And That’s Why..We Don’t Take Everything Men Say At Face Value

One of my favorite dating coaches, Evan Marc Katz, had an interesting post last week. A reader, Mandy, submitted a letter about her current manz situation.

Evan, I’m in an interesting situation. I have deep feelings for someone in my “dating circle’, have become the closest person to him, and yet I know I am not ready for anything serious, in fact I freak out at the thought of anything heavy. He isn’t ready either, so we’re in the same boat.

I am 30, and he is 40. We just like to watch movies, cuddle, hold hands, kiss, talk…we don’t have to have full intercourse all the time, which I find soothing. He usually gives without expecting anything in return. It’s a very sweet and fun situation, and I want it.

But I am a bit confused, since I’ve never been averse to a serious relationship. He has female friends he hangs out with and flirts with, (which I don’t mind) but he doesn’t have sex with anyone but me. Same with me. I “circular date”, but he’s my only sexually intimate partner. He tells me he highly values what we have. I really do too.

So, my question is: Is it okay to want this, since we don’t want anything heavy right now?

Evan’s advice was, as always, quite spot on. Is she wrong for wanting a casual situation? Nope.

However, as I said in my comment on this post, I think we should dig a little deeper. My comment:

I think Mandy is accepting of this situation because she believes this guy when he says he’s not sleeping with any of these other female friends that he flirts with. If he were, I think she’d be less accepting of what this guy offers.
Whether she wants to admit this or not, she believes that – despite the lack of expressed commitment from him – this is a relationship with potential. Let’s apply some critical thinking and common sense to this situation: why would a man tell a woman that he was not sleeping with anyone else? Men only do this for two reasons: because they want to be exclusive or because they believe it is what the woman wants to hear because she asked him and he wants to avoid conflict. Since exclusivity isn’t an option here, his confession likely falls under Option 2. It’s perfectly fine for Mandy to participate in this relationship. But she should accept the reality that this guy is likely sleeping with others, or at least he will.  That’s one of the main reasons why men don’t commit – they don’t want monogamy.

Let’s look at the three glaring red flag/inconsistencies here.

1. This man has a number of female friends that he flirts with..but doesn’t sleep with them – Let’s first ask ourselves why he’s telling Mandy this. Maybe she asked him, which means that this is in no way casual for her. Or he offered this information. In which case…why? As I’ve said before, I don’t trust anybody with an inordinate number of opposite sex friends. Go ahead. Call me suspicious. Men get something out of regularly palling around with women. Maybe that guy likes to be the wise Yoda. Or he’s just investing, just in case he needs a break in case of emergency lay. Or he genuinely wants to date them but knows they want more than he can give. Or he’s gay. Rarely is it ever a genuine desire to hang with the ladies because he gets so much from female companionship.  What’s that? I’m so cynical? Yeah, yeah. The line starts at the left. Sometimes men develop friendships with women who think like guys. I’ll give you that. But for the most part, someone with an atypical number of opposite sex friends (especially if that number is drastically disproportionate to their same sex friends) does so for a reason, and it ain’t companionship.

2. When he and Mandy are together, things don’t always lead to intercourse – Sorry but, what’s that? I know, I know. I should be praising this man for not being all about the sexy time. Uh huh. Whatever. That’s not typical. It’s even more suspicious in light of the fact that he has many female friends that he flirts with yet claims he doesn’t want to have sex with them. He only wants to have sex with Mandy. You  know. Occasionally. Women tend to find a man’s lack of interest in sex as charming. “Oh, he really likes me! That’s why he doesn’t push for sex. He’s interested in me for more than sex.” Uh, one? If he’s straight and confident and has no hang ups, he wants the sex. Don’t kid yourself. Two? If he’s not wanting sex whenever you’re together, or at least most of the time, and he’s content with cuddling, there’s more to the story. Men don’t hang out with women to cuddle. I can assure you that he’s either not big into sex, using you for attention,  or he’s getting it somewhere else. Now, maybe the woman isn’t into sex either. Yay, right? Wrong. A lack of interest in sex usually stems from either physiological issues or psychological issues. Some are fixable. Some aren’t. It’s not as simple as, ‘Oh, they just don’t make sex a priority.”

3. This man told Mandy that he doesn’t want to sleep with anyone else, despite the fact they both have expressed that they don’t want anything serious - See, I don’t trust confessions like this. Revealing this feels strategic to me, despite how or why the revelation was made. He tells me he highly values what we have. Okay. But what do they have? Cuddle buddy nights watching Netflix? They have no expressed commitment. There isn’t even a promise of a future. It’s..nothing.

Now, I don’t know what exactly is going on here. What I do believe is that this guy is being disingenuous and misleading in some way.

This is what critical thinking is all about. It involves challenging assumptions and not taking everything at face value, despite the fact that what we are being told fulfills every wish and dream we’ve ever had. That alone should make you question what you’re hearing.

What Mandy is hearing is the polar opposite of what she’s being told. She’s hearing, “I don’t want to sleep with anyone but you.”And my guess is that’s intentional on the guy’s part. That’s what he wants her to think, what with all his talk of “valuing” their relationship and how he’s not getting sex anywhere else. He wants her to think there’s a future, or that he cares more about her than he actually does. I won’t even go into the fact that he’s 40 and single and accruing female friends that he flirts/sleeps with. Kind of a no-brainer there.

Thoughts?

 


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47 Responses to “And That’s Why..We Don’t Take Everything Men Say At Face Value”

  1. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Speaking as a guy who is frequently in simialr situations, I agree with Moxie’s analysis. The first thing that struck me too was how does the letterwriter KNOW that he’s not sleeping with other people? She only knows what she’s been told and, in my experience, this discussion about sexual exclusiviity usually occurs upon questioning by the woman: “Are you sleeping with other women?” This is not a question, in my opinion, that invites a canddi response.

