Disposable Me.
August 4, 2010 4:12 PM   Subscribe

When is it reasonable to expect exclusivity in the online dating community?

I'm a 28-year-old single woman who has been using JDate on and off for nearly 2 years with little success. I've gone on several first, second, and third dates, praying for an ounce of chemistry to no avail. After the unsuccessful dates, I'd log back in to see what other options were out there for me.

I didn't realize my actions had harmful consequences until one of these dates sent me a nasty email about how rude it was for me to log into JDate the same evening of our first date. I felt bad, but there was no point in me leading anyone on if I wasn't interested. Fast forward 6 months, and now I have a whole new level of empathy for the gentleman who sent me the nasty email...

I have been talking to someone over the past few weeks that I actual like. We have gone on two great dates- both lasting until the wee hours of the morning and ending with physical contact (nothing below the belt, though). I finally felt the chemistry that I have been longing for, but with that chemistry comes inevitable vulnerability. While I don't expect to be exclusive with anyone after 2 dates, it bothered me to see this man logging into JDate several times after our wonderful dates. Both of us have every right to continue browsing, but it leaves me feeling disposable.

When is it reasonable to expect that two people should no longer frequently browse the JDate profiles while dating one another?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
But aren't you logged in to be able to see that he is logged in too? Why is it okay for you and not okay for him?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:17 PM on August 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


How do you know he is logging on, unless you are logged on as well?

Web browsing habits are pretty, well, habitual. I would think if someone has been checking a dating website regularly for a couple of years, it's almost a force of habit to check it again, even after a pleasant date or two. Maybe talk to him about taking your profiles down, if you are ready for that.
posted by headnsouth at 4:19 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your question is not about "online dating." There is no such thing, after a certain point. Your question is now purely about dating. The real deal. So: you are bothered because you like him. This is a pretty neat feeling, right? If you're already comfortable with the idea of getting a little more serious with this feller after two dates, tell him so. Don't seek a meaningless definition of "reasonable" - go with the only thing that counts, which is how it makes you feel.
posted by thejoshu at 4:25 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


it bothered me to see this man logging into JDate several times after our wonderful dates

Reasons I've done this:The bottom line is you can't really know anything about what this guy was up to unless he sent a message to your other fake profile saying he was looking for something new. Making assumptions about other people's motives is a minefield.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:33 PM on August 4, 2010 [30 favorites]


go with the only thing that counts, which is how it makes you feel

Sure, but note that many people will be put off by you making such a request after only two dates.
posted by ripley_ at 4:34 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


2nding what 0xFCAF said. Just because he's on the site doesn't mean he's checking out other people. He could be on there for any number of reasons relating to you.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:41 PM on August 4, 2010


One of the things I figured out about dating while doing the internet dating thing is that different people reach the various stages of moving towards relationship at vastly different speeds. There was a guy I went on two dates with who invited me to accompany him to Europe for two weeks while he went there for work. (Uh, too fast!) And there was a point where I was booked for three dates with three different guys during the same weekend. (And concluded that was flattering but kind of too much.) And there was a point where I met a guy who grabbed my attention, really grabbed it, to the extent that I took down my profile completely because I wanted to see where things would go without any distractions. That guy? I married him. And it might have taken a few weeks longer for him to reach the same point, but at the end of the day, so what? It hasn't mattered a whit in the eight years since that we've been together.

Take a deep breath. Enjoy feeling excited about meeting someone special. Everyone gets there at their own speed.
posted by ambrosia at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


When you have verbally agreed to do so, since there are no rules, written or unwritten, that apply to your question. The guy who emailed you was way out of line. Just because somebody has an emotional reaction doesn't mean a wrong has been committed. It is total immaturity to leap from being hurt or surprised to correcting or trying to control the other.
posted by Wordwoman at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


First, you've done nothing wrong and the other person is being a major control freak. Cut that line.


Secondly, yeah - doesn't it? Buying a paperback book online really worked well for Amazon. It's a small investment for a disposable item.

