A friend recently started dating a girl who told him straightaway that she doesn’t date exclusively in the beginning of a relationship. While this seemed somewhat odd to me, since they had only gone on one real date, I did have to admire the girl’s position. It seemed to signal one of two possible things: One is that she doesn’t really like my friend and is giving him an early signal that this courtship probably isn’t going to end with a big white cake and a choice of steak or chicken. The other possibility is that she really is a retro kind of girl who can date multiple men since she isn’t sleeping with any of them (this is both my hope and my belief).
The incident led me to think about exclusive dating. In my experience, when we date in a modest fashion (where we are modest in dress and moreover, comportment) it is relatively easy to date more than one person at once. This is completely foreign to our contemporary idea of dating, where we play at marriage by giving the other the “marital promise” before we actually marry. The older practice, by contrast, exercised restraint in order to make a more judicious choice and to prove that one had the self-control to remain faithful in marriage.
So what do we think? Which is the better model? Is it better to date modestly and exclusively? Or is it better to date modestly and keep your options open by dating around? And if the latter, is this one of the many fringe benefits of being a modestynik?