The Blind Spot In Rori Raye’s Circular Dating


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,


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  1. 61

    good points, but I’d like to point out that CD in ltr/non committal  situations generally  comes about when a woman sees her beloved isn’t stepping up, only promising, but not moving the relationship in that direction. Truly, I agree with Evan, walk away, but our hearts are still entangled, so another option is to basically break it off, and possibly still date the beloved ex, but once we CD and see just how much our ex wasn’t coming forward to meet our needs- maybe in commitment, maybe in any number of other ways, it is a lot easier to truly just walk away and let the beloved ex remain a part of our past- if we want.

    And I’d say it seems everyone has their own arbitrary length of time alotted before the proposal step needs to be taken. I actually don’t- I don’t care when I get married, if I ever do, I want the right committed loving relationship for me, and I’ll wait as long as necessary for THAT-
    so if my reltionship is wonderful and fulfilling to both of us, and I feel our commitment is there, I personally wouldn’t start to CD just because he didn’t propose in 6 months, or nine months, or 2 years….

    But if I feel after 2 years of dating, we aren’t moving forward in our commitment, but still dating and seeing each other a few nights a week, etc, then I might feel it’s time to move on to dating others, because the security of a committed relationship is what I want, including marriage. And I am clear that is what I want up front as I begin dating any man, so it’s probably not going to surprise a man that I would move on after 2 years of stagnant relationship. If we still love each other, and we both want to work it out, it seems this gives the uncertain man a chance to salvage the relationship if he wants. I think of CD when utilized this way as a less painful break-off for some who just aren’t ready to walk away when it’s clear their needs aren’t being, or ever going to be met, and leaving the door open for the ex too.

    I had a couple CD’s who I dated for 3+ months who didn’t call or see me more than 1x a week, often not even that… and then told me they wanted to be exclusive with me. That felt weird to me, since I hadn’t seen a growing relationship, so I didn’t agree to be exclusive- in fact, after 3 months of dating so casually I felt I hardly knew these men, nor them me, since they didn’t spend all that much time with me. I don’t want that kind of stagnant relationship, so I actually broke off seeing them totally.

  2. 62

    Karl # 62.   You ask ” How is this an effective way to get rid of the guy?”   It’s not, b/c my intention is not to get rid of the guy.   I love the guy, he’s fun, I enjoy his company.     And yes, say you are right that he has no intention of EVER getting married.   That is why I have the desire to circular date.   B/c getting married is a desire of mine.   It has come clear to me, that he and I are   both   comfortable with each other, and neither of us want  to make a painful move.   So I guess it seems to be easier to maintain a relationship and have the opportunity to look around.   Even tho  dating others  has not been discused as an option yet between us.   I am also 35 and would like to have the option of having kids before it is too late.

  3. 63
    Karl R

    TXBirdy said: (#63)
    “I don’t want that kind of stagnant relationship, so I actually broke off seeing them totally.”

    I would say that you followed the effective strategy.

    TXBirdy said: (#63)
    “I think of CD when utilized this way as a less painful break-off for some who just aren’t ready to walk away when it’s clear their needs aren’t being, or ever going to be met, and leaving the door open for the ex too.”

    Have you ever dated  a man  who had just gotten out of a long-term relationship, but clearly wasn’t over  his ex? If you get the idea that a man isn’t over his ex, does it send up a yellow flag (or red flag) to you?

    Let’s say you meet a man who was in a two-year relationship, he  wanted to get married, but his girlfriend didn’t want to. He’s dating again, but he still hasn’t broken up with his long-term girlfriend yet. As a woman who is seeking to get married, would you consider this man to be a good prospect for a husband, or would he be sending up red flags?

    This man is basically advertising that he’s not ready to walk away from his girlfriend, even though his needs aren’t being met. He’s deliberately leaving the door open for her. As a woman who wants to get married, would you waste any of your time dating this man?

    Why would a marriage-minded man see the situation any differently than you?

  4. 64

    TXBirdy :
    I think of CD when utilized this way as a less painful break-off for some who just aren’t ready to walk away when it’s clear their needs aren’t being, or ever going to be met, and leaving the door open for the ex too.

    I do see the logic behind this. I see how it can save you pain and discomfort and prevent you from completely abandoning your slow-to-act boyfriend just in case he changes his mind. I get that.
    However, read Karl’s post again:

    I was rather certain that my girlfriend was the right one for me, but I wasn’t quite ready to get engaged. If she had decided to break things off because I hadn’t gotten engaged at that point, I would have taken the risk and stepped up before I was quite ready.

