How best to meet girls for casual relationships?

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Post by BobTheNinja on Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:22 pm

Dan_Brodribb wrote:And what a couple guys here are describing about what they want IS a common story. It's a fantasy we see played out in a lot of books and movies aimed at us...the shy but inexperienced guy whose goodness is recognized by some woman who decides its up to her to teach him the ways of the world, not for her, but for when he meets the Right Woman down the road.

It's okay to have that fantasy.

What I think happens though, is a lot of guys don't recognize it as a fantasy. We mistake it for something we have a realistic chance of getting. I'm sure it happens now and then, but there's just too many of us that have that fantasy for it to come true for every single one of us.

Furthermore, we mistake it for something we need. It's almost laughable. Like some inexperienced guys have problem A and some have problem X and some have problems E,F, and G...and somehow every one of us guys with all those different problems have concluded the Solution to Our Specific, Special, Magic, Unique problem is a kind-hearted woman, generous with her body and with willing hands and a knowing mouth to take us by the hand and walk us across the threshold into manhood  and then somethingsomethingsomething we're a new man. Our problems are solved or no longer matter. Vaginas Is Magic.
Jebus Crisco on a pogo stick Dan, how did you bring up one of my most common fantasies so easily??

Are you reading my mind? Are you some kind of wizard? Suspect
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Post by BobTheNinja on Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:29 pm

eselle28 wrote:
BobTheNinja wrote:
I get what you mean. And if the strip club came with the opportunity for dancer and customer to actually play with eachother, I'd definitely reciprocate. It wouldn't be any fun if my partner wasn't getting any enjoyment from the experience. I'm actually a big fan of foreplay, and I think it can sometimes be even hotter than the actual sex.

Just to nitpick here a little bit, a strip club where dancers and customers could play with each other would still be very one way and very transactional. The customer is still choosing the sex worker he wants, and the woman is still motivated by money rather than attraction or pleasure. I don't find strip clubs troubling, but I think it is good to remember they don't do much to mirror what happens in non-transactional relationships.
You're right, and that thought had occurred to me before posting, but for some reason I chose to run with it anyway. I'll need to work on that.

But in any sexual situation, whether transactional or by mutual desire, I'd want to make sure that my partner was having fun too.

BobTheNinja wrote:
With the first example, that lady would rub me the wrong way in that she's making some BIG assumptions about her potential partner's own life/career goals and their long-term compatibility. It seems very preemptive given that she doesn't know that much about him, and could only get a more complete picture over time. Her position also gives an impression of inflexibility, like that's the way it HAS to happen, otherwise no deal.

BobTheNinja wrote:
So it sounds like a lot of the problem is that because I'm trying to define the specifics of a relationship that I think would be ideal for me, without leaving much room for compromise, it also gives an impression of self-centered inflexibility. I can see how that could be off-putting.

So...I guess it's better to seek general relationship principles (sexually active and non-monogamous with lower-intensity emotional attachment) instead of trying to neatly define an exact relationship 'blueprint'?

I think that would be wise! It does a lot more to communicate that you're somewhat flexible and willing to incorporate someone else's needs into your relationship so long as they're within your limits. As an additional benefit, that set of principles adds a whole bunch of women who might potentially be compatible but who for whatever reason wouldn't be matches if you were looking only for a good friend who you had sex with but who wouldn't get romantically attached.

PintsizeBro wrote:
BobTheNinja wrote:So it sounds like a lot of the problem is that because I'm trying to define the specifics of a relationship that I think would be ideal for me, without leaving much room for compromise, it also gives an impression of self-centered inflexibility. I can see how that could be off-putting.

So...I guess it's better to seek general relationship principles (sexually active and non-monogamous with lower-intensity emotional attachment) instead of trying to neatly define an exact relationship 'blueprint'?
Exactly. By demonstrating that you realize that the women you hope to date are also people with their own desires about what kind of a relationship they want, you're showing that you have more to offer as a partner, whether that's something short-term and casual or long-term and serious or something in between.
That's good to know. I appreciate you guys helping me tease out some delicious, cheesy bits of wisdom from this discussion. Smile
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Post by The Wisp on Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:28 pm

Dan_Brodribb wrote:
And what a couple guys here are describing about what they want IS a common story. It's a fantasy we see played out in a lot of books and movies aimed at us...the shy but inexperienced guy whose goodness is recognized by some woman who decides its up to her to teach him the ways of the world, not for her, but for when he meets the Right Woman down the road.

...Like some inexperienced guys have problem A and some have problem X and some have problems E,F, and G...and somehow every one of us guys with all those different problems have concluded the Solution to Our Specific, Special, Magic, Unique problem is a kind-hearted woman, generous with her body and with willing hands and a knowing mouth to take us by the hand and walk us across the threshold into manhood  and then somethingsomethingsomething we're a new man. Our problems are solved or no longer matter. Vaginas Is Magic.

