“No relationship can survive without trust, honesty, and communication, no matter how close you are.”
~ J. Sterling
Your partner loves you but he wants to date other women.
Hearing this from your partner is probably NOT what you envisioned as a chapter in your happily ever after story. The “I’m a many-women man” mindset most likely evokes a strong sense of insecurity in your relationship.
For some women learning about their partner’s desire to explore other romantic opportunities is a deal breaker.
While for others the situation is not so cut and dry. Although your friends may advise you to kick him to the curb, romantic attachments are complex and hard to break.
You may feel hurt, confused and not ready to call it quits.
If you are cautiously open to exploring a polyamorous situation, here are some values that can help guide you:
- Trust. Commit to building trust through open and honest communication about new partners, safe sex and mutually agreed upon ground rules.
- Respect. Commit to maintaining a high level of respect by listening to one another’s feelings and needs.
Ultimately, the most vital ingredients in any healthy relationship, monogamous or polyamorous, is feeling physically and emotionally safe and secure.
Relationship safety and security is born out of a couple’s ability to truly hear one another, see one another and have one another’s back.
Accepting your partner’s desire to date others will come with it’s own unique set of challenges.
If you decide to take this polyamory journey with your partner, pay attention that your own feelings, desires and needs are being met.
Navigating a non monogamous relationship is not for everyone. If you are not feeling a sense of safety and security it may not be for you.
Barbara Steele Martin, MA, LMHC – www.barbarasteelemartin.com
Most women would assume that when their partner says that he loves them, he is signing on for a committed and monogamous relationship. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable assumption.
Probably in the majority of cases that would be the case. So, when he says he loves you but tells you he still wants to date other women, you might understandably be confused if not downright suspicious.
So, what’s going on?
What jumps out at me is that he feels pressured to declare his love, even though he’s not really feeling it. Could you have been telling him that you love him with the implied expectation that he will tell you that he feels the same?
Falling in love is not necessarily a simultaneous experience.
Love can happen to one partner before the other and while that’s uncomfortable it’s not abnormal. However, for the person who’s there (in love), it’s a very vulnerable place to be.
Both partners might feel pressured to and really want to feel the same way. However, declaring your love when you don’t really feel it is a bad idea. If he’s done that, wanting to date might be his way of postponing his commitment.
Now another possibility is that he doesn’t equate love and monogamy.
He might lean towards polyamory. Now would be a very good time for you two to have this discussion. Monogamy and polyamory are very different lifestyles. Neither precludes or ensures love but how love and commitment are expressed and manifested relationally is very different.
Obviously to find out what’s going on the two of you need to talk.
No accusations, more of, “I’m confused when you say you love me but still want to date. Can you help me understand where you’re coming from?” You need to genuinely be able to tolerate feeling love without the assurance of mutuality.
Obviously, this isn’t sustainable long-term, but you have to be able to deal with it while seeing how the relationship progresses.
Communication is good unless it’s an anxious pressuring kind of communication. Kudos to you for being brave enough to take the vulnerable step of sharing your feelings. Now be brave enough to let him do the same.
Sally LeBoy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
Let’s put aside the whole “relationship coach” thing and talk woman to woman, sister to sister.
You ready? Here goes…
Seriously, sister? I mean, really? You say he “loves” you but wants to date other women? So, I wonder, “What kind of love is that?”
In my humble opinion, it’s no kind of love at all.
It seems to me that the ‘I love yous” are just words – empty words, words that are meant to keep you sweet – words meant to keep you are patiently waiting and lovingly disposed toward him; words that guarantee a soft place for him to land when his meandering goes wrong or when he gets bored with the other woman or women. This guy wants his cake and eat it too.
Sooner or later, those “I love yous” will do nothing but spell heartache for you, because, for all intent and purposes, you are on the bottom of the list of what is important to him. You see, if you were truly and deeply essential to him, he wouldn’t treat you and your love so poorly.
So, here’s another woman-to woman question for you:
Is what he is offering enough for you?
If it is, then you are either not all that invested in this relationship or you are seriously selling yourself and your love short.
And, that leads to another question:
How much are you and your love worth?
