If there is one thing that the 21st century and the internet has brought about, it’s options. Before we had the world at our fingertips and we were separated by thousands of miles, we truly had no idea what was out there, and whether we were getting a good deal. Now, no insurance company, bank, or retailer can lie and tell you that they’re giving you the best price, because you can shop around and do price comparison to ensure that you get the very best deal, and it seems that this has stretched its way to dating.

It’s no secret that I am no fan of online dating. Yes there are honest people who date online and there are success stories, but online dating is the home of many people that have an allergic reaction to being truthful. Plus the very act of online dating seems to send a message to people that the grass is always greener on the other side, and to spread yourself out there as much as possible. So what if you have met a guy and discovered that he’s still ‘shopping around’ online?

According to Evan Marc Katz at Advice from a Single Dating Expert, ‘Online dating is truly a levelling of the playing field – not a tilting in the man’s favour. And the more desirable the person – whether it’s because of looks or money or education – the more likely that you’re gonna have a hard time getting that person to settle down on you. They most likely know that they have great power and are intent on exploring it.’

He suggests that women should combat the uncomfortable situation of knowing that their guy is sniffing around online by “…not sweating it. You can’t control what anybody else does, you can only control your actions and reactions to things.” He also suggests that women should “go in with the confidence that they’re going to love you and they’re more likely to love you. The more you worry about how often he’s logging on, and who else he’s dating, and why he hasn’t taken his profile down, the more likely you are to come across as needy.”

Now whilst I can appreciate to an extent why he has drawn this conclusion – after all, if you had your opportunity to have your cake and eat it, you would – it really does fail to address the core issue with being with a man who still has an active online dating profile and is continuing to fill his boots and shop around.

He is keeping his options open and if he’s doing that he cannot be emotionally available, and he can’t be making the appropriate effort to give your relationship a chance. You’re not needy for not wanting to be one in a long line of women – You’re a woman with good self-esteem that doesn’t want to be messed around. It is tedious and boring when men use ‘needy’ to absolve themselves of having to do the decent thing. All of a sudden, she’s needy and he has legitimised his dubious behaviour. Are you really being needy by saying that you’re not comfortable with the online equivalent of cruising?

And of course there is an even bigger question – What is the frigging difference between shopping around online and shopping around in a bar? You can be damn sure if he was sniffing around a bar, trying to pick up other women, you should most definitely be sweating it.

Guys who shop around online whilst still dating or hunting are trying you out before they buy. It gives their ego’s the reassurance that they’ve still got ‘it’, that they’re still ‘out there’, and they’re not ‘tied down’. Surely if a guy has met a woman in the real world and has the opportunity to forge a relationship with her, why is he still actively pursuing women in the virtual world?

Whilst you’re not ‘sweating it’, he’s rationalising that his virtual activity is separate to his real world activity, so he doesn’t even have to take any responsibility for how his actions may affect you.

When it comes to men, you shouldn’t like sharing (unless that’s your thang) and if you’re in search of a relationship that has a view to developing into a committed long-term relationship, you shouldn’t be prepared to turn a blind eye to his wandering keyboard fingers. Just because you have options, doesn’t mean that you have to exercise them. The online dating playing field appears to present people with options but what it’s actually doing is keeping people further away from committed relationships whilst they keep their eye out for something bigger and better because there seems to be infinite choice. But there’s no point in having a multitude of choice if you never actually make a choice instead of keeping one eye over your shoulder in search of a newer, shinier model that might tick all of your boxes.

If you’re going to be with a guy that shops around online:

– Don’t commit to him because he clearly has not committed to you.
– Find out what his idea of shopping around is. For some guys it means having ‘communications’ (read: flirting) and for others it’s virtual sex, or even meeting up.
– Establish a cut off point. If he’s still doing it after you’ve gone from dating to being so-called exclusive, it’s time to leave him alone with his laptop.
– Cut him off and find a man who can focus his attention on you instead of behaving like a kid in a sweet shop.

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