    The key, in my opinion, is to understand that other people may be motivated by things other than your own. I don’t like to generalize too much, in dating and relationships, men are generally motviated by different things than women. Whatever may be said of men, what appears clear to me is that women are NOT primarily motivated by sex. As a consequence, women do not find it especially unusual when men are similarly unmotivated by sex. Women think men are just women, except they have penis and really dig sports. So, women often miss major red flags.

    The other thing that struck me (and some of the commenters got this right) is what exactly does the woman mean by a “serious’ or “heavy” relationship. She has a sexually exclusive relationship with someone whose company she enjoys. Other than some magic words, what in addition would a serious relationship look like? An unenforceable promise of exclusivity? People lie and cheat. A marriage? People get divorced. Nothing lasts forever – a relationship is “long term,”… until it ends.

    It appears to me that, for some women, “Serious Relationship” means: I will be really upset and cry when this relationship ends. And, a “casual relationship” means: I won’t care so much when this relationship ends. And, if that’s the way the relationship is defined, then it seems to me, your definition is centered on something you really cannot control: how you actually feel about the relationship. Call it a casual relationship all you want – you’re going to be devastated when it’s ends.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      Women think men are just women, except they have penis and really dig sports.
      I am so stealing this line.

      women are NOT primarily motivated by sex. As a consequence, women do not find it especially unusual when men are similarly unmotivated by sex. … So, women often miss major red flags.
      This bears repeating because it is the root of why most women are unable to understand how men think–and therefore why we behave the way we do or what it means (or doesn’t mean).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • Howard Says:

      Casual generally means the right to do your own thing as long as you don’t put me in an embarrassing situation nor misuse my time through not following through on something planned or promised.

      That is what it should be!

      The reality is, that does not always happen, some may even say, rarely happen. One could generalize the differing expectations based upon gender, but lately even that does not hold much weight.

      I would imagine the guy mentioned above, sleeps with other people, but plays nice with her to avoid putting her in a position she may find uncomfortable. He is well aware that she prefers he sleeps with no one else. He is also well aware that she wants this relationship to get serious at some time, and that’s the reason she prefers he sleeps with no one else.

      The real issue here is expectations. I don’t get the sense that their expectations are the same. In fact, there is a familiar ring to everything she says when it comes to the experience of many women doing the casual thing. Maybe it’s societal programming or women being more nurturing, but it seems a bit more difficult for women to do the casual thing.

      The solution is, as always, to throw fear to the wind, and have that chat where she clearly expresses things have changed in the way she would prefer things. Yes, you could lose him. But, did she ever really have him?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  2. A to the F Says:

    My initial inclination was that he’s gay, for the simple fact that they don’t always have sex. Whaaaat? Once you start having sex, you only really stop when you have ended the relationship or are sleeping with someone else.

    And then I read that he has a ton of female friends that he flirts with and hangs out with. Well, there ya go. He’s sleeping with other women

    As a guy who’s close to age to the guy in the example above, and as a guy who hangs out predominantly with women, I will tell you that he has either already slept with the women he hangs out and flirts with, or he wants to sleep with them.

    Speaking for myself, I prefer the company of women, they’re easier on the eyes to look at, they’re better for the ego, and I really do prefer the company of women doing most of the things I like to do at night. You can’t really have fine dining or hit a show with a bro, yknow. And I’m gonna tell ya, I may not be dating any of the women I spend time with, but if we’re having a good time out, we’re probably gonna hook up. Occasionally one of them starts dating someone seriously, and that usually signals a reduction of our “hang out” time, and interestingly enough, my approval is often sought on the new guy.

    I’m honest with the women I’m friends with that I spend this time with, they know what they’re getting with me. I’m a great date, I’m a lot of fun, I know how to show a woman a good time… but I’ve also given up getting married or having a family of my own, which is why I don’t want to date anyone seriously. If a woman is good enough for me to want to date her, then she deserves better than I can give her.

    But back to the example at hand… it only makes sense to me if he’s either gay or sleeping with other women.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

    • A to the F Says:

      And I’m honest with them, they know I go out with other women, a couple joke about my having a harem, but its out in the open. I’m not sensing honesty with the guy in OP.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. LostSailor Says:

    Gotta call a little BS here. A guy doesn’t want sex all the time and the go to response is “he’s gay”? Um, as a rule gay men don’t have sex with women. It’s kind of definitional. Perhaps he’s bi, but I doubt that, too. It’s possible that he’s banging other women, but there are other possibilities. One is that the guy is 40, and for some men, the sex drive starts to wane a bit at that age. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want sex at all, but maybe he’s fine with a couple of times a week. There could other considerations, like a low testosterone level, high blood pressure, etc. Or maybe he’s simply satisfied with the level of sex and having his emotional needs met as well (we do have them, ladies, usually on Thursdays).

    But all of this is a critique of a man that we’ve only heard about second-hand at best. It all ignores the OPs situation, and I think that is the more interesting part. From the OPs letter:

    I have deep feelings for someone in my “dating circle’, have become the closest person to him, and yet I know I am not ready for anything serious, in fact I freak out at the thought of anything heavy. He isn’t ready either, so we’re in the same boat. … He tells me he highly values what we have. I really do too.

