A Nice Girl’s Guide to Dating Multiple People
As I said in Part 5 of My Story, I spent a year of my life dating multiple people. In that year, I dated 12 men, and I averaged dating 3 at any given time. Although the temptation to just settle down with one of these guys was strong, I knew that if I did, I wasn’t dating the best person that I could date. I found that I stopped accepting dangerous or abusive behavior from my dates, because I had the self-confidence to know that they weren’t the only person out there who wanted to spend time with me.
Dating multiple people at the same time is a healthy practice that seems to have fallen by the wayside. It seems that girls are encouraged to jump into relationships with the first person who comes along, because they are scared of being alone. This practice can lead to accepting behavior that is dangerous or abusive, because girls are not aware of what behaviors are normal in a healthy relationship.
In reality, dating multiple people will help you fully realize the type of partner you want in a long-term relationship. It will give you experience with multiple personality types, and it will also help you determine your identity outside of a relationship context. When you date one person, who they are will influence your personality. When you date multiple people, you remain the same person throughout each of those relationships, and your personal identity becomes stronger. When you have a strong personal identity, you are less likely to end up in a dangerous or abusive relationship. You will also hone the ability to identify behavior that is unacceptable, and you will have the self-esteem to end a bad relationship.
This is not a comprehensive how-to guide, but it will give you a good foundation for your new adventure. Dating multiple people is a lot of fun, and although it isn’t easy, it is something that every girl should do.
1. Honesty. This is the foundation of dating multiple people successfully. If you try to be dishonest with your dates, you will almost always be caught.
- You should always be honest with the people you are dating. Be sure to tell them that you are intending on dating more than one person. If they have a problem with this, then they are exhibiting possessive behavior, and you probably shouldn’t date them. You don’t need to tell them how many other people you are currently dating, or give any other details.
- Be honest with yourself about how you feel regarding your dates. If, through the course of spending time with someone, you decide that you would like to have a monogamous relationship with them, examine your reasons for feeling that way. Is it because you genuinely have feelings for them, or is it because you are tired of dating other people? Is your social life outside of dating well-rounded? If you are feeling lonely, you may be pushing yourself into a relationship instead to ease that feeling.
- If you are no longer interested in dating someone, tell them as soon as you can. Conversations like this are best held in person, instead of via text message or email. It shows that although you are no longer interested in them romantically, you value them as a person.
2. Consideration. Learn to be considerate of your dates’ time, and teach them to be considerate of your time as well.
- Keep your dates scheduled on a calendar. This will prevent you from being unprepared for a date, and will allow you to keep track of the dates you have scheduled. This will help you avoid being overbooked, or worse, double-booked for your time. Always schedule some down time for yourself.
- If someone asks you for time that is already scheduled with someone else, just let them know that you are busy at that time, and ask if there is another day and time that would work for them. You shouldn’t just turn down a date flat if you are still interested in the person. Take the time to ask them on a reciprocal date.
- Don’t cancel a pre-scheduled date unless it is for a personal reason, like being sick or needing to finish homework or a project for work. If you absolutely must cancel, you should notify your date as soon as possible and give an honest reason for your cancellation.
- Don’t accept last-minute dates. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a lot of last-minute date requests, then your dates are not being considerate of your time, and may start taking your company for granted. But don’t be scared of spontaneity either! Sometimes a last-minute date request is a genuine attempt at spontaneity, but it is often a last-ditch effort when your date’s other plans fell through.
3. Find a Balance. Having a support structure outside of dating is will help you with healthy relationships.
- Never, ever, ever make dating your only social occasions. Scheduling time to spend with friends is so important, and you’ll have fun stories to tell about your dating life.
- Go out by yourself. Go have lunch with a book you have been wanting to read. Go see that movie that none of your friends is interested in seeing. Spending time with yourself isn’t pathetic, it’s a lot of fun.
- Have some downtime. Staying in once a week will help you remain grounded, and will prevent you from engaging in relationships just to keep yourself busy.
Above all, I think that the most important advice I can give a girl who is just starting to date multiple people at the same time is to make sure that YOU are the person who decides if, when, and where you have sex. You should also make sure that if you have sex with someone, you use a barrier method of contraception, no matter what they say about their STI status. Being “caught up in the moment” isn’t more important than your health.
I’ll be discussing ways to set your own sexual boundaries, and what to do if someone violates them on Monday next week.