Over the years, many of you have asked this question:
What is the ideal configuration? For example, one OLTR, two MLTRs, and 3 FBs? What are the pros and cons of different configurations?
First, let’s quickly define our relationship types for any newer readers:
FB – Fuck buddy or friends with benefits. You don’t date her, you just have sex with her. She’s your fuck friend, that’s it.
MLTR – Multiple long term relationships. You really like her emotionally and romantically. You’re dating her and having sex with her. However, you can date and be romantic with other women too (and she can date and have sex with other men).
OLTR – Open long term relationship. She’s your girlfriend or wife, and the only woman in your life you care for emotionally and romantically. However, you can still have sex with women on the side, provided they’re just FBs or one night stands. MLTRs are not allowed.
In order to follow a nonmonogamous relationship model correctly, for maximum happiness and minimum drama and hurt feelings, you must adhere to some rules. If you break any of these, you’re guaranteed for some severe problems in your life.
1. You can have as many FBs as you want. The only limit is your schedule.
2. You can have as many MLTRs as you want. However, having too many is risky (I’ll get to that in a minute).
3. When you have multiple MLTRs, you will never like all of them the same. There will be some you like more than others. Usually, there will be one you like the best. This can be your “high-end” MLTR, whom you treat almost like a girlfriend (but not quite, remember, she’s not an OLTR!). You technically can have more than one high-end MLTR, but you probably won’t want to.
4. You can only have one OLTR. An OLTR is the only relationship within this model that is actual pair-bonding.
5. MLTRs are not allowed if you have an OLTR. Therefore, there’s an error in the question I quoted above. If you have an OLTR, you can’t have any MLTRs. Your OLTR is your girlfriend or wife, the only woman you’re dating (but not fucking). If you have more than one “OLTRs,” or have an OLTR and a MLTR, you don’t actually have an OLTR at all; you instead have multiple MLTRs and you’re misusing the term “OLTR.”
6. FBs are allowed in an OLTR, subject to whatever ground rules you and her set up for the relationship. Those ground rules are completely up to you, but as I talked about in my book, you want the absolute minimum number of rules. The more rules you have in a relationship, the more drama you are guaranteed to have. This is one of the reasons why monogamous relationships tend to have so much drama; too many rules. Human beings don’t like rules in their personal lives and aren’t capable of following them long-term. If you ever find yourself in an OLTR with a woman who is insisting on a bunch of rules, you’ve probably picked the wrong woman to be your girlfriend, and a downgrade is probably in order.
These are not rules, but general guidelines that you should follow for maximum happiness and minimal problems.
1. While you are technically allowed to have as many MLTRs as you like, having three MLTRs is pretty tough, and having four or more is going to be extremely difficult. Unlike FBs, MLTRs are real “relationships.” Imagine dating, in a romantic relationship, four women all at the same time. It’s pretty brutal, even if you have a lot of free time on your hands. I normally have two MLTRs, sometimes just one. (Today I have an OLTR instead, which means I have zero MLTRs.) I’ve had three MLTRs at certain points, but it was pretty difficult, and it was back when my work schedule was much less intensive. I’ve never had more than three at the same time, and wouldn’t want to.
2. Having a girlfriend, of any kind (OLTR or even a typical monogamous LTR) is not recommended for younger men. If you’re well under the age of 30, then dude, don’t even worry about an OLTR right now. Have fun with FBs and MLTRs and worry about an OLTR later. Having an OLTR is a real commitment of time, focus, energy, and emotion, in ways MLTRs and FBs are not. Managing an OLTR also takes more skill, is much easier to screw up, and has higher potential for drama than MLTRs. If you’re a younger guy, you likely don’t have the experience yet to do something like this, regardless of how smart you are or what your feelings are telling you.
I realize most younger men reading this are going to ignore this advice, but the advice is still accurate. Avoid an OLTR until you’re older. I was around 38 years old before I had anything that even looked like an OLTR.