I don't know if you're referring to me or not, and I do get that some young inexperienced guys do have these beliefs, but personally I'm not really looking for this. I'm not looking for a sexual mentor, nor a "magic vagina". I do want a partner who will be understanding about my inexperience and not a jerk about it and possibly willing to communicate a little more than normal the first few times. But, I'm not looking for some mythical woman to mentor me so I can be sexually experienced and more of a "man" for a future committed partner. I do also think that having sex on a regular basis will make me happier in some ways and make my life better, but I also don't believe it will magically solve my emotional problems, or somehow be a rite of passage into adulthood, provide me social status and confidence, make me a better person, or anything like that.

Now, maybe that is just a communication issue on my part that I came off that way.

Drastically simplified, it comes down to this: In my experience, women need more than just attractiveness before they act sexually with a person. They also want to be desired for more than their fuckability.Whereas from many men's point of view, fuckability IS what makes a person desirable.

I guess I'm not sure what you mean, because I don't know what you mean by "fuckability". Do you mean, as enail suggests, "any woman with a wet hole"? Or do you mean "am I physically attracted to you"? Or do you mean thinking about attractiveness in terms of "do I want to have sex with you"?  Depending on what you mean by "fuckability" that changes how I should interpret this.

I probably do think of attractiveness a lot in terms of whether I want to have sex with somebody, but I wouldn't want to have sex with somebody merely because they possess a soft wet hole for me to put my dick in. Nor, for that matter, merely because they're physically attractive (though that is important). Even for a super casual fuckbuddy relationship, I couldn't find a woman "fuckable" if she was asshole (even if she wasn't an asshole to me), and she'd have to be generally attractive and desirable in terms of her body, demeanor, intangibles, and so on. Obviously, if it was a less casual relationship like a fwb, I would want to like her personality at least somewhat as well.

ETA:

eselle28 wrote:That makes sense! One thing you might want to try is imagining a woman who is on board with both of your "cheesey" preferences but who's otherwise quite different, and then thinking if and how you might be willing to change your ideal FWB relationship to accommodate her, keeping in mind that, "Nope! That wouldn't work for me!" is also a valid answer. These are a few examples of women who might meet your basic two requirements, but who don't tick all the boxes on your ideal friend with benefits list.

Oooo, that's a good list. That really helps clarify for me what is meant by compromise in this case. Thanks for writing it up!

Obviously the real life details would matter a lot if I actually met women like this in real life, but based just on these descriptions, I'd say: yes, no, yes, maybe, depends on the specifics, lean no, yes.


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Post by Guest on Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:41 pm

PintsizeBro wrote:It's not so much that it implies that others need to change, I think it implies that the speaker/poster doesn't, as Nearly suggests above. It carries the rationale of, "I'm already such a catch, if only they could just see that, they would like me! How do I show them that they were wrong for not being interested in the first place?"

You know, Nice Guy Syndrome.

Even if that's not where you're coming from, and what you actually mean is how do you make yourself more likeable or attractive, that's how it sounds. So we circle back to the cheese/curdled milk analogy, because even if you mean something perfectly innocuous, it doesn't sound appealing.
Okay, that makes sense. I'm assuming this entire conversation is based purely on impressions of the question? Because I'd like to think their response to the answer counts for more than the phrasing of a question. But, yeah, the resistance to change angle is a worry. I thought everyone here was perceiving it through a more malicious lens, hence the implication of manipulation.

I'll have to think about phrasing a lot more now - like Mikey, I kind of worry about posting here in general. I don't really want people I know in person to know about it, but if I'm coming across as some kind of shithead then I need to work on that.

ElizaJane wrote:I think one of the best pieces of advice I can offer (this is a tricky question) is that if you're inexperienced, focus on what you want to get out of a relationship and not how the other person would be or what they would do in the relationship.
This strikes me as not only something a lot of people don't do, but actually find difficult. If focusing on how the other person would be or what they would do in a relationship is an issue, then it's an common one.

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Post by BobTheNinja on Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:50 pm

You know what, I'm sick of all the hate and prejudice against curdled dairy product! You just don't understand how awesome it truly is, and foolishly spurn its fermented glory! Your so-called "cheese" cannot possibly compare! Philistines, all of you! :grrr:
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Post by waxingjaney on Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:07 pm

Yeeeeeeeeeah, that didn't work.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:17 pm

waxingjaney wrote:Yeeeeeeeeeah, that didn't work.
...What? Not even a titter? Sad


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Post by Enail on Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:26 pm

I laughed!

I haven't been assisting much in the critiquing, so I apologize if I'm making false assumptions about what others think, but I do think, and hope you all can see, that this issue isn't coming up because you're coming across as horrible people who see women as sex toys or anything like that - I think it's being brought up largely because it isclear from your posts on this forum that you have every intention of serving cheese, but sometimes the framing is a little off. I think this would be a rather different kind of conversation if there was significant doubt that you(s) might be planning on serving some form of bacteria-laden dairy that was not cheese (or yoghurt, or kefir...).


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Post by The Wisp on Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:28 pm

MapWater wrote:I'll have to think about phrasing a lot more now - like Mikey, I kind of worry about posting here in general.

