Read My Mind

Dating Multiple Women

by Dr. Robert Glover on Dec 22nd, 2011.     9 comments

man-with-two-womenA single guy writes:

“Based on the skills you teach, I can now get a number, set up a date, and perhaps a second date. But I am hesitant to take it any further. Sounds really funny, but I feel as if I would be cheating or dishonest by going on dates with more than one woman. I also feel this is holding me back to make the next move. Any thoughts?”

Welcome to the Nice Guy Dating club!

Most of us are programed to not do anything that might upset a woman. We will put what a woman wants (or least what we think she wants) above what we want. We feel like we are doing something wrong if we do anything that might upset a woman or not give a woman what she wants.

I went through this when I started dating. It was a major struggle. I also realized that if it was so frightening for me to date (and sleep with) multiple women, I had to lean in and face the fear.

This is our own inner bullshit (that we can't do anything that might upset a woman). The only way to overcome it is to consciously lean into it.

Paradoxically, trying to never do anything that might upset a woman kills all positive emotional tension. Setting the tone and doing what you want creates positive tension.

Women need emotional tension for attraction and attachment. I would rather have a woman mad at me than bored with me (even though deep down, I still have to soothe myself when a woman is mad at me). The tension keeps her attached. I've learned to just let a woman have her feelings while I hold on to myself and do what feels right to me.

Consciously holding on to yourself in this way is one of the most powerful stimulants for personal growth that I know of. Plus, it builds tension for the women making them more attached (even though they might be angry).

As long as you are acting with integrity and not creating any false illusions, you are not doing anything wrong by dating more than one woman at once.

If a woman brings the issue up and you aren’t ready to commit to an exclusive relationship, tell her, “Until we have a discussion about dating exclusively, assume that I am seeing other women.” Hold to this stance even if you aren’t currently dating anyone else. Don’t let a woman pressure you into making an exclusive commitment until you are ready to dive all the way in. When you are, talk about it with her and get all the way in.

Soothe yourself and keep leaning into your anxiety. This is the path to integrity, personal growth, and intensity with women!


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Topics: Dating Essentials Self-Limiting Beliefs Women


Chris says ...
I have a question. When you're dating multiple women, does this mean you are having sex with multiple women as well (and being upfront and honest about that with them)? In my experience, this is a deal breaker for most women (i.e. they won't continue seeing or sleeping with a guy knowing that on other nights he's banging some other women). Or do you not tell them that you are sleeping with the other women you are dating.... or do you just treat it as though it's none of their business?
This seems to have been a sticking point for me when trying to date multiple women, because I think out of respect to the women, you should be honest about having sex with other women, and most women are not ok with that at all. So, should I avoid having sex with them as long as I'm dating multiple women at the same time (seems unlikely)... or as soon as I start having sex, should I stop seeing the other women (then we're back to not being able to date multiple women).
Dr. Glover says ...

These are good questions. Reread your post. Notice in typical Nice Guy form, it was all about what women might or might not approve of. What about you? What do you want? Instead of assuming anything about a woman, decide first what works for you. A woman might say she wants one thing, but will often accept something totally different. My suggestion is that you never create any false illusions. If you are seeing or sleeping with multiple women and a woman asks about it, tell her simply, "until we have a discussion about seeing each other exclusively, you should assume that I am seeing other women." If she presses the matter, just repeat the above statement. Don't let a woman guilt you into an exclusive relationship until you are ready to make that commitment. When you are, have the discussion. (By the way, I hope you realize that lots of women date and sleep with multiple men at the same time)
Mark H. says ...
OK, I loved the post, and I was curious to run the concept of positive emotional tension by various women I know. Interestingly, every one of them was very put off by the claim that "Women need emotional tension for attraction and attachment." Out of 9 women I referred this post to, not a one felt that positive emotional tension as you've defined it makes them feel more attracted to a man. In fact, most of them indicated that they can see right through a man's attempt to create positive tension, and that they find it to be manipulative and a major turn-off. Here's a typical response I got after they read the post:

"Kind of sounds retarded.  You gotta watch out for people who lump women into one category.  Not all of us have the same opinions.  I for one, could do without the emotional tension.  But thats me at 44... maybe I liked the positive tension more when I was younger."

