T Nation

Moral Question?

I’m interested in soliciting both male and female opinions on this subject. Here is the situation: Lately I’ve been dating 3 different women, none of whom is aware the others exist (although they may in fact have their suspicions – it’s never been discussed).


Nothing problematic there. However, things progressed with each, and now I’ve slept with two of them and enagaged in Clintonesque Oval Office activities with the other.


So there’s the rub. My moral question is whether I was/am wrong to be sexually involved with more than one woman at once, given there was no understanding or even mention of exclusivity with anyone (and I used condoms with each, so don’t start with any health-related digressions)?


On a more pragmatic level, I have another question. I have definitely found that recently I like one of them more than the others – I would like to know whether you would have “the talk” with the other two and pursue the favorite, or keep going as is until they pushed the issue? FYI, I’m 28, and the women are between 26 and 29.


I appeal to the Forumites for the wisdom of your experience and insight. Thanks.

Know what you are a young guy just enjoying life,and good on you mate.Sure some people will complain blah blah blah unfair on the other two blah blah blah but so what.
As for the favourite well it depends if you want a relationship with her,if so then yes I would say goodbye to the other two, but if you are not that fussed,then no keep it going for as long as possible.

Everyone is going to have a different opinion on whether this is right or wrong, so I won’t give you mine. If there is one girl you like more, and you want to be in a commited relationship with her, I would drop the other 2 pronto. If she finds out about the other 2, chances are good she will drop you.

Even if you use a condom can still catch and spread many different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases. So for that reason I will say you have been irresponsible.

It’s fine to pursue multiple women at once, as long as you aren’t giving them the impression that you’re exclusive. After all, they could be dating (and screwing) other guys if they wanted, right? If, however, you would like to become exclusive with one of the girls (and are able to), you should cut the other ones loose so that you aren’t cheating on your new girlfriend. 'Cause that’s not cool.

To answer those who asked, I am very interested in the one, but I’m not sure about exclusivity right this second.


I got out of a long-term relationship (broken engagement) back in September, and have only really put myself back on the market over the last two months or so. Also, none of them has asked the whole “Where are we going with this?” line of questioning, or tried to get me to define anything – probably because I’ve yet to go out more than three times with any of them (over the course of about 6 weeks – we’re all busy).


Basically, as to the favorite, I know I like her and think she is awesome, but I’m still a touch gun shy about jumping right into something. Any more advice based on that?

Take your time my friend. Don’t make any quick decisions. Enjoy the present and live it to the fullest (safely of course). Key:Only commit when you feel the time is absolutely right for you. You only get to be 28 once in life.

With guys like you, no wonder girls think all guys are scum. If you were up front with them & just said you didn’t want a girlfriend at the moment & if she was into just getting some then fine, but you’re making guys like me look bad for fooling them into thinking you actually like them when obviously all you want is a hole.

I go with BodyIQ; if you have not mislead anyone, made no claims of exclusivity and no else has made that claim, I think you are doing ok. And you are probably still too close to the last relationship to make a big plunge into a new one (all the old feelings confusing the situation). Watch your relationship with the primary, if it feels real and not an echo of the broken relationship, then the others go by the side…

Well you asked for opinions of a moral nature so I don’t mind posting this reply. What a screwed up world we live in when someone states they are literally screwing up three lives and he gets alot of positive feed back for it.

While the popular view is “just go ahead and let a boy be a boy” You will never become the man you wanted to be when you were young if you continue down that path. You will end up with no morals, no honor, and no commitment to anything but yourself. It will become very easy to compromise and justify all your morals until the line between right and wrong is so blurred that everything wrong seems right to you.

It reminds me of the tale of the Old Indian Chief and the young warrior. The old Chief said that every man is made of two sprits, a black wolf and a white wolf. Both wolfs locked in constant battle trying to kill the other.

?Which wolf will win?? asked the young warrior.

?Why, the one I feed the most? said the old warrior.

