No Shame in the Game: A Gender Inclusive Guide to Dating Multiple People
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No Shame in the Game: A Gender Inclusive Guide to Dating Multiple People

March 26, 2023 by PathForward
Dating multiple people is normal — and totally modern.
Dating multiple people is normal — and totally modern.

So you're curious about dating multiple people. Is it normal? Is it healthy? Can you do it without getting hurt? Getting a Psychic Reading can help you get a sense of what your ideal relationship and dating style look like. Here's what you need to know about dating multiple people to get started.

Is Playing the Field Part of Modern Dating?

In the past, "playing the field" had a bad reputation. In today's world, though, dating multiple people has a modern twist. It's not only common practice, but it's also totally natural. No matter your gender, the desire to date multiple people is a healthy, normal, and blameless human behavior.

That is, as long as you follow certain rules. Whether you're into polyamory, ethical non-monogamy, or want to date around for a bit before settling down, there's no shame in playing the field if you're respectful and follow the rules of the game. For some, having multiple partners is their way of life for the long haul. For others, it's a temporary stop on the way to a monogamous relationship. No matter who you are and how you see yourself and envision your future, you can date multiple people while keeping things fun and safe for everyone involved.

What Are the Rules for Dating Multiple People?

You want to protect your heart (and body) if you're seeing multiple people. You also want to follow the rules to keep other people safe. Everyone has different expectations, so communication and consent are key. Here are some rules to keep in mind for the world of modern dating:

Always Be Safe

Staying safe is essential both in the bedroom and before you get there. The first time you meet someone, do it in a public place and make sure a trusted friend knows your plans so they can check-in. When things heat up, take the proper precautions to protect your health. Talk about what you're into (and not into) upfront, and make sure everyone respects everyone else's boundaries. If your boundaries aren't being respected, that's a red flag.

Never Take Advantage of Someone's Affections

If you're not committed, you might think you have less responsibility. Casual dating means meeting new people and having fun, no strings attached. But keep in mind — you may be playing the field, but this isn't a competition.

Some people make casual dating an opportunity to participate in their own version of "The Bachelor," thriving on others' jealousy to feel better about themselves. If you're dating someone who does this, that's another red flag. And if you find yourself doing it yourself? It's time to take a step back. You don't have to break hearts to have fun.

Be Honest About Your Intentions

Honesty is essential to any relationship, no matter how casual. If you're dating more than one person, you'll want to make sure everyone involved knows that you're doing so. Everyone deserves to know what they're getting into so they can make informed decisions about their own desires and expectations. That said, honesty doesn't mean giving play-by-plays of other dates to your current partner. Generally speaking, what happens on a date should stay between you and that date (more on that in a minute).

Know Your Reasons for Dating Multiple People

You can choose to date multiple people for many reasons. Maybe you're not ready for a monogamous relationship right now. Maybe you've had a bad breakup, are leaving a toxic relationship, or are focusing on your career right now. Maybe you're polyamorous. All of these reasons are completely healthy and normal! As long as you're honest with your partners and yourself about why you're doing what you're doing, there's no shame in it. And being honest with yourself means really taking the time to figure out what you want and need from dating and relationships.

Ask yourself if you want to date multiple people for the long term (totally cool!) or if you're just doing it to meet your needs right now (also totally cool!). Dating multiple people requires transparency, and you can't be honest with others if you're not honest with yourself. So, take some time to think about and understand your short- and long-term intentions, then communicate with your dates and partners. You'll save everyone's hearts from a lot of pain if everyone is on the same page about what to expect.

All in all, knowing what you want is key. Modern dating is inherently less straightforward than dating in the past. While it's great that we no longer have to stick with strict, outdated gender rules that simply don't fit everyone's reality, without a standard playbook, it can be easy to go on lots of dates and find yourself in a situation based on what someone else wants.

Know what you really want and keep it at the forefront of your mind throughout your romantic interactions. Ask yourself the tough questions about the types of dates you want to go on, the level of intimacy you want, and how you see this going for the long run so you can set a course that works for you.

Discuss Deal Breakers Upfront

Regardless of your intentions, communicating about things that won't fly goes a long way in respecting everyone involved. Talk about your deal breakers and partners' deal breakers, and commit to respecting each other's boundaries.

For some people, this might look like steering clear of friends or past partners. For others, it might mean setting a timetable for reassessing the relationship structure. Check in about where things are going. Spending time together can lead to catching feelings, even if neither of you means to get emotionally involved.

Communicate if Feelings Change

On that note, be aware that feelings can and do change over time. If you think you're in too deep, have an honest talk with your partner. Maybe you started dating someone thinking you wanted just a simple, uncomplicated, casual relationship with them and some other folks, only to find yourself in a cliche head-over-heels-in-love situation.

You may be afraid to tell the other person how your feelings have changed, especially if you thought you were both on the same page with casual intentions. However, it's not fair to either party to proceed as if everything stayed the same when it hasn't. Your best course of action is to be open and honest, so you can assess if you want to proceed with the relationship. Your love interest might secretly have the same feelings as you, or they may not want to continue seeing you if they're committed to dating casually.

You'd want your partner to tell you if their feelings changed from your original agreement so you could decide for yourself about how you wanted things to go. Give them the same opportunity.

Prioritize Clear Communication

OK, maybe all of the above can fall into this category. Still, it bears repeating: Communication is essential to any relationship, so communication is especially important if you're juggling multiple dates or partners. If you don't know where your partner stands, ask them. You deserve responsiveness, authenticity, and clear communication so you can respect your boundaries and decide if someone is compatible with you. Compatibility looks like different things to different folks, but communication always makes things better.

Don't Kiss and Tell (Unless You're All Into It)

If all of your partners like to hear about dates, then by all means, talk about it. Otherwise, sharing the intimate details of your dating life can make things uncomfortable for the person you're currently with, in addition to violating the trust of the person you're describing. Also, no one likes someone who brags. You shouldn't hide that you're seeing multiple people, and maybe you don't like having secrets. This is something to talk about early on to ensure you're on the same page about what should and shouldn't be shared.

Prioritize Respect

Whatever you want for yourself, remembering to check in with your partners and respect their feelings and boundaries is so important. This is true whether you're in a long-term, monogamous relationship or you're casually dating around. Society overall still fixates on monogamous relationship structures, and not everyone is comfortable with the idea of dating multiple people. Polyamory and casual dating can be off-putting to some people, so while the phrase "you do you" has never been more true, you still need to think about how your potential partners might react to your choices.

No matter how you choose to date, keep one word in mind: RESPECT. Be respectful of others' feelings and choices, even if you wouldn't choose the same things for yourself. Communicate and value consent. If you do, you're well on your way to fulfilling modern dating, no matter what it looks like to you.

Do you think someone isn't following those rules with your heart? Talk to a PathForward Psychic today for insight into your relationship and the best steps you can take.


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