Just last week a client called to discuss her current dating experience. Roseanne mentioned that she is sort of seeing a guy. Sort of? What does that mean?
I have heard this term before actually from a man. In fact, now that I think of it, it seems to come up from time to time. “Sort of” seeing someone is a phrase that means the situation is currently undefined.
Roseanne explained that Bart doesn’t want to define the relationship. The key word there if you ask me is R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P! He may not want to define it but that doesn’t change the fact that they ARE IN a relationship whether he likes it or not. What kind of relationship? Well that’s another story.
Undefined usually means casual, as in not serious, i.e. not committed. Could he be seeing others? Maybe, maybe not. Hard to say since it’s not defined right? But it does imply a certain freedom.
When I asked Roseanne how often she sees Bart, her answer took me by surprise – four times a week! That’ s quite a bit for an undefined relationship. I became curious how she feels about this man that she is spending so much time with. Turns out he occupies 75% of her heart (obviously an approximation).
With three quarters of her persona and heart focused on Bart, Roseanne isn’t really available to date others. Just from a simple time perspective, she doesn’t have it. But from an emotional stand point, she is not really open to others. She likes Bart and hopes that he will be willing to define their situation soon.
And in fairness to Bart, it’s only been three months. It’s still early.
In a quandary about how to proceed, Roseanne and I tossed some ideas around. She’s not ready to walk away, nor should she. But she doesn’t want to be exclusive when she isn’t in an exclusive relationship – smart cookie. The outcome, she has decided to still see Bart, but not as often. Maybe twice a week instead of four times. That will leave her with time open to meet new prospects in case Bart decides he never wants more from this relationship than something casual.
This is where Roseanne and I discussed dating with her head and her heart. Not an easy thing to do – but very sensible. She admitted that after three more months of this pace, she’d be completely sucked in and smitten. By backing off a bit, Roseanne gives Bart time to think and herself the opportunity to protect her heart and meet new people.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair. If you’re looking for casual fun -then there isn’t a problem. But if you want lasting love and marriage, think about how you might minimize the downside risk and enjoy the experience for what it is – getting to know someone to see if there IS long-term potential. That’s the whole point of dating – or data gathering as I call the process.
Just because you are dating, doesn’t mean you are in a relationship. When you define dating in this manner, it can really help keep your head clear and heart open for the right partner who is ready for you.