Circular dating is a term coined by relationship coach Rori Raye that refers to the process of dating several people at the same time in order to boost self-esteem and maintain power in relationships. Raye recommends accepting dates with a variety of people and thinking about those occasions as "free therapy" rather than as the pursuit of "the right one."

Self-Esteem

Raye describes the process of circular dating as putting the focus back on yourself and off the potential partners in your life. People who circular date use these opportunities as a chance to build their self-esteem, to have conversations and to practice interacting with others -- rather than constantly thinking about long-term possibilities. The side effect of increased self-esteem, argues Raye, is that you will naturally attract more people.

Exclusivity

Along with building self-esteem, circular dating helps ensure that you do not become overly attached to one person who may not want to make a long-term commitment. In the Yourtango.com article "3 Ways to Make Him Fall for You -- Guaranteed," Raye argues that you should not give more to someone than he is giving to you and not offer him exclusivity in a relationship if he has not made a long-term commitment. Circular dating encourages going on dates with multiple people until a long-term arrangement is negotiated.

Pitfalls

Although the goal of circular dating is to protect you from dead-end relationships, it may in fact destroy relationships that you have with otherwise good people who are on a different timetable for making life decisions, argues dating coach Evan Marc Katz in the article "The Blind Spot in Rori Raye’s Circular Dating." Katz suggests that you end relationships that are unsatisfying rather than engage in circular dating -- or you risk playing a cat-and-mouse game to keep someone who may not make you happy in the long run.

Baby Steps

Although Raye agrees that in some situations ending a relationship is the best option, she argues that not all people feel strong enough to make that choice and that circular dating helps them take "baby steps" toward regaining power. She believes that circular dating and keeping options open helps maintain balance in all your romantic relationships and reduce insecurity about the long-term potential with any particular person.