    If a man has any intention of stepping up rather than losing you then he is more then likely going to do it whether you use CD or break up with him. One of those two methods has integrity, and like most other aspects of life, it is not necessarily the easiest choice.

  5. 65

    I have never met a man or woman yet who is ok with their partner declaring they want to date other people especially if they have been going out for a while and are happy together.
    All that tells them is you dont really want to be exclusive with them and  for a woman, instead of  forcing a man step up to the plate and commit it will make him run away and find a woman who will be faithful. I am talking about normal guys who are capable of being faithful and want to get married and have a family.

    I find some of Rori’s methods don’t work well with guys and others that are good and make sense.

    Evan is  correct when he says to assess a mans efforts and give him some time to figure out whether he is looking to spend the rest of his life with you. It’s a big decision for a man when he knows this will involve raising children especially if he has been married before and it didn’t work out. And while he is doing this YOU can work out whether he will be a good fit with your life, family and friends, whether you both have the same basic values and are capable of working out any differences when they do occur without it turning into World War 3.

    Use some common sense and your intuition and keep it simple.

  6. 66
    Twilight Princess

    LVD: Why does he have to be attacked because he was being straight forward? Evan is straight forward. If you read this blog regularly you’d see that. I think he’s being really nice. I really appreciate his blunt personality. When you reach a certain age and are still making rookie mistakes in the dating game what other choice do you have? Tough love! He’s not saying it to be insulting. He’s trying to get women to realize that this is a bad way to go about dating. If you don’t believe him, why don’t you give it a try? Plus it’s a debate, as you noted before, they can get messy. AND if you’ve been dating for a while and one thing doesn’t work why would anyone be so opposed to trying something new? Props to Evan. Never change your tone. Some people appreciate it.

  7. 67

    I agree with Twilight Princess. Why is it that just because someone does not like a “tone” should they expect to be attacked and personally insulted? Evan was resorted to defending his integrity and his marriage just because he voiced he did not like a dating principle being used. It’s one thing to be in your feelings as they preach on the RR blog, but you do still have to also know how to separate what is going on in you to what is happening outside of you as well. Not everything is personal and frankly as a woman, it actually did me a world of good when I stopped taking and seeing everything as such. Suddenly the world stopped being all about “me, me, me.” No offense but this is exactly the reason why I had to quit cold turkey going on the RR blog in the first place.

  8. 68

    @Bridget 42   You want to have the option of having kids?   Decide you want them or not and make it a goal (or not). Otherwise you might find yourself 42 and still wondering if you want them and OH DARN it is too late. I have seen this.

    The painful move it is going to hurt whenever you do it; him for sure and maybe you too.   It also might confuse the man you are considering being exclusive with with as you agonize over what to do. Maybe you handle this emotionlessly, but staying in this comfortable place will impair your ability to find a partner.   It is certainly sucking up   time and emotional energy when you could be looking. Good luck.

  9. 69

    I don’t see why all these comments are bashing circular dating. I see what Evan is saying about not dating other men when you have a quality man, and dumping men who aren’t quality. I agree. Waiting for a ring before you stop dating other people is a bit extreme.

    However, I have been dating multiple people since before I ever looked up Rori or Evan’s blogs. And when you are in the early stages of dating (not sleeping together, deciding if you like each other at all, etc) I think it’s an EXCELLENT idea to date multiple people. And it DOES make the man pay more attention, IF he’s really interested in you. And if you’re not hanging on, waiting for one man to decide if he likes you, you’re in a better position. It’s the 50% thing. He’s dating other women, you’re dating other men. I think that’s perfectly healthy and more than reasonable (although a lot of men seem shocked that after 1 date I’m not willing to stop seeing other people!!)

    When would you say is an appropriate time to stop seeing other people? After 3 dates? After 2 months? I agree that waiting for marriage is unreasonable, especially since I would not tolerate a man dating other women if I thought I might want to marry him…. but surely there must be some place for dating multiple people in the early stages, before you both agree to be exclusive.

  10. 70

    I adore reading what Evan has to say and I adore reading what Rory has to say. Both, over time, have written things that have helped me a lot and caused me to look inward and make some positive changes.

    I have to agree with Evan on the circular dating though.

