My two closest girlfriends and I are debating whether we really “need” a man.
We’re all early-40s. I married at 24, had a daughter, now 13, and divorced two years ago.
The other two had serious relationships, but one’s now dating a variety of men, while the other single is taking a break from dating.
We’re all working and capable of supporting ourselves (I put my ex’s child-support money directly into my daughter’s education fund).
For me, having been loved and married was a great experience early on, but became a struggle as both of us grew in different directions.
I miss male company and intimacy sometimes, but I can always get some from my “friend with benefits” (FWB).
My scatter-dating friend says she’s glad not to be in a relationship and likes the variety of men she meets. Also she likes the shopping mode of enjoying one guy for his sense of humour, another for his sexiness, etc.
Lastly, the friend who’s given up on dating, is greatly enjoying her life - she attends concerts and interesting lectures on her own, and travels alone but always meets up with a range of great people (different ages and genders) who become friends.
I’m torn about what should be my goals now with regard to having a man in my life, and also find my two friends’ choices worth considering.
Do I Need A Man?
You already know that this is a question you have to answer for yourself.
So, you’re really seeking help figuring out where a man does or does not fit into your life.
Your early desire to marry and have a child while in your 20s, fulfilled a desire to experience a love union, and motherhood followed.
Now, your daughter can’t be ignored as a factor when you’re considering a long-term relationship with a new man.
For you: He’d have to be someone who adds to both your lives, because otherwise, there’ll be discord and possibly even estrangement from the child you’ve born and raised.
That’s a tall order but countless divorced mothers have benefitted from finding a partner who commits to their family life.
Response #1: You need the right man. And it’s unlikely to be your FWB, who offers only no-strings-sex.
So, when you date, be selective, alert to a guy’s character, not just whether he’s appealing or shows you a good time.
#2: Your friend who’s dating as if at a buffet, will eventually wonder if there’s a man who’s interesting enough for her to invest more of her time.
Constantly dating someone new gives her only a superficial glance.
It’s probably only a phase and the answer about whether she needs a man, will emerge eventually.
It may be a “sometime” thing… or a relationship with a person of another gender-identification, with whom she finds the comfort and emotions she’s not feeling now.
#3: As for your other friend who’s given up on dating in favour of a more independent social life, she may just have been quicker than you other two, at framing a definition of her current needs and future plans.
She has a clear, comfortable vision of herself as being able to go anywhere, learn anything, meet anyone, and benefit from the experiences.
She does NOT need “a man,” but may one day enjoy a closer connection with a particular person who enjoys life’s offerings as she does.
The future for all three awaits your own decisions.
FEEDBACK Regarding the bride-to-be who was upset that her fiancé suddenly requested that she sign a pre-nuptial legal agreement (November 22):
Reader – “What people need to understand is that getting married is a legal contract - they already have a de facto prenup, developed by the government, and being aware of the law today doesn’t mean the law won't change.
“So their deal can change outside of their control.
“Having a prenup is simply taking control of the legalities of the relationship rather than letting someone else dictate them.
“It’s naive for anyone to be offended by the question. If the person or couple can't have that conversation, they may not be ready to be married.”
Ellie - Since questions to this column come from many different countries, a couple approaching marriage should be aware of the legal implications of pre-nuptials and marriage law in their own jurisdiction.
Tip of the day:
The answer to a woman’s question “Do I Need a Man?” has to come from within herself, considering her needs/wants and any children involved.