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How should I handle this somewhat awkward dating situation?
May 23, 2010 6:33 PM   Subscribe

How should I handle this somewhat awkward dating situation?

I'm currently dating a few different ladies, via online dating. I had my second date last night with A, which went really well. We had our first kiss at the end of the night, and I left feeling really good. This afternoon, I had my second date with G, and while in a grocery store unfortunately ran into A. I was even wearing the same outfit I had worn the previous night, ha! A and I said hi to each other, but she quickly moved on, as she seemed to realize what was going on.

How should I handle this? Should I acknowledge this the next time I talk to A, or just let it pass? Really, we've only been on two dates, and I'm not at all feeling like I did anything wrong. But I do really like A, and don't want her thinking that I don't.

My plan was to text A tomorrow, and ask for her email, so I could send her some music we had talked about. But now I kind of want to text tonight, just to acknowledge the awkward situation that happened today. Or is texting in this situation now gauche? Should I call, instead? What do you think, folks?

Everyone involved is late 20/early 30s, if it matters. Thanks in advance!
posted by freem to Human Relations (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I wouldn't acknowledge it unless she brings it up - it seems like it would just make things awkward. I would still get in touch with her tonight or tomorrow, ideally calling instead of texting, to send the message that you are still interested.
posted by lunasol at 6:40 PM on May 23, 2010


"A" quickly moved on because she was creeped out by the fact that you went out with her, said goodnight and then went on to spend the night with G. Whether or not this is what actually happened is irrevelant after 2 dates, this is how it looked when she saw you with another woman and still wearing the same clothes from the night before.

Clearly "A" doesn't realize that you're sampling the milk from as many ewes as possible until you find one that suits you (which, by the way, many women consider 'gauche', not to mention a turn off.) Most civil course of action would be to call "A", explain to her that you're sampling as much milk as possible courtesy of the internet, and ask if she'd still like to continue seeing you under these circumstances.
posted by braemar at 6:59 PM on May 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


When dating multiple people (all people informed as such) there should be no problem.

Are all people aware that eveyone is dating multiple people?

If not, you have some explaining to do. If so, nothing was awkward.

Operate honestly and everything will be okay.
posted by marimeko at 7:02 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the issue here? After two dates with a woman you're supposed to hand her an itinerary of all you're doing and who you're doing with?

I guess some people are going to try and make you feel bad about this, such as braemar above. "[Y]ou're sampling the milk from as many ewes as possible until you find one that suits you (which, by the way, many women consider 'gauche', not to mention a turn off"? You serious?!

The OP has done nothing wrong. If A asks who the woman was, tell her. Until then, you're under no obligation to do so since you're not in an exclusive relationship with her.

Live your life and be happy.
posted by meadowlark lime at 7:03 PM on May 23, 2010 [17 favorites]


I wouldn't be so quick to assume you'll be talking to A in the future. Otherwise, let her bring it up.
posted by rhizome at 7:05 PM on May 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


What makes you think A realized what was going on? Just because you were in a grocery store with a woman the day after you went on a date with her doesn't necessarily mean anything. Surely you have plenty of friends that A hasn't met, male and female?
posted by ludwig_van at 7:08 PM on May 23, 2010


The grocery store setting may well have suggested that your relationship with G was something more stable and domestic than it is. Talking your way out of that impression may well be impossible.
posted by zadcat at 7:14 PM on May 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


go with the original plan of asking for her email to share music. call her though. her seeing you in the store with another lady just upped the stakes for HER is all. let her know you are still interested tomorrow, by phone, by asking for her email to share your musical whatever. let it alone tonight.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:17 PM on May 23, 2010


ludwig_van: I guess the speed at which she moved on made me think she knew what was up. Just a quick hi, and gone.

Also: "Operate honestly and everything will be okay."

I operate under the assumption that while engaging in online dating everyone is dating more than one person, at least in the early goings. I didn't think I HAD to explicitly state that I was dating more than one person.
posted by freem at 7:20 PM on May 23, 2010


Personally, I find the repetition of the outfit the most awkward part of this entire situation. If there's any understandable weirdness on A's part, it could be from braemar's example of how the meeting could be interpreted.

As far as the general concept of dating multiple people at once, I fully support this plan of action so you and the other people involved can find the best fit. There's nothing wrong with this, though it sure does sound a lot worse described with the judgement-laden "sampling the milk from as many ewes as possible until you find one that suits you".
posted by ymendel at 7:23 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, if you were wearing the same outfit as last night, and you didn't spend the night with A, she's going to assume the worst. And even though the explanation is innocent, she's not going to buy it. (If there were an AskMe to the effect of "I went on a date with a great guy, and the next day I saw him with another girl, in the same outfit; is this anything other than I think it is?" a lot of the answers would be "He totally spent the night at her house. DTMFA.")

If I were in A's shoes, I'd certainly appreciate an explanation, but I'd also probably keep you at arm's length in the future.

The weird thing about dating is that, although most people would say it's totally okay to go on dates with multiple people until you've decided on one, people also assume that they're the only one you're seeing. (You might be the only person they're seeing.) There isn't really any established protocol, so it's best to mention very early on that you're seeing/open to seeing other people.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:40 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would call her and tell her what was going on. I agree with ymendel that the most awkward part of this is your outfit because it makes it seem like you told her good night and then climbed into bed with someone else. Since you didn't, I'd put it out in the open and call her up and explain. Of course you don't owe her an itinerary or any of that, but a reasonable woman would be turned off by this believable assumption. So if you like her and want to see her again, I'd do some immediate damage control. If she says she doesn't want to hear it.... well, you win some, you lose some.

FYI, I just asked my husband and he said that he would never have noticed the same outfit. Maybe a gender difference? He says call her up, ignore the clothes thing, and say something like-sorry that was weird, you know how it is with us all doing the dating thing....address the awkwardness but totally ignore the clothes unless she mentions it and then tell her that you don't have that many awesome dating outfits so you wear that one a lot.
posted by supercapitalist at 7:44 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I agree that being caught in the same clothes is the most awkward part, and she probably noticed. Lets hope she simply chalks it up to male sartorial ineptitude. I think you should proceed as normal, but call, so she knows you're still interested. Nevermind the judgementalism above; its ok to date more than one person, as long as you're up front about it. (and please nobody get all worked up about what I said about men and dressing; there was tounge in cheek.)
posted by hollyanderbody at 8:22 PM on May 23, 2010


call "A", explain to her that you're sampling as much milk as possible courtesy of the internet, and ask if she'd still like to continue seeing you under these circumstances.

Don't do this - it's just silly and is not advice that is helpful to you. There isn't anything you can say that will rectify the situation - if indeed there is a situation. Call A, say hi - organise another date. Hopefully A is old enough to understand the dating scene - and that you're not somehow going steady - or betrothed to her.
posted by the noob at 8:36 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Clearly "A" doesn't realize that you're sampling the milk from as many ewes as possible until you find one that suits you (which, by the way, many women consider 'gauche', not to mention a turn off.)"

I think many humans do that. Not just men.
posted by ian1977 at 8:37 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Clearly "A" doesn't realize that you're sampling the milk from as many ewes as possible until you find one that suits you (which, by the way, many women consider 'gauche', not to mention a turn off.)"

They met on an online dating site, dude, most people on there are going on dates with as many people as they can, that's why they signed up. When you've met someone online the question isn't "are you seeing anyone else?" it's "so how many other people are you seeing right now, what is your level of involvement with each of them, and are you looking to be exclusive at some point?"
posted by The Straightener at 8:54 PM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was in a similar situation in my mid-20s.
Guy I worked with asked me to lunch. We were both new (along with 90% of our office) to town so I mentioned a couple of places I'd found.
The Guy got a strange look on his face and asked, "are you dating anyone?"
I said I'd met 3 or 4 people since interviewing in the town and gone out a couple of times.... He got a look of disdain and said, "you would date more than one guy at a time?"
"Well, yeah I would" (at this point I didn't add that 1 of the people was female, just attempted to calmly change the subject and get outta there.)
I soon heard through the work rumor mill-the guy was engaged and living with a 40yo woman in his previous city. Not that that matters.
At any rate I hadn't "sampled the milk" of the (ewwwwh) ewe or any of the rams (what was the poster above thinking? sounds so strange).
I settled on a ram and did the serial monogamy thing.
posted by Twist at 9:37 PM on May 23, 2010


"A" may've had something going on that had absolutely nothing to do with you, and might have been thinking, "Oh shit, I just wanted to run out to the store to get some Haagen-Dazs, and now I run into this guy that I might actually like. Shit! I've got to get out of here asap."

It's happened to me more than once.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:44 PM on May 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Call her up, ask about the next date, explain IF the vibe is weird, and change your clothes more often, for pete's sake, lol.
posted by smoke at 10:16 PM on May 23, 2010


Its clear that the most important player in this situation is you and your ipod playlist, so why change that? There are more chicks out there.

But, A is insulted, you know this. Why rehabilitate it? Do you really like her? What purpose would it serve to bring up this subject?

Also, why are you taking girls on dates to the grocery store?
posted by greasy_skillet at 10:25 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I also was thinking that being seen in the same outfit was the real problem and that was without thinking of the implication that you had stayed over at someone's house.

Wearing same pants, different shirt the next day is just fine.
Same shirt, different pants is ok but not great.
Same shirt, same pants, not cool.

This doesn't mean you have to wash everything after just one wear. If the shirt's still clean and not smelly at the end of the day hang it back up and put on a different one the next day.
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 2:10 AM on May 24, 2010


If I were A, I'd want to hear explicitly the same thing you said here (that you're dating multiple people and that you like her). Otherwise it's a mysterious skeleton in your just-built dating closet. Who was that girl? Do you like her? And why are you always wearing the same shirt?
posted by hungrytiger at 2:14 AM on May 24, 2010


First, please don't call women "ladies;" it comes off as patronizing and slightly icky.

Second, not everyone assumes that others are dating multiples, even in online situations. Lots of people date one person at a time.

You wanna see A again? You need to contact her and come clean. You like her, you want to continue seeing her, but she should know that you are also dating other people.

Lastly, change your clothes more often.
posted by dzaz at 2:51 AM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would say something simply so she doesn't think the girl she saw you with was your girlfriend. It would be very easy for her to construe the situation as you being one of those guys who uses the internet to get some on the side and then goes home to the girlfriend. That would be my concern if I was her. Merely dating other people wouldn't be a big deal as long as it was all non exclusive.
posted by whoaali at 6:34 AM on May 24, 2010


Dating multiple people tends to be a bit 'gauche' to those who aren't currently doing it.. until they are, at which point "well everyone else does!".. or they just pretend that it has always been acceptable practice to them. Regardless, it is clearly acceptable dating behaviour. If someone isn't comfortable with that, they should make it clear on the first date (or before!). She did not do this (presumably?) so you did nothing wrong.

I think dzaz gets to the point with the comment "not everyone assumes that others are dating multiples"... and yes, not everyone does assume that - they assume the opposite!

Lesson to people - don't assume unless you won't be too taken aback when you find you've made the wrong assumption!

Also, dzaz - you've got to be kidding. 'Ladies' is a completely acceptable term. Just because you personally find it slightly icky does not mean other people can't use it. Freem is not beholden to your better tastes in posting an askme. I find the term 'hubby' (among others) quite icky but I don't pipe up and complain anytime anyone uses it.
posted by mbatch at 6:40 AM on May 24, 2010


Also, why are you taking girls on dates to the grocery store?

LOL, I was thinking the same thing!

And yes, I agree with the poster who said it could very well have looked to A. like G. was a live-in GF and that you were looking for a side-dish when you sought out dates online. If you really want to see A. again, it would probably be a good idea to acknowledge the awkwardness of the grocery store thing, clear the air about its being just a date, and then let her know that you would like to see her again, and ask her if she's OK about things and if she would like to get together again. If she's not cool with it, then oh well. At least you were both honest.
posted by RRgal at 7:49 AM on May 24, 2010


Just a point of reference from a 20-something girl who has done some online dating. I agree, the clothes and the fact that you are running into A at the grocery store makes it a bit odd for the astute reasons may posters above have stated, but I don't think it's unforgivable or anything. I have always assumed that dating is non-exclusive until firmly stated otherwise.

I'd call and say something to the effect of "I really like you and I'm sorry if running into you was awkward." If she asks, (and if this is true!) tell her you had set up the date with G before your date with her. Just be honest. It's not a huge deal. Stressing about it, though, can make it one.
posted by chatongriffes at 8:28 AM on May 24, 2010


So, we talked on the phone today, no awkwardness at all. She brought up the fact that we ran into each other. She said she wasn't expecting to run into anyone, and was a little freaked out that she wasn't wearing any makeup, etc. She even apologized for being rude, and I of course assured her she wasn't. We made another date, all is right with the world.

Really...is wearing the same outfit two days in a row that huge of a faux pas? I do it pretty much all the time, and not just with dating outfits.

Oh, and we were passing the grocery store, and G needed to pick something up quickly. It wasn't the date activity, ha!
posted by freem at 12:01 PM on May 24, 2010


"Really...is wearing the same outfit two days in a row that huge of a faux pas? I do it pretty much all the time, and not just with dating outfits."

Um, yeah. Unless you wear the same sort of clothing all the time to the point where nobody can tell your outfit apart from day to day. If you were wearing a distinctive item of clothing, people will notice. I don't necessarily think you should consider the outfit "dirty" if it's not, but don't wear it the same day 2 days in a row. It looks very (a) college student slacker, or (b) I had a booty call.

As far as I have been able to tell, most people do seem to assume that you are only dating one person at a time. If you're not, you may need to establish that to all parties involved.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:22 PM on May 24, 2010


Freem, well done. Sounds like A is a pretty cool and classy lady.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:41 AM on May 25, 2010


freem - there is nothing wrong with wearing the same outfit two days in a row, just understand that folks like jenfullmoon will consider it a faux pas. It is their problem, not yours. Unless you are invested in keeping their nose above board when pointed in your direction.

Also, there is nothing wrong, illegal, anti-social, or culturally repugnant about being a college student slacker or someone who has booty calls.. again, as long as you don't mind being perceived as one.

Finally, from chatongriffes: Just a point of reference from a 20-something girl who has done some online dating... I have always assumed that dating is non-exclusive until firmly stated otherwise.. This is nearly the opposite of what jenfullmoon said, so perhaps the assumption is 50/50, or somebody needs to do some statistical analysis. Either way, making it clear up front might be the easier safer route in the future.

Full disclosure: I rarely wear the same outfit two days in a row and I don't date multiple people at once.
posted by mbatch at 5:56 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


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