I will say to you and Mikey that, in my experience, not overthinking my posts and being okay with sometimes (unintentionally) provoking negative responses when I frankly stated my thoughts and feelings has really helped me grow as a person. Sometimes it has been painful, and sometimes I've felt like a jackass, but the people here won't hold it against you if you're willing to learn.

That isn't to say that I never censor myself or avoid certain topics, but I generally only do that in certain specific cases when I think there would be no productive discussion.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:00 am

Enail wrote:I laughed!

I haven't been assisting much in the critiquing, so I apologize if I'm making false assumptions about what others think, but I do think, and hope you all can see, that this issue isn't coming up because you're coming across as horrible people who see women as sex toys or anything like that - I think it's being brought up largely because it isclear from your posts on this forum that you have every intention of serving cheese, but sometimes the framing is a little off. I think this would be a rather different kind of conversation if there was significant doubt that you(s) might be planning on serving some form of bacteria-laden dairy that was not cheese (or yoghurt, or kefir...).
I assure you, the bacteria-laden product I've been ranching in my fridge for the past couple months is perfectly edible! /blatantlies Razz

Nah, I get where you're coming from, and I appreciate the feedback I've gotten. There is another question I have though. If I want to aim for certain general characteristics in a relationship, how would that be discussed after meeting and conversing with a potential partner? I mean, I don't imagine they'd just outright say it like "We're both interested in eachother, so here's what I'm mainly looking for in a relationship, A, B, and C. Are you okay with at least two out of three among those?". Admittedly, that would be great for clear, unambiguous communication, but unfortunately that kind of frankness doesn't seem very attractive in an actual conversation.

I'm especially concerned about the issue of non-monogamy. That's something I would desire in a relationship, but the thing is that monogamy seems to be the most common expectation when two people start dating. Given this, I imagine that asking about the possibility of non-monogamy would offend some women and kill the relationship before it really gets off the ground, or weird some of them out and make things really awkward. That may just be the price to pay for looking for a partner who's compatible on that point, but still.
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Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:53 am

There's a part of my that is very happy with the advice to present oneself in a more cheesy fashion.

(Got a lot out of both metaphor and discussion, by the way.)
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Post by eselle28 on Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:04 pm

The Wisp wrote:
Oooo, that's a good list. That really helps clarify for me what is meant by compromise in this case. Thanks for writing it up!

Obviously the real life details would matter a lot if I actually met women like this in real life, but based just on these descriptions, I'd say: yes, no, yes, maybe, depends on the specifics, lean no, yes.

Glad it helped! I generally think that it's best to try to think of people who check off the most important boxes but not necessarily all the minor ones when you're thinking about compromise. It sounds like you're willing to be pretty flexible in terms of the way you interact with your casual sex partner, which is a good thing!

I am going to ask a little bit about something. I notice that you aren't very interested in either of the women who are actively dating other men. I'm guessing Brittany just doesn't sound like someone who'd be emotionally attractive to you? You might want to think about why Felicia is a turn off, though, and whether a less extreme version of that might be acceptable. Felicia is actually a real person (obviously with a different name), but I included that example because it's a more blatant illustration of some of the conflicts I've seen in casual sexual relationships that also include a friendship component. Specifically:

- she's actively dating other men
- she isn't willing to treat a friend with benefits as a primary partner
- there's a risk she will end the friends with benefits relationship to pursue another relationship

How would you feel about...let's call her Hannah, and say she's somewhere between Brittany and Felicia? She's not a party girl, and she's not purposefully searching for a life partner. However, she has a relatively full life that includes both more low key social obligations with her friends and a few dates a month with guys she meets online. She can see you three weekend days a month, but there will be roughly one weekend a month when she has a date on Friday, tabletop gaming with her friends on Saturday, and a family function on Sunday and you won't see her at all. She isn't specifically looking for a serious boyfriend, but if she really hits it off with one of the guys she meets online and he wants to be exclusive, she will at least consider the proposition.

That's not to say you have to open to dating a Hannah, but if you're not, I think you probably need to rather narrowly limit your search to women who have barriers to dating and being in serious relationships like Alexis and Gabrielle. The pool of women open to ongoing casual relationships but who are at low risk for trying to use that as a route to a committed, monogamous relationship basically consists of women who are really busy and women who are dating other guys, which always comes with both scheduling concerns and the risk that another relationship will end up crowding yours out (that can even happen if the woman actively identifies as non-monogamous).
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Post by eselle28 on Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:47 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:
I'm especially concerned about the issue of non-monogamy. That's something I would desire in a relationship, but the thing is that monogamy seems to be the most common expectation when two people start dating. Given this, I imagine that asking about the possibility of non-monogamy would offend some women and kill the relationship before it really gets off the ground, or weird some of them out and make things really awkward. That may just be the price to pay for looking for a partner who's compatible on that point, but still.

I'd say the expectation is actually that people will date others for the first month or few months of dating, and then will have a conversation about exclusivity, which will usually be framed in terms of whether the people want the relationship to become monogamous or to end rather than a discussion about monogamy or non-monogamy.

