The debate about Circular Dating (a term introduced to us by relationship expert Rori Raye, author of Have the Relationship You Want) rages on in the dating and relationship advice circles. Many women feel this concept is foreign and alien to actually having a relationship, while others embrace it for the freedom they feel when they truly accept the precepts of the term.
Circular Dating is what Rori Raye calls her tool where the woman refuses to commit to any man until she has chosen the ONE that she wants to be with. It is not about sexual promiscuity, in fact, Rori urges her readers to refrain from sexual intimacy while in this phase of dating, so that sexual feelings do not cloud the judgment. But the basic tenet of the method is about accepting dates from anyone you wish you – whether that be a quick coffee date with an attractive man who invites you to sit down at the local Starbucks, lunch with a co-worker or a dinner date with a man you meet online. It’s about FEELING your feelings, opening up in an emotional and vulnerable way and letting your feminine side shine through.
Circular dating is about leaning back and accepting the love and the pursuit of men who find you attractive It is about learning not to “lean forward” and “overdo”. If you are being offered the choices of several men, and open to new, incoming choices as they happen, you as a woman will learn to become the one who accepts attention and accepts pursuit, instead of being the woman that pursues and overdoes, therefore pushing a man away.
The assumed exclusivity of many relationships is what Rori Raye wants her readers to avoid. Rori says, “It used to be, we women assumed exclusivity and seriousness if we slept with a man. And that is not going to work, unless you talk about it beforehand. Many of us women “assume” we’re in an exclusive relationship after any number of dates (sometimes even one) where there was a lot of “connection” and “future talk.” And we’ve discovered that doesn’t work. And another assumption is made by a man who takes you on a date 3 times – or even many dates over 3 or 4 months and automatically “assumes” he’s the only one you’re dating – without talking about it, or asking for your exclusivity.”
Rori Raye further recommends that unless he ASKS you for exclusivity specifically, and you accept this proposal, you circular date. And your expectation of exclusivity might not be the typical boyfriend/girlfriend thing. It could be a marriage proposal, or living together, or whatever other terms feel good to you as a woman.
This is a fabulous way, as well, to compare men and how they communicate with you, make you feel, make you laugh, or show love to you. Circular Dating can open up many doors for you in your emotional maturity and your expectations of a relationship, because you are able to find the best things about the men you are seeing and decide what traits and characteristics you really CAN live with, and what you do not like. It will allow the woman to realize that there are many choices out there.
Think of circular dating like buying a car or a house. You are always advised by friends and family not to buy the first one you look at. Shop around. Test drive, walk through, compare, compare, compare! A car or a house may be a huge financial investment, but is a relationship not one of the most important investments you will ever make in your life as well? Why should you then settle for the first man that falls into your lap? Circular dating in order to eventually have the relationship you want is an excellent tool if done correctly and with an open heart.
In the foundation of any relationship, learning to respect each other and “fight right” is of paramount importance. One thing that Rori Raye points out in her have the Relationship You Want eBook is that many fights are not about the issue at hand – they are about control. Learning to manage your disagreements in a mature and loving fashion will strengthen your relationship exponentially and is one of the best pieces of relationship advice you can heed.
So let’s take a look at the anatomy of a fight. The first kind of fighting is called “right fighting”. This is exactly the opposite of fighting right. In right fighting, one or both of the partners is only concerned with being right, getting his or her way, and controlling the situation. You know you are right-fighting when you are doing any of the following ….
- Planning only what you are going to say next when he is talking
- Trying to force him to agree with you or do what it is you want
- When you care only about being right and getting justice for what you believe to be an injustice
- Denying his feelings as valid
Looking at these things, perhaps both of you are fighting this way, or only one of you, but when fighting is based on controlling the outcome, it’s not ever going to be a productive, positive experience for your relationship.
Rori Raye has a mantra in her Have the Relationship You Want eBook (p 138) that gives a lot of insight to the reader about how to handle MANY situations as a positive, energetic and mature woman. Her mantra goes like this…
I trust my boundaries – I trust myself: I know I will not knowingly toss my pearls before swine, throw myself into the path of destruction, hide from the truth, go along with or tolerate something that is damaging to me. Now I can move to my feelings.
I follow my feelings – I follow my emotions around my body and into my heart because they are my compass in the world. I love my feelings and know that I must go where I am, be where I am, feel what I feel, and go through the feeling if I want to feel better. Now I can speak.
