17 Rules To Follow When Dating Multiple People

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Dating different people at the same time is actually not that uncommon. After all, you might be interested in more than one person and need time to get to know them all to figure out who you want to be with.

People sometimes confuse this with polyamory, which means that you’ll be romantically and sexually involved with several people. Dating multiple people is somewhat similar in the sense that you’re seeing more than one person, but it’s mostly about figuring out which person you’re most attracted to and/or compatible with.

Granted, you might not want a relationship with any of the people you’re dating, but it’s still important to know the rules to follow to save everyone from unnecessary hurt.

1. Think about why you want to date multiple people.

Before dating multiple people at the same time, think about your reasons for doing so.

If you’re interested in more than one person and want to see where things might lead with each of them, there’s nothing wrong with that! There’s also nothing wrong with just wanting to have some fun.

However, your motive shouldn’t be that “everyone is doing it.” If you want to date several people, by all means, go ahead! But make sure that you’re doing it because you genuinely want to, not because someone else is doing it or because you’re trying to avoid commitment with any of them due to past hurts.

Some valid reasons include looking for the right person that you can have a future with, not being in a place where you want to commit to only one person, not wanting a committed relationship (out of choice, not because you’ve got commitment issues), or wanting an open relationship.

All of this is okay, but it needs to be okay with everyone involved, which brings us to one of the most important rules you should follow…

2. Be honest with everyone.

Rest assured that the people you’re dating don’t want the details, but they do want the truth, and they deserve it. So, don’t hide the fact that you’re dating multiple people. Be honest with everyone and let them know that you’re still seeing what’s out there.

Letting someone believe that you’re exclusive even though you’re not is simply wrong. Don’t let them get that impression. Open up about dating multiple people.

This can be a weird conversation for a first date, but surely there’ll be an opportunity to say it casually, and the sooner the better. You should also be honest about your goal. Are you looking to choose a person you’ll be serious with, or are you looking for an open relationship?

Do you want something casual or do you wish to meet the future mother/father of your children? Are you looking for commitment, or are you afraid of it?

All the people you’re dating should be aware of the end goal of the dating process. So, talk about your relationship goals and be open about your intentions to save everyone from unnecessary pain.

3. Respect everyone’s privacy.

While all the people you’re dating deserve the truth, they certainly don’t want to hear too much about each other. So, being honest with them doesn’t mean that you should share the details of a date you had with one person when you’re on a date with the other person.

No one likes to hear about their date’s other dates, even if they don’t have a jealous bone in their body. Would you like to know that a person dating you likes your sense of style but prefers someone else’s sense of humor? Of course you wouldn’t.

As long as you’ve made it clear that you’re seeing other people and have been honest about what you’re looking for, you don’t owe anyone any more information.

In fact, they don’t want to know, even if they get curious enough to ask. So, respect everyone’s privacy and make sure to keep everyone’s secrets too.

4. Don’t turn it into a competition.

If you’re dating two or more people to see which one you want to settle down with, you’ll probably compare them in your head. They should not be aware of that, let alone start competing for your attention.

Some people crave attention so much that they make their dates compete for it. Who will make you laugh more? Who will pick up the bill? Who makes your heart beat faster?

While it’s normal to think about these things when choosing the right person for you, don’t think that you’re in your own episode of The Bachelor. Show respect to the people you’re dating, and don’t forget that none of them has to agree to keep dating you or get involved with you.

They are probably choosing the right person for themselves, too, so don’t forget that you should woo and impress them, not just wait to be wooed and impressed. Even if you’re not looking for commitment, don’t make your dates compete for you.

5. Respect their choices.

You should be aware that none of the people you’re dating has to accept that you are seeing other people too.

Some will not be okay with that, while others will try to fight for you. Some might tell you that they’re also dating other people or simply be casual about the whole thing.

Be prepared for all reactions, and don’t forget that your dates’ relationship goals might not match with yours. Maybe you’re looking for commitment, and they’re not, or you want an open relationship, and they want to find “The One” where “one” is very important to them.

Everyone has the right to want whatever they want when it comes to their love life. If they want different things than you, you have to respect their choices. There are plenty of people of both genders who are looking for something casual, so getting involved with someone who’s looking for something serious while you’re not is just asking for trouble.

6. Don’t expect them to date only you.

While someone might not be okay with the whole dating multiple people situation, someone else could be doing exactly the same thing as you are! In this case, you have no right to be mad at them for seeing what’s out there.

Even if they aren’t already seeing someone besides you, you can’t get upset if they do after finding out that you’re dating others too. Until you agree to be exclusive, you are both free to date anyone you want.

They can’t make you date only them, and you can’t make them commit to you either. The safest way to prevent heartbreak is to not assume anything while you’re casually dating. Until you’ve both made it clear that it’s just the two of you from now on, you’ve both free to see other people.

