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Dating Advice #55 - Double Dating

May 9, 2009 | by Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, J.D., M.Sc.

Juggling multiple dating partners is tricky business. But is it ethical?

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

Is it ethically wrong to date more than one woman at once? I recently went out with a woman on our first date. It went very well and I will definitely be going out with her again. She might even be "the one." Meanwhile, there are a couple other women that I also like and have been dating. Do I have to stop dating them?


Dear Jake,

Our answer depends on the reason you are dating. Assuming that you are actively looking for "the one," then we think it's a big mistake to date more than one person at a time.

This isn't an issue of ethics. However, when the goal is marriage, then dating more than one person at a time isn't fair to any of the parties involved, including yourself. It simply isn't possible to divide your focus between two or more women, if you want to give a budding courtship the attention it needs. You can never maximize a potential relationship when you keep thinking, "Is there someone better out there?"

If you meet someone who has "possibilities," the best thing is to concentrate on developing a good courtship with her. If things take off, your energies should be focused on acquiring a giving, sharing and trusting friendship that leads to emotional intimacy.

Even at the beginning of a new courtship, other dates are a difficult distraction. Face it, you won't be able to help comparing one woman to another, instead of trying to learn more about this woman who may turn out to be very special. In addition, when you start to compare, it's easy to highlight the flaws of your "subjects." Of course, nobody is perfect, and every woman you date will have her share of imperfections. You're not going to marry the woman with the fewest imperfections; you'll marry a woman whose positives counterbalance her negatives in a "mix" that is right for you. It's harder to see the whole person when you highlight parts of her persona compared to someone else.

Rosie & Sherry


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