Sunlit Water

December 15, 2007


Filed under: Dating,Personal — by teofilo @ 4:43 pm

So, um, after all that time when I was lonely and couldn’t seem to meet any girls I now have several quite promising prospects, some from OkCupid and others that I met in the course of my everyday life.  One thing that I’ve realized recently is that what I really want, and felt like I wasn’t getting enough of before, is attention from women (rather than sex or love specifically), and I now have more of that than I know what to do with, and as a result am much happier.  Knowing that I have other options does a lot to lessen the pressure I feel when I’m with any one girl, because I know that the stakes are lower and that if things don’t work out with her it’s not the end of the world.  As a result, I’m more relaxed and confident.

The potential problem with these circumstances is my general indecisiveness, which could be problematic at some point down the road if some of these things start to get more serious.  Of course, it’s likely that many of them will end up not working out fairly early on, restricting my options later (which is a good thing), but if more than one ends up getting pretty serious I may have something of a dilemma on my hands, which leads me to a question.  What’s the protocol for telling these girls about each other?  Should I do it early on, wait until things start to get serious, not bother and figure I’ll be down to just one soon enough, or what?



  1. Yay! My advice (and I have roughly as much experience as you do, so take it for what it’s worth) is to wait until things get serious, or until you’d rather be going out with Ms. X than with Y, and then gently break things off with the other girls.

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 15, 2007 @ 7:29 pm |Reply

  2. Yeah, that was my first thought about how to do this. I’d be interested in any other opinions as well, though.

    Comment by teofilo — December 15, 2007 @ 7:44 pm |Reply

  3. Yay for attention! I wouldn’t worry too much about indecisiveness right now — chances are good things will shake out on their own as things progess. Overthinking it doesn’t help. (Yeah, I know, I’m about the least credible person alive on that kind of thing. I guess I don’t really know where not overthinking things might get you, not ever having really tried the recommended approach myself.)

    When to mention seeing other people is a really good question, because it seems like lots of people have completely different expectations. On the one hand, being up front seems respectful, making sure everyone is on the same page about “this isn’t exclusive yet.” On the other hand, it may come off as a bit weird if that’s already the default presumption. Personally, I’d want to know but wouldn’t want to have the conversation. For your sake, I hope I do not represent the norm.

    Comment by Di Kotimy — December 15, 2007 @ 11:42 pm |Reply

  4. 1 sounds correct. I think the Golden Rule is pretty reliable here. If you do this enough in any permutation other than one-at-a-time, you’re going to run into some assumption problems. Treat others as you would wish to be treated, etc., and you’ll weather those problems.

    Comment by Wrongshore — December 17, 2007 @ 11:20 am |Reply

  5. Another vote for the advice in 1. While trying to be upfront about everything is laudable, if you do it too early you run the risk not only of narrowing your options before you really know whom you might like best, but also of coming off as being a bit presumptuous.

    Comment by Blume — December 18, 2007 @ 8:56 am |Reply

  6. Somewhat OT, but I’m dipping my toe into craigslist personals, and I’m wondering how the process usually works. When you’re responding to someone’s ad, do you usually include your name and contact info in your first response (ie, the first email you send to the person)?

    It’s good to hear that people liked my advice. Also, I’m not sure that you would ever really need to tell the girls about each other–IMO, if you’re at the point where you feel obligated to tell one of them about the others you’re probably also at the point where you need to be breaking it off with the rest of them. What does everyone think?

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 18, 2007 @ 4:09 pm |Reply

  7. I haven’t used craigslist much, but when I have I’ve generally at least used my real name in the first e-mail. I don’t really know what the usual protocol is. I found CL a lot more difficult to use than other online dating sites, because you have to be able to grab someone’s attention using either an ad or an e-mail alone, whereas on other sites you have a whole profile that people can look at to find out more about you.

    Comment by teofilo — December 18, 2007 @ 4:14 pm |Reply

  8. The entry costs to CL are a lot lower, though.

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 18, 2007 @ 4:33 pm |Reply

  9. True, but so are the odds of success.

    Comment by teofilo — December 18, 2007 @ 4:35 pm |Reply

  10. I think that matters more if you’re using online dating as your main way to find girls–I’m just dabbling in it, at least at this point. (I haven’t actually emailed anyone yet, just looked a bit.)

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 18, 2007 @ 4:49 pm |Reply

  11. Fair enough. All I’m saying is not to be surprised if no one writes back.

    Comment by teofilo — December 18, 2007 @ 4:51 pm |Reply

  12. Thanks for the tip.

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 18, 2007 @ 4:54 pm |Reply

  13. I have never, ever used my first name in the first few e-mails on Craigslist, but I am a woman corresponding with men. I usually like it if a man uses his first name, but I don’t hold it against him if he doesn’t.

    Craigslist personals have disproportionately included encounters with creepy and unpleasant people (especially compared to my other 15+ years of interacting with generally lovely people in various online communities) that I look for a few affirmative gestures from a man that he is human, kind, and moderately honorable. That doesn’t have to include giving his name.

    Comment by Passerby — December 19, 2007 @ 8:48 pm |Reply

  14. Wait, does CL have a way to reply to someone’s ad using the anonymous email thing? The only way to reply that I could see was to use my personal email, which has my name plastered all over it (unless I create a pseudonymous account or something.) Is there some other way of replying?

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 20, 2007 @ 2:04 am |Reply

  15. No, you have to reply with your own e-mail address. I always used my real-name one, but if you’re concerned about privacy you could always create a pseudonymous one. As Passerby says, though, replying under your own name is a nice gesture of good faith if you’re a man responding to a woman.

    Comment by teofilo — December 20, 2007 @ 10:01 am |Reply

  16. I’m not worried about privacy, it’s just that Passerby seemed to suggest that people usually start out with an anonymous-ish email address (which mine isn’t). I was wondering how that usually worked, that’s all.

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 20, 2007 @ 10:20 am |Reply

  17. Well, I just replied to some ads, so we’ll see if I get any results.

    Comment by the Other Paul — December 23, 2007 @ 3:02 am |Reply

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