I got my first “real” boyfriend when I was 14. I asked him to Sadie Hawkins, and that night he asked me to be his girlfriend. We dated for a magical eleven months, which is actually a pretty long time for a 14-year-old girl. It still happens to be my longest relationship ever – but that’s a different tragic story. When I told my mom about him, she asked if we were “going steady” or if we just went on a date. I was confused. Going on a date implied he was my boyfriend, right? Wrong.
Flash forward a few years, and things aren’t as black and white as they were when I was 14. There are so many different definitions of relationships. There’s “having a thing”, “hooking up”, “dating” and a whole mess of stuff in between. It can be a little confusing figuring out where you stand with your Ish (Boyfriend-ish/Girlfriend-ish). Here’s the thing: If you and your Ish have not had the talk about being exclusive, you’re not exclusive. In the wise words of my mother, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
I just don’t see the harm in having dinner with someone on Tuesday and maybe another date on Saturday. As long as you’re honest with both of your dates, you shouldn’t feel guilty for dating more than one person at a time. You don’t have to get into the details, but as long as both dates know that you’re not exclusive, then you’re not doing anything wrong or leading anyone on.
Dating more than one guy at a time really helps you decide which qualities you’re looking for in someone you want to make the plunge into exclusivity with. It’s kind of like sticking a toe in the shallow end of the pool before you jump, and maybe trying out the hot tub before deciding if you’re in a pool mood or a Jacuzzi mood. Okay, so that metaphor was stupid, but I don’t understand why girls can’t date more than one guy at once. I’m not saying run out and grab a date with your school’s entire football team, but put yourself out there. Sew some wild oats. Have a good time; don’t get too serious until you’re ready. There’s no harm in trying on like eight pairs of jeans before picking out one you really want to wear all the time. Another cheesy metaphor, but you get the point.
Molly is a senior Journalism/English/Broadcasting major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She’s not very good at small talk and English Bulldogs are her only vice. Follow her @gwacamolly on twitter or on Tumblr at generallycondescending.tumblr.com