The Blind Spot In Rori Raye’s Circular Dating

woman trying to make peace with her man

If 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…

It 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,


Join our conversation (509 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    OMG – I am a woman and I can whole heartedly say Evan you are RIGHT!!!! How can you go off and date another man whilst you are in a relationship – note not just casual dating – because he has not put a ring on your finger in X months! What a load of (i’m so sorry to say) rubbish! Wonder how many of  these women that are CDing have even had a healthy relationship? If they are in a relationship that is not giving them what they want, then clearly they should just break up with that person and find someone new.

    Relationships take time to grow and you can’t expect to be married overnight. So I would like to share my personal analogy with you and other readers:

    A plant cannot grow overnight from a seed, it has to be nurtured and go through a natural cycle of growth. If you’re overzealous and water it too much, eventually the plant will drown. Conversely, if you’re too laid back and forget to water it, through neglect the plant will dwindle away. The key is to strike a balance together with the natural growth cycle and you will yield a plant from a seed…

    1. 1.1

      I love your analogy!   With my ex of over 33 years, I dated up until the alter.   I did not sleep with anyone else, but I did not cut myself off either.   I didn’t advertise that I was still dating, and that was because ” we ” hadn’t come to the decision of being a couple.

      I am now divorced and dating again.   I’m in a relationship with one man and have seen him since the end of Jan.   We haven’t discussed whether or not we are a couple.   It has been four months.   I am not sleeping with anyone else, but again go dancing and flirt with men.   I also go to a gym where there are men.   I don’t seek out men, they seek me out.

      I’m not looking to jump into a marriage , for it takes time to get to know someone.   Now if he says he wants to be exclusive, I would only date him.   I would still go to my gym, and I’d still go to my dances.   If he would take lessons or come to dances with me, all the better.   But I’m not going to stop the things that are good and healthy for me, to be exclusive to one man.   I’m 53 and don’t want to rush any relationship.  

      I believe there is a happy medium.   If the person I’m seeing isn’t giving me what I need.   I’ll ask for it.   If they still can’t then it’s time to move on.  

  2. 2

    Bravo, Evan, Bravo.
    Get ready for the tar and feathers.  You are still being  discussed.

    There is no way that I would risk the potential marriage to the love of my life by CD-ing.   Dating yes, in the early stages, after I am in an exclusive bf/gf relationship?   Not a snow balls chance in hell.   I prefer to be the cool girl.   And, I always have options, I can leave if necessary but I always have options.

    I feel  sorry about the  beating you took over there.   I feel you were highly disrespected.

  3. 3

    I wonder how these women, who advocate CD’ing as a good way to establish a lasting marriage (an idea so out there and illogical that I won’t even go into that) would feel if a man said “If you don’t learn to like sexual act Y and Z in X amount of months, I’d going to start dating other people”. There would be an outrage! However, when women perform the same type of manipulation in the spirit of ‘female empowerment’ it’s completely normal and healthy. Right.. Female empowerment is about having equal access to finances, jobs, and decision making politicians, not going back and forth trying to force the other sex to be weaker.

  4. 4

    True woman empowerment is setting a reasonable timeline and walking away when your needs aren’t being met and you feel strongly that they never will be met (some women allow themselves to strung along for years and years).

    But the suggestion to start dating others while still dating the guy you supposedly want to marry is insulting to  the woman  and to the man. It’s a manipulation plain and simple.

    Besides, any new man she’s dating is just being used to strong arm her boyfriend. There’s no integrity in a choice like that.

  5. 5

    I feel horrified by the accusations that were levelled against you, Evan, on Rori Raye’s blog recently.   Even as a woman, I can appreciate that men are human beings too. Men have feelings too. The kind of good man that I want to meet would be looking for faithfulness in his partner before the engagement/marriage stage, just as I would be with him.   The kind of good man I want to meet would not be thrilled to hear his woman announce that she is going to activel date other men until he proposes. It might sound and feel like a passive-aggressive rejection or break-up to him.

    And how would he know that this pattern of seeing other men would suddenly stop upon the production of a diamond ring?   Why should he commit to an unfaithful woman (even though she says she’s only meeting them for coffee, not sleeping with them)?   Marriages break up over this kind of thing. And I fear that exclusive relationships with a view to marriage would too.   Rori’s blog claims that faced with this information, a real man who is really interested would step up his efforts to win the woman.   I fear that a man who is offering trust and faithfulness, and looking for that kind of stability in a partner as well, would turn and walk away.

    The original context of Rori’s idea about this was that, after her then live-in boyfriend decided he did not want to go through with a planned marriage proposal.   That is – he was clearly saying that he was not wanting to progress to engagement at that point. Many women would re-evaluate their options at that point, and consider ending or changing the relationship. Rori’s response was, “in that case, you can’t have me all to yourself.”   Context is everything.   Context creates meaning.  

