Finding a worthwhile partner can be a serious process. Although online dating gives us access to hundreds of potential matches a day, it's nevertheless a daunting task to sift through them all until you find someone who really just gets you. Luckily, casual dating exists, and is a great way to have fun and meet people while still hoping that something serious eventually blossoms. Personally, I'm usually not one to date more than one person at once, if only out of sheer laziness. It's hard enough to carry on a lively and spirited text conversation with one guy I'm interested in; trying to do more than that would feel like a full-time job.
However, since I'm not in a relationship, even if I'm not technically "dating" more than one person, chances are that I'm at least chatting with a few people at any given time, getting to know them and seeing if we hit it off. Living in NYC gives me the freedom to choose from a large pool of suitors, and it's almost impossible not to keep my options open in a city so full of men my own age, regardless of the fact that I personally have no interest in exploring polyamory or open relationships.
Even if you're typically a monogamous person, when you're still in the beginning stages of finding a new relationship, there's no harm in exploring what's out there before settling down with someone. Here are seven reasons to consider keeping your options open — it might seem like a whirlwind, but if it helps you find the right person for you faster, then it will be more than worth the craziness.
1. It's Empowering
Dating can make you feel helpless sometimes, like you're at the mercy of whomever you happen to be emotionally invested in at the time. But if you're taking control of your dating life and have the foresight to say, "Hey, I think I'll dip my toes in several ponds, just because I can," it will make you feel a lot less afraid of rejection in the long run. That doesn't mean that emotions can't get involved with more than one person; it just might cushion the blow if things don't work out with one person. You're in control of your own love life, and you should never feel like you're waiting around for someone to break your heart.
2. Comparison Helps
I can't tell you how many times I've dated someone for a few weeks, only to realize with hindsight that he was a total loser or jerk. If you have more than one person on the docket, it can be easier to recognize what qualities in each person you really admire (or which ones you loathe). When you're in the moment, you can be blinded by lust, and it can be difficult to really take a step back and assess if someone is right for you. If you spend a Friday night with someone and it's only mediocre, then have an amazing brunch date with someone else on Sunday, it will make it easier to cut your losses with the person who is only so-so.
3. You Have A Plan B (And C, And D...)
There's nothing more disappointing than spending weeks getting to know someone, only to have a bombshell dropped on you. Maybe you find out the two of you don't see eye to eye on politics or religion, or maybe he's starting to get flaky and you've simply had enough. When things end, it can feel daunting to start from scratch all over again: Right swipe, chat, text, first date, second date...the process is exhausting. If you're casually dating a few people, or even just talking to someone else, it can help ease you back into the dating scene after a "breakup" with someone else.
4. You Aren't Emotionally Dependent On One Person
It's always a good thing to maintain your independence, because you're less likely to get down in the dumps when someone turns out to be less-than-stellar. Although you should be happy and confident when you're truly single, casually dating a few people can be a way to stave off boredom and loneliness while not getting so emotionally tangled up. If you call the shots, it won't be so devastating if something terrible happens, like getting ghosted.
5. It Makes You More Open-Minded
If you're not super into the idea of settling down with one person at this exact moment in your life, it might open your mind to casually dating someone you otherwise might pass over. Maybe you typically prefer someone more clean-cut, but are intrigued by a cute, hipster-y, bearded guy you met on OkCupid. There's no reason you shouldn't try hanging out with both of them; you might be surprised by the kinds of people you vibe with when you broaden your horizons. Dating multiple people at once gives you a golden opportunity to meet more interesting people in a shorter time span.
6. It Curbs Boredom
This may sound like a dumb reason to date around, but if you're someone who craves social interaction more than you even crave pizza, it might be helpful to have several people around to hang out with on nights when your friends are otherwise occupied. Even if you just call someone up and invite them over to ~Netflix and chill~ it can still be better than watching Friday Night Lights alone if you happen to be a social butterfly.
7. More Sex
Though you're by no means obligated to sleep with all the people you're currently dating, you're certainly allowed to, and what could be more fun than the idea of seemingly endless sex? If one person is into rough, kinky sex and another likes it slow and gentle, it could be a great opportunity for you to experience all the kinds of sex your body craves. More orgasms are always better, IMHO.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our latest video on sex positions for small penises.
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