    It’s particularly interesting since I live in a completely different culture. Here in the Mediterranean there is no way a woman could circular date without raising surefire hell or straight up losing a guy.   Various Italian male friends of mine over the years have said that’s one thing they can’t understand about American dating culture – that it would be acceptable to date more than one person for that long. Sure, at the beginning before you’re a couple, you meet all kinds of people and date. But once you’re a couple you’re a couple. That’s just how it is here.   And people decide pretty quickly that they want to be a couple, much more quickly than in the States.

    If I were to insist on “CDing”, it would be pointless. I can’t change the culture where I am. I don’t have to 100% adapt either but I can’t insist that an entire country change its ways in matters of the heart.   I tried to “CD” here but it only created stress and confusion and I stopped quickly. No thank you!

    If a guy wants to only see me and is sure that he wants to be my boyfriend, AKA the only man I date, it seems to me the best thing to do is believe and trust and, if that’s what I want, say yes.

  11. 71

    P.S. I just wanted to add… to each their own, really, but I think that if we spend all our time trying all kinds of tricks & tools (however positive and useful) with the goal of getting married or what have you, we risk forgetting to just relax and actually get to know the person.   This is why I personally can’t CD.   Now that I have decided to be in a relationship, I much prefer the idea of sitting back, relaxing, and getting to know this man and hopefully growing with him.   After all, that’s also MY time to decide if I want to spend the rest of my life with him.   If I’m busy dating others, I can’t do that.   But, that’s just me.

  12. 72

    Hi again,

    I know my experience is not applicable for everyone but I am a 35 year old woman who has “left the door open” for my ex for 15 years!

    Nothing has changed! He’s happy and comfortable and I have facilitated it. A clean break is the only way to go – it opens the door for someone new (there have been new people over the years but the “open door” presented a problem. Thus my conclusion that you need to move on before you move on).

    I read on Rori’s blog that CDing is a way for you to maintain a healthy attitude and not be wrapped up on one man. And yes, also a way of breaking it off without breaking it off. Good for anyone who has the fortitude to date effectively while living a new sort of emotional limbo. I know I didn’t.

    And how can you ever be certain that you’re dating for yourself – or to prove point or force a desired outcome.

    I have seen in my friend’s lives that forcing a guy to make the call is NEVER the right action. One friend did it after 5 years of dating and they divorced after 10 years of marriage and she’s left with the realization that even though she was “successful” in getting him to marry her, she would have been better off waiting for the right man.

    Like I said in my last comment – I think what’s lacking is a sense of peace in the woman’s heart about the man and the relationship. I think that uneasiness seriously needs to be honored. When I walk down the aisle, I want it to be with a happy man who made his own decision proactively, and not as a result of a threat.

    If a man really is into you, the fear of losing you is generated from within and HE feels a sense of urgency. If it ain’t there and you “create” it, I think it’s a recipe for disappointment later on.


    Waiting three years is nothing. It’s not because I have waited 15 that I say that. I think there are clear signs and messages when a man plans to make a lifetime commitment. I think those messages are being conveyed in myriad ways before he ever says anything and that you will feel able to relax, be calm and enjoy the organic growth of your relationship. 6 months or 3 years won’t make a difference when you feel the peace in your heart that comes from truly feeling secure.

    I have to ask, if you feel the need to push or root out intentions, how is that a sign that you feel secure? Honor why you feel that panic. Explore if it’s you being unreasonable or him sending signals he’s happy not moving forward. In any case, I’d be extremely careful with this tactic.

  13. 73

    I agree with EE.
    Bridget, I don’t see how waiting around with a man who clearly stated that he has no intention to get married is benefitting you in any way. There’s not even a middle ground here — you want to marry, he doesn’t, discussion over.
    So… neither of you want to make a painful move… but really, he’s not sacrificing as much as you are by continuing to stay in the relationship because he’s not the one who wants to marry. Sounds like a great deal for him (and rather selfish on his part), but since you’re going along with it — even though you want kids — he’s not going to cut the cord.
    As much as breakups suck, I don’t get the point behind holding off on making tough decisions when you know you’re at a dead end. Yes, it will be painful, but that’s life. Just rip the band-aid off right now and deal with the pain, and then work toward moving on to someone who has the same goals.

  14. 74

    Good stuff!
    Karl said:
    Let’s say you meet a man who was in a two-year relationship, he  wanted to get married, but his girlfriend didn’t want to. He’s dating again, but he still hasn’t broken up with his long-term girlfriend yet. As a woman who is seeking to get married, would you consider this man to be a good prospect for a husband, or would he be sending up red flags?