  6. 6

    It’s funny, I’ve been on your site, EMK, for a few years now. I visited and read Rori’s stuff as well and her idea of CDing is where I fell off.
    How could you possibly be sure you want to marry someone if you don’t know them intimately? You can only get to know someone intimately when there is a level of trust and vulnerability that I would not give to a man that was dating several other women, so I think it safe to assume he would not give it to me, either, if I was dating several men.
    I would not be ok with a man dating several women at 8 months in, how could I expect him to be ok with that from me? That seems to me the epitome of selfishness, IMHO.
    I do know that I have been reading and participating in your blogs through 3 relationships, each one better than the last. The first was terrible and why I sought a relationship site out, which helped me leave that relationship and find a better one. That second relationship ended, yes, but it was a good loving relationship, just not my soul mate. My current relationship is more amazing than I ever could have imagined possible. This progression came from following your advice. I don’t know if this guy is “the one,” but I believe I will know in time and if he isn’t I am confident that is only because there is someone better for me (if that’s possible) out there that I have not yet found.
    I honestly believe in the advice you give and think it contributed to my confidence and positive outlook on relationships, even the ones that end. I don’t think advising women to remain unavailable is the way to convince a man that he wants to marry them…again, IMHO, as a woman.

  7. 7

    OH boy, I had red Rori’s blogs for quite a while. I considered using her advise after 3 1/2 years of a LDR not moving forward. I was giving all my time, love and devotion to a man who was not doing as he said. He told me early on, within 6 months, that he wanted a future with ME. Yet, he talked the talk, he wasn’t walking the walk. We are not young, I in my mid 40’s now (was only 39 when we met), and he in his mid 50’s now. Yet, we still sit states apart, with nothing set for any forward motion, only talk. I do love him, and I believe he loves me, but there comes a time when a decision must be made. I have been battling what decision I must make for my future happiness (and quite frankly my current happiness). If 5 years ago, I thought I would be in the same relationship, still in different states, I would have opted out years ago. But what’s a woman to do who has vested 5 years, time, love, traveling,, and hopes that this was it?   I don’t want to break up with him, yet I am sick of sitting idle while waiting for him to decide where and how things are going to go forward. Sigh….

    (DUMP HIM! – Evan)

    1. 7.1

      “But what’s a woman to do who has vested 5 years, time, love, traveling,, and hopes that this was it?   I don’t want to break up with him, yet I am sick of sitting idle while waiting for him to decide where and how things are going to go forward.”

      It is  clear that you  already have your answer  but I understand if the answer isn’t exactly what you like to hear let alone accept. As hard as it is but you have to be strong and trust your gut on this one.   If it doesn’t feel right then it probably is.   MOVE ON…It is better to end your relationship now rather than to prolong your agony by wasting  your next 5 or even 10 years wherein you could have spend those times for  more important things and people in your life.

  8. 8

    Evan is a very, very brave man to repeatedly stick his head into that hen house.   I’d never seen that blog but wow. I feel like I should get a drink and a bag of popcorn to read all of it.   

    What is interesting is how they aren’t paying attention at all to his philosophy and are just picking and choosing things to attack.

    I mean, he’s written here and there that if someone is wasting years of your life, clearly move on.   But 6 months isn’t a long time, and yes, even if you are older you need to be patient.   

    And there seems to be disagreement over there about what circular dating is…some sound like they are dating lots of people as they move towards exclusivity, and others are using it to manipulate.

    I think that people are also forgetting that sometimes you can get so caught up in “winning” that you don’t notice that what you are fighting for is basically a turd.   The best man won’t have to be manipulated into giving you something that he’s not sure he wants to give.   And just b/c he gives it to you doesn’t mean it will last, esp. if he got strong armed into the decision.

    But part of the problem is that people will play games and if they get the “prize” they’ll tell themselves and everyone else that it’s the best way to do it.   

    I will say I appreciate the viewpoint b/c even if I feel a mess inside, I at least don’t let it show and make these mistakes that pretty much guarantee failure.

    1. 8.1

      Nicole, I love it! Evan is a wise man (and brave for tackling these particular hens), but you have nailed the “winning at any cost” mentality we women sometimes have. Fighting over a “turd” indeed. Been there!

  9. 9

    Dump him. It’s hard, yes, but it will be harder another year in, and another… This man has shown you his intentions. He is not meeting your needs. Someone will. Go find him. You deserve that.
    Good luck, I know it’s easier said than done, but believe in yourself and give yourself that much worth to go find what you deserve. 🙂

    1. 9.1
      martine robertson

      I did read and buy Rori’s material for some time. The circular dating issue was always a struggle: for all the reasons outlined by you and the readers of this blog; and because its actually a nightmare trying to find a date in the first place (I am an attractive, fit engaged with life, and funny 60 year old).

