Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guys say the damndest things

Thanks, guys.

The first damndest thing:

On Sunday late, while on our second Guinness, C-2 and I moved from Red Sox euphoria into relationship talk. After a year of bantering over beers, we have our own feisty dynamic (and, consequently, a not easily-summarized history), but as usual, we don't discuss us.

We discuss, as usual, our own stories. At some point, he wondered aloud if perhaps after many (many, many) years of dating, he's realizing he might not be cut out for something long-term. I then suggested that conversely, I really was ready for something long-term. Which spurred this (paraphrased) exchange:
C-2: That's curious. You seem to me to be doing everything except illustrate that you want to be in a long-term relationship. Are you sure?

Karin: Hmm. I am. Well. Maybe it's just that I can't find anyone who wants to be in one with me. So I need to kill time somehow. I figure, why not?
Why not? Why not (be unfocussed and waste my own time and my biological clock's time)?


The second damndest thing:

Last night, I got a surprise when friend Justin, of New Jersey, called to say he would be in town on business. So we did late dinner at Franklin Southie and got caught up.

I was in a slightly griping mood. One of my gripes was about the recent plethora of men who, after either dumping me or just ignoring me out of the picture, have suddenly re-emerged and presented themselves, again, as viable options. The whole, "well, you weren't good enough the first time but now, um, well, maybe I've reconsidered (or maybe I'm lonely or maybe I'm horny) and wonder what's up" thing. 

This week there were 3 of them ... yes, 3 more since I last griped to Justin about it

Which plain exhausts me.

Justin knows me better than just about anyone and, to his credit, often turns sage when needed. So (again paraphrased) he said:

"So here's the thing. If you really want a relationship, you need to draw your line in the sand with the guys you date. You need to say 'this is what I put up with, and this is what I don't.' And then you make the guy decide if he is willing to step up to your line - to fix the things that might not make him someone you want to be with. If he isn't willing, he isn't willing. And you wouldn't want someone who isn't. Right?"

And I don't know why the hell I've never thought of it that way before.


veggiegal said...

I like Justin! This is when the change happened for me: After yet another MISERABLE relationship that left me crying for months, but in retrospect, it was clear it was not going anywhere, I decided I can't waste time on the wrong guys anymore. I added to my online profile that my goal is marriage to the right person, that I am only interested in meeting men who have the same goal, and are no longer interested in casual dating. My strategy was to then actually TALK to the men about this, on date 2 or 3, when it's clear that there's enough chemistry, but before it's personal enough to be about US, but is more of a general question: "what's your goal in dating". I renewed my membership in a paid online site, looked through hundreds of profiles, ignored all approaches from anyone who seemed too young or not serious, contacted MANY, went on 13 first dates in a month, and the lucky 13 was the person who is now my spouse. I asked him about what he wants out of dating on date #3, after a very good kiss. He was CLEARLY completely bored with casual dating. He was in fact at a point where he was willing to relocate to find the right woman. We moved in together a year later, and got married 16 months after moving in together. So it was still a journey, but we both knew we had the same goal in mind, and we were always honest and open about it.

All that to say - Justin is RIGHT! Men MEAN what they say, and for the most part, will assume that YOU mean what YOU say. If you say "not interested in casual", they'll get it. I decided that "casual in the meantime" was really just costing me time and distracting me, and it was just no longer enjoyable to me.

Interestingly, in writing this, I realized that even though I've been reading your blog for a long time now, I am not entirely sure whether or not you actually enjoy casual dating, the kind you know won't lead anywhere...? I would guess that you do in the moment, but in the grand scheme of things, it sucks energy out of you. Is that right??

Anonymous said...

i agree with veggigal! yay for justin. as a single 34 year old boston chick i have stuck to this advice since my last serious relationship ended a year ago and found it to be ideal- you may occasionally have temporary regrets and what-if-i-was-wrong or too-quick-too-say-no moments... but in general, decide what you want and what you're willing to put up with and stick to it. if a guy really wants you he's going to go all out and he won't waver. trust me on this. :-)

Expat said...

I second veggiegal's post. There're several benefits to being upfront and brutally honest with men about the marriage goal. This invariably filters those who are not looking for such a serious connection, and saves one tons of time and emotional/physical energy. And I'll also add that perhaps in some unexplained way (I believe in this despite being 'rational' under most circumstances!), such an approach alligns the universe in such a way that one soons starts attracting the attention of men who have similar goals.....yes, such men are definitely out there, but you need to have the right tools to seek them out or to allow them to seek you out.

Similar to veggiegal, I was also very clear in my online profile about looking for a long-term, serious relationship. Once I did this, the quality of men that I started communicating with, changed dramatically. My future husband contacted me upon reading my profile (he'd also written in his own profile that he was looking for a serious relationship), and from the very beginning, we started having deep, meaningful conversations, which I believe, laid a solid foundation for our future relationship. We've now been married 3 years, after a year of dating, and we both feel that being articulate about what we were looking for helped guide us to each other.

Anonymous said...

I agree with these comments. I did the same thing: knew I was looking for a life partner, and was completely clear about my goals. I paid a lot of attention to any potential red flags or questions that arose as I met and dated new men (26 of them). I thought about each man as a potential life mate, not just a cute guy. I definitely asked people about their dating goals, and I agree with veggiegal that it is easier to do so early on, before you are invested, and before the questions are really about your relationship.

I met Bachelor #26 after a year of online dating (and, let me say, I met a lot of smart, quality, genuine men looking for long-term relationships), and now, a year later, he is moving in with me. He comments admiringly on my goal-oriented approach to dating (he wasn't quite as directed, although he wanted the same thing I did, but he didn't have it down to a science the way I did.)

No excuses was my motto. And I mean, no more of me making excuses for men. He either had it or he didn't. I wanted someone who was responsive (read: in touch with me on a regular basis, not playing games) and liked spending time with me as much as I did with him. And that's what I got.