I’m thinking that, if you accept the conditions of his so-called love, then you do not place much value on either.
So, here is my message to you.
Whether you believe it or not, you are worth much, much more than what this man is offering you, which is pretty second-rate.
Rick Hanson, the neuropsychologist and writer, once said “If someone believes that you are not a catch, then they are not qualified.”, meaning they are not worthy of you.
And I say that if someone does not believe that you are enough, then they should be disqualified from having any claim on your heart.
And so, sister, my wish for you is that someday you’ll believe that too – that you’ll know in your bones that you are enough. That you are more than enough. That you are worthy of undiluted, whole-hearted, fully committed loving.
Until that day, I suggest that you walk through the world “as if”.
Mary Rizk, B.A., M.A., M.Ed. – www.maryrizk.com
Most women want to date a man who agrees to a mutually exclusive relationship.
This is important for women because their number one need is to feel secure and respected by her partner, especially if you are looking for someone who has the potential and the goal of getting married.
In our current times it seems that finding a man like that has become increasingly challenging.
I hear this frequently in my counseling sessions with women who are frustrated because they have dated men who just want to have a good time, but are not necessarily interested in commitment.
As a woman you must be smart and clear about the type of man you are looking for.
Take your time to meet the right people, and to evaluate whether the guy you want to date has a similar mindset as yours. Here are some tips to help you in this process.
1. Value and respect yourself.
This means that you know yourself well and your strengths. Know what you have to offer, and for goodness sake, don’t settle for less than what you want in a partner.
2. Take your time to get to know the person.
Don’t act desperate. Early dates with a guy need to be short and sweet.
3. Be honest from the start.
Let him know that you want exclusivity, and see what he says. In my book “How to Repair a Marriage: Easy Steps to Rekindle the Love and Passion” I discuss the fact that dynamics in a dating relationship are established from the beginning. Let the fellow know what you are looking for.
If he’s on a different path than yours, let the relationship go before you get emotionally attached. It will be less painful this way.
4. If after dating for a while he tells you that he loves you, but wants to date other women, you need to figure out if something changed, or if this was his plan all along.
Either way, I would say that he has different goals than yours. If you compromise your principles and objectives by going along with this, you are lowering your standards. It’s better to break up and let him come back to you if he is really interested in you.
5. Take care of yourself and get involved socially.
You may find the right guy eventually. The more opportunities you have to meet people, the higher the chances that this will happen in the near future. Volunteering is a good avenue for meeting someone who has similar values and life philosophy as yours.
Nelly Venturini, LMHC, NCC, CIRT – www.nellyventurini.com
Where do I even begin, for starters I think everyone can agree with me when I say, dating has its fair share of ups and downs.
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes, much like people do!
So, whether you’re looking for a relationship that is polyamorous or monogamous, maybe you’re newly single and ready to mingle or you’ve been at it for awhile and just haven’t found the right one — dating can be a major life transitional period full of learning curves.
At the risk of being blunt, let’s not leave out the elephant in the room when it comes to today’s dating culture and the complexity that one faces with technology.
Not only has technology made it easier to gain access to the next best thing, but the ability to have more than one lifetime partner is about a 50/50 chance with the divorce rates in America the way that they are.
One might assume that with the technology boom and its effect on changing the dating game that dating apps and social media would have a positive impact on making the whole thing easier.
In this case and so many others just like it, its the opposite, technology is making dating more challenging, go figure.
So, you ask me what tips or advice do I have for a woman who comes to me in therapy and says, the guy I have been seeing said, “I love you but I want to see other people.”
As a therapist, I have to stop myself from making assumptions about what “he” meant and I notice myself becoming curious about what you want in your relationship with him,
- How does it make you feel that “he” said this to you, have you discussed being serious?
- Was the relationship casual?
- What values do you have and how are you seeing them be reflected to you in your relationship with him?
I think the only real conclusion I can come to is going to be the same every time, I would ask, “What is it that you are looking for in a relationship?”
And to me this is where the real work can begin.
Relationships are complex, don’t go at it alone, call me for a free consultation anytime!
December Breidel, MA, LPCC – www.onestepbeyondcounseling.com
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