I have been technically single for three years, but that sure doesn't mean that I'm sitting home alone twiddling my thumbs. I am totally open to falling in love and living happily ever after, but I haven't met anyone who I think could lock me down like that… Which means I am, for now, a serial dater. I'm not just dating one person at a time either. I'd like to think that I've become relatively good at maintaining a "roster" of regular dates, and keeping everyone, most of all myself, very happy.
Here's my advice for dating multiple people at once.
Know that everyone is doing it
They really are. At the beginning of things, everyone is open to dating more than one person. Even if you're on a date for the first time in months, or even years, the person you are out with may be dating several people. You're best to just assume that this is the case, unless specifically told otherwise; or ask them, if you are ready to handle the truth.
That immediately takes the pressure off your situation - remember that this person is just an option for you! But remember that you are also just an option for them. You may find that confronting, but get over it. If the chemistry is right, you'll win out over the others. If it's not, then it's no big deal.
How much should you disclose?
It's on a need-to-know basis, unless someone specifically asks you. In which case, be totally honest, in a nice and respectful way. If you're that open with them, you also have to be accepting of the reverse situation.
How honest is too honest? It's easy enough to be polite about deferring a hookup - you can just say that you're hanging out with a friend or relative. If they ask which one, just defer. It's really not their business. At this dating stage, nobody should be so possessive or jealous as to try and trip you up over this.
If you're on a date with someone, give them your undivided attention. Don't, under any circumstances, go on about your other dudes/gals! Make sure you turn on your "Do Not Disturb" on your phone. There's nothing more distracting or disrespectful than being on a date with someone receiving a million messages. Turn the group chats onto mute. You've got plenty of time afterwards to dissect the date later with your mates!
Your actions speak louder than words
Don't be a dick. Simple as that. Just because you are seeing multiple people doesn't mean you should leave anyone on the dreaded "Seen" for 18 hours. If you're going to defer a date with someone, or you just don't want to see them, at the very least be courteous and reply to their messages promptly and tell them so. There's nothing ruder than ghosting. You're always going to let someone down, and karma will ensure that you'll be let down in return. Whatever you do, act with respect.
Don't screw the crew
This is a no-brainer - if you are going to date multiple people, it's best that they don't know each other. They will absolutely find out, and that rarely ends well for anyone. It's almost a sure-fire way to piss everyone off and end up with no dates at all. Mates before dates! If you do fancy someone else that a current date knows - end it respectfully, and ask if it's okay to pursue the friend.
Hygiene! Hygiene! Hygiene!
For christ's sake take a shower between guests! If you are basted in the sexy juices of a love-making session with one of your dates, and you plan to see another really soon - do everyone a favour and wash it off. Change your sheets. There's nothing quite as quick to kill the passion as spotting another woman's smeared foundation or stray false lash in the sheets. Yuckkkkkk.
How many is too many?
As many as you can comfortably, err… service. I have four regulars on the current roster and two of those are actually based overseas, so they are infrequent visitors. That's all I can manage in terms of mental energy. I don't necessarily see them every week - just whenever we feel like it. When one of my gorgeous foreigners is in town, I revel in their company for the time they're here and that's that. We message regularly in between, but nothing is forced.
Cover for your friends
Be a good mate and cover for your gals or guys if they're dating multiple people. If you are out with a friend and one of their dates, don't be a dick and mention the "others". You may also find that your friend has used you as an excuse to not see someone - if that's the case and you are asked about it, just smile and nod and have your friend's back.
I recall one very dangerous situation where my flatmate had a few more girls on the roster than he could manage, and before he had a chance to show one lady out, the other had already arrived at our house - I took her into the lounge for a cup of tea and kept the conversation up until I heard the previous guest exit… Neither girl saw the other, and my flatmate was eternally grateful. I did it to avoid a nasty situation, and because there's truth to the saying, "What you don't know can't hurt you."
I'd love to hear about your experiences of dating multiple people. The good, the bad, and the ugly! Lady A x