Finding loooove online? I dunno. I did a lot of thinking about that myself. I'm not Mr. Relationship in any stretch of the imagination, but the whole negotiation process online leaves a bad taste in my mouth. For my tastes, I'd rather start those types of things in the real world - it seems to start open communication and trust at a level I'm comfortable with, instead of being surprised at people's personal commitment levels, later.
posted by alex_skazat at 4:52 PM on August 4, 2010


Agreed with 0xFCAF about there being multiple reasons for him logging on, and ambrosia about everyone having their own timeline. However, I feel that with online dating, it is much more common (and easier) for people to be dating multiple people at the same time (not saying that he is). At this point, I've just decided to accept the fact that the person I'm dating from online is probably talking to multiple other people.

That being said, yes, sometimes it does make me uncomfortable, and your dilemma is something I've struggled with as well. If you really do feel comfortable with this person, there's nothing wrong with talking to him about it. I don't believe there is a definite timeline because every person, every situation, and every connection is so different.
posted by lacedcoffee at 5:09 PM on August 4, 2010


I'd say it's reasonable to expect exclusivity in the relationship when you have talked to each other about when it's reasonable to expect exclusivity in your relationship. You need to talk to him about this.
posted by rtha at 6:28 PM on August 4, 2010


I think it's a good idea to have the "are we exclusive?" conversation before you start having sex with someone, if for no other reason than for health reasons. During that conversation you can both agree to disable your online dating profiles, change your Facebook relationship status, etc.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:40 PM on August 4, 2010


Heck, I sat with my girlfriend of 3 months and answered questions on okcupid for fun, we'd discuss the answers.
posted by mrbill at 7:30 PM on August 4, 2010


I'd favorite this a hundred times if I could:
"Your question is not about "online dating." There is no such thing, after a certain point. Your question is now purely about dating."


There is no such thing as online dating.
There is only online browsing and messaging.
Dating happens in the real world or it doesn't happen at all.

So, the real question is: are you dating him? Do you want to start dating him? Are you ok with him dating other people while dating you? That's stuff to talk about with him when you're ready to. Assuming you want to.
posted by 2oh1 at 8:33 PM on August 4, 2010


Asking someone to stop looking at online profiles after two dates is the perfect way to make them run away, in my opinion. It's far too soon, and I would be extremely put off by it. It's an unnatural quirk of online dating that we can monitor people to this extent -- you just need to look the other way for now.
posted by yarly at 8:46 PM on August 4, 2010


To sum up the other comments, as I understand them:

Quit being controlling, and get in contact with the dude if you want to talk to him. As for this shit...
...with that chemistry comes inevitable vulnerability. While I don't expect to be exclusive with anyone after 2 dates, it bothered me to see this man logging into JDate several times after our wonderful dates. Both of us have every right to continue browsing, but it leaves me feeling disposable.
You are disposable. You are vulnerable. How did you convince yourself you were entitled to anything else? That's pure egotism.

For heaven's sake, stop looking at JDate and just enjoy the thing you've got going with this guy. He's a human being and you're not gonna learn what's in his heart from tracking his goddamn login times.
posted by waxbanks at 9:45 PM on August 4, 2010


Please don't take offense, but if you're already jealous, it's already over.
posted by BrandonAbell at 1:18 AM on August 5, 2010


I don't think it's jealousy. You met someone great and you've had two dates and you're very naturally feeling anxiety about whether or not he's as interested as you are. It's very normal to want to find something that will help answer that for you. In the old days, the only thing one could do was stare at the telephone. The internet offers this opportunity that looks informative, checking if he's been on JDate, but unfortunately it's not really informative, because as everyone else has pointed out, there are lots of reasons to log in and you cannot know what his are. I know it's tough, I've been there, but you have to stop looking.
posted by JanetLand at 5:53 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Firstly, the guy who chewed you out after one date comes off as a majorly controlling creep ball - please don't take relationship cues from him.

Only you can judge the 'intensity' of your date. some people know after 1-2 dates that they want exclusivity, some people date for months as just casual seeing a movie and making out. IF it was intense, I'd personally wait until 3-4 dates and initiate some sort of conversation about your status. If it wasn't intense, well, you either continue to casually see him or break it off because you're looking for something intense.

In other words, it sucks, but you are disposable until you two have a conversation and make some kind of commitment. But disposable doesn't mean worthless - it just means most people don't know after 1, or 2, or even 20 dates, that this person is the best thing out there right now.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2010


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