The Blind Spot In Rori Raye’s Circular Dating

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

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

Yeah, you’d try to stop her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Predictably, then came the blowback.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did it take so long?

Because they take marriage very seriously.

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

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

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

They got married. They got the guys they wanted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warmest wishes,


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  1. 241
    Sparkling Emerald

    I’m on Rori’s subscription list, and while some of her ideas are good, I just can’t pay the big bucks for her full fledged program(not only because I don’t have big bucks) but because it seems like flat out manipulation.  Even tho she claims it is not about games, manipulation or ultimatums, it iS !
    The idea of using men for “free therapy” also rubs me the wrong way.  Yes, I know a lot of men use women, but I guess I just can not get on board with some sort of tit-for-tat and use men.  (just would rather dump the users & losers and find a great guy)
    There also seems to be desperation in her advice to date 3 men & just go for the whichever asks you out first, instead of trying to focus in one that you really are feeling it for.  Seems like she is just saying marry anyone who will have you, without regards for how you feel about him.  The goal here seems to be marriage to any Tom, Dick or Harry who asks, not to find someone to love.

  2. 242

    I’m a devoted follow of Rori Raye, as well as you, Evan; however, I must say that I agree with you on this one without a doubt. CDing when you have a boyfriend is most definitely cheating… No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it! I always like to call a spade a spade, and this is what I call a downright manipulation tactic!!!

  3. 243

    Aw, I am a woman and I think this is a beautiful post. I agree with everything you said. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. 244

    How is Rori Raye’s concept of circular dating different from Dr. Diana Kirschner’s “program of 3”, outlined in her book Love in 90 Days? It sounds very similar….

  5. 245

    Excellent rebuttal. It needs to be a two-way street, no doubt. End of story…which you explained extremely well with examples, similar to what I’ve experienced many time …or have seen others in the similar scenarios.  
    Glad you did not cower. The truth needs to be told without mincing words. There are tons of fantastic women, (like me!) and a lot of fantastic guys, who aren’t asking firmly enough for what they need, or are meeting the wrong matches, or are thinking they can force a one-way relationship. It’s not working, and yes, we should stop bashing each other and get on with learning to understand each other on a deeper level. 

  6. 246
    Sparkling Emerald

    I have been getting a little bit suspicious of RR’s advice.  I get her e-mails, and lately the e-mails come in as being from “Rory Raye” and then they are signed by “Christian Carter” another dating coach.  Sounds like they are either the same person operating under diff names (except I have seen videos of them both, perhaps one is an actor playing a ficiticious character) or they both work under the same marketing umbrella, and there was a big screw up with their automated e-mail program.
    Also, as much as I tire of the mating dance, I just can’t bring myself to buy into her notion of using men as therapy.  Using people is wrong in my view, no matter which gender is doing the using.  A woman could be pining away for an uncommitted male and then decide to use another male as “therapy”.  Her “therapist” could end up being a great guy who wanted to give her all his love, only to discover that she didn’t care for him at all, and that basically he was nothing more than a distraction in her “friend zone” to take her mind off some commitaphobe who has no intention of loving her ever.

    1. 246.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @SE “They both work under the same marketing umbrella, and there was a big screw up with their automated e-mail program.” Ding, ding, ding.

    2. 246.2

      I have read some of her blogs and statements to women making comments, and it definitely seems to be all about the woman, what’s good for her and what she wants. As result it is very hard to read the comments there anymore. Things like women setting very restrictive time frames for guys to call. Not answering any texts, at all, etc. But then, it is truth in advertising. How to get the relationship you want. Not a relationship you both will want. As a result, I visited it today and see many of the same women making the same complaint as they did 3 years ago when I spent some time reading blogs and comments. I will admit that some of the things she writes seem to be good advice. But it seems something in the overall is off.

      1. 246.2.1

        Rusty – I agree that some of the advice to women is all about me, me, me and advocates trickery and manipulation to get what you want from men (marriage and kids)   I especially hated “The Rules” , I bought it used on Amazon for curiosity’s sake and feel dumber for having read it.  I can’t get on board with RR’s circular dating or using men as therapy either. 
        But there is also a lot of advice out there to women with the focus on nothing but man pleasing and how women are so messed up and need to be fixed, and telling them to basically try to make themselves PERFECT, otherwise expect to die lonely.
        Maybe I am just a starry eyed niave idealist, but I think male female relationships would be better if the emphasis was taken off of “me, me, me” and the focus was back on “we, we, we”  It seems to have turned into a battle with each one trying to gain the “upper hand”, instead of two people trying to create an even handed relationship where both can flourish, and mutually meet most of each others needs,  in a relationship that is satisfying to BOTH. 
        On the other side are the MRA and PUA sites that tell men they are entitled to fuck any woman who crosses their path. Women who say “no” are bitches, women who say “yes” are sluts. They encourage men to “hate fuck” women, and they talk about women as if they are the root cause of all that is evil in the world.
        Extreme example of a MRA incident, but not surprising considering the hatred they spread against women:
        Elliot Rodger And Men Who Hate Women
        Rusty – You go on and on about all the “sins” of women, but you never even acknowledge that men can act self entitled, especially when it comes to sex.  Have you never read or heard of MRA or PUA ?  Or are you an ardent follower, and think that’s how it should be ?

  7. 247

    SE #267
    Whilst I do actually have great respect for Rori Raye’s advice, having found it immensely helpful personally, I have to agree with you about the incongruity with Christian Carter’s e-mails?
    I myself find Christian Carter’s e-mails to be endlessly frustrating, as I have found every one of them to be a great deal of waffle about the “problem” with not a single scrap of tangible advice in sight.

  8. 248
    Sparkling Emerald

    Clare #269 – What I HATE about CC’s e-mails is that when you click on a link you are taken to a video of him rambling on and on and on an on and saying nothing .  There is no way to fast forward over it.  I unsubscribed to his newsletter ‘cuz he was so annoying.  I got a little tired of coming every night to e-mails basically telling me everything is my fault.  I hope RR tells her marketing people to fix the big screw up.  I wouldn’t want my name to be linked to his if I was in that business. 

    1. 248.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      What they both do very well is give you a hint of advice that makes you buy their products. Have you bought MY products? 🙂

  9. 249
    Sparkling Emerald

    EMK – #271 Yes, I have bought WHD & FTOO from you.  Nothing from RR or CC.  Their “hints of advice” sound like lots & lots of fluff w/o much substance.  I bought your stuff from listening to one of your free audio’s.  It sounded like some concrete SOLID advice, not the usual “bat your eyelashes and manipulate a man with your feminine wiles” nonsense.  And it was solid advice.  Your “how to” on writing a profile and e-mails was spot on. I got better results right away.  (However, I am once again on hiatus, gearing up for the property settlement, an out of town trip, and taking care of a sick Dad, — Kinda hard to be sweet and feminine with all that stuff going on)
    The only  other advice I ever paid for online was when I was reading every “How to Save your Marriage” blog.  I wasted money on some worthless drivel on how to get him back.  But I guess it wasn’t a complete waste of money, because as I was reading it, I realized i didn’t even WANT him back any more, and then I started reading dating advice instead of how to save a marriage advice.

