When I was using online dating before I met my boyfriend, I was on four different dating apps or online platforms. I was not doing this because I was desperate or had this “need” to be in a relationship. I realized if I wanted to date and meet a good man, I had to consistently put myself out there in the dating world and practice dating by going on dates. In my case, lots of dates.
Catholic dating had its shares of highs and lows for me. I have had great dates and some less than great dates. One thing I learned was how to navigate messaging men and going on dates, and how to handle talking to multiple men at one time with grace and class.
When I first began to be more intentional in my dating practices, I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of talking to and/or casually going out with several men at a time. It felt like I was being dishonest or doing something wrong.
In time, I began to realize while it may feel uncomfortable, it is okay (and good and healthy!) to talk to several people at a time. This is part of the dating process. It’s about connecting with people and going out with them to see if you’re a good fit. In time, one certain person will stand out from the others.
So what does this actually look like? How do we do this with class, grace, and respect to the other people? Well here are a few things that guided me when I was in this position.
Give everyone a chance
Be open and give people a chance. If I felt comfortable continuing to get to know a man and I don’t see any red flags, I will be open to a date or several dates. The best relationships I have been in were ones that came as a surprise to me.
You might look at someone’s profile or pictures and think “No, he/she is not my type. I don’t think we’d hit off. I am not sure if I am interested.” But how do you know if someone isn’t for you unless you meet them and get to know them better?
Be open. Get to know someone and go on a few dates before deciding if he or she is not for you. Be willing to give people a chance, you just might be pleasantly surprised.
Keep an eye on your attachments
I sometimes get emotionally swept up into the ideas I make up about a man I am getting to know. The next thing I know, I’m overthinking it all and spending too much time thinking about him and where we are going. That is anything but healthy for me, and can easily push away good men.
In my Catholic dating journey, I’ve learned from my friends who are dating and/or life coaches. They have shared principles with me they use with their coaching clients. One of the most important things I have learned is that sometimes women lean forward too much with men, all without realizing it. I realized sometimes in my excitement or eagerness to continue to get to know someone, I would lean forward a bit too much where eventually it led to the man pulling away. Sometimes life has us learn lessons the hard way and eventually I came to understand what I was doing.
When you’re talking to multiple people at a time, use those interactions as a way to not become attached to one person too quickly. This frees you up to enjoy dating more and leaning back into your own life more as you notice which person comes to the front. Trust me. Learn from my mistakes in this department!
Let someone know when you move forward with someone else
I have had this situation happen a few times to me. I am messaging with a man who usually lives further away. Maybe we’ve talked on the phone once or twice. But a few weeks into connecting, he lets me know he has enjoyed getting to know me but is moving forward with pursuing another woman. Sure in the moment in stings a little because none of us like rejection. However, I have always appreciated when men handle this well because it is upfront, honest, and not leading me on.
If there is someone else you want to pursue more intentionally, what do you do with the other couple of men or women you are talking with? You are honest, truthful, and kind in letting them know. Do not play games with other people. Do not just ghost someone, ever!
While it can feel uncomfortable in the moment, always be kind, thoughtful, and honest. Online dating does not have to come with all these mind games and unkind ways of behaving. Remember how you would want someone to treat you, and then do your best.
If you’re a single Catholic, it is likely you are trying out online dating. Online dating requires equal parts intentionality and putting yourself out there. It might feel a little overwhelming to wonder about talking to multiple people at a time. However, you can handle it and do so with grace. Open yourself up to the possibilities and show up as your authentic, true self.
How have you handled talking to multiple people at a time on dating sites?