If you’re dating (or trying to date), I’d like your input:
Let’s say you met someone, either through online dating or some other way. It seemed to have potential as you started to spend time together and get to know each other, but soon you realized it wasn’t going to work out.
Which of these do you do?
- Say something like “I’m sorry, but I don’t see us as a match,” with a kind explanation.
- Say something like “I’m sorry, but I don’t see us as a match,”, but with no explanation.
- Give an explanation that you know will hurt, but will definitely end things.
- Give the true reason you want to end it.
- Make up an excuse, e.g. decided to get back with an ex, or not ready to date again, or …?
- “Ghost” or “fade away”: you say nothing but don’t get in touch or respond when the other person contacts you.
- Other? (Please explain.)
Now switch roles. If you’ve been on the receiving end of any of the above, which one(s) left you feeling okay? Awful? If rejection has to happen, how do you want to be rejected?
Do your answers change in any way if you and this new person have been sexual?
Please comment, and although you don’t need to give your real name (please choose something other than “Anonymous”), please include your real age. I’d like to contrast the views of our over-50 age group with those younger.
I look forward to your comments!
I’m talking about a relationship that is sexual but also a solid friendship — we like each other in and out of bed — yet it’s not a committed relationship and will not become one.
We’re not partners and we’re not dating exactly — we just get together when we both want to, and sex is usually part of the package. We stay in touch in between times together. We’re both free to pursue and explore other relationships. We don’t have goals of our FWB becoming more (or different) than the way we’re enjoying each other right now. It is what it is, and we like that.
It’s not the same as a “hookup” or “bootie call” because we share an emotional closeness — yet without any expectations or restrictions about what we do when we’re not together.
What do you think? Is “friends with benefits” a good enough term? Or does that sound too casual or non-caring? One person suggested “limited relationship” as opposed to “committed” or “primary” relationship, but that seems to emphasize what it isn’t rather than what it is. I suggested “lover-friends.” I hope you’ll add your point of view.
I hope you’ll post a comment using a first name of your choice (choose something other than “anonymous”), plus your age, please, so we can see how our generation thinks.
Notes about comments:
Thank you in advance for commenting!
Some people have reported problems commenting. If this happens to you, please email me your comment (with the name under which you want it posted and your real age) and I’ll post it for you. I delete comments that attempt to spam my blog or hijack my readers to a commercial site that I do not endorse.
- How do I meet someone? (This question is asked 90% of the time.)
- Do I have to tell the truth about my age?
- How do I write an online dating profile?
- Why do I get (a) no responses from online dating; or (b) lots of responses from the wrong people?
- How do I find out early on if a potential date will want to be sexual without coming across as creepy/ slutty/ scary?
- If I have a first date with someone I don’t want to see again, is it ok to just “disappear” and ignore future messages from this person?
- How do I handle rejection?
I discuss dating at length in my newest book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, including much of the information and tips from my workshop. I’ve also written more than 60 blog posts on dating — start here and keep selecting “older posts” when you scroll down to the bottom of the displayed posts. If you’d like me to write a more detailed post answering any of the questions above, or a new question, please write your request as a comment on this post.
DatingAdvice.com, which offers advice from dating experts, has a section especially for seniors. For example, DatingAdvice.com‘s “5 Senior Dating Rules You HAVE to Follow” suggests ways that you can get out and be active in the dating world. I would add to this brief article that even if you don’t “meet someone” doing these activities, you’ll have a fuller, richer, more enjoyable life. Then when you do meet someone in the future, you’ll come across as fulfilled and active, which is much more appealing than seeming depressed and desperate.
I was delighted when DatingAdvice.com wanted to review my new book and interview me in an article by Hayley Matthews titled
“The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50″: Joan Price’s Groundbreaking Book. “Our sexuality isn’t just about what happens when our genitals connect, or try to,” I’m quoted as saying. “It weaves into how we feel about ourselves and our bodies, what we want from our next relationship, what we learned from our last one(s). So yes, the information about dating, solo sex and sex with a new person are all part of what we may go through as we age.”
(Several writers have sent me their books about senior dating, and I keep intending to do a roundup of these. Forgive me, writers — so many projects, so little time. I’ll let you know when I catch up.)
