This Is Why Some Casual Relationships Don’t Work

February 11th, 2015

Awkward, Casual Dating, Casual sex, NEW!

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Not Boyfriend MaterialConfusedGuy2
:
Comment: Moxie–

I’m a 32-year-old man; I spent the majority of my 20s in a couple of long-term relationships and so never really got used to “dating.”  After some introspection, I realize that I’ve got some work to do on myself before I get into another serious (read: exclusive) relationship; in the meantime, I’m enjoying dating casually.

The problem is that I seem to give off “boyfriend material” signals.  Case in point, for the past couple months I’ve been seeing a 25-year-old woman once or twice a week.  The explicit understanding is that it’s casual and we’re not exclusive; reading between the lines I think she’s probing for more.  Female friends have assured me that women do not do things like buy little presents for or bake a homemade apple pie for a guy they want to stay fuckbuddies with, which this woman has done for me.

She hasn’t expressly started the “where is this going?” conversation, though, so I guess my question is: at what point does it become my responsibility to do so if she doesn’t?  I’m happy with the status quo so I have very little direct incentive to do so, but I don’t want to lead her on.  If she wants a boyfriend, she should absolutely have one; it’s just not going to be me, for reasons that have very little to do with her and are largely out of her control.  And I’d hate to think that she’s stopped looking for one because she thinks I’m going to become one.

Thanks,
Not Boyfriend Material
Age: 32
City: Tucson
State: AZ

The explicit understanding is that it’s casual and we’re not exclusive;

Let’s start here. In what way is this understanding”explicit?” Did you tell her that you were not looking for a serious relationship, full stop? Or did you say what  a lot of people say and tell her that you were looking for something casual but might be open to more should the situation present itself?

A lot of people believe that they’ve set clear boundaries when they haven’t. Because we, as humans, are often selfish and self-serving, sometimes we aren’t as honest as we should be.  Further muddying things is that – sometimes – we go with the flow and do or say things that maybe we mean in the moment but ultimately contradict our original stated intentions.

People read quite a bit into innocuous gestures and convince themselves that they’re having a relationship that doesn’t actually exist. (See every single Dater X column.)

“They came out and met my friends!”

“They talk about the future!”

“They open up to me!”

“He didn’t use a condom!”

“They made me dinner!”

“They text me every day!”

“They said they were looking for a relationship!”

“He said he’s falling really hard for me and tells my friends he loves me and when I say I Love You in private he doesn’t say it back but still!”    Jesus. H. Christ on a tractor. That girl.

Sometimes people just desperately want to be in a relationship and will try and force or create milestones. Men and women have to be aware of behavior like this if they’re going to pursue casual relationships. In a sense, when people manufacture these moments, you are being set up.

That’s why many casual relationships implode. You can be completely honest in your intentions and set clear expectations, but you have no control over how the other person interprets the things you say or do.  That’s why I think it’s important to stick to the original script and not stray from it.

I’m torn on whether or not you are obligated to speak up once you see things veering into a certain direction. If, as you say, you were crystal clear that she should never expect things to eventually morph into a full-blown relationship, then she’s responsible for her own feelings. But if you want to be a decent and kind human being, you should say something the minute you see things starting to change.

If you know you can’t give her what you think she wants, then accepting her gifts and homemade pies is a no-no. Now, of course, you don’t want to be rude or embarrass her. But you have to understand that things like this are often times traps. I don’t mean to imply that she or any other person is trying to trick someone into being in a relationship with them when they do these things. I don’t believe that it’s an intentional or malicious attempt to circumvent the original agreement.

However, I do see little things like accepting a gift being used against you further down the road when you decide to end things.  In situations like this, you need to take a step back in some way. Preferably verbally. The goal here is to not be selfish and not put your needs above her feelings. If you tell her – again – that you will never be her boyfriend and she continues to stick around, that’s on her.

Are conversations like that awkward? Yes. But if you feel compelled to keep things going, then you’re gonna have to express your concerns about her expectations. If you’re not that invested in her, then I think you should just end things so she can go find what she’s looking for before she gets too hurt. Liek I said above: don’t be selfish.

