Is there anything wrong with dating two people at the same time?

The essence of double dating is simple enough: maintaining a dating relationship with two or more people simultaneously. As you shall see, I am not a big fan. There are actually two quite distinct types of double dating, and I am not keen on either.

Why even should anyone feel the need to do so? There are two divergent reasons, which are the basis for the two distinct types of double dating. To be truthful, there is a third type – which I will dispense with quickly. There are some people who want to double date “because I can.” It suits them to do so for whatever immature or frivolous reason. I shall not dignify this attitude with much reaction. If that is the level of their thinking on a matter this important, then they need to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror.

There are people who are eager to get married. They have been dating for a while and are conscious of the ticking clock. This could be a woman who feels that “time is not on her side” when it comes to having children. It could be a man or a woman who after a drought on the dating front is presented with two interesting options and is afraid to lose either one, so they look to engage with them both. It could be someone who has younger siblings who are delaying their own dating out of deference for their older brother or sister, and there is a sense of pressure “to get moving.” In short, there are quite a number of meaningful reasons why someone may consider that double dating would be a good idea. This kind of double dating involves the person consciously pursuing dating on parallel tracks to increase their odds of a successful outcome.

The second type of double dating is when a person is seriously dating someone, but is unsure whether this is “the one.” On the other hand, things have been going well, and this person does not want to give up on it. So, meeting someone else on the side in order to see “what else might be out there” seems like a good idea. If the new person turns out not to be suitable, the hope is that it will reinforce the interest in the first person and help to get past the current impasse. If, on the other hand, the new person turns out to be more suitable, then the first person can be let go without feeling they are taking a loss. This second type of double dating was not pre-planned intentionally, but is a response to a predicament.

Dating for marriage is about focusing on one person.

Here is what you need to understand about double dating: it would be going contrary to the essence of what you are trying to do. It makes about as much sense as eating fast food whilst on a diet. And that, by the way, is why it generally does not work. The core of dating is commencing a process through which you become increasingly absorbed in a single person. At the beginning of the process, you are understandably being selfish. You are concerned by whether this person is suitable for you, compatible with you, good enough for you, attractive to you – you, you, you. If not, you are not interested. If you start dating and conclude to the negative, you lose all interest and stop dating the person in question.

However, for the dating process to achieve its purpose it must transition from a continual focus on your own interest to a growing attachment to the other person. Dating is supposed to lead to a strengthening interest in another person’s needs and happiness. This kind of emotional bonding is only possible with one person.

Dating two people at a time means that the core element of dating is subverted. It becomes far more difficult for you to lose yourself in one person, when you have in the back of your mind that you have a date lined-up with person number two the following evening. It is not impossible that you will “fall in love” with person one, but it is highly likely to upset a delicate process; it is most probably going to complicate an already complex dynamic. This increases the chance of failure with both people – completely the opposite of what this double dating plan was supposed to achieve. You might be proverbially just “shooting yourself in the foot.”

Making a difficult situation worse.

You may be double dating because you have two suggestions and are afraid to lose one; but what if what you are doing increases the chance of you losing both? You may be hoping that by double dating you are speeding up the process; but what if in reality that only makes both less likely to succeed?

If you are hoping that dating a new person will help you gain clarity regarding the person you started dating first, you are most likely delusional. Having person number two has now given you the perfect “excuse” to be half-hearted about person number one– which most likely is the problem with your dating this person in the first place. Congratulations! You have now succeeded in making a difficult situation a whole lot worse.

Why would you process the issues that you are struggling with person number one when you can now become distracted instead by the new date? So, hey presto, you do not give your full attention to whatever is holding you back with your first date. No surprise, your dating with the first person stalls. But the same basic phenomenon occurs with person number two as well. You believe you have person number one “on tap,” so no need to give your all to making things work with this person either. It is not impossible that things will work out for you, but the odds are against you. Sorry, but this is not a smart strategy.

Doing the decent thing.

Besides for it being unlikely to give you the outcome you are seeking, it is also of questionable morality. Your second date is serving as a “testing ground” for how you feel about your first date. This is problematic on so many levels. Just curious if you think that the second date would agree to meet you if that is what she understood was going on? If yes, good luck to both of you; you clearly deserve each other! If not, in which world is this the fair and decent thing to do? How do you date someone who could become your lifelong partner on the basis of such fundamental dishonesty and disrespect?

Please understand that no person should be treated as an “experiment.” If this is even a consideration for you, then you do not get even the basics of marriage, which may explain why things are stuck with your first date. In short, pull yourself together and start acting like you understand what dating and marriage is about. That will get you a lot further in resolving your dilemma than playing games.

Sometimes, there are legitimate exceptions to this rule. An example is where you are dating long distance and rarely get to meet. You see no reason to end the dating, but the mechanics mean that things are slow and uncertain. If you are at an early stage in the dating process and are unsure where it is heading, this could be a situation where dating someone local could be justified. But these are far and few between.

For the most part, dating two people (or worse, more than two) at the same time is a terrible idea that will have the exact opposite effect of the one intended. Do not consider doing this without first discussing it with someone with the experience and insight to help you make a smart and proper decision. As a whole, it is made out by some to be a far better idea than it actually is. Often, it drags a person into morally dubious actions that are only liable to push the prospect of marriage further away.

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