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Simply Solo Spotlight: Three Man Strategy

January 4, 2011

This week’s Simply Solo Spotlight is Kate Minx. Kate offers great perspective on fulfilling your needs while you are searching for the one. Before reading this piece, I never put much thought into how much pressure we put on the person we are dating to satisfy all of our needs. No wonder we have such a hard time finding just the right person! I hope you’ll enjoy her post and her “three man strategy.” Oh, and I’m mildly obsessed with her use of the term “poppycock”!

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at:

Three Man Strategy

Okay, I have a bone to pick with Catherine. There was a post a few weeks ago about a shortage of good men. To her (and to all of you who agree), I say, poppycock! There are so many amazing men in our neighborhoods, our country, and throughout the world. You just have to know how to find them and how to love them and bask in their fabulousness until you find “Mr. Right” (if that’s what you’re going for, as implied by the post).

Not all of the fabulous men out there will be “Mr. Right,” obviously. Until you find that one person who you believe will fulfill you in almost every way (and feels that way in return about you), there are ways to build a support system of men to do the job. Sort of like cobbling together one man out of a few. I will always contend that one man is never enough for anyone, because there will always be fathers, coworkers, and friends who may support you in ways that a husband or sig O will never be able to. So, you might as well build that network while you are single!

I once heard that a single woman should keep three men at the ready until she starts to settle down with one. The idea was that you will not appear as desperate or clingy to one if you have other possibilities. Well, I’m not sure about that, but I have put my own twist to this theory and it’s working out very well for me in the short-term. I asked Catherine if I could share how I do it. I love being single, I love dating men, and I like the freedom. Will I settle down if I find the right one? Of course! But I haven’t gotten there yet, and in the meantime my “three man strategy” seems to be working! Here are the three types of men I keep around:

three different men standing together

Should you keep three men around at the same time to meet your needs? Photo courtesy of

A man around the house. I have lived with Dave for more than three years. I love him dearly like I’ve loved no other man. In fact, three years is longer than any romantic relationship in which I’ve ever been, so that means something! Since Dave knows me like no other person, he’s my go-to for all man advice. I gossip with him; he knows all about my friends, family, and the boys that come and go. Best of all, he’s my man around the house, taking out the trash, lifting heavy things, opening jars, and changing light bulbs I can’t reach.

At the end of the day, we check in with each other. He yells hello when he walks in the door, and generally keeps the quiet in my house away. If I go missing for a day or two, he knows to look for me. As a single woman, it is always good to have one of those in case you do not show up to work one day!

Throughout these three years, one or both of us have been in other relationships, so it probably will not work out for us romantically. We are strictly platonic and always have been. Oddly enough, we never refer to each other as a friend or brother/sister. It is a much deeper bond than those words could describe.

A man for the bedroom. I like to keep at least one man around for the physical stuff. I dated Kevin last year, and although we have tons in common and were great between the sheets, we just had no conversational chemistry. It was the weirdest thing, because I can talk with anyone! But when things do not work out in one way, they can work out in another. I trust Kevin to no end, and we have remained friends since. I know I will never want to date Kevin again, so we share other things while both of us look for long-term love. We just happen to be friends that sleep together!

A man about town. I enjoy going out to new restaurants or having fun activity partners to explore and create adventures together. I date quite a bit, especially online, so the third person comes and goes. Currently, I am seeing Josh and a few other folks casually. I always want new first dates to work out and go into each date with a positive attitude! But, if it does not work out, it is okay because I get so much of what I need from the other guys (my friend calls this keeping the “man stank” on you so the men can smell their competition!). This is the category that remains open for long-term potential.

I know this is not a sustainable way to live, and it is not for everyone. Behavioral therapists all over are going crazy right now, I’m sure! From the outside, this can look pretty sad, or lonely, or against nature, or whorish, or shallow, or the reason for our society’s downfall. Again, I say, poppycock! I have read lots of articles and books about how our generation hooks up, and I am certain I am normal for my situation.

The point is, we all have different ways to deal with being alone, this just happens to be mine. Dave knows about everyone, Kevin knows about Dave, and the guys I date do not know about the others until the time is right. Ultimately, I want to date a man who replaces Kevin, then replaces Dave over time. That man needs to be pretty cool to replace Kevin, and even more awesome to make me kick Dave out of my house. I love each of these guys in their own way, so it is a good check and balance system.

I also have a whole council of other men who support me. I have my married work husband that is my go-to for all things work and home-related. I have my best platonic friend who acts as a girlfriend for home décor shopping, house tours, and other drag-a-date-out outings. I have long distance guy friends who counsel me through times when balancing all these guys gets to be too much and I need a fresh opinion! And of course, I have the best guy of them all, my Dad, who has been a wonderful example by treating my mother so well for more than 35 years.