 

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37 Responses to “This Is Why Some Casual Relationships Don’t Work”

  1. D. Says:

    Ok, so, two things. First the whole morality/legality vs. practicality thing, and then some advice on how to avoid this kind of situation (or at least reduce the risk).

    You are not a bad person for wanting something casual, especially if you have clearly communicated this fact to the other person. It is not your moral or legal duty to protect them from themselves, nor to “do what’s best for them.” If you were clear that you weren’t going to ever become her boyfriend, weren’t interested in anything serious, were only looking for something casual, then it’s not your fault if she gets angry at the fact that, down the road, after she’s developed feelings, you aren’t reciprocating.

    That said, not having breached any moral/legal obligation probably won’t protect you from any fallout after the fact. It won’t matter to her that you were 100% explicit that this was strictly casual. If she’s developed feelings for you and has tried to move things towards something more serious, and you’ve rejected that, she’s going to be disappointed, maybe angry, possibly embarrassed and/or hurt. And she probably won’t really be interested in thinking she has no one to blame but herself for her own bad choices, especially if she actually recognizes that it’s true.

    So, what to do? Well, if she’s really starting to do “girlfriendy” things like bake you pies and buy you little presents…then I agree with Moxie, on the whole. You should probably at least have a gentle check-in with her on where things stand. You may still face some fallout, but recognize that you’re not actually doing anything wrong, again, assuming you’re up-front and honest with her throughout. If she says “Oh yeah, we’re on the same page,” but continues doing “girlfriendy” things or tries to escalate…honestly, I’d take it down to strictly platonic, or cut off contact with her altogether. First, it’ll save you a much worse headache down the road, and second, once you know that you’re dealing with someone who is living in a fantasy, in spite of what you say, it’s really probably the right thing to do. Still not an absolute obligation, but it’s the right thing to do.

    Now, how to avoid this in the future. Well, for starters, make it clear you aren’t looking for anything serious. Then be clear about what “anything serious” means. You should also recognize that many, many people do not have a middle ground between “just fucking” and “headed to couplesville.” Most people lack the ability to intentionally date with the full expectation that things will never get beyond “just dating.” (Or, if they do, they want to do so without sex being involved.) That’s not to say people aren’t willing to date when they recognize it might not possibly end up in couplesville, but they very rarely intentionally date that way.

    What that means is that you probably need to adjust how you date and how you interact with the women you date, when you’re dating. Your instincts may still be all about operating in “boyfriend mode.” Maybe this is just because it’s what you enjoy. So, you’re totally happy taking a casual date out to dinner, or cooking them a nice meal at your place or whatever. You may be perfectly happy being affectionate with someone you’re casually dating. Maybe you just enjoy doing this stuff, maybe you perceive yourself to be a gentleman and choose to act accordingly without regard to your interest level in the other person. Recognize, though, that stuff like that can often be interpreted by someone you’re dating as a sign of more serious interest. Why? Because, again, they don’t really “get” the notion of someone who’s doing all those things, but still really is just looking for casual. Those are “boyfriendy” things to do, so why would you do them if you didn’t want to be their boyfriend? Even if you’ve told them you don’t want to be anyone’s boyfriend right now, your actions will still speak louder than your words.

    I would also advise dating women at around the same age range as you (which, no, does not include 25-year-olds). Although, bear in mind, that this comes with a tradeoff. Women in their early 20s often lack the experience and knowledge of self to recognize that they aren’t as cool with casual dating as they’d like to be. They don’t necessarily know their limits. By contrast, women in their late 20s and 30s are more experienced, and more likely to know whether they can or can’t handle a true casual dating situation. The tradeoff, though, is that you may find slimmer pickings. Fewer women will be saying “What the hell?” or “Well, maybe he’ll change his mind once he meets me.” Likewise, fewer women will be up for casual sex because, you see, they’ll have tried that back in their 20s and recognized it’s just not for them. On the other hand, those who do casually date you, will probably be a lot more reliable in their statements that, yes, that’s really all they want.

