much ado about exclusivity

The gentleman I’ve been seeing recently asked me if I was ready to be in an exclusive dating relationship with him, to “give this thing a chance.” We talked about it for a while over the phone (which is how we manage the challenge of our sporadic actual in-person dates scheduled around my parenting gig), and then decided to think about it overnight.

I can’t deny having had mixed feelings. I mean, I like the thought of casually dating at this time in my life. Being open to receiving masculine energy from more than one direction sounds great — at least as a concept or in theory. In practicality, I haven’t the time to date more than one man at a time and, besides, I like the one I am seeing. My personal history shows that I am a monogamist at heart.

Also, we’d already been physically intimate, both expressed a desire to respect and attend to another’s physical and emotional safety and, frankly, this exclusivity discussion was overdue — at least as far as sex was concerned. I don’t sleep around, and I don’t want to be intimate with someone who’s putting my health at risk, either. So even if I were interested in keeping my options open, I wouldn’t be interested in getting physical with another man at present.

Still, I was startled to experience fear in considering whether I was ready for exclusivity. To be fair, my beau used the word “commitment” almost interchangeably with “exclusivity” and, in my mind, these are vastly different concepts (as in one of them usually comes with a ring). When we were able to meet the next evening, he clarified that he had merely meant to imply certain expectations, in particular honesty and open communication.

Ultimately, we agreed to giving this thing a chance, fears be damned. I can agree to being as honest and open as possible. I can open my heart to possibility. And we agreed to use the more palatable “exclusive” to describe it.

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