As Sara and I browsed the Union Street boutiques searching for the perfect Little Black Dress for her niece’s wedding in a few weeks, we couldn’t help but overhear two attractive 30-something blondes nearby. Their conversation sounded eerily familiar to ones Sara and I had had ourselves not too long ago.
“I swear, I just don’t get dating anymore. It’s impossible to be what guys are looking for. You’re screwed if you’re too direct because then you’re come off as cold. If you’re too aloof, you’ll seem like a bitch but if you’re too eager then you’re too needy,” one lamented.
“You’re so right.”
“Plus, you can’t talk about your ex-boyfriends because you’ll sound bitter, but you can’t talk about the future either because then it’s like you’re fishing around for commitment or something,” she continued.
“It’s nothing like when we were in our 20s!”
“But, we’re not even old!”
“I know but it feels like it. Like that guy I went out with last week, you know? When I told him I was 34, it was like I could see him doing the baby momma math on me — ‘Well, if we start dating now, then get engaged and married, it will be about two or three years and we’ll have to have a baby right away because she’ll be too old and I’m not ready yet.’ It’s depressing!”
Wow — even I was getting depressed listening to them! Now, when Sara and I were bemoaning dating post-divorce, we were in our 40s, fresh out 15-year marriages, and moms. We were not baby-making machines anymore. We already had kids, and most of the guys who were interested in dating us were mostly divorced and had kids, too; the guys our age who didn’t were looking for younger women, not us (well, except for a hookup). Coordinating custody schedules was challenging, and single parenting and working full time was exhausting!
Still, I remember thinking how much easier it might be to find love again if I had gotten divorced in my 30s, not my 40s. Listening to the blondes, however, I’m realizing that may not be the case.
But, the young blonde (yes, 34 is young!) was right — once you’re out of your 20s, dating is an entirely different beast. Dating in your 30s gets a lot more complicated because of kids — either you have them, which limits your dating ability; you don’t have them but you want them, which puts you on a tight time-track for fertility; you don’t have them and you don’t want them, but you may have to reject a lot of good guys who do want to have kids; or you have them and you want more of them, which, again, means you may be facing fertility issues.
Whoever said kids put a strain on a marriage has no idea how hard it is to date with or without kids as a 30-something!
All of which means — you better enjoy dating in your 20s because if will never be as carefree and fun or offer as many options again! Ever. OK, that’s not fair; I had fun dating post-divorce and, after all, I met Sean in my mid-40s and that’s been very great. A few of my middle-aged friends have met great guys and women, too (although none has remarried). But, let’s face it — dating when you’re older is really, really different, especially if you’re looking for a relationship and not just casual sex. And sometimes, it downright sucks.
What’s your dating story at your age?
Photo © Angelika Bentin – Fotolia.com
Sara had been filling me in on who’s who as we made the rounds at her co-worker’s barbecue when at some point I realized I’d lost her. Not physically, but her attention. And as far as I could tell, it wasn’t because a good-looking guy was close by; that I could understand.
“Earth to Sara.”
“To what? Voices in your head again?”
“Very funny. No, that couple. Well, actually the wife. Hear her?”
“Barely. Is she saying something I should pay attention to?”
“Oh, come on, Sara; maybe that’s just the way they’re playful with each other. Some couples are like that. You shouldn’t assume it’s a diss.”
“Yeah, well, if you listen carefully, you’ll know that’s not playful. Just look at his body language.”
I did — it didn’t look great.
Suddenly, I started to feel uncomfortable, too. Like Sara, I hate when couples put each other down in front of other people. Sometimes it seems like playful teasing, but when you listen closely there’s often an edge to it. And as bad as I feel for the spouse being dissed, I also feel bad about myself — being in the presence of that kind of talk makes me feel awkward because I’m at a loss of how to respond, and no matter what I do, it seems wrong. Laugh along? Ignore it? Change the topic? Talk about my own former hubby put-down stories? Call her on it? Try to “fix” it? Model good relationship behavior by talking positively about my sweetie? Each has its pros and cons. But which is right?