      I waited 8 years using Rori and counselling to shore me up in what was a relationship with a deeply narcissistic man. I am sadly quite damaged now, and not quite sure how I got into such a situation.

      I really hope that I will be in a healthy relationship again, my best supporter is another man with whom I was in a relationship for 26 years, so I know I am OK.

      But where to find sympatico men…that is the challenge.

  10. 10
    Marvin B

    Great post Evan.
    I must say, I took a look over at Rori’s blog to see the discussion that was going on and I must say that I totally shared your sentiment and have tried to explain the many points that you have revealed here today to many women who feel that they’ll “keep their options open” because they don’t want to feel stupid for investing so much time for it to only go pear shape and have to listen to their friends who may say “I told you so.”
    In my personal experience, I have always wanted to date a woman for at least 12 months before I even evaluate whether there will be any potential for a longer term commitment beyond a couple years.
    i do hope your female readers, which it seems like a few have already 🙂 grasp the the concepts of what you’re saying about CDing with a boyfriend because you have revealed a lot of truths about how men think and behave in these situations.
    If a woman isn’t comfortable, then she should exercise her 50% of the deal and end the relationship but only because her needs aren’t met and not to make seem like an ultimatum because as you say…a real man isn’t going to listen to that and will let her leave and look for a woman with less drama, neediness and haste.

    1. 10.1

      When I read about Circular Dating some years ago after my divorce and subsequent breakup, I thought it was a revolutionary idea. I even wrote a blog about it! I’m so glad that Evan and a few others have spotlighted the problems with CD’ing in the interim–Rori Raye’s system works great for taking your  focus off an emotionally unavailable ex- who you can’t stop thinking about but I’m glad Evan has made it clear it’s not a cure-all especially if you have a loving and attentive boyfriend. Why would you want to hurt him  trying to force a marriage proposal  by dating around? You wouldn’t. It’s a no-brainer.

      1. 10.1.1

        I think this is such an important point Janet! I think that’s the missing piece and the bridge.

        Rori has a lot of experience working with abused women. For anyone coming from that direction, you need to build some power know-how AND you’ll have unhealthy patterns around what you tolerate (through no fault of your own, because being treated badly became a normalised experience). Even if in your head you know the behaviour isn’t o.k. you’re still deeply wired to accept it and so moving on can feel emotionally impossibe.

        Her CD approach can help someone transition away from unhealthy relationships. I could see it working really well for women who are   -in essence- still accepting a relationship that just isn’t right for them. They’re not being treated well, and CD gives them a half-way out, something that is more possible to do for them than just dump the guy. And hopefully, it will help them get to a point where, they can just dump the guy and not accept anyone like that the next time around… and then CD is no longer needed. And by that point, they’re in the domain of the good guys, so they don’t need CD and using CD would be incredibly disrespectful and perhaps even abusive. That would be the abused becoming the abuser 🙁 .

        I do think part of making that switch to good guy territory possible involves learning real emotional healing skills though. At some point, you need to be able to work through and be with your own old hurts and insecurities. A distraction strategy of putting all your focus on something (or someone) else doesn’t solve the problem.

  11. 11

    Evan, well done!   I am 50 and have been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half now.   He was coming off a twelve year marriage when we met and I knew he needed time to heal.   I knew this because a few years earlier, I had left a 12 year marriage and  the last thing I wanted to do at the time was get married again.    It’s been about four years since then.     I can honestly say  he is BY FAR the best guy I have ever known or dated.   He never lets me forget how special he thinks I am or how right we are for each other.   Our relationship feels organic, and you know what – I trust him.   I trust that he wants to be with me and I trust that when the time is right  he  will marry me.    He is worth the wait.   Ladies, take it from someone whose   been there.   Don’t try to rush the guy.   Take your time to get to know him so you know it’s right.   I wish I had done that before I got married the first time – I might have avoided a lot of heartache.

    1. 11.1

      Evry relationship is diff. Love ea other meet
      ea others neeeeds. When the guy wants marriage its the best. Lke evan sz be cool be the best gf be yourself. Sme guys lke drama dnt create drama be loving peaceful to ur bf.

  12. 12


    “what’s a woman to do who has vested 5 years, time, love, traveling,, and hopes that this was it?”

    That’s the rub. It’s very difficult and emotionally confusing and scary to move on when we focus on what we’ve put into a relationship -the time invested and so on. If you use your investment as a reason to stay, you will. Instead focus on what you’ve learned these years, how you’ve grown, what you want and what you deserve.

    Decide for yourself where and how things are going to go…  

    I know a gal who was strung along for 7 years, finally got a ring and sits there waiting for the wedding 4 years later. That’s 11 years. Everytime she thinks of leaving, she thinks of all those years invested and if she leaves, wasted. But every year she stays with this man is a year she’s not with the right one who does right by her. Even though she stays, she’s not happy  or content  or fulfilled.  

