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Multidating: Is It for You?

It's okay to do, but you need to be a good juggler

In the brave new world of online dating, it's perfectly acceptable to date more than one person at a time. When I first did so myself two years ago (at age 65), it felt awkward. But my unease lasted only as long as it took me to wake up and smell the coffee, cider and tea: Most women, too, were actively dating more than one man.

Drawing a heart on calendar

Dating multiple partners is a great way to meet many people, but it's not for the faint of heart. — Istockphoto

Each gender, I think, pursues multidating for the odds. We both want to improve our chances of meeting the ideal mate by exposing ourselves to as large a candidate pool as possible.

If you're new to this particular type of multitasking, you're probably wondering how it works. My general advice is to take good notes, be prepared to handle some emotional highs and lows, and keep up your stamina: Sorting out names, faces and online profiles at the end of a long workday requires focus.

Here are a few more specific tips I've gleaned from experience:

Be choosy. To minimize wear and tear (both emotional and logistical) on everyone involved, be very selective. My list of essential qualities is short: a woman who is active and in shape, close to my age and into the arts. I also pay close attention to women's descriptions of the men they want to meet; if I'm not a near-perfect fit, I simply move on to the next profile.

Pay attention to detail. I find it difficult to remember the details of a woman's profile until I've met her in person. That's why I keep notes before every coffee date. And though second dates are rare, I don't feel like I'm missing much by being so circumspect: I've had mostly disappointing experiences on second dates that followed marginal first ones.

So … how should you proceed? For starters, learn to trust your intuition: Rather than projecting your wish list onto a date, focus on listening to the actual person sitting across from you. By the law of averages, many a first date will cross you off his or her list, too; it's hard not to feel rejected when that happens, but it's crucial to keep in mind that it's just another side of the dating dynamic. And not everyone agrees with this strategy, but I find it only fair to mention that I happen to be dating other people besides the one I'm with.

Next Page: What about sleeping with multiple partners? »

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