    The only other alternative I can suggest is focusing on people where there is quite simply ZERO reasonable expectation of things ever getting serious. I’m talking about dating women who are, like, moving away in a month, or who are very recently divorced (although that can backfire sometimes), or where there are other “structural” issues, like they absolutely don’t want kids and you absolutely do — some day. Stuff like that can be pointed to in a “well, what’d you expect, really? You knew all of this stuff ahead of time” way. Again, it won’t necessarily save you from the fallout, but at least you’ll be able to tell yourself you didn’t act dishonestly, and the other person really should’ve been able to realistically read the situation.

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    • Julie Says:

      Another issue with older guys pursuing casual relationships with significantly younger women is that most young women dont look at a 30+ year old man and think “He’s going to be fun.” They pursue older men precisely because they see them as stable, mature marriage material. If a 25 year old girl just wanted some hot fun, she would pick up a hot fun 25 year old guy with no relationship potential.

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  2. fuzzilla Says:

    I think I’d rather be told, “So, I’m dating other people” and be able to answer, “Great! Me, too!” than be told, “Sorry, can’t accept your homemade pie. Too ‘girlfriendy.'”

    I agree with the advice in general. I can see how accepting homemade pies can/should be seen as a warning sign if he doesn’t want a relationship. He might warn against such gestures in the future, but to say, “Nope, can’t accept it, sorry” in the moment seems incredibly cold.

    I like D.’s comment that, if you don’t want a relationship, choosing situations where there are structural reasons why things can’t escalate is smart (they live the next state over and you only see them occasionally, they’re a different religion and that kind of thing is important to both of you, etc.).

    Do what you want, commitment-wise, as long as you’re ethical and communicative, but I’d think it would be hard to enjoy a situation where you were nitpicking every little detail and gesture and wondering what it “means.” But maybe that’s just a sign of communication that needs work..?

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  3. bbdawg Says:

    This is coming from someone who doesn’t do casual, I do think most women are not wired for it and after some time, will revert from the transactional the relationship model naturally. The problem is that I think a lot of women can’t really have a lot of regular sex with someone without getting involved so no matter how many times you tell someone you “don’t want anything serious” if she sees that you call her and sleep with her she will assume you want something serious.

    What you should do I think is to become more promiscuous, and aim to have rotating partners you sleep with. And leave soon after sex. Don’t talk too much. Don’t text for no reason. Focus on the transaction and avoid intimacy. Because I don’t see how casual can last past say, 3 months…once the woman realizes there is nothing in it for her, she will eventually leave. I think casual doesn’t work long term because it stems from the principle of not giving, meaning you have to constantly watch boundaries and as a woman watch that you don’t give anything for fear of developing expectations.

    I mean all you seek is sex, so you need to minimize all intimacy kinda like how it is with escorts. You’re done, you leave. It’s the difference between a transaction and a relationship. Most women will not enjoy that over an extended period, so you need to have a number of women on dial for more options.

    If there was a magic formula for an unicorn woman who could have casual sex and never get attached or involved, that pill would have been on the market a long time ago.

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    • Julie Says:

      It depends… Generally, I agree that women are less apt to pursue casual relationships then men and tend to have a harder time handling it well, but it really depends on the person and where they are in life. I have several female friends who following a divorce had several enjoyable casual relationships some lasting years with no issues. In one of these multi-year casual relationships, the FWB of one of these girls fell pretty hard for her and as a result she eventually had to stop seeing him.

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  4. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “The problem is that I seem to give off “boyfriend material” signals.”

    Oh, man, I have the same problem. Can’t beat them off with a stick, right? Every one night stand lasts six months. First world problems, I guess.

    I don’t know why you would ask random strangers on the Internet for moral advice though, especially women. A 30 year old man, I assume, can figure out basic questions of right and wrong for himself, and doesn’t need biased advice suggesting that you should sacrifice your own interests as a martyr for womankind. Their issues are mostly not your problem. You already know how to play nice, I’m sure.