Since you're not looking for commitment or deep emotional attachment, either, I think the best route for you would be to say, "I'm not looking for anything serious," on the first date or two. That puts your date on notice that you're not all that interested in the scenario above while using language that's familiar to most people. If you've seen a woman several times and are starting to consider her a regular part of your life, then I think you might want to initiate a second conversation where you're more explicit about the fact that you're seeking neither monogamy nor commitment. Both conversations will lead to some women responding that they're not interested in that arrangement. It's the price to pay for looking for a partner who's compatible on that point, and there isn't much presentation-wise you can do to change people's minds on these big ticket issues.
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Post by The Wisp on Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:32 pm

eselle28 wrote:
I am going to ask a little bit about something. I notice that you aren't very interested in either of the women who are actively dating other men. I'm guessing Brittany just doesn't sound like someone who'd be emotionally attractive to you? You might want to think about why Felicia is a turn off, though, and whether a less extreme version of that might be acceptable.

Yeah, I had to think about Brittany for a bit, but I decided that our personality types just wouldn't match at all and thus I couldn't be attracted to her personality.

eselle28 wrote:How would you feel about...let's call her Hannah, and say she's somewhere between Brittany and Felicia? She's not a party girl, and she's not purposefully searching for a life partner. However, she has a relatively full life that includes both more low key social obligations with her friends and a few dates a month with guys she meets online. She can see you three weekend days a month, but there will be roughly one weekend a month when she has a date on Friday, tabletop gaming with her friends on Saturday, and a family function on Sunday and you won't see her at all. She isn't specifically looking for a serious boyfriend, but if she really hits it off with one of the guys she meets online and he wants to be exclusive, she will at least consider the proposition.

I would be more open to a Hannah than a Felicia, yeah. I'd probably ideally like to see Hannah more than 3 times a month, but I think I would be okay with that set-up. I'm still not a firm yes on that, but I'd go from a 'no' with Felicia to a 'maybe' with Hannah. If I could see her, say, 5-6 times a month, then that 'maybe' would turn into 'lean yes'. If I had another causal partner, as well, that could also tilt the 'maybe' to a 'lean yes'.

My big issues with Felicia is that being basically a sexual stopgap until she can find a guy of the right religion who will enter a committed monogamous relationship with her, and whom she will be very actively looking for, feels kinda objectifying if I'm being honest. It's one thing to be casually dating and seeing what happens, or to be open to the idea of finding a committed monogamous partner in the future but not super actively searching for one, but it's another for her to be actively and seriously looking for what she really wants while using me in the mean time, and making it clear that our relationship is not something she values that much but that she'll take given the circumstances. It's like, I'm the bag of Lays she's munching on because she's really hungry while she's driving around town looking for a fancy restaurant where she wants to eat dinner.

I don't necessarily think if another guy wanted to be in such an arrangement with her it would be unethical. I'd say more power to him. But that's how I would feel in such a situation and why I said no.

As a side note, I think the objectified feeling I have thinking of with a relationship with Felicia is a similar feeling I get when thinking about being a secondary to an established poly couple (I've read a lot, and concluded that finding healthy secondary relationships as a single person is very hard int he poly community; whereas coupled people dating one another avoids some of these problems). One of the many reasons I've deliberately not chosen to foray into the poly community for the time being.

eselle28 wrote:Felicia is actually a real person (obviously with a different name), but I included that example because it's a more blatant illustration of some of the conflicts I've seen in casual sexual relationships that also include a friendship component. Specifically:

- she's actively dating other men
- she isn't willing to treat a friend with benefits as a primary partner
- there's a risk she will end the friends with benefits relationship to pursue another relationship

If I'm being honest, I'm most comfortable with the 3rd point, only comfortable with the 1st if the dating is more casual (more Hannah and less Felicia), and have mixed feelings about the 2nd point because it's not what I'd want in an ideal world, but I could handle it as long as I felt valued an unobjectified.

That's not to say you have to open to dating a Hannah, but if you're not, I think you probably need to rather narrowly limit your search to women who have barriers to dating and being in serious relationships like Alexis and Gabrielle. The pool of women open to ongoing casual relationships but who are at low risk for trying to use that as a route to a committed, monogamous relationship basically consists of women who are really busy and women who are dating other guys, which always comes with both scheduling concerns and the risk that another relationship will end up crowding yours out (that can even happen if the woman actively identifies as non-monogamous).

I think you're right that those are mostly the kind of women looking for ongoing casual relationships. I do think I'd be more comfortable with the busy kind than the actively dating kind.

