Dating websites have come a long way from the time they were the only recourse of nerds or other socially awkward people looking for a date. So it is quite likely that you may have met a wonderful guy on a dating site and hit off equally well in real life. Just when you thought things were rolling along merrily, you happen to browse the same or another dating site and find his profile still active. Under such a situation it is only natural for you to wonder why if he likes you so much, is he still on dating sites.
He does not consider this a ‘relationship’ yet
One of the stickiest dating issues that have new partners puzzled is when to make it exclusive. Or, in other words, when to stop going out with anyone else. Unfortunately there is no common rule about dating for a certain length of time before calling it a ‘relationship’ – partners simply evolve into an exclusive dating relationship when they feel ‘right’ about each other. Sometimes this could take the form of realizing that you are compatible on emotional or lifestyle grounds, missing him/her even when you are out with someone else or getting your hackles up with your partner’s ex is on the horizon. At such times you have a strong desire to be with this person and no one else – if lucky, your date feels the same way about you too and things naturally progress to an exclusive dating. However since every dating equation involves two variables as human hearts, having the same exact view about the current status of a relationship is unlikely. So while you may have assumed that you were in or at the very least moving towards an exclusive relationship, your partner probably feels otherwise. If his dating profile is still active, it indicates that he is still not ready to make things exclusive between you two and wants to keep things more casual. So before you feel devastated by your partner’s stance, consider where your relationship is placed right now – has it been only a few weeks you have started going out or has it been several months. Look at your relationship objectively and if you see that you are still getting to know each other, it may not be so strange for your boyfriend to be on a dating site.
You have not talked about it
Even if you and your partner share the same life goals and feelings for each other, do not assume that these are enough to decide in favor of an exclusive relationship. A clear discussion on the issue is much more preferable if you don’t want to set yourself for disappointment later. Even though you may feel awkward to put across middle-school type questions like, “will you be my girl/boyfriend?”, still some kind of verbal indication should be insisted upon. You could broach the matter with a casual question like “so who did you meet at the nightclub last Friday?” Or some light-hearted ribbing like, “what do you tell your friends about us?”. Better still find an easy way to broach the matter of your partner’s still active dating profile. And from there go on to explore whether you both are emotionally ready to embark into exclusive dating. The whole idea of a talk is simply to ensure that you both understand each other correctly, that you are on the same page as it were. And if you feel too embarrassed to bring up the matter, it only goes to show that you are not yet ready to for an exclusive relationship anyway.
He wants to expand his options
However if your boyfriend wants to alter the status of your relationship from exclusive to casual, it may signal a significant change of heart in him. Perhaps he has met someone new or is having second thoughts about settling into a relationship with you. While all this may break your heart, try and be calm as your partner proposes seeing other people too. While it is alright to let him know that you are disappointed with the way he thinks, avoid throwing tantrums, dissolving into tears or begging for another chance. All this will not only rob you of your dignity and hence appear unattractive but also reveal a scary neediness on your part and your partner may even feel justified in detaching him from you. So even as your partner puts forward his reasons why you both should continue to date other people, keep your cool and let him know that you will think about what he has said. If you ended the conversation on relatively friendly terms, refrain from making the first contact. Calling your partner, texting him the next day or stopping by his workplace too soon after the conversation will make your partner think that you simply cannot live without him and are unable to give him space. In the days to come, avoid calling him as often as you used to earlier and especially be circumspect in suggesting a date.
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What you can do
There are two ways you can go on from here; one you can continue to see him as a companion and go on casual dates, all the while accepting that this is not exclusive dating. But before agreeing to this ask yourself honestly if you can handle a situation when you know that he is dating other people or you expect much more than he is willing to give. At the same time though, your partner exploring other dating options may just be a stage in your relationship, one which you can get past and proceed to a more committed partnership; if you strongly feel so, then it may be worth it to try to adapt to a casual state of affair while understanding that nothing is guaranteed.
However if you feel unable to love and trust a person who is still looking for dates, then it may be time to move on. Ask yourself exactly what you want from life and whether such a relationship fits in with your priorities. Understand that people are different and some people are content to play the field while others are only comfortable dating one person at a time. After some time - say a couple of months - has elapsed, evaluate your relationship and if you have moved no further towards each other than before, then ask your partner where is this all heading. You need to decide what is best for you in the long run. And while removing yourself will certainly be difficult, it is far better to make a clean break now than to prolong the unhappiness as you try to hold on to a relationship that is no longer satisfying.