Say –

Thank you for your constructive comments. You've definitely added both depth and breadth to a complex moral problem.

There are quite a few assumptions packed in to your comments, which I thought would have been taken care of by what I wrote earlier, but I'll try to quickly address them again. First, I don't know if they want long-term relationships or not -- it hasn't been discussed. I haven't told them I want one, and they haven't told me they want one -- in other words, there hasn't been any lying going on, merely silence. I haven't been trying to "make them think" anything either -- I enjoy their company and have been having fun dating them, and all indications would lead me to believe they are having fun as well.

As to your stated conclusion that "all [I] want is a hole": If that were the case, why would I worry about the underlying moral principle at all? Additionally, I'm sure it would be much easier, now that I've "gotten some" to just go look for some new "hole" out there, or to just keep them around for booty calls. However, that's not me -- I enjoy these ladies' company, conversation, intelligence, etc. These were not the only three women I've dated -- these were three I really enjoyed and with whom I wanted to spend more time. Now that I've spent around a month (give or take a week or two) with each getting to know them better, it seems I prefer the company of one to the others. But I'm not even entirely sure about that, and as I said, I'm still a touch gunshy from my broken engagement (so sue me).

But thanks once again for your input. Now, if I could please solicit some more opinions on the point of my question, which was the underlying ethics of the whole situation and to get any advice, that would be wonderful.

By the way, here's a helpful hint that will improve your persuasive writing: It's pretty well understood that when someone uses the word "obviously" to presage a conclusion that is not further elucidated, it's to cover holes in his own reasoning that he doesn't wish to address.

Sounds like you’re having some issues with insecurity since your breakup over the engagement. What are you trying to prove to yourself? As far as ME, I’d ask myself how would I feel if a girl I was sleeping with had a couple of other guys on the side? Personally for me, a jump in the sack kind of implies exclusivity, even if it IS only for a little while and it’s casual. And women DO NOT spell shit out for you. The “I shouldn’t HAVE to say something” rule is in effect for all of them here. It’s okay to date more than one woman, but once you’ve taken it all the way, you owe it to the others to be up front.
You say you don’t want anything serious, but here you are sustaining relationships with three chicks instead of one. Are the other two spares in case your relationship with the “favorite” goes awry? It does sound like your breakup is having an impact here.

So you need to shit or get off the pot. Pick one and start again if you think you’re ready. If not, you should at least tell them about each other. If they don’t like the situation (and chances are they won’t), there are other fish in the sea. It sounds like you wouldn’t have too hard a time finding other women. If none of them mind that you are using all of them as pincushions, then you know, whatever. I think it’s still kinda nasty. I mean what does that say about them? They could have a crotch crustacean farm growing down there.

Or maybe you are the kind of guy that would manipulate and take advantage of the trust of three women, sleep with all of them, take the chance on the STDs and brag in the locker room about what a stud you are.

But you wouldn’t get any respect from me.

Here is something. What the hell are you going to do on New Years Eve? If you gamble and lose with the balancing act, it may leave you empty handed. Well, full handed, empty calendared. That’d suck

Thanks for all the responses. To those who have been negative in general, would you please tell me the underlying moral principle girding your conclusions? I understand that some will agree and some will disagree with what I’ve done to this point, but I already knew that: What I want to understand is the why.


I really want to encourage both positive and negative viewpoints, as I’m struggling with what I should do and I want to get input from all the angles. However, I need to see the reasoning, not just get Indian parables about feeding the “bad” side of oneself without going into why that is bad.


To the poster above (sorry I’ve forgotten the name) who said that women don’t tell you things, do you find that to be universal? Should I generally just assume that unless otherwise stated women are looking for long-term relationships and want something more committed?


This is a serious question. I really don’t wish to hurt anyone or to do something immoral or dishonorable, but it seems there is a fine line here. Are there any females who will weigh in on this?

Ps – If this were all about bragging I would use my normal forum handle or solicit opinions in the hallway at work. It’s not. I want to be anonymous and get to the brass tacks of the underlying morals and figure out what course I should take. Thanks.