In talking this out with you, I am finding it interesting that while I'd be happy to make some of these compromises, I do have an ideal relationship-type in my head that I've held for quite some time. In this conversation, though, I'm realizing the problems with this fantasy: I'm not sure I could handle the realities of that relationship, I'm not sure my life circumstances permit it, I'm not sure there really is demand for such a relationship among women, and there are aspects of it that are in tension with on another which makes it seem implausible. I guess it's okay to have a fantasy that's unrealistic and/or that I'm not ready for as long as I don't let that affect my real relationships.
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Post by Caffeinated on Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:51 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:I'm especially concerned about the issue of non-monogamy. That's something I would desire in a relationship, but the thing is that monogamy seems to be the most common expectation when two people start dating. Given this, I imagine that asking about the possibility of non-monogamy would offend some women and kill the relationship before it really gets off the ground, or weird some of them out and make things really awkward. That may just be the price to pay for looking for a partner who's compatible on that point, but still.

I have some thoughts on this. First, an expectation is not an agreement. If neither person says they're monogamously in this relationship, then it's not a monogamous relationship. (This may differ in certain highly specific subcultures, like closed religious groups where non-monogamy (or even any sexual contact outside religious marriage) might be grounds for expulsion from the group. But I doubt anyone here looking for non-monogamy would be looking in one of those subcultures.)

Next, I don't even know that I'd agree that monogamy is the most common expectation when people start dating. It might be that way in fiction, where the creators of that fiction are actively signalling to the audience that a particular couple belongs together. But in real life, I don't know that it's the case.

Next, and this is important, if you're going to be non-monogamous, you need to be impeccable with your word. Men wanting to be non-monogamous sometimes gets a bad rep because some of those men will deliberately lie to and mislead the women they're seeing about whether or not they're exclusive. Don't be that guy. Don't say or do things that promise monogamy if you don't mean them. Don't be a liar. Don't pull a bait and switch. You don't have to bring it up, necessarily, but if asked, don't lie or waffle or hedge.

That also means no unprotected sex. Ethical non-monogamous people use condoms with every partner, every time.*

If someone offers/allows you to have unprotected sex with them, and you have not had a conversation about monogamy, it is your ethical responsibility to either have that conversation right then and there, or insist on using protection, or both. Just saying "sure" and tossing the condom in the trash and going bareback is not an acceptable option.


*Yes, I've heard of the poly concept of being fluid-bonded to one partner and using protection with others, but long term committed poly relationships are outside the bounds of this discussion of casual dating as far I'm concerned.
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Post by eselle28 on Fri Jun 12, 2015 3:22 pm

The Wisp wrote:
I would be more open to a Hannah than a Felicia, yeah. I'd probably ideally like to see Hannah more than 3 times a month, but I think I would be okay with that set-up. I'm still not a firm yes on that, but I'd go from a 'no' with Felicia to a 'maybe' with Hannah. If I could see her, say, 5-6 times a month, then that 'maybe' would turn into 'lean yes'. If I had another causal partner, as well, that could also tilt the 'maybe' to a 'lean yes'.

eselle28 wrote:Felicia is actually a real person (obviously with a different name), but I included that example because it's a more blatant illustration of some of the conflicts I've seen in casual sexual relationships that also include a friendship component. Specifically:

- she's actively dating other men
- she isn't willing to treat a friend with benefits as a primary partner
- there's a risk she will end the friends with benefits relationship to pursue another relationship

If I'm being honest, I'm most comfortable with the 3rd point, only comfortable with the 1st if the dating is more casual (more Hannah and less Felicia), and have mixed feelings about the 2nd point because it's not what I'd want in an ideal world, but I could handle it as long as I felt valued an unobjectified.

Okay, so I'm going to be a little rough in this paragraph, but I'll ease up in the subsequent ones. From the woman's point of view and in your most preferred version of this relationship, you wouldn't be her friend with benefits. You would be her de facto monogamous* boyfriend who doesn't take her on dates and who reserves the theoretical right to have sex with other women if the opportunity arises. This is a greater time commitment and degree of sexual exclusivity than most women who are truly on board with your preference for non-monogamy and non-commitment would agree to, and I think the woman most likely to be interested in this kind of relationship would be one who is either sadly hoping for or actively trying to manipulate you into a monogamous romantic relationship.

I think that when you picture a woman who's up for a true friends with benefits relationship, the best person to associate with that is Hannah. Most women I know who are looking for that are like her. Alexis is explicitly seeking casual dating with a set endpoint (which it sounds like you might consider), and while there are some Gabrielles in the pool of women seeking friends with benefits, a decent portion of those women would prefer to have a fuckbuddy. At a minimum, a Gabrielle probably isn't going to be able to see you twice a week.

In considering your boundaries for casual relationships, I think you might want to particularly focus on thinking about ways of being a secondary partner that would allow you to feel valued rather than objectified and that might be rewarding to you. I don't necessarily mean being a secondary partner to someone who has a primary one - that doesn't seem like it would be a good choice for you right now. What I'm thinking more of is a woman who isn't isn't involved with any partners more intensely than she's involved with you (though she may have some equal or less intense relationships), but who has a couple priorities in life that are ranked above your relationship and several others that are roughly equally valued, making it unlikely she can devote big chunks of her time to you.

