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If you Want to be my Lover.......First be my Friend
Dating and it's dilemma's
I wrote not long ago about my adventures in Dating in my middle years. I wrote then about how my new experiences in dating had become as much informative lessons on the person I am as they are in navigating the dating waters later in life.
Now that I've experienced dating with a couple of different men over the last few months, I have come to the inevitable juncture of sex.........will we or won't we.
This is not a discourse in morality, nor do I wish to bring anybody over to my way of thinking. I merely want to explore what has me scratching my head in wonder as I move forward in the world of dating as a mature adult.
What I've learned is that, regardless of the age of the principals involved in dating, the issues aren't that much different. I will discuss my experiences with the dating/sex continuum and the valuable lessons that I've learned as a result.
So, you want to take it to the next Level?
There comes a time in every relationship between members who are physically attracted to one another that the questions of intimacy comes up. It is inevitable and some would say, the whole point in dating in the first place!
I tend to disagree that the only reason for dating is to ultimately create a sexual relationship, but more on that later.
In my most recent foray into dating the whole question of moving to the next level physically has become the end all, be all of the "relationship". I have been out of the dating "loop" for many years and so was a bit unprepared for this whole sexual tug of war. For starters, it felt to me like it was coming out of left field having only had one or two dates before the overtures really began in earnest. Yes, one could be flattered to know that the person they are seeing socially finds them attractive and wishes to move closer to them. But, what if the person you are seeing doesn't really even know you? What if, after your two or three times spent together, you don't know much about them, and they haven't bothered to ask much about you?
I am going through this very experience, and it's taken me a bit of time and some pondering to get to the place of understanding why I'm so put off by this man and his sexual interest in me.
At first, I just accepted that it was natural that he would feel attracted to me and thus make his intentions known. However, early on I talked to him about how I feel about taking things "to the next level" and he expressed an understanding if not agreement in my wishes to take things slowly. Apparently, he was capable of saying the word "patience" but not in actually being patient.
I did my best to politely redirect his overtures to become physical with me by honest dialogue about needing time to get to know each other and to like each other more, before I could move forward.
What I've come to realize with this man, is that he will never be able to wait for me; he will continue to harangue and push to get his way and that is going to drive a wedge between us. I have come to feel like a piece of meat; he has ordered me, put me on his plate and decided just how scrumptious I'm going to be. Now he is only holding back from "taking me" because I'm holding on to his fork and knife!
It's not the same to show restraint out of respect for the other persons wishes, versus showing restraint only because it is the only way you can spend time with the person!
I am simply weary of feeling like I am spending the entire time with my friend telling him no, and moving his hands off of my body! It is exhausting and demoralizing! I spend a lot of time with my toddler grandchild, and it is expected to have to repeat my wishes over and over to get compliance because she is a growing toddler. It is not, however, expected to have to repeat my wishes repeatedly to a grown man who is old enough to know better!
I have done my best to patiently ask for time and finally have decided to just let it go and move on. I find it a bit sad that my "friend" was so interested in bedding me that now he isn't ever going to see me at all! If he had only taken a minute to get to know me, to sit on his hands if necessary, we might continue to date and we might have moved on to the next level. Now, he has pushed me to not see him at all.
But, I also understand that he didn't find any value in knowing me as a person, a fully formed woman, but only as a sexual partner. I suppose that I'm pleased to have recognized this limitation early on and to not have wasted any more time; his or mine!
Why Can't we be Friends?
I have come to believe that friendship is worth so much more than sex! I am not going to say that sex is unimportant, because in fact I believe that it is important. But, if I were given the choice of having friends that weren't lovers or lovers that weren't friends, I'd have to choose the friends that weren't lovers. I simply have come to realize over the years that a friendship is worth so much more in the long run.
Ultimately a friend who becomes a lover is one of life's most cherished gifts! I've been blessed on more than once occasion to have such a person in my life. What is better than a person who loves you as a friend and appreciates and knows you; but who also is your intimate lover? It's the best of all worlds to have a loving, caring friendship with your lover, and a sexually satisfying relationship with your friend.
I had a man in my life several years ago who began as a lover and ultimately became a friend "with benefits". It was the friendship that lasted, long after the physical relationship ceased. And, the friendship was the most valuable part of this relationship I came to realize. Again, I am not going to do any moral equivocation or make any judgments about the choices one makes in their intimate lives.
But, I've come to understand that for me I like to feel that I'm valued and appreciated as a human being first, and a lover second. It is a blessing when we are able to have a close friendship and sexual intimacy with the same person. And, I've decided for me, it is the only way I can have a full relationship with another person.
And, friendship is not an "add water and stir" type of proposition. In this hurry up, microwave, rushed lifestyle it is hard for people to be patient. But a real friendship is worth the time it takes to grow. I can't subscribe to the notion of becoming lovers with a stranger. Not because it's wrong, or bad, but because it won't serve me in the long run. I have come to realize that I won't be satisfied with a quick romp when what I really desire is something meaningful and long lasting.
To Know me is to Love me
I may have decided to no longer date my man friend who can't keep his hands off of me, but I have not given up on dating altogether. I have faith that there are still people out there in the dating world who are open to taking time to get to know me as a person.
I've come to learn at this time in my life that I really want to take my time and get to know the person who I ultimately choose to have a physical relationship with. For me that means that dates are spent with at least some of the time talking to each other and listening! Actually asking questions about the person and their life experience and sharing something about who you are in return. It's the whole "getting to know you" experience that needs to happen before you move forward. I have had some memorable dates where the person and I spent hours and hours just talking about who we are and what we were about and not wanting to stop. Some of my fondest memories of men I've come to love over the years are those ground breaking "dates" early in the relationship that we spent really getting to know the other person.
To skip this step and push to move into a physical relationship just won't work for me. I knew this intuitively and now with this most recent dating experience I've been reminded that hasn't changed. In fact, I've become insulted at the overtures of this recent man and his insistence that he is bereft and "deflated" at us not taking our relationship to the next level. At first, I felt a bit apologetic, but now I'm defensive and angry at being seen as just a sexual object. Clearly, for this person, the prospect of getting to know me is completely unnecessary as he has decided unilaterally that we would be "good together" in bed. Funny, that if only he had been patient and actually spent some time with me, getting to know me, we might have moved into the realm of sex that he is so insistent on.
On the other hand, it is my realization that he doesn't value ME, but only getting "with me" and now that I'm clear on that, it's very easy for me to move forward and leave him behind.
My Goal for the Future
Now that I've been through this dating experience and come to realize that it won't work, I've also got new information to carry forward with me.
When I begin dating the next person, I am going to make a point of establishing friendship in the beginning. I believe that friendship is a solid foundation for any other relationship including those forged during dating. While I too wish to find a person that I am happy to move into the next level with and have a sexual relationship, I am not in a hurry! And, hopefully the men I choose to date in the future will be patient and recognize that anything worth having is worth waiting for.
I am excited at the prospect of finding people who stimulate my mind and who are good at sharing themselves mentally and spiritually not only physically. How wonderful to know that in the near future I might just have one of those exciting nights or early dates where the two of us can't stop talking and never run out of things to say to each other!
I plan to direct my future dating experiences with a dedication to being a complete person and asking the same of my fellow dater. I think that dating can be a wonderful experience and doesn't have to be frustrating and maddening as it's been of late for me.
With that hope in mind I plan on putting my best food forward and finding people who I can enjoy becoming friends with and just maybe, one day being a lover too.