I’m female, late-30s, seeking a long-term relationship towards marriage. I date men my age and older, mainly through dating sites (there are few set-ups).
I’m clear very early to men about wanting a committed relationship. They say they’re looking for the same thing, but I’ve yet to meet a man who’ll put in the time and effort necessary to build that.
Instead, all the men expect me to become intimate with them early on. They’d sleep with me even when they aren’t serious about me.
When I become intimate, I get very attached, but the men do not. When things end shortly afterwards (even when the sex was great), I end up heartbroken and devastated.
They dump me because they’re unwilling to work at being a true partner. If I say that I’m upset or hurt, they can’t be bothered to deal with my feelings so they bail. It takes a toll on me.
In this age group, men want to be certain they’re making the right decision, particularly if they’ve been married before. So, when I mention taking things slow, they think I’m either a prude/asexual/hiding something about my body or they just lose interest. (More often, I give in and become intimate with them).
People say that the right man will wait and respect my wishes, but I’ve yet to meet this type. Most men know they can jump back online to meet another willing woman.
They want immediate gratification rather than get to know a woman. There’s no such thing as wooing anymore. If they buy me three dinners, they definitely expect something in return, and I feel guilty when I reject their advances. When meeting online things happen quickly, that’s the expectation.
What Can I Do?
You can stay true to yourself without flagging your go-slow approach like a roadside alert. On your early dates, e.g. a dinner, ask questions about someone’s work and interests (from sports teams to films, music, etc.). If there’s nothing about him that attracts you, don’t bother with the “long-term commitment” speech – he’s not for you.
It’s when you find someone interesting and feel an attraction that it’s worthwhile to say you’d like to get to know each other better, slowly.
Next, pay for a dinner or theatre tickets yourself, so you don’t owe a “payback” to anyone. If there’s pressure for sex before you’re ready, say so.
Explain that with online dating, one could sleep with far too many people and that’s not your style or intent. You’re looking for someone special, not testing all early offers.
A decent, mature guy will be intrigued. You don’t have to “give in” to everyone who insists it’ll be okay. You already know it won’t feel right for you if it leads to being dumped right after.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the value of grief counseling, even years after a loss:
“I dated and fell for a man whom I eventually discovered kept every memento of his late wife, even though they’d divorced five years before she died.
“He’s a very caring guy, and we had a strong attraction and physical connection.
“But I was spooked. I insisted we talk it through (despite his reluctance) or stop seeing each other.
“Turned out he felt guilty that they’d parted before she became ill and was living alone. On my suggestion, he talked to a grief counselor and learned he couldn’t have saved her by staying married, and he has the right to love again. We’re back together now.”
FEEDBACK Regarding "cannabis concerns" (Nov. 26):
Reader – “I’ve heard that people with a family history of schizophrenia shouldn’t smoke pot because it could cause the person to develop it.”
Ellie – From the Government of Canada facts sheet, October 26, 2018:
“Using cannabis regularly and continuously over time makes you more likely to experience anxiety, depression, psychosis, and schizophrenia. Higher-strength cannabis products (such as concentrates like “shatter,” wax, dabs) can worsen the mental health effects.… Stopping or reducing cannabis use can improve outcomes.”
Also, “cannabis use that begins early in adolescence, that’s frequent and continues over time is more likely to bring about harms. Some of those harms may never fully go away.
“Youth are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis, as research shows the brain isn’t fully developed until around age 25. This is because THC, the substance which gives the “high” in cannabis, affects the same machinery in the brain that directs brain development.”
Tip of the day:
First-date “commitment” rules rarely work. Hold that discussion until there’s mutual interest.