Ask Minda Honey: Ethical To Date Someone When There Is No Genuine Interest?

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Hi Minda,

So, I am quasi-dating three men right now. Haven’t had sex with any of them, nor do I feel like starting a full-fledged relationship. One of them helps around my house. One of them has excellent convo. One of them just buys me things. Overall, though, they are all mediocre (I am not attracted to any of them sexually. None of them make much money or even have plans to start making more money. They are comfortable with a basic + boring life). All three of them complain about me not being around much — that won’t change. I have shit to do. All of them want a relationship. One even talks about marriage. Like with me. I am at least six months away from even dating exclusively so issa no for me dawg. Here’s my question: should I let go of all three so they can each find a someone to settle with, or is it ethical to keep them hanging on ‘til I find a more suitable partner? Or I guess until I get bored.

—Dating-Go-Round

Hey there, Dating-Go-Round!

You’re taking me a decade back into my dating life to my early 20s. I always kept three dudes in the rotation. And they all had something to offer while also not having a whole lot to offer. But I was probably giving as little as I was getting to each of them. So, somehow the love math added up and everything was equal. But if these dudes want relationships, and you don’t, this doesn’t sound very balanced.

Even if you’ve made it clear you’re not thinking long-term, at what point do you have to concede that they aren’t hearing you and that if you continue to see them, you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings? If that happens, if you break a few hearts, are you going to feel consoled by the fact that you told them you weren’t ever going to be all-in? Or, will you still feel like you led them on in some way? What decision can you make now that will make you feel less shitty in the long-term?

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Besides, I’ve found, the older I get, the harder it is to try to cobble together what I want in a partner from multiple partners. I just have less time and energy to direct toward mediocre muphuckas, and I’ve also come a long way emotionally, which has made it hard to not to get emotionally invested in sham romances, even when I know what’s going down is about as real as an IKEA bedroom display. And this dynamic can’t even pass the poly test because love-em-all types might be down with multiple partners who fulfill different needs, but I doubt they’d describe any of those people they’re into as mediocre.

I think the bigger issue on the ethics front is whether it’s OK to be in a relationship or even a situationship with someone you clearly don’t respect. Someone might not be a romantic match, but you could still enjoy spending time with them, find them interesting and readily be part of their life. But I can tell by the way you talk about them that you don’t admire these dudes or what they’re doing with their life. So, you’re messing up your energy in two ways: 1. You’re putting out inauthentic energy when you spend time with them and act interested. 2. You’re letting their subpar energy infiltrate your life. That’s a whole lot of bad vibes and for what…? What exactly are you getting out of any of this?

If it’s companionship, free up some time to find a legit partner by dropping these disappointing dudes. If it’s an ego stroke, then explore what other aspects of your life that are falling short that are making this boost necessary — and then fix them!

Or, maybe you got a little me in you, and you know that when you date men who aren’t about anything, you don’t have to actually put your heart on the line — that this is just something that’s going to end anyway. And if you’re like me, then you’re also going to learn at some point no one ever won in love by playing scared.

Yes, it would probably be the decent thing for you to cut these men loose. But even more than that, you should do it because you owe more to yourself.

—Minda

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