*Very few people have the time and the flexibility to spend two days a week (presumably weekend days?) with one person while also seeking out and going on first dates with others. An introvert, which it sounds like you're seeking, isn't going to have the emotional energy for that either. I can understand the desire to have most of a woman's sexual attention if you don't have any other partners and aren't confident in your ability to attract them, but realistically speaking, many women interested in non-monogamy will want it to be more than a theoretical thing.


In talking this out with you, I am finding it interesting that while I'd be happy to make some of these compromises, I do have an ideal relationship-type in my head that I've held for quite some time. In this conversation, though, I'm realizing the problems with this fantasy: I'm not sure I could handle the realities of that relationship, I'm not sure my life circumstances permit it, I'm not sure there really is demand for such a relationship among women, and there are aspects of it that are in tension with on another which makes it seem implausible. I guess it's okay to have a fantasy that's unrealistic and/or that I'm not ready for as long as I don't let that affect my real relationships.

I'm glad you're thinking about things critically. I genuinely don't want to discourage you from seeking partners, at least when you feel comfortable doing that, and I think there's a kind of relationship that's right for you and that you'll be a pretty awesome partner in when you are ready to search. Fantasies are fun, and reconciling them with reality is hard, but it is work that is helpful and worth doing. It seems like you're willing to be really thoughtful about this, and I think it's admirable that you're willing and able to do so.
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Post by The Wisp on Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:20 pm

eselle28 wrote:Okay, so I'm going to be a little rough in this paragraph, but I'll ease up in the subsequent ones. From the woman's point of view and in your most preferred version of this relationship, you wouldn't be her friend with benefits. You would be her de facto monogamous* boyfriend who doesn't take her on dates and who reserves the theoretical right to have sex with other women if the opportunity arises. This is a greater time commitment and degree of sexual exclusivity than most women who are truly on board with your preference for non-monogamy and non-commitment would agree to, and I think the woman most likely to be interested in this kind of relationship would be one who is either sadly hoping for or actively trying to manipulate you into a monogamous romantic relationship.

*Very few people have the time and the flexibility to spend two days a week (presumably weekend days?) with one person while also seeking out and going on first dates with others. An introvert, which it sounds like you're seeking, isn't going to have the emotional energy for that either. I can understand the desire to have most of a woman's sexual attention if you don't have any other partners and aren't confident in your ability to attract them, but realistically speaking, many women interested in non-monogamy will want it to be more than a theoretical thing.

The bold is spot on and probably is one of the insecurities I'll have to deal with.

But yeah, that makes sense. And thinking about it, maybe twice a week is more of a commitment than it initially seemed. I guess I am thinking about this from the undergraduate context where it might be a little feasible, but even then Still, I wouldn't necessarily be opposed if it was on offer.

It does seem like a decent number of men desire that sort of relationship, but almost no women do.

I think that when you picture a woman who's up for a true friends with benefits relationship, the best person to associate with that is Hannah. Most women I know who are looking for that are like her. Alexis is explicitly seeking casual dating with a set endpoint (which it sounds like you might consider), and while there are some Gabrielles in the pool of women seeking friends with benefits, a decent portion of those women would prefer to have a fuckbuddy. At a minimum, a Gabrielle probably isn't going to be able to see you twice a week.

That makes said. Though I will note, I'm fine with a fuckbuddy situation too! Even though it may not be my first preference.

In considering your boundaries for casual relationships, I think you might want to particularly focus on thinking about ways of being a secondary partner that would allow you to feel valued rather than objectified and that might be rewarding to you. I don't necessarily mean being a secondary partner to someone who has a primary one - that doesn't seem like it would be a good choice for you right now. What I'm thinking more of is a woman who isn't isn't involved with any partners more intensely than she's involved with you (though she may have some equal or less intense relationships), but who has a couple priorities in life that are ranked above your relationship and several others that are roughly equally valued, making it unlikely she can devote big chunks of her time to you.


I will have to think about that. I will say deliberately making time for me on a regular basis would be important. But I'll have to think more on this.

I'm glad you're thinking about things critically. I genuinely don't want to discourage you from seeking partners, at least when you feel comfortable doing that, and I think there's a kind of relationship that's right for you and that you'll be a pretty awesome partner in when you are ready to search. Fantasies are fun, and reconciling them with reality is hard, but it is work that is helpful and worth doing. It seems like you're willing to be really thoughtful about this, and I think it's admirable that you're willing and able to do so.

Thanks!

I do think for some of this I'll just have to experience relationships to get stronger feel for what exactly I want and like. So, I think keeping an open-mind is important, ultimately.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:21 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
BobTheNinja wrote:I'm especially concerned about the issue of non-monogamy. That's something I would desire in a relationship, but the thing is that monogamy seems to be the most common expectation when two people start dating. Given this, I imagine that asking about the possibility of non-monogamy would offend some women and kill the relationship before it really gets off the ground, or weird some of them out and make things really awkward. That may just be the price to pay for looking for a partner who's compatible on that point, but still.