    I have had one man call me out and pull no punches. He actually recommended I read a book because obviously I have issues. The sad thing is, on more than one occassion, I have thought that I met “the one” and that I could move on to a great life and put the ex behind me.
    There are two problems with this. One, my new relationship wasn’t without it’s bumps and it was much easier to talk to the ex about the problems than it was to bond with the new guy.
    Two: being with someone who doesn’t love or respect you enough to care about YOUR LIFE and your goals for said life is extremely detrimental to your self-esteem. Mine is in tatters. I literally could not function in my new relationship and did not know how to react when I was treated like I always dreamed.
    Trust me ladies, BREAK IT OFF. It has been extremely hard for me to realize that I wasn’t ready for the life I’ve always wanted because I have spent so much time adapting to an unhealthy situation. You may think you will get out baggage free, but it will creep up on you, trust me.
    Get out, get healthy. Find yourself again and then re-approach dating fresh. Dating with a heavy heart because you really love your non-committal man is not fair to anyone – especially the new guy!

  15. 75

    I posted on Rori’s blog about CDing but I wanted to post here as well even though I feel a little late to the party.   I think one of the problems with understanding this concept is that on this blog (and on the recent posts on Rori’s blog as well), CDing has been portrayed only as actually going on real dates with other men.   That’s how it starts, but there are lots of levels to it that encouage a women to keep her options open, not pin all of her dreams on one man and stay open to the possibility that even if this man does end up not wanting to marry her, she’ll be just fine as a sexy, vibrant, loving woman – without him.   Some of the more “relaxed” approaches to CDing are things like  having lunch “dates” with a male co-worker, flirting with the guy at the grocery store, taking yourself out to a nice dinner and flirting with men you meet  (also known as circular dating yourself), actually MEETING men, etc.

    When I did it, I actually went on dates with other men until I got the relationship I wanted (along with a forever commitment from the man of my dreams) but I think most women would benefit more from dating lots of men until one stands out and then slowly, as things develop with that man, move on to the other levels of circular dating.

    Really the only thing that feels very discouraging to me about your take on it Evan is that you say it “doesn’t work”.   It actually does if my relationship counts as one that works.   I understand if you believe it “shouldn’t” work (because I feel the same way) or even if you don’t think it will work most of the time.   But it does work.   I’m living proof.

    In any case, I wanted to share here what I posted on Rori’s blog so that you can see what happened with J and me.   Hopefully it will resonate with some of you, but even if it doesn’t, I hope you will never the less enjoy hearing my experience and seeing how incredibly loving a couple can be, regardless of how dating is “supposed” to be done.

    My posting from Rori’s Blog:

    On circular dating: I can see where some people would be very hesitant to believe it can be a good thing and I can see where men, especially, would hesitate to believe it can benefit their lives.
    One thing I can tell the ladies from a positive experience with it in my own life is that when you meet a man who is fearless of any real or perceived “competition” because of your circular dating, when you meet a man who is confident in the knowledge that the two of you are perfect and right for each other and when you meet a man who will do everything in his power to make sure he doesn’t lose you to some lame guy you went to dinner with last night….well…ladies…it is absolutely the most incredible feeling in the world. Knowing your man refuses to lose you and refuses to walk away and refuses to give up and refuses to believe that any other man in this world could possibly win you away from him and refuses to let you believe it either and refuses to let someone else fill up your time when HE could invite you out first…WOW! That’s pretty much all I can say…WOW! For me, I know J wasn’t about to let anything or anyone come between us. I’m not sure everyone gets to know that. I think we all believe it, but I personally KNOW he won’t let it happen because I KNOW he didn’t.
    One thing I can tell the men here from a positive experience J had with it is that when you are feeling confused and unsure, when you are crazy in love and yet scared out of your mind to move forward, when you are hesitant to give up your perception of “freedom” or “bachelorhood” and when you are with a woman who takes her life into her own hands and makes a commitment to herself to go out there and get the life of her dreams and drives you crazy with desire and love…well…sometimes, in a really good way, it can cause you to feel something so different from the feelings above. Sometimes, it can cause you to know, without a doubt that this woman is the best, most amazing thing you’ve ever held in your arms and that you will NOT let her go. And sometimes, you will look back and wonder if you would have ever realized that had she not put a touch of fear in you and inspired you to tap into the confidence and power you always knew you had. And sometimes it encourages you to look at that woman and lose all fear because once you determine she is the one for you and nothing or nobody is going to stand in your way, sometimes, that can be the most freeing feeling of all…a feeling of freedom that WAY outweighs the single and free feeling.
    Anyway…that’s how J and I experienced it and that’s how we feel about it. After listening to so many people bash it though, I am even more grateful that I am spending the rest of my life with probably the most confident, loving, amazing, manly, strong and fearless man EVER. No wonder he isn’t intimidated by other men!
    (okay…that was a little biased…)
    Much Love,

  16. 76

    Oh…I forgot to mention…those later levels of circular dating (like flirting and meeting men) will really help women change their vibe (and give them a bit of an ego boost) anytime they are feeling insecure or scared….even while married.

