The Dating Coach

Written by Rachel Burnham on . Posted in Dating

People have varied opinions about double dating, or what I’ll call more broadly multiple dating. Some think it’s cruel, dishonest, inappropriate and rude. Others believe it’s a time saver and that it helps the dating process move more quickly by providing the ability to directly compare and contrast.

In my opinion, the appropriateness of dating multiples depends on four unique and personal factors, presented here as questions.


How old are you?

Double dating is a bit of an acquired taste for the more experienced dating palate. As horrific or glamorous as double dating may sound, it isn’t for everyone and it can be very exhausting.

If you are 19 and just home from seminary, or 22 and just starting to date, there are a lot of variables up for grabs in your life. You’re likely trying to figure out a career path, where to live, and maybe even busy planning for your friends’ engagements and weddings. Multiple dating is not advised while you’re just beginning to get your dating feet wet. Rather, spend more time focusing on each date so that you can more fully understand who you are, what you need, how you date and how the process works.

On the flip side, I once worked with a client who was 57, female and widowed with five children. Time was not on her side and options were few, so she had no choice but to double date when more than one good idea came up.

How far do you have to travel to date?

If you live in Australia and spend a couple thousand dollars for a New York date, you bet your bottom dollar you are dating multiples and most people will accept that as an obvious reality.

Do you have dating maturity?

Dating isn’t a game and multiple dating most certainly isn’t. Dating is not a place to go comparison shopping. Your dating partners are real people with real feelings, whether they show it or not. Playing with people’s emotions by leading multiple people on to believe you are interested in them is wrong!

Double dating is serious dating on a faster track. If you can’t juggle what you’ve said from one dating partner to another, think double dating is a way to have fun or a game, or are feeding your ego by getting more dates than others, you are probably not ready for it.  

Do you know your dating personality?

Dating can be a draining experience and for some and a single emotional drain at a time is more than enough. A person who is more deliberate, focused, introverted or less comfortable with multi-tasking will often find multiple dating to be difficult. For Type A multitaskers and extroverts, multiple dating can feel quite comfortable–– even rewarding!

Some people do well with many options and like the freedom of choice as opposed to others who get overwhelmed by too many choices. If multiple dating sounds scary, intimidating or burdensome, don’t do it.

If you worry about bumping into the guy or girl from last night on another date at Starbucks, don’t do it.

If all your friends are doing it and you don’t like the idea of it, don’t do it. It must feel right for you.

Here’s my alternative:

I would like to propose an alternative to multiple dating. In the interest of saving time and meeting more than one girl or boy at a time, I’d like to introduce an option I call “multiple sifting.” In this process, you do a one hour “coffee date” with multiple people rather than invest your energy in multiple full-length dates.

The goal of multiple sifting is to figure out in the shortest amount of time with whom to invest in full-length dates. No sitting through painful first dates for three hours when the possibility was nixed in three minutes, no risk of hurting anyone or destroying trust, no dating burnout.

If your one-hour coffee date goes well, go out on a real first date. If not, you’ve saved hours, emotional wear and tear and probably a few bucks too.

Here is the catch, after three dates with each person you’re “sifting,” you need to pick the one with the highest potential and date them properly. You can’t drag out multiple dating relationships for months. That is inappropriate, insensitive to the people you are dating and probably means you’re not ready to settle down with one partner yet.

Furthermore, even multiple sifting is not for everybody. You should be asking yourself or a dating mentor the four questions we explored earlier before you begin multiple sifting to make sure you approach the process in a balanced and healthy way.

In conclusion, know yourself and your dating style before you even contemplate double dating. Explore your age, proximity, dating maturity and personality type before making this decision. Never feel pressured or bullied into multiple dating by a friend or shadchan if it doesn’t feel right. Think about multiple sifting and if it is right for you.

I say let the dates begin. May the best man/woman win!