Some people find it better to date one person at a time, and when that doesn’t work out, find another one to date. Others find it better to date several people and when they find the one they think is THE one, date that one exclusively.
Personally I believe that neither is wrong; it’s a matter of personal preference. Every person and every situation is unique, so there is no hard and firm rule.
The question that begs to be answered here is: does keeping your options open make you more or less needy?
Assuming you haven’t yet had the “we’re exclusive” conversation, putting all your eggs in one basket makes you more likely to put pressure on the person to be exclusive or commit before they’re ready.
You may find yourself easily becoming stressed, anxious, and desperate when you are not getting the attention you expect or things are not moving as fast as you’d like them to. You are also more likely to put unnecessary demands on the relationship and micromanage any interaction when together. This can create a lot of problems for the relationship.
From a purely statistical point of view, your odds of meeting the ‘right one” are much better if you’re open to dating more people. The more your options, the better your odds are of finding someone you actually have something in common with.
Knowing that you have other options can also protect you from getting caught in a “committed” relationship that is not worth committing to.
But while keeping your romantic options open get you lots of attention, at least enough attention to stop you from acting needy, clingy and desperate, keeping your options open has its own cost.
Keeping your romantic options open require that you invest extra time and effort to keep all options available.
Some people find themselves so stressed out trying to juggle relationships, and to make matters worse, they are not doing a good job at either relationship. Others end up feeling like a ‘player’ — the very thing they hate about people who treat others like disposables.
I’ve spoken to men and women who say it’s best to narrow one’s choices to only two very good potentials. But even this is not as easy as it seems.
When you are pursuing two potential relationships, there is always a risk of spending more time with one person or building one relationship, and neglecting the other. The neglected party may start to withdraw, causing you to feel rejected, and needy and clingy, or pull away yourself.
If you are one to keep your dating options open, make sure:
1) You are emotionally mature enough to be able to maintain two relationships and not hurt or cause pain to one person, or cause pain and hurt to yourself.
2) All or both parties know that you that you are keeping your options open, one, so that they do not feel deceived, used or take advantage of and two, there is no pressure from one party to move things faster than you are willing to go.
3) You have a set time frame in mind; a point at which you tell yourself it’s time to choose and focus all your energy and effort on creating a long-term relationship and commitment.