BF, I appreciate this article that you have posted on your site! Thanks!

  29. 239
    Deborah

    Dating is for what? I would think dating should be courtship to marriage, which means exactly what you are saying. Of course if there is no ring, you are free to date, and I see her point because I came up with it too. You aren’t married, so you aren’t committed, so you don’t have to “play marriage”. I am against “playing marriage”, as in, moving in with, having babies with, sharing bills with someone whom could at the drop of a hat leave if they felt like it, or I could! I mean, what is that? 

    But i don’t agree that dating, as if it stays all unserious until you say your vows makes sense either.

    To me, dating can’t exactly be what it used to be either, because for a while, there were communities, and people knew each other, so, dating would be a more serious step up from friendship!

    But since people do blind dates a lot (off the internet may as well be blind dating, your have nothing to do with this people in the course of your actual life) I think that people treat dating in gradations. So there is, chatting online (screening), meeting for coffee (1st interview), a date (second interview), then DATING DATING (going out a lot, talking a lot, sex), then going out with each other dating (often treated like a mock marriage), then there is exclusive dating (super duper like a marriage without the actual vows), then a big long sustain (dating seriously, in love, a couple), then engagement dating maybe if it works out…then MOVING IN with each other dating…sometimes this comes earlier, and MAYYYYBE a proposal, or else it ends…then real engagement, then actual marriage and everyone flops and relaxes now.

    I would just have less classifications. To me, there is meeting, then dating, then engagement then marriage. Friendship first is nice though. It helps to spend a while dating.

    But either way, it’s PROGRESSIVE. so yeah I agree!

  30. 240
    Deborah

    I also see Rori’s point in that, you don’t want dating to be a big time waster. Again, I came up with this idea too, and what it sprouted from was…you want to increase your odds. If you date a bunch of people, and don’t get too tied in with one just yet, you can find a good person a lot quicker than one – then get a broken heart, then guy #2, then get a broken heart, then guy #3 it goes well for 5 years, then guy #4 it goes well for 6, then guy # 5 it goes well for 8 years, then….wait a sec now I’m an old maid! omg none turned out! (That’s me right now.). But if I doubled up, I wouldn’t have had a broken heart because I’d be too busy going on dates and evualuating guys to get too emotionally involved with someone who isn’t going to work out. Instead I’m using my head! But the problem is…that’s like no fun at all! That’s like dating without life. that’s like Spock and then some! Like…you WANT to have feelings for crying out loud! sooo, yeah in a way it could be good, if you can keep it up! but you have to suppress yourself from getting excited over anyone and just date like you are doing Math, or accounting, or…something really dead and boring.

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