Two's a Crowd

Submitted by Lawrence:

I found Olivia online, and I really liked what her profile had to say.  The accompanying photos of her petite, brown-haired, smiling self didn't hurt, either.  She and I both liked skiing and most of the same movies.  We scheduled a date.

Two days before it, she e-mailed to let me know that she had decided to go exclusive with another guy, and that she wished me the best of luck.

I was bummed, but I know how life can work, so I was ready to move on.

Less than a week later, she sent me another e-mail.  It didn't reference a thing about her prior message, and she asked me if I wanted to meet up.

That was a bit strange, and I messaged her back to ask her if she was sure that it was a good idea, given her previous e-mail.

She replied basically along the lines of, "But we can still meet, can't we?"


We met at a sidewalk cafe.  She looked great, and the first thing I thought was, "She looks like she's dressed up for a date."

I didn't allude to her e-mails, and she flirted pretty heavily with me, touching me, making sexual comments, and so on.  I couldn't really follow the mixed messages.

Finally, I asked her what she was doing, as she had made it pretty clear that she had found someone else and wanted to pursue a relationship with him.

She explained, "I sent him the same message.  I wouldn't want either of you thinking that I was cheating on the other one, so I'm going to try going exclusive with you both."

From where I come from, "exclusive" means, "just one," so Olivia's definition didn't make much sense to me.

Just to be sure I had it right, I asked her, "So you sent messages to me and another guy, telling us that you didn't want to see either of us anymore... because you want to see both of us?"

She agreed with my appraisal of the situation.  I informed her that I defined exclusivity a little differently than she did, although I didn't have a problem with staying friends.

She asked, "But why can't we go out?  Is there something wrong?  People do this all the time."

"Exclusive relationships with two people?"


I told her, again, that I wasn't into the idea.

"But why not?  What's the problem?" she prodded.

I was becoming more and more confused.  Perhaps it was all a misunderstanding.  I asked her if she meant to "date" both of us, as opposed to being "exclusive" with both of us.  Dating more than one person, as far as I knew, made a bit more sense.

But it wasn't, apparently what she was talking about.  She said, "Exclusive, as in, I'm seeing only both of you."

"As in, we're both your boyfriends?"

"Yeah.  And neither of you date anyone else."

I asked, "But it's okay for you to date two people?"


I was done with this.  "I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"I just don't like the idea.  Sorry."

"Why not?"

I stood up, to drive the point home.  "I'm doing you a favor," I said, "Now you don't have to worry about dating both of us.  Just the other guy.  Have fun.  And good luck."

She looked at me like I was insane, I put some money down for the check, and I left.  Was I in the wrong, here?


  1. Hahahaha, def not in the wrong. Why didnt you just play along though?

  2. Nope. You're the sane one. Unless you live in Utah. Actually, nevermind. You'd still be the sane one.

  3. Naw man you weren't wrong at all

  4. bahaha not in the wrong but yeah def shoulda strung it along... "OK, and then I'll be exclusive with another girl too, k? but I'll just be with you"

  5. Even if she had understood the meaning of the word, being exclusive with someone you've only known online and met once seems kinda weird to me.

  6. Were you wrong? Yes, meeting up was obviously a bad idea. Again, another "bad date" that could have been avoided simply by STOPPING AT A RED LIGHT.

  7. This happened to a friend of mine, and the girl he met through craigslist. She ended up marrying the other guy so I am assuming he was cool with it. My friend is single however.

  8. You weren't 'wrong'...but you could have played it out better.

    Sounds like she initially wanted to be exclusive with the other guy, but he probably wasn't into that. He probably wanted to take things slow...you know like normal people and 'date' a bit to see if there is a solid connection. So, she was keeping her options open and not being completely honest with you. You should have played her game.

    I would have agreed to her face about her little arrangement (and maybe get a little action from her..?) but there is no way in hell would I stop from dating other girls...C'mon be a playah!

  9. "I'll be exclusive with you and other people too."

  10. I have friends who have exclusive relationships with multiple people -- but everyone knows that going into it! This woman was doing it wrong.

  11. @Marnen - your friends are doing it wrong.

    1. Nope. Look up polyfidelity. They’re doing it honestly, all are aware of the arrangement, and AFAIK it works for them.


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