I have some thoughts on this. First, an expectation is not an agreement. If neither person says they're monogamously in this relationship, then it's not a monogamous relationship. (This may differ in certain highly specific subcultures, like closed religious groups where non-monogamy (or even any sexual contact outside religious marriage) might be grounds for expulsion from the group. But I doubt anyone here looking for non-monogamy would be looking in one of those subcultures.)

Next, I don't even know that I'd agree that monogamy is the most common expectation when people start dating. It might be that way in fiction, where the creators of that fiction are actively signalling to the audience that a particular couple belongs together. But in real life, I don't know that it's the case.

Next, and this is important, if you're going to be non-monogamous, you need to be impeccable with your word. Men wanting to be non-monogamous sometimes gets a bad rep because some of those men will deliberately lie to and mislead the women they're seeing about whether or not they're exclusive. Don't be that guy. Don't say or do things that promise monogamy if you don't mean them. Don't be a liar. Don't pull a bait and switch. You don't have to bring it up, necessarily, but if asked, don't lie or waffle or hedge.

That also means no unprotected sex. Ethical non-monogamous people use condoms with every partner, every time.*

If someone offers/allows you to have unprotected sex with them, and you have not had a conversation about monogamy, it is your ethical responsibility to either have that conversation right then and there, or insist on using protection, or both. Just saying "sure" and tossing the condom in the trash and going bareback is not an acceptable option.


*Yes, I've heard of the poly concept of being fluid-bonded to one partner and using protection with others, but long term committed poly relationships are outside the bounds of this discussion of casual dating as far I'm concerned.
Sorry that I didn't reply to this sooner, but thanks for the advice, and I'll be sure to follow the rules on condom use and discussing non-monogamy before unprotected sex. Last thing anyone needs is an accidental STD transmission.

I want to thank everyone for their input and guidance, I think it's really helped me sort out what I'm really looking for and how I should approach it....but now comes the really hard part, changing my actual habits to do more social activities AND approching attractive women. All the great advice in the world won't do me any good if I don't act on it, and breaking out of established habits and overcoming mental reluctance and resistance is very difficult for me. Still, I WANT to change instead of continuing to stew in depressed wishes and what-ifs.
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Post by PintsizeBro on Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:57 am

I think you have a good attitude. It's hard, but it can be done.

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Post by Perlandra on Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:59 pm

TheWhisp, it really sounds to me like you want the woman/women you're involved with to be in a relationship with you, but without any commitment or obligations on your part. You expect them to be exclusive to you (or at least not to be interested in anyone else at a higher level than they are to you), spend a lot of time with you but not go on dates, and have a lot of emotional connection and passion and really valuing you, but without any expectation of commitment or long-term romance. Toward the end of the thread, you seem to be at least considering some flexibility on some of those points, but it really sounds like you'd be setting her/them up for a lot of mixed messages at the minimum and very likely wind up with them wanting more than you're willing or able to give.

I've been involved with a couple of very sexually inexperienced men, and had good experiences, but it was in a relationship, and we took things pretty slowly, and they learned to read my body language/reactions first. You said that what she gets out of the relationship is the same thing that you do: sex. However, it's pretty easy for sex (especially with someone who is inexperienced not just sexually but in reading body language) to accidentally hurt the woman or at least for it to be awkward and unpleasant. You can do some theoretical studying ahead of time, but it can be tough to stay in control in the moment. Wink You might want to focus on doing lower-key stuff together first and learning how her and your own bodies respond to each other.

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Post by The Wisp on Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:55 am

Perlandra wrote:TheWhisp, it really sounds to me like you want the woman/women you're involved with to be in a relationship with you, but without any commitment or obligations on your part.  You expect them to be exclusive to you (or at least not to be interested in anyone else at a higher level than they are to you), spend a lot of time with you but not go on dates, and have a lot of emotional connection and passion and really valuing you, but without any expectation of commitment or long-term romance.  Toward the end of the thread, you seem to be at least considering some flexibility on some of those points, but it really sounds like you'd be setting her/them up for a lot of mixed messages at the minimum and very likely wind up with them wanting more than you're willing or able to give.

Yeah... as I said my ideal is sort of a confused mess of wants that are in tension or even outright contradict one another. I can totally see how if I were to end up in that relationship it would be mired in mixed messages. As I said, to a certain extent I think a lot of this will just have to be clarified by circumstances and practical experience.

Just to clarify, I'm not really against dates in and of themselves, but rather I do fear the potential for mixed messages there, though others suggested that that wouldn't necessarily happen.

As for your suggestion to enter a relationship, well I feel like that (assuming it's a relatively normal college relationship) wouldn't work out well for me for a number of reasons:

- At least in theory, I don't like the idea of monogamy for myself (unless it is a short-term thing--and by short-term I mean <= ~6 months--with a for sure end date). This doesn't necessarily mean full polyamory, but the prospect of only having sex with one person for an indefinite period of time, and potentially the rest of my life, is not appealing to me. Maybe I'll discover I'm not cut out for nonmonogamy, but I have to try it. Very few people in the college age range are down for relatively serious but still nonmonogamous arrangements. Further, I'm wary to try to date in the poly community for various reasons at this point, having done a lot of research into it.