    My take is that “Mandy” really does like this guy…a lot. But she’s the one who doesn’t want to commit to a “heavy” relationship, by which I take it she means an exclusive monogamous relationship. She’s 30 and still enjoying the attention of her “dating circle” (aside: just what the hell is a “dating circle? Does it involve reach-arounds?), but has developed serious feelings for this one guy. She’s at an age where she’s potentially facing a decision point between her single days and actually settling down. And she’s not ready to make that decision.

    The question she’s asking, “is it okay to want this kind of non-commital quasi-relationship” isn’t the real question she’s asking. The real question in her head (I’m a professional psychic on a closed course. Do not attempt) is “I really like this guy and we have a real relationship in everything but name only, am I going to blow a potential long-term thing by stringing him along, continuing to date, until I can face an exclusive thing with him…will he stick around until I get my shit together?” She says that this guy is her only intimate sexual partner, so my question is what the hell is she doing with the other guys in her “dating circle”? She’s still enjoying–and probably always has–the attention of multiple men. And that’s what she is afraid of giving up.

    But, that said, this guy is likely to wait her out. A forty-year-old man has a thirty-year-old on the line who tells him that she really likes what they have but isn’t ready for anything “heavy” yet. He’s interested in something more, what the hell is he supposed to say except, “me, too. Let’s just keep thing light.” He doesn’t want to spook the filly. He’s showing all the comfort-providing behavior to soothe her qualms and not pushing too hard. If I were advising him, I’d urge a little pull-back, not too much, to let her know that this quasi-serious relationship could go away if she doesn’t make up her mind. Clearly she’s already worried that her actions, or inaction, might ruin a relationship she does value.

    So, no, he’s not gay. He’s playing a deeper game to snag an attractive woman ten years younger with whom he is developing an emotional bond. A difficult game to be sure, but well played, mystery man, well played…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

    • A to the F Says:

      What kind of world do you exist in where gay men don’t have sex with women? Happens. All. The. Time. I have one good girlfriend who has a terrible tendency to attracting exactly this sort.

      As a guy his age, it is easy to get 30 year old women, even easier to get 24 year old women. It’s not hard, he’s not stressing about keeping her on the line. And if ya can’t read between the lines, he’s the one with the power in the relationship. He’s not playing a deeper game.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

      • LostSailor Says:

        I guess I must live in a different world. I have a number of gay friends and while I’m not necessarily privy to all the details of who they’re screwing, none of them have mentioned all the women they’re sexing up. Apparently I have a new research project…

        I’m also going to question that 40 year old men have it so easy getting 30 and 24 year old women. It must be like picking up a pack of Skittles at the corner store. I do agree that he’s the one with the power in the relationship, as it’s her worry that prompted her to write.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        • fuzzilla Says:

          I’ve heard of gay men sleeping with women as a high school/college/young and not quite out of the closet phenomenon. Certainly something grown out of by age 40. A lot of gay people have internalized homophobia, so it’s possible….?

          Another possibility is the guy is married (unless she’s been to his place and knows his friends). I was curious how she knew about the “women he flirts with,” if she personally knew them or just heard tell of them. Though if he was seeking side action from a sexless marriage he’d likely be rarin’ to go with his hand down her pants before the door’s even closed….

          “But I am a bit confused, since I’ve never been averse to a serious relationship.” Sounds like she wants a serious relationship but something in her gut is telling her not to with this one.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Joey Giraud Says:

        My half dozen gay buddies, all from theatre and the arts, find the idea of sex with a woman to be repulsive. Never met a gay guy who even wanted to try.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      • LostSailor Says:

        Okay, the results of my completely scientific research study (an email from my friend, who I’ll call “Gay Bob,” the only one who responded to my morning email) are in.

        Bob reports that self-identifying gay men, whether completely out or not, do not have sex with women. There is, he reports, a sub-set of men who self-identify as gay, mainly because it’s culturally easier for them, and who while generally preferring men, will sleep with women while still claiming to be gay. Bob says that gay men have a term for such guys: “we call them bi, or just sluts.”

        So, I’m going to have to go with my original post. Gay men don’t sleep with woman as it’s sort of the definition of being gay.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          Some gay men are in the closet and do not self identify as “gay.” Some NEVER come out. They remain in relationships with women and children until the day the die. In my experiemce, I have never known a gay man that did not, at one time or another, have a girlfriend. Closeted gay men have sex with women because it is part of the charade. That’s why women think (and say) “oh, I KNOW he’s not gay” because, like you, they assume that a gay man wouldn’t have sex with them. This is precisely how women (and you) are fooled.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

        • Selena Says:

          LS,

          Have you ever heard of the “Down Low” lifestyle? These are men who self-identify as straight (very often they have wives and children) who meet up with other men to have sex. Perhaps some of these men are truly bi, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe some prefer men, but do not want to be labeled gay and the fall-out that can sometimes come with that label in their circle/community.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • LostSailor Says:

          Kinda hard to “fool” me since I’m not gay and don’t really care. My point was that gay men do not consider these other men as gay, but bi-sexual. Apparently it’s straight people who consider these guys gay. As well as a man that doesn’t demand constant sex. So many labels, so little time…

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      Gotta call a little BS here. A guy doesn’t want sex all the time and the go to response is “he’s gay”? Um, as a rule gay men don’t have sex with women. It’s kind of definitional.
      Wrong. There are lots of gay men that are in denial–or the closet. Many more identify as fully straight or gay, even though they’re really bisexual, because their interests are “mostly” one or the other–and their preferred social community may not be tolerant of those who are not clearly on one side or the other. (This isn’t as much of a problem for women since our mainstream culture accepts “straight” women having sex with other women, but the lesbian community generally doesn’t accept women who occasionally have sex with a man–unless it’s a gay man and/or for the purpose of procreation.)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    I see. So speculating about his sexual orientation is far fetched. But speculating that she’s having some quasi-life crisis isn’t?