    Experience does teach us some things about people though. For example, you’ll soon learn that women prefer to be in relationships of some substance, and are rarely satisfied with casual flings. A generality, yes, but mostly true and you can play those odds. When you are with a women who says she’s okay with a casual situation, you should always assume she’s lying to some extent, and you act accordingly.

    For similar reasons, many women will be skeptical of you, and won’t fully believe you, when you tell them you’re not interested in something serious. Sounds crazy and idiotic, I know, but they will assume that you are strategizing and just “playing it cool” (because that’s literally what they are doing with you.)

    So, there’s little point to these “frank” discussions about casual v. serious, etc. because they obscure actual communication. A person communicates their level of commitment and interest to anything, including relationships, not with the literal dictionary meaning of his/her words, but with their actions, and sometimes how they use words. (An easy example, “I’m fine” doesn’t mean “I’m fine.”)

    That’s the tool. What you do with it is up to you.

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  5. Yvonne Says:

    It’s been my experience that men who casually want to date are often not completely upfront about it. A man will say he isn’t looking for a relationship, but then say, “but you’re so great, I want to see where things go.” It provides a window of hope for the woman and an exit strategy for the man. I think that men know that saying flat out, “I am not looking for a relationship”, period, may not win over many women. So they soft-sell their intentions.

    I have to wonder if that is what’s is happening here. It seems a contradiction to say “the explicit understanding is that it’s casual and we’re not exclusive”, while at the same time saying, “I seem to give off “boyfriend material” signals.” How can both be true? It also sounds like this is a “problem” the OP has encountered before.

    He mentions that he’s seeing this particular woman once or twice a week, IMO, that is too often for a truly casual relationship. Anything more than once every week or two is not all that casual, and with no real hope of changing, at least not to me. I have to wonder if the OP is doing relationship-type things that are giving off that vibe: Moxie’s first two paragraphs illustrate exactly what I am talking about. And of course, even if a woman does agree to the casual scenario, it doesn’t mean that her feelings won’t change over time.

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    • Selena Says:

      I see casual situations in terms of somewhat sporadic and almost by definition brief. If you are hanging out with someone once or twice a week, every week for months stronger feelings may develop even if “not looking for anything serious” was agreed upon at the start.

      I understand you like the status quo; getting sex and attention on the regular has it’s own attraction. But I also think you know this woman’s feelings have grown for you. You know. And since you know, and don’t feel the same, it’s time to break it off.

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  6. Fyodor Says:

    I am going to suggest a compromise where you stop sleeping with her but continue to try to finnagle free pie.

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  7. jenny Says:

    This relationship is no longer working for you. Because it is no longer what you want. And once you realize you have different intentions, there’s no going back. It’s over. Move on. And recognize most women will feel as your current GF does far quicker than you think. That’s because most people, unless they are really desperate, don’t spend a couple of days/evenings a week in romantic company with the same person, unless they REALLY like them.

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  8. BostonRobin Says:

    Wait. I thought Dater X was in therapy? All better now? (Answer: no!)

    It sounds like the LW is dating someone like that, someone who is willing to suspend disbelief even in the face of the denouement.

    No, you’re not responsible for her feelings, but… There are plenty of women out there who do casual just fine. Oh, but they won’t gaze into your eyes and make you pie. That’s the tradeoff. Totally different vibe going on.

    This is why, imo, people who say they want casual end up with people who want a relationship. Otherwise, why don’t they just focus on finding other people who want casual?

    I hate to overdo the pie thing, but it’s like you want to eat your pie and have it too. I tend to be very skeptical of people who claim to just want to have a good time, mostly because they end up in these messy situations. Why though, when they can see the writing on the wall? As someone who wants a relationship and doesn’t do casual, I can tell you why: because IT FEELS GOOD TO HAVE THAT ATTENTION. But you are getting that attention because that woman wants a relationship.

    So like bbdawg says, if you really just want casual, you should be walking the walk. If you go along with someone who is going into relationship mode, it’s on you to pull the plug. Unless you want to be a disingenuous cad, all charm and no character, which I realize is not a problem for a lot of people, especially online.

