One Super Important Thing I Learned From Dating Three Chicks At Once

As I mentioned in my post on three quick things I’ve learned on recent dates, I went through a stretch where I was dating three girls at once. That stretch lasted about 4 weeks and the process of maintaining three “girlfriends” was fun, interesting and revelatory.

Lance Recommends 3 GF's At Once
Lance Recommends 3 GF’s At Once

Before I get to the revelatory part, I want talk about the girls. BTW, I love girls. Love’em.

What is cool is that when you date three people at the same time, you can’t help but compare and contrast them. All I could think about was how interesting the three girls were in their differences. They all had their strengths and weaknesses, their quirks, how they moved differently, how they smelled, and how their love styles differed. Love styles, by the way, are my new big interest. Honey talked about this important concept and provided some valuable links in her Revelations Part III post. Read if you haven’t already.

The first girl, Teri, I met at a 4th of July party. Teri was an attractive Sagittarius, a few years younger than me, very athletic, lived about an hour away. Teri was awesome in the sack and the handful of times we did it, it was among the best sex I’ve ever had. “Porntastic” is the term that comes to mind. That’s the good. The bad is that she was a bit emotionally distant and couldn’t display affection or acknowledge our connection when not having sex. What I mean is she NEVER reached out and touched or said anything that could be interpreted as flirtatious or affectionate. The only time she did those things was shortly after sex, when we were lying around doing nothing. What Teri did do was send lots of texts and Facebook messages about mundane stuff, which I believe she believed telegraphed her interest. This was not enough for me.

I had to break up with her.

Here’s how it went down. We were out partying and I bummed a cigarette off a random person. I did this to take a break from drinking and also to start a conversation. I call this “social smoking” and it can be very effective for meeting new people. Anyway, the next morning she scolded me for smoking, saying that it was a near dealbreaker and that she was disgusted by it. Without me getting into it too much, I told her she hadn’t earned the right to scold me because she hadn’t ever said anything nice or anything clear cut that indicated that she appreciated my company. She hadn’t built up any emotional credit to let

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me accept a scolding. She admitted that she was really bad at indicating affection/appreciation and that she needed to work on it. I told her to work on it with the next guy. That was that.

The second girl was a tall nerdy chick I met at a pool party. I went on two dates with her. We had hour-long make-out sessions at her house after each date. She was a couple of years older than me, Scorpio, very sexual (although we didn’t have sex), divorced once, great cook, well read, great conversationalist. Her name was Ellen. What was great about Ellen was how comfortable we were around each other and how easy the conversation was. I had the best conversational connection with her, more than any other girl, excepting perhaps Honey. Her drawback was that she had VERY high standards, unreasonable in my opinion, and she dropped me after two dates because we had differing views on marriage and children. She also was “super romantic” and was waiting for her white knight to sweep her off her feet. She was a couple of years older than me so I suppose she’s victim to the dreaded biological clock. Anyway, her love style was the complete opposite of Teri. Ellen was very affectionate, confident, she instinctively knew when to touch and say something nice. It was nice being around her. Better than nice, it was blissful.

The last girl, Megan, was also my recent ex-girlfriend. We’ve sort of been on-again off-again for months and during this stretch we had a passionate little on-again. Megan is Aries, athletic, tight runner’s body, high energy, high maintenance. Megan’s big drawback is that she requires 110% of my free time, to the point that it’s smothering, and if I so much as fired up my XBox without getting permission she had an emotional meltdown. It was not good. Her love style was also indistinct. She had no skill at projecting affection or saying nice things without being prompted.

So yeah, I’m single again and I’m totally cool with that. Excited, in fact.

Some Stuff I Learned, All Important

If I could have combined these three girls somehow and made one uber-girlfriend, I’d be all set. Unfortunately, none of them worked out, so I have to keep doing my thing. Some of the things I learned include:

  • Sex is important, but not the most important thing. Dating a lot leads me to conclude that I could have great sex with most of the girls I’m interested in, which means I don’t have to worry about it when choosing a mate.
  • Realizing your love style and what you need from your partner is super important. Do you need words of affirmation to be happy? Are you big on touch? Figure that out because it won’t work without congruency in this area.
  • Girls are just as unskilled, perhaps even more so, as guys at developing a relationship. We all need to increase our knowledge on how to be a good partner. It’s not just about one person’s needs…it’s about growing a partnership.
  • Relationships are highly skill driven and should not be left purely to emotion. Most young people don’t understand this. When we make the emotional decision, we get embroiled in relationships that we shouldn’t have started in the first place.
  • When we’re unskilled, we become selfish.

