Online dating, in theory, is supposed to widen the pool of potentials that singles come in contact with, but for anyone who is dating in the age of apps, seeing more than one person at once is completely common.
“I always recommend singles cast a wide net when looking for love online and on mobile dating apps. I believe dating three people at a time is a manageable number early on,” says online dating expert Julie Spira. “This way, you won’t find yourself projecting to the future about one person, who might also be dating multiple people.
She adds as long as you aren’t claiming to be exclusive with one of your dates, this is probably the easiest way to find a partner in 2018.
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“Let someone know that you’ve just started dating again and would like to meet several people to find the best fit for you,” she says, but at the time, you are not obligated to reveal how many people you date at once.
“If one of the three you’re dating is single-focused on you, chances are he or she will bring their dating best to the table and will respect your wishes to be patient.”
And if you are newly single, dating multiple people will also help you figure out exactly the type of relationship you want down the road.
When it can backfire
Spira says once you start getting into a habit of setting up dates with one or more people, it can get easy to fall into the trap of playing the field.
“If someone continues to play the field, and doesn’t take a digital leap of faith with one person, they may end up on a merry-go-round and end up in a series of one-and-done dates, or dates that don’t go past a few weeks,” she says.
The other con may be the label that is attached to someone who dates multiple people — they can be called players, commitment-phobes and for a lot of women, worse.
“It can also lead to online dating fatigue, where you get burned out with the process. If this happens, know that it’s fine to take a break, but if your goal is to find a meaningful relationship, at some point, someone will rise above the others and you’ll know when it’s time to retire your dating profiles.”
Balancing your dates
And for anyone with a hectic schedule trying to date multiple people, Spira says you should be as organized as possible.
“I create a colour-co-ordinated spreadsheet for my dating coaching clients to keep their dates straight. This includes name, city, age, site they met on, and a comments section for pending dates.”
She adds if you are starting to confuse names or details about the person, study their profiles (or your previous conversation) before you meet them. The last thing you want to do is confuse your date with someone else.
“You should always be focused on the one date in front of you,” she says. “And put your phone away, so it doesn’t appear you’re ready to confirm another date before dessert is served.”
How to stop
The dating game should end when you’re ready to be exclusive with someone, Spira says. You should avoid logging onto dating apps or browsing other potentials after making this decision.
“If the relationship doesn’t work out, you can always reactivate your profile again. Most singles who are looking for a meaningful relationship won’t date multiple people once they’ve become intimate with someone.”
And if you’ve become intimate with someone and you want to move forward with your relationship, tell the person how you feel.
“I advise singles to say, ‘I like the direction our relationship is going and look forward to exploring a more intimate relationship with you.'”
And if you’re worried the person is still sexually active with others or is still dating multiple people, let them know.
“This takes the pressure of ‘the talk’ off the table and lets the other person know where you stand.”