    You sound like a decent person though, so I hope you do the right thing.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yeah, I’m kinda curious – presumably if you don’t want a relationship, it’s because you want to date/fuck many people and want your time to be your own. It doesn’t sound like the OP is doing that. So he doesn’t want a relationship, but is only seeing one woman, 1-2 times a week. Uh…okay. He’s not really reaping the perks of non-relationship-hood.

      I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d rather just know up front that it’s casual and we’re both free to see other people. That way I know where to focus my emotional energies and if I bake a delicious pie, I’ll eat it my own damn self.

      It’s easy for men to say, “Women be crazy, yo,” but I think the OP knows he wouldn’t get what he wants (sex and attention) if he were 100% forthright.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **There are plenty of women out there who do casual just fine. Oh, but they won’t gaze into your eyes and make you pie. That’s the tradeoff. Totally different vibe going on.**

      This might be my favorite quote ever from this site.

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      • BostonRobin Says:

        :D thanks! This pie thing is driving me nuts… don’t we all just want PIE now???

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        • fuzzilla Says:

          Ha ha. I made a pretty bitchin’ cake last weekend. Pie is a lot of work if she made her own crust and everything. Go ahead, sleep with other women, but don’t mess with my baked goods! ;o)

          Anyway, I think that was my favorite quote because that’s a pet peeve of mine when men want all the perks of a relationship but claim to not want one (or do claim to want one, but just don’t want to put any work into it). And it calls bullshit like whoa.

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  9. Mark Says:

    To Not Boyfriend Material (the LW)

    OK you seem grounded and all you seem to have your act together.

    I’m going to pull out my man car here and say that you should fish or cut bait.

    From what you wrote you indicate that she might be n a very different page than you.

    If so, lay it straight out. Seems to me that she is a nice gal who deserves to know where she stands. In other words, she seems to get the message that there may be something more going on than you are letting on. Let her know (tactfully) where you stand – and why.

    If after hearing what you have to say she is OK with that the go with it. IF not….

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  10. Nicki Says:

    I’m going to agree with just about every other comment.

    You really need to evaluate how this situation began and think back to what your exact words were. I think as humans (I’m not going to single out men or women), we tend to want to be polite in what we say. No one wants to say, “I just want to sleep with you. The end.” A lot of times it’s, “I’m not looking for a relationship but if the right person comes along, who knows!” Or another good one is, “I’m not looking for a relationship but you’re pretty awesome.” It’s when you add that “BUT” in there that you open yourself up to all kinds of messiness down the road. I also think that casual relationships have a shelf life. Maybe it’s time for a little “check in” chat.

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  11. Jojo Says:

    Wow OP sounds like the guy I briefly dated a few months ago that left me kind of heartsick over. (I realized that I fell too hard too quickly…sometimes it’s hard to control those things though. I wish I knew how to stop them or turn them off but I don’t.)

    Can someone explain what constitutes a casual relationship? This guy I saw did say on day 1 that he didn’t know what he wanted yet/not looking for relationship yada yada.

    At that time, I was on that page too (had some serious personal stuff going on last year where I was not in the right emotional state for anything serious) however I was really attracted to him and got struck w/ butterflies.

    He basically did what OP did – show “boyfriend like” behavior but at a distance. I kept my distance as well…I did not text/call every day nor ask why, didn’t try to do any relationshipy things. Totally just played it cool but at the same time I think what was happening was that I started to like him too much…yes we had sex but it wasn’t fantastic or whatever but even still I wanted to hang out with him. I never wanted to make him meet my friends or family or whatever.

    Anyway, I was fine trying the casual thing but since I never really did that before I didn’t know what that meant in terms of communication and frequency of dates.

    I realize that I’m responsible for my feelings and the pain I dealt with was not his fault. But I really don’t understand the concept of casual dating.