  10. 250

    Mezzanie might not have been very kind to you, Evan, but she’s right.  Rori Raye’s advice is progressive, and raise the tatus quo of women.  She exposes the reality of a woman’s worth!  I say this based on personal experience: I was proposed to after 2 years of regular dating, without having ever been a “girlfriend”.  Dating around was just fine for me, but I preferred to be a wife.  I did not have to give this man a commitment in order to get one from him.
    Rori doesn’t advise to date while committed, she advises not to pretend you’re committed when, in reality, either party could stop seeing the other.  I recommend everyone in the dating pool to stick with very traditional values, ie courtship.

    1. 250.1

      hmm.. I was waiting for this.. an actual testimonial. Hoorray! On an intrinsic level Rori Raye’s advice and how you dated, Hannah ,makes sense to me. Of course many women would say the boyfriend-girlfriend method ie. dating exclusively without engagement , like what Evan proposes, also works out. However, I feel that the pitfalls , heartaches and failures for boyfriend-girlfriend dating is becoming epidemic now in this modern age and perhaps going back to old-fashioned principles, while men might balk at it and not like it, might be the way things ought to be

  11. 251

    I myself couldn’t possibly date other men if I had a steady boyfriend. For one thing, I wouldn’t want to “lead” the other guys on. So you go out on a date with Mr. Nice guy who brings you flowers and takes you out to a nice dinner….he thinks he’s met the girl of his dreams….there’s only one problem…you’ve got a boyfriend he doesn’t know about. How does that work?
    Having said that, I do think there’s a double standard. I was “exclusive” to a man for 4 years. I was divorced with a child, so I wasn’t chomping at the bit to be married…but it was discussed between us. This man treated me like gold. He was absolutely crazy in love with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better man in my life and I couldn’t believe my good fortune. At least until that fateful day I found out about 2 other girlfriends, the many women he was sleeping with and the shocking revelation, he was also trying to get back with his ex-wife….all at the same time, he was making plans for the future with me..the woman he loved! Believe me when I say..I DID’T HAVE A CLUE! I dumped him immediately. But the most shocking thing was what a male friend said to me some weeks later when we were having lunch and discussing this terrible man. My friend said to me..”Let’s face’s not like he had a ring on your finger” WTF! Is that how men think? We weren’t engaged so he can see other women! This isn’t the first time I’ve heard comments from men like this. So maybe Rori just thinks us women should think the same as men.

  12. 252

    @ Shawnee #267 & Evan —
    I have purchased products here and from Rori.  As an intelligent, open minded, adult female; I get to pick and choose what works for me.  I like a lot of the Siren teachings.  I also study, repeatedly, Why He Disappeared. 
    Having never ‘dated’ in my entire life as both Evan & Karl are saying men define it, Rori’s CD teachings are helpful.  It’s not worked very well for me to date exclusively too early.  So I’m trying something new.
    How far it will go, I’m not sure at this point.  I plan on continuing to learn and grow with help from both Rori & Evan.
    There is a lot of emotion from both sides evident on both sites.  Perhaps the reality no one expert has 100% of very dating experience for 100% of the global population nailed down?

  13. 253

    From what I have read R R doesn’t advocate cding why having a boyfriend. She says don’t be a girlfrilfriend if marraige is what you want. You date as many men as you want until someone comes along is a match and offers you whay you want.
     Or until you get the committiment you want. Cding is to find out what you want. And to see who is a match.
    So if you want an exclusive for now boyfriend and to be an exclusive for now girlfriend then you are a match. But don’t kid yourself that it means any more than that. She recommends being a girlfriend or boyfriend when young and in school/ college etc as a way of learning how to be in a relationship and having sex in a safe a loving way. But not for older people who are ready for and want life long partnership.

  14. 254

    You know people don’t casually date 8 people at one time then get a marriage proposal, right? Life isn’t a Jane Austen novel. You get married after you’ve mutually gotten to know one another over a couple of years. Are suitors showing up at your door asking your father is he can stay a spell? Circle dating is really silly unless you do it when you are single until you are in a relationship. But a relationship isn’t an engagement.

  15. 255
    Renee Wade

    Hi Evan,
    Just coming over to say hi and thanks for the comment on my blog. This post of yours is straight forward and obviously written with women’s best intentions in mind. 
    Thank You for contributing to women and sharing thoughts on Circular Dating from the perspective of an honest man. 
    I believe women can learn a lot from considering and thinking about your advice to simply be vulnerable…circular dating SEEMS to be an attempt to cover that vulnerability to the right man, in select contexts in which it is used (eg: in the case of when it is used on a steady relationship with a good man, with good intentions for his future and the woman’s future).
    All the best,

  16. 256

    I agree and disagree. I think if you are in a relationship and you agree you are both moving in a symbiotic direction than it would be silly to disrupt a healthy progressing relationship. However, if a guy “doesn’t know” then he should be fine with a potential candidate dating around. If a woman is a potential candidate and not “the one”, a woman is silly to wait around for him to figure it out. I think a woman moving in with a man before knowing is also crazy… and that is after many stupid attempts personally. Before the sexual revolution, a woman dated until she was engaged and I have heard strories about women who wrote the “other man” to let him know she couldn’t continue to see him 2 weeks before the date. Difference, Men expected this. My mother tells me how she had a moment where she knew two men were likely to propose and she had to decide which if either was the one she wanted to be with. One of them was my father. On the flip side, I have been married and its doesnt live up to it if the foundation isn’t there. I would prefer a healthy, loving, supportive relationship with a personal commitment over a ring and a ceremony. But until I find someone who has the same idea and desire to be with me that I do him, I will continue to date around…and the men will know it up front.

  17. 257
    Emily Kalidas

    I love your rebuttal! I’ve also been having serious doubts about Rori Cding notion although in my case (being single) it does make a lot of sense BUT as to Cding when you are in a relationship, I don’t think I will ever do that. GOLDEN RULE: do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. I’m sure no girlfriend would like their BF to be Cding so why do it to them? The more sensible approach Rori mentions is DATING YOURSELF and that could definitely work when in a relationship. I think her point is just making sure you keep your focus on your goal (MARRIAGE) and don’t lose yourself in a relationship (feel helpless, analyze too much etc) and the way to do that is simply spend time doing what you love WITHOUT dating other men. If I were a man, I would be more attracted to someone whose happiness didn’t depend on me rather than someone whose world revolved around me.SO in the case of those who aren’t in any serious relationship, CDATING is indeed a must.

