I was third-tiered by a man I was dating and let me tell you: it was crushing. What do I mean when I say I was “third-tiered”?
First, let me explain what the tier system is in dating. People organise their love interests on tiers. We all do this even if we don’t do it consciously.
The first tier is saved for those people who we really like. We want to see them exclusively — even marry them.
Then there’s the second tier. This is the status we give to someone we have serious feelings for but aren’t into committing to forever.
Last comes the third tier — the status I was given by a man I was dating. Third-tier status goes to those whom we’ll see for fun, but not much else. These aren’t people we want to date exclusively. We have a “take it or leave it” attitude. Some people call third-tier lovers “friends with benefits”.
Sure, it’s great to have someone you can call at the last minute to come over to Netflix and chill every so once in a while. But if you find yourself placed in third-tier status and you don’t know this and you’ve been put there by someone you actually like, this can hurt. It can even be crushing.
I should know: that’s how it felt for me when I was third-tiered.
Is there anything wrong with the dating “tier system”?
There’s nothing wrong with this tier system on its face as long as everyone is on the same page. If you have decided that someone is just a “friend with benefits,” this is fine as long as they know this and are okay with it.
As long as they’re not hoping you’re going to change your mind and suddenly make them first-tier, then it’s no problem to see someone casually. The problem is, people often aren’t upfront about third-tiering the people they date. That’s when it hurts.
If you don’t know you’re third-tier in someone’s life, it can be crushing to discover this. That’s how it felt when I found out.
He didn’t third-tier me at first.
The man who third-tiered me was named Shane. We met when I was just coming out of my divorce. I was vulnerable and learning the dating ropes again. I was in the perfect position to be third-tiered.
Shane and I matched on Tinder. He seemed to be very into me at first. He was the one who requested we move our conversation from chat on the app to an actual phone call.
Wow, he was moving quickly. We’d just matched that morning. Already he wanted to talk on the phone? I could go for weeks just texting with men on Tinder, never ever having a real-life conversation.