Exclusive Or Not ?

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This has been one of the topics coming up amongst my girlfriends and I; and when I read SingleCityGuy’s poll post ‘How Many Dates Does It Take To Become ‘Exclusive’ it got me thinking about how dating is different across each country .. seriously, Dating ? What’s That ?

Dubai, UAE

There was a time back in the day – whenever I was asked out by a guy – I always ‘knew’ it was an ‘exclusive’ relationship.  Why ? ‘Cos he probably asked me to be his girlfriend.  Straight away.  This was in Dubai.  A boyfriend-girlfriend relationship could be something that lasted one week, one month, six months or even a few years.  But it was a straight forward ‘will you be my girlfriend / boyfriend’ sorta question.

Montreal, Canada

Then I went to Montreal where I learned that you could ‘see someone’, ‘date someone’ or ‘be in a relationship’ with someone.  Yeah – I kinda got confused too. 

Seeing someone meant ‘casually’ going out with different men / women for simple things like coffee / a drink – there was no physical intimacy between the two people.  Sure they may have held hands, hugged, and flirted but kissing and beyond were off-limits.  This is the gettingrelationship queue acquainted stage and you could be getting acquainted with a few different people.

‘Dating someone’ meant going out with men / women on breakfasts, lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, gallery openings etc. and having some sort of physical intimacy.  So kissing, fondling, maybe even some groping could be there but no sex. 

Being in a relationship was more exclusive because you were only having sex with that one person.  Exclusively.  No more dates on the side unless they were ‘casual friendly dates’.

London, UK

Here it was simpler I suppose – very similar to Montreal but just two levels : Seeing someone or Dating.  At least all the men I met and dated – were in exclusive relationships with me and those ranged from about 3 months to 1.5 year. 

So you could be casually seeing people (who have not been introduced to your group of friends as yet) or you were dating someone who is now a part of your social group.  When most people referred to dating someone, it usually meant that it was an exclusive relationship. which involved monogamy.

Bombay, India

This city confuses the hell out of me.  It’s like the will-you-go-out-with-meguys & girls don’t know what’s going on – almost like dating in a foreign land !   I reckon most men think that if a woman wants to exclusively date them – it means that they want to get married (sooner than later).

The guys I have come across can make a simple thing as going out and getting to know one-another the most complicated chore ever !  It’s almost like playing a game. Dating is NOT  Easy especially in Bombay !  There’s this whole other level when it comes to breaking down the dating process and I’m still trying to grasp that concept.

After coming across the above differences in dating cultures across countries – I know where I stand on dating & when to get exclusive with someone but I’d hope that the person I’m with knows that too !

For me, personally, a label / tag to what I have with someone is not really important.  It is but it’s not gonna end my world if my partner doesn’t want to ‘label’ it.  I was in a relationship of 1.5 year (which I ran away from when it ended) but we never labelled it.  We knew we were together.  Some people are comforted and more secure in ‘knowing’ that they are dating someone or in a committed relationship.

So what are your thoughts on this ?  What is the difference between seeing someone, dating someone or being in a relationship ? And how do you determine when it’s okay to be exclusive or not ? Do you have ‘the chat’ or is it just ‘understood’ ?  Have you ever asked someone if they are exclusively in a relationship with you ?