Some people get a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to the idea of dating multiple people at once, like there’s something unfair or dishonest about it. However, these days, that’s just not the truth. There’s nothing wrong with the practice, as long as it’s something you want to do, and actually there are a lot of added benefits to it you might not have considered before. How you date is all about taking care of yourself and staying in a happy and healthy mindset.
1. You don’t owe anyone anything
This is the first thing to remember when you set out on dating, whether it be one person or several. Technically until any conversation is had about exclusivity, you are a free agent. Whether or not you want to be exclusive to each other is a conversation you have to have. There is no understood rule that after the 4th date or whatever that now you’re going to only date each other. It’s a thing people have to communicate once they feel strongly enough to know they don’t want to date other people and they don’t want bae dating other people either. If the feeling is mutual, tada, you are now exclusive. But until then it’s all fair game. Until the words have been said, you don’t owe anyone anything, you haven’t promised anyone anything, so there’s no reason to feel guilty about dating several people at the same time.
(1a. When it actually is wrong)
I will add that sometimes there is just a feeling. You’re still not doing anything wrong because you haven’t agreed to anything, but you know in your heart that one of the people you’re dating is looking to be exclusive, and maybe you want to be exclusive with them too. In this case, you might stop dating other people to make sure nothing gets messed up with that one person you really want to be with. Or maybe you can tell that one of the people you’re dating thinks that you already are exclusive. You don’t have to stop seeing other people. You still don’t owe him that, but you might break the news that yeah, you’re still seeing other people, just to save him some pain. These are scenarios where without having the conversation, you have to make a decision based on your gut.
2. Other people are doing it
If you’re not dating multiple people at once based on some principle that it’s wrong, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage in the dating game. Plenty of other people are doing it and have accepted it as fine, leaving you on a totally different playing field. We live in a world of social contracts and constructed morals we’ve all just agreed on. Therefore, if most people have decided there’s nothing wrong with dating multiple people (given no terms of exclusivity have been agreed upon), then there’s kind of nothing wrong with dating multiple people. At the very least, you have no grounds to get mad at someone else for doing it. They’re just going to tell you, hey we never agreed to be exclusive, and they’re gonna be right. So do yourself a favor and just try dating multiple people without feeling bad about it.
3. It takes time to know you like someone
When you’re meeting people and you start to get to know one as a potential close friend, do you stop speaking to any of the other people you met? Do you say, sorry I’ve already started texting this one person, hoping they’ll be my friend, so I can’t talk to you anymore because that would be wrong? No, because if you did you might find out in a week or so that the person you thought might be your friend is actually a crazy person. It takes time to get to know people, and to figure out whether or not you want them in your life. There’s no reason to eliminate all the other options while you take the necessary time to figure that out. Once you know, then you can begin to dwindle your options down to the right person or people.
I’m, of course, not saying that being in a relationship is totally the same as being friends. You owe your S/O more than you might owe a close friend, but the process of getting to know people is the same all around, whether you’re meeting potential friends or potential boyfriends, so there’s nothing wrong with testing out different options to get to know who is really right for you. Otherwise you might have decided wrong based on an early uneducated guess, and missed out on someone great.
4. It’s good to not get too attached right away
There’s a kind of sad scenario where if you allow yourself to become too attached to a guy early on, you’re setting yourself up to possibly be really unhappy later. It’s like this: you start dating a guy and you really hit it off. He’s funny, he likes you, you do well together, the whole shebang. So you’re like awesome, this is great, we’re great together, I don’t need to see anyone else. Wrong. Because no matter how great you seem together, the guy may not be on the same page as you. And if he isn’t interested in taking you home to meet mom and dad, or even just in base level exclusivity, your life is gonna get hard.
This is when dating multiple people at once really comes in handy. Putting your eggs in one boy basket, especially early on, often leads to nothing but disappointment and holding a lot of eggs all by yourself. Dating multiple people at once ensures that even if you grow to like one the most and wish you could just date him, you still have other guys to focus your attention on and maybe grow to like even more. At the very least, they can keep you distracted, while that jerk doesn’t give you the time of day. Since this situation unfortunately occurs a lot, it’s healthier to your own mental state to have multiple options on the table.
5. The takeaway
It’s not like dating multiple people at once is the only right way to go about dating. It’s all a personal choice based on what’s best for you. But if you’re staying away from seeing several guys at once because you think it’s “wrong,” you’re unnecessarily holding yourself back from something that could make your dating life a whole lot better. Stop shaming the practice for no good reason, and give it a try. Making things more casual will give you more options and keep you from going totally crazy over the first guy you’re into. There are plenty of others out there, and one of them might (god forbid) actually like you back.