Should I keep dating other guys?
October 27, 2020 10:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm already seeing someone but we're not official. Another guy I like is asking me out. What should I do?

I met a guy (let's call him Guy A) on an online dating app, we first met about 2 weeks ago and things seem to be getting serious pretty fast (actually a lot faster than is usual for me - I already spent several nights at his place and we spent the weekend together). We basically see each other almost every day, but we aren't official yet and we didn't have the exclusivity talk yet either. He's smart and attractive and everything, he's been really nice to me so far and I enjoy spending time with him, but I'm not yet sure if I want to be in an exclusive relationship with him because it seems like it's still very early to decide and we don't know each other that well yet.

Before meeting Guy A I matched with Guy B who was actually the only guy whose online dating profile I really liked, also he's the only guy I messaged first. It took Guy B about 3 weeks to reply to my message so I thought he's probably not that interested, but since then we started talking a bit (that was before I started seeing Guy A) and he's now asking me out on a date.

So I have no idea what to do. Some of my friends think I'd be stupid to reject Guy B if I've only known Guy A for a few days and we haven't made it official yet. Also they claim Guy A could be seeing other girls as well (but I doubt that because we've been seeing each other pretty frequently and spent a lot of time together, also he hinted that he's not active on the online dating app anymore). I know I can just ask Guy A if he's seeing other people, but I'm not yet sure if I want to reject Guy B because of him. Normally I wouldn't even be thinking about meeting Guy B at this point, but I've regretted being this way in the past (e. g. rejecting other guys and then it turned out the guy I was seeing was a jerk or that I didn't really like him that much after all).

What do you think is the right thing to do? Or how do I decide? I'm worried I'll reject Guy B and then realise we're not compatible with Guy A or something. I hate the idea of seeing more people at once (especially since we're already physical with Guy A), but at the same time I'm not sure if it would really be so wrong to just meet Guy B for a walk or a short coffee date? Also I'm worried about the fact that I'm even contemplating this - if I liked Guy A enough, shouldn't I be indifferent to other guys and not even think about meeting someone new? Please help me make the right decision.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go on a date with Guy B. It’s just a date and you’ll always wonder “what if” if you don’t go.
posted by nathaole at 10:34 PM on October 27, 2020 [24 favorites]

if I liked Guy A enough, shouldn't I be indifferent to other guys and not even think about meeting someone new? Please help me make the right decision.

nah, monogamous commitment (or in this case the glimmer of a possibility of making one) isn’t a magic spell that banishes feelings about other people. your feelings are ok and it’s totally ok to meet this other person for a walk or a coffee or whatever if you have some interest! maybe doing so would help you suss out how you’re feeling overall, too. whether or not you’d like to is up to you though
posted by Gymnopedist at 11:13 PM on October 27, 2020 [6 favorites]

I just favorited nathaole's comment because i think that it's "The correct thing to do if you're exhibiting common sense and stuff." blah blah blah.

But my guts are twisting at the thought of how your guts are twisting. It appears to me that you are on "the horns of a dilemma" and those horns can have some sharp points on them.

If I were to pretend I was a regular person with common sense etc I'd absolutely to go on a date with Guy B. It's not going to hurt anything (probably) other than to maybe get your heart even more tangled.

If it comes down to it, this works: Get yourself a coin in your hand. A big coin makes it more fun but any coin will do. Consider what you're question is: Do I go out with Guy B or not? Flip the coin, catch it in your hand, call it "Heads" or "Tails." Now -- look at the coin. IMMEDIATELY, without a seconds hesitation, read your gut -- how did that feel, that you're going out with him, or not going out with him.

You're going to say "Now this is just ridiculous." and you'll be correct -- you know what you're doing, it'd be better if i was there (or someone, anyone) who could do the coin toss for you, and to tell you to IMMEDIATELY read your gut feeling. But it seems to hoodwink your common sense (or it does mine anyways, and lots of other ppl I've given this to), that IMMEDIATE read is good to have in hand. In my experience, more often than not it'll show me The News, the Capital T Truth.

So if you don't get any better answer, give this a shot. Maybe do it even if you do it just for fun, to prove how wrong I am, though you might be surprised.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:17 PM on October 27, 2020 [16 favorites]

If COVID is not happening where you are, then do it. You and Guy A have not had an exclusivity talk yet, and two weeks is too early to wonder if it's inappropriate or portentous to "still" consider dating anyone else.