Yikes! Just to be clear, I tried to explain that positive emotional tension isn't about being an a-hole, but rather about a man holding his own boundary and owning both his power and desire instead of abdicating it to a woman in order to try to gain her favor or not piss her off. Still, all the women I talked to (2 of them therapists here in Portland, BTW) seemed to find the whole concept another eye-roller.

Now what? The theory is attractive and inspiring, but the data don't seem to substantially support it. Could it be that the positive tension, like sexual tension, may draw some women in during that initial stage of falling for someone when you lose all your more discriminating senses to passion, but that once the chemical fog clears and the sharp polarities that heighten sexual attraction naturally find their more stable balance, positive tension is revealed to be another one of those somewhat artificial, transitory mating strategies we laugh about once the relationship has matured, stabilized and deepened?
kevin marcinek says ...
I'm in agreement with Chris, Robert. Its a deal breaker 99% of the time (unless the woman has rock-bottom self-esteem) Or, could it be that woman react as such beacuase they have been trained to hold out to snatch a viable partner to commit. I think its perhaps deeper, like in a womans DNA find the one and only partner. Until just a couple of moons ago, before welfare, child support and womans lib, choosing the wrong sperm donor would have been a death sentence to the girl, and I dont agree that the female brain has evolved as fast as society.
Laura says ...
I did not know that men need to be convinced to date and sleep with multiple women. It happens to me all the time without my knowledge. It definitely makes me unsure of risking any further contact with the man. He appears bored and needy of attention from multiple women when what I offer is (in my opinion) the whole package. I definitely will keep my guard up even more to know that even the guys that might have a proclivity towards monogamy, are being talked out of it by professionals. In fact I might ditch the idea of dating permanently.
Mary says ...
This strategy may keep the women around who have rock bottom self esteem, and the ones who are more sure of themselves will walk away from such a situation.

Women need to feel safe. Trust is lust, as another blog said. A woman's physical and emotional health is a stake if a man is banging multiple women.

I think this is nonsense. I am an extremely attractive and put together woman who dates very confident and successful men. They offer exclusivity if they want to be with me. And I get it. It doesn't mean we are getting married, but it means we are having a wonderful, trusting relationship and we explore great, safe sex.

Confident, secure, healthy women walk the high road.

Irene says ...
Dating does not equal sex.
Amazing how some people are Not aware of this!!!

I am upfront about my preference for multidating (or wanting manogamy), when I have that preference.

I do not encourage the blokes I date to seek deeper attachment, for example if they test to see if this is really what I want; or they simply ignore what I have said cause they really really like me. Sweet as it is, the later I stop dating; I have no intention of jerking chains, playing games or otherwise not walking my talk.

It's healthy to meet a variety of people and Get To Know Them; also gives you a better idea of qualities in a Person you want to be around more. Helps you reveal more about yourself to yourself to.

Across history, and cultres, polyamours social values have been practiced. And from the cultural artifacts/participation-observation studies it is clear, more equality and parity across genders; ess celebration of violence; less child molestation (I am in Australia, guess what the number 1 social issue is in the lucky lucky country); less rape and domestic violence/homocide of females (guess what our next issue is...? one women's death a week, that Civilised social values), and (another critical Oz issue) less male suicides.

Be Honest, it takes Less Effort and besides your Core Being just wants to Be. Let it.
And if you hear what you no WANT, Accept the rights of others to live their lives without harm to others as they wish. And Appreciate the Person for who and what they are, despite not meeting your Life Agenda.

Simple. That's Love.
Wbotb says ...
The problem is that you don't respect women. You talk bead about women who sleep with multiple men yet you encourage men to do it. Typical sexist.
Stunned says ...
I cannot believe as a Psychologist you feel comfortable handing this kind of crap out to vulnerable people! You try and o make it sound like it's a mutual relationship when in fact you are telling men to only look out for themselves and that there is no room for a partnership. This is more like The He Man Woman Haters Club. How many marriages have you gone through?


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