Have you “marked” your man?

by Dating Goddess on October 17, 2009

imagesI’d posted a brief, “I’m glad you’re in my life” message to my then-beau’s social networking page after we were exclusive for four months.

He said, “I feel like a fire hydrant.”

“What do you mean?” I asked curiously.

“I feel marked.”

Wow! I hadn’t thought I had posted anything personal. No reference to our dating. No pictures of us snuggling. Nothing I wouldn’t have posted to a dear friend’s site.

Yet he felt I was claiming him as mine to the world. Which, since we’d been dating for 4 months exclusively, I thought he was. But that wasn’t really the purpose of my message. It was just to write something warm to him. Okay, and I thought it was a subtle way to tell all the women sending him love messages and scantily clad pictures that I was actually in his life, and they just wanted to be.

I didn’t imagine my gesture would be interpreted negatively. After all, within weeks of our dating, he had a server take out picture cuddling in a restaurant, then kissing. He then posted these pics to his Flickr page for all his family and friends to see. He didn’t ask my permission to do so, and if he had, I would have been flattered and said “yes.”

Another friend shared he’d felt marked by his then-girlfriend of 6 months. She posted pictures of them cuddling during a weekend getaway. He considered these intimate pictures that he didn’t really want shared with her 700 and his “friends” 500. He said he was a private person and he’d have shared them with his inner circle via email. He resented her posting them without his permission. He felt it was her way of marking him and letting the world know he was hers.

This has given me new perspective on what the people we’re dating are comfortable sharing with the world and what they aren’t. I once posted a blog piece announcing a dinner date’s amazing accomplishment, including his name. (This is the only time I’ve listed any date’s name.) I thought he would like getting a little more publicity. I was wrong! He was livid that I’d posted it as he didn’t want people to know about his personal life, including who he’d taken out to dinner.

Have you been publicly marked? If so, how did you feel? Did he let you know ahead of time, or were you surprised? If you’d marked someone you’re dating, how did he react?
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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike October 17, 2009 at 6:29 am

I don’t think I’ve been marked by anyone I dated. Although I have a female friend that I use to date that seems to mark me. All my friends on Facebook as if we are dating.

Karen October 17, 2009 at 7:08 am

I’m not on facebook (I’m 48, and no one my age is where I live!). But I’ve been “marked” and I didn’t like it.

I dated a man a few years ago, for about a year in total. He commuted between 2 states for his job, so we only saw each other every 2 wks or so. So the relationship was slow to grow and, I felt, didn’t ever achieve a high degree of intimacy. In fact, even after a year he’d never met any of my family except my kids, I’d never visited him in his “other” state’s home, and we’d never taken a vacation together except when he had to go somewhere for work (he was kind of a workaholic). It didn’t seem to be going anywhere & I was frustrated (why have a BF you never see?), so I broke it off.

However, when we had only been dating a few months I found out that he had put a HUGE photo of me prominently displayed on his desk at work! He also had photos of us together on his computer at work as the screensaver (and he his computer screen was wall-mounted in his office & as big as a large-screen TV) . If his office was just a private cubicle it maybe would have been kind of sweet, but this guy had a prominent public job and was often in the media–his office was where he met the public and he’d be filmed for TV etc.

In addition, I found out that he was prominently referring to me to his colleagues as his “partner”—as if we were a long-term committed “like-married” couple! Weird.

I really disliked this marking–it seemed fake and for show. I felt like he wanted people to think he was in a long-term committed couple relationship with me when he wasn’t (yet, or ever as it turned out). I also felt like he put up my picture as a way to show off to the public–like he was such a stud to be dating a younger, attractive woman or something. Even we’d been together for years and were living together or married etc, it would have been weird for him to be showing it off so much at his work.

I didn’t want him to be dating me primarily for the public props he hoped he’d get—I wanted our relationship to be centered around our private life instead, with the public version not as important.

Karen October 17, 2009 at 7:17 am

I guess I’d prefer zero public “marking” of a relationship, until at least a year or more.

Marking doesn’t help the relationship to keep growing and developing–it just adds a barrier to dissolving the relationship. But early on, if the relationship needs to fall apart because of compatibility or whatever, I would prefer it to do so! Nobody’s well served when people who are unsuited to each other are forced by external expectations (ie public embarrassment) to keep trying to make it work.