But thinking from a medical perspective: if you do live in a place affected by COVID, you can't just go see Guy B. Well, if you're confident you can stay several feet apart and keep the masks on (like on some kind of walk in the park), then okay. But drinking coffee together, or otherwise sitting close/removing masks/moving masks up and down? Or perhaps even touching? You need to tell Guy A if you're doing any of that. If I were seeing someone, had trusted them enough to be bubbled/freely intimate, and then found out they'd done something like drunk coffee with a stranger without telling me...I would be VERY upset. "End it immediately" levels of upset.

Like: I might be concerned that Guy A maybe assumes you're exclusive now, considering what a big decision it's become to be intimate with a new partner. Are you assuming it's okay to not really be bubbling--and could he be assuming the opposite? It's probably time to discuss this if you haven't already. Coyness about exclusivity doesn't work great in a pandemic.
posted by desert outpost at 11:20 PM on October 27, 2020 [42 favorites]

things seem to be getting serious pretty fast (actually a lot faster than is usual for me - I already spent several nights at his place and we spent the weekend together). We basically see each other almost every day, but we aren't official yet

A former therapist used to advise against spending too much time with a new person in a short period because, according to her, it might lead to serotonin-induced cognitive impairment, or what some call new relationship energy. That is a lovely thing to feel but sometimes you get there too early, before you actually know the person. So I vote for you to go on the date, if you can do it in a safe way, and also to consider slowing down the relationship with Guy A to see how that feels.

The pandemic has made everything weird, and dating is no exception. If you are aiming for monogamy and you do have serious feels for Guy A, maybe have that talk soon so you can figure out where you are and *also* judge your risk when it comes to potential exposure to Covid-19.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:05 AM on October 28, 2020 [9 favorites]

The first guy definitely likes you (!)... but it's unclear whether or not he's looking for monogamous commitment like you are. But you guys are having fun and enjoying things so keep it up and see where it goes, I'm rooting for you both! That said, I'd go out with the second guy once. Keep it short and simple, like a coffee date, and mentally plan to hug at the end, not kiss (unless you want otherwise.) It's not unusual for someone to take that long to respond to a first-time message and he clearly likes you, too, since he's asking you out!

I am very experienced in online dating, before before and now. I say this not as expert but more as someone who has seen its good and bad sides, and tried various approaches. I've always had options but they're not necessarily the options I want. I've found myself repeatedly disappointed by either people whom I like but don't want anything serious or vice versa (so I can't really judge them.) It's fine to be sleeping with one person you're dating and not even have kissed another. I've totally done this before, or slept with multiple people, and everyone is on board because it's new. Putting all my hopes on one new person never seems to work out, unfortunately: it could be me or them or just the situation. In any case, COVID complicates everything! I have still dated a lot but I am much more selective about the people I go out with, the places we meet, and if there's anything physical contact beyond a hug; I tend to space out dates more, too, and be more forward in letting them know if I'm not interested anymore.

You can decide what's best for you but, like those above, I really recommend at least meeting the second once for a bit. The dating gods are smiling down upon you and that's a special experience for anyone (but then also less fun than you'd think.) And please remember that dating is not about Person A versus Person B but about what you want and need from a relationship, hookup, etc. Good luck!
posted by smorgasbord at 6:32 AM on October 28, 2020

A lot of people (esp in online dating) will start things intensely to generate excitement, but are not in it for commitment so things fizzle quickly. I'm not saying that's what your guy is doing, but at two weeks it's really impossible to tell where things are headed. All that is to say that I wouldn't rule out Guy B just because things seem to be headed in a certain direction with Guy A.
posted by bearette at 7:14 AM on October 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

I vote see Guy B. My reason is because you obviously felt he was worth it and you owe it to yourself to find out if you were right!

Also, you’re not exclusive with Guy A until you 1) decide you definitely want to be and 2) have that discussion with him where you both clearly and happily agree to that. It doesn’t sound like you are even really at step 1 yet.

Dating multiple people isn’t for everyone but meeting this guy once isn’t the same thing as being involved.
posted by kapers at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2020

My two cents, if I were Guy A I'd probably be thinking that things were headed towards exclusivity and even if you haven't had "the talk" I'd be surprised if after a whirlwind two weeks I found out you felt you needed to go on a date with Guy B. Especially after the fact.

One key missing piece of information here is how old you are. Expectations, I assume, are a bit different based on whether you're 18 or 28 or 38 or 68.