I choose my words – I am committed to clear, direct, feeling based communication. I honor my feelings by expressing them from my heart without trying to influence or attack my man. If I choose, now I can let go of the result.
I allow every moment to be a surprise – I don’t have to know every outcome, I don’t have to manage every situation, I don’t have to make sure everything goes the way I want, and I absolutely don’t have to know what my man is going to say or do next.
Because I know what I will not tolerate, because I can feel what I feel, because I’ve stated clearly what I feel and don’t want, I can let go of control.
How does the Rori Raye Mantra help a woman know HOW to fight? It helps us to direct our feelings into the proper energy – in other words, expressing your FEELINGS, your WANTS and NEEDS as positive and appropriate words, and not as demands or aggressive instructions. It helps you to let go of the need to control the outcome and step into the need to direct your own feelings into expression, where your man can come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of you because you have SHARED yourself with him. Its relationship help at its best.
Doing this can be a little scary, especially the “letting go of the control” part. But think of this as not letting go of yourself or relinquishing anything, instead, think of it as Rori Raye says, like opening yourself and giving yourself to the relationship, to love, to the man you want to be with.
Rori writes, “Taking the leap to speaking about our feelings when we’ve spent our whole lives working very hard to do just the opposite – whether we’re afraid of what someone will think or do, or whether we simply want to be more highly conscious people and have more refined emotions – takes courage and commitment to the process.” (Have the Relationship You Want, p 145).
What do you do, then, if you are doing all this RIGHT, and yet your partner is still “right fighting”? Be consistent. Use your “I feel” words. Express what YOU feel and ask him what he feels in the heat of the moment. Try using Rori Raye’s expressions like “ I don’t want to go there, listen to this, be there, be here, stand here, tolerate this, have this, worry about this, think about this, take charge of this, plan this –what do you think? “ – using the “what do you think?” at the end of your expression lets him know that you are showing your feelings and also concerned about his and that you value his opinion.
It’s not often that I get a question on male insecurity, but I received an excellent question from a reader who was brave enough to pose the thought – are MEN at times insecure as well as women? As we all know, Rori Raye talks often and at length about female insecurity, and how that insecurity can damage your relationship as well as other aspects of your life. Let’s forget our own insecurities for a moment, and delve into the subject of men.
My reader asked me…
I have a question for you here it is I am in a relationship with my boyfriend for about 2 1/2 years now and I am living with him. We are both in our 40s. Often he ask me after we make love if I am satisfied & if his penis is big enough, and also often he asks me if I am happy being with him. Is it normal for a man to ask that question often on how he is performing in bed and if I am happy to be with him? I told him yes I am happy if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be with him.
I am questioning myself if I am giving off negative vibes or is he insecure with himself? I don’t mind that he ask once in a wild but he’s been asking often?
I am confused? I don’t know what to think?
Excellent, excellent question! Insecurity, of course, is not limited to women. Men can be very insecure as well. Let’s think about this for a minute. For women, according to Rori Raye, attraction is based in feeling and basically, in the brain. I have heard it said that the brain is the largest sex organ for a woman. But men, on the other hand, are visual creatures. Much of their attraction is based on visual stimulus, and on the response they receive from women about their own actions, confidence, stamina, etc. So, as man who may have his confidence based in these things, its not hard to understand that if they feel they are lacking in size in that area, that they think YOU think that as well.
I have learned a lot recently about sex by reading Alex Allman’s Revolutionary Sex. It’s a fascinating read. And according to Alex, the average male organ size is 5-6 inches give or take a little bit. Now, that is NOT what you see in the erotic movies by any means. (Of course, the women, as well, are not the average size 16 female either!). In addition, many men “present” in different ways, they are either a shower or a grower (love those terms). This means that men, when they are limp, will either be nearly as long when they are aroused, OR, they will be substantially SMALLER when flaccid and their organ will grow quite a bit when they are aroused. Now – most men don’t know this. So, perhaps your man is a “grower”, and does not show his true size when in the locker room with other men, or what have you, and maybe he sees quite a few “showers” in there, that look substantially larger than he is, giving him a false sense of inadequacy.
