Dating while in a relationship is more common than people would like to admit. Let’s face it, most people are non- monogamous and others are unhappy in their relationship because of it. I have plenty of associates in relationships, some married, who also hit the dating scene. I’ve dated someone who’s already in a situation. These days it’s difficult to find someone without a situation. Often people will have situations because of children. They have a baby mama/daddy, or live with the mother or father and maybe married them. Sacrifices are made for the children but adults sacrifice their happiness right along with it. Some relationships don’t have children but other obligations like a shared home. Dating while in a relationship, weather you choose to acknowledge it as such, still has limitation. In fact it has the most limitations and rules than any monogamous relationship so I’ve put together a few things to remember no matter what side you’re on.
In a relationship
Cheater. Cheater. Golf ball eater. Just kidding. But if you are in a relationship or married be ready to be labeled just that. There is a common misconception of dating that people are suppose to be with one person and one person only. But people cheat because they want to be satisfied. Because they are bored. Because they are unappreciated. Because as much as they want to move on, leaving a relationship is not the easiest event to put on your to do list, especially if we are talking divorce. (Which I personally believe is the ugliest word in the American English language.) But liar is an even uglier word. You are only a cheater if you are a liar and a deceiver. Sneaking around and keeping your personal business away from your significant other is a bit understandable however, the moment your other suspects and expresses a problem with your behavior then it’s time for communication. Non-monogamy is not cheating-- so don’t be a cheater. Often, if you are in an unhappy relationship your partner won’t even notice a difference if you start dating. So keep it up as long as you can while remaining considerate. Don’t leave numbers in your clothes, come home smelling like someone else and all the typical tell tale signs of infidelity. Basically if you’re dating outside of your relationship don’t be an ass about it unless you are hoping your significant other dumps you hard.
As for the people you are dating you have an obligation to tell anyone new about your current situation, if not you go back to cheater. Let potentials have the opportunity to take you or leave you; and your baggage. Be upfront about what it is that you are expecting out of a new relationship. Are you just looking for a fwb because you are sexually unsatisfied? Looking for someone younger to get back in touch with your fun side? Place all the cards on the table as soon as possible. Make sure you let potentials know the guidelines of dating you, i.e. no late phone calls, popping up unexpectedly or crying.
Be prepared for other parts of your social life to suffer. If you are not ready to leave a current relationship then you need to maintain a certain ‘schedule’. Substitute watching the game with friends at Greene Turtle with being with your new bun-bun. Or instead of killing yourself at the gym for an extra hour take some time out to date. You don’t want to add on more tasks to your life. The reason you are dating outside of your situation is for relief and release, so you have to keep a stable balance. Keep your balance with pass times and not responsibilities like job, children, and financial obligations. There is no excuse for missing your rent because you took a new hottie to dinner AND drinks at Roy’s.
The other man or woman
There isn’t much advice besides CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION! You have to really know what you are getting yourself into when you decide to become involved with somebody who is already involved. This position is all about realizations. Once you come to terms with what your situation really is, the sooner you can use the reality to your advantage.
1. You’re not first but you’re definitely not last.
Sorry but someone else has already beaten you to locking this person down. They are occupied and only loaned to you. What brought the two of you together is that you have the 20% of what they are missing from their relationship. You aren’t completely what they’re looking for just because you have some of what they want. These types of dating arrangements are typically short lived; just long enough to have fun, get to know someone and then move on. Unless you are the exception this will not be a long term relationship. The most important thing is that you are not looking for anything serious. There has to be compatibility with the terms. If you are the type of person who has your own commitment issues then this is the type of relationship for you. Any situation can be discussed and considered so don’t be afraid to express your feelings if you got ‘em.
2. Don’t trust the married.
If you are dating someone who is still documented as married do not believe that they will leave their spouse for you. A person who is still legally married, no matter how many years of separation, has no interest in leaving that relationship so don’t let them try and convince you otherwise. Let the proof be in the papers. So that you don’t get caught up don’t hang on and wait for them to leave. That will only waste your time and cause you to question your own value and sanity. On top of that you may want to ask yourself: would you really want to be with someone who would leave their family? Perhaps a better decision is to wait for someone who has already moved on or has never been married and start your own family. In the mean time go back to grade school and be ok with sharing.
photo from freedigitalphotos.net
3. They need you, you don’t need this.
You have the upper hand in this relationship. Don’t get played. If you aren’t having fun then be the first to say something and evaluate the situation. If things start to become complicated for you there is not use in trying to salvage because the person you’re dating will end it because they already have plenty on their plate to worry about. Call the shots when it comes to moving on or letting go. Keep yourself busy in your life, especially social. Hopefully you are dating other people or at least busy with other things to keep this relationship from being overwhelming. Let them come to you. There is no use chasing something that can’t be yours.