What exactly is an overlapping relationship? Is it healthy or not?
Overlapping relationships are unhealthy and can definitely be defined as cheating on your partners because you are in two committed relationships at one time. Is this classified as polygamy? Technically it’s not because polygamy is defined as having two or more “spouses” at one time and this current discussion pertains to overlapping “dating” relationships.
So, why do most people participate in overlapping relationships? It’s pretty simple, really. They are co-dependent and are afraid of “being single.” They don’t want to be alone and are afraid of being alone. So, if one relationship is on the verge of ending, these “over lappers” will stay in that relationship, even though it may be very difficult and tense, until they can find a substitute partner. Once they find this prospective partner, they will continue in the old and the new relationship until they are sure that this new partner will make the grade and is a keeper. Of course, their behavior is unknown to either of the two partners.
So, what are some of the dangers of these overlapping relationships and why should this person seek counseling and then possibly enlist the help of a dating professional to find a compatible partner? The first and most obvious danger is that the culprit is lying to two innocent people and does not think this is wrong and unhealthy behavior, but rather rationalizes his or her actions. Some people are in overlapping relationships throughout their entire dating seeking career and there is something inherently wrong with that picture. It’s absolutely not healthy and promotes neither emotional growth nor intimacy. Whatever supposed intimacy exists is all built upon a lie.
Another danger is the fact that as an over lapper, you will be in a state of constant tension and stress. Talk about trying to juggle, you will definitely be doing that; especially because you have two people who are both expecting to have your full time and attention, but will be getting shafted instead. There may be surface benefits to you, as the over lapper, but this behavior in no way benefit the other two partners involved, nor will it benefit you in the long wrong.
These situations can be further aggravated if one of the partners you, as an over lapper, start to date is already married or has his or her own estranged partner and now more people are involved in the circle of unhealthy love that is going around. Do yourself a favor and seek out professional help with a counselor to work through your issues of not being able to be single. Being single is not equivalent to having the plague. Being single can be a glorious time of self-introspection if you let it be. If you end a relationship, it is so much better to be alone for a while to go through the grieving process and rebound dating is bad enough without adding overlapping dating to the mix.
Once you have worked through your issues with a professional counselor, it may be time for you to think about working with a dating professional to aid in your search for a compatible dating partner, without participating in overlapping dating.