Having finally come out of the self-esteem slump instigated by my ex over the last half of our 20-year marriage, I've begun eyeing the opposite sex, looking for a likable guy to share regular sex and fun activities.
Here's my dilemma: Apparently, when a guy tells you he isn't interested in marriage and getting serious, and you agree, saying, "I really just want to have fun with someone honest, interesting, and (moderately) attractive," your value immediately drops. This usually seems to be followed by some variation of "I'm not very good at casual relationships" or "I need to focus my energy on my goals" (whatever those are) as he edges out of the relationship.
Since I'm a 43-year-old postdivorce dating novice, I just had to ask if this is the new catch-22: You've found a guy you like, you can picture an ongoing relationship, but you happily agree with him that you're not looking for marriage and don't plan to get serious. Instead of being happy and reassured, he apparently decides he can't waste time with you because things now lack potential.
Must I settle for sleazy and/or short-term relationships or learn to lie, prevaricate, and dissemble?
Woman Seeking Long-Term Friend With Benefits
No guy on the planet is going to believe a woman who tells him she's happy just being his fucktoy. And his reason for disbelieving you is a good one—you're probably lying. Now I'm not saying you're necessarily fibbing, but a lot of us have gone along with this scenario—gleefully nodding that, hell no, we don't want a boyfriend, or even worse, a husband (shudder). But all the while we've convinced ourselves that once he gets a taste of the wonder that is we, he'll fall madly and hopelessly in love, forsaking all others.
Obviously, this plan of action rarely—if ever—works. Because the fact is, any dude who tells you that he's adamantly against a serious relationship is telling you the truth. With one minor caveat: He's not looking to get serious with you. I'm not saying that all men are secretly pining away for that glorious special someone who'll magically convince them that even daylong trips to the outlet mall are bliss simply because they're together. I'm saying that if a guy really likes you, he's not going to be such a weasel. In their own idiotic, ham-handed way, these retarded Romeos are trying to let you down easy. And when you go along with their insulting proposition, they spazz out and have to come up with a different reason they can't see you.
What you need to do is not have this conversation. Because the fact is, if you met someone fan-fucking-tastic, you would want to see more of them. And you wouldn't want them sleeping with other people. But until then, a girl's got to have herself some fun. So if you're casually dating someone who starts backpedaling about not wanting to get in too deep, stop him cold. Point out that he's being very presumptuous. Adopting a kind but funny tone (because men love it when you laugh at them!*), inform him that picking out china patterns wasn't exactly on your agenda for the day, so if he's not interested he should just say so, because you're a busy broad with things to do and other men to meet.
It's not that you need to learn to, uh, prevaricate; you just need to be a little more realistic. I know you want to run out and get naked with a handsome stranger, but don't rush it. I'm guessing that the last 10 miserable years kicked your ass harder than you think. Dating is daunting. Like running a marathon, you have to train. Buy some new clothes, get a massage, and start some sort of new workout plan (I highly recommend boxing). Being strong of body has a funny way of building confidence. Once you're toughened up, these random schmoes won't have such an effect on you. More important than big knockers or a flab-free ass, most men, when confronted with a sexy, confident woman, will not take the wiener's way out.
*OK, not really.
Dating novice? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.