“How can I tell if they are dating others or, worse yet, married?”—Q & A

Q—I don’t think I’ve seen this referenced anywhere on your site, books, or by others using your techniques. How can one determine in a short amount of time whether the man (or woman) that you’re interested in is already taken or married? I’ve learned this the hard way several times.  Sometimes an individual is married and not wearing a ring (for valid reasons such as their work environment), and I mistake their warmth and openness as flirting when in hindsight I see it was them being friendly and I just wanted it to be more. Other times I have been dating them and later found out they were seeing others. I figured that when I asked questions such as “What did you do over the weekend?” I would discover the truth or it would just come up as part of the conversation, but sometimes it doesn’t. Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance for answering this.

AThere’s no absolute way to tell if someone is married unless they wear a ring or talk about their spouse. You just have to pray for the truth and hope that you will recognize the indicators that they’re married. If they’re flirting with you or in other ways attempting to come on to you in spite of being married, I believe you’ll feel that something isn’t right. Don’t blame yourself in these situations. What these kinds of incidents reveal is the truth about the other person and their personality defects. As a single person, if your intentions and motivations are pure and you’re honestly trying to avoid wrongdoing, you have no responsibility for others’ actions.

Relative to knowing if your date is seeing someone else, just assume that until they ask you to be exclusive they’re probably dating others. After six weeks of dating and/or kissing, it’s appropriate to say, “I’d love to consider the possibility of dating just you. Let me know if or when you are ready to discuss the idea. Until then, I’ll assume that I should probably keep seeing others. I’d love to talk to you about this when you’re ready.”

This way you can avoid the awkward “define the relationship” conversation. This technique also requires that both of you share in the responsibility and vulnerability of the conversation when it does come up. If they care about you and want to be exclusive, they will bring it up then and there or sometime soon thereafter. If they aren’t ready for that step, they’ll avoid bringing it up. This technique also helps you to establish the fact that you’re seeing others.

I hope this helps,



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