Not saying you shouldn't date Guy B if you're feeling motivated to, but my suggestion is that you talk to Guy A before you do and know that you're risking hurting Guy A's feelings when you do. There's a non-zero chance if you put all the cards on the table you'll end up with neither Guy A or Guy B, but I feel it's always better to be honest.

For the record, when I was dating this happened all the damn time. Message a few people on OK Cupid or whatever, have a few good dates with somebody, and then a person B would pop up. If I'd gotten physical with someone (and was still physical, or planning to be) then I'd simply reply and say "hey, bad timing - just had some really good dates with someone else and I want to explore that. Can I message you if things don't work out?"

I don't recall anybody reacting badly to that and I did, in fact, have a few follow-up dates with women I put on pause to give somebody else a chance first. Likewise, I'd had a few women give me a similar response and ended up meeting a couple of them later on after their Guy A fizzled out. However, this was in my late 30s and through my mid-40s so the expectations of people in my age group may be wildly different than yours if you're in your teens or twenties. (Or, by now, 30s since I was in my 30s quite some time ago...)

Finally - an anecdote. When I was in my 20s in college I worked with somebody and we'd been flirty a long time, so I finally asked her out knowing she was single. We went out, it went super well, and we wound up in bed. I thought this was a big deal, but during pillow talk she let on that she'd actually hooked up with somebody the day before (!) "but it was no big deal" and that pretty much killed it for me. She was perfectly within her rights to do it, but it definitely hurt my feelings that she'd hooked up with someone between being asked out and the first date, and pretty much killed my interest.
posted by jzb at 9:38 AM on October 28, 2020 [7 favorites]

I would say, try to put yourself in Guy A's shoes, i.e.:

How would you feel if you found out he'd gone on a date with someone else?
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:01 AM on October 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

I think you should meet Guy B for the walk and coffee and see if he is someone you want to pursue. There could be no chemistry and that's that, and you go back to Guy A. Or if you want to explore more with Guy B, then tell Guy A that and take it from there (keeping in mind that Guy B might also be seeing others).

Do you tell Guy A that you're meeting up with Guy B beforehand? No, I don't think it's necessary to. I am a little concerned that you've moved so fast with Guy A. I think you should definitely slow it down with him because going that fast can be a red flag, but not always. You could tell him about Guy B and how he reacts will tell you a LOT about him.
posted by foxjacket at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would ask myself if I would still be thinking about Guy B if he hadn't finally messaged me back. I think that would tell me whether I'm interested in pursuing B because there is something missing or not sitting right with me with Guy A, or because I am flattered that a person I chose is choosing me back, or because I realize that I am moving way too fast with Guy A and I want to slow things down.

Anecdotally I have done exactly this (casually dating/physical with Guy A, gone on a date with Guy B) without doing much (if any) of the thinking that I wrote out in the first paragraph and it ended thusly: Guy A ghosted me when he found out I was dating other people and Guy B turned out to be Not Even Remotely Worth It. I don't regret the choice and I think it's because I was comfortable with the risk either way. So that's another approach.
posted by sm1tten at 12:56 PM on October 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you all are seeing each other everyday, are you going to be in a situation where you have to lie or talk around this date? That's when this can become a bad situation, remedied with an awkward but important situation. Also, what would you think if you found out Guy A had been out on a date with someone? Would you feel like he should have mentioned it?

My experience is that generally-monogamous folks often practice non-monogamy (as you are doing now), but are really bad at having conversations about it. What do you think about saying something like this to Guy A:

"Hey, so I just want to make sure we are on the same page. I've been asked out by someone else that I connected with before I met you. Things have moved pretty quickly with you and me. We haven't had a talk about this, but I just wanted to check in and find out if you are still seeing other folks and what your expectations are."
posted by bluedaisy at 1:38 PM on October 28, 2020 [10 favorites]

Nah, why confuse yourself? I mean, best case, you don't like him and can go on liking Guy A without wondering -- that doesn't seem worth your time. Worst case you like them both, and if you can't handle the "what if"s now, how will that go? I'd tell Guy B that things took off with someone else; you're sorry about the timing; but you really enjoyed the emails and will look him up if you're available again.
posted by slidell at 9:39 PM on October 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

see all the guys. Men are abundant. you are in a buyers market and you can afford to see as many as you want, when you want and choose among them if and only if you want.

this is 2020 we like a feast.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:23 AM on October 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

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