    I have deep feelings for someone in my “dating circle’, have become the closest person to him,

    She’s become the closest person to him? And she knows this..how? Unless she’s with this man 24/7, she has no idea whether or not she’s “the closest person to him.” The only reason she’d say this, other than blind speculation on her part, is if..wait for it….he told her that.

    He usually gives without expecting anything in return.

    Gives what? Movies? From what she says, the extent of their “relationship’ consists of hanging at his place watching movies and cuddling with occasional sex. I’m going to take a wild leap here and assume she’s referring to sexual favors. In which case…um, what? So they only occasionally have sex AND he gives without expecting anything in return?

    But I am a bit confused, since I’ve never been averse to a serious relationship.,/i>

    Yet now, all of a sudden, she “freaks out” at the thought of anything serious. Huh?

    I agree that this girl is very into this guy. More so than she should be given how obviously casual to non-existent this “relationship” is. I don’t think this guy is gay. I do think that either he has either some sexual performance issues OR he’s marginally attracted/interested in this woman and just likes the attention. I don’t think he “values” her, nor do I think she’s the closest person in his life.I think he’s telling her such things because he knows she wants to hear them.

    I also agree with you that by “dating circle” she means a collective of options she has cultivated. I don’t agree that she fears this guy won’t stick around long enough to get her shit together. Just the opposite. I think she wants this guy and knows this isn’t going anywhere.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

    • LostSailor Says:

      I see. So speculating about his sexual orientation is far fetched. But speculating that she’s having some quasi-life crisis isn’t?

      We’re all speculating. It just struck me as odd that if a man doesn’t want sex all the time the speculation is that he gay or dysfunctional.

      She’s become the closest person to him? And she knows this..how?

      Umm. Because that’s how she feels? And, yes, I’d bet he told her that as well. I guess I’m just assuming that he’s not lying. Or that she’s not lying about her feelings.

      I’m going to take a wild leap here and assume she’s referring to sexual favors. In which case…um, what? So they only occasionally have sex AND he gives without expecting anything in return?

      I’d leap in the other direction and assume she’s referring to non-sexual favors. There’s a difference between not always having sex when they get together and “occasional” sex. And the behavior described by the OP is classic “beta” behavior, which, combined with his still flirting with other women has apparently engendered “deep feelings” in her.

      Yet now, all of a sudden, she “freaks out” at the thought of anything serious. Huh?

      She’s never been adverse to a “serious” relationship because it’s likely she’s never really been faced with a serious relationship. I’ve often observed that people often get freaked out when they realize that a relationship they’re in is becoming serious, especially if it starts out as something more casual. It can be one of those big, life-changing things. People tend to freak out at much less.

      I don’t think he “values” her, nor do I think she’s the closest person in his life.I think he’s telling her such things because he knows she wants to hear them….I don’t agree that she fears this guy won’t stick around long enough to get her shit together. Just the opposite. I think she wants this guy and knows this isn’t going anywhere.

      Perhaps I’m not as cynical as I thought. But at least we agree that she’s a bit in denial about what she wants in this relationship.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        I guess I’m just assuming that he’s not lying.
        I don’t think that’s a safe assumption. Listen not only to what someone says but why they may be saying it. In particular, men often face losing their supply of sex and/or a lot of unnecessary drama if they tell the truth, so it should not surprise anyone if/when they choose to lie in such cases. I only assume someone is telling the truth when what they’ve said is clearly contrary to their own interests; otherwise, you really never know. That’s why it’s so important to watch people’s actions–and when the two disagree, weight their actions more heavily.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

        • LostSailor Says:

          CR, I definitely agree that actions always trump words. But I don’t assume someone is lying unless they’re saying something contrary to their own interests. A practiced liar will readily talk against their own interests if it serves their hidden motives. I generally assume people are mostly truthful unless they are contradictory or their actions belie their words.

          In this case, I assume he’s not lying (with the further assumption that she’s not lying) because his reported actions, aside apparently from not demanding sex all the time, accord with his reported words. I can only go on what the OP reports.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          • Crotch Rocket Says:

            I don’t assume someone is lying unless they’re saying something contrary to their own interests.
            Neither do I; however, I don’t assume they’re telling the truth either. Until some has established a long-term record of trustworthiness, I find a healthy level of skepticism works best. That’s for anything in life, not just dating.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Hello Kitty Says:

      I totally agree with Andthatswhyyouresingle. As a woman, and a woman who currently dates several men at one time, I feel that this woman is actually quite attracted physically and emotionally to this man. She desires him. I don’t care what anyone says…..If a woman is emotionally turned on she’s going to want to have sex with the man who is doing it. Period. And if she is emotionally turned on, then she can “see” herself falling in love with the guy. Thats what women do. Never mind the red flags, just make me feel good about me. Hee Hee.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Gorb Says:

    Moxie is bang-on.

    He may be a rare one, but more likely he’s banging someone else. It’s almost assured.

    That said, he may also like her.

    A third possibility is this: He’s just not that sexually attracted to her. He likes her, but schwing just isn’t there.

    No fixing that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  6. Crotch Rocket Says:

    I have deep feelings for someone in my “dating circle’,
    That’s not unusual. Developing feelings for someone is generally a sign that you have or want to have a relationship with that person, i.e. the usual goal of dating (for women, at least).

    have become the closest person to him,
    How do you know that? Did he tell you that, which might be a lie, or have you deduced it from stalking him and seeing that he’s not as “close” to anyone else?

    yet I know I am not ready for anything serious, in fact I freak out at the thought of anything heavy.
    Then don’t let it get “heavy”. Just enjoy what you have, if it indeed is what you want, and if he asks for more tell him no. Duh?