The One Big Thing I Learned

The one big thing I learned I believe is the most important aspect of a relationship. How does your partner make you feel? If your girlfriend makes you feel good about yourself, inspired, energetic, like a good man, then she’s probably worth keeping. I think this is at the very core of a good intimate partnership. The rest of the stuff like commonalities, sex, and even looks to a certain extant will take care of itself. The problem with Megan, my last girlfriend, was that she almost never made me feel good. In fact, I often felt like a failure. Teri didn’t know how to make me feel good because she didn’t know how to reach out and take an emotional risk. That problem is going to plague her with all her partners until she figures it out. Ellen knew how to be a good partner, but she had her own agenda. So now I’m looking for a girl that knows how to be a good partner. I think the metric of “how does she make me feel” is as good as any to measure your relationship with. Agree or disagree?

Lastly, I want to recommend dating multiple people at once, at least for stretches. It’s highly insightful and will really help you to realize what it is you want and need in a relationship. With a little time management it’s not that hard to maintain. As always, be safe and clear about your intentions.

If you’ve ever dated three people at once, you might like these posts:

  • http://www.idatewhite.com Eathan

    Ok.. I’m glad you’re writing again.. but i have to ask, You didn’t have sex with #2 at all? Just hour long make outs?
    .-= Eathan´s last blog …He Turned Down A Moped =-.

  • http://engagement101mag.com Tiffany @ E101

    I’m not sure if I could date three guys at once, not even as a science experiment. But I enjoyed this post and it was a lot more insightful than I thought it would be.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    @Tiffany: What, did the picture of the hot chicks throw you off??

    @Eathan: Didn’t nail #2 although I gave it the old college try. Seriously, though, my new strategy is to slow play the sex. When you date multiples, as I’m sure you know, sex is much less important. At least it is for me.
    .-= Lance´s last blog …One Super Important Thing I Learned From Dating Three Chicks At Once =-.

  • Offwinger

    Interesting post.

    I’ve been lurking on your blog for some time, and I almost never comment. I don’t know you; all I can go by is your words. So feel free to tell me to fuck off.

    Here’s my take:

    Your “love style” strikes me as overly needy and high maintenance. Some chicks will dig that. Some will be turned off by it. There are different ways to show affection, attraction, and appreciation.

    From what you’ve described, you prefer a girl who will compliment you a lot, reach out to touch you, and constantly affirm how awesome you are.

    Sometimes, the neediness and desire for this affirmation is precisely the turn-off. Fishing for compliments and asking to be appreciated and cared for is a good way to get the other person to resent having to do these things, rather than being able to show affection & appreciation as it comes naturally. Understanding differences in love styles doesn’t have to mean that you discard anyone who refuses to change their style to match yours. It means learning to build a relationship with someone who might communicate differently than you do and learning to tailor your communication better to that other person.

    I find it somewhat amusing that your incompatibility with Meghan links to her being overly high maintenance, when you sound like you’re not all that different in terms of high maintenance expectations and neediness.

  • http://casualencounters.com/blog/ Janak

    So what DO you think about marriage and children, Lance?
    .-= Janak´s last blog …Interview with Ross Williams of WhiteLabelDating.com =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Perhaps the definition of “neediness” is not always simply the amount of attention that you need, but also partly due to the type.

    Meghan was needy to Lance because she sounds like a “quality time” girl, to an extreme. So because he didn’t need as much of that as her, he perceived her as needy because it was a lot of effort for him to accommodate her preference.

    Lance seems needy to you because he is a “words of affirmation” guy, and you are (apparently, at least) not.

    I get what you’re saying regarding compromise on both sides (including his). I think that Lance and I also both feel that relationships are most likely to be successful when both people in a couple are self-aware enough to recognize their preferences/needs and possess the communications ability to have meta-relationship conversations that explicitly address them.

    However, I think there’s a difference between love style *preferences* that can be fixed with a compromise and baseline love style *needs* that must be met for each person to appear happy. If a person can’t adjust their communication style enough to meet the other person’s baseline need, then there’s going to be problems.