7. Know that a relationship is not a guarantee.

With more than one person interested in you, you might start to think that all this dating is guaranteed to end in a relationship. That it’s just a matter of who you’ll choose to end up in a relationship with.

That is not quite the case, and you should remind yourself that none of the people you’re dating are obliged to enter into a relationship with you. So, it’s quite possible that you won’t end up in a relationship with any of them.

Don’t assume that all these people are crazy about you and are just waiting for a green light from you. They are also considering their options – even if they aren’t dating other people – and they are trying to determine whether you’re the right person for them, whatever it is that they are looking for.

Dating comes with no promises, so don’t come with too many expectations, and don’t make assumptions. Dating two or more people at the same time is likely to give you an ego boost, but remind yourself that these people have other options too.

8. Don’t date too many people.

No one can tell you how many people you should date, but there is a number that helps prevent unnecessary confusion: three.

Dating more than three people at the same time can cause you to lose track of things and get lost in all that information. Meaning, you won’t really be able to see if there’s a connection with some of them since it will likely get frustrating and overwhelming.

So, dating two or three people at the same time is a sensible limit to stick to. While dating one person each day of the week might sound possible for first dates, don’t forget that you’re supposed to keep going on dates with these people, and you’ll end up overbooked, exhausted, and with no time for other aspects of your life.

In addition, you want to give them all equal attention to make it fair play, because if you’re giving most of your attention to one person from the start, why not focus only on them for now? There is a possibility that you’ve made your choice sooner than you’ve expected, so if you’re particularly drawn to one person, they might be worth focusing on.

All in all, save your time and energy for the people you like, don’t date a lot of people just for the sake of dating a lot of people.

9. Know when to stop.

You are likely dating multiple people at once with the end goal of entering a relationship with one person, and you can’t date forever anyway.

The best way to make sure to stop on time is to come up with a fixed number of dates. For instance, you might choose to have three or five dates before having “the talk.” This should be enough time to figure out who you want to be with, or, more importantly, who you don’t want to be with.

Doing that sooner rather than later is definitely recommended because more time together often means more feelings for each other. Don’t string anyone along. Know when you need to let them go or get involved.

Don’t make them wait forever for you to make up your mind, and respect their feelings enough to back away if you don’t reciprocate them.

Unless you and your dates agree to an open relationship, you can’t get involved with all of them, so know when it’s time to make a choice and end things with those you don’t want to be with.

When you decide that you don’t want to take things further with someone, let them down gently and remind them that you were honest from the start. If you’re not on the same page, things can’t work out between you.

10. Don’t feel guilty.

Have you lied to anyone? Are you cheating on anyone? If everyone you’re dating is aware of each other and you’re not in a relationship with any one of them, you’re not doing anything wrong. So, there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

Why do you feel guilty then?

You might feel like you’re cheating on someone at some point. If you feel that way, you shouldn’t take it for granted. It might be a sign that you’ve developed feelings for the person you feel like you’re cheating on.

Or it might be a sign that you’ve developed feelings for the person you feel like you’re cheating with.

In any case, you shouldn’t ignore your feelings. This might be the right time to decide on who you want to be with.

Whatever you do, make sure that you’re okay with dating multiple people. When it stops feeling natural and fun, it might be best to reconsider doing it.

You might be feeling guilty for no apparent reason because this is simply not for you, so consider whether you really want to date all these people or if you’re going against your own morals.

11. Have a life outside of your love life.

Dating multiple people is very time-consuming, especially if you’re trying to give everyone the same attention. It could get you too caught up in your love life and make you neglect other aspects of your life.

That is why it’s important to limit the number of people you’re going to date. You need to have a life outside of your love life, especially if you want to date casually. After all, you had friends, family, a career, hobbies, and other things in your life before you started dating these people. Don’t neglect these areas of your life. Keep living it.

While it’s okay to date multiple people, your life shouldn’t revolve around them. Other things in your life need your attention too, so don’t put all your energy into dating as many people as you can.

If you do, consider whether you’re rushing to find the one or are trying to avoid getting involved with anyone. You might think that this is the faster way to find the right person or a great way to avoid getting hurt. That’s not a great approach to take, so don’t forget to work toward what you really want in life, outside of a relationship.

12. Don’t make things complicated with sex.

Dating doesn’t necessarily mean getting sexually involved in any way. In fact, we often assume that people date so that they can then introduce sex when they are an official couple.

However, you might get sexually involved with one or more people that you’re dating. This makes things confusing, complicated, and sometimes even dangerous.

While there’s nothing wrong with sleeping with someone you’re still only dating, when they’re not the only person you’re dating, things can get messy.

