when to have “the talk”

I’ve never posted here, but this seems like a thoughtful and intelligent forum and I’d love to get your advice.

I created my first ever online dating profile ever about three weeks ago, and it has been going swimmingly. I’ve gotten a lot of interest, had a few really awkward dates, and met two guys that seem really promising for the future. They apparently agree: we have second and third dates planned (in both cases). I think everyone’s on the same page as far as wanting to find someone with whom there is potential a serious relationship. My question is: should I tell either of them that I’m seeing other people? And if so, how should I do it? I don’t want to unnecessarily cause drama, but I also don’t want to have secrets that could hurt someone if they found out unexpectedly. I’m pretty sure it’s way too soon to be talking about being exclusive… I don’t expect/want to be multi-tasking like this for long, but I wanted to give each fledgling relationship a chance to figure out who is the better match for me (and it’s hard because they both seem really really great). Maybe I should have tried to space out the first dates more, but I’ve gotten so many messages that it felt like I might as well dive right in and meet as many people as possible.

Anyway, I’ve never done the formal “dating” thing (in the past, I have ended up in relationships with people who I knew, and I’ve never actually been dating multiple people at the same time), so I really appreciate your input and wisdom! Thank you everyone.

9 thoughts on “when to have “the talk”

  1. Solstice says:

    [I don’t think it’s necessary to mention anything yet, if you’ve only gone out on one date with each of them. I’d say maybe once you get past the 3rd date, if you still feel like you want to date both of them, then you might want to mention it. Especially if they seem interested in something serious, just so that they know what’s going on. But by then, you might have an idea of which one you get along with better. Good luck and have fun!

  2. AKchic says:

    [Honestly, I would assume that any person I’m just meeting for the first time is casually seeing other people. In my opinion, if you are not having sex with these people, you do not owe them anything in the way of “hey, I’m casually dating other people besides you”. These are trial dates to see if there might be something more. If there is something more, then you casually release the hooks you’ve got on the other folks and release them back into the dating waters, no harm no foul, and reel the “keeper” in.
    Oh Goddess, you know the fishing is bad this year. I’m actually using fishing metaphors for dating thanks to my lack of salmon. Dammit.

  3. Claudia says:

    [The talk only needs to happen before sexytimes start. That is any activity where an orgasm is the desired result. That is if you haven’t made your decision yet.

  4. Sabrina says:

    [I wouldn’t become exclusive until a man asked me for commitment and exclusivity – until he’s willing to be your boyfriend and act like it. There’s too many times I’ve assumed we were exclusive, or that he asked if I was seeing anyone else and I truthfully said no, but he never ACTED like a boyfriend.

    Also, this is just me, but I can’t get really physically intimate with multiple men…in one-on-one situations, I mean 😉

  5. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Since you’ve literally just begun dating both guys you don’t really have any ties or (for lack of a better word) “loyalty” to either of them when it comes to dedicating your all to just one of them.

    This early on it is pretty much expected that you could very well be going out on other dates with other people. These two guys may very well have other dates with other women; however if they are sticking strictly to online dating I know from personal experience they are probably only getting about 5% of the attention from women compared to the attention level you’re getting from guys.

    I say continue going on dates with these guys to help you figure out who is a better match for you, if either of them.

    I would say the only time you need to let them know if anyone else is in the picture would be:
    -if they ask
    -they want a more committed relationship but you want to keep it casual for a bit longer
    -you want to take things to a deeper level and inform him that you are going to stop seeing other people
    -you become sexually involved

  6. Happy Pants says:

    [I don’t think it’s necessary to bring it up until you feel it’s necessary to bring it up, i.e. when you start feeling like you’re really connecting with this person, and you feel like you want to start seeing them exclusively. Also, I agree that it’s mostly assumed nowadays that if you’re dating online, you’re probably dating multiple people, and if you’re sleeping with someone (especially if you start sleeping together early on), you’re probably sleeping with other people as well. That may not be the case for you, but I at least assume that for my own health’s sake, and I know my friends do also.

    I think Parker’s advice is spot-on. Basically, unless there’s an emergent need to talk about it, you don’t need to bring it up.

  7. AboDabo says:

    [I agree with Solstice. I think at about 3 dates is where people start to assume that if things are going well, a “relationship” is forming. Of course, a relationship exists from the moment you meet and form a rapport with someone, but you know what I mean, that other sort of “Relationship,” with a capital “R”. Unfortunately, when people think a “Relationship” is forming, they also assume monogamy (and a host of other assumptions about what it means to be ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ or whatever).

    So yeah, If you’re wanting to find just one special guy, by 3 dates I would hope that you’ll have a better sense of which one that is. If you’re still really into both of them, 3 dates is the point where I would tell them that you’re seeing someone else, really enjoying seeing both of them, and would like to continue exploring both relationships. Of course, this may be a deal-breaker for one or both of them, but that’s life.

    If you do continue to see both of them without the intention of picking the ‘best,’ i.e. non-monogamous relationships, then I think full disclosure early on is the best policy. Ideally like, as early as you know that that’s what you want to do.

  8. lilredbmw says:

    [I am in agreement with most of the statements above. You don’t want to be intimate with several people at once. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to mention you are dating other people. When you “know” as in you know you can see this relationship growing, you are emotionally invested and you want to take things to the next physical level, then time for the talk.

  9. DavidIsGreat says:

    [I think it’s good etiquette not to mention on a first/second/third etc date that you’re seeing others. Even though it’s not doing anything wrong it’s a little bit of a blow to the ego of who you’re with at the moment.

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