Alison Taylor on relationships: If you can't resist checking Tinder while on a date, your mind's not on the job

 

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That phrase, 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket' – it's rubbish. Yet it's practically accepted as The Law when it comes to dating. I've lost count of the times friends have advised me to not focus my attentions on just one man. "You have to keep your options open," goes the script. "You'll seem less available and won't obsess."

The thing is, I have science on my side. Kind of. If multi-dating is anything like multi-tasking, then it's actually not good for us. It's messing with our minds! There we are, sending an email while shaving our legs and catching up on House of Cards, one eye on Tinder, thinking we're being clever, when actually we're just in an endless loop of manic stimulation. Desperate for that next hit of dopamine that comes with the ping of a new alert. I read something about a 'dopamine-addiction feedback loop', which doesn't sound good. And bodies literally being flooded by cortisol, the stress hormone. Then there's the mental fogs and scrambled thinking...

It's the same with dating. If you're seeing someone but can't resist a quick check of your Tinder when he nips to the loo, then surely your mind's not on the job? Dating multiple people, at least in the early stages, is commonplace in the States. And we've followed suit – with rampant enthusiasm. Dating sites and apps fuel it because – hey! – there are so many people living in my phone just waiting to chat, late at night, when I'm drunk and bored and need to top up my dopamine. It's all so hollow, though. "Smoke and mirrors," according to my pal.

Here's an idea: how about you meet someone and just focus on them for a while? The nature of getting to know somebody is that it takes time. You need time, if you start to like somebody, to let them grow on you, reveal themselves to you. And you to them. That process can actually be quite thrilling, so why not savour it? Rather than manically checking your phone for the next contender. How does anyone stand a chance?

There are also the pitfalls of multi-dating to consider. The sneaking around and the little white lies. One friend, a darts fan, had a habit of taking her dates for a game at the local pub. All well and good until she turned up there with bloke number two who quickly saw his love rival's name on the chalk board next to hers. Time to hone that dating game?

@lovefoolforever

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