The Art of Dating Multiple People
Over 40 million Americans are using online dating as a way to meet people with varying degrees of success. Surprisingly, all that swiping has had a positive effect on the matchmaking industry. As online dating continues to shape our society into a swipe culture, it is creating a subculture of singles who want a more traditional way to meet people. While matchmaking provides that avenue for people who are sick of swiping, there is one thing both industries have in common: dating multiple people.
Whether you’re using online dating or a matchmaker or both, you’ve most likely been faced with the challenge of juggling a few matches at a time. Is that a good thing? While polyamory and non-monogamous relationships are growing in popularity, multiple sources report that the vast majority of Americans still say they believe in and practice monogamy. So the question persists: is dating more than one person really ok? The answer may surprise you.
Is dating more than one person really ok?
According to the experts, dating multiple people is not only okay, it may actually be beneficial. Katie Moritz of rewire.org provides guidelines for how to make it work for you in her article, “Why You Should ‘Challenge Your Guilt’ Around Dating Multiple People.”
The article provides basic guidelines for how to date around successfully.
For example, let’s say you go on a first date with someone and you really hit it off, but you have another date already scheduled with someone else. What should you do? You should keep that information to yourself. It is not appropriate to have that conversation until after you’ve been on three dates with someone. At that point, you should discuss exclusivity or disclose that you are dating others.
But what if you reeeeeaaaallllly like them after the first date??? Shouldn’t you give it a chance and stop seeing other people? Relationship advice author Kevin Darne would encourage you to question that urge. There might be underlying reasons why you want to put all your eggs in one basket. Are you looking for the right person or just security? Do you hate dating multiple people or is it the get-to-know-you process that you hate? Have you been hurt by ghosting because you thought you were exclusive in the past? He believes that “dating multiple people helps to lessen the pain of disappointment if someone does happen to vanish or reject you,” because after all, “in a world with over 7 billion people, rejection just means: Next!”
Some people feel guilty if they are dating multiple people, but the reality is that you need to assume everyone you are dating is dating someone else at the same time. And that’s okay. Remember, until you’ve gone on three dates with the same person, there’s no need to even discuss it. Go slow. Date around. Consider all your options. Once you’ve had the exclusivity talk, honor the agreement. If you continue accepting dates after that, then you can feel guilty.
What if you’ve had sex? Should you feel guilty about dating other people then?
It depends. If you decide to have sex with someone before you’ve discussed exclusivity, Mahalli says you have to assume they are still dating other people. That means they also need to assume you are still dating other people. “Sex isn’t a contract. And it doesn’t mean someone loves you or even has strong feelings for you,” she warns. Sex means different things to different people, so if you want that landmark in your relationship to mean something, you need to make sure you make that clear during an actual conversation.
The article offers practical tips, too, like how many dates per week you should go on and how to keep people’s names straight (it’s a real issue!). It’s definitely helpful to have those guidelines if you’re trying to navigate the world of dating, but keep in mind that everyone’s journey is different. Dating multiple people isn’t for everyone, but in today’s dating landscape it’s a reality. If you choose to date one person at a time, don’t assume the other person is doing the same. Wait until you’ve had three dates and then go from there. Happy Dating!