The Bar Test – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (week 38)

Have you ever wondered whether you made the right choice to be exclusive with someone?  If you’re questioning things, then you have a few choices:

  1. You could write a pro/con list (though, this might be up there with making a spreadsheet).
  2. You could see how you feel when you’re not spending time together.
  3. You could apply what I have affectionately named “the bar test.”

Here’s the test: When you’re at a bar (or restaurant, wherever) with your new belle or beau, are you looking around to see who else is out there or who might see you two together?  Or, are you perfectly content with your partner, and you want everyone there to notice you with him/her?  If the latter is true, then he/she passes the test.  But if it’s the former, it might be time to decide whether being in a relationship with this person is your best option.

I remember once getting dinner with some girlfriends – two of us were single at the time, and the third had started seeing someone exclusively about a month earlier.  My single friend and I wanted to be in a relationship, and my off-the-market friend craved what we had… the ability to date whomever she wanted.  In other words, the newly minted boyfriend definitely failed the bar test.  She was still looking and, not surprisingly, a month or two later they broke up.

People say that when you’re with the right person, you’ll just know.  There’s merit to that statement.  And when you’re not with the right person, you’ll know that, too.  Is it hard to introduce him as your boyfriend (or her as your girlfriend)?  Is the thought of everyone knowing you’re off the market scarier than a swarm of bees attacking you?  And when you go to a bar or a restaurant with your new man (or woman), are you constantly looking around to see who might catch your eye?  If the answer is yes to any of these questions, your significant other doesn’t pass the bar test.  That’s okay.  You deserve to be with someone who does, so keep on looking.  You’ll know it’s right when your new partner passes the bar test with flying colors… and even buys you a drink while you’re there.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.