It’s difficult to address this concern without stepping into the controversy of still-existing different societally acceptable behaviors for each gender.
Yes, even in this time of supposed greater equality between the sexes, men are still not judged as negatively by the amount of sexual partners they’ve had as women are, and men who date more than one woman at the same time are judged less harshly than women who simultaneously date more than one partner.
Internet dating can equalize that to some extent with its capacity for anonymity of past entanglements, qualitatively different than the exposure when dating someone who comes vetted by trusted others.
Most relationship seekers on cyber-dating services, whether men or women are frequently talking to many potential partners through email or texts while juggling on-going possibilities and keeping back-ups in case of “fall-throughs”.
Because of the anonymity these kinds of relationships offer, many people don’t feel it is necessary or even helpful to let too much openness stop a new relationship from blossoming. It’s easy to show up, make up any story that improves the profile and ghost when it is uncomfortable or someone else takes precedence. If the relationship actually materializes, then authenticity must eventually emerge, too often filled with surprises that can go either way.
Many women hide their sexual pasts if they feel they might be judged negatively, or perceived as “too easy.”
That’s an easier ruse when they have been in sequential relationships but more complicated if they are dating more than one guy at the same time. If they want to be sexual with more than one at a time, they tend to keep that from another. They may share it with their women friends, but much more unlikely to do so with their male partners.
More men than women just assume that women they date will get that they’re not sexually monogamous if they haven’t made the commitment to be exclusive in that way. They usually don’t talk about their other involvements but they don’t feel it necessary to stop them unless that person becomes a high priority and the offer of current exclusivity is necessary to keep her.
With more sexual freedom, women are slowly letting go of feeling like “used goods” if they have enjoyed physical relationships with several men.
That new freedom and awareness tends to be more prominent in younger women but is slowly replacing the automatic shame of the past in older women as well. Yet, the many men I work with still are not as comfortable believing that they are part of a string of past sexual partners even when they want to feel differently. Being chosen as the best so far doesn’t seem to compensate for the weighty comparison, or the fear that there may be a better one lurking in the future. The belief that men don’t really want to settle down until they’ve sampled enough potential sexual experiences is newly the realm of women as well.
The real test, then, is how a woman feels about herself, regardless of the amount of sexual partners she has experienced sequentially or simultaneously.
Though the experiences of both genders is more overlapped than it once was, most women do thrive more when their sexual experiences are within a relationship of meaning, regardless of the length of time is survives. If she is highly sexual and can enjoy a short-term lustful interaction without regret or conflict, she can use those sequential or concomitant relationships to build her ego and belief in herself as a desirable woman. If, on the other hand, she is treated as a superficial experience and tossed before she is ready, the opposite can happen. A woman must know, in advance, what she is seeking and whether it is included in the package.
Interestingly enough, many of these comfortably sexual women are very exciting to men as intimate partners.
The male energy of enjoyable conquests without need for commitment can enhance a woman’s attractiveness in the early stages of some relationships. Sadly, I have heard too many stories from those naturally sexy women that they are not often selected to go to the next step of long-term commitment. Perhaps those old attitudes are not as easily erased as we would have hoped by now.
Women, and men, who know what they want, who they are, and what they have to offer before they begin relationships are also more authentic up front with the people they date, whether sequential, over-lapping other relationships, or concurrent with new ones.
They are more than willing to be honest and authentic no matter how long a relationship lasts and see each one as the learning experience that a truly courageous person enters at his or her own risk. They figure that the truth will emerge at some point and why not vet people earlier to see if they can handle what is real. If those revelations about self are delivered with confidence, comfort, and pride, they are most often respected even if the relationship doesn’t continue to the next step.
The Golden Rule of great relationship continuity is that each partnership should leave a person more aware, more mature, and more able to authentically know and love another than the one before.
If, on the other hand, after each relationship, a person is more cynical, more broken, more pessimistic, or more wary, they are not using those experiences to enhance their lives. The glorious adventures that can come from the attitude of “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” quickly become a series of “Nothing ventured, nothing lost” disasters.
When that happens, all intimate relationships, whether sequential or concomitant, continue to make the next one less likely to succeed.
