Ask Margot-Seeing Two Women—At Once!

One man wonders: Does he need to admit that he’s dating both of them simultaneously?

By Margot Carmichael Lester

ear Margot,
I’ve been seeing two women at my church. One I know from Bible study, the other from Sunday Eucharist. They don’t know each other and attend different services. I like them both, but am not sure I’m ready to commit to either one. My choir buddy says I should tell them about each other. That little devil on my shoulder says I don’t need to. Who’s right?
– Double Dipping Darrin in Dallas

Dear Quadruple D:
Under certain circumstances, I’d say you can safely and ethically date more than one person at a time. But not under these circumstances, my friend.
You’re naïve if you think you can do this much longer without getting caught.
Here’s the deal, dude. You’re dating two ladies in the same congregation. And even if you go to one of those megachurches, this dating pool is too tiny to accommodate this kind of activity.

You’re naïve if you think you can do this much longer without getting caught. And you’re tempting fate by thinking you can keep innuendo and hurt feelings at bay in such a small community. The fact that you’re in the same congregation means that whether you’re cheating or not, many other people in the congregation could interpret this behavior in a negative light. And if anyone else told either of your casual dates about the other, one or both would likely be hurt. The test of whether you need to tell is not the self-focused test of whether you have a committed to one or the other, but the other-focused test, based on your intuition, about how one or both of the women would feel.

And once you do that, you’re going to realize that this is no way to treat a lady. So do yourself a favor and tell them both now. It’s the right thing to do when you’re dating two people who attend the same church, live in the same small community or work in the same office.

But while I’ve got the eyes of those of you out there who were drawn into this article because you’re dating two people, let me take the opportunity to offer you some tips for deciding if you should tell or not. Honesty, truth and fairness are core values of
After all, the purpose of dating is to meet a lot of people.
most major religions. So I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should outright lie and cheat on the people you’re dating. But as long as you’re not telling them it’s exclusive, you’re not doing any harm near as I can tell.

After all, the purpose of dating is to meet a lot of people, see how well you get on, discover what you have in common and decide if you want to forsake all others in an exclusive situation. Like a pro athlete evaluating offers from teams, you’re a free agent until you decide to sign. You can spend time with anyone you want without doing anything wrong—as long as everyone knows you’re still looking. Playing this out will help you be sure you’re doing the right thing.

Ask yourself these questions:
  1. First, let’s play the old do unto others game: How would you feel if you found out one of these people was seeing someone else? If you’d feel upset or jealous, it might be that you’re more interested than you’ve let yourself admit. If this is the case, go out with the leading candidate a little more and see where it goes.
  2. Have you done or said anything that would lead these dates to believe they’re seeing you alone? If you’re lying, you know you’re in the wrong and you need to make things right. At the very least, stop the prevaricating.
  3. Are you continuing to see one (or both) of them simply because you have nothing better to do? If you don’t have any actual interest in one or the other, break it off. Otherwise, you’re just wasting her time and yours. If you’re acting in good faith, keep dating them both until you’re ready to commit.
See the pattern here? Getting clear on your feelings about each person, and your motivation for seeing them, are the first steps in deciding who and what to tell. But doing the right thing requires you to put yourself in your dates’ shoes — to think about how you’d feel in a similar situation — and then decide. Because you’ll never be able to be truly honest with someone unless you’re able to be honest with yourself first.

Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. Send your faith-based dating questions to
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