Can I Get A Consensus? When Does a Relationship Become Exclusive?by Carly Jacobs
I recently met a young lass and was having a chat to her about relationships. She was born in Australia, raised in England and has spent most of her young adult life in the US. She is on a mission to meet the perfect man and was quizzing me on my single friends and asking me what Australian men are like. She then told me she has a guy in the states that she’s been seeing but they haven’t said that it’s exclusive yet so she can still date other people. I laughed and told her that an Aussie bloke wouldn’t put up with that and she said ‘Oh right! You guys are really weird about dating here aren’t you?‘. I completely understand what she was talking about. Australians approach dating in a very different way than Americans.
I’m sure that I’m making mass generalisations here but from my own experiences of living in Australia, visiting the US and being fed a fairly substantial diet of American television, books and magazines as a teenager I’ve come up with a little dating profile for each country and I’d be interested to see if anyone agrees. Just to be clear I think both ways of dating are perfectly acceptable. I just find it fascinating how two such similar developed countries have such different dating protocol.
* Don’t date aggressively and are far more likely to casually find a partner at work or through friends. Or drunkenly falling on someone else’s face at a pub.
* Don’t multi-date. If they are regularly sleeping with/dining with/watching movies with one person it would be considered pretty poor form to be doing that with another person.
* Work on assumptions. If two people have been seeing each other 3 to 4 times a week for more than about two months everyone is going to assume they’re in a relationship, themselves included.
* Might not ever have the exclusivity talk. Mr Smaggle and I never did. We just kept sleeping with each other for like seven years in a row and somewhere along the way ended up living in the same house. In Australian culture it’s a bit Captain Obvious to ask someone to stop sleeping with other people.
* Are far more business minded about dating and approach it more scientifically and with more purpose.
* Like to label things. They want to be able to call someone their boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance/wife/husband.
* Will not put all their eggs in one basket. They like to multi-task.
* Place a lot of importance on milestones – when to talk about being exclusive, when you say ‘I love you’ for the first time.
I don’t think either way is more superior than the other but I have a sneaking suspicion that the US way of dating is slowly polluting the dating pool in Australia. I don’t mean this in a negative way it’s just that these systems are completely incompatible. You just can’t mix and match here. I’m hearing weird stories from Australian women about guys they have been dating sleeping with other girls because they ‘didn’t think they were exclusive’. Is this a thing now? Because when I was dating (In Australia) back in 2006 that was considered a bit of a dick move. This system works in the US because everyone is aware of it. Even in high schools you guys (I’m talking to my Northern Hemisphere cuties here) have that ‘going steady’ thing right? Or have I just been watching far too much Sex and the City?
What do you think?