Most of us who employ online dating adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy about dating multiple people simultaneously. At least until we’re ready to get more serious.
When I am seeing a few guys, I don’t ask the date I’m with if he’s seeing others because I don’t want him asking me. I assume he is, and make decisions about how close to get to him based on that assumption. If he asks me if I’m seeing others, I’ll tell him the truth. I’ll then ask him.
Why don’t I want him asking, at least in the early few dates? Because I don’t want him to say he’s not dating others and he wants us to be exclusive. Although I’m honest, it’s a difficult conversation to have if he is a one-woman-at-a-time guy and I’m not ready to reciprocate. Some men don’t date much and they don’t have as many options as you might. You don’t want to limit your activities too early, before you’ve decided you want to focus on him.
I don’t believe many midlife men have the organizational skills or time to see more than one woman concurrently. They are busy with work, hobbies, perhaps kids and for many of them to squeeze in time to see one woman is difficult, let alone two or more. My friend Bruce thinks I am naive. He says most men can balance more than one woman without a lot of trouble. Women forgive them for not remembering details of their lives. So they don’t put much effort into where a woman’s parents live, where she grew up, her best friend’s name, etc.
I discovered a guy I was dating was still seeking others by looking at his profile online and seeing that he’d logged on within the last day or two. He can see my activity as well. Since we hadn’t promised exclusivity, it wasn’t a problem, but it did let me know he wasn’t focused on only me. It also said he wasn’t completely happy with our relationship so was hunting.
One guy was so brazen he used my laptop to log onto his Match.com account in the kitchen while I was fixing him dinner! That was tacky! It triggered an interesting discussion about where each of us was about exclusivity.
Be careful how you ask the question. If you say, “Are you seeing anyone else?” he can honestly say “no” if he is not actually dating anyone else. However, he could be in heavy flirt mode by phone or email with one or more women, he just hasn’t had a date with them yet. So even though there’s no one else at the moment you asked, that could change tomorrow after he’s set up dinner with another gal. If it’s important to you that he’s seeing only you, in addition to the question above, ask, “Do you plan to date others while seeing me? Do you plan on contacting others while we are in this exploratory stage? How are you responding to emails from others? Do you believe in dating several women simultaneously?” The challenge is to elicit the information without it seeming like an interrogation.
My philosophy is to not bring up the conversation, but to continue to meet others until he asks me about exclusivity. If you ask him, some men feel it is a noose tightening around their neck. If you want to set some parameters around physical activities until there is exclusivity, tell him so. It will have him assess how serious he is about you.
Don’t ever assume you are the only one unless you’ve had a candid conversation with your guy.