I’m not sure where exactly it happened.
But somewhere along the way our culture decided that “dating” was synonymous with “having sex”. At the very least it’s viewed as such in the narrow minds of enough of the general population to keep tons of self-conscious people all over the fruited plain from dating more than one person at a time.
Why we’re dating one person at a time
And if that’s the prevailing mindset, the way most of us operate is understandable.
After all, most women are more than just a little protective of their reputations.
Meanwhile, on the guys’ side, there’s a deep-seated fear of being branded a “player”…often easily rooted out by a few well-placed questions from a woman on a first date.
What does all this fear lead to? You guessed it. People tend to date one person at a time—sometimes for months or even years—only to ultimately decide that the person they’re with isn’t The One.
Why it doesn’t work
So my question is a simple one.
How in the world is someone—man or woman—supposed to effectively figure out what he or she even really wants from “Mr. or Mrs. Right” when he or she is burning so many cycles hanging out with “Mr. or Mrs. Maybe”?
And can we change our collective mindset to one where “dating” several people at once isn’t only acceptable, but preferable?
For starters, I think it’s time to broaden our perspective. I think it’s time for a real, live re-evaluation of exactly what “dating” should be for.
What dating shouldn’t be
First of all, let’s clarify what dating shouldn’t be.
For starters, it shouldn’t necessarily be “practice marriage”, especially not on the first date (!) or shortly thereafter. If you are still looking at every date as a “marriage interview”, I wouldn’t be surprised if you ran into beaucoup frustrating, if not flat-out awkward moments out there.
Second of all, dating doesn’t have to be placed in a box with a particular label on it. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Dating in the 21st century
If you’re into high-pressure, formal mood-killers like Ye Olde Dinner And A Movie, welcome to the 21st century. First dates should be more interactive and fun…with plenty of opportunity to actually get to know each other.
After all, let’s face it. Unless you’re trying to intentionally limit your dating pool to people you work with and/or those whom your mother sets you up with, the “get to know you” part is going to be paramount.
And with literally everyone jumping on the online dating bandwagon these days, who in their right mind is still hell-bent on “dipping their pen in the company ink”? There are 3 billion MOTOS (Members Of The Opposite Sex) out there…most of them single!
How to date online
So what about online dating? When you meet someone you’ve been talking to online, that first meeting can’t even really be considered a “date” if you think about it.
After all, you should only be meeting casually at that stage to figure out if there’s any basic chemistry going on there at all.
That’s it. No stress, no strain. And certainly such meetings are without the necessity that any sex is going to be taking place…right there in Starbucks.
Now if the sparks fly, so be it. But my point is that this isn’t even really “dating”.
So what if there ARE sparks? Should there be wedding plans after the first date?
It sounds silly to even contemplate, doesn’t it?
Why you should date more than one person
Ultimately, I’d recommend LOTS of dates with lots of people before entering into an exclusive relationship with someone.
There are two great reasons for this.
First, life is too short to evaluate potential partners one at a time. Meeting and interacting with numerous people gives you a chance to find out what your real preferences are when it comes to MOTOs, as opposed to your pre-conceived ones.
And amazingly, it’s uncanny how having several options when it comes to your mixed-company social life begets amazing confidence. You don’t cling so desperately to each individual “opportunity”, and therefore you magically become more attractive to MOTOS in general.
Nothing succeeds like success, right?
Second, exclusive relationships should be meaningful. Why cheapen the experience by giving it away so quickly? Take time to get to know someone fully before selecting that person to the exclusion of all others.
Make it count
Make exclusivity count. If you fall in love, be sure about it and LOVE BIG.
Explain your philosophy to anyone you are “dating” who appears to be pressuring you into exclusivity too quickly. Be honest with MOTOS, and rest assured that it will typically result in real respect and even heightened attraction.
Now that sounds to me like the path of someone with real depth. And I don’t see any downside to that.