The Difference Between Dating And Being Exclusive: Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
There Mary Jane Paul was, calling the ex-boyfriend David (aka, “Never Answer”) she had started dating again. She wanted to meet up for drinks; or to just hang out at his place; or to basically just do whatever he wanted to do. However, she received a major kick in the gut (not literally of course) when he told her that he was meeting up with an old friend since she wasn’t available when he wanted to hang out earlier in the day. Peeved at the situation, Mary Jane starts grilling David, asking if he was going to have sex with that “old friend” (he said maybe, and yes, they had sexual relations in the past…) and yelling about tickets to an Esperanza Spalding concert not really being solely for her, but for any chick that was available for him. You see, Mary Jane thought they were possibly rebuilding their relationship, and in a way, she thought they were being exclusive (for most of the episode, she decided to finally leave her very married ex, Andre, behind). Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. She was pissed.
Who else has been there?
I had the awesome opportunity to attend a screening of Being Mary Jane and a panel discussion on love and sexual health (sponsored by the OraQuick home HIV test and BET). On the panel was writer (and new reality star) Demetria Lucas, sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross, BMJ star, Robinne Lee (who plays the scorned wife), and the facilitator for the evening, media personality, Jacque Reid. During the discussion, this topic of exclusivity came up, and Lucas said something that made my ears perk up:
“You’d be surprised by the number of people that think that because you’re dating that it’s exclusive. I talk to people all the time…people are like, ‘Well, I’m dating him, and I went out and I saw him with another woman!’ It’s like, well, that’s not your man. You guys are dating. There’s no exclusivity.”
It sounds so obvious when other people say it, but from past experiences, I know that I’ve had my little feelings hurt when a guy I thought I was trying to have something special with was spending time with other chicks. The reality was, we hadn’t had a conversation about it being a ‘just me and you’ *in my Raphael Saadiq voice* thing, so my assumption that he was supposed to be have some allegiance to me and be waiting at home by the phone for my call was oh so wrong. So was Mary Jane Paul’s assumptions about David–ESPECIALLY after Andre rolled up her to her home WITH a door code while David was there trying to spend some time with her.
All this reminded me of conversations I’ve had with friends and even advice given by Lucas in the past about dating. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket. Too often we meet a guy and we low-key latch on, waiting for a committed relationship to form and being extremely loyal when a guy might have you in his favorites…but have three other women he’s feeling in there too for the other days of the week when you’re not available. Date and meet people. Go on dates with more than just one guy! And no, going on a date doesn’t have to mean you’re sleeping around with anybody (unless that’s what you want, I’m not trying to judge you), it just means that you’re testing the waters and finding what works for you and what doesn’t. You’re multi-tasking. I wouldn’t encourage you to date too many guys than your schedule can handle though, because you might start getting annoying “Hey” texts during the middle of your workday or at the crack of dawn. But too many of us don’t really date as freely as we should. We go on one outing and if things go well, we feel bad if somebody else wants our number or wants to take us out (I think I’m kind of seeing someone…?), but until you figure out what you and the guy you’re feeling are doing and decide whether or not to be exclusive, the dating pool is open. Jump in…