Trudie on dating multiple men

by on February 24, 2007 at 7:12 am in Education | Permalink

Here is the set-up:

I've been dating three men for the past month.  There's "Todd," a divorcé with a young daughter; "Chris," an engineer; and "Matt," a graduate student.  (I also recently met "Adam," a police officer, but we'll leave him out of this for now.) I'm a bit of a prude (pardon the expression), so nothing untoward has taken place with any of the three.  However, when I met them I told each that I wasn't in a relationship.  Technically, I'm still not, but I feel like I'm lying when I avoid telling them I'm dating other people.

Prudie said "why not?", and suggested keeping a journal; sadly Trudie is harsher...

Trudie related her answer to me:

The deadly clinker is that "nothing untoward" is going on.  If nothing else, sex in a relationship can serve as the equivalent of an "up or out," (no pun intended) rule, as in the principal-agent literature.  You don’t make partner in a law firm after some number of years, good-bye.  You don’t get academic tenure within six years, good-bye.  It’s not quite "three dates or marriage," but at some point a guy is either better than the available competition
or he is not.  It is not necessary to have sex within a month, but the couple should be on such a path, or at the very least engaged in a puritanical erotic blaze of repression and restraint.  And that must be done monogamously.  If she continues to see three dullards on such distant terms, each of whom has nothing better to do than to date her, we can narrow the options as follows:

a) she is afraid
of rejection, and uses the guys to hold each other at a distance, if
only in her own heart.

b) she is afraid of rejection, and seeks out the worst imaginable dullards.

c) she is the worst imaginable dullard.

These alternatives are not mutually exclusive.

The socially optimal policy is for her to see a fourth and yes indeed a fifth and possibly sixth dullard, if only to soak up their time and stop them from bothering other people in any way whatsoever.

Tyler adds that if he were seeing a woman under those terms, he would prefer that she were in another relationship, if only to rationalize her apparent total lack of interest in him.  The best case scenario is if the guys are assuming she is lying to them, think she is having bizarre sex orgies on the other nights, and believe she is holding them in some sort of frustrating but worthwhile queue.

And this "best case" scenario is not really all that good.

Addendum: If you are new to MR, here is one Trudie post, here is another, here is the first in the series, here are two others.

1 Matt February 24, 2007 at 8:44 am

Maybe the guys just enjoy being friends with her, having someone to spend time with but don’t actually want to sleep with her? That happens, sometimes.

2 Tim Worstall February 24, 2007 at 9:25 am

Yes, but is Trudie seeing other men when she’s not here?

3 Dan February 24, 2007 at 10:52 am

Does anyone think Trudie would respond to a groundswell in the comments demanding that she launch her own blog?

4 David Sucher February 24, 2007 at 11:21 am

“Up or out” in dating is stupid. The way one meets a person of the opposite sex is by hanging out with people of the opposite sex. I have met several significant woman by being introduced by another woman I had dated until both (or one of us) saw that it would go no great distaance. Nevertheless, we stayed in touch as friends and at some point she said “Oh you must meet….” And the introduction was made and romance flourished.

So dropping a person when romance is not likely (but the comapny is still pleasant) is very short-sighted. From a man’s POV, once the die is cast old dates love to set us up with their friends, if only to get rid of us more gracefuly.
.

5 kevin February 24, 2007 at 12:18 pm

“The socially optimal policy is for her to see a fourth and yes indeed a fifth and possibly sixth dullard, if only to soak up their time and stop them from bothering other people in any way whatsoever.”

So, just as the mona lisa serves to soak up the masses so I can see the rest of the Louvre in peace, this woman can clean up the dating pool. I love it. No wonder I married the woman you suggested!! You are a relationship-savant.

ps. please don’t be mean to me robin hansen!!!

6 Josh February 24, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Maybe the guys just enjoy being friends with her, having someone to spend time with but don’t actually want to sleep with her? That happens, sometimes.

I have lots of friends of the opposite sex that I enjoy spending time with but don’t actually want to sleep with, but I’ve never been motivated to write to an advice columnist about them.

7 Daman February 24, 2007 at 2:41 pm

The true determinant of the situation is what the men have defined these “non-relationships” as. If they think they are in a relationship…even an early stage no physical events type… then technically you are in a relationship. I think one thing that daters don’t appreciate and promote enough is truth. Excuses for being unavailable are are more obvious than most people realize and can really diminish the goodwill and trust in the relationship.
If you intend to treat them as platonic friends I advise you read this website: http://www.thisisby.us/index.php/content/guidelines_for_platonic_friendship

They may seem like meaningless rules but they are so effective. So, make a choice and stick with it, but for goodness sake please try being honest with these guys that they are in a tournament for your heart and other competitors are actively seeking the same prize.

8 Yan Li February 24, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Excellent post! But I am with Amber. I am also pondering the two comments from KNZN here
http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2007/02/unhooked.html#comments

9 Bill February 24, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Amber I think the answer to your yore question is that in yore Jimmy and Bobby probably weren’t getting any, but these days they usually would be.

10 yoyo February 24, 2007 at 9:16 pm

“http://www.thisisby.us/index.php/content/guidelines_for_platonic_friendship”

god, how awful. here are my rules:

1. only go to the pub with people who are fun.
2. sleep with people if they get me hot.

11 anonymous February 25, 2007 at 3:51 pm

I am NOT talking about situation in which one has fallen deeply — “limerance” –in love with someone.

Of course you’re not. The problem is that the vast majority of people in such a situation are liable to seriously underestimate their predicament. Unless you can _credibly_ rule out this risk, there’s no way you can set up a honest friendship, and I think most people wouldn’t bother in the first place.

12 TW Andrews February 26, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Maybe the guys just enjoy being friends with her, having someone to spend time with but don’t actually want to sleep with her? That happens, sometimes.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Seriously, that’s some powerful funny stuff….

13 david November 6, 2008 at 2:48 am

but I’d guess it is at least a little colored by the way that the woman clearly wants not just company and variety and lack of commitment, but whatever it is she thinks she’s getting out of these guys by misleading them. Besides the in-principle sleaziness of basing one’s relationships on deception, Trudie’s in-practice criticism seems to be related to the deception too. It’s relatively easy to think of sound reasons to want company and variety and lack New Dell Inspiron B130 1300 b120 Battery 312-0416 56whr laptop battery of commitment, especially temporarily ones. And if those were what the woman wanted, it wouldn’t be so easy to think of ways she could be misleading herself about what she’s actually getting.

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