  18. 258

    Here’s the issue – you and Rori disagree about what commitment is and isn’t. You think a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship is committed. Therefore, you would be enraged if your girlfriend – who you think of as committed to you/belonging to you – decided to date other men. You state that men and women are equal in a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship – that men are trying out the commitment to see if they want to make it permanent and women are doing the same thing. Rori, on the other hand, is saying until you are on the verge of engaged/engaged/married – to use her words, until the man says “I’m ready and you’re the one I want” and means it, there actually is no commitment. That seems more true/honest to me, personally. If a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship is committed then why is there marriage? According to you, I should allow a man ownership/exclusivity, sex and loyalty for years so he can make sure I’m the one he wants – and if I don’t want to do that I have low self-esteem/there’s something wrong with me. But from my perspective as a woman, why would I want to take literally years away from my youth/childbearing age to give someone the chance to “check me out”? I could be meeting other men who share my understanding that marriage is not the end of a long, committed relationship – its the beginning. You mutually choose to start a genuinely committed adventure with a person you love and know is amazing. You become allies on a journey and put your faith in God. You *can* fall in love with someone, know their character and know they are the amazing ONE after dating them extensively – you don’t need to give them your whole life so they can “try it out”. Every man who has ever dated me has told me they knew I was a loyal, trustworthy person because of how I treated them and other people. They learned by dating me that my word was good, and that I was positive, loving, joyful and interesting. My husband chose me as his wife after a long period of dating me…and yes, before we got engaged we did become what you would define as girlfriend and boyfriend – but it was only for a short period because we already knew each other, were in love and headed for a committed relationship. At this point we’ve been happily married many years now.

    In summary, I submit to you that in your view the boyfriend should get loyalty, love, sex and his girlfriend’s years/youth and the girlfriend should be fine with that because she’s getting the same from him…except that really ISN’T equal like you want to say it is. You are forgetting that the girlfriend only really has about 20 childbearing years give-or-take, while the boyfriend has many more. That’s what you aren’t seeing. Its so easy for you to say “give the guy a couple of years, then dump him; I know its hard but its what you have to do”. Sorry, but I don’t. What I do have to do is be myself & be true to my values – doing just that has led to a wonderful marriage & life in my case.

    1. 258.1

      Thank you KR for sharing your story!! I have tried exclusively dating a guy and all it led me was years invested when I could have been open to meeting other more suitable partners. If a man wants you, he should step up to the plate and not be intimidated that you are dating others. If anything, I would think his desire would increase, knowing that you’re not going to sit around and wait for him to decide if he wants to propose or not. I am glad that you are testifying that this is indeed what worked out for you!!

  19. 259

    I think I misunderstood what CDing means.  I have a nice boyfriend and I respect the boundaries of that agreement but I’ll still smile at someone else or be friendly.  I’m not dating someone else… but I could be.  I’m loyal by choice not a lack of options.  That’s what I thought Rori was getting at.

  20. 260

    I recently listened to Rori’s CD theology, and it is misrepresented in your article.
    She does not advocate that if you are already in an exclusive relationship with a man that you should suddenly switch gears on him and decide to date other men. I don’t think many would disagree with you that such behavior would be considered on the level of “cheating“.
    CD is what you do from the very beginning until you are ready to be exclusive with one man (she says until “you get what you want, whatever that is that for you, warrants being exclusive – for many it is a proposal of marriage). She does not advocate CD till the day before the wedding as you said in one paragraph. She says CD until you agree to be exclusive with one man. If you are engaged, you are exclusive.
    The “be a girlfriend/wife”  thing has to be taken in context with some discernment. The concept is being only a girlfriend can be a long time of going nowhere. You agree there is a limit where a person needs to decide if a particular relationship is going the distance or its time to move on. If you are clear you are dating with the intention of marriage, and if being a girlfriend is a definite step in that direction, then it is not a bad thing. You are saying you don’t want to be just a girlfriend; you want to be in a relationship headed towards marriage. People in general have trouble with discernment, so while she emphasizes the not a girlfriend thing a lot, and might leave you with the impression it is end-all and be-all, if you partake of the entire learning she offers, you should have a different overall perspective of the meaning.
    She is emphasizing women not losing themselves in a man – which is healthy both for women and men. And we all have to take things with a grain of salt and an ounce of discernment, then apply it to ourselves.

    1. 260.1

      Yes, Shirley, this makes intrinsic sense to me. 
      I think if you do CD on a man later on after exclusivity in a relationship then it can be a major turn off to the man, although at the same time, I think if the woman makes it clear, I am dating others because I am not getting a clear commitment from you… until you figure out what you want from me… then a man should not feel like he’s being cheated on. The woman is making it clear that she doesn’t want to close the door on him altogether, but she cannot wait idly by.. it’s pretty much breaking up but saying to the guy she is open to reconcilliation… But, if you make it clear you will be CD until you get what you want EARLY On in the relationship, whether that’s an exlcusive boyfriend or engagement (if you can wait that long to have sex…which is tough.. but maybe what is necessary to clarify a man’s true intention).. then I don’t see how a man could think you are cheating on him.. it’s simply saying, until you are sure you want to marry me, then let’s date without exclusivity… the guy realizes if he wants this woman, he will have to figure out sooner versus later his intentions and make it clear with her.. to me this is how dating should be. A man should prove he wants to be with a woman.. modern dating has screwed up the  natural order of things in my opinion

  21. 261
    Brenda of Bloomington,In

    OMG!!! Thank you sooo much for addressing this issue.I say “issue” because this is how I have felt since my first reading Rori’s concept of CDing.I knew that I had some problems accepting her philosophy but could not get exact clarity as to why.I love the clear,practical reasoning behind your position.You clarified my every emotion,thought and instinct that I felt as I read the CD concept.It is a recipe for disaster,as well as foundation for a life long pattern of power struggle.Thank you again for addressing this very one sided concept.

  22. 262

    Evan is right. Plus, the whole concept of circular dating seems asinine to me. Who are these women who have time to circular date? I am a 30something with a busy career, a time consuming sport, friends, and community activities. I can barely find time to respond to Match emails on some days. Dating one man is a serious time commitment, much less spend months upon months manipulating the man I “love” by spending evenings with other men I could care less about. No, Evan’s prescription is sound. Assess the man you’re dating and carefully scan for red flags as you get to know him. Make sure you are on the same page about your future. Give your best and whole self to the relationship, but set an internal time line for progression.

  23. 263

    I’ve had a friend, with whom I’ve been growing and cultivating a love for eight months. I haven’t dated in almost 30 years, so I bought Rori’s CD’s and also Evan’s book in order to learn more about it.  I wish I had read this blog post.  My relationship had just moved into the sexual realm and it was the most incredible experience of my life.  But in trying to work Rori’s CD perspective, I intimated to my love that I was open to dating others.  It was against my instincts, but I thought I should.  What a horrible mistake.  He was just opening himself to me, and he was devastated. He hasn’t spoken to me for 2 weeks, and I am crushed.  We took a long time to build the trust to move into sex, and now that trust is broken.   He has closed himself to me.  I feel so very sad.

  24. 264

    Aaah, wise wise words, Evan. And I’m the sadder but wiser girl who knows this from sad experience. Call it “poly,” call it “circular dating,” call it whatever you like, but carrying on other relationships with waaaaaaaay less significant men while you’ve got a boyfriend is THE kiss of death. I was doing exactly what Rori said before I even knew Rori. My boyfriend had asked for exclusivity and I didn’t treasure that desire in him while it was there. I kept dating other people, not seeing the gem that he was in my life, not recognizing him as my soul mate, not recognizing him as the person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life, not fully giving us a chance. So he started dating other women, and finally he found one whom he loved and who was devoted to him. What were his exact words? “She was the perfect box for my heart, and so I couldn’t help but put it inside.” How about the biggest knife in my gut EVER. I can tell you I will not be making that same mistake again. Thanks for this article, Evan. Wise wise words.

