Thursday, June 19, 2008

Playing the Field

What is it about playing the field that seems so very prevalent these days?

I want to share with you a situation that arose this week.

While I am not a matchmaker by trade, I'm always keeping my eyes open for friends and love coaching clients. I recently met a guy in my gym who said he is single. He is boyishly cute and very out like an animal...and I thought, at least physically, the perfect match for a good friend of mine. I showed him a picture of her, and he was interested, and she, trusting my judgment, said go for it.

He called her, and they made a date. Coincidentally, the same day, I walked into my gym....a small, neighborhood hard core weighlifting gym that is male-dominated. To my surprise, there was a dog cage near the entrance, with a really cute, white Maltese puppy in it. I asked what the dog was doing there, and was told that it belonged to this guy who left to get it a bone. He bought it for his girlfriend, and he'd be returning shortly to retrieve it.

Needless to say, I was stunned.

He bought it for his girlfriend? And, it cost close to $2, this was not a mere token. What was it then? A guilt present? Or, he just has money to burn, so it wasn't a big deal for him.

When he returned to the gym, I beckoned him over, and nicely asked about the dog, mentioning the fact that I thought he was available. He said "he's not married," when I mentioned his girlfriend. I asked if she knew he was looking to date other women, and he said "no." I asked if she was dating other guys, and he said, "no." And, he had a complete look of surprise on his face, as if to suggest that I was overreacting to the situation.

I told him I didn't want to get in the middle....but of course, out of loyalty/concern for my girlfriend, I phoned her as soon as he left the gym with the dog.

She, surprisingly, wasn't shocked to hear what I had found out. She said that it's all too common these days for people to look for the "next best thing." In her opinion, they're hardly ever satisfied and want to keep their options open.

I mentioned the situation to a friend at the gym, and she referred to this guy as a skunk. Even my husband thought his behavior was horrendous and a bad reflection on mankind. He could have at least said that he's dating someone, but doesn't know if she's the one. In his mind, he didn't lie...he just didn't fess up.

So, where does that leave singles today? Certainly this type of situation doesn't occur all the time. But, it was very disappointing. And, makes me, on a personal level, appreciate my mensch husband all the more. I know he would never cheat, nor would I. And, when we were dating each other, we were exclusive, and I never questioned or doubted it.

It's not too much to expect loyalty in a relationship. And, unless you are both on the same "playing the field" page, you need to be clear where you stand, and let your expectations be known. I realize you can't question someone's every move, but just because you don't sport a wedding band, doesn't mean the relationship doesn't deserve respect. If you're that unsure of it, just move on, and do both of you a favor. There are other fish in the sea, and best to approach it with a clear slate.