Just Dating

Christine: When I was dating in my 40’s and early 50’s I was only interested in dating. Sometimes I dated someone for months because they would continue to ask me out. Often we were both dating other people. Sometimes we were only dating each other.

Some of the reasons I consciously knew I wanted to just date were:

  • I was busy running a very demanding business and I didn’t feel I had time to devote to a husband.
  • I liked my alone time in between the time I spent with them.
  • I liked living in my own home.

The unconscious reason I discovered later that I wanted to just date was:

  • I knew I would marry someone like my first husband and I definitely didn’t want to marry someone like that again.
  • I didn’t know how to not marry someone like my first husband.

Joel: This may be a difference of language and definition, but I would not call this “dating,” which implies some aspect of romance. I would call this “going out with friends” which serves a purpose beyond social as you point out. You’re having fun, learning, etc. It’s interesting that you say you “didn’t have time to devote to a husband.” That suggests something less than marriage but more than friendship. I just found I couldn’t experience a woman that I really liked without developing romantic and sexual feelings.

Good luck to those who can make this work.

It’s important that you defined your goals for limited relationships. Did you ever meet men who went away after you explained your point of view?

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3 thoughts on “Just Dating

  1. This is Christine and I understand the journey is arduous jo jon. I know it’s challenging because if you’ve opened your heart and it doesn’t work out there will always be that mourning period. It truly is impossible to walk away and feel nothing when you did feel something. I’ve discovered how important it is to learn how to open your heart a little at a time as you decide which ones are worth it. Getting clear about what you want and need from a partner and what you bring to a relationship will help you determine this.

  2. I like Joel’s viewpoint. I find for myself it takes a good 2-1/2 years or 3 years of dating someone before I really know who they are. as one gets older time gets more precious and its hard for me to conceive putting this time in again to find out if someone is compatible with me. Then after putting in the time – if its not the right situation for me – there is a mourning time to deal with. Its not easy for me to just walk away and feel nothing. I am not one for “dating around” but perhaps that is an option. Thank you for your input.

    • Thanks for responding!

      You’re spot on at the time investment issues. I went through lots of this over 12 years, but maintained hope. I finally figured out what was wrong with me and am in a loving realtionship.

      This reminds me of my definitions… first you meet, then you date, then you mate… In my mind when you’re past a month or so you are probably “mating,” i.e. sleeping together and starting to plan a life together or at least contemplate a life together. For me and, I speculate, many men, only after the lust has cooled and we focus on the day to day negotiations do I really begin to understand how I feel about someone.

      In my book (hope to finish before the end of the year!) I tell the story of a woman I thought I might love. It took a while to realize she had some serious emotional issues I couldn’t live with. I don’t know how you can spot things like that without living with them for a while. Which says we need to be careful and business like in the meeting and dating phase, hoping for success and also looking for clues that might lead to – not failure – detaching.

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