    He isn’t ready either, so we’re in the same boat.
    I don’t buy this “men not being ready” stuff. In every case I’ve seen or heard of, the guy just didn’t want a relationship with her but was perfectly ready if Mrs. Right came along.

    I am 30, and he is 40. We just like to watch movies, cuddle, hold hands, kiss, talk…
    Nothing wrong with any of that, aside from being rather typical and boring.

    we don’t have to have full intercourse all the time, which I find soothing. He usually gives without expecting anything in return.
    Red flag. This guy is either sleeping with someone else, not attracted to you very much, has hormonal problems or is gay. Seriously. Not wanting to have sex with you doesn’t make him a “gentleman”; it means there is something wrong with him–or with you.

    It’s a very sweet and fun situation, and I want it.
    You want what, specifically? And what do you want it to be a year from now, five years from now, etc.?

    he doesn’t have sex with anyone but me.
    How do you know that? Did he tell you that, which might be a lie, or have you deduced it from stalking him and seeing that he’s not having sex with anyone else?

    I “circular date”,
    What does that mean? I’ve never heard the term before, and I hope that none of the images that come to mind are accurate.

    He tells me he highly values what we have.
    Talk is cheap.

    Is it okay to want this, since we don’t want anything heavy right now?
    It is, at most, a “casual relationship”. That’s fine if that’s all you want. OTOH, if you’re looking to get married and have kids, you really only have a few years left and are throwing that time away on this guy, who obviously doesn’t want any more than what you already have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Crotch Rocket Says:

    why would a man tell a woman that he was not sleeping with anyone else? Men only do this for two reasons: because they want to be exclusive or because they believe it is what the woman wants to hear because she asked him and he wants to avoid conflict.
    Exactly. Plus, in the latter case, a man would usually only say so when directly questioned–and, by implication, his supply of sex is threatened. That is not a good way to get the truth out of a man.

    That’s one of the main reasons why men don’t commit – they don’t want monogamy.
    Technically correct, but I would characterize most men’s “feat of commitment” as really being a fear of committing to the wrong woman.

    I don’t trust anybody with an inordinate number of opposite sex friends. Go ahead. Call me suspicious.
    Actually, I have no problem with the “inordinate number” qualifier. It is when people go on about how one can never have platonic friends of the opposite sex that bothers me.

    Rarely is it ever a genuine desire to hang with the ladies because he gets so much from female companionship.
    Well, I do appreciate the different perspective and skills that my female friends bring to the table. That doesn’t mean I watch romcoms on Lifetime while eating a tub of ice cream with them, but IMHO having friends of both sexes makes one a more well-rounded person.

    Women tend to find a man’s lack of interest in sex as charming. “Oh, he really likes me! That’s why he doesn’t push for sex. He’s interested in me for more than sex.” Uh, one? If he’s straight and confident and has no hang ups, he wants the sex. Don’t kid yourself. Two? If he’s not wanting sex whenever you’re together, or at least most of the time, and he’s content with cuddling, there’s more to the story.
    This. Many (most?) women have this crazy idea that a man’s interest is either physical or emotional but never both–and there is absolutely zero truth to that. If a man doesn’t want to boff his woman at nearly* every available opportunity, there is clearly something wrong with the relationship. That doesn’t mean he isn’t emotionally interested as well, though; the two are not mutually exclusive–and being a “gentleman” just means he isn’t a jerk about it, not that he doesn’t want sex at all.

    (* While rare, there are times when a man doesn’t want to (or can’t) have sex with anyone due to fatigue, illness, injury, etc., and we tend to get quite cranky at such times.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. Selena Says:

    Reminds me of a similar post on this blog last year. Two people agreed they weren’t dating exclusive, but agreed to be sexually exclusive until one of them wanted to have sex with someone else. In such a case, they were to inform the other party. Reason for this half-assed exclusive arrangement? The “ick’” factor.

    I sort of get it, but I wouldn’t trust it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. sharon Says:

    “we dont want anything heavy”?? or “he doesnt want anything heavy, and i’m just willing to go along with it, hoping he will change his mind”??

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  10. Amy Says:

    She reminds me of the kind of woman Mox talks (and warns) about all the time – young, attractive, not taking the future seriously until time passes and it IS the future, and then..oops, you’re not so much in demand any more and THEN you want to commit/settle down and your options have evaporated.

    Slightly OT, I have been really stuck on the concept I posted about a few weeks ago – whether those who are really good at dating are actually the ones who are the worst at the long-term relationship, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, visa versa. An earlier letter said that the remarried over 40 woman is a myth and not to count on it. So I have been reviewing my own social circle. I was divorced around 40, as were (coincidentally) a number of my female friends within the few years before/after me. We got closer as our circumstances were similar. When I look at them now, EVERY ONE has remarried and all are very happy (well, as much as I know). Remarried within their 40′s, to guys in their 40′s who were all divorced at some point earlier. NONE of them were particularly ‘good’ at dating – and neither were the guys. None of them would have passed muster with all the hoops-jumping, picking the right places, doing all the stuff that is always talked about in these comments. But they were looking for someone to share their lives with – NOT someone who was a polished social butterfly. And they found them. So it does happen – and in my frame of reference, far more often than not. But it looks drastically different than the descriptions of dating/relationships that I see on here.

