It’s true on eHarmony that the more people you communicate with, the faster you will find the person who is right for you. But while most of our users are very comfortable communicating with multiple matches online, they sometimes get a bit more hesitant when emails turn into phone calls that start turning into dates, and they find themselves going for coffee with Mike on Tuesday, bowling with Bill on Thursday, and to a movie with Steve on Friday. Is dating multiple people dishonest, sleazy, and flat-out wrong? Or is it healthy, even beneficial, to date multiple people at the same time in your quest to find a soul mate?
As long as you respect the feelings of the people you see and are truly looking for qualities that will lead to long-term love, it’s okay not to go steady with someone as of the first date. Here are some of the many advantages to going on dates with different people while making a decision about who is the best candidate for commitment.
It Speeds up the Process of Meeting the Right Person
Some people go on a first date and, wow, the magic and the sparks are there immediately. But for others, they have to date someone many times, maybe even over weeks or months, to know whether there’s chemistry in the air—and they may need to date several people before they finally feel that “click.” If you immediately exclude all other guys or gals from the moment you have your first lunch date with someone until his or her annoying laugh causes you to bolt two months later, you may have to go through several mini-relationships in a row before you’re done. Just think of the time wasted! Going on dates with a few different good candidates around the same time helps you find out fast who’s wrong, without forcing you to wait and wait and wait to find out who’s right.
It Allows you to Compare and Contrast
Life’s dating opportunities can be like a smorgasbord where everything looks pretty good—and like a smorgasbord, seeing all the opportunities out in front of you at once allows you to be selective. Imagine being at a buffet where you could see only one item at a time. You might choose the baked potato as your meal and then be too full later when they bring out the pesto chicken cacciatore sprinkled with gorgonzola and walnuts.
Similarly, going on dates with a few different people in the same stretch of time gives you perspective. Is one guy or gal a little more thoughtful than the rest? Is there one person whose jokes crack you up more than all the others? Are some people punctual and others slow as molasses? You notice this kind of thing a lot more when your memory is fresh than when you’re comparing your date today to someone you dated six months ago.
It Boosts your Self-Confidence and Hones your First-Date Skills
We understand why dating different people simultaneously may seem daunting. It can be nerve-racking to go on a lot of first dates in a row, especially if you’ve been out of the dating scene for a while (or have never really “dated”). And if you’re looking for commitment and eventually marriage, you probably want to avoid “playing the field” because it seems to trivialize the process of finding something so important in your life.
However, compare the dating experience to looking for a job. Job hunting is never trivial, is it? Yet revising your résumé, applying at lots of places, and going on multiple interviews helps you to be less nervous each time you’re in a recruiter’s office and teaches you how to sell yourself to potential employers.
Similarly, by going on several first dates, you soon learn to be less self-conscious and focus more on how the date is going. Instead of worrying about what to say, you soon learn how to ask the right questions to help you either find the sparks of chemistry or find out that this person is just not the right one for you. And since you know you have some other dates lined up soon, the make-it-or-break-it pressure on this specific date simply isn’t there, allowing you to relax a lot more.
Whether you’re nervous about having even a first date or are trying to hustle and find that perfect romance as soon as possible, allowing yourself to plan more than one date at a time can be beneficial, enriching, and even fun! And when you finally do meet Mr. or Ms. Right, you’ll be able to pledge a commitment to then date exclusively, in the confident knowledge that this person was better than all the other options.