  25. 265

    Using another human as an instrument of therapy for self restoration and potential damage and dissatisfaction to others is a sort of cruelty.  There are other ways to self restore oneself without resorting to relationships. There are people.societies in the world who do just fine if not in a relationship so one does not have to believe it to be be a mood elevator for emotional blues.

    This splits the dating world into two groups, those who okay with CD and those who would not do CD. 
    Those of us who think CD is wrong on encountering someone who does should definitely end and move on to another person with surety because for those with a monogamous intent in marriage, emotion/person/body sharing in a relationship, amounts to cruelty.  The right way to deal with unsurity, non-commitment is to discuss/do what’s needed to resolve the reasons for non-commitment, failing which proceed the break off and move on to the next person.  Not being able to reach a surity within reasonable amount itself is a sign that  is reason enough to know that the relationship won’t go to fruition. At start of committed dating two people should agree on a time frame time like 6 months/12 months whatever both can agree to itself After breaking a relationship, then one goes back to the dating-pool, sets up casual dates speed dates with as many people as possible to find a matching one again and restart the process leading to committed boyfriend/girlfriend and marriage.
    As you say, It does seem cyclical that the only ones who will end up dating people in Circular Dating, who all are okay with CD, none of whom have enough will to break-off or commit.
    With this new poisonous concept dating introduction of Circular Dating, It has to be cautioned/advertised to Daters who don’t want or do not feel comfortable with the concept of Circular Dating to stay away from people who Do Circular dating.

  26. 266

    I am a woman who is phobic of marriage. I have an uncle, three aunts  and my mother who, combined, have been married 18 times. I would like to see a more realist concept of marriage be established; not the romantic ideal. Love is separate from marriage. Love will naturally form through the course of events in a relationship. Marriage is a commitment. There is not other proposition, jobs, careers, even children. What if you were expected to select a career that you would be expected to commit to until you die. You cannot change your mind. You cannot consider other options. You will perform that job until you die, regardless of weariness, abuses, unexpected catastrophes. Yet, if you leave that job, you will face a mountain of legal, moral and ethical issues. You will be scrutinized, down to the very penny in your pocket. You will be demonized, humiliated and scarred.

    I wish more people would consider what they’re asking of another person. You are not asking for a romantic union based on love. You are asking for a lifelong, unconditional commitment to an unforeseen future in which they have little choice to abandon, for any reason.  That’s a lot to ask of a person.  

    1. 266.1

      Holly @266 said
      “I wish more people would consider what they’re asking of another person. You are not asking for a romantic union based on love. You are asking for a lifelong, unconditional commitment to an unforeseen future in which they have little choice to abandon, for any reason.  That’s a lot to ask of a person. ”
      Yes, and it’s a lot to ask of a person you don’t even love or who doesn’t love you.  And if you are counting on “learning to love” that person and it doesn’t happen, you’ve damned them to a life-long loveless, joyless, marriage.   That’s not only a lot to ask of a person, that a horrible thing to ask of a person. 

    2. 266.2
      Karmic Equation

      I don’t want to marry again, but not because I’ll be ” demonized, humiliated and scarred.”
      Because divorce is an option to failed marriages, you’re not really asking for “a lifelong, unconditional commitment to an unforeseen future in which they have little choice to abandon, for any reason. ” You can DIVORCE if you are suffering a marriage that is full of “…abuses…”
      Whether someone will divorce because of “unexpected catastrophes” will be up to that person’s own moral and ethical code. But they DO have the option to exit the marriage.
      It’s perfectly ok to CHOOSE to not marry because EXITING a marriage is a real legal and economic HASSLE. But to be PHOBIC about marriage is a little crazy. You CAN certainly exit any marriage if it gets bad or simply because you feel like it, via divorce. And if you know you’re exiting the marriage for a good reason, those who “demonize, humiliate and scar” you aren’t worth your time of day. Who cares what they think?

  27. 267

    I get what you’re saying Evan, and I only wish more men were responsible, respectful and wouldn’t take women for granted. I know you say we should have more faith and trust in men while dating. I wish that every man that dated me for five months or more were intent on  marrying me, given that that the relationship was progressing and moving closer. However, sadly, too many women have suffered being in a ‘limbo’ state and we equate being in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship as losing our precious time , freedom, and ‘power’ to the guy we’re dating, in that ultimately it is the guy that decides if he wants to propose.. if you state from the get go your intentions to get married I don’t understand that a guy would feel that you are cheating if you do not give him exclusivity until he proposes.. doesn’t it also take the pressure off of him to figure out if he truly wants to committ to you? I have not tried this ‘method’ myself, but as I am getting into my thirties, I am realizing time is off the essence. I don’t want to make any more mistakes with dating and men, and don’t want to feel that I’m giving up anything in order to be with a man.

  28. 268

    Just to add another man’s perspective here, I think that this whole issue is ridiculous.
    I’ve said this in other posts, but I’ll repeat it here – we really need to define what “commitment” means in marriage.  It seems like many women demand that men should commit to them by proposing marriage.  What they don’t seem to realize is that they are, by and large, not offering any commitment themselves.
    The only commitment in marriage (commitment being a legally-enforceable arrangement) is the commitment of provisioning of the lower-income spouse by the high-earning spouse.  The high-earning spouse is most often the man (either due to an income disparity before the marriage, or after the birth of children when the woman may decide to work part-time or not at all).  At any time, if the lower-income spouse chooses to walk from the marriage, regardless of the reason, she will walk away with cash and prizes, and usually primary custody of the children as well.  The higher-earning spouse will be left without his children (most of the time), without his house (usually), and with half his income going to support someone who does nothing for him in return.
    Now, talk to me about how men “should commit” after a few months of a relationship!  Why on EARTH would he do that?  He would have to be CRAZY to commit half his income (in perpetuity) to a woman who commits NOTHING to him in return.  And that, IMHO, is the purpose of the courtship period.  It is the time for the woman to show the man what she is made of – that she would make a good wife, that she is not money crazy, that she respects a commitment and would not walk away from a marriage (even though it may be to her financial benefit to do so) because she loves the man.
    If a woman circle dates until the man offers to give her half his money in perpetuity, what she is showing him is that she does not value him, does not love him, and that she is not trustworthy to stay with him in the future if she does not always get her way.
    As a man (and a primary breadwinner), I would not walk away from a woman who circle dated in the context of a relationship – I would RUN!  And for those who posted that Rori is talking about not getting into a “girlfriend” stage at all, why on earth would I commit to a woman who was not my exclusive girlfriend?
    Think about it from the reverse perspective, for a minute.  If a woman was the higher-earning person in a relationship and the lower-earning man was quick to propose to her, do you think she would say yes?  Or might she want to get to know this man a bit better before she commits half her income to him in perpetuity?  You think she might want more time?  Would your opinion change if he told her he would continue to circle date until she “womanned up” and agreed to marry him?  Ridiculous.

    1. 268.1

      Excellent post. I can’t argue with this at all.

