When More is Truly Less: Finding your Rose Among the Many Thorns
I was pondering the answer to this question when I came home from a pediatrician’s office. This was a first time visit with the doctor for my five-year-old. This wasn’t the first time taking my child to the doctor’s office - I am not THAT kind of parent. I did however finally have the nerve to take the leap and try a new doctor, five years later. Not just any doctor and not just any practice. The practice that many of my friends had been raving about and pediatricians I consulted with brought their own children there. Alright, I thought to myself, this was going to be my game changer. My child was going to love this doctor. My current pediatrician was ok I thought, just so many little things kept on bothering me, maybe I could do better.
I knew this bold move at a new practice was going to be the right fit…until I walked out. What? It wasn’t the perfect fit? Not only was it not the perfect practice, not that any practice is, it made me adore my current pediatrician! He was such an amazing diagnostician, so flexible and so on top of things. He also really knew my child. So what if they still used a type writer and the other practice had electronic charting? The bottom line was, why didn’t I try the other practice earlier? This could have saved me from five years of doubt and agonizing. Looking for the right “shidduch” in a doctor, echoed for me a similar shidduch quest in my many years of dating for marriage, and now in matchmaking.
So to the question of dating more than one person at time, I say: yes--most of the time. Most of the time, it only takes that short visit to know if that person could potentially lead to Mr. or Mrs. Right and you could stop wondering about the “random kiddush ladies” suggestions. The reality of dating is that most of the people are not for you, and you need to find the rose among the thorns that could match up with you. The problem is that if dating ends up lasting more than one or two years, onto five or ten years, the effervescent glow that you bring to your dates tends to dull. This is primarily due to fact that the pattern of your dating life has lead you to believe that things will not work out. Additionally, the monolithic and systematic disappointment has forced a tunnel vision thinking pattern, insisting that you must make the current option work, for that is the only option. Therefore you begin turning down a phone call or a meeting with a potential someone, while secretly wondering about that person while dating someone else, and the mind games begin. This is not to say that the “may the best man win” philosophy is legitimate, au contraire, it is highly narcissistic and detrimental to relationship development.
Rather, I am encouraging a “can we really know” philosophy: Keeping yourself open to possibilities that may lead to Mr. or Mrs. Right. Dating more than one person usually means you’re merely acquainting yourself with more than one person, to determine if it will lead to “relationship dating” or not. I hate to put numbers on dates, because some people connect quickly and others, well, let’s just say they’re like onions, but it’s so worth it if you like them. However, the shift from “small talk” in the acquaintance phase to the deeper more meaningful connection tends to occur around the third date. The shift is the point when you are thinking to yourself, I have some kind of investment in this person. And therein lies the key - liking someone enough to merit your investment. It’s something that doesn’t always happen between two amazing people on paper. So usually, in dating more than one person at a time, only one person has potential to be Mr. or Mrs. Right, and often enough neither one is. So when is it wrong to date more than one person?
Firstly, when you start to scramble whether you already told the same story to the person in front of you, or if you shared about your moms terrible cooking and your bad spending habits or if that was your other date? If you don’t know how long you’ve been dating each person, or even worse, you start to like them both. Secondly, for the “I wear my emotions on my sleeve” type, I would say, this is not for you as well. These people can only see the good and tend to fall into “investment” very quickly. This is your friend that came back starry eyed after a first date, and thought this could be it after one date (not that this is bad, but bad if it happens all the time). If you are indecisive, this is a set up for disaster and if you are overly analytical, you will likely be spending all your free time comparing your likes and dislikes lists that you won’t be able to move forward. Lastly, if you walk into a restaurant with a date, and get “caught in the act” by running into last night’s date, well, that’s another article. But to the person that keeps things at the acquaintance level, until they decide to move forward to “relationship dating” in terms of connection, this is what can keep them from burning out too quickly and not missing opportunity when it comes knocking, or sometimes, appreciating the person they have in front of them. There’s a lot of pressure in the shidduch-dating world. Saying “yes” to someone automatically means you are viewing each other as potential marriage partners. But sometimes, to find your marriage partner, we have to say “yes” to more than one at a time, and know when to say “no” to the wrong one at the right time.
The Shadchan Next Door has extensive experience in dating and relationships. She prides herself in helping people make wise choices in the sometimes complex world of dating and is often an emergency phone call for couples when they are stuck or questioning their choice. She hopes her words and experience will connect to her readers and help them find Mr. and Mrs. Right all the sooner.