The Juggling Act

Dating more than one man. Some women think it's a problem. Some women wish they could be so lucky. But every relationship has its share of problems. And if you're dating more than one man, you could be headed for trouble.

If dating means the occasional dinner and movie followed by a good-night kiss, the problems you're going to run into mostly have to do with maintaining the power balance. If you liked one of the men more than the other, you wouldn't be going out with both of them, right? It's fairly intoxicating being at the apex of a romantic triangle. But there's no denying that you're spreading yourself thin.

When you're going out with two guys, there's a limit on how deeply you're going to get involved with either of them. At the very least, you're going to have problems keeping track of your conversations. Most people I know have a limited repertoire of anecdotes, and you may find yourself repeating that funny story about Uncle Marvin's bathroom encounter with Clint Eastward again and again to John because you meant to tell it to Jim. The real trouble here is that both your relationships are doomed to superficiality: like it or not, most of us are hardwired to bond best one-on-one.

Now, if you're sleeping with both guys, check the all-of-the-above box and add some further difficulties to the list. Such as keeping track of the players' names when your scorecard is far removed from the nightstand. Nothing deflates the male ego (and related parts) faster than having a stranger's name moaned into his ear in a moment of heated passion. And you'll have to be absolutely scrupulous in your safe sex practices; you may be doubling your pleasure, but you're also doubling your risk. Finally, you can bet the farm that no matter how open and honest you are, eventually one of these men will become jealous and hurt -- which raises its own set of problems.

It's not a bad idea to date both until one becomes the clear standout. Once you reach that point, you should either demote the second place guy to friendship status (which probably won't work due to the male ego) or just say, "Let's be friends" (or something to that effect), and move on.

Patrizia DiLucchio has been a nurse, model, topless dancer, criminologist, postal clerk, health policy analyst, Hollywood executive, editor, writer and index entry in The Joy of Cybersex

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