    2. 268.2

      Wow, Jeremy.. I think you need to reevaluate your/the man’s role in a relationship. Women are not wanting marriage for solely financial stability anymore.. women are the breadwinners now and can take care of themselves financially.  they want companionship and a partnership with a man, and a sense of stability of a loving relationship that only the comittment of marriage can truly provide for most women. Marriage is not about a financial contract for most women anymore.. it is about building a loving relationship. Men and women are still different biologically and socially, so the same old courtship rules still apply- however your notion of the man being in the ‘superior financial’ position is very much antiquated, and frankly sounds a bit mysoginistic to me.

      1. 268.2.1

        I think you may have missed my point, Emily.  The point was that the only “commitment” in marriage is the financial commitment by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse.  The higher-earning spouse may be male or female.  It happens that it is usually the male, even in today’s society, especially once children are born (since many women work only part-time or not at all once children are born).  But not always – obviously there are numerous examples where the woman is the higher-earning spouse.
        Emily, of course everyone wants a loving, stable relationship.  But marriage does NOT “commit” a person to a loving, stable relationship.  Each spouse is free to walk (via divorce) whenever they want, for any reason they want.  And at that time, they will either have to pay (if they are the higher-earning spouse) or be paid (if they are the lower earning spouse), depending on who made the commitment (ie. who is the higher-earning spouse).
        I might suggest that you look at your own statement “they want companionship and partnership and a sense of stability…that only the commitment of marriage can truly provide for most women.”  What is it about marriage, do you think, that provides women with that sense of stability?  After all, can’t men walk away from marriage the same as they can walk away from boyfriend/girlfriend relationships?  Why would a woman feel more secure just because a piece of paper is signed?
        Might the answer be that most women feel secure because they know that their husband is unlikely to leave them after marriage due to his financial commitments?  Might this be the reason why 70-80% of divorces are initiated by women, not men, and that it is the women who get alimony in 95% of those cases?  Might this be why so many men are not eager to “commit” to marriage?  And might this also be the reason why women who are the higher-earning partner are also less likely to want to marry men who make significantly less than they do, in most cases?
        You see, Emily, it is not a case of antiquated data or misogyny.  It is simply an observation that only one person commits in marriage, and that person, male or female, will usually be the more reluctant one to marry.  This is also why I disagree with the new post you wrote below – if a woman circle dates, why on earth would she expect any man to commit to her?  What would his motivation be?  How could he expect to trust her in the future? 

        1. Chance

          Agree on all points, Jeremy.  Well said.  On a side note, the term “misogyny” seems to be quickly becoming one of the most over-used words in the English language.  It is thrown around so much as a way to shut down debate (usually applied within the context of an ad hominem attack) that it has no practical meaning anymore.

  29. 269
    Karmic Equation

    I think folks, including Evan, are misinterpreting Rori Raye’s circular dating philosophy. 
    EMK’s philosophy is that you walk away from bad boyfriends. But we all know most women have trouble doing that. Most women would rather try to force him to change. Which we also know is ineffective.
    What Rori Raye is suggesting is that you don’t actually break up with him, but rather open up the relationship unilaterally, when a man is no longer behaving like a good bf. Start accepting dates with other men without “breaking up” with the bad boyfriend. Forcing herself to take all her eggs out of his basket and putting them in other baskets (this is a good blog post: — WARNING – don’t read if you’re easily offended).
    The question is, is a man who isn’t progressing the relationship as quickly as a woman wants him to (e.g., towards marriage) — being a bad boyfriend? That’s for the woman to decide.
    If a woman thinks a man is getting complacent in a relationship and she doesn’t want to go cold turkey in breaking up with him, then starting to date other men is going to force him to sh*t or get off the pot. He’s either going to decide he doesn’t want to lose her or he’s going to decide that she wasn’t what he was looking for. Or he might like the new dynamic, which then frees the woman to date other men while “seeing how things go” with the not-exclusive bf.
    Rori puts the disclaimer that when she CD’s she’s dating other men “without sex” — but come on, between the lines is the rounding the bases. So something sexual will be going on with the new guys. Can a woman do this, round the bases with a few guys, perhaps continue to have sex with the original bf? Most women can’t.
    So effectively, RR’s CD isn’t going to work for most women who follow you, Evan.
    I’d advise most women to stay free agents as long as they can. Have sex when she wants to. WITHOUT requiring the sexclusivity so that she can CD UNTIL one of the guys proposes. Basically stay a free agent until a man proposes. This is what happened in the “good old days.” Women dated a lot of men (presumably without sex, but I’m not sure I buy that) — until one of them proposed. Women can still do this as long as they either don’t have sex with any of the guys…or be willing to be sexual with more than one guy. But most women can’t do either.
    I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face…Sexual liberation didn’t liberate women. It liberated men. And until women truly embrace sexual liberation the way men have, women will continue to feel they are losing out on relationships with the sexy, charismatic, successful man. 
    So women who’re looking to get married because they want to start a family? Those women will  have to trade off on sexy, charismatic, or successful man for the family-oriented man, who most likely will not be as sexy or as charismatic or as successful.
    If she wants to have a relationship with that sexy, charismatic, successful man, she’ll have to trade off the hope of “forever” or sexclusivity to be with that guy. She can have a relationship with him, but it will be shortlived. Can she live with that?
    I do think Circulating Dating is a good baby step for women who don’t have the willpower to break up with a man cold turkey. But I think those same women will have just as much trouble circular dating.


    1. 269.1

      I can’t say that I agree with you here, Karmic.  To a man like me (and, I think, to most men) the CD concept IS essentially breaking up.
      You refer to the “good old days” when a woman dated non-exclusively until she found a man to commit to her.  But remember that, in those “good old days” she also had to commit as well – there was no such thing as no-fault divorce, there were penalties for adultery, and there was a concept that both spouses “owed” each other sexual relations in a marriage.  I am not saying that these were good or bad, but simply saying that commitment was double-sided if you want to look nostalgically at the “good old days”. 
      You state that the sexual revolution liberated men, not women.  I would say that it liberated the top 15-20% of men to have all the sex they want, and relegated the remaining 80% or so to a VERY uncertain concept of marriage/divorce that works against them rather than for them.
      Bottom line – and again, take this opinion for whatever it may be worth as one male’s perspective – if you want commitment and are offering none in return, the onus is on YOU to prove trustworthiness during the courtship period.  Circle-dating and this feeling of “entitlement to marriage” seems a little ridiculous to me.

    2. 269.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      No man proposes to a woman who is dating other men. Nor would I expect a woman to commit to a man who was dating other women. CDing is another term for an “open relationship,” except it’s one that women seem to magically be able to justify.

      1. 269.2.1

        This is only because women ALLOW men to put them in the girlfriend status until it is convenient for them to propose. However, a woman should only commit herself to a man if he specifically says, I want to marry you and spend my life with you. If he doesn’t, what right does he have to assume she can’t meet other men? It is really none of his business. And, it is to be expected the same applies for the woman.. he is allowed to date other women.. until he decides he wants to be with her and committ himself to her.. the whole boyfriend-girlfriend status to me is becoming clear IS convenient for men, and women often lose in this deal

        1. Karl R

          Emily said:
          “a woman should only commit herself to a man if he specifically says, I want to marry you and spend my life with you. If he doesn’t, what right does he have to assume she can’t meet other men? It is really none of his business. And, it is to be expected the same applies for the woman.. he is allowed to date other women.. until he decides he wants to be with her and committ himself to her.. 

