“Monkey-Barring” Your Relationships?
Are you guilty of ape behaviour? (Picture: Getty)
From ghosts and zombies to golden retrievers, there’s a whole host of creatures to contend with in the menagerie that is the dating world.
And now, there’s a new animal to be wary of: the monkey.
Monkeys are famed for their ability to swing through trees with ease. And if you recall the many, many David Attenborough documentaries you’ve watched, you’ll be familiar with the way the primates grab onto the next branch, while still clinging onto the other.
It’s a technique you’ve tried to master on playground monkey bars – and failed every time.
In the dating arena, ‘monkey-barring’ is when you’ve got one foot in one relationship – and one foot in another. Just like how you have to hold on to one monkey bar to reach for the next one.
If you’re guilty of monkey-barring yourself, the harsh truth is that you’re probably scared of being single.
Hayley Quinn, dating expert at Match, says: ‘If you’re unsure whether a relationship is for you, there can be a huge temptation to explore another one, whilst keeping your existing relationship afloat before you jump ship.
‘Let’s face it, the prospect of ‘starting over’ and being single again can be scary. Many people will stick to a relationship that’s not quite right, because the thought of going back to square one is too daunting. It’s then easy to see why someone who’s unhappily coupled up may start casting their net wider.’
But while it might have some logic to it, monkey-barring can cause a lot of hurt.
‘Monkey-barring may seem pragmatic, but it presents a lot of scope to go wrong,’ explains Hayley. ‘A lot of people would also consider it cheating, even if you haven’t formally defined the status of the relationship.
‘Whilst starting to surreptitiously see other people may feel like great research, it means you’re not fully emotionally open to your existing relationship, or the idea of being committed to them.
‘In fact, patching over the cracks with a sideline flirtation may stop you from facing up to any tough calls you need to make about whether to split up.’
And if you think you’re being monkey-barred, it’s time for some tough conversations.
Hayley says: ‘If you think this is happening to you, don’t shy away from explicitly stating your expectations around the relationship and always remember your self worth.
‘As the well known dating adage goes, “Don’t make anyone a priority who treats you like an option.”
‘This is not the behaviour you should be accepting in your search for a real, committed relationship.’
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