Follow These Rules If You Want To Date More Than One Person At The Same Time

You've heard it before and you'll probably hear it again: Dating is a numbers game. It might feel cliche and trite, but it is true. The more people you date, the more likely you are to meet someone with whom you feel that strong, long-lasting connection. Plus, dating more than one person at a time helps you to get a better sense of what — or who — it is you're looking for. If you keep your dating pool small, it can be hard to know what else is out there, and leave you wondering what it is you're missing out on.

As behavioral health specialist Cessel Boyd-Lewis shared with Brides, "The ability to explore your options is one of the largest benefits associated with dating multiple people. The dynamic of each relationship will be inherently different; in many cases, this allows for people to have fun, learn more about themselves, and discover what they do and don't want in relationships."

There's also the question of being efficient with your time. "The dating cycle from matching to chatting to the first date and even second date can take up to a month," online dating expert Benjamin Daly told Bustle. "If you realize by the second date that you're not compatible, you've invested a lot of time and will have to start again. That isn't an efficient use of time." But if you're going to date multiple people, you have to make sure you do it right.

How to make sure you're handling dating multiple people appropriately

Let's get one thing out of the way immediately — if you're going to date more than one person at a time, definitely don't schedule two dates at the same time. But there's slightly more to it than that. For starters, know that whoever it is you're seeing is probably seeing other people, too. As one source explained to HowAboutWe, "Assume people are sleeping with other people unless they ask or say otherwise" (via Glamour). And while it's certainly OK to see more than one person at a time, make sure you don't divulge too many unwanted details about who else it is that you're seeing or the nature of your relationship.

You should also spend some time thinking about what it is that you're looking for, and be honest about your dating goals, or if you want to be in an open relationship. If you're looking for something serious, casual, or still figuring it out, that's an important thing to share with the people you're dating. And what's more, try to live in the moment and enjoy the various people you're dating as much as possible.

As psychosexual therapist Kate Moyle explained to Bustle, "Problems occur when one partner is under the impression you're just dating each other and this is where the biggest amount of upset occurs. You need to make sure that you're all on the same page."

When to stop dating multiple people

If you find that you're not enjoying romancing multiple people, that's because it might not be for you. "If you're using dating apps in hopes of finding a lasting relationship, the never-ending flow of new matches and the speed at which you can connect with them can be overwhelming. If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing dating burnout," Caitlin Cantor LCSW, CST, CGT revealed to Brides. "When you have dating burnout, you become less emotionally available . . . You wonder if it's the people you're meeting, or if you're no longer capable of having feelings at all."

Sometimes, focusing on dating only one person can help foster a stronger connection, especially since dating apps can make it feel as though there are an endless number of options. As Loren Soeiro PH.D. ABPP expressed to Brides, "With such a preponderance of options, maybe it doesn't seem worth it to treat any one person as a real priority."

Of course, if you're interested in moving things into the realm of being exclusive — which can have two meanings — with one person, that warrants a discussion. "As both partners become more serious about each other, this is typically around the three month mark, the conversation should be had — at that point both partners should agree to the type of relationship they are seeking from each other," sex and relationship expert Gillian Myhill informed Bustle. But it's vital to remember — just because they call it the dating game, doesn't necessarily mean there are hard and fast rules.