September 22, 2009


Q&A - Dating Multiple Women, Frame Control in Conversation

Love Systems,

I'm almost having too much success. I'm dating three different women right now and they are all fantastic and I don't want to give any of them up. But my town is not all that big, and everyone knows someone who knows someone else who knows anyone. None of the women I'm dating are more than a couple degrees of separation from each other and I think they think that I am exclusive. What should I do? I know I should just go to a bootcamp and damn I would love too, but I'm far away and work weekends. So, I'm hoping you could help me!

- V.R., Fayetteville, NC

Dear V.R.,

I'll try. As I've mentioned, one of the big implications of Relationship Management is that it begins before you sleep with a woman. Setting up the appropriate frame is important. If you act to someone like she is going to be your exclusive girlfriend before you sleep with her, she may (rightly) feel cheated if that does not turn out to be the case. If you are not looking for her to think she is exclusive, there are many ways you can communicate this to her - but it's too late for you in this case anyway.

Where you are now, you need to tell them at least some of what is going on. It's the right thing to do if you genuinely care about them, and if moral arguments don't sway you, then consider that they will find out anyway.

The most important thing will be not to act like you have been or are doing anything wrong. Think of how you would act if you smashed her car. You'd pick a good time, you'd make sure she was relaxed, you'd say "I have something to tell you" and then you'd come out and say it, explain it, and apologize. Don't do any of that. If you sub-communicate that you think you are doing something wrong, or sub-communicate that you think that she may think that you are doing something wrong, then that might be her conclusion.

One example of a non-defensive way of introducing the subject is by teasing her about dates that she might be having (even if you know that she is not). Make sure you know what your bottom line is. Are you dating multiple people because that's your lifestyle now? Are you doing it because you're looking for "the one?" Are you doing it until you're engaged? At some point in the conversation this will have to come out. Talk about how you've seen people cheat and that disappoints you so you prefer honesty.

This is most applicable if you've been dating these women for 1-2 months. Longer than that, and you've probably created expectations in her that will require more effort to deal with.

Take Care,


Love Systems,

I don't know if you guys know this, but you have a big following in South Africa. If you ever come down here, I'm sure you'll fill all of your programs.

I just listened to the Interview Series on Frame Control from Savoy and Sinn. It makes me think of every conversation, not just ones to meet women, in a different way. Like they say (I don't know if I have this quote exactly right), "There can only be one frame in any interaction. The stronger frame absorbs the weaker frame... That's why people follow cult leaders or join the army."

I've been on two dates with someone who every once in a while will cut off a conversational thread with "I don't want to talk about that." I feel the wind taken out of the conversation when she does it and it also feels like I'm in a more submissive position to her afterward. Is this important? What should I do?

- F.S., Durban, South Africa

Dear F.S.,

With your woman's comments, I'm assuming that they don't always come in response to the same conversations. If you keep asking her why she doesn't get along with her brother and this is the response you are getting, then my advice would be the same as hers: stop asking.

So, let's assume that this is a general conversational tactic for her. The first thing I'd say is that you don't need to "win" every part of every conversation. The second is that what she is saying is pretty negative. Later in your relationship you can address this. For now, concentrate on turning the interaction around to a positive. Try saying "neither do I; I was just being polite" or "I love that you're the strong, silent type." With either (or any) response, continue immediately, without pausing, with a new conversational topic. Ideally "so, anyway..." and go into an interesting or high-impact story.

Take Care,

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Nick Savoy
Nick Savoy


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