I feel that anyone I would date should be able to resist temptation–I don’t feel I would need to warn off other women. And if I did feel this way, then that would mean that the man is not worth my time.

It was bad enough having everyone in my world know all about my ex’s infidelities and our messy divorce. Why would I invite everyone in my entire world and workplace to vicariously watch me date?

maria rose October 17, 2009 at 8:15 pm

here we go again with a double standard. i feel if a male person stays in a prolonged status with a female it should be considered a relationship if not then say so. we females (at least most of us) don’t want to be the ornament you show off to others when you (men)need to show that you are “man-enough” to have a woman in your life. We want to be included in your whole life and we want to let others know we are a very important part of your life. We don’t want to own you but want to walk beside you in the walk of life hand in hand.

Mark October 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I’m not sure it’s a double standard. Some people are just reluctant to make their personal life public. It’s no one’s business if I’m in an exclusive relationship with someone. Why should I tell friends? It’s enough that they might see me with the same woman on more than one occasion; they can draw their own conclusions.

Facebook lets you mark your status. I’d say that if a person you are dating still has his or her status as “single” that’s a good reason to not “mark” that person.

True story: My son was in a multi-year relationship with a young woman, but when they broke up the news got out long before he had a chance to even say anything. She updated her FB page, my daughter was a FB friend of hers, so she saw the news there, immediately called my ex and told her, and before he knew, my son was getting a call from his mother asking him about it.

Mitsy October 19, 2009 at 11:44 am

Is this “marking” term something with Facebook? If so, I’m not familiar with that. I don’t have a Facebook page and will not be getting one. I’m a much more private person than that. In fact, I’ve read too many horror stories about it that made me cringe. People have gotten sued, divorced, or otherwise all bent out of shape over a photo or something said on a Facebook page. It’s “drama” I just don’t need to sign up for.

But, I will take it that the guy in question was into Facebook and was OK with the concept otherwise. After months of dating, I’d think they were exclusive as well. This bit of info is telling of his true feelings though. I think it would almost be the beginning of the end from the tone of this. I think this is another instance where the guy might be leading the woman on. Perhaps I don’t understand all the underpinnings of Facebook, but if he wants to call all the shots, perhaps it’s good to know this now rather than later. Perhaps he is more about control than anything else. If he got in a snit over something like this, imagine his anger at something that might be a bigger issue down the road.

Mark October 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm

In Facebook and Myspace you can set your relationship status. So if you go from “in a relationship” to “single” people go “OMG!”

The “marking” DG referred to is putting a note on someone’s FB or Myspace page that anyone with access to those pages can see that indicates you are in a relationship with the owner of the page. So a “Thanks for the great date last night!” comment left on someone’s page will be seen by everyone who can visit that page.

I do think comments like that are better left private. I wouldn’t get up in front of a roomful of people and wait until I had their attention to say that I was in a relationship with a woman. Posting a similar comment like that on a FB or Myspace page is doing something like that. What DG posted seemed innocent enough, but I’d err on the side of caution when it comes to publicly parading what is essentially a private sentiment.

Samantha October 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Even though the guy was asking for photos to be taken, I would err on the side of caution as well. I think he probably wanted to be the one to make public declarations. The photo thing was his idea. My guess is he would want to be in control of announcements. Anyway, not worth over-analyzing! I err on the side of allowing him to take the lead and not read too much in to anything for the first year even. LOL…

Samantha October 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm

And guys ARE territorial, thus the fire hydrant comment. He intrepeted DG’s comment through his male lens….ok the end.

Leann October 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm

After only the second date, a man “marked” me by telling his family we were “together”. I learned this at a social gathering, his cousin asked me where usually went out for dinner, I answered we hadn’t been out to dinner. At the same party his aunt asked me if I was going to change my career relocation plans stay in the city that we all lived, of course I answered no. His misrepresentation cost him egg on the face and gave me a good education. This was the first man I met after my divorce.

Mike Lowrey October 21, 2009 at 9:15 am

Lol,

If he never posts anything private on his page then cool, he’s just really private but if he posts about everything else private but just not you then something is wrong.

1st is:
You knew in the back of your mind how guys and gals are on social sites, so you did what you did. So let’s be real it was the main reason for your post on his page….right?