A startling support statistic is that 40% of first marriages are now failing, 60% of second ones, and 70% of the third unions. Clearly, there is a dissonance between what those relationship seekers were expecting and how things turned out.
In this new world of dating, many men and women, texted, instant messaged, and emailed to the point of total anonymity, are understandably confused. I find them remarkably courageous, out there without maps or manuals, feeling like pinballs in a very large and vast, constantly shifting machine. Yet, because of the very environment that encourage and supports depersonalization, they can gain access to so many others facing the same conflicts and insecurities. Ultimately it won’t matter what one’s past is, but only how it creates a better future.
Some of my Psychology Today Blogs that may help:
The Myth of Romantic Expectations
Is This True Love?
Can Texting Sabotage Emotional Intimacy
Ten important questions you should ask a Potential Partner
Touch and Go Relationships – Do they have to be Superficial?
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
He Says “I Love You”… But does he really mean it?
This 7 question quiz tells you if your man truly loves you or if he is just using you…
The pros of dating more than one man at a time seem pretty obvious: you get double the attention, you get to compare and choose, you don’t feel like you have to commit to one person just yet, you do all kinds of different things with different people.
If you’re at a point in your life where you feel like you don’t want to be in relationship, but want to discover what your dating options are, this is perfect. Maybe you went through a break up or divorce and just want to get your feet wet again because you want to see how things have changed in your absence. Maybe you’re done with committed relationships and just want to have fun. Maybe you’re interested in several people and just want information about which you’re most compatible with. These are all great reasons to date around, so go for it.
The biggest con of dating more than one man at a time, is that generally men aren’t happy that you’re doing this if they find out.
Depending on your schedule and your memory, it’s a lot to keep track of. It’s easy to forget who you’re seeing when, and it’s hard to fit everyone in along with all the other important things in your life if you have a busy couple of weeks. It might be hard to track conversations from one date to the next if you aren’t good with details, because you’ll be getting a lot of details from several different sources.
I think another con might be how you feel about dating more than one person.
Some people feel guilty or simply don’t feel comfortable giving time to more than one person. There isn’t anything wrong with feeling that way, but you might not expect it because you’re a modern woman and you don’t have those kind of hang-ups. It can really get in the way of the dates you are having.
Remember, dating should be fun, so if you’re not having fun, you may be doing it wrong.
Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.org
“Should I date more than one person at a time?” we might wonder.
“Wouldn’t it open up the field if I dated several people?” Even though there is some merit in this question, at least in the beginning of dating, soon you would discover that the answer is unequivocally, NO.
There is a wise old adage that says: The eagle that chases two rabbits catches none.
The statisticians of the world, of course, would say that this is an odds issue, and the more, the merrier! More chances equal more possibilities of success, right?
Wrong. That’s what the carnies of the world would tell you too, as you attempt for the umpteenth time to throw the ping-pong ball into the fishbowl. It is a scam of the ego.
Still, logic would seem to dictate: the more fishing lines I throw out there, the more fish I could catch.
But, what kind of fish would you catch?
The answer is: The same kind.
This is how energy works!
Like attracts like.
What if you want to find “the One?”
You are not going to catch a mermaid or merman with many lures. You have to evokethem out of this great, grand sea of the world. Yes, there may be many fish in the sea, but you are only looking for one! And, not just any one, but The One.
Just as in looking for a job, sending out a thousand resumes won’t land you a position if you believe there are no jobs out there, or if you believe there is no way you can get one.
A hundred thousand resumes won’t change the outcome of what you already believe.But if you believe there are many jobs out there, and you are a rare talent, you may be surprised to discover that the next time you go to your local café, you find yourself sitting next to the CEO of the big, new health food store in town, the one that coincidentally happens to be looking for a marketing person . . . and there you are!
This is how it works!
When we consciously visualize, and know our partner is coming – he will.
If you truly believe he is not, then you will also be right – he’s not coming.
Multiple-dating is like shooting buckshot. This desperate and random aim scatters, producing many apparent options. But all that this haphazard action does is just take up time and delay the outcome.