Separating sex and feelings is easier said than done, and those feelings often come with jealousy. Someone is likely to get hurt, so it’s best to decide on one partner before getting involved either sexually or romantically or both.

If you sleep with the people you’re dating anyway, make sure to use protection and try to keep things transparent so that no one’s feelings get hurt.

13. Don’t play with anyone’s emotions.

Speaking of feelings, there are bound to be some. The whole purpose of dating is to get to like the person you’re dating, and this happens even when we don’t want it to.

Dating more than one person can get complicated if there are feelings involved. Someone could start having feelings for you, and those feelings often come with jealousy.

So, if one of the people you’re dating starts falling in love with you, the right thing to do would be to stop dating them, unless you’re going to reciprocate those feelings.

Don’t play with anyone’s emotions. Have a limit of dates you’re going to go on before you decide whether or not you want to take it further. And always be honest about what you’re searching for. If you don’t want the same things, it’s best to go your separate ways.

14. Be clear about what you want.

What is it that you want, though? Are you searching for a serious relationship with the right person, or something casual with several people? Do you want an open relationship, or are you looking to commit to someone?

You should be crystal clear about what you want before you start dating lots of people. They should be aware of it too, but most importantly, you should know what you want to achieve with this.

Are you just looking for some fun, or are you hoping to meet the love of your life? This can determine how you approach the people you’re dating, and it’s necessary to know the answers if you want to be honest with everyone and avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.

When you decide on what you want to achieve, think about it again. This time, ask yourself why you want that. Maybe you had a bad breakup that left you with trust issues. Perhaps you are afraid of commitment because you think everyone is going to hurt you the same way someone from your past did.

Regardless of what it is that you want, there might be some underlying issues that aren’t going to go away on their own, and you need to work through them to get what you truly deserve.

15. Date separate people on separate days.

You can avoid overbooking yourself by dating separate people on separate days. If you have two or more dates during the same day, you are going to neglect other aspects of your life, risk the people you’re dating running into each other, and it will simply be stressful.

Even though these people are aware of each other, it’s best not to let them meet if they don’t have to, plus, you won’t be able to relax and have fun, and it will be hard to keep track of things.

You don’t want to arrive at a date while still thinking about the date before. Avoid overlaps and make sure that everything sinks in by scheduling dates with separate people on separate days.

You might want to take a few days just for yourself too, so you could make sure that there’s a date-free day in between separate dates. It might make the dating process longer, but it will let you live your life the way you did so far and keep things casual for now.

16. Don’t share too much.

We’ve talked about not sharing too much with the people you’re dating because they don’t need to know the details about each other, but this is not the only thing not sharing too much refers to.

People like to gossip, and sometimes they’re just looking for something to talk about. Even though there’s nothing uncommon about dating multiple people, you don’t want to stage a show that someone would love talking about. Meaning, don’t share too much about your love life with anyone.

Of course, you can talk about it with the people close to you, but it’s still best not to share too much. Word gets around, and you don’t want one of your dates finding out that you had more fun on the date with the other person or that you told your friend something they’ve told you in private.

Stay discrete even if you’re not yet involved with anyone. After all, your private life isn’t anyone’s business.

17. Know that you can still fall in love.

Even if you’re just looking to have some fun and aren’t after anything serious, know that you could still develop feelings for one or more people that you’re dating. You’re a human being, so you can’t really stop yourself from experiencing emotions.

Casual dating sounds fun, but even people who aren’t looking for feelings can catch them. So, you could fall in love when casually dating multiple people at the same time.

When this happens, you should think about whether you want to pursue that relationship. If so, you’ll probably need to stop dating other people. If you still just want casual fun, you could stop dating the person you’re having feelings for and keep dating others.

What if you are having feelings for more than one person and you simply can’t choose? Well, that’s the risk of dating multiple people, and unless they’re fine with being in an open relationship with you, you can’t keep them all.

Whatever you do, know that feelings change things, and they can catch us off guard.


In the end, think about whether dating multiple people is the right choice for you. It might be simpler to focus on one person at a time if you’re looking for a partner.

If you want to get sexually or romantically involved with more than one person, be honest about what you want and get their consent, but know that things can get complicated even if everyone’s on board with it.

As already mentioned, we are only human, and we can’t always stop ourselves from developing feelings and getting jealous. However, know that, as long as everyone’s on the same page, you’re not doing anything wrong, whether it’s dating multiple people or getting sexually involved with one or more of them.

Whatever two or more consenting adults choose to do is okay, just take these rules into consideration, try to be honest with everyone including yourself, and stay safe.

Dating a few people at once can be stressful and lead to complications, so it would be good to have someone on your side to help you through it. While friends and family can sometimes be of great help, you might want to talk to a professional who has had experience with people in a similar situation as you. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat

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About Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.