Why You Would Rather Date Three People Than Be Happy With One


The first video I’ve ever posted on my blog is appropriate in a number of ways.

First of all, the subject matter is dating related.

Second of all, it has to do with the Paradox of Choice – and, in three and a half minutes, logically explains why we date multiple people simultaneously.

Finally, it’s a video by Dan Ariely, a professor from Duke University – my alma mater.

Enjoy and don’t forget to post your thoughts below.

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  1. 1

    What an interesting peek into the human psyche. In my mind, a couple of things are going on: first, we live in a world where there are so many choices available to us that it’s difficult to make a decision about one and stick by our guns. Two, I think we live in an era where there is a mentality of “the grass is always greener elsewhere”. Commiting to one means we give up all the others and no one wants to pay that price. Well, the grass may be greener on the other side, but guess what? You’re gonna have to mow that grass too. Thanks for sharing that video,

  2. 2

    i think that’s so true…i’ve experienced it…when you feel a relationship is slowly dying , and inexplicably the person withdrawing makes these fleeting attempts to touch base again, just keep his foot in the door so to say, so that it wouldnt close on him.creates havoc for the person trying to come to terms with the reality

  3. 3

    Lucky, I think what we forget, too is that door is closing for a reason and we probably should let it close.

  4. 4

    I think this approach works in the beginning of a relationship, when people don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket in case things don’t work out. It’s called “keeping your options open”. At some point, though, if you want to have a more serious or committed relationship, you’re going to have to choose. Another question, if one person seems more evasive than another, does that make the more elusive person more desirable? Maybe that’s why playing hard to get works!

  5. 5

    The question is are we “dating” or looking for a relationship? If you are just looking for “dates” having several on the string can work fine. But, if it’s a relationship you are seeking, personally I don’t find I can give proper attention to 3 guys at one time, not to mention how “available” I am for dating any one of them on a Saturday night. When you are not available, people just move on, because someone else is.

  6. 6

    I’ve experienced this myself. I’m currently active one match & when I first joined back in February I started exchanging emails with one man in particular on a daily basis. We’ve never actually met and after a while he stopped emailing me regularly. I stopped emailing him but twice now he’s sent me emails out of the blue after not hearing from him for several weeks. The video explains why as far as I’m concerned. I have to agree with starthower.

  7. 7

    texasdarlin, had that same experience myself. If I someone stops contacting or interacting with me and then all of the sudden decides to start up again, I’m not sure I’m going to put a whole lot of faith in their motives. I’m likely to think, well, they were never really that interested. Granted, minds and hearts can change, but once you move on, it’s difficult to get that momentum back.

  8. 8

    startheower, I’ve emailed him back, but gone on about my business. I don’t hold out any hope of anything coming out of it. I had thought it odd as that had not been my experience before. Usually they “disappear” and never return.

  9. 9

    That disappearing or drifting in and out thing is precisely the reason why I refuse to get out there right now. I can see Evan now telling me I can’t change it, and he’s right, I can’t. But I can at least refuse to ride the roller coaster.

  10. 10

    This thread feeds off a reply to another post (by Jennifer perhaps?) that questioned whether online dating has furthered dating or just set us back as it undoubtedly feeds the “there’s a million people out there so why settle down with just one?” mentality. To texas, I agree with you regarding picking up on their motives… however, before you meet in person, it’s pretty tough make anything feel “real”. I would give it one more chance – you never know! It’s all about timing.

  11. 11

    I could be wrong, as you say it’s hard to say without actually meeting, what I left out was that early on, (either end of Feb or beginning of March) I had asked if he wanted to meet. He said yes. That was the first time I didn’t hear back from him. Knowing what he does and where he works could account for the lackof communication, but one of the the things that Evan has said repeatedly in various responses and blogs, that if a guy is really interested he’ll make an effort to contact whether via phone or, in this case email. It’s been at least a month since the last two contacts. I could be way way off base, but I see it is not really interested, but hanging onto an option on his part.
    After reading Evan’s books and this blog I’ve developed more realistic expectations.

  12. 12

    I agree with you, starthrower, about the grass always being greener elsewhere, and it’s a complicated dance. If I’m always looking for greener grass (as I sometimes do, I’ll admit), and if he’s always looking for greener grass, what are the chances that we both decide, at the same time, that the two of us are the greenest grass? Kind of discouraging….

  13. 13

    Not much motivation to keep trying, is it Jenn? At least it’s not unless you’re a person who is never wanting for dates. But for those of us who have some flaw and can’t work the numbers like others, it’s difficult to see the point in hanging in there rather than dropping out.

  14. 14

    I watched this vid again, and thought, wait a minute, these are college kids! Is that who the researcher used as test subjects? Would the results be the same with older folks (like most of us on this blog) with a lot of dating experience, who might not feel the need to experience lots of partners and are more ready to settle down with one person?

  15. 15

    Hey, Starthrower68,

    I’ve noticed that you’ve been a little down on yourself and a bit pessimistic about finding a relationship. You need a little inspiration. The motivation to hang in there is because a rich and full life is about making connections with people and a really important connection is with a romantic partner. Believe it or not, the new animated movie “Up” does a wonderful job of showing that it’s the various types of connections that we have that makes life wonderful and special. It shows that ordinary people (even slightly flawed one), can find extraordinary love. You should go see it. It will make you feel better.

  16. 16


    I love the new commitment to daily blog activity! Thank you!

    This was an interesting video, but I have to echo Ava’s question about whether or not this would apply to older daters. Also, the situation is premised on everyone having at least three available “doors,” which may not be the case, intentionally or not.

    I have recently let a couple of doors close when I realized I was in a relationship that had the potential to be what I said I wanted for a long time now. Only time will tell if that proves correct, but it felt empowering to let the other guys go. Keeping one foot in the door is, more often than not, agonizing and futile.

  17. 17

    It’s a valid question and one experience neither proves nor disprove the theory. In my case I’m 39 & he’s 40. It would be interesting to see or hear about other people’s experiences.

    Congrats, Cilla, I hope all works out for you

  18. 19

    Thanks Kenley. Star is just very tired, but still endeavors to persevere.

  19. 20

    Quality not quantity

    I think the online dating medium has also created this three door dilemma for a few reasons (many already mentioned in the above posts). I recently went out with two guys I met online and am due to meet one more from another site. The first guy I went out with twice, got a positive email from him the 2nd night we went out, and haven’t heard from him since. The second guy I went out with once, but he calls on a regular basis and we are due to go out again.[I’m not holding my breath] I am in email stage with the 3rd guy.

    What I’ve noticed from online (and probably offline) dating is that there seems to be inconsistency with follow-up from guys (some disappear suddenly and then “come out of the woodwork” weeks/months later) which leads many women to dating a few men at the same time. I’m looking for a relationship with one guy and my philosophy is to wait for the cream to rise to the top. I’ll let the other doors close naturally and will not look back when they do.

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