The Query:  Is it realistically possible to date more than one person at a time?

I am now living (far from my preferred big-city anonymity and convenience) in what I consider to be a VILLAGE.  I’ve gone from a city of four million to the comparative boondocks of a town with 200,000 residents.  I’ve been seeing a truly lovely guy for about five weeks, but am feeling some major pressure to make it Official.  Why is this? 

 Well, in a place this size, everyone not only knows everyone else, but has shagged their roommate’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin who used to work with that guy that Sharon went out with, who punched John’s best friend in the head in a pub fight and, that’s right, we all went to primary school together anyway.  Also, Sharon shagged John before she met Tim, and aren’t Shaz and Tim just an engaging couple?  They’re on vacation in Dubai this week, probably getting some gorgeous sun, but don’t mention John’s name to Tim because he goes a bit mental. 

As an outsider, the best policy has been to keep my head down and look outside the city center for meaningless sex, because there is no such thing as anonymous here.  Of course, I’ve gone and fucked it up by dating the close friend of a co-worker and my sex life is therefore public domain.  While I have outlined my ground rules to the Gentleman in Question/GIQ (see: previous post), there is no doubt that others are less accepting of my apparently hedonistic outlook that FIVE WEEKS does not a boyfriend make, and if I were to actually attempt casual dating at this stage, I have little doubt that I would be branded a less polite version of a hussy (see: manipulative cunt).

In my experience, casual dating does not work in smaller communities.  While I refuse to discuss exclusivity as a possibility at this stage, the GIQ and I are quickly settling into Boyfriend/Girlfriend territory, largely as a result of limited options.  I find myself at a disadvantage, of course, because he has a lifetime of friends and acquaintances backing his best interest, while I have…  nothing but a headstrong POV and a generally bad attitude. 

While I’m not going to willingly lose a good man over a question of principle, I’m also not going to be smothered into an Actual Relationship based on other people’s comfort.  This would never happen at home.