    I wish I knew how to do it but emotionally I don’t know how to handle it when I like someone (it may have been just an attraction thing then anything more but I crushed on him and that’s not healthy). I hate having those kind of feelings for someone who doesn’t feel the same. It’s an unfortunate pattern I keep falling into :/

    Moxie, I’m not sure if you’ve done a post on it yet but can you do one that spells out the rules of Casual dating? What to expect: with communicating, frequency of dates etc?

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    • maria Says:

      don’t be too hard on yourself and chalk that up to a learning experience. now you know that you cannot do casual relationships and that its not something you are interested in doing. period. a lot of women really think they can but end up heartbroken, because in reality they can’t, and that is OK. I know that the minute a guy I like says “i am not interested in a relationship” that is my cue to walk away because I know that I can’t deal with that no matter how hard i try or how much I like him. You can’t really change a person mind and you risk getting hurt. but that realization came with experience. Everybody has been in your shoes and really thought they could do casual, and that is ok.

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    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      “I wish I knew how to do it but emotionally I don’t know how to handle it when I like someone (it may have been just an attraction thing then anything more but I crushed on him and that’s not healthy). I hate having those kind of feelings for someone who doesn’t feel the same. It’s an unfortunate pattern I keep falling into”

      In other words you are just like every other woman. I am baffled at how every women thinks she is a special snowflake because she wants something more from a guy than to be used for sex. All women want more than sex. You are not uniquely “not looking to just hook up”. You’ll swear up and down that there are other women out there that are “just fine” with casual situations but not you, of course, and no specimen has ever been procured.

      Women in real life who are so-called “just fine” with being used for sex are mostly troubled souls, and not desirable in any meaningful sense.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 12

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        I don’t know why people who aren’t okay with casual sex “wish” they could be. Why? More options? Avoiding pain?

        **Women in real life who are so-called “just fine” with being used for sex are mostly troubled souls, and not desirable in any meaningful sense.**

        No one’s being used if everyone (genuinely) agrees to the same terms and enjoys the same freedoms, and generally treat each other in a friendly and respectful manner. It’s being on different pages that’s the problem.

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        • Nicole Says:

          I just think I would have enjoyed dating much more if I’d had a more relaxed attitude during the sleeping together but not an official couple stage… If I’d been able to just enjoy dating and sex without worrying about whether some guy wanted to be my boyfriend or not.

          There are a lot of guys I went out with who were hot and fun and I probably would have enjoyed sex with them – but I knew they weren’t ready to commit to anything exclusive with me after 3 dates so I didn’t sleep with them. If I was more of a cool girl, I could have just enjoyed lots of hot sex instead of spending months on end celibate. So there’s that.

          There’s also just a sense I get (DMN’s commentary notwithstanding) that women who dislike casual sex are seen as uptight and frigid and to be avoided at all costs. So I had a hard time at first saying hey, I don’t do casual very well, let’s get to know each other a little more before we get naked. I’d either sleep with them and freak out, or just quit returning their calls. Eventually I learned to set my boundaries better, but my first year back on the dating scene was a horror show.

          I know my attitude doesn’t exactly make me unique but… I do think there are women who enjoy sex even if it doesn’t come with a relationship. And I am a little envious of them.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

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          • fuzzilla Says:

            **If I was more of a cool girl, I could have just enjoyed lots of hot sex instead of spending months on end celibate. So there’s that.**

            I did manage to make a FWB situation work for a good while. No, it wouldn’t be my first choice (a committed relationship, like I have now, would), but I was proud of myself that I was able to see it for what it was and not freak out about it or push for more or wonder what was wrong with me. Not that casual sex deserves a medal or anything, but I was proud that I got better at accurately reading and responding to situations and got to have fairly regular sex without driving myself crazy.

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            • DrivingMeNutes Says:

              “it wouldn’t be my first choice (a committed relationship, like I have now, would)”

              Naturally.

              I wish I could be one of “those people” who enjoys being stuck in traffic for hours, or being buried in 6 feet of snow without electricity, or having my house burnt down, or getting all my credit cards stolen. Because, then, I’d be so much happier and I wouldn’t have to worry about any of those things.