Rori Raye does not address sexual intimacy specifically in her book, but we can glean a lot of information from there about things that may help our man to feel more positive about himself – not only in the bedroom, but in life as well. One of these things is allowing yourself to fully understand your reactions to him. Perhaps you are not “vocal” in the intimate moments, or perhaps you may have trouble reaching orgasm. Many of us do – believe me. Maybe HE feels that if he has to work harder to bring you fulfillment that it is because of the size of his…tool. J So perhaps you should take a look at your interactions and actions with him in the bedroom. Are you expressing, DURING the act, how he makes you feel? Are you tense, nervous, or feeling pressure to come to orgasm in order to please him? Or perhaps he is a “minute man” and feels that he does not bring you pleasure because the time is too short. There are many factors that could be at work here.
So my advice to you is this – do as Rori Raye suggests in her Have the Relationship You Want eBook, and sit back and take a look at how you respond to him in different situations. This does not, by any means, mean that you are to BLAME for his lack of confidence. But if you are able to adjust your responses to him in a manner that will allow him to begin to understand how happy he makes you, then perhaps this will ease his mind and heighten his own self-confidence.
Recently, one of my readers wrote in to me, seeking relationship advice for her situation, where her significant other is being unfaithful by putting himself up on a dating site while they were, in what was assumed to be, an exclusive relationship. While this reader may herself be surviving infidelity, it is obvious that her relationship will not.
Dear Sarah -
How do I break up with a guy that I have been dating for 4 months? [I want to break up with him because] he lies to me; he is on a dating site and even put a picture that I took of him and put it on the site. I have a gut feeling that he is out with someone new right now. So what do I do?
My response to Anne –
First of all, Anne, please let me express my sorrow and give you a virtual hug. surviving infidelity is hard, no matter how young your relationship may be. From your email, I cannot tell whether the affair you are relating is anemotional affair or a physical affair, but in reality, it does not matter other than the fact that if it was a physical affair he had and you were intimate with him, you will want to visit your doctor and get yourself checked out to make sure you are healthy.
It is obvious that the affair your boyfriend has had has devastated your relationship, and if you have decided to leave him, then go for it. I suggest that you do it very simply, without drama or incident. You need to tell him in a calm, cool manner that you see that he is not upholding his end of your relationship requirements, and that due to that fact, you can no longer trust him, and therefore your relationship is over. To add a bit of “friendly finality” to that, I would simply shake his hand, tell him you will see him around, and walk away. Do not demand explanations, justice or apologies because if you are moving on without him, you do not need those things from him as a strong and independent woman.
As you move into upcoming relationships, though, please do not expect this behavior from all men. The actions of one do not necessarily define the actions of all! I would, though, recommend a slightly different strategy for you, though, especially as a woman who is surviving infidelity.
Rori Raye suggests in her eBook, Have The Relationship You Want (as well as in all of her programs) that women avoid the “exclusivity trap” and date as many men as possible, until she finds a man who is ready to make THE commitment to her. Rori Raye suggests this for several reasons (and I will try to keep them brief!)…
• Attraction – refusing to commit to a man and dating other men keeps the attraction alive and cooking. DO NOT BE INTIMATE with them until you have the commitment you want, but until YOU HAVE that commitment, do not quit dating other men.
• Diversity – in order to get what YOU want, you need to shop around. You don’t walk into a store and pick out the first shirt off the rack, throw it on the cashier’s table and check out. You try it on. You try on several – and then you make a decision. How much more so should you shop around for a commitment that is supposed to last the rest of your life?
• Value – You are a hot commodity. In order for value to be perceived with most things, scarcity has to be implied. If he is going to really value you, he HAS to understand that he is lucky to have the time with you that he does, and that when and if you choose to give him all your time, you are bestowing a gift upon him that he better cherish.
So please, Anne, know that you will come out stronger for surviving infidelity, whether this was an emotional affair or a physical affair. Take Rori Raye’s advice and shop around before you decide to buy next time, and have a healthier, happier relationship for it. Remember to educate yourself about other relationship mistakes by visiting theRori Raye section of my blog.
Have you ever felt like a man is doing everything he can to throw you off balance? Like he’s hot one minute and cold the next? Like a jungle cat – coming close enough to get petted on the head and fed, and then baring his fangs, hissing and leaping away the moment you move even an inch toward him? And you ask yourself – is he a commitment- phoebe? Is he just not the one for me? Is he just not capable of rowing the Relationship Rowboat – or WHAT…?
I remember spending my precious brainpower and precious energy – not to mention precious LOVE on men who may have been any of the above or none of the above. But one thing’s for sure, they weren’t doing ME any good. They may have been handsome, smart, artistic, poetic, funny, rich, talented, powerful and good fathers. They may have been exactly what I wanted. But they were, to borrow a line from a movie trailer I just saw – Great looking shoes – just in the wrong size for ME.
