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.