Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reader question: Is "serial dating" a good idea?

Q: Haley, I tend to go from relationship to relationship. Sometimes with gaps of being single. I'm curious how to date more than one guy at a time. Intimacy? Do they need to know about eachother? Should I just pick one? Can I find a good balance? Thank you!


A: Anon, the concept of dating multiple people is like being on a battlefield: its treacherous territory, it certainly isn't for everyone, and you have to have your head on a swivel, because anything can happen at any time. However, I am going to assume that you are willing to take on the somewhat daring role of a serial dater and I will answer all of your smaller questions in succession:

Just how DO you date one more guy at a time? The idea is fairly simple: hang out with the guys you're interested in at different times and consciously avoid having the other guys see or hear about you two. Coordinating this simply depends on your schedule, their schedules, and the knowledge of their respective locations. I'm just saying, the idea behind dating multiple people is that you don't let the others actively SEE you. When in a non-serious dating scene, people should assume that their prospective interests are keeping their options open--but it'd still be awkward to see the girl you like on a date with another guy regardless.

Intimacy (--how does that all work)? This obviously depends on your personal preference, but IN GENERAL (as in, this doesn't apply to EVERY girl) I feel like things are less complicated if you keep sexual activity out of it until you feel like dating, more or less, one guy. I'm not a prude or anything, it's just what I've found makes things a little easier. I think kissing and a little light fooling around is okay, but the minute more stuff happens with multiple guys is the minute that things get wayyy more complicated. As girls, we get oddly attached to guys that we are sexual with and that's a fact. Now, imagine being "attached" to 3 guys at once...yikes!

Do they need to know about each other? The short answer is no, but it's not really fair to get "serious" with more than one guy. If you're letting 5 guys introduce you to mom and dad or get you lavish birthday gifts...it's eventually gonna get ugly.

Should I just pick one? Only pick "one" when you KNOW he's worth it!

and finally, Can I find a good balance? Well, between what and what? Unfortunately, I'm not of the opinion that you can "have your cake and eat it too". It just ends up in disaster and ends up hurting people, including potentially you. The truth is, serial dating is fine to a point. But soon enough, someone's gonna want you to commit--unless the other guys you're dating just wanna date around, too.

Best of luck, and I hope I helped!

--Dr. O.

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