So – what makes a great looking shoe in the RIGHT SIZE? Let’s look at this hot/cold thing that men do. Have you ever noticed that he’s hot when you’re cold and cold when you’re hot? I’ll bet you’ve tried doing all kinds of “strategies,” like playing “hard to get” and “I don’t care” and he all of a sudden got hot as you PRETENDED to get cold. But then, the second you warmed up, off he went again into the freezer.
And, if you’re anything like I was, you thought it had something to do with you, and got all down about yourself, and then you thought it had to do with him, and got angry at him, and then you got scared and went right back to being totally confused. I remember practically living there, in that place where I was always bouncing between beating myself up, getting angry at him, and then feeling guilty and scared. It was as though I slept and ate in the land of “I’m confused about men and I’m really confused about this relationship.” And the really rotten thing about it is that so many men love to play this game with us. And about 100% of men don’t even know they’re playing it!
They just do it sort of automatically.
Here’s a letter from “Chasing Him”:
Rori, You have me pegged…I have been chasing “Don” for 4 years. We were together through our respective divorces, then he decided he needed to be with another woman; that lasted 1 1/2 years, now we’re dating again. He tells me he’s not ready for commitment but might be “someday.” I want commitment and romance. Sex used to be great. It no longer is.
We enjoy each other’s company; we have interests and community in common. He calls almost every night and we see each other at church and date 2 or 3 times a month. Should I give him more time or let him go? Thank you, “Chasing Him”.
***Chasing Him’s situation is so incredibly painful, and so many of us find ourselves there – wanting and waiting for a commitment.
Where the man is acting “sort of into the relationship” but says he’s not. And then, the confusion and frustration we’re feeling make the quality of the relationship – sex, romance, affection, attention – go downhill. I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t been through this “I’m waiting around for commitment, what should I do?” problem.
It’s a mistake we’ve all made, and perhaps you’re making it too, right now.
Have you ever found yourself going through this, or are now, and it just feels like a horrible “either/or” choice you have to make? Where you have to decide either to give him more time or let him go? But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There’s another way, my Rori Raye Third Way, which uses all my Tools to feel stronger on the inside and inspire a man to move the relationship forward on the outside. First, I’d like to lay the groundwork for a whole new way of looking at “dating” and “relationships” that will help you tremendously.
Do you find yourself wondering what a man means by what he says, or what he’s feeling at any given moment? Well, a “Relationship” looks, feels and moves very differently for a man than it does for us women. And that’s why we’re so confused by a man’s behavior, and why we spend so much time and energy trying to figure him out. If I’d known then what I know now, I could have skipped all the hours and days and heartache I spent focusing on a man and forgetting about myself.
I’d like to save you the trial-and-error I slogged through and get you right to the good stuff. Let’s start with what dating you looks like in a man’s mind. Let’s say you’ve been seeing each other for a few months, with or without sex: So…he says (in his mind), “Here’s this girl (you), and she’s pretty, and sexy, and she likes me, and I like her well enough, and we get along great, and she’s willing to kiss me and cuddle with me, and maybe have sex with me, and cook me dinner and even pay for things sometimes – what could possibly be wrong?”
In other words, he takes what he can get, and doesn’t think anything of it. When a man says, “I’m just not ready for a relationship now. But maybe ‘someday’ and maybe ‘you,’ and I don’t want to hurt you,” we think he means he’s just confused and that he’ll come around and see we’re meant for each other very soon. But mostly, what he’s saying is that he doesn’t want to get serious with us.
Perhaps he truly doesn’t want to be serious with any woman, but for sure, he doesn’t want to be serious with us, not right now. And he doesn’t even THINK about why he doesn’t want to get serious. He’s just following his gut feelings. We women might call this (I know it’s indelicate, but it’s true) “following his dick.” But I’ll call it “following his heart,” because, really, it is. For a man, sex and love can be (unlike most of us women) completely separate. When he tells us he doesn’t want to get serious, for whatever reason, it DOESN’T mean he wants to stop seeing us, or sleeping with us, or having fun with us (as long as he thinks we’re fun).
He’s just telling us not to get our hopes up. But he’s instinctively doing it in a way that keeps us hoping. So he gets exactly what he wants. He gets US, with no strings attached! And he can always, if things get sticky, refer back to the conversation in which he said “I don’t want to hurt you.” The thing is – he’s not doing it on purpose to hurt us.