- I don't want to be sucked into certain relationship escalations and milestones. In particular, I'm thinking of moving in together, meeting families, and general life enmeshment (e.g. going to most social events together, integrating into one another's friendship circles, the expectation that major decisions will not be made without consulting one another).

- I don't want any expectation of indefinite long-term commitment. My current plan is to go to graduate school which, if I make it into a school worth going to, will force me to move out of state. I'm not keen on the long distance relationship thing, particularly if we're monogamous. That puts about a 2 year maximum time limit on any relationship I would have, and that's only if it starts in the next few months.

- I don't want to be obligated to be somebody's primary source of emotional and/or practical life support (being a significant source is fine, but being a large majority of it is not), nor do I want to myself start to rely too much on one person (and thus, give them a great deal of power over me and puts me in a very vulnerable position).

- Finally, in general, I don't want all the pressure that would seem to come with a more serious relationship, which is tied into the previous points.

All this points to a more casual arrangement. But, yes, I do want to have my cake and eat it, too. I also want intense emotional connection, intimacy, being a priority in their life (even if not the #1 priority), them having patience and empathy with my sexual inexperience, a sense of being valued, at least being open to spending large blocks of time together occasionally, them not having another partner they value and/or prioritize more than me, them not actively seeking a more committed "upgrade", and so on. I guess my wants are sending mixed signals to me, too!

But, I can see where you're coming from. A more serious partner would probably have more patience, and we could take it slow and I/we could slowly learn about the whole sex thing at a decent pace.

Ultimately, I'm not sure what to do with this but, as I said, see what opportunities circumstances present me and then see what happens, whether that means compromising a little in the short term or realizing I don't want some of the things I thought I did.

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Post by Caffeinated on Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:02 pm

The Wisp wrote:- At least in theory, I don't like the idea of monogamy for myself (unless it is a short-term thing--and by short-term I mean <= ~6 months--with a for sure end date). This doesn't necessarily mean full polyamory, but the prospect of only having sex with one person for an indefinite period of time, and potentially the rest of my life, is not appealing to me. Maybe I'll discover I'm not cut out for nonmonogamy, but I have to try it. Very few people in the college age range are down for relatively serious but still nonmonogamous arrangements. Further, I'm wary to try to date in the poly community for various reasons at this point, having done a lot of research into it.

I don't see why you don't see short term monogamous dating as an option. Ok, you said you do if it's got a for sure end date, but I don't see why that matters. In normal dating, you can date someone for a few months and then break up with them, thus setting your own end date for whenever you want it to be. Are you just worried that once you're dating someone, you'll never be able to actually follow through with a breakup?

The Wisp wrote:- I don't want to be sucked into certain relationship escalations and milestones. In particular, I'm thinking of moving in together, meeting families, and general life enmeshment (e.g. going to most social events together, integrating into one another's friendship circles, the expectation that major decisions will not be made without consulting one another).

This one is even more bizarre to me. From what you've said elsewhere, you're not in a social class or cultural group that has an expectation of young marriage. In fact, you're kind of explicitly in a group that no one would expect you to get into a really serious possibly-forever kind of relationship until after you're done with grad school. Have you had a bunch of your same-age friends suddenly announce engagements recently or something? Because your worries in this area just seem so far-fetched unless there's some kind of special circumstances or something.

If you're dating someone, and she says she wants you to meet her family, you can say no. If she says she wants to move in together, you can say no. If she says she wants you to consult with her before making major decisions, you can say no. You are an adult. Dating someone doesn't mean you no longer get to make your own decisions.

The Wisp wrote:- I don't want any expectation of indefinite long-term commitment. My current plan is to go to graduate school which, if I make it into a school worth going to, will force me to move out of state. I'm not keen on the long distance relationship thing, particularly if we're monogamous. That puts about a 2 year maximum time limit on any relationship I would have, and that's only if it starts in the next few months.

This one actually makes itself pretty simple. Some time early on you mention that you're planning to go to graduate school. That's appropriate conversational fodder for a first date, in fact.

It might go something like this:

Her: [Small talk question that mentions school]
You: I'm a [subject] major and I have two years left of undergrad. After that I want to go to a graduate program for [field of study]. I've heard good things about the programs at [school that is somewhere else] and [other school that is also somewhere else], but I'm still researching which program will be the best fit.

And right there, you've laid out a version of your future plans that is not so hard to read between the lines that you're going to be focused on school for some time and not looking to settle down locally. If the subject of long distance relationships comes up, you can say they've always seemed like a bad idea to you and you don't see yourself doing that.

The Wisp wrote:- I don't want to be obligated to be somebody's primary source of emotional and/or practical life support (being a significant source is fine, but being a large majority of it is not), nor do I want to myself start to rely too much on one person (and thus, give them a great deal of power over me and puts me in a very vulnerable position).

Ok, this one kind of makes you sound like a jerk, especially combined with your statements elsewhere that you wouldn't want her to