People joke about me "collecting" partners, and I worry that this reflects a real problem

Sometimes people joke about me "collecting partners like Pokemon," and even though I laugh and joke along with them, sometimes I worry that this habit might become a problem. How many people is too many to date? Am I neglecting my other partners every time I form a new relationship? Do I really have enough time and energy to spend with everyone? Am I in denial? At the present, I have 3 boyfriends and am trying to woo someone I met recently.

I can’t answer those questions, because I don’t know you or your relationships. But they sound like questions worth investigating, for sure!

If the people making those jokes are close friends or partners, check in with them and ask whether there’s a legitimate concern or serious observation behind the humor. Stuff like that can sometimes mask something bigger, but just as often it can be a meaningless in-joke and playful teasing. And if it’s starting to bother you, you can ask that they stop saying that.

There is no hard and fast rule about “how many people is too many to date.” I must admit, your letter is a bit funny for me to try and answer, because I too have 3 boyfriends and just started a new relationship. For me, it doesn’t feel like too much, because all my partners get along, most of us have very similar lifestyles and schedules, and we have open lines of communication so that if someone feels neglected or left out, they can bring it up and get it resolved without extraneous conflict.

Think about how NRE makes you feel and act, and whether that’s something you feel good about. Take a look at your schedule and identify whether you feel like your time is well balanced. And ask your partners how they feel! Mention that people have made this comment, and ask if they feel objectified, collected, or neglected. Do they mind the new-relationship ebbs and flows in your attention? Some people like partners who are largely independent and prefer quality over quantity; some people prefer relationships to have a lot of time spent talking and hanging out. Your partners are all individual people with their own preferences, so if they have no complaints and everything seems to be working well, let go of this worry. If certain concerns or needs do come up in these conversations, start addressing them.