           I’ve dated non-exclusively. When I did, I was clearly not serious about any of the women. Therefore, I was not going to propose to them.

          I would be a fool to propose to a woman I was not serious about.

          I’ve dated women who were dating non-exclusively. They were clearly not serious about me. Therefore, I was not going to propose to any of them.

          I would be a fool to propose to a woman who was not serious about me.

          If you’re unwilling to commit to exclusively date before your engaged, then every intelligent, sane man will choose not to propose. He won’t even emotionally invest himself in the relationship.

          That’s his right.

          In 2009, I dated a woman who wanted to keep her options open. That was perfectly fine. I wasn’t going to emotionally invest in her when she wasn’t interested in doing the same. After about three months, we mutually decided to date exclusively. After 15 months of dating exclusively, we got engaged. We were engaged for about 20 months before we got married.

          If my wife had followed your strategy of dating around until she was engaged, then we wouldn’t be married. We wouldn’t even be dating at this point.

          Feel free to try your strategy for as long as you want. Don’t be surprised when none of the intelligent, sane men want to propose under those circumstances. 

      2. 269.2.2
        Karmic Equation


        “No man proposes to a woman who is dating other men.” 
        Nor should he — if she’s foolish enough to tell him. Women foolish enough to advertise that fact and fail to juggle men with panache, are going to lose. We women EXCEL at multitasking. And most men get complacent after sex (because they’re USED TO women taking themselves off the market after sex) — so unless a woman is a failure at multitasking, the guy will be none the wiser.
        Men very often DON’T tell women when they’re dating others. As long as he hasn’t offered exclusivity, she’s single. If it’s marriage she’s after, she’s perfectly in her rights to behave as if she were single until she gets the ring, if she’s high-value enough to the man/men. Granted 80% of women don’t have that kind of value.
        And the fact of the matter is, a man who IS marriage-minded to the woman in question, should be behaving in a way that leaves her IN NO DOUBT about her value to him nor what his intentions are. If she has doubts about her value to him — and she’s communicated her needs about marriage well (as in non-critical/non-complaining, just the facts way) — and he is clearly non-committal, she does need to push him to sh*t or get off the pot. 
        Remember, RR’s CD philosophy is the baby step for those women unwilling or unable to break up with their bfs for whatever the reasons. My spin on it is that women should remain free agents until she gets what she wants, for some that’s sexclusivity, for others it’s marriage.
        The question really is timeline. When should this happen? For a secure, high-value woman, who communicates well, she can do it within weeks or a few months (a la Fusee). For others who are anxious or insecure or poor communicators, I have no idea. My ex-husband asked me to elope after 6 weeks of dating (I said “No, we can’t elope, Silly. People will think I’m pregnant!” — I was 27 and cared what people thought then). I considered myself unofficially engaged at that point, moved in with him after 3 months of dating — due to my getting laid off and not being able to afford my apt — and “got the ring” about a month later. All on HIS timeline. He left me in no doubt about his intentions. But we didn’t marry until about 2 years later (my timeline). — I don’t do anything conventionally 😉
        Personally, I think women who’re divorced and have had children, and are financially stable — those women DON’T need marriage to be in loving relationships. Men can love without commitment. Just as there can be commitment without love (e.g., arranged marriages; married couples who stay together for the children).
        We divorcees have a lot of power over our romantic lives — much more so than the never-been-married, wanting to have children women — once we become clear on what we really want. Do we want to be adored for ourselves when we’re with our man? Or are we only happy when we *know* they’re not dating other women, no matter how good they are to us when they’re with us? Add to that, you want both with someone you’re attracted to and who’s attracted to you? One who can deal with your eccentricities? Someone who’s compatible with you in EVERY way? One within who’s age appropriate? Or at least stage-appropriate? Each element decreases your dating pool.
        You’re going to have to trade off on something the older you get. There’s more than one way to skin a cat and get what you want. More than one way to happiness and being content and satisfied. Being married or having a committed LTR is NOT the only way there.


        1. tamara

          @karmic equation: U’re advocating that women do this circular-dating Without telling the men? That sounds fine to me if they’re just casually dating, but if they’ve agreed to stop seeing other pple, I think that’s so unethical. 
          I don’t know if I’m a circular-dater according to the official definition, but I have dated more than 1 guy at a time; however I was always honest about it with guys, I told them to feel free to date other women as well. I feel some women who do this CD-thingee are being selfish/insecure in that they want to date >1 man but they wouldn’t want Him dating >1 woman. I dated around because I was–and think I am still–too young to settle down yet and I knew I had my own issues to work out before I’d make any man a good wife–insomnia, extreme introversion etc. So I wanted guys to date other women so that if I couldn’t commit to them, at least THEY also wouldn’t be wasting their time.
          I thus honestly feel that I was justified and that my motives were/are unselfish. But the way some women see CD is in a very selfish way, and dishonesty on top of that is horrible. If I were a guy and found out a woman was dating other men while giving me the impression that we were exclusive, I think I’d dump her. Especially if I was sleeping with her, cos I’d assume she was sleeping with him too, whereas I was being monogamous.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          It doesn’t matter, Tamara. If you don’t have a boyfriend, date whomever you want. Once you have a boyfriend, you stop dating other people. If you want a man to propose, you better be his monogamous girlfriend. Those are the rules. No exceptions – no matter how much Circular Dating convinces you otherwise.

        3. tamara

          @Evan: Well u’re the dating expert who consistently gives good advice, so I’ll defer to u on this. I suppose I can be a bit too much of a hippie in my ways, including in dating, lol.

    3. 269.3

      “I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face…Sexual liberation didn’t liberate women. It liberated men.”

      I disagree, though you are somewhat right on men being liberated but I think Jeremy refined it correctly.

      “You state that the sexual revolution liberated men, not women. I would say that it liberated the top 15-20% of men to have all the sex they want, and relegated the remaining 80% or so to a VERY uncertain concept of marriage/divorce that works against them rather than for them.”

      This is right on the money. The top group of guys who have model good looks will have many many partners. Guys who are rich or famous will have many many partners. I talked the other day about my one friend that fit that bill. This also ruins women for the men they will actually end up with. Those poor guys will never measure up to the guys she had flings with. Guys for whom she did not measure up. But most of those guys are players simply because they can be. And what women can’t seem to understand is that when these guys choose to have meaningless sex, they aren’t nearly as picky about who they have it with. Of course women can’t accept that because they have been to so many self help seminars and read so many self help books and websites telling them to view themselves as having a very high value. So even if they know a guy is a bit of a player, or has been through many girlfriends, they believe that they will be the one to tame him. Of course it doesn’t happen. They then work their way down the ladder until they find a guy that will commit, and then forever make his life hell because he doesn’t live up to those guys higher on her ladder that she did have a short relationship with.

      “And until women truly embrace sexual liberation the way men have, women will continue to feel they are losing out on relationships with the sexy, charismatic, successful man.”

      And of course this never happens. Women have been trying to do this for many decades. Even back in the roaring 20’s. It never happens because women are not built like men. Their biology doesn’t support this. Biologically it is to a man’s advantage to have as many partners as possible. To a woman it is not. Women are programmed to try to find the best mate they can. The ONE best mate. She only produces a limited umber of eggs, and when one is fertilized, she is now out of the mating pool for nearly a year.