    I don’t know how to explain it except to say we all know that twinge of insecurity when our man pulls away even the slightest bit.   Like he isn’t being as affectionate as he used to be or he’s off on his own train of thought and not listening to us as intently or he’s spending a ton of time playing video games, etc.   Our crazy voices can get us all messed up and wondering “what’s wrong” and “what did I do” and “I must not be good enough” and “is he cheating on me” and “I know I’ve gained weight but…” and “oh God I need to call my sister!!!!”, etc.

    When those voices pop up, if we are already in the habit of and comfortable with the concept of circular dating, then instead of listening to the negatives or getting anxious over the “what-ifs”, we can instead lose our insecurities by getting out there and flirting, having fun, meeting people, making eye contact and smiling and enjoying a conversation with some random guy and remembering (because of his reaction) that we STILL got it so whatever is going on in the husband’s mind right now, it’s his stuff and not something we need to worry about.   It helps us do what we KNOW we’re supposed to do…and that is give him time to go through his funk and not pressure him to talk about his feelings to us (even though, as women, we REALLY want to talk about his feelings).

    It’s okay…we can flirt…and when we do, we come home much more relaxed and maybe glowing a little and really, a whole lot less concerned about how much time he’s going to spend watching tv tonight.   Actually, this is about the time (you know…when WE’RE the ones that want to go off into our own heads and smile and think about our day) that he wants nothing to do with tv or video games or computers or working in the garage or whatever.   When we circular date in this way…even while we’re in a relationship and even if that relationship is a marriage….our entire vibe changes and that man has no desire to leave us alone.   Something about us attracts him and it doesn’t matter at what level we are circular dating…something is crazy hot about  us and those men are very, very interested in  being a part of our day.  

    The second a woman authentically (and I mean authentically…no games, no trying to trap him, no ulterior motives, etc) doesn’t care how much or how little attention she’s getting from her man, the more attention she gets from her man.   🙂

    The second a woman nags about how little attention she’s getting from her man, the less attention she gets from her man.

    I don’t know.   I don’t know how to explain it.   I do know it really can work…even though it makes zero sense that it would and I really know it worked for me.  

    Okay…hopefully I’m done with this topic now.   LOL   Thanks for sharing the space here for my opinion and experience.

    Much Love,

    1. 76.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Mercedes: I appreciate you taking the time to explain the nuances of Circular Dating. I think that will certainly clear up any ways in which I might have misinterpreted it – and, as a form of self-love, I agree, it’s invaluable. But can you still not concede the validity of my two main arguments against CDing? It’s not that everything about it is “wrong”, but rather that, when you have a quality, relationship-oriented boyfriend, a) expecting him to “know” he’ll marry you within the first year is unrealistic, and b) expecting him to be cool when you “circular date” at that point is unrealistic. Those were my only two points and they seem to have been glossed over in your posts. Please don’t forget; the exception doesn’t prove the rule. In other words, I can foolishly push too hard for sex on the first date – and still ultimately get the girlfriend – but it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. You can tell your boyfriend you’re seeing other guys – and just because HE stayed, doesn’t mean most guys would. Would appreciate you addressing my two logical problems with CDing instead of merely explaining that I don’t understand it. Thanks for your contribution.

  17. 77

    I’m so sorry Evan…I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t understand.   I only meant to say that on this blog and on Rori’s blog recently, I didn’t think the actual deep meaning and use of it had been explained well enough for outside readers (meaning those who don’t follow Rori so have no experience with it) would fully understand.   My words were poorly chosen and I did not mean to gloss over your arguments at all.

    I agree with absolutely  every single word of this:

    “a) expecting him to “know” he’ll marry you within the first year is unrealistic, and b) expecting him to be cool when you “circular date” at that point is unrealistic.”

