Keeping your options open when you're looking for love has its advantages, but beware of the multi-dating pitfalls too...
Why multi-dating is good
When you're single, it can seem like everyone else on the planet is loved-up. But that's not the case - there are millions of single men and women out there in the dating field too. With that in mind, don't feel pressured into thinking the first date that comes along is your only chance. Going on a few dates with a few different people will remind you there really are plenty of fish in the sea. So you can take your time, and keep your options open. So what if date number one, two and three are rubbish; dates four and five might be awesome.
Ease in gently
If you've been single for a while, or still feel wounded from your last breakup, the thought of another full-on relationship can be daunting. Multi-dating could be just the thing to help ease you back into the game. By telling yourself you're casually dating rather than urgently hunting for a partner, you'll take the pressure off looking too far ahead and getting overwhelmed by things you don't need to. So just relax and enjoy the process of meeting somebody - or somebodies - new, before you start thinking about what the long-term future might hold.
Open to surprises
If you're not used to playing the dating game, it can be very easy to keep plumping for your usual 'type'. It's human nature to stick with what we know. But sometimes it pays to keep an open mind; life's full of surprises, and so is romance. So ok, that person who sent a cheeky message to your online dating profile doesn't have the blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair you usually go for, but if they made you laugh, why not give it a shot? You could end up discovering that your ideal partner isn't quite who you thought after all.
Why multi-dating is bad
Quantity over quality
Choice is a funny thing. Take a really long restaurant menu, for example. At first, you're happy at being so spoilt for choice - but the more you read, the more you realise it just means a statistically higher chance of making the wrong choice! With a smaller menu, you can quickly and confidently identify what you'll enjoy most. The same applies to dating - it's about quality not quantity. So if Monday's date goes well, don't ruin it by thinking Friday's date might be better - by the time Friday comes around and you realise Monday's one was better after all, it could be too late! Moral of the story: sometimes less is more.
First impressions don't always matter
Society has hammered into us that first impressions are crucial. Job interviews, networking events, meeting the in-laws - fail to present your best self from the start and it's game over. Of course, first impressions are very important, but at the end of the day, we're all human. People get nervous, cautious and shy - or they might simply be knackered from a busy week. Multi-dating makes it easy to rule somebody out if there isn't 100% perfect chemistry the first time you meet. But remember if they seemed decent enough to go on a first date with, a second chance shouldn't be too much to ask.
On or off...
If multi-dating works for you, that's great. But, remember yours aren't the only feelings at stake - the people you're dating need to be considered too. Imagine how you'd feel if the tables were turned and you found out someone you thought was 'exclusive' was still dating other people? It might be months before you and your new partner have 'the chat' about being an item, but if you've spent entire weekends together, arranged holidays, met all someone's friends and family, then chances are, you're already there. If in doubt of where things stand, use your gut instinct.