Can You Date Multiple People?—You Can & You Should

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Rational Male" by Rollo Tomassi. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Can you date multiple people at the same time? What are the benefits of non-exclusive relationships?

In his book The Rational Male, Rollo Tomassi says that men should expand their horizons when it comes to relationships and date multiple people at the same time. Doing so will highlight men’s sexual desirability—in their own eyes and in the eyes of the women they date.

Here’s how to successfully date multiple people, according to Tomassi.

Why Men Should Date Multiple People

The best thing a guy can do to build their intrigue in the eyes of women is to have multiple sexual options. Tomassi advises men to unapologetically build up a roster of eligible sexual partners because a man with options is a man with power, which inevitably leads to confidence. A man without options will feel and act needy—the opposite of what attracts women. But can you date multiple people?

Tomassi says you can if you communicate your intentions. He advises men to be forthcoming with their dating partners about being nonexclusive, or at least give the impression that they have many women clamoring for their attention. The same advice holds true for men in committed relationships: Tomassi says they must routinely hint to their female partners that other women find them attractive. Why is this so important? When a woman knows that other women desire her man, she sees him as more valuable and alluring.

(Shortform note: Men pursuing many sexual options, as Tomassi suggests, may unexpectedly aid women: Doing so may free women to do the same. According to research, it’s women, not men, who primarily desire open relationships. Whereas women get bored having sex with the same person after a span of one to four years, men in committed relationships are happy having sex with their partners for nine to 12 years without getting bored.)

How to Successfully Date Multiple People

Tomassi offers some general guidance on how to date many women at once to build your confidence and desirability. But the idea of dating multiple people can apply to both men and women. If anyone’s really looking to pull this off, you’ll need to be very clear in your communication, as Tomassi suggests. Many people are totally fine with nonexclusive relationships, but you could send them running if you deliver the wrong message. 

Here are some tips for communicating your non-exclusive status:

  • Gently let your partners know that you’re not looking for a committed relationship right now and want to be non-exclusive. There’s no need to force this conversation. Just pick a time when talking about this feels appropriate and natural.
  • Avoid sharing too much. For example, you can tell a person that you can’t see them tomorrow night because you have other plans, but you don’t need to tell them that you’re going on a date with a person you met at the gym.
  • Use social media with caution. Don’t “friend” people you date or post pictures of you with your other dating partners. 
  • Play it cool. Don’t go over the top with feelings-laden expressions of admiration, like “you’re the most incredible person I’ve ever met.” If you’re dating a person who’s also not looking for a relationship, emotional outpourings will likely turn them off.
  • Practice safe sex. Be sure to keep yourself and your dating partners protected from transmissible diseases.
Can You Date Multiple People?—You Can & You Should

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Rollo Tomassi's "The Rational Male" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Rational Male summary :

  • How women use a feminine agenda to manipulate men
  • Why sex should never be a transactional arrangement
  • Why men don't need long-term relationships

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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