    For example, since I’m a physical touch girl, I need several (let’s say 5-10) very long hugs (say, longer than a minute), PLUS hand-holding and kissing, every single day. Someone who doesn’t need this at all may say “I could get by with 1 brief hug and a kiss on the cheek every day, but I’ll up it to 3 for you – that’s compromise.”

    That wouldn’t work for me. I need at least five. Even though someone’s willing to compromise, that doesn’t mean they can compromise enough for you.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …One Super Important Thing I Learned From Dating Three Chicks At Once =-.

  • Offwinger

    I agree with you on how we all might interpret neediness based on where we fall (kinda like the fact that everyone acts like those to the left are crazy anarchists and those to the right are fanatic nutjobs – but where you draw the line likely differs).

    To take the point on compromise further, there is a difference between someone who doesn’t “need” that much physical contact versus someone who feels “put out” giving that much contact.

    I think it’s much easier to compromise with someone who has a different style when your needs are not diametrically opposed. Someone who likes to fight by yelling in person versus someone who wants time alone and quiet to think about a response – that’s a mismatch of style that doesn’t allow for much compromise. Someone who loves hugs probably should not be with someone who hates hugs. But that’s often not the case.

    For example, I’m not a hugger. However, I know that I’m with someone who appreciates hugs. We have pretty good communication. The compromise is that while I try to remember to give hugs unsolicited, I also get requests for hugs as needed too, which I have no problem going along with. Part of being in a healthy relationship means that I don’t get all huffy that I’m being asked for a hug (because I’m not a mind reader) and, on occasion, I’m even thanked when I give a hug totally out of the blue (rather than due to some set routine or expectation). Works for us.

    What I was pointing out about Lance & dubbing high maintenance is that he made it sound like he wasn’t just saying, “I need 5 hugs per day, and if someone isn’t willing to hug me that much, it’s not gonna work.” It sounded more like an expectation of a hug whenever he wanted one, without regard to the possibility that: (1) the other person might not think of giving that many hugs without having a good meta-conversation about it; and (2) going around demanding “hug me!” without regard for context and then pouting about it when you’re rebuffed isn’t the way to garner affectionate or intimate hugging.

  • http://vcarded.com The Virgin

    “Relationships are highly skill driven and should not be left purely to emotion. Most young people don’t understand this.”

    So true. Reminds me of a 21-year-old coworker I knew who was getting married. When I asked him why, he replied with a sigh “It’s time.” “Time for what? Getting carded?” was my smartassed remark. ;)

  • http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog Evan Marc Katz

    Great piece, Lance. What you learned was really insightful – especially the part about how a woman makes you FEEL. That’s the most underrated quality that men seek in women, yet it’s criminally neglected. Offwinger suggests that because you want a girlfriend who makes you feel good, you’re high maintenance. No, actually, you’re just a guy. Keep up the fine work, my friend.

  • Offwinger

    EMK,

    You’re misunderstanding what I’ve said. Wanting someone who makes you feel good has nothing to do with whether you’re being high maintenance in your requests or not. You should look for someone who makes you feel good.

    High maintenance is about what is on the list of what is necessary to make you feel good. Someone who is low maintenance has a less demanding list than a high maintenance person. And how demanding the list is has to do with how much of an imposition this might be on another person.

    Suppose someone says, “I only feel good if we fuck every morning for no less than 10 minutes, I get 10 text messages throughout the day telling me how awesome I am (but no repeating comments!), and I get my dinner made for me (home-cooked) every single night.” Some people might find this to be a low maintenance list; others – probably most – would think it to be high maintenance.

    If someone came to you as a dating coach and said, “I only feel good about myself if my girlfriend is a 10 across the board, because it shows I can score a perfect 10,” you’d probably suggest that this person figure out how to feel good about himself with a girlfriend who doesn’t match this ideal and analyze what makes him want only a “perfect 10,” rather than encouraging him to pursue only 10s across the board, since, hey, that’s what makes him feel good. Someone who is arguably on the high maintenance side of the equation might want to look at how they might be able to find within him or herself not to need quite so much (of whatever it is they want) to make him or her feel good.

