27/02/2012 16:10 GMT | Updated 28/04/2012 10:12 BST

One In Four Single Women Are Dating Three Men At A Time

With 29 February just two days away, women the world over will be polishing their 'mangagement rings' and preparing to honour the Leap Year tradition that sees women pop the question to their partners.

And if the latest study is anything to go by, it's UK women who will be leading the charge.

The poll, by restaurant chain T.G.I. Friday's found that a quarter (24%) of women would consider proposing marriage.

The findings suggest British women are shirking outdated stereotypes and taking matters into their own hands - and not just when it comes to marriage proposals.

Far from crying into her Ben & Jerry's waiting for The One to sweep her off her feet, the average single woman is busy dating more than one man while almost a quarter (23%) have at least three on the go.

The average single female dates five men in a year and, in many cases, she is the one making the first move - almost a quarter of those questioned said they like the feeling of control when they ask a man out.

Relationship expert Dr. Pam Spurr believes this approach to dating is a healthy one.

She told The Huffington Post: "There is everything right about dating two or three men at the same time. In the States this has always been the way traditional dating works and is called "playing the field". It's completely acceptable and it isn't about sleeping with every single one of these men.

"It's far better women take the pressure off themselves - and the men they date - that's usually piled on the first couple get-togethers. Because traditionally in the UK the majority of people only date one person at a time and this puts unspoken pressure on both that they're in a make-or-break situation.

Of course you don't admit it to each other but you know you'll either go straight into a relationship or stop seeing each other after a couple dates. This is emotionally unhealthy and heaps far too many expectations on the first few dates."

She adds: "Instead, if you know that getting together on dates is a friendly, casual thing - and that there might be other people you're both mixing with - it takes overly high expectations off you two.

"Ultimately when it comes to feeling the pressure to have sex early on, playing the field is also a positive alternative. It means there are far fewer expectations that you'll end up in bed as a test run with each other.

"Try this approach to dating and let the person know - if they ask - that you're simply 'out there' enjoying a variety of dates. There's no crime in that and inwardly they'll probably thank you for your honesty. Plus if they really like you, and know you're playing the field, they'll try a bit harder to have good times with you."

Follow Dr Pam Spurr on Twitter @drpamspurr