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How to Play the Dating Field

Not ready to settle down? There's a way to play the field without being a dog.

You’re young, reasonably attractive and exclusivity is not on your agenda—or at least, it’s not for now. That’s cool. However, it’s not a license to behave like a dog. For you, the canine life is not a viable option since juggling multiple relationships is akin to juggling knives, and if you're not careful, you might end up with a dagger protruding from your toe... or someplace infinitely more painful.

So maybe you’re no Boy Scout, but if you believe in keeping your karma at least nominally clean, dating, hooking up—or whatever you want to call it—shouldn’t be about how many notches you can carve in the bedpost. It should be about not being ready to settle down. So, here’s how to sow your wild oats without being a (man) ho.

Be Honest With Yourself

Two of the seven deadly sins are lust and gluttony. “Glustony” signals an unhealthy appetite for sexual conquest. Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea and no, there’s nothing wrong with being on a seafood diet, but the opposite sex is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. If your hero/role model is Californication’s Hank Moody, you may not just be playing the field, you may have deeper intimacy issues that might be worth addressing.

Be Honest With Your Dates

Don’t dance around or avoid the truth. Let potential lovers know up front that as much as you may be into them, you are not into having a one and only. Be clear. Be kind. Be firm.

Of course, this can be tricky. Just as when a girl says, “No,” when she’s not feeling in the moment and some misguided guys interpret it as a red flag to his bull, when certain women hear, “No relationship,” it triggers a, “Not now, but I can change him,” mechanism in their psyches. If you're serious about playing the field and a girl seems hell-bent on changing your mind, it’s time to look for the exit. Which leads to…

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