3. As much as I hate to say this, the best FBs are ones who already have boyfriends. (Ah, monogamy.) They are the least amount of drama and take the least amount of effort and time. To be clear, I’m talking about boyfriends, not husbands (having ongoing sex with married women is risky and I don’t recommend it). I’m not recommending that you go around and fuck a bunch of women who have boyfriends. I’m just stating the fact that FBs with boyfriends are the least amount of trouble. What you do with that information is up to you.
4. MLTRs should not have boyfriends, even though one might think otherwise. Every time I’ve seen a guy with a MLTR who also had a boyfriend, serious drama and problems was the result. However, your MLTRs can have other MLTRs of their own; that’s perfectly acceptable (sometimes even preferable).
5. FBs and MLTRs can be any age you like. Age 18 to 50+, whatever you’re in to. Over the last ten years of my life, I’ve had both FBs and MLTRs with women that went from age 18 all the way to the mid-50s. It’s no problem as long as you do everything correctly.
6. Any guy with an OLTR who is younger than about age 24 is asking for serious problems down the road. Read this for more information. If long-term happiness is important to you, consider 24 the absolute youngest you’ll go for an OLTR (minimums of 25 or 30 would be even better). Keep women age 23 and younger to FBs and MLTRs only. They’re not done evolving yet, so it’s foolish to place any long-term expectations on women this young.
7. You are allowed to fall in love with a MLTR. Obviously you should never fall in love with a FB, and if you have an OLTR love is already assumed (if you don’t love her, she probably shouldn’t be your OLTR). Being in love with multiple MLTRs is not recommended (assuming you can even do that; most men can’t).
8. Always remember that your goal is to build a long-term roster of women who will come and go from your life, for the rest of your life. Your goal is not to have a bunch of short-lived relationships where you never see the woman again after she LSNFTEs you; that’s way too much work (unless you’re a Thrill of the Hunt guy). Once you spend several years acquiring new FBs and MLTRs, you’ll have a nice list of women you can “live on” without ever having to go out and sarge for new women (or at least need to do so frequently). I haven’t done a true, full-on online dating blitz in over two years. I have more than enough FBs and ex-MLTRs on my roster to probably last me several more years before I ever have to find a new woman. It’s awesome! But to be fair, it took me several years to get there. If that sounds good to you (and trust me, it’s good), set it as a goal and get it done.
With the above parameters in mind, what’s the ideal configuration? There is none! Every man has different needs and limitations. Your job is not to find the ideal configuration, but the ideal configuration for you. Your ideal configuration is based on the following factors:
1. Your age. Younger guys tend to have more flexible schedules, less money, higher drama tolerances, and get feelings and oneitis faster. Older guys tend to have more money but more tight schedules, and are usually far less tolerant of drama from women.
2. Your sex drive. The higher your sex drive, the more women you’re going to need and the more time and overhead your relationship life will take. Men with much lower sex drives have an advantage here; they need fewer women, thus need to spend less time with this part of their life.
3. Your kid situation. Men with kids are going to have much less flexible schedules and will have to be more discreet about their sexual activities.
4. Your schedule. Obviously, if you work 50 hours a week and are in the gym five days a week, you’re not going to be able to manage as many women as the guy who never goes to the gym and only works part time.
5. Your income might have an effect on this decision, depending on whether or not you like to wine and dine women, and considering that MLTRs and OLTRs tend to cost more than FBs, at least over time. (That being said, it’s perfectly possible to have a MLTR that costs you zero or negative (i.e. she pays for you) if your frame is strong; I’ve done it several times.)
Also realize that your ideal configuration will change as you get older. If you’re 25, the thought of settling down with an OLTR might rack you with horror. (“Why would any guy do that???”) Twenty years later when you’re 45, settling down with an OLTR might sound like a pretty good idea, provided you’re careful. Or, the reverse may be true. Maybe you’ve spent your entire younger years married multiple times, and as a divorced older guy now, you’re done with that shit, and just want to relax and get laid with FBs (and perhaps the occasional MLTR) for the rest of your elder years.