    I think one difference is this – these type of people are used to sharing their lives/domesticity. Going out/doing the town is a rarity, not the norm. They are comfortable with, and expect to move from the ‘going out’ to the ‘staying in’ phase (esp if they have kids) and consider it normal and enjoyable. So the whole pressure to do/go is very different than for the people who have always been single and/or are urban dwellers who tend to live more that way. And I think they don’t expect potential partners to be so smooth at it.

    Am I off base here?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Of course it happens. I’m watching two mid-50′s friends, one divorced and one widower, move toward the altar again with women of a similar age.

      It’s only the fantasy that doesn’t happen. You know, George Clooney appears, or perhaps, in my case, Katherine Hepburn.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    An earlier letter said that the remarried over 40 woman is a myth and not to count on it.

    I think in the bigger cities,this is accurate. Especially if she has kids. Cities are over run with single people with no kids. Most don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of dating someone with kids. Divorced people with kids should focus on dating divorced people with kids if they live in big city, especially Manhattan. Any woman who living in this city who thinks she’s going to snag that special guy who is happy to take on her, her ex and her brood when he’s surrounded by single women is delusional.Guys will date them casually, but not seriously. These women need to move to suburbs if they want to find a serious relationship.

    I think one difference is this – these type of people are used to sharing their lives/domesticity. Going out/doing the town is a rarity, not the norm

    Right. People don’t live in a city like Manhattan to stay in. They live here to go out. That’s another compatibility issue that people from the outer boros or suburbs need to understand. My guy friends get a ton of messages from divorced.separated women with kids who live in LI and Jersey. Um, seriously? Why would a single man living in Manhattan want to date a divorcee with kids who lives in Jersey? It just baffles me how women don’t get that. Same goes for men. I have zero desire to date anyone with kids. None.Logistically,it’s a nightmare. Divorced Dads also need to focus on dating Divorced Moms. The lifestyles are just too different.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

    • Amy Says:

      This makes perfect sense to me. So would you then say that this site really applies more to never-married urban dwellers than the single population at large?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      • Angeline Says:

        I wouldn’t, and I’m divorced from a long (30+ years) marriage, firmly suburban (although in a large city) and with grown kids. Being ‘good at dating’ in the general sense means not being a walking, quivering ball of neuroses, not whether you have an ever-ready list of hip spots to grab a glass of wine. I learned a lot from the posts and comments here, as well as confirmed my own experiences of people in general and from living with a man for 30 years. Even though I was in a relationship when I started reading here, a good dose of truths about men, women and their differences (and similarities) was a great refresher, and confirmed for me that a few of my ‘risky’ choices were actually some little whisper of common sense that managed to make itself heard over bad dating advice from media/culture and girlfriends.

        Highlights that transcend the married vs. dating mindset:

        That there are always unique, *lucky* instances where you, the special precious flower, did *none* of the standard things and you have been in a LTR/married for X years. You were lucky, or youu got someone with a very high tolerance for BS to get the qualities he/she wanted. Good for you. It would behoove you to graciously accept that your experience is the oddball one, and show some gratitude to your partner for putting up with it, instead of trying to make it the norm.

        Women will assume something special about themselves if a guy is charming, funny, romantic with her. But he’s just doing what he’s good at. Get over yourselves. (Thanks to DMN for this one, a personal revelation and some squirmy discomfort).

        A recurring theme that seems to be universally misunderstood by countless women writing in – if men are interested in you, they want sex with you. It isn’t two separate tracks with them, sex being on some lesser, baser level. They are one and the same. Embrace it for the wonderful thing it is.

        Lose weight. It isn’t any more shallow of men to want to enjoy looking at the woman they’re with than it is to want a successful man with some status. An exercise: the first 10 men you see today, rate them on their prospects of being your partner, especially the usually invisible ones – the mainntenance man, the guy who works in the diner. That instant recoil you feel with some of them? That’s what a guy feels seeing an overweight woman. He may love a lot of things about her, and feel sad about his lack of attraction, but he can not change that basic attraction level by wishing it were different.

        Thinking of yourself as having a special, priceless commodity between your legs that men should walk through fire to have (limited) access to is dated, back to Victorian days dated. Especially if you’ve had sex with previous partners. Virginity doesn’t grow back. Sex is a joyous- fun-filled gift we share, not a token to bestow on a supplicant. If it isn’t, figure out why and fix it. Get over yourselves.

        That being ‘one of the guys’ is gonna snag a guy. He’s got buddies to drink and belch and watch the game with. Be a woman. Be fun. Stop trying to out-guy him, and be yourself. Men fall all over themselves for someone truly feminine, caring, and fun. Just because guys tease each other about being a girly-man, being a pussy, doesn’t mean they don’t value it and love it in a woman. You can be a little feisty, personally strong, as long as it isn’t combative, naggy, or destructive, as long as it is accompanied by a generally soft, feminine personality.

        That men are not scared of commitment, they aren’t intimidated by strong (in the true sense of the word), intelligent women. The most confirmed bachelor will commit in a New York minute too someone he considers ideal. They just don’t want to get stuck with an unpleasant, entitled screechtard. Be kind. Be considerate. Be at least as polite and well-spoken and well-mannered with your partner as you are with the wait-staff. Getting into a relationship doesn’t mean settling into the laziest, worst version of yourself, it means that person should get the *best* of you. Get over yourselves.