  13. 13

    My thoughts on investing…
    If I was a stockbroker and stayed with the same losing stock for years (while other stocks were remaining steady or going up), I would be out of a job. Especially if my mindset was, “But I’ve already invested so many years in this one stock, so I can’t give up now! It was so promising when I first put my money into it!”

    1. 13.1

      Great analogy!

  14. 14

    What is this marriage thing you are talking about? Why is it so important?

    The thing is, that most people I know as couples, live with one and other for years.. sure some get married, some separate, some divorce, some may live together for 20 living together is the main way here in Scandinavia… and about half of people have a child/ children that way too – and it is totally normal.

    A lot of people get married after getting pregnant, but a lot of people don’t – having children out of wedlock while living together is not frowned upon, as marriage is to a lot of people just an institution that qualifies the widow half of the inheritance if the spouse dies – child gets its legal share anyway, so no big difference there.

    The circular dating thing.. Well, the men I know.. if their partner would date elsewhere that way, they would walk out of relationship – it is considered cheating the trust even if there is nothing else there. Women here consider that cheating too, as it is a break in the commitment to the relationship.

  15. 15
    Dawn Allen

    Bravo, Evan!   And I know how difficult this experience must have been for you to go through.   As a dating and relationship coach myself, I love what Rori stands for (empowering women) but I have promoted your book to my ezine list in the past because I think you bring such a very enlightening viewpoint about men for women to be aware of.
    I also am an advocate of Pat Allen’s work and I wholeheartedly agree with you… a good man would struggle with his steady girlfriend giving him a deadline for a ring only to then go out and start dating other men.
    In my personal experience, the really great man I’m with would have been out the door if I had told them I was going to start dating other men after we were in a relationship, simply because he hadn’t decided yet if he was ready to get married.
    In addition, as a woman, isn’t it a whole lot more fun to have the experience of being asked to be married by a man when it’s completely his own idea? Not because we’re pushing him into it? Letting him come to the conclusion on his own that he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life without you?
    I don’t want my clients in go-nowhere relationships either, nor do I advocate staying with a man who runs hot and cold. But I agree with you wholeheartedly that the answer is just to dump him and move on.
    I advise following my favorite Oprah saying, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them… the first time.”
    I will continue to promote your book and your information to my list, Evan. And I think Rori is doing some great work in the world helping women, but I agree with you completely about every point you made in your post and I applaud you for the courage it took to stand up and speak your truth, in spite of the undeserved backlash.
    Good relationships, engagements and marriages are worth waiting for… and good men are worth waiting for as well.   And it’s worth letting them be the man and decide when they’re ready for a lifetime commitment to the woman of their dreams 🙂
    Blessings and much love,

  16. 16

    Haahahhahhahhhahha   CDing???? That is the craziest thing I have heard in the dating world! Thank you Evan for taking the heat on that…but really…this shouldn’t even be a topic.   CDing….whatever…..hope it works out for those who
    are willing to try it. Then will come a big “I told ya so”!

  17. 17

    I agree with Evan. Once I commit to a relationship with a man who has told me that he’s interested in marriage and having a family, I’m not going to date other men (i.e. cheat on him) to get him to propose faster. If I were a woman over 40 who wanted kids, I wouldn’t wait 3 years for a proposal. However, Evan did specify that caveat for women in that situation. Good job, Evan!

  18. 18
    Theresa H

    I also follow Rori’s blog / newsletter and have learnt alot of good attitudes / techniques (lean back / modern siren etc etc.) but I must admit the ‘circular dating’ has always been the concept I have a real problem with. Aside from the emotional energy involved in dating a number of people for a length of time…once you like a guy, and he clearly likes you…it seems like such a sad waste to spend precious time with someone else. Also…can I mention the physical aspect? if I’m at the stage where I’m sleeping with someone I really dont want them or me dating anyone else.

  19. 19

    I have received emails from Rori, and you for several years…and I find her advice to be directly opposite from yours…..She seems to be asking women to “act” this way or that way… her book and find my inner siren.   . . . .Use tricks as it were to attract and keep a man…..and Circular Dating sounds like the most manipulative behavior that I can imagine…..So, hang in there, keep telling us how men feel, and act and think, and stick to your guns…..I believe you are the real thing.

  20. 20

    Hi Evan! I have enjoyed your writing for a long time now but have never commented – but this time I had to say something.   After reading your post this I went to Rori’s website and can’t believe that so many people think that is a good idea! Sadly I think the reason those women are single is expressed by their attitudes in the comments.   Anyway, just wanted to say I hope you aren’t bothered by it! Any normal person would think dating others up until the time you are engaged (or making getting engaged after 6 months a requirement) is insane.  So don’t let it get you down 🙂   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *