How to Date With Integrity

In this modern world, dating with integrity can be difficult. There are shady people out there who will lie, cheat, and deceive to maximize their own gain. On the other hand, there are caring, selective individuals who are seeking their best match and hoping to let others down gently. This article addresses the second scenario, since the solution to the first is obvious: Don't be shady or use people!


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    Be open about your goals. Have a goal in mind when dating, and make that goal clear as early as possible. Whether you are looking to date around after a breakup or a serious mate with whom to raise children, state your goal on your online profile or discuss it in person by the third date if you are not sure the other person is on the same page.
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    Be timely with communicating disinterest.If someone is not holding your interest, don't feel obligated to accept a second or third date. Politely decline with a, "It's been wonderful meeting you and getting to know you better. I'm not sure this is the best fit though, and want you to be able to maximize your time finding someone who is right for you." If it has been a week after a date and no one has made contact, it is okay to let the communication simply die down.
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    Do not assume exclusivity until it's made explicit. This is the "Define the Relationship" talk, usually occurring 3-10 dates in, when one or the other person would like to make the relationship exclusive and stop "seeing other people." This alerts the other party of the potential need to become exclusive as well. Prior to this discussion and mutual agreement of exclusivity, both parties are free to date others without restriction or the need to even mention it. Afterwards, dates with others should be pruned off.
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    If you don't want to be exclusive, just say so. Don't promise that you will stop seeing others unless you are really going to. It is fine to say, "I like you, Jamie, and would like to continue seeing where this goes. I'm not ready to make this exclusive though." And it is then Jamie's right to continue the non-exclusive dating as before, or to seek someone who will be more ready for exclusivity.
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    Be exclusive with your physical affection and emotional intimacy. It is important to respect the boundaries of your newfound relationship, which generally means limited physical affection towards others who you may potentially be attracted to (brief hugs are usually the limit). Also, work on your relationship so you can talk through problems and develop a close emotional connection. If you are spending more hours per week talking to any individual other than your partner who is not either family or an old, close friend, beware of becoming attracted to this other person and potentially betraying the emotional, romantic connection between you and your partner. It is fine to have casual friends of both genders, but if romantic feelings may potentially develop between you and a friend, try to limit contact with them to once a week or every few weeks.


  • Being clear and open about what you want is best. If you only want a fling, own it. The other person may be pleasantly surprised and even relieved to hear it. If you are seeking a serious relationship, there are plenty of men and women seeking that too.
  • Prior to mutually agreeing to be exclusive, there's no need to disclose that you are seeing other people (unless asked). After you Define the Relationship and decide to make it exclusive, it is assumed that both parties will not make new dates with others, and the dates already made will be friendly at best.
  • Be detached from the outcome in the beginning stages of dating--enjoy the process and see how things develop. Being too forthright in your feelings may scare the other person away... you are just getting to know each other, and the feelings are just the happy hormones.
  • The range of comfort with sexual activity is vast. Respect yourself and those you date by not extending beyond what either of you is comfortable with. It is always acceptable for either party to slow the pace down, and the best way is non-verbally, by placing wandering hands in more acceptable places, or taking a break from kissing to hold hands and look in each other's eyes. Women, it is almost always more attractive to men to take a slower pace, because they are wired to desire chastity/freshness. Men, it is not unmanly to gently decline going as fast as an eager woman may want--simply pull her in a tight hug and say something either teasing or romantic, such as, "Whoa there pardner, I'm gonna need a lasso for this one" or "You are so beautiful, like a flower... let me open your petals slowly... I don't want to damage them..."


  • If you are unsure of whether you and your date are on the same page, it is fine to ask. Try to do it in a lighthearted way so he/she does not feel threatened, "Hey, so remind me again, why are we doing this? You're looking for your soul mate, right?"
  • If you are sexually active with any of your dates, be sure to use protection. Prior to becoming exclusive, do not assume that your partner isn't sleeping with anyone else.
  • Don't keep too many people in rotation when dating. You can probably only actively date a handful of people at a time (meaning meeting at least 1x/wk and contact 2-3x/wk); keep the others as friends if you wish (meaning contact/meeting less than 1-2x/mo).

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Categories: Ideas for Dates | Love and Romance