How to roster date multiple people this summer without being a jerk

Portrait of stylish black couple talking to each other at summer street cafe
Dating coach and therapist Sara Tick says roster dating can help with self-discovery and finding a compatible partner.Evgeniia Siiankovskaia/Getty Images
  • Roster dating, or casually seeing more than one person at a time, is a common and useful way to date, experts say.

  • Dating multiple people can help you get to know yourself and your desires for a long-term partner better.

  • Experts suggest dating up to five people at once and being upfront when you want to end a connection.

As we enter the fun and flirty months of summer, it's the perfect time for singles to embrace new connections.

For many, a common dating strategy is "roster dating," where you have casual romances with more than one person at a time. It's a method Match Group dating expert and communication coach Rachel DeAlto thinks all singles should try out.

"Obviously, it depends on your time, energy, and availability. But I think it's a much better idea to see multiple people, and not focus on one person, when you have no idea what the outcome is going to be," DeAlto said.

Typically, as these multiple romances progress, you'll decide to pursue a connection with the person you feel most connected to, letting the others fall away, DeAlto said.

While this is a normal part of dating, it can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or hurt feelings if there is miscommunication, so Insider asked DeAlto and Sara Tick, a therapist and men's dating coach, how to roster date in a kind way.

The benefits of roster dating

According to Tick, roster dating allows someone to get to know themselves better as they explore different interests and dynamics.

One person on your roster could be a great conversationalist, so you find yourself having fascinating conversations about politics and religion with them. Another could have a proclivity for nights out dancing, playing up your sensual an adventurous sides, Tick said.

"Roster dating lets you realize that not every relationship is going to fill every need you have, and it's okay to diversify and to get to know yourself through all of these different dates," Tick told Insider.

Plus, if someone notices they tend to cling onto a new connection too quickly, roster dating can help them break out of that anxious habit, DeAlto said,

Assume everyone is roster dating until you talk about it

There's no reason to feel bad about roster dating, even if you'd like to have a monogamous relationship one day, DeAlto said.

In fact, she said you should assume everyone you're seeing is roster dating too, and don't need to bring up the fact you're dating around unless it comes up in conversation.

But over time, as you go on more dates and deepen connections, you'll likely start to form feelings for one or more people on your roster, Tick said. When that happens, it's important to be honest with yourself and everyone you've been dating.

speed dating
If you're dating multiple people at once, be honest about your intentions, dating experts say.Chris Hondros / Getty

According to Tick, most people will naturally realize they want to invest all of their time into one person instead of continuing to roster date. She suggested telling that person you'd like to exclusively date them and seeing if they feel the same way.

"Being authentic and asking for what you want, even at the risk of potentially losing it, is a sign you're dating in a mature way," Tick said.

Keep your roster to 5 or fewer people

Sure, there's no rule saying you can't date 10 people at once. But adding too many singles to your roster could leave you feeling overwhelmed and defeat the purpose of getting to know yourself better through quality connections, according to Tick.

You also run the risk of forgetting details about your various dates, leading to awkward encounters where you mix up details, she said. That's why Tick suggested keeping between three and five people on your roster at any given time.

If swapping among three people still sounds like too much, even dating two people at a time can offer the same benefits of roster dating, according to DeAlto.

If you're not feeling it, be honest and don't ghost

When roster dating, you should always be honest about your intentions, according to Tick.

If, for example, you recently got out of a long-term relationship and are roster dating but not looking to settle down soon, tell your dates that, Tick said.

Being honest also applies to ending connections with people on your roster. Though these connections are casual, you should still be direct when you realize you don't want to continue the relationship, Tick said.

Instead of ghosting them, tell them you had fun getting to know them, but realized it's not a good fit, and that you wish them well, according to Tick.

"It's always kinder to end things as opposed to letting them drag on when you're just not as into it," Tick said.

Read the original article on Insider