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You’re not paranoid if you think men are most drawn to you when you’re taken. If you’re seeing one guy who makes you feel happy and confident, other men are attracted to that happiness and confidence. So it’s no coincidence if it seems that you’re either going through a dry spell at certain times, or conversely that you find yourself having to choose between multiple men. And that’s not a bad thing. Don’t say no to a date with one guy who you hit it off with just because things are going well with someone else. Be fair to yourself until you are ready to settle down with “the one.” But, at the same time, if you’re going to date multiple men casually, be fair to them too. Here is how:

Say no to the serious stuff
If he asks you to meet his family, or to be there the day he wakes up from surgery, you may have to pass. Tell him it’s too soon to meet the family. Tell him you hope the surgery goes well, but that you think at this point it’s more appropriate for his best friend or family to be there. Anything that is going to bond you even more, when you’re not sure you want to be bonded — don’t do it.

Don’t suggest serious stuff
The reverse is true, too. It may seem like a good idea to take him as your date to your best friend’s wedding, or bring him along for a weekend visit to your parent’s town, but these things say to him “she wants me to be an integral part of her life.” Sorry but, grab a male friend to be your date to the wedding, and visit the parents solo, as boring as it may be.

Space out the dates
If you’re seeing these men multiple times a week—maybe even alternating nights of staying at their houses—they are going to assume you’re not seeing somebody else. If you want to put the breaks on, put them on. Set a rule for yourself that you will only see each guy once a week, until you know which one you feel more serious about.

Use condoms
Do I even need to say this one? You’re already toying with their hearts. You don’t need to toy with their health.

Don’t let them pay all of the time
If you are dating two guys, you know one of them has got to go eventually. You may not know which one, but there is a 50/50 chance that the guy putting down his credit card for your five star meal, the three martinis at the after-bar and the theater tickets is going to be let go. And, if he ever finds out it’s because someone else was in the picture, he is not going to appreciate that you sat back and let him throw money around.

No double standard
If you’re dating multiple people, so can he. Unless he has explicitly said “I’m only dating you” (in which case, you better have been honest and said “I’m not…”) you can’t go crazy on him if you run into him out with another girl. You’re both allowed to test out your options until you’ve discussed otherwise.

Prepare your friends
You don’t want your friends accidentally mentioning the other guy in front of the one who happens to be with you on a particular night. And you certainly don’t want them to look shocked when you show up with a date on one night, and then show up to another important event with someone else. Tell them you’re dating multiple guys ahead of time so they can play it cool. With these simple rules, you should be able to handle multiple partners until you find the guy who is worth all your personal time.

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