Certainly, by putting ourselves out there, we will probably attract someone, but wouldn’t you rather attract that special someone? Wouldn’t you like to attract your soul partner who is also looking for you?
It seems tempting to believe that more volume will give more opportunity, but life just doesn’t work that way. More volume does attract . . . but here is the important thing to remember: it attracts more of the same thing.
You have to change your thinking to attract what you really want.
Here are the 3 steps to practice for finding your true soul partner.
This is about love, right? Not about finding company. We can all find someone to spend time with, but not necessarily someone whom we really want to share our lives with. Yes, we might be able to tolerate him and find a way to get him to blend into our lives – but real love –real love – transcends all of this. It is spiritual recognition. It is by grand design.
Spiritual intention is very focused. It is intentional. It is an evocation. It is a literal calling on spirit to match soul to soul.
By calling in your partner, by what is called divine invocation, your soul partner will show up into your life like a magic trick. You will find yourself saying, “I’m not sure how it happened; he just showed up at the door . . .
. . . and, it was love at first sight.”
Diana Lang, Counselor and Author of Opening to Meditation – www.dianalang.com
Dating more than one man at a time is a personal decision a woman needs to make based on a variety of things.
It’s going to depend on what your needs are, as well as what your goals are. If you want to meet the man of your dreams, you might need to go out with a lot of frogs to find your Prince Charming, but does dating more men at one time guarantee you are going to find him sooner?
If you are meeting people online, I would suggest that you date more than one person at a time. If you have a long-time friend you are giving it a go with, I would suggest that you date one person at a time to preserve the relationship. You are going to need to evaluate where you are at in life and the circumstances to decide if dating more than one person at a time works for you.
Below, I’ve outline some possible pro’s and con’s of dating more than one person at a time. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, however it is meant to give you something to think about when making your decision. Remember, there are is no right or wrong decision, just learning opportunities waiting to happen.
1. It gives you a chance to get to know multiple people
2. It can prevent you from getting too caught up with one person
3. It gives you more of a social life and less readily available to people
4. It gives you options in life
5. It lets you take control of your dating
1. It might force you to put more attention on dating than you want to
2. It takes a lot of time and effort to date multiple people
3. You might overlook one person for another person based on something superficial, like picking the person who has the better job
4. It can create a problem if you are not transparent with the people you are dating
5. It might feel icky and weird
You can always try it, see how it feels and change your mind.
With open communication with everyone involved, you can make it work for you. You get to decide what you want. That’s the fun part of dating. Dating more than one person can be fun. Everyone has different interests and you can be exposed to different things every night. If you decide to embrace it, then enjoy it for all it’s worth because one day, you will commit to one man and it’s a whole different type of fun.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
Learn Why Men Pull Away
There is a deep-seated “Gap” in communication that very few women (or men) understand.
It’s the #1 reason why men pull away.
To be truly irresistible to a man, you MUST understand this gap, and the way feelings of love get confused and entangled in a man’s mind…
Is there anything wrong with dating more than one guy at the same time? Some women can’t do it because they get too emotionally invested and don’t want to hurt anyone. Some women are able to explore different personalities to see who suits them best.
Let’s look at the pros for dating two guys:
1. You can see who treats you best, in terms of respect, communication and attentiveness.
2. You can observe which qualities you enjoy in each guy and which are essential in your long-term relationship must-have list.
3. You can “test” them in different situations to see how they react. For instance, how do they handle waiters, salespeople and valets? Are you finding out new information in these circumstances?
4. You can see who appreciates your sense of humor, silliness and playfulness and who is able to reciprocate in kind.
5. You can decide who shares more of your philosophy, interests, background and lifestyle.
On the other hand, if you are seeing one special guy:
1. You can really find out who he is, without being distracted by another guy.
2. You can put all your energy into developing the relationship by discussing what your goals and future plans are.
3. You can stop looking for someone new and focus on who you’re with, which reduces unnecessary stress and tension.
If you are the type of woman who can handle dating a few guys at the same time, then go for it. Just know what you are looking for and what you truly don’t want, so you don’t waste time with someone who isn’t meeting your standards.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com