He doesn’t want to hurt us, but he figures if he tells us that, and we still stick around, then it’s OUR decision, and so that lets him off the hook. In other words, he takes us at face value. If we’re still there after his “I don’t want to get serious, maybe someday, and I don’t want to hurt you” speech, then we’re agreeing with him that the “relationship” is now on his terms. And then later on, if we continue to expect that the relationship is moving forward, he feels almost offended.
We women, on the other hand, are completely different about not wanting to hurt anyone else. We REALLY don’t want to do that. We don’t want to hurt anyone else. And we’re very sensitive about what it means to hurt someone else. We REALLY stop seeing a man after a pleasant, but not marriage-bound (as far as we’re concerned) date because we don’t want to hurt his feelings somewhere down the line.
We don’t want to lead a man on. But for a man, it’s different. For a man, EVERYTHING up until the engagement ring is “just dating” – or, even worse, “just friends.” The whole concept of “leading us on” doesn’t even exist for them. (We’re talking about a decent, regular guy here, not a “player.” I’ll deal with the Red Flags about players in another eLetter.)
MEN FIGURE WE KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON. Really, they do. They expect us – just because we’re women – to understand relationships better than they do. They ASSUME that if we’re dating them, we know we’re “just dating” them – and, of course, most of the time we don’t.
I know I never did. To me, a goodnight kiss (if I wanted to kiss him again) was a “Relationship.” A man, on the other hand, can not only kiss us goodnight and want to kiss us again, he can have sex with us and want to have sex with us again – and still not see it as a “Relationship.”
So, with all this difference in perception between us – as to what kind of relationship we are or aren’t in – how can we possibly hope to get a man to commit to us? If he doesn’t even see himself in a “relationship,” how can he think of us in the long-term?
***This all has to do with what I call THE RELATIONSHIP TIMELINE.
It’s the difference between “just dating” and “just friends” and a REAL Relationship. It’s the difference between an IMAGINARY RELATIONSHIP and a Real Relationship. It’s the difference between where you and I feel we are in the Relationship Timeline and where HE thinks we are. And most of the time, we’re way ahead of him.
We’re looking at banquet halls for the wedding when he’s just thinking of us as a “great girl.” We’re making ourselves exclusive to one man who thinks he’s “just dating” us. We cut out our options, and keep our feelings hidden. Does this sound familiar to you? If you’re finding yourself spending your time, energy and love in the confusion and heartache that is an Imaginary Relationship, you don’t have to live in that place anymore.
There’s so much you can do for yourself, and I know my Tools will help you. And as you practice the Tools, feel stronger and better about yourself, and start communicating with a man from your heart (like he does – in his own way and as best he can), you’ll see things change. You’ll start to see the relationship you’re only Imagining now becoming more Real.
*****So, how can we make a man like this, who (like most men) is just going along, having fun and stepping forward if he’s having fun, and pulling away if he thinks he’s not having fun, want to commit to us?
What flips the switch from an Imaginary Relationship into a Real Relationship along the Relationship Timeline. For now, let’s look at two reasons a man will commit to you:
One, he doesn’t want to lose you, and knows he will if he doesn’t commit; and Two, he wants to be with you non-stop and just feels compelled to commit to you and get you to commit to him.
One is something he’s afraid of and wants to avoid because it will cause him pain, the other is something he just flat-out wants because he wants it. And different men, just like us, are motivated differently Some of us focus on moving AWAY from things we don’t like, and some of us focus on moving TOWARD things we do like.
So, what’s the smart thing to do that will actually work? You’ll cover all your bases.
You’ll do the Rori Raye Mantra. First, you’ll let him know that he’ll lose you if he doesn’t move the relationship forward. This is Trusting Your Boundaries. That means that you TRUST YOURSELF – that you will not hang around with a man who doesn’t want what you want – which is commitment – which might be marriage, or walking off into the sunset together. This isn’t an ultimatum. This is simply not becoming exclusive (in any way but sexually), with any man until he’s sure of what he wants, and you want it, too!
Then, Second, you’ll open your heart to him.
This is Following Your Feelings and Choosing Your Words. You’ll be inviting him into your heart, and staying warm and focused on yourself and your own feelings. This way, once he touches your warm and open heart with his own heart (but still gets from your “vibe” that he’ll lose you if he doesn’t step up to the plate), he’ll want to be around you, and with you, always. You can do it! If I did it, you can.