        I had quite a few “Aha!” moments reading here, and I have no interest in dating as a sport. Being the best person you can be in life means you face reality and don’t kid yourself about your weaknesses. Moxie is a master at making us do that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      These women need to move to suburbs if they want to find a serious relationship.
      Lately, I’ve been thinking that everyone needs to move to the ‘burbs if they want a serious relationship. The “city lifestyle” just doesn’t seem to be conducive to that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • John Says:

      “People don’t live in a city like Manhattan to stay in. They live here to go out. That’s another compatibility issue that people from the outer boros or suburbs need to understand”

      I tend to agree with this statement but there is also a subset of Manhattan dwellers who live in the city because their job is in the city. I do have coworkers who live in the city for this very reason. And when we discuss our social plans or what we did the weekend, their plans don’t sound much different than us suburban folk. Most of the ones I am referring to are in their 40s and after work they go to the gym, eat, relax, whatever. Not much in the way of going out during the week. And then on the weekend they do the dinner,movies,drinks, visiting friends things, etc . That may be the minority but since the city is so big, it does comprise a decent number of people. I work with them every day.

      .

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  12. Jack Says:

    “As I’ve said before, I don’t trust anybody with an inordinate number of opposite sex friends…”

    BOOM! Thank you, Moxie for being honest.

    I am dating a girl right now who has all these guy friends. She says whatever guy she ends up with must be accepting of her 2 closest male friends. Then I put the question to her – During your years of friendship, have you ever hooked up with either of these guys? She admits she’s hooked up with BOTH of them….But nothing came of it (No romance, no dating).

    I mean, what kind of idiot do you think I am? I am supposed to make you my GF and then have those guys around? Do women even understand how straight up idiotic this is? I feel like once get physical with a friend, you lose every right to expect your future partner to be comfortable with that friend around.

    Attractive women who have a ton of male friends are either sluts or attention whores. Unless they are super tom boyish or something.

    And straight men who have a ton of female friends are usually SLEAZE BAGS. I have seen this all the way since college and I have no respect for these kinds of guys. They are the dirtiest players in the game because they don’t have the decency to be upfront with these women. They just wait till they can catch them in a weak situation them pounce. It’s so WEAK in my opinion.

    Anyway Moxie….Any thoughts on this particular girl? She comes across as someone with low self esteem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      I feel like once get physical with a friend, you lose every right to expect your future partner to be comfortable with that friend around.
      I agree. If you’ve had sex with someone, even once, then it is unreasonable to expect a future (serious) relationship partner to accept them as “just a friend”. Especially since, if when the relationship hits a rough patch, it is that friend that you will like turn to for “comfort”. I’m all for having (a reasonable number of) opposite-sex friends, but they have to be truly platonic, i.e. people you have never slept with nor want to sleep with.

      More generally, while I know that any woman I date has had sex before, I do not want to know about any of her past partners. I don’t want to meet them, and I certainly don’t want her hanging out with them without me present. Trust is good, but part of the way one earns that trust is by avoiding not just impropriety but even the appearance of impropriety. I will do the same in return, without being asked.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      She admits she’s hooked up with BOTH of them….But nothing came of it (No romance, no dating).

      Jesus. That should tell you somhhting. Two guys were willing to have sex with her (or hook up with her) but neither decided to take things further. Nuff said. There’s a reason for that. And PS? These gusy aren’t really her friends. She just thinks they are.

      She says whatever guy she ends up with must be accepting of her 2 closest male friends.

      Oh. So then she has never had anything resembling an actual relationship? Because only someone self-absorbed and inexperienced would say that. Add to that the fact that she told you about how she hooked up with these guys and it’s pretty clear this woman is a trainwreck.

      They are the dirtiest players in the game because they don’t have the decency to be upfront with these women.

      I know several upstanding guys who aren’t upfront with women. Women don’t want men to be upfront with them. They want men to tell them what they want to hear.Next time, don’t be so honest.

      Anyway Moxie….Any thoughts on this particular girl? She comes across as someone with low self esteem.

      Then why are you dating her?? You do realize that you look just as bad for dating this woman, right?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • Jack Says:

        I am actually just banging her. And I made it clear to her that she’s got issues to work through, but that I am willing to go out for drinks and get it on when we need to. Why? Because I’m a guy. And if an attractive chick is down to have sex, I will take it.

        The reason why I’ve been so upfront and why it bothers me is that when I first met this girl, I actually liked her. Then all this info started coming out and I realized, “No way”.

        “Jesus. That should tell you somhhting. Two guys were willing to have sex with her (or hook up with her) but neither decided to take things further. ”

        That’s what I told her, even though she countered with the fact that she’s know these guys all her life, and things just happened when they were intoxicated.

        Back to my point – Yeah, yeah things happen….You get drunk….All that. but do not expect any self respecting man to hang around other guys who have had sex with you. I don’t get why some women don’t get that.

        Good Analysis, Moxie.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I dunno, I don’t think two male friends is “an inordinate number.” If her flings with them were years and years ago it may truly be an innocent situation. I’m very good friends with my ex- and I would expect anyone I’m seriously dating to be OK with that. I’d show this hypothetical man he’s #1 with me, but I’d think him unreasonable to demand I never talk to my ex- again. Does the girl you’re dating make an effort to prioritize your comfort level w/r/t these friends (introduce you and include you in their outings, and if so did they treat you respectfully, did you all laugh and have fun, etc.)? Sounds like no.

      Having said that, this is actually why I broke up with the last guy I was dating. I felt threatened by his female best friend, how chummy they looked in Facebook pics, etc. I did my best to not be “that jealous girl” who jumped to conclusions and pitched a fit. I let him tell the story of their relationship in his own words. “Have you ever dated her?” “Well, we tried a year ago after she got jealous when I told her about an OKCupid date, but it was just too weird ‘cuz we’d been friends for so long.” Yeah, not really reassuring me she’s not a threat, dude. If she’s just a friend why does she give a shit about your OKCupid dates? Even if he wasn’t banging her or wanting to, he was clearly far more emotionally invested in her than me, so I ended things.

