Communication is key (Picture: ITV/Metro.co.uk)
With every new season of Love Island comes a fresh wave of cast members trying to ‘get to know’ new people and see if they feel a ‘connection’.
Things can easily get pretty complicated, what with everyone living under the same roof, and suddenly simple chats must be navigated as carefully as one would a land mine.
The getting-to-know-you triangle between Paige, Jay and Jacques, brief as it was, was a prime example. The delicacy of the situation caused plenty of stress all around – most of all for Paige herself, who fretted about messing things up with Jacques.
While, in the real world, even though you’re able to have conversations away from the watchful eyes of other people you’re interested in, exploring a possible romance with multiple people must still be handled with care.
Logan Ury, director of relationship science at Hinge, tells us there’s nothing wrong with sounding things out with more than one person at a time – whether monogamy is your thing or not.
She says: ‘Singles often date several people at the same time early on in the dating journey since it takes a few dates to see if you have a connection with someone.
‘A majority (81%) of UK Hinge singles agree that it is fine to date more than one person at a time, as long as you’re upfront and honest with the people you’re seeing. You need to make sure it’s clear that you’re not exclusive — yet.’
As things progress, Logan says there are certain benchmarks for when you’d need to be upfront with whoever you’re dating.
‘If the relationship intensifies — for example, if you’re meeting each other’s friends or families — the other person may assume you’re exclusive,’ she explains.
‘If you’re not ready or interested in a monogamous relationship right now, it’s your responsibility to let the other person know. This will help you avoid a “situationship”, an undefined romantic relationship.
‘Having that “what are we?” conversation allows you to set expectations and make the right decisions for yourselves.
‘This type of disclosure is especially important if you’re having sex because they deserve to know if you’re being intimate with other people at the same time. That will save both of you time and heartache down the road.’
Match’s dating expert, Hayley Quinn, suggests having this kind of chat sooner rather than later, saying: ‘It doesn’t need to be a heavy conversation, just an indication of where you stand i.e. “I’m so busy at the moment, it’s easier for me just to focus on one person at a time”, or “I’m at a stage in my life where I’m exploring and having fun. I would be open to commitment, but it would have to be the right person”.
Honesty is everything (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
‘A really good way of doing this, especially when online dating is by being open on your profile or bio. You can go one better and add a voice note to your profile to say exactly how you feel.’
But be wary that you may need to have this kind of conversation more than once if you keep seeing the same person on a regular basis.
Hayley warns: ‘If you’re regularly seeing someone, then you have to consider how your actions could be construed.
‘Even if you’ve said you’re not looking for commitment, but since then you’ve kept seeing them regularly, are physically intimate and even telling them how much you like them, be aware that this can all be interpreted as you having had a change of heart.
‘Actions speak much louder than words so make sure that yours are consistent with the level of commitment you’re able to offer.’
Of course, you may find that you’d prefer to keep the relationship open for longer, or even for good.
Be clear about what you want (Picture: Unsplash/Getty/Metro.co.uk)
Logan says: ‘For some people, this arrangement is exactly what they’re looking for — a chance to design their own relationship boundaries, explore dating different people and define their own style of dating. Others are more interested in pursuing a monogamous relationship.
‘What matters most is doing what feels right for you and being upfront from the beginning about what you want.
‘All types of partnerships thrive when the people involved are honest and keep the communication channels open.’
Even if you’re not thinking about getting to know more than one person at a time, you shouldn’t take it for granted that is the case for the person you’re dating. Again, communication is key.
Hayley says: ‘Do not assume that the other person is on the same page as you.
‘It can be very confusing if someone is messaging you every day, and you’re physically intimate, to understand that that doesn’t equal commitment.
‘If you’re catching feelings, the only way you know where you stand is to have a conversation about it. If you can’t get a straight answer out of the person you’re dating, and you’re left feeling confused, this is your signal that it could be time to walk away.
‘Don’t prioritise someone who treats you like an option, and don’t settle for less commitment than you actually want just to keep someone.’
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