      But this is not primeval times. Our biological programming doesn’t really work for us. First, the goal of our lives should not be to get our genes into the next generation. Stop acting like slaves to that biological call.

      If you want a great relationship, the old fashioned was are best. But that means that women have to retake their roles as gatekeepers of sex. And that means less, not more promiscuity. This means men will also have to learn to stop using the shotgun method, and actually go back to courting one girl…one they are actually serious about.

      I don’t see the genie being put back into the bottle anytime soon however. The damage has been done and I don’t see it being corrected.

      As for circular dating. The last women I would ever give a marriage proposal is to a woman that is dating other men. So the simple fact is, if a woman starts right off telling me that she wants to circular date, I will do one of two things. Continue to date her for the companionship while I look for somebody worth committing to, or I will drop her flat right there. Jeremy is right. It is up to her to prove that she is worth making that huge commitment to. Sorry, but men carry the majority of risk in a relationship with the way divorce courts are run. You are going to straight get bent over, if you are the man, and you have had kids with the woman. And if they are young, it is going to last for many years. Oh, and that house he put his blood sweat and tears into fixing up…he gets to watch her move another man into that house.

      If i have been dating her for a few years and am not making a move to propose, I am likely not going to do so.

      I would tell men this, however. Get married, but control your swimmers. Don’t get her pregnant for several years. See if things change drastically a couple of years after the marriage. If you think she isn’t going to stick with you through thick and thin, get rid of her. Much cheaper to do before kids come into the picture. If you have kids, you are screwed.

    4. 269.4
      Karmic Equation

      @Jeremy and RustyLH:
      “I would say that it liberated the top 15-20% of men to have all the sex they want, and relegated the remaining 80% or so to a VERY uncertain concept of marriage/divorce that works against them rather than for them.” – Jeremy 269.1
      Not true, I’m sure the top 15-20% (good looking, high status, or wealthy) — have the SAME access now to sex as they did back in the good old days. Except now instead of just “loose women” or “groupies”, they can have their pick of “quality (aka naive) women” as well, because those naive women now do give themselves permission to have sex without a ring…but those naive women still equate sex to relationships (or hope/expect one after sex). And those naive, and not truly sexually liberated women, still have trouble having the casual relationships to which they’re entitled under “sexual liberation.”
      The remaining 80% of men all have the same access to sex and relationships, provided they decide to date/have sex WITHIN THEIR LEAGUE. Most of those 80% are aiming to for the top 20% of attractive women for relationships and/or sex. But can/will have casual sex with women in or below their league. You and Rusty have admitted as much.
      I’m 47 and by my inbox (50/18 flirts msgs in less than 24 hrs on Ourtime), considered beautiful and sexy by men my age and above. Of those 50 messages, I’m sure 95% are well below my league, too fat, too old looking, etc. (I wasn’t too impressed with their search selections. I only saw 1 guy I felt was good looking, 1 not bad, everyone else no go – so I haven’t decided to cough up the money to see who’ve actually been messaging/flirting with me). On Okcupid, I’ve had a movie star good looking young 21 yo message me (I said no, with much regret, he was totally hot! lmao) and a 26 yo Channing Tatum look alike msg me (also said no, with much regret — I am so into Channing <sigh>). While I’m not looking for a serious LTR right now, I’m also not looking to be hunted and bagged by cubs that young.
      I’m pretty certain MOST attractive women my age get at least that much interest and women in their 20-30’s probably 2x-4x as many messages by those 80% trying to date up. Date WITHIN your own league and you, as men, will have as many relationships and sex with quality women as you can handle.
      Can those women, 6’s and below, say the same about relationships, marriage, or other forms of “commitment”? — No. They’re at men’s mercy. Even the 10’s are at men’s mercy for “marriage”. So puh-lease, don’t cry poor mouth about access to casual sex or being in control of relationships, with access to relationship-sex. You can have it all, even if you’re an average guy, as long as you aim for average women. Those average women, who have fewer options than the top 20% of women, aren’t going to easily Circular Date, and as a result, don’t have the clout, nor, as Rusty has pointed out, the willingness/capacity to fight their biology. 
      ” Bottom line – and again, take this opinion for whatever it may be worth as one male’s perspective – if you want commitment and are offering none in return, the onus is on YOU to prove trustworthiness during the courtship period.” – Jeremy 269.1
      I think women who are of child bearing age and marriage-minded have high value to men of the same mindset. To others, like you, who value money over children/family — or said another way — whose FEARS about losing money outweighs his DESIRE for children and a family, then she’s not the one for you and you guys would be a bad fit.
      For you, a woman who ALSO thought of marriage as a contract of mutual commitment and economics, would be a great fit. But odds are, she’s not going to be as feminine as you would like her to be. Or you might have to trade off on age or looks to get that mindset. Young women, who’ve never been married, are HIGHLY romantic and think romantically of marriage, not contractually.


      1. 269.4.1

        A couple of points, Karmic:
         “Others, like you (ie. ME) who value money over children over family/fears losing money outweigh his desire for children or family”.  Wow.  Not sure where this is coming from.  Not that this is at all relevant, but I have a very high opinion of marriage, family, and the romantic life that a married couple can build if both partners are dedicated.  I am happily married (8 years) with 3 children, and I love my wife and kids very much. 
        This does not change the fact that if anything deteriorated in my marriage and it were to end (and I sincerely hope it does not – for emotional and not financial reasons), I would be the one with the commitment, not my wife.
          This was my point, Karmic, when I discussed your opinion of the sexual revolution.  I never said that it relegated 80% of men to sexless lives.  I said that it relegated 80% of men (the 80% of men who are interested in marriage, which the top 20% are not) to a very uncertain concept of marriage that does not work in their favor (ie. if things fall apart).  In that case, in spite of the best original romantic intentions of both partners, ultimately, in its failure, marriage becomes only a financial contract favoring the lower income spouse (whereas in its success, marriage is ever so much more).
        This is why, I feel, it is so important – especially for the higher-income spouse – to be as certain as possible about the quality of the relationship BEFORE committing to marriage.  This is also why I feel that it is so unreasonable to require that anyone commit half their future income before becoming an exclusive couple.
        Your arguments that circle dating would work if the woman hides it from her partner frighten me.  A woman (or man) who would do that would be a prime candidate for future cheating, IMHO.  It would definitely not inspire trustworthiness.
        If you disagree with me, you are obviously entitled to your opinion – and we may agree to disagree.  I just think that anyone who takes this advice and circle dates may, in fact, be destroying a relationship that might otherwise lead to marriage.