The 2nd issue:
If he made a big thing about this then there’s a problem.
If it was just an afterthought kinda chuckle then cool don’t sweat it.
Being marked is not a problem for any man that is exclusive.

Mike Lowrey October 21, 2009 at 9:18 am

Although I am assuming one thing that may not be true in my opinions.

That is that in both of your minds that exclusive dating relates to being serious about the person.
Some folks only date exclusive even when it isn’t serious yet.

Mike Lowrey October 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

If that guy started dating say Shakira, Angelina Jolie or Beyonce, that dude would create a website for her, wear T-Shirts with them together, get tattoos with her name on it and take out ads in the local papers saying it. He wouldn’t even drink out of a cup unless it had their picture on it. That person would make you sick by reminding folks of his business.

Now if they were dating/causal still then it would be another story, and she would be wrong. But she is totally in the clear for posting the “Skanks back off, he’s mine” message.

Sorry fellas I tend to tell it like it is.
Fellas be easy and don’t worry. Women still won’t want to really understand what I’ve just said so there’s no Man Law violation here!

And after 4 months of dating and his friends don’t know you…
either your not his woman or you’re dating the Unibomber!!!

Mark October 22, 2009 at 8:37 am

I see both sides of this. While I wouldn’t post something like DG did, I think the guy complaining about feeling like a fire hydrant was overreacting. And yeah, I think it indicated that he wasn’t as excited about being exclusive as DG was. It sounds like he didn’t want the other women to go away.

One of the things I think men may do a bit more often than women is wait until they’ve found someone new before they end an exclusive relationship. I think women tend to think about relationships more and will end them when they are no longer happy, but men often like to have someone new lined up. Unless a relationship absolutely blows up, most men are not going to abandon a sex partner until they think they have a new woman corralled. Maybe DG’s guy was in that mode, restless and looking.

Mitsy October 22, 2009 at 11:44 am

I’ve actually heard it more the other way around–where the women have someone on the string before they end a relationship. I’ve never been in that group of women though. There has never been anyone waiting in the wings for me. Perhaps that best. But, I think this whole Facebook thing has gotten out of hand; just like the Myspace and all the other web sites where people put themselves out there and can be manipulated or used to someone’s advantage. It’s a risk I’m not willing to mess with. I’ll stick to regular email and phone calls. :0

Mark October 22, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I do think women end the relationship more often than the men do. This is because women tend to think about relationships more. Maybe they do wait until they have someone new lined up? I’ve had two serious relationships since my marriage ended, and in both, the woman ended things, and neither woman had anyone waiting in the wings.

The social sites are interesting. Recently, I had dinner with a woman and she made it clear to me that she was only interested in friendship, and not just with me, but with any possible man. She’s trying to have a baby on her own. So I got her to add me as a FB friend a few days later, and I see a message from her on her wall about looking forward to going camping with a “special somebody.” I have no idea what that means, but it did make me wonder if she was honest with me.

I wasn’t offended, just a bit bemused. She and I still plan to hang out together now and then. I’m not in the baby business anymore, so I wish her luck with that, and in the meantime, she’s fun to talk to. :)

Mitsy October 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Mark, sounds like she’s interviewing for a baby Daddy. :0 Red flag there. LOL

Samantha October 22, 2009 at 10:37 pm

>>>Unless a relationship absolutely blows up, most men are not going to abandon a sex partner until they think they have a new woman corralled. Maybe DG’s guy was in that mode, restless and looking.<<<

I think women need to keep this stuff in mind a lot more than they do. I know a guy can switch from being really in to a woman and thinking she could be the one, but then things can change for whatever reason, and his feelings might head towards downgrading the relationship and even shopping around and she may not even realize it!

Mitsy October 23, 2009 at 9:25 am

“I think women need to keep this stuff in mind a lot more than they do. I know a guy can switch from being really in to a woman and thinking she could be the one, but then things can change for whatever reason, and his feelings might head towards downgrading the relationship and even shopping around and she may not even realize it!”

Yep, oftentimes without warning or apparent reason. Precisely the reason why I swore off online dating a long time ago. It was prevalent when I met men from online.

Karen October 23, 2009 at 9:39 am

On the other hand,what’s wrong with downgrading or dumping a relationship that no longer works?