              Unfortunately, I’m a person who doesn’t like those things. But, I’m really happy for people who do (and kinda jealous!)

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              • fuzzilla Says:

                So, since you don’t want a relationship, then the only way you have sex is to knowingly mislead a woman with a “someday” promise of a relationship, or to sleep with someone “just fine” with casual sex, whom you judge as being beneath you?

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                • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                  My point was not to judge or disparage women who want casual sex. I don’t give a shit. My point was that there are, in real life, actually very few of such women. In my experience.

                  Yes, I’m saying that I don’t believe women who bravely claim they are just fine with casual sex. Most are angling for something else in my experience. (Even women, like you, who are open to casual sex always say they’d prefer a committed relationship over casual sex, i.e. they are not “just fine” with it.)

                  And, yes, as a consequence of the above, real-life men who want causal sex with real-life women must be deceitful to some extent, in order to get it. Not necessarily with OMG “overt lies” but men must be nice, respectful, and behave like “boyfriend material” in order to be desirable to women, which will ultimately lead to sex.

                  If you tell women you basically want sex, you will not get it.

                  Yes, sorry, that means many boyfriends are not telling the 100% truth about their intentions. Maybe even yours.

                  Happy Valentine’s Day.

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                  • fuzzilla Says:

                    Ha ha, hit a nerve, I guess.

                    Hey, most people prefer filet mignon to McDonald’s. But they’d also prefer McDonald’s to going hungry. Yes, some women genuinely enjoy sex enough to enjoy it outside of committed relationships (even if that’s what they’d prefer) without becoming sloppy, emotional messes about it. However, ALL women get angry about actively being lied to.

                    Yes, I do have a nice Valentine’s Day planned – tickets to a show, dinner, and dancing. Smooches.

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                  • Joey Giraud Says:

                    You’re definitely right Nutes, but you know you’ll get nowhere with women by contradicting their carefully constructed self-images.

                    No matter how fantastic those self-images are.

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                    • Dori Says:

                      Let me try to explain. When I was on the market I was very willing to have casual relationship / sex with a guy whom I did not see as ‘boyfriend material’. And I was open to a possibility of meeting a ‘boyfriend material’ guy for non-casual relationship purposes.
                      Casual relationship with a ‘bad boy’ is like oysters, while a normal relationship with a ‘boyfriend material’ guy is filet mignon.

                      But having casual relationship with a ‘boyfriend material’ guy is indeed like McDonalds.

                      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

                  • fuzzilla Says:

                    **If you tell women you basically want sex, you will not get it.**

                    Yes, I suppose I can understand that no one will get any casual sex if they are so nakedly blunt about that elephant in the room.

                    But just how much are they obscuring the truth? Are they spending minimal time with her and saying polite things like, “Can’t spend the night, better get back to work…not looking for anything serious right now,” in which case the woman should be smart enough to read between the lines? Or is the man just smiling and nodding, going along to get along, outwardly saying, “Of COURSE I want you to meet my mom!” and inwardly thinking, “FuckfuckFUCK, how do I get out of this?”

                    I’d say the first fellow is handling casual sex with finesse and the second is a lying shit who’s knowingly inflicting pain. It’s one thing if a woman knows she’s only getting “McDonald’s” from you and is okay with it. Then she’s free to also get “McDonald’s” elsewhere or to keep pursuing the “filet mignon” she wants, knowing you aren’t it. It’s another to promise her filet mignon with no intention of ever following through. That’s what the women here suspect about the OP and are getting on his case about.

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                    • mindstar Says:

                      “Casual relationship with a ‘bad boy’ is like oysters…

                      But having casual relationship with a ‘boyfriend material’ guy is indeed like McDonalds.”