    I think there’s about ZERO ability to even speculate on when a man will know he wants to marry you.   This is where Rori and I disagree.   She thinks they know much sooner than I think they know.   Reality is, each man is probably different in that regard and I’m guessing, depending on the man, it ranges somewhere between one second and one hundred years.   We’re all so different where our hearts are concerned…how could we possibly put a time on something like that?

    As for the guy being cool with it, J was not cool with it at all.   Hated it.   Every single second of it.   Did not want to lose me and started taking up so much of my time that I didn’t have time to see other men anymore.   I doubt he would be cool with me flirting right now if I was feeling closed off from him.   I doubt very much he would be cool with knowing I’m striking up random conversations with men when I want an ego boost and he’s been lost in a video game for the last few weeks.

    But he does notice the difference in me.   And he does love me.   And he does not want to lose me.   Cool or not, he notices my vibe change when other men are paying attention and the sort of “competitive, fight for the girl, may the best man win” attitude comes out.   In short, when my vibe changes, he steps up…even when he doesn’t know or doesn’t  like the reasons for my vibe changing.

    It’s like when a guy flirts with me right in front of him.   His instincts cause him to step it up a notch.   He gets a “she’s my woman” vibe about him and just so you know, it’s killer sexy when it happens.   😉  

    Grrrr…I’m frustrated…I wish I had better words because I think I’m offending you and I don’t mean to at all…I just want to explain what it does for me.

    And I do agree, not all men will stick around for it.   I don’t think I agree that MOST men wouldn’t (but that’s really hard to say).   But I do believe that when a man is truly in love, he won’t let  her get away.

    I can usually write quite well but for some reason, I struggle with finding words that feel better to you because I want my contribution here to be so much more than “merely explaining”.   This is my life and my heart and my love we’re talking about.   I just want to let people know it can be as good as they imagine (even better) and it doesn’t matter how the dating process went.

    Did that help clarify where I’m at?

  18. 78

    I can’t comment one way or the other about the effectiveness of Circcular Dating, except that men are indeed hardwired to try to win competitions with other men.

    As a guy, I’m uneasy about Circular Dating, or at least how you go about it, for a different reason though. The guys you are CDing with (I’m not talking about the primary guy in your life, I’m talking about the others you are letting take you out), aren’t going to be too happy when they realize that you accepted their invitation for dinner when you weren’t really available. And for good reason–they were used by you.

    Ladies, men are taught to be chivalrous. I hope you don’t take advantage of that in ways that it wasn’t intended for.

    The flip side to CD is what is taught by those in the so-called Pick Up Artist Community. The philosophy of many in the PUA Community is to sleep with a bunch of women, spending as little time and money on each one in the process, until they find one that they want to make their girlfriend. To avoid “leading anyone on”, guys are taught to be vague about their intentions even while they are charming the pants off her. Is it even possible for the guys who try this, and does it help these guys find happiness when it comes to the opposite sex? Maybe. Do women like this? I mean, the girls who are having sex with these players were doing it on their own accord, but…

  19. 79

    SS, I totally agree. I just have to clarify on one thing, he has actually never said he never wants to get married.   He has   given me the impression that he wants to get married someday, he  is just not ready right now and doesn’t know when he will be.   So  I guess I hold out hope, but  if I was able to date other guys I might not feel like I am being ‘held up’, and then either I meet someone else or he is ready to marry.  Whichever comes first.   What happens if the next guy doesn’t want to get married either?   Maybe I am just not meant to be married because it shouldn’t be this complicated.   My brain is exploding.

  20. 80

    Michael17 – When I was doing it, there was no dishonesty…there was no using anyone at all.   The whole point is that i was available.   Really available.   I was not J’s girlfriend.   I wasn’t anybody’s girlfriend.   I was dating and looking for the man I would spend the rest of my life with.  

    When I met a new guy, I told him how I felt about being exclusive.   You know what’s funny?   The all said they felt the same way.   I would say I’m not looking for an exclusive relationship right and that I’m dating lots of men and that someday I hoped to find The One and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM said they were in the exact same place.

    And almost all of them asked me out again.   Even knowing I was dating other men.

    And J asked me out again.   Even knowing I was dating other men.

    And  as J couldn’t stand the thought of losing me and hated thinking about me having dinner or drinks  or whatever with other men,  he would fill up my evenings and weekends so that there wasn’t time to be with others.   And all the while, he was stepping up.   And then he gave me total commitment.

    It was all good…not PUA style at all.   But…I can see where some women would use it that way.   Just want to say that I didn’t.

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