LILY Letter 63: Free to Explore vs. Loyal Commitment

June 21, 2022

We were often dismayed during our mid-single years when we heard criticism of people as a "player” or “serial dater." These terms were often applied to dating partners who were not ready to be exclusive after only a few dates or even a single encounter. We heard many singles say "I only date one person at a time."

While we think this standard of exclusivity makes sense when you are dating seriously or married, it doesn't make sense for someone you are not prepared to choose yet--because you do not know them well enough to do so. Imagine if you went out with someone new and, after the first date, he or she started talking to you about your "relationship" or said that he or she expected you to be exclusive after one date.

We understand that many of you have been cheated on in past relationships and may be sensitive to someone who seems to be playing the field. However, it is only cheating if you are leading your partner to believe that you are being exclusive or that you intend to be. Early dating relationships are very different from committed relationships and marriages. It might seem obvious to say that but for those who are accustomed to being married or in an exclusive dating relationship, the lines between what makes a serious relationship and what is early stage exploration can feel blurry.

We recommend dating a variety of people until you meet someone you want to make us serious attempt with. It usually takes more than a few dates to discern that. Until then, you do not need to feel disloyal to someone you are just getting to know. Feel free to explore various opportunities for yourself and allow your dating partners the freedom to do the same. Avoid making assumptions about his or her level of interest without having a direct conversation and wait to have those conversations until real connection has been established.

In early dating, you are just meeting people and getting to know them enough to know if you want to try a more serious relationship. The fact that you like someone enough to ask him or her out does not mean you are in a relationship.

In this week’s podcast we explore the pros and cons of “Serial Dating.” In our weekly video, we talk about “Kissing & Commitment" and our two related shorts are quick snippets on “Sexy Confidence” and “How Dating Differs from Marriage.”


LILY Pod Episode 75: Serial Dating (31min)

LILY Tube Video: Kissing & Commitment (8min)

LILY Tube Short: Sexy Confidence (1min)

LILY Tube Short: How Dating Differs from Marriage (1min)

To get a copy of "Intentional Courtship" on Amazon and create more love in your life in 2022, visit Intentional Courtship.

If you enjoy this letter, forward to a friend. Our goal is to support as many mid-singles and later-married couples as possible!

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