                      We appreciate your honesty that many women rate casual sex with a “bad boy” as more enjoyable than casual sex with a guy they consider “boyfriend material”

                      Naturally the “boyfriend material guy’s” desires and wishes don’t matter. I guess he should just be happy if from time to time a woman gets hungry for McDonalds

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      • maria Says:

        there is a difference between being “used for sex” and a casual relationship which is what jojo was asking about, no? like the LW isn’t using his girl for sex, but he is also not willing to take their relationship to another level.

        jojo sounds young and inexperienced to me. Most women who say they are OK with casual relationships when they are not are so desperate to come off as “cool girls” they don’t want to seem like difficult nags who are trying to tie a man down. They want to appear “different” than all of the other girls, they want to make sure you know they are cooler and chiller and easier going than the other girls he’s dated, when they are really anything but. they also enjoy the rush of the possibility of making a guy fall so hard for them that the guy will realize that he did want a relationship after all! it rarely, if ever works out this way. People tell you exactly who they are, its up to you to listen. this is really the only advice Jojo needs to hear. the only way to avoid this is to have the confidence to know what you want and leave when your needs are not being met.

        Same goes for the girl the LW is seeing. He told her up front but she didn’t want to listen, now they are both in a weird situation. He should break things off with her immediatley because its crystal clear that she wants a relationship with him despite him telling her how he felt up front. I would not ever bake a pie for a guy that is holding me at arms length. its a maneuver. she is trying to work this into a relationship by winning him over and “changing” him and it surprises me that after being in a few LTR the LW doesn’t see that. or he is just playing dumb and only taking his own feelings into consideration

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      • Shadowcat Says:

        I don’t understand how anyone negatively voted this post.

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        • Shadowcat Says:

          I didn’t reply to the above post, I was replying to one by “Driving me Nutes” several posts up… but while I’m ere, I think this is the same thing as women being accused for using sex as bait and not coming across. Guys in this situation are using a “relationship” as bait, even if they don’t even admit to themselves that they are doing it.

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  12. Damien Says:

    I can relate to this fully, because it was the path I took in life. If a guy is in his twenties and is reasonably good looking, or has a good job, or has any game, getting into a relationship or getting laid is pretty easy. If he has two or three of these, BAM. So among twenty-something guys, the competition for available women is intense. So why is this woman into NBM?

    In the case of the LW, he has to face reality. NBM: you are in your thirties. Unless you are a rock star or rich playboy, despite what you think, the reason a promising or hot twenty-something woman is interested in you is because you present a good long term prospect.

    The way I see this, NBM was able to shag this “relationship” by acting like he was into her, and presenting all the buy signals. I did that myself in my thirties, because that’s what it takes to score sex. They are called serial short term relationships, not FWBs. NBM is acting like a boyfriend, albeit short term.

    NBM’s question is really about how to respond when the inevitable question comes up: so where is this headed? The answer is “I deceived you about a LTR, I just wanted a Fuck Buddy” or the actual answer that comes out will be about how he needs to work out his shit. In other words, the “it’s not you, it’s me” line.

    NBM: that’s how this will play out. Tell her it’s not you, it’s me. That’s how these things end. Then move on to the next short term relationship. The sex will be good, especially sleeping with different women. I certainly enjoyed that part. But watch yourself as you progress towards the 40-year-old milestone. Acting like this changes a guy. I got more picky, I got set in my ways, I now regret the good opportunities I passed up, and I became a different person. But at the time, it all seemed good, and I probably would have done the same thing again if I didn’t have foresight. Then as you approach or pass 40, you need to decide what you want to be when you grow up, as in when you grow old.

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  13. Liz Says:

    Dater X was always mildly annoying but in the past couple of months she’s become really unlikeable. The post she wrote about her therapy was the nail in the coffin for me. I had never noticed how vacuous she was before that.

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    • ATWYSingle Says:

      It wasn’t until Dater X started in with the whole trust issues/afraid to love thing that I was like, “Wait. That…makes no sense.” As grating as I found her naivete, I did genuinely believe she wanted a relationship. But the last post really sealed it for me that all she cares about is getting attention. Most people, when their identity is compromised in a situation like that, would either stop the column or at least tighten up the privacy settings on their social media. She likes that people know who she is.

      I think what really turned me off was how she casually lies about things and thinks people won’t notice.

      The whole thing has been an unintentional ruse. Totally turned me off to the whole column.

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