Spoiled For Choice: Why You Should Definitely Try Dating Multiple People
One of the best (and worst) parts about online dating? How many choices you have compared to even a few years ago. Which is why more and more people wind up in a situation where they’re dating multiple people, or they’d like to be doing so. Or they meet someone fantastic offline while also connecting with that cutie they met on a dating app. While dating more than one person at once isn’t for everyone, there’s also nothing inherently wrong with it so long as you follow a few rules. In this article, we’ll talk about whether it’s okay to be dating two (or more) people at once, the pros and cons of dating multiple people, and a few tips for how to do so successfully.
Is it okay to date multiple people?
You might have been told over the years that the answer to ‘is it okay to date multiple people at once’ is always no, but just like many other things about dating, that’s changing. These days, it’s becoming more and more common for people of all ages to casually date more than one person for a while before making their choice. They might be attracted to more than one person at a time, want to take their time determining whether a person is the right fit, or just simply be at a stage in life where multiple casual relationships are more appealing than a single committed one. Regardless, as long as everyone involved knows what’s really going on, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dating multiple people.
Another question a lot of people ask is ‘Is dating multiple people poly?’ and the clear answer is no. Polyamorous relationships are – as the name suggests – deeper than simple casual dating and requires commitments from everyone involved. Similarly, dating multiple people isn’t cheating, so long as everyone involved knows that exclusivity isn’t on the table.
Tips for dating multiple people
That said, dating multiple people definitely comes with its own challenges. Here are a few tips to help you navigate multiple partners while you search for the one:
Figure out your why
Everyone has different reasons for wanting to date multiple people. You might not want the commitment that comes with a serious relationship, or you might simply not have the time for it. You might be enjoying the opportunity to get to know your partners in a low-key way rather than facing the pressure to commit that comes with exclusivity. Heck, you might just enjoy juggling multiple partners (in which case, go you!). Whatever your reasons, it’s important to be honest with yourself and your dates about what they are.
Keep the lines of communication open
Speaking of being honest, the key to successfully dating multiple people is transparency and communication. Your dates deserve to know right from the start what kind of relationship you’re looking for, so they can make an informed choice about whether to keep spending time with you. Keeping expectations clear means there’s less chance of wasted time and disappointments later.
Be respectful of boundaries
Not everyone is comfortable with dating multiple people and that’s okay. Some people see even casually dating more than one person as cheating, while others know that they won’t be able to handle seeing their partner with other people. If a potential date isn’t receptive to the idea of seeing other people, it’s better to part ways rather than attempting to change their mind.
Practice safe(r) sex
Not every relationship involves falling into bed sooner rather than later, but sexual hygiene is even more important when you’re dating multiple people. Always use protection, get tested regularly, and most important of all, be open with your partners about your status – it’s a matter of safety as well as respect.
Don’t make it a competition
While the Bachelor and its various spin-offs may be fun to watch, it probably wouldn’t be much fun to live in, especially as a contestant rather than a Bachelor(ette). If a partner tries to make you jealous, stir up drama, or compare you to their other dates, it’s a pretty good sign you should probably end the relationship. For your own part, if you find yourself doing the same things, this is probably when to stop dating multiple people. Some comparison is inevitable – especially if you’re trying to choose between two partners – but it can quickly become toxic if you’re not careful.
Don’t kiss and tell
We shouldn’t have to say this, but a reminder anyway. While you should be honest about the fact that you are seeing other people, never share details without their consent. Even if you do have a partner’s consent, it’s probably better to be discreet – nobody likes a braggart!
Have a time limit
When you’re dating multiple people, it’s important to have some sort of an end date in mind, regardless of whether that’s a time period – say, six months – or a certain number of dates. Spending time with someone often leads to feelings developing, which is why regular check-ins to see if you are both on the same page when it comes to your relationship are important.
Speak up if feelings happen
It’s perfectly normal for a casual relationship to deepen – in fact, a lot of the time, that’s what you’re hoping for. However, if you’ve agreed to keep things casual from the start, you might be afraid to say anything for fear of rocking the boat. While that’s more than understandable, it’s important to be honest about your feelings – who knows, your date might have developed feelings for you, too!
Pros of dating multiple people
There are many reasons why dating multiple people can be a good thing. Here are three:
It increases your chances of finding the one
Although we don’t like to acknowledge it, dating is a numbers game. When you date multiple people, your chances of finding someone you’d like to be in a serious relationship with increase. Plus, dating more than one person at a time takes the pressure off you – meeting someone for the first time can feel a lot less nerve-wracking when you know they’re not your only option that month or even that week.
It lets you know yourself better
The German author Johann von Goethe once said, “Tell me who you spend time with and I’ll tell you who you are.” He probably didn’t mean it to be used in a dating context, but it applies anyway. Dating multiple people can offer you valuable insight into your own likes and dislikes, as well as what you’re looking for in a partner and a relationship. It also allows you, if you want to, to step outside of your comfort zone a little – since everything is casual, there’s less riding on an individual relationship if one fails.
It forces you to be honest with your feelings.
Sometimes, we continue a relationship just because it’s easier to go with the flow, or we’re scared of being single. Dating multiple people means you have to make more of an effort to make time for each of them, which can be very helpful when it comes to figuring out if you want a more serious relationship with any of them. In addition, figuring out the answer to ‘should I date multiple people?’ requires honesty – and you can only be honest with other people if you’re honest with yourself first.
Why dating multiple people may not work for you
While dating multiple people can work really well for some people, it does come with a few complications you should keep in mind.
Jealousy may become an issue
Regardless of how in favor you may be of the idea of dating more than one person at a time, it can still be hard sometimes to see your crush with other people. There’s also the possibility that the people you date may have trouble accepting that they’re not the only special person in your life. Very few things can poison a relationship like jealousy, making the increased likelihood it’ll happen one of the biggest downsides to dating multiple people.
You simply may not have the time
Between a job, a side hustle (or even more than one), friend dates, and time with family, it’s a miracle any of us have time for one person, let alone more than one. This is another major con of dating multiple people – how hard it is to feel like you’re spending enough time with each one. Especially if you already lead a busy life, it can be a struggle to find the time to date one person, let alone several.
It might prevent you from finding the one
Dating multiple people means that your time and attention is spread thin, meaning it might be harder for you to make a connection that will lead to something more. Additionally, dating many people at once can make looking for a connection feel like a chore or even a second job, and even lead to burnout. It’s important to keep a careful watch on your emotional state and take breaks from dating more than one person at a time if necessary.
Exploring options: is dating multiple people right for you?
Dating multiple people at a time is a great way to expand your dating pool and get to know people before making a more serious commitment. However, even if the answer to ‘is dating multiple people common?’ is yes, it’s not for everyone and can be exhausting and disappointing. That said, as long as you’re honest and respectful about it, and aware of your own desires and boundaries, it definitely doesn’t have to be a bad thing. At eharmony, you’ll find thousands of eligible singles who match your personality and are definitely worth getting to know better. Sign up for eharmony and take your first step on the path to a serious relationship today.