Joel: In response to a Facebook Friend who posted a list of attributes of a “Gentleman,” I posted this –
Glad to see this issue raised. I once listened to a woman in a singles group as she listed the (fairy tale) attributes of her ideal man.
When she finished, I asked, OK, so what do you bring to the table for him? After a long, long silence, she said, “Respect. I will respect him.”
To which I said, “Sorry, can’t use that. What behaviors and specific acts will you engage in to DEMONSTRATE your love; i.e., the kinds of things you listed that you know you want him to actually do for you, e.g. open the car door, etc.” (Please respond and you get extra points if you can use i.e. and e.g. in the same sentence, correctly!)
This is especially important for women looking for a mate so they can define limits and understand love is a two-way street, give and take, and, at best, giving more than you take… If you have a list of things you want from a man, put beside each item what you will actually DO for him to reciprocate.
Mind you, I like lists of things a woman wants. I have been and remain not naturally or instinctively sensitive in these matters. A woman I should have loved once, after a major fail, gave me a list she called “Minimum Expectations For Valentine’s Day.”
The next year I delivered. So… lists are good, just make sure you understand reciprocity.
If you don’t get this concept, check out “The Five Love Languages.”
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?
Joel: Doing things you like in places you like is a good way to find a compatible partner. I would be attracted to a woman reading a book if she looked around from time to time so that I could catch her eye… if you like books and want to attract men who do, maybe coffee in a bookstore will screen in the right kind… worst case, you finish a good book…
Christine: Such great advice Joel for a single person to go to places where they like the activities. I often suggest joining a specific meet-up walking/hiking group in the local area to many of the singles I work with. These groups usually have about the same number of men and women (unusual and very good for a singles outing). Also, there are usually a variety of “skill” levels. And one of the lovely things the women have found is no matter how fast or slow they walk there are usually one or two men who will set their pace to walk with them. Benefits – good practice talking to new men, potential to meet a new woman friend to go places with, and great exercise. There’s often a potluck meal after the walk/hike so more time for interesting conversation.