However, the other day I had a terrible, terrible day and all I wanted was to sit and cry in someone’s arms and be told that everything would be okay. Each of these guys reached out, but not in the way that I needed at that time. I do not have a man who has committed that he will support me unconditionally, and that is why I keep looking for long-term love. I am very excited to meet that person because he will need to be pretty awesome to live up to all the wonderful men in my life! So, yes, there are some amazing, fantastic men out there. Just not all of them will be the one, and thank goodness for that! I get to enjoy each of the men in my life for their different strengths.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. Lost in France permalink
    January 4, 2011 9:28 am

    An interesting stratagy, but I feel, like I think you realise yourself, ultimately if you are looking for one longterm life partner, then this is a dangerous route to take.

    Amalgamating the best features of a number of men may set the bar impossibly high for any single man to reach. Meaning that something may have to be compromised.

    Having had ‘it all’ for so long will you be able to make that compromise.

    And what will really happen to Dave, and how will you and he be able to cope with phasing him out of your life when required?

  2. duke1959 permalink
    January 4, 2011 10:12 am

    I think what happens is many women are looking for an ideal man and set themselves up for failure. None of us are ever going to meet those standards. Its not possible. For one thing that bar keeps moving based on what is going on in your life. Not somone else’s. The things I find attractive about my wife have very little to do with her physical apearance( although that does help) It has everything to do with her intellect, her abilty to laugh. Hearing her interact with our cockatiels.

  3. January 4, 2011 11:24 am

    Thanks so much for this post. It has me thinking. I don’t know that I could do this. I think it’s a good idea, and I also can see how it can be a good hold over until you find “the one,” but I find it so easy to fall for someone, I could totally see myself falling for more than one guy in this situation. I have a hard time disassociating sex with romance/love. When I read this, I felt two things. 1) Good for you. You know what you need out of life and out of a man, and you aren’t settling for less than you need/deserve. 2) And this is on the opposite end of the spectrum as #1, but I’m a little worried that this strategy could set you up for failure. It’s like you expect eventually there to be one person that fulfills all of your needs, but what if you became so satisfied with this kind of arrangement that no one man can do the job? No one man is good enough to compare to multiple men filling multiple roles? I guess that would be my main concern.

    You mentioned that some people might consider this to be whoreish, but I don’t think that. I think that MANY people do this (men and women alike) and it doesn’t make them whores. They are just people who understand what they want/need out of a partner, and they do what it takes to achieve that. You just admit to it in a blog post 🙂

    Thanks again for the post!

    • Kate permalink
      January 4, 2011 12:09 pm

      Thanks, Catherine and other posters!

      I completely see what you mean about setting myself up for failure. I get that, for sure, so I approach with caution. But I also know that my ability to choose men who are good for me is less than stellar as my dating record would attest to! So having some bit of standard is not a bad thing.

      I have no doubt that I can easily say goodbye to this situation if the right person came along. And he doesn’t have to be that great!! I’m not looking for one person to be better than all three of these guys…I’m looking for one person who I love dearly that would be willing to work through a relationship with me.

      In my 15 years of dating, that just hasn’t happened yet so this is what gets me by in the meantime. I have only used this strategy for the last six months, but I’ve found that I’m happier than I’ve ever been. The first 14.5 years were pretty difficult to get through, but this situation helped me hit my stride. That’s why I wanted to share.

      I think we all phase people in and out of our lives. Lost in France asked if I could phase Dave out of my life, and to that I say sure, just like other ex boyfriends or friends who move to a different city or friends who phase out friends when they get married. It isn’t that different than just transitioning to another phase of life, like we all do as we grow up.

      Thanks for your comments!

  4. January 4, 2011 12:40 pm

    I think it’s a good strategy to take so long as you aren’t ready to settle down right this second. In fact, I’d flip it around and use it for women, but knowing me I’d try to stick them all in the bedroom, and probably at the same time. Tsk, tsk.

    I guess this is best left to a woman, after all…

    • Kate permalink
      January 5, 2011 9:52 am


      I understand that you feel this way. As I said, it isn’t for everyone so I will not advocate for it, rather tell you how it works for me. And I agree, common sense and conventional wisdom is the best way to go.