      So I dunno, case by case basis.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Jack Says:

        Exactly. Your partner’s friends of the opposite gender is a fair subject to really dig deep into. When two attractive of different genders are best friends, there is ALWAYS something there. Somebody is or was attracted at some point. The friendship may have started with a sexual relationship, and they decided to stay cool.

        Regardless, there is always something there. And women are skilled in the art of self bull shitting, so many of them will refuse to admit that these friendships are not great for their relationships.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Jack Says:

        By the way, I get what you’re saying about being friends with your Ex. Women are really protective of these friendships. But I’ll tell you what – I have been pretty intimate with many of my exes at some point after they broke up with a different boyfriend.

        Human beings find it easy to go back to what they know – And if a woman is feeling vulnerable, that Ex that she views as so platonic will become something else.

        Us guys know the way other guys think – So there is a legitimate reason for a man to be worried. We know that the fact that you women like to think there is nothing there, doesn’t mean there won’t be. It’s just what you’re telling yourself. Men have to deal in reality. If there’s a dude that’s banged you before still in the picture (on a major level), then there is an issue.

        Best thing to do is keep one’s ex’s as casual friends and nothing more serious.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        • fuzzilla Says:

          I get what you’re saying. I’ve known the ex- so long he’s like family and to be perfectly honest, the severe lack of sex when we were together is largely why he *is* an ex-. A Potential New Boyfriend could still find the emotional connection threatening, though, I guess.

          It’s a moot point since I’m not dating anyone seriously, though obviously I hope to eventually. If I were, like I said, I’d just do what I could to make sure everybody knew each other and was cool with each other, that I respect my boyfriend’s feelings and take them seriously, that anyone I dated felt confident they were #1 with me, etc. It’s what I would want, so “do unto others” and all that.

          With that guy I broke up with, I didn’t wanna just make a blanket statement of “hey, you’re friend’s too hot, so tell her to hit the highway.” I figured that would just make me look like a crazy jealous bitch. I thought “OK, so what would I need to feel comfortable with this situation? I’d wanna meet her and observe their dynamic, observe that she’s welcoming to me and respects my role as his lady, I’d want to be reassured that I’m #1, etc.” So I talked to him about it and the sense I got was that clearly none of that was gonna happen. He just got defensive, talked about how awesome she was and how much he missed her, didn’t really seem to give a shit how I felt–so g’bye, dude.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            Ok. We’re not going to have another thread hijacked by stories of you and one of your exes. Enough.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

            • Jack Says:

              Aren’t threads supposed to develop organically? What is this? Communist China?

              It’s not like we’re advertising male enhancement pills or something…hahaha.

              Kidding, btw.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        • Selena Says:

          Unfortunately I’ve been guilty of sex-with-the-ex as well. I know people are sometimes able to have a friendship with someone they were at one time romantically involved with, without there ever being a “relapse”. Had that too. Still, getting involved with someone who is close to, and in frequent contact with an ex is not a place I’m comfortable going. Case-by-case basis probably.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. Violet Says:

    The woman in the letter sounds like she first heard that HE was not interested in anything serious, and then convinced herself that she agreed. This is why she is so “confused.” Exactly like the dead-on scene at the opening at Bridesmaids with Kristen Weig and her FWB where she says “I mean I’m totally cool with keeping this casual, it’s really great, unless you wanted it to be more serious, but I’m cool with it being casual.” (long pause).

    I do think it possible to have opposite sex friends. But clearly if you flirt with them it isn’t platonic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. Hello Kitty Says:

    Its so obvious that this girl is totally into this guy and wants more than just some casual relationship with him. She posted her dilemma because she is looking for answers and doesn’t trust herself to choose the right one.

    She says “It’s a very sweet and fun situation, and I want it.” What she is really saying is that I really like this guy and we have a good time together, but I want something more. Here’s my problem and do you think that he is really not banging these other girls? What she really is asking is do you think that if she asks him for something more heavy like exclusivity, will he up and run.

    Here’s her answer:

    Drop the other shoe girl!!!! If you really like him then just ask him if he would like to be in an exclusive relationship with you because you like him alot and the thought of him being with other women bothers you. If he is banging his “friends” then you will find out pretty fast because he will be gone and if he isn’t then you now know that he is not going to commit to only you even if he isn’t with any other women. Its pretty simple and everyone wins.
    Lets break down her last paragraph, her closing remarks:

    “But I am a bit confused, since I’ve never been averse to a serious relationship. (which really means I would love to have a serious relationship with him. We just haven’t talked about that because I’m afraid he’ll bolt). He has female friends he hangs out with and flirts with, (which I don’t mind) but he doesn’t have sex with anyone but me (which really means he has some hot friends that might be blocking my light and its starting to piss me off). Same with me. I “circular date”, but he’s my only sexually intimate partner ( which really means I’m not sleeping with anyone I’m seeing right now but am ready to if this falls through). He tells me he highly values what we have. I really do too. (which really means he is not saying he wants more and I’m really afraid to ask).

    Read between the lines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Kurt Says:

    I know a guy who has a lot of female friends but he definitely is not getting anything physical from them. He is a weirdo/douchebag and as far as I can tell he has no real guy friends because he is a complete tool. However, for some reason a lot of women do go out drinking with him at bars sometimes, although I heard that he frequently pays for the drinks, so that might be a reason why. However, I don’t think that any of the women would ever date the guy unless it was to clown him into paying for a meal. I suspect that the women view him as an asexual male friend and therefore think that from a sexual view, he is non-threatening.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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