You’ve been seeing someone casually, once a week for a month. You like him, he seems to like you as he keeps asking you to lunch, and ending each encounter with a passionate kiss. He calls you a few times a week and engages in an IM chat at least once a day.
You’re not smitten with him, but you like him. He’s intelligent, funny, attentive, self-aware, doesn’t press himself on you physically beyond the kiss, talks about waiting to get sexual until the time is right. Great, huh?
But meanwhile you continue to accept other invitations. Most are just one-time coffee meetings with nice guys but not any mutual spark.
Then — wham — a new guy comes on the scene that takes you aback. You have one date, then due to scheduling mismatches a week passes. He calls you several times a day and tells you how much he likes you. You like him, too, in a different way than the aforementioned guy.
But you’ve had this happen before. Part of you feels like you should tell the first guy that you’ve met someone new, but you also know that New Guy could go poof any time.
I described a similar circumstance in “The two-suitor conundrum: What would you do?” But that situation was different in that I hadn’t met one of the parties, although he called me every day for three months before deciding to fly to meet me. And as it turned out, the newer guy went poof soon after that was written. And the out-of-towner went poof, it just took another month.
How long can you have your feet in both camps? It’s not like you’re longing for one when you’re with the other. If you were, the decision would be easy. Neither of them knows there are others, as things haven’t heated up enough for that to seem relevant.
My rule of thumb is: when things look like they will heat up, that is the time to decide. Ideally beforehand, not afterward. Then you’ll be thinking with your brain, not other parts of your body. You tell one that you need to let him go, as you don’t want to be intimately involved with two at once — this would not be good for anyone.
Don’t hedge too long, or the second in line will feel used. You know how you’d feel if someone strung you along. As I mentioned in “Dating with integrity” it is sometimes hard to be 100% honest if you want to be sensitive to someone’s feelings. And while most who’ve dated online for long understand there will be others vying for your attention during the initial stages of getting to know each other, after seeing each other a while, it’s important to let someone go who you think isn’t a good match. The hard part is when you are dating two people you think are both a good match. The deciding is difficult.
What are your guidelines for when to let someone go if you’ve been seeing two people concurrently? How long will you see both before forcing yourself to make a decision?
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