    • Kate permalink
      January 5, 2011 9:53 am

      Mark P,

      I’m not sure I want to settle down right this second, so I completely agree. And I’d like to see you try to get three women in the same bedroom! Ha! Maybe this strategy is best left to us women…


  5. Thaddeus Wilson permalink
    January 4, 2011 2:00 pm


    The three man strategy is a disaster already in motion. My stomach turned when I read it. I wouldn’t take her advice or even quantify it as quality.
    Having a great group of friends is good and is God’s design for personal growth. I’ll be bold in saying this, use common sense and lots of conventional wisdom when selecting a mate. There is no finer substitute:o)


  6. January 4, 2011 8:19 pm

    Yikes! This would mean that I am looking for 3 guys, not just one! Holy Cow! I think that I am going to stick with just searching for one! 🙂

    • Kate permalink
      January 5, 2011 9:59 am

      Oh, no, TL! That would be impossibly hard! I assure you, I was only looking for one and all three fell into my lap. It just happened. When I first heard about the “three man strategy” from some dating advice book, I thought they were crazy! But things have changed since then, and this is what magically happened.

      Good luck finding your One!


  7. January 4, 2011 8:57 pm

    A friend of a friend has a six man strategy similar to this. I’m not sure what the extra three men do but now I’m curious to find out 🙂

    • Kate permalink
      January 5, 2011 10:01 am


      If you find out what the extra three men do, I would love to know. I cannot even imagine! I wonder if she is as open as I am with all of them?

      Good luck to you, and your friend.


  8. January 5, 2011 1:26 am

    I have no doubt that I can easily say goodbye to this situation if the right person came along. And he doesn’t have to be that great!!

    In theory, that’s great. But in execution, are you sure you can pull it off?

    Having once been on the receiving end of this strategy (or, at least, a twisted variation of it), I’m gonna say that guys may not be cool with this, and you may end up sabotaging your own dating life.

    If I may plug my own blog here, here’s what happened with the woman who tried to pull that on me:

    • Kate permalink
      January 5, 2011 10:09 am

      Holy Cow, Dennis!

      Your story about the woman who tried to do that to you is ridiculous! I cannot even begin to wonder what went through her head!! I would never treat anyone this way. I assure you, when I find someone that I want to date, I will cut the others off immediately (well, not the roommate immediately, but when it gets serious I will for sure. Dave pays too much of the mortgage!). It is the only respectable things to do.

      Both Josh and Kevin know that I’m looking for “Mr. Right” and that I continually date to find him. Most of the times I share stories with them about my dating adventures. I want to be open and fair to everyone…and treat them the way I would want to be treated.

      Thanks, Dennis!

      • January 5, 2011 12:52 pm

        Wow, first Dennis, that story was awful. So not cool. But I don’t think what Kate is saying is exactly the same thing. Like she said, not only do Josh and Kevin know she’s dating – but also she is NOT dating Josh or Kevin. She’s not leading them on.

        Kate, as for the “out on the town” guys, it doesn’t sound like you’re willing to settle for any of them if they couldn’t fulfill Kevin’s role in your life (thereby making him unnecessary). So if you get serious with one of them, you wouldn’t be leading him on, either. You would no longer be trying to get the romance from one source and the sex from the other.

        The only part of this that makes me a little leery is your relationship with Josh. I don’t really see you being able to “phase it out” if the two of you are really that close. But hopefully “Mr. Right” will be mature enough to handle you having a platonic male friendship. Obviously Josh would have to move out and your friendship would evolve, but I don’t realistically know if you’d want to get rid of him completely or if it would even be “right” for “Mr. Right” to ask you to do so. But it definitely would make things more complicated…

        Good for you for doing what makes you happy! If this is working for you, then congrats! I can’t say I’d do it differently if I were single…

    • January 5, 2011 1:48 pm

      Thanks, Kate and Katie.

      If nothing else, it makes for a hilarious story now. I always say, bad dates = good blogging. 😉

      You’re right, though, Katie. Kate’s situation isn’t the same, because she’s being upfront about this.

      At the same time, Kate, if and when you do meet someone, at which point would you decide you should end said arrangement? Can you honestly say you won’t be tempted to carry it on juuuust a bit longer… you know, just until you’re “sure” of things with hypothetical new guy?

      Studies have shown that orgasms stimulate the release of the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which plays a role in creating emotional attachments. If you’re, ahem, “releasing oxytocin” with a guy, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you know you don’t want to date him. You could still be forming an unconscious attachment to him and very well inhibit your chances of “attaching” to another guy, so to speak.

      In other words, as long as you’re getting action at home, it’s physiologically be a lot harder to fall for someone else.

      Sorry if I’m being preachy. I’m not saying this is what you’re gonna do. I’m just saying you have to be very careful in a situation like this….

      • Kate permalink
        January 5, 2011 6:46 pm

        Katie and Dennis,

        These are all great points! It got me thinking…would we even be having this conversation if my roommate were a girl? I have lived with my best girl friends in the past and we shared everything, just like I do with Dave now (except clothes!). I wonder how people would view the separation from a roommate of the same sex? Would you still be asking if I could handle it? I consider it pretty much the same thing. There just isn’t an attraction with him. And I would never get rid of him as a friend, even if we did not live together! That’s how friends work!

