Online dating apps have made it entirely possible to go out with a different guy every night of the week. It’s especially tempting in a big city. Everything is so close that it’s almost no extra effort to squeeze in a first date en route to dinner with friends. It’s actually pretty efficient. I’ve capped my New York dating to strictly no more than 3 men per week. The Brit in me protests to anything more. It just feels a bit… impolite.
There’s no denying it – dating multiple men is fun. You get to meet endless, fascinating men on their best, early dating behavior. It’s the perfect excuse to try out every hot bar and eatery in the city. You control who you see, and when you see them, and can vary the ‘flow’ of dates according to your schedule. Like many things in life, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
I always thought that dating multiple men was the best way to meet the man of my dreams. In my head it was like searching for the perfect dress. You order 10 at once online, try them all on in one session, and pick the best of the bunch. I was wrong.
In the past 2 years I’ve dated more than 30 guys. I’ve had oodles of fun and fabulous sex, yet am seemingly no closer to meeting my life partner. Here are the 6 hidden downsides to dating multiple men at once based on my personal experience.
1. Balancing your time is a nightmare
Seeing too many guys at once causes havoc in your calendar. Most men you date want to see you once a week, or at least every other week. You need to slot this around nights with friends, late ones in the office, workouts to counteract all the martinis, and essential chill out nights. Throw too many dates in the mix, and the system screws up. You either end up stretching yourself too thin, or unintentionally letting your dates down. When you start resenting going on dates, it shows.
2. You get used to choice
It’s just like gym ClassPass. Once you’ve been spoilt by the flexibility of varied, unlimited exercise classes all over the city, it’s hard to commit to just one gym. Wouldn’t that be a bit… dull? You’ve experienced the best that men have to offer, from sparkling wit to ridiculous tongue skills. How could one guy give you everything you’re looking for? The choice is a luxury that’s hard to give up.
3. You forget who’s who
Date too many men at once and before you know it you’re confusing their jobs, stories, and names. You don’t remember what you have or haven’t already told them, and it’s easy to put your foot in your mouth. You also find yourself lying. When they ask you what you did on Saturday, you tell them you stayed in to watch Downton Abbey (when you were actually downtown getting wasted with Mr. Saturday night). If you’re juggling too many dating balls, sooner or later you’ll drop one.
4. Sex is complicated
Your dating pipeline has paid off and it’s going well – with 3 different guys. You’re at the 4-5 date mark with all of them. Heavy petting has ensued, and sex is on the horizon. But do you want to get biblical with all of them? For some women, it might feel like Christmas has come early. For others, it’s complicated. Sex can bring intense emotions and vulnerabilities to the surface; we’re not all wired to open up this way to multiple people at once.
5. You become dismissive
You’re on a 3rd date, and so far so good. He’s attractive, charming, and picks great restaurants. Then midway through your tuna crudo, conversation dries up. You wait for him to rescue it, but alas – nothing happens. In an instant, you decide he’s boring, and you’ll never make it as a couple. If he can’t find something fresh to say now, what will you talk about when you’re 50? It’s easier to move onto the next guy than to spend time finding out if you’re wrong about someone. Your standards become unrealistic, and you dismiss men that could have been great – had you given them a proper chance.
6. It never gets deep
When you don’t spend enough time with someone, intimacy rarely deepens. Often so much time passes between dates that you find yourself back at square one, repeating past conversations. You’re having fun though, so there’s little incentive to bring up the serious stuff. It’s more comfortable talking weather and cocktails, than telling him about the time your ex broke your heart or reliving your bout of depression last year. Keeping it shallow is the surefire way to avoid disappointment, and hurt. However, it’s also how you miss out on the chance of connecting with someone on a deeper level.
The moral of this article isn’t that you should only date one man at a time for the rest of your existence. I still believe that dating is a numbers game, and that building a strong pipeline of eligibles is key to success. However – you don’t necessarily need to date multiple men at once. If and when you’re ready to find someone or something special, it might be worth changing tack. Try taking your dating game down a gear. Date one man at a time. See him more often. Give him a chance. Go deeper, even if it’s out of your comfort zone. You might surprise yourself.