        1. Karmic Equation

          “Your arguments that circle dating would work if the woman hides it from her partner frighten me.  A woman (or man) who would do that would be a prime candidate for future cheating, IMHO.  It would definitely not inspire trustworthiness.”
          Of course it would scare you. Women who wield sex as a weapon instead of providing it as a gift is frightening to most men.
          In this scenario, if a man behaves as a good boyfriend does at all times (ok, i’ll give you a break — MOST times) — he shouldn’t have any fear that she’s going to cheat. Because she would only do this if he were a BAD bf. You see?
          Nothing to fear if he’s being a good boyfriend.
          Suppose all women do this. Men who are bad bfs get denied access to sex. All women tell each other the infractions of that bf. Gee maybe that would change the culture so that all men, who want sex — which is ALL of them — to behave well so more women are willing to have sex with him? What a radical world that would be, huh? Women would love it and men would hate it. THAT is girl power 🙂
          And again, just the CONCEPT of women being more free with sex is eliciting the “character” vilification – “she’s not trustworthy — she’s more likely to cheat, so I’m not going to want her to be my wife.” Those words are to scare women — intended to control her sexuality. Here in America we control women’s sexuality with double standards — the same way other cultures try to control women with abayas. Ultimately it’s not different. We’re more enlightened and educated here in the USA, so the the pen is mightier than the sword. In other cultures…um stoning is to be expected…of the woman who commits adultery but not the man…even if the woman is single and the man is married. Hmmm… is there something wrong with that picture?
          I’m just against stoning the wrong party.
          Men behaving as good boyfriend’s should in Karmic’s New World would have nothing to fear because of women’s “biology” to only have only one partner, right, RustyLH?


        2. RustyLH

          By your reasoning, Karmic, a woman who is a good girlfriend/wife should have no reason to fear her boyfriend/husband cheating? Yes, I know the stereotype is that men just cheat because they are dogs but women only cheat because their man isn’t fulfilling them. It’s an utter lie. It’s shifting blame. I assure you that many men cheat because they are unfulfilled at home. If you use sex as a weapon, or to manipulate…if you withhold love, sex, affection, words of affirmation, all in some misguided thinking that this will keep him in line, you are mistaken. It makes him vulnerable to any woman who comes into his life and starts providing what you are withholding. Cheating on him isn’t going to teach him a lesson either. It simply gives him moral ground to leave, or cheat also. Hey, nothing helps repair a relationship like increasing the chance of an STD, right?

          As for reducing sexual promiscuity, you seem to think that I only hold women responsible for this. I don’t. I think men should also do so. And the benefits for him doing so are the same as for a woman. If he has slept with some women that are better than the woman he ends up with, if they were more sexually adventurous, if they were prettier, etc… this will help his marriage how?

          And think about this, and I have seen this situation many times…somebody is in a sexual relationship with one person but ends up breaking up and at some point in the future starts a relationship with one of the previous partner’s friends. One such situation, a friend of mine was madly in love with this woman. But she broke it off. Ended up getting married. My friend married a girl who as it turns out was a new friend of his old GF. I attended more than one party where this guy and both girls were in the same house, at the same party. He was honest with me…he still pined for that other girl. She was better and more adventurous in bed…and had a better body. I am sure he never let his wife know these thoughts. But hey, what a beautiful situation…makes for a great Norman Rockwell painting, right?

          Also,it only stands to reason that somebody who can exercise sexual self restraint/control, will also be less likely to cheat. There was a time when we understood simple concepts like that. There was also a time when women understood the power they wielded by being the gate keepers of sex. If a man acted like a buffoon, was a player, etc… he lost out on the quality women, since sex much more so than today, only came with marriage. Now, women reward these unsavory types with free sex, holding the attitude, “it’s only sex…I’m not going to marry him.” So unsavory men are not being punished and ostracized by women like they once were, and in fact many men no act in ways that would have gotten them black listed by women. Then, when no longer have to be good men to get what they want, women scratch their head and wonder why their are no good men.

        3. Karmic Equation

          You make NO SENSE:
          “By your reasoning, Karmic, a woman who is a good girlfriend/wife should have no reason to fear her boyfriend/husband cheating? Yes, I know the stereotype is that men just cheat because they are dogs but women only cheat because their man isn’t fulfilling them. It’s an utter lie. It’s shifting blame. I assure you that many men cheat because they are unfulfilled at home.”
          If a woman’s being a good girlfriend then she should have no fear of her man cheating. – Yes that is my reasoning and that should be a reasonable assumption.
          However, we know men DO cheat even on good girlfriends…but you’re denying men who cheat under these circumstances are dogs, but rather that they’re “unfulfilled” at home—due to some creative and illogical sentence structure.
          “Also, it only stands to reason that somebody who can exercise sexual self restraint/control, will also be less likely to cheat.”
          Then by your reasoning, all men are likely to cheat aren’t they? Very few men exercise sexual restraint/control when they’re single.
          I’m not going to have a battle of wits with the unarmed.
          Return when you can debate properly. I won’t hold my breath.


        4. RustyLH

          @ Karmic Tossing out ad hominems is a sign of capitulation. I understand this since you toss out stereotypes as if they are fact. I hate to tell you this but you are wrong. Many, many men exercise self restraint.

          Again, you make so many assumptions. Show me where I said that a man who cheats on a good woman is not a dog. I think your need to recalibrate before you debate with me. I notice things like this. You see, I challenged the notion that all women only cheat because their man is not taking care of her needs in some fashion be they emotional or sexual or any other need, while men are all out there only cheating on good women who bend over backwards to make them happy, but he is just a dog.

          Now, if you use some CPU cycles to carry this out to isn’t logical conclusion, the fact is that some women cheat because their are being neglected in some fashion at home, and some men cheat because they are being neglected at home. At the same time, some men and some women simply cheat because they can. Or maybe some women felt it was OK to CD and cheated without telling him, and a few years later, she isn’t getting her selfish way in some other way, so she cheats again to show that dumb man that no man is going to take her for granted. Scary scary scary.

          I shudder to think how many women justified cheating while on a business trip, thinking, “men have done this for decades…blah blah victim…blah…no man tells me what I can’t do….blah blah…hear me roar…blah blah.

          Then, even though you made many false assumptions and used logical fallacies, you choose to insult me. WOW.

          Evan, you wondered why my glimmer if hope was being dashed?

  30. 270

    Hey folks – We can’t go back to 1945.  Saying this is “how it used to be done” is nonsense, because so much else has changed  that CD just won’t work in this day and age.  Men might as well use the Old Testament to justify polygamy. 
    I just can’t get on board with the RR one sided open relationship.  Where the girl gets to date around (without having sex, but there’s a lot of debate about what “sex” means.  Think Bill Clinton scandal)  Does the guy who has a “girlfriend”  who is CDing get to “circular date” ?
    It just seems like emotional blackmail to me.
    To flip it around, if a guy told me early on, “I’m dating for a wife, and unless we’re engaged, I’m seeing other women” I would run for the hills.  Or if he outright proposed after only a few months of dating, and then said, accept this proposal or else  . . . I would run.
    What kind of marriage could one expect with such a person ?  Let’s have children right NOW, or I’ll impregnate another woman.  Let’s move to this state, or I’ll find another wife in that state.  I require this brand of sexual kink, if you’re not into that, I’ll find a woman to give me that particular flavor.  If a man gave me that kind of ulitmatum (demanding a promise of marriage early in the relationship or else he’ll date others)  I would just imagine a lifetime of ulitmatums and emotional black mail as a way of life.  NO THANK YOU.
    Since I wouldn’t want a man doing that to me, then since I’m so big on the golden rule, I wouldn’t treat a guy like that.

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