Tuesday, October 08, 2013

How many guys can you date at the same time?

I've been wondering about this question for a while, and last night a reader called Sebastian posted a comment which asked exactly that:
Should dating be exclusive if you see a guy more than once or you can date multiple guys at the same time more than once before deciding who's the most potential to be a boyfriend?
When I saw ex-boyfriend R last week we discussed this question too, and he has a very clear view. He's sure that however many times you see a guy dating does not have to be exclusive, unless of course you agree that it will be exclusive. So he's sure that you can do what you want and date as many guys as you want, and then eventually you can try and become the boyfriend of the guy that you like the most. However, I think it's a bit more complicated than that.

The fact that a lot of us are unclear on what the answer is means that this is an area full of opportunities for mis-communication with a potential boyfriend. That means that there's every possibility that something could go wrong before anything has even started, which could be a tragedy if you end up accidentally misleading the guy that you like the most. Indeed, a good example of this is what happened between me and my friend K, because he thought that I was just meeting other guys for drinks and dinner and not getting more intimate with any of them.

Recently my approach has been to tell potential boyfriends that I'm still also dating with other potential boyfriends. My best guess is that there's no need to mention anything on a first meeting or first encounter, but after that, the longer that you don't say anything the more room for mis-communication that there is.

However, I'd very much like to know what other readers think about this question?


Ken Skinner said...

I suspect It boils down to the individuals involved. You might meet 4 guys who are fine with, even keen on a non-exclusive start to a relationship. To others, exclusivity may be the preferred, or only option.

As you say, communication is key.

But what happens if you meet someone you immediately hit it off with brilliantly bit they're only interested in exclusivity from Day 1. Then you have to make a judgement call as to whether you're willing to "foresake all others" from the outset to see where it leads with the potential Mr Right... and, if you enter into an exclusive dating relationship then you're going to lose your stable of willing non-monogamites.

I don't think there's an easy answer. By habit I've always stuck to one-on-one at the start of a serious relationship but shagged multiples when it's not people I'd actually consider dating.

The "I'm sorry but we can't shah because I'm now dating someone exclusively)" is NEVER a fun conversation to have.

So. Different potential relationships call for different approaches.

BUT I'd also never consider dating someone I hadn't shagged first. Sex could be awful which would be a deal breaker.

GB said...

Until I met K, Kenski, I'd have said the same thing. I never thought that I'd be exclusively dating anyone that I hadn't slept with. The trouble is, I don't know how it's happened but I've fallen in love with him. It's as you said before, "… love is love. That's the wildcard."

GB xxx

B reader said...

I completely agree with you.