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A dating friend asks,

“Dear Addy, what is the proper dating etiquette when dating more than one person. I mean, is it okay to do this, do you tell your dates that you are also dating others? I want to leave my options open and not fall for the first person, but I don’t want to hurt anyone either.”

Honesty is always the best policy, and to ensure you are not deceiving your dates, keep a strict code of conduct, and keep it intact.

Never date more than one person at a time, as it diminishes your intentions of getting to know this person, and it diminishes their importance to you.

Telling your date that you are dating others makes you sound like you’re presently interviewing and will get back to them with your final decision if they meet your standards, and this is no way to start a relationship.

Date only one person at a time, and make a decision by the end of your third or forth date as to whether the person is worthwhile going forward. Don’t second-guess yourself, don’t cut them any slack, and don’t drag it on beyond its expiry date, just make a final decision, yes or no.

If you have met others you are interested in meeting, or have others in the works, keep it at a chatting/emailing/texting level, and do not meet with them in person until you are completely free and committed. One can often learn a lot about a person via chats and conversations without meeting in person.

Once you’ve decided to pursue encounters beyond the third or forth date, let all of your chatting persons know that you are currently interested in someone, and would like to take a break from having contact with them so that you can give this person your undivided attention. Your chatting persons will admire this act of integrity and will think well of you, as this is how they would want to be treated.

If your date does not work out, you can contact your chatting persons and let them know you are now free to see them, or continue chatting, whichever suits your situation best. If they are no longer available or become incensed, so be it, life goes on, as should you.

No one likes to be second fiddle, and dating more than one person can confuse you and your dates. It’s disrespectful and loathesome and can often kill your chances at meeting the right person, because anyone worthwhile, would not put up with it.