September 22, 2009

A question

Posted in *cringe*, Advice I have no business giving, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 9:30 am by Dagny Taggart

Here’s one for the masses…

At what point is it appropriate to make known the fact that one is in a monogamous relationship?

I am fairly certain that it is NOT after one has engaged in some degree of relations with someone who is NOT party to said monogamous relationship* – unless, of course, this leaves “never” as the only remaining choice**.  I speak from experience on both counts, and to these people not at all.

But what if relations aren’t so much a part of the equation?  What if you’re just flirtatious, with no intent for it to go farther?  How long before you mention the presence of a spouse, or other long-term romantic partner, to coworkers, teammates, pen pals, or random strangers striking up conversation in a bar?

And if someone hasn’t mentioned a significant other, especially a spouse – how long can you have known them before it becomes weird that they haven’t, when you become aware that such a person exists?

*Ah, yes – the truly charming fellow I worked with that one summer, who conspired with our co-workers to keep the existence of his cohabitating girlfriend a secret until after we’d gotten to know each other a little too well, under the circumstances.
**Even classier was the ex-boyfriend who’d attempted to rekindle our romance a year or so into his relationship with his now-wife – something I found out about when I’d checked their wedding website for registry info.  Fantastic.


  1. Foggy Dew said,

    Your question is kind of like the “Days without an accident” sign at the Springfield Nuclear Plant. “After one has engaged in some degree of relations with someone who is NOT party to said monogamous relationship” means it’s not a monogamous relationship anymore.

  2. Jen said,

    I feel like you can always slip in a tactful reference about your S.O. when you see someone on a regular basis. “Did you have a nice weekend?” “I had a great weekend! My boyfriend and I went to see that thing at the place with the guy.” Problem solved.

    The one I’m not good about is the random conversation with the guy in the bar. I hate it when a guy jumps in and starts interviewing for a position that I’m not even applying for (what do you do? where are you from? what schools did you go to? do you like sports? etc. etc. etc.) He’d save both of us a lot of time and trouble if he thought to say something along the lines of “are you seeing anyone?” _before_ giving me the third degree, offering to load me up with drinks or trying to score my phone number.

    Damn stupid wedding rings. No one buys me drinks anymore. 😉

  3. Foggy Dew: You are correct, of course, in that the relationship is obviously no longer monogamous if someone is cheating – I suppose I should have said, “relationship in which at least one partner has reason to expect monogaminity”.

    But that doesn’t answer the question about when one might normally expect to be informed about the existence of a significant other who likely does expect fidelity on the part of their partner.

    Jen: I definitely don’t have a problem dropping hints in a regular interaction… but I too have had difficulty figuring out when I should mention a significant other in those random, complete-stranger conversations.

    And I will buy you a drink, married or no.

  4. Bring it up when it arises organically in the conversation. Any sooner and it might be presumptuous, any later and you risk letting the gentleman look like a fool… not that we need much help given the aforementioned examples.

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