So you are asking us to define your morals for you? We can’t possably do that.

I can tell you that for me, my morals, would prohibit me from sleeping with, and lying to three women at the same time becuase;

  1. My Christain beliefs
  2. I have a basic respect for people.
  3. I enjoy being Honest in a world where dishonesty is the norm.
  4. I belive in words like Duty, Honor, Country, and Integrity.

But all this is really irrelevant to you. Your morals are your morals. You either feel bad becuase what you are doing strikes against a belief you have or you do not feel bad becuase you belive what you are doing is alright.


OR you are yet another person trying to get other people to do your winter term paper for you.

Speaking from a female point of view, generally when we are involved with someone and have slept with him we assume we are the only one. We would feel cheap and used if we found out that there were others. When you are younger, you are reluctant to have discussions about where the relationship is going, usually because men seem to get that “deer in the headlights” look. Women feel that the giving of oneself is a sign of an understanding. As we get older, it seems easier to speak up and say that we would rather wait to have a relationship first. Women generally regard sex differently. I know you guys know this. Sex is not just an exercise with anyone. With someone special, well then, we need all the exercise we can get!

You are faced with a simple test of character, defined as:

  1. The inward motivation to do what is right, or 2. Who you are, even when no one is watching.

Are your actions hurting the women? Are you showing compassion or indifference by investing whatever is necessary to heal and not hurt?

Are you practicing discretion or simplemindedness? That is, are you recognizing and avoiding words, actions and attitudes that could bring undesirable consequences?

Is it an issue of sincerity vs hypocrisy? Are you eagar to do what is right for the women with transparent motives?

Are you sensitive or callous towards the women? Have you perceived their true attitudes and emotions towards you? Would they change, if they met the other two women?

Is it an issue of self-control or self-indulgence? Can you reject wrong desires and do what is right?

Finally, are you showing truthfulness or deception? Is moral excellence evident in your life as you consistently do what is right?

I don’t see any lying, cheating, or stealing going on here. I don’t see any lives being literally or figuratively screwed up. Not every woman in the world is a virgin on her wedding day and that’s mostly by their own choice.

From what I remember of earlier posts he’s had a total of 3 dates or so with each woman. If a woman automatically assumes that sex means a long term commitment then why did two of the three have sex so early into things? How much can you know about a person in three dates? Enough to know you have an animal attraction and a few other things, certainly not enough to make a long term commitment. Not everyone’s moral code precludes consenting adults engaging in adult behavior, note that none of the women are teenagers. By the time a woman is in her mid 20’s she’d plenty mature enough to decide if she wants to have a few sexual partners before she decides on one for life. I would nail down their thoughts on exclusivity fairly soon though so there are no chances for expectations of that, whether it was communicated or not. I’ve known women that were plenty willing to have a “fuck buddy” for a while or have a non exclusive sexual relationship but it’s best if that’s discussed fairly early on. The idea that Mr. Anonymous is going to hell in a bucket is very childish. I engaged in plenty of recreational sex prior to marriage. When I found the right girl I was, and still am 21 years later, totally monogamous. I can’t say that I live the totally upright and moral life of say, Jerry Falwell or Jimmmy Swaggert…oh, wait, I guess I have them beat by at least a mile. I have two great kids (one in studying to be a doctor) and a wonderful wife. If fucking a few women prior to marriage screws up your moral compass and the wrong road leads to here every time I’d have to recommend it highly. The facts are that half of all marriages end in divorce, Christian or not, virgin at marriage or not. There is no evidence whatsoever to prove that abstaining from sex in your early adulthood makes you any better of a person, husband, citzen, or employee.

It’s only wrong if you’re lying to them. As long as they are casual relationship you’re OK. It’s only when one or more become serious or they express a desire for a serious relationship (and you start to lie) that you’ll be in trouble. Be honest and you have nothing to fear but a busted condom.