The Rise Of The Multi-daters: When One Man Isn’t Enough
The love of your life? No thanks. Look investigates why so many of us are permanently playing the field…
One partner just really isn’t enough these days, is it? In fact, the new Hollywood trend is to have several men permanently on the go to ensure you get exactly what you need from each. Experts call it ‘multi-dating’. Take Kendall Jenner, 20, for example, who’s reportedly not only dating Harry Styles, 22 (swoon), but also basketball player Jordan Clarkson, 23 (double swoon).
Rihanna’s doing the same. Not only is the singer, 28, hooking up with Leonardo Dicaprio – she was spotted with the 41-year-old actor at last month’s Coachella festival and they’ve been rumoured to be seeing one another for over a year – she’s also been dating rapper Drake, 29, her on/ off ex. Ri’s previously admitted the reason why she hasn’t settled with one bloke is because they couldn’t handle her hectic schedule. Fair enough, really.
But the celebs aren’t the only ones doing it. Oh no, it seems like we’re in on the act, too. Of course, in the real world it’s likely that the introduction of dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Happn – where you can talk to more than one person at a time – have encouraged us to test the dating waters a little more than our predecessors. Plus, with 51 per cent of the UK adult population being single, it’s hardly surprising we’re keeping our options open.
Claire, 25, a nurse from London became a multi-dating pro after the end of her last long-term relationship earlier this year. Her reason was that she no longer wanted the pressure that comes with being ‘The Girlfriend’. She says: ‘After lots of long-term boyfriends, I realised relationships are lot of work emotionally and sometimes, no matter how nice the guy, you just aren’t prepared to do that.’
She says she always makes it clear she’s not looking for commitment right now, and adds that she loves the situation because: ‘There’s no ego massaging to do, no need to meet (or pretend to like) the parents, and no expectations of what you should do or say. Whatever people say, men need a lot of looking after, and I just decided to say no to that.’
Dating expert Caroline Brealey, founder of Mutualattraction.co.uk, says she encourages people to multi-date, not least because it allows them to test the water before making any big commitments. ‘Multi-dating is an interesting concept and people are often surprised that as a matchmaker I encourage it,’ she says. ‘Dating isn’t the same as being in a relationship with someone, it’s what you do before deciding to enter into a relationship.’
‘Let’s be honest,’ she continues, ‘how many dates lead to a relationship? A very small number. Most people will go on a lot of dates in their lives, some will go no further than one meet-up.’
Syd Hargis, 29, a social strategist, is now in her first relationship with a man, but used to date multiple women simultaneously. She says: ‘When I’m single, I always date several people at once – what’s the point of dating if you don’t? You may as well be in a relationship. The last time I was single, I had about three people who I was more serious about and would see fairly regularly, and then I’d also just go out with my mates and sometimes pull,’ she adds. ‘Everyone I’m with knows the deal.’
Syd has been with her current boyfriend for more than a year, but it took a while to adjust to a one-partner policy. ‘My current relationship is the first monogamous one I’ve ever had. It took some getting used to. Early on, we were out drinking and I started kissing one of my girlfriends in front of him, and he was really hurt. I didn’t really get it til the next day and I haven’t done it since. He’s amazing and I don’t want to lose him.’
Caroline agrees that the only time multi-dating is not OK is if you’re in a relationship: ‘Once the two of you decide to be an “official” couple, they should be the only person you’re seeing – that is, unless you’ve both agreed to an open relationship. If they’re the right person for you, nobody else would get a look in anyway. Relationships are constantly evolving and you should always do whatever works for you. The No 1 rule: Always be honest and up front – don’t lead someone on.’ We certainly can’t argue with that advice!
There’s no need to meet (or pretend to like) the parents
Single ladies, cast that net wide!