        Oh, Dennis, you had to bring up oxytocin, did you?!? I know it well! I have read those same studies and I agree we cannot go against nature. Again, that’s why I’m really careful, and willing to walk away if lopsided feelings begin to develop. In fact, I did that very thing in November when I started having feelings for someone who clearly did not feel the same about me. I walked away because I deserve better!

        You guys are great, and this is very insightful. I wish I had a fun “bad date blog”, but alas, I will just have to read yours!

      • January 6, 2011 1:53 pm

        “would we even be having this conversation if my roommate were a girl?”

        The average guy wouldn’t feel threatened by a girl in that situation and you likely wouldn’t compare a potential boyfriend to your guy friend (as you might since he is currently meeting some of your man needs).

        Just like everyone else here I totally wish you the best. But I recently went through this with my best friend. If this relationship would cause problems, be inappropriate or have to change if you were in a serious dating relationship it has the potential to keep you from being able to get into a serious dating relationship. And if it has to end (or change) in order for you to be in a serious dating relationship why not just ends it (or change it) now?

        Just food for thought because it has been better for me to end these types of relationships. Not a judgement on your situation.

  9. January 5, 2011 8:15 am

    Hey, as long as nobody gets hurt, you have my applause.

    I tried a two-man strategy for a while- one fulfilled me emotionally and the other sexually, but neither was the right one, so I really ended up just deeply unsatisfied and longing for more.

    • Kate permalink
      January 5, 2011 10:21 am


      I think that is exactly right. None of them leave me completely fulfilled and that is why I keep looking. They do keep the lonely and desperate feelings away so I do not give off an aura of unnecessary dependency.

      I know that none of these guys are right for me, and they know this, too, which is why all of them continue to date and look for their “Ms. Right”. I am honest with them and with myself (which is where Dennis’s girl went wrong) about what I want. I am pretty good at understanding my feelings and listening to myself when something isn’t right.

      I’ll let you know how all of this turns out. Maybe in a year I could do another guest post to give you an update on this situation. I really hope to be settled with just one guy by that time!


  10. January 6, 2011 1:42 pm

    Okay, I didn’t read everyone’s comments so this may be a repeat, but in my experience the Universe (or God or whatever) fills voids. If you don’t have a life that a romantic partner can fit into a romantic partner will not come into your life. (Kind of like living on faith if you’re the traditional Christian sort.)

    Just a thought.

    Although I do have a man around the house, but that phrase means something different to me. It means a guy who can fix things. And I have a landlord and my dad for that. Although, I’ve learned a lot about fixing things myself cause my dad is a carpenter and he let me help while I was growing up…

    Yeah, that was a ramble. Sorry. I wish you TONS of love and happiness!


  11. January 9, 2011 12:43 pm

    Great post and great strategy. I’m totally going to try this out!

  12. January 9, 2011 1:43 pm

    While it’s not my thing as far as dating goes, to each his/her own. The author did note that it’s something to get by on for now, so I think it’s a given that long term it’s not sustainable. As for me, I’m not really a friends with benefits type of person although joining social groups (easy in the city, doubt the same in the burbs) would easily take care of #3 in my case. And I’ve had male roommates before but I’ve lived in a large house with multiple girls and multiple guys, so that’s not entirely the same situation. Still I see nothing wrong with #1 in of itself since it’s strictly platonic. I am the type of girl with a lot of male friends though, but then again, I draw a line somewhere, if someone wants to be more than just friends, then it’s a whole different thing to me. But that’s just me.

  13. January 11, 2011 12:41 am

    I applaud you Kate! Long term relationships are over-rated. If your needs are met then whats the big deal on finding long term love? Good for you 🙂

  14. February 16, 2011 9:04 am

    I absolutely 100% support this theory, however given the location that I am at (military base) this is very hard to maintain. The three man strategy is very hard to maintain around here because the men are constantly in rotation! Permanent Change of Duty Station, Deployments, Training…they don’t feel that they can be held accountable for their actions and won’t invest any efforts into building relationships. They seem like they also have the mentality that they won’t be here for long so whatever damage they do here, they can just walk away from and move on to the next state and town!

    • February 16, 2011 10:53 pm

      Haha, SaraJane… I bet it would be hard to pull off this theory on a military base! lol. It might also be challenging in a really small town 🙂
      I’m sorry to hear how some of the military men you’ve encountered treat people. I was an Army brat, and I saw that growing up too. So, while I found military men incredibly attractive (love the uniform!!), I always knew they were, for the most part, bad news for me. And, I don’t want a life of travel from base to base like I had when I grew up. I want my kids to know the same people from elementary school to high school. I want them to feel part of a community. I never really had that. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

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