If it’s a long-time friend, it seems that it would be easier to call her on it — separately, gently — but you risk losing the friendship. If it’s someone you barely know, like the woman Sara was overhearing at the party, it seems best to ignore her; if you called her on it, it might create a scene! But ignoring it is like giving it a stamp of approval when it really isn’t OK to talk like that.
Whenever I hear a spouse putting the other down, I feel the pain that each is feeling, not only the person who’s being dissed but also the disser — those who bully are often those in the most pain.
I don’t think couples should put each other down in public. I don’t know how often men do that, but I know women are guilty of it. get a bunch of gals together for a gals’ night and if one starts putting down her hubby, it can spread like a wildfire and quickly turn into a bitchfest.
When a couple teases each other — lovingly — about each other’s “shortcomings,” that’s different, although both have to be OK about it. That’s not always the case, and then it can turn into a pathology between them.
Of course, I’ll never experience that — what could Sean possibly say bad about me?!?!
- Have you ever badmouthed your partner?
- Has your partnet ever badmouthed you?
- What do you do when you hear someone badmouthing his/her partner?
Photo © Angelika Bentin – Fotolia.com
When I saw that my friend Dan had changed his Facebook status to “in a relationship,” I just had to give him a call. But first, I clicked on the profile of the gal he was in a relationship with. Much to my surprise, she looked nothing like I would expect him to be with, based on his former girlfriends. She’s pretty, but in a sweet girl-next-door way.
What had happened to the Dan who always fell for babes who looked like they made their living swinging naked on a pole at the local strip club?
So I called him, and yesterday we meet over some beers.
“Should I be worried about you?” I asked.
“Why? Do I look sick?”
“No. Actually, you look happy.”
“I am happy. I’m in love.”
“Who? Kat, did you …”
So of course I fessed up on my snooping.
“Katy is absolutely my type! She’s sweet and smart and a total babe. You had me pegged all wrong.”
“I had you pegged by what you usually dated — they may have been smart and maybe even sweet but they were way beyond ‘total babes’ — they were, you know, skanky.”
“Well, just like women are drawn to bad boys, we guys are drawn to sluts. We can’t help it. But, no guy wants to to be boyfriend to that. We just want to …”
“Have sex with them.”
“So a girl who gives it up on the first date?”
“Uh, probably not the bring-home-to-the parents type. But you know that.”
“But, women don’t trash a guy because he wants to have sex on the first date. We expect a guy’s going to at least try!”
“Guys aren’t woman and women aren’t guys. Thankfully.”
“So, then why do women give it up so easily and dress so trashy?”
“Kat, I think you would know that better than I.”
And he was right, I guess.
Women like to dress provocatively; I know I do. It gets attention from guys, and I like to play up my femininity. But as I age I know there’s a line between looking sexy and looking trashy; older women who try too hard to look young cross that line in a tragic way. You can get away with some trashiness when you’re 20-something, but you actually don’t have to do too much to look sexy at that age; I wish more young women understood that!
But when it comes to sex, I know why some women give it up easily — they just want to have some fun, just like guys do. I’m not going to say it’s empowering — God, I’m really beginning to hate that word! It’s just that some women don’t have any hangups about casual sex. But a whole lot more women do, and they have sex freely and easily because they’re hoping it will lead to a something, probably a relationship. Sometimes it does but not necessarily with someone we want to be with for the long haul. Even if we don’t put out on the first date, Date 3 comes along and …
But, if guys don’t particularly want to have relationships with women who dress like they’re working the street corner and who give it up too soon (and I’m not 100 percent convinced I know when “too soon” is), then why do so many women go the skanky route? If guys like the chase then shouldn’t more women who are interested in having a relationship hold out from having sex with a guy for as long as they can — or at least until they recognize the guy’s not in it just to score?
Of course, if a guy dumps a woman after sleeping with her on the first date, he probably wasn’t too serious about wanting a relationship in the first place. It shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, or should it?
- Guys, what do you think of women who have sex on the first date?
- Do you always try to score on Date No. 1?
- Are skanky women lookers and not keepers?
- Gals, do you have sex on the first date? Why or why not?
- Do you dump a guy who tries? Do you have more respect for a guy who doesn’t try?
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