    As for the standard of “does this person make me feel good?,” I’ve got no objections to that. Personally, I prefer to think of it as, “Is this someone who makes me want to give of myself to them?” I know that when I’ve found someone that makes me want to give (whether it be with my time, attention, affection, intimacy, and so on), it’s a sign that they are someone who makes me feel good. If I’ve lost the desire to give in a dating/relationship situation, and I’m only evaluating whether I’m “getting” what I want, by then, it usually means that this is not someone who is making me feel good.

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    I think dating multiple woman at once is the best way to go. Comparing them, like you say, is great. You appreciate their nuances, rather than get super annoyed at shortcomings. And I agree that how a woman makes you feel is important. She should bring out the good in you. You should feel inspired, energetic, enthused. Like you want to nail her constantly.
    .-= dadshouse´s last blog …When Hanging Out is Better Than Dating =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    Offwinger, thanks for reading and for the comments (finally). I’m finally getting around to adding to this conversation.

    You brought up a good point about my potential neediness with this chick. I did A LOT of thinking about this during the time that I was dating Teri and my conclusion is that I was no more and no less needy than I always am, which is much less than the average dude. Take this with a grain of salt, but I’m a pretty cool customer in a relationship.

    I think you would have to agree, though, that in ANY reasonable, healthy relationship, there is a certain level of affection and verbalized appreciation being exchanged between the two partners. The degree of that can be debated, but there’s no debate that it has to be there. With Teri, it simply wasn’t coming from her. I gave her the love and didn’t get any in return, and that’s a simple fact. The why can be debated also, and it may be something as simple as she wasn’t that into me. But whatever, that exchange wasn’t happening, so I made a thoughtful decision and broke it off.

    You had a great point about her making me want to give of myself in return, something I didn’t emphasize enough in my post. You’re absolutely correct.
    .-= Lance´s last blog …A Love Styles Exercise =-.

  • http://www.mezzi.com/ Metal Briefcases

    Personally I wouldn’t want to date 3 girls at once. It would likely be more hassle than it’s worth. To make it work you would likely have to be dishonest to at least one of them. Then what if you’re dishonest to the wrong one and it prevents a relationship. Dating multiple people is for people who aren’t ready to settle down and they are still figuring out what they want.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I think you’ve got a point re: if you’ve found someone totally quality, then you wouldn’t want to date other people. But sometimes in the beginning it takes awhile to be sure and I can see not wanting to close any doors until that happens.

    In a case like Lance’s, if a situation goes on like that for a month or two and it’s not obvious that there’s a frontrunner, maybe none of them are LTR material. If you’re at a casual stage then that’s fine.

    I don’t think that you should ever be dishonest with anyone…if someone can’t handle not being monogamous then you just don’t sleep with them (you could continue dating or not). IMO, you’re not actually monogamous until you’ve been sleeping with each other exclusively for at least six months AND have had all necessary STD screenings. Even if you’re the only person someone’s sleeping with at the time, you’re still “sleeping with” everyone they’ve slept with since their last screening.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …Couple Use Emoticons To Replace Intimacy and Affection In Their Relationship ;-) =-.

  • http://www.relationship-journal.com Mikko Kemppe – Relationship Coach

    Great post here Lance!

    I agree with you and Honey in that I don’t think there should be anything wrong about dating multiple people at the same time. And I don’t see the need to be dishonest about it either. In the beginning before you have become exclusive to any one person, if you feel it is appropriate at the moment why not just say to your dates: “Hey, by the way, I just want you to know there is couple of other people that I am dating also.”

    In your question about the metric of “how does she make me feel” as a good measure for your relationship. I would like to disagree and agree.

    I think that metric is primarily great for women. I think for men using that question as the primary metric makes us men easily run the risk of just becoming very self-absorbent, which I think it is so easy for us to do without such a question.

    Unless, you use that metric in the sense that Offspring I think well described, which is to rather first ask yourself: “Is this someone who makes me want to give of myself to them?”

    Or in a way that I would like to add, which is: “Does my contribution to her happiness make me feel happy?”And if in that sense she is making you feel good about yourself then I would agree for it to be a good measure.
    .-= Mikko Kemppe – Relationship Coach´s last blog …Why Do Relationships Seem So Complicated Today? =-.

  • http://tsquest.blogspot.com T

    I love this post Lance. I’m learning more and more about how to be in a relationship (even after being married for 13 years) and what you’ve said is spot on.

    Great stuff!
    .-= T´s last blog …The Affair, part 10 =-.