I myself can “switch from being really into a man and thinking he could be the one, but then things can change for whatever reason” and I downgrade the relationship (ie dump him. Gently, but yeah, I dump him).

It takes a while to know someone. You may need to date a man for a few months before you find out he’s an alcoholic or likes to put down people when you’re not around. People are always on their best behavior for the first 4 months at least! But often you see a clearer picture later. Nothin’ wrong with saying “bye” if he no longer floats your boat, I say.

Which is another reason for people backing off on the “marking”. Why try to act like essentially you’re all married when it’s only been a few weeks/months? What’s wrong with having a great relationship and letting it grow (or not) naturally? Why force something that may not be meant to exist?

Mark October 23, 2009 at 10:57 am

“Mark, sounds like she’s interviewing for a baby Daddy. :0 Red flag there. LOL”

Oh she’d love to have a man to help her raise this child (if she manages to have one), but she’s prepared to do it on her own, too. And she knew I wasn’t interested in anything serious with her because of this baby. I raised my kids; I’m not interested in raising new ones. My last serious relationship taught me that — that ex girl-friend had a five year old. Nice kid, but I realized how stifling it is to have a small child around. I’m at a time in my life where I want to be able to be spontaneous and go out see a movie or have dinner without planning for it days in advance.

It’s a bit tough on you women with small children. It’s not that it keeps us men from being interested, but it makes us commitment-phobic.

You know what’s hard about dating in our middle-ages? We know so much more, and we spot those red flags so much easier. I really think we end up passing on some relationships that could be good because we are so wary.

On the other hand, the dating pool for our age group is full of misfits and rejects and people who don’t know how to sustain a successful relationship. So we need to be able to flag those people as well.

Mitsy October 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I have no children, am past wanting any and am not looking for a guy to support me but few decent men come my way. I don’t consider myself a misfit or reject either. I just don’t have much faith in online dating & no tolerance for players.

I think the one poster is right about giving it a few months to see how someone acts. I think if people were genuine but thought about the other person, maybe more relationships would last longer. There’s no easy formula for sure.

Mike Lowrey October 26, 2009 at 8:32 am

Samantha & Mitsy:

Men aren’t scientific scholars, there’s almost always a warning, some sore of sign that a guy is loosing interest. Most women don’t know what those signs are or just ignore the signs.

Most dudes aren’t even good at hiding when they are out playing the field. it’s not the DaVinci Code. Its pretty obvious in a way.
;-)

Mike Lowrey October 26, 2009 at 8:33 am

some sore of sign = some sort of sign.
(Mavis Beacon doesn’t live here)

Samantha October 26, 2009 at 8:56 pm

What’s wrong with downgrading a relationship?

I’ll try again. My point was that a relationship can be downgraded without the other party realizing it… the other person has decided that they dont see it going long term, etc.. but stay in it while shopping around. It happened to me.

Mark October 27, 2009 at 12:11 am

There’s nothing wrong with downgrading a relationship. I suppose in a perfect world, the downgrade will be discussed so both parties know. I guess that turns it from a romance into a friends with some benefits kind of thing, but if both parties are ok with that, why not?

jewels October 31, 2009 at 12:58 pm

This is how I “mark” my men….I give them a hickey on their butt. If they freak out…most likely they are dating others. If they think it is funny and cute – then they are exclusive…..

Tanay November 10, 2009 at 10:31 am

Marking a man comes exclusively from your heart, if you see your partner relaxed,cool,as if in a dream when with you then be assured that He is your’s.Moreover face can hide one’s feelings but not the eyes.

Darla November 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I’m dating a guy who likes to kiss in public… not tongue-twisting sensuality but just to stop in the grocery aisle and kiss me… he asked me before he started doing this if I would mind or if I found it fun… he even told me ~~ in a joking way ~~ that he was “marking” me. I found it sweet and endearing, I’ve had more sweethearts who are tigers at home but act like my brother or co-worker in public. I really like this man and also like that he talked with me about the behavior before he just grabbed my face and laid one on me, though.
I’m also ready for this relationship to move forward, to let the world know I’m dating him exclusively~~ another thing Sweetheart talked with me about ~~ so that adds to my feeling of rightness about his kisses and hugs!

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