A guy friend of mine is actively dating-and by “actively dating,” I mean he’s hooking up with multiple different people. Some he sees pretty regularly, others are one-night stands. My question is: what does he have to tell them, and when? I told him that before he hooks up with anyone, he has to tell her that he’s seeing different people. He says he doesn’t need to get into it unless someone asks him to be exclusive. What do you think?
I think you both have good points—there can be a balance to this. I would treat most situations individually, though. He’s right: he doesn’t need to get into it, at least not with the one-night stands. If they become week-stands, or two-week “relationships,” or if he is seeing some “pretty regularly,” by then they should have had plenty of time to fit in conversation about their p.o.v. about relationships, and where they are at, at least a little. I don’t think anyone could (or should) expect someone to be exclusive right away. At the same time, the pretty regular ones should be aware there are other pretty regular ones, and also some one-offs. I don’t necessarily think this needs to be before he hooks up with someone, because that would just be awkward. But they could talk about it in the morning over coffee, if he thinks he might see her again.
He could just say something like, he’s playing the field (I kind of hate that term, because it evokes images of “games,” but it’s clear, at least), he’s not ready for any exclusive sort of thing because he’s curious and wants to see who’s out there. Maybe someday he’ll find one who he feels is right, but that isn’t right now. He wants to take it slow. If he wants to see this girl pretty regularly, he hopes she might be cool with that, because he’s interested in getting to know her better. Something like that. I think many girls should be all right with this initially—they have the right to see who they want, as well!
Ideally, my favorite people have been the ones who are above board early on about where they’re at—if they’re playing the field, or don’t want a relationship, they just want to have fun. Honesty early on averts a lot of questions, wondering, confusion and if this isn’t the right lifestyle fit for the girl (she’s only into seeing one guy exclusively at a time), she knows she can move on and not wait for him to come around. Because there are others who choose to date one person at a time, too. But there is nothing wrong with actively dating such as he is. He doesn’t need to be secretive, but he doesn’t have to talk about it a lot either. Good communication and honesty for those involved with him for more than one-night stands is a respectful thing to do.