There is no right answer here, provided what you’re doing makes you very happy and you follow the above rules. The point is, the odds of your ideal configuration being the same forever is possible, but quite unlikely.
6. You shouldn’t have kids with MLTRs. I’ve seen a few guys do it, but its usually messy. Having kids with a long-term, co-habiting, correctly structured OLTR who has been cool with you for many years before you guys have any kids is fine. As usual, make sure you take all the usual precautions and don’t expect the OLTR to last “the rest of your life,” because it won’t.
Common Ideal Configurations
Here are some common configurations that have worked for me and hundreds of men I’ve talked to about these topics over the last nine years.
1 MLTR, 1 FB. This is the best configuration for beginners, by far. One girl you’re dating and you like, and one girl on the side you see occasionally. Any man reading these words is capable of this configuration. Stop with your fucking excuses. It also eliminates the “this takes too much time” excuse. This is even easier than two FBs, because if you’re a complete beginner, you’re likely to “catch feelings” for at least one of them, so the 1 MLTR, 1 FB configuration frees you from having to worry about that. If you’re just getting started, 1 MLTR and 1 FB should be your first goal to hit.
3 to 5 FBs. This one is best for very busy men, or older guys who have “been there and done that.” You have zero dating overhead, which is very nice. You’re getting laid constantly, and it doesn’t take very much time at all. You simply have a list of 3 to 5 women you can text whenever you want, so you never go without sex, yet never have any complications.
1 MLTR, 3 to 5 FBs. This is another very easy, clear-cut configuration. You have a bunch of women, but only one you actually “like” and date. Lots of men really like this one. I’ve done it once or twice myself.
2 MLTRs, 2 or 3 FBs. This is best for high sex drive men and men who are not complete beginners. This is the configuration I have followed for most of the last decade or so, and it was wonderful. You get it all; frequent sex, companionship, connection, even love when you want it, all while staying very free to live your life as you wish without the overhead or rules of a girlfriend or wife. It’s also long-term sustainable; you can have this configuration literally for the rest of your life.
2 or 3 MLTRs. This is for more romantic guys with more emotional personalities. Some guys are uncomfortable with the concept of the FB, so they have 2 to 3 women they see, and they’re all MLTRs. Almost always they have one designated as the high-end MLTR. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this configuration, but just remember that if the concept of having sex with a FB is disturbing to you, you’re likely in for problems (drama) down the road.
OLTR with 1 FB. This is a more difficult configuration, and a rarer one. It is one I’ve eyed as a goal myself for several years. It’s difficult because FB relationships usually have shorter life spans due to LSFNTEs, so keeping one, steady FB around for a prolonged period of time is unlikely. You may have to constantly replace her every six months or so from either your roster or from cold approach pickup. The upside is huge though; you can devote your emotional and sexual focus on your OLTR girlfriend/wife, but get a little on the side when you need it in a way that takes very little time. It’s ideal for older guys or busier guys.
OLTR with 2 or 3 FBs. This is a very common configuration, particularly for busy men over 30. You get the loving, pair-bonding experience with a girlfriend or wife, and get regular fun on the side whenever you want it.
OLTR with lots (5+) of FBs. This is a common configuration for guys who have higher sex drives, or make more money, or have more public personalities, or have Thrill of the Hunt tendencies. The upside is both the provider and the player in you get to express themselves regularly; it’s truly the best of both worlds. The downside is that it’s quite time intensive, thus not a good fit for busier men.
While reading through these configurations, I’m sure one or two spoke to you as something you’d enjoy. Go for it! If you’re starting from scratch with this nonmonogamy stuff, read this article or even better, buy this book. None of this is very difficult if you’re willing to put in a little time up-front. The payoffs in happiness are huge.