3/11/15 update: This Sunday, March 15, I’ll have the pleasure of being on a panel with Ann Anderson Evans called “Never Too Late to Date” at the Tucson Festival of Books. I’m moving this post, originally published 11/13/14, to the top so that you all know about Ann’s book and our discussion of safer sex:
When a sixty-year-old, twice-divorced woman starts to date again, she’s not pinning her hopes on an invitation to the prom. She is financially stable and professionally creditialed. She is a matriarch, a pillar of her church, a member of a choir. She has children and neighbors who might disapprove. She has a lot at stake.
Evans is smart, sassy, articulate, and a darned good writer, pulling you right into her adventures. You’ll laugh, empathize, and sometimes worry as she jumps into bed with her Mr. Right-for-the-Moment parade. She wears her heart on her sleeve—or she wears nothing at all—and we share her adventures, her thoughts, her desires, and her evolution from repressed and unhappy to evolved, sexy, and joyful.
Evans finds many men who are interested in having no-strings sex with her, but towards the end of the book, she wonders whether true love even exists — and if so, where is it hiding? I’m not ruining the book by telling you that she meets Terry — a fellow professor and a bachelor at 63. They fall in love and marry. But that’s not until the last chapter!
I enjoyed this well-written book, and I recommend it to you, whether you’re exploring sexual possibilities yourself or you just want to share her escapades vicariously.
However! As a safer-sex advocate, I was concerned because there was no mention of safer sex or any discussions of condom use with the men Evans bedded. I questioned her — no, they never used protection. Then I challenged her to explain her decision(s). She wrote this to me:
Joan chided me for not mentioning safe sex in Daring to Date Again. Logic suggests that simply interrogating a man regarding his sexual health is not sufficient protection, but that is what I relied upon. Why was I more concerned about cleaning the chopping block after cutting up chicken than about having unprotected sex? Why would I maintain the prophylactic habits of regular dental visits and colonoscopies, and yet have unprotected sex? Good question, Joan.
Indulgence was part of it. Pregnancy had been such a persistent worry when I was a young woman that having sex spontaneously was a joy. It was like winning the lottery.
Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I was taught either nothing or nonsense about sex. The bogus teachings were embedded in religion. “Chastity is the cement of civilization,” I read in the Christian Science scriptural companion, the Science & Health, when I was a student in a Christian Science college. I closed that book and have never reopened it.
The nonsense of the times I grew up in was also embedded in school. My only sex education was a couple of gender-divided classes in 7th grade that explained menstruation twinned with the unforgettable fact that when we brushed our teeth we should also be careful to brush our tongues. I was stunned when I got pregnant at 18. I thought I had to want to become pregnant in order to be so.
Between the church and school, I felt manipulated, demeaned, and endangered. Many of those who matured in the 60s rose up in mighty defiance of the bullying traditions of ignorance. In answering Joan’s challenge, I am surprised at my resurgence of anger when I think back.
Perhaps unconsciously, I placed barrier protection during sex in the basket which also included the bogus virtues of chastity, heterosexuality, sitting primly with your legs crossed, wearing a girdle, avoiding nudity, and virginity upon marriage. These virtues are so often ignored that they can only be seen as vacuous wishes. My failure to protect myself was a visceral, instinctive, and senseless act of defiance.
I take responsibility for my own actions, but it would have been helpful if the doctors (including gynecologists) had asked me if I was sexually active during that time. One general practitioner did ask me, and when I told him I had had sex with four men within the last two years he sidestepped the issue, saying, “I think you should talk to your gynecologist about that.”
I sympathize with the doctors. Discussions of sex with patients are probably minefields of religion, politics, family tradition, and personal history. But the medical profession has obviously given up the fight. How often do you see an ad for condoms displayed in your doctor’s office alongside the latest drug for depression or high blood pressure?
I felt embattled during my three years of promiscuity. Not one of the men I was involved with ever mentioned using a condom. If any of them had one in their pocket, they didn’t mention it. Joan might be better equipped to say whether men are just as likely as women to insist on condom use. In my experience, this has not been the case.
The problem of unprotected sex is far more pervasive than that of a single American raised before the Enlightenment. Our failure to identify and rectify the sociological, psychological, historical, and political reasons why people do not use condoms or other barriers has guaranteed that AIDS and other STDs continue worldwide. Saying the answer is education is simplistic. Why we don’t use them is baffling. The reason begins in the outside world of church, school, family, and government policy and all of these play themselves out in the bedroom.
Thank you, Ann, for your eloquent explanation. I can’t help hoisting my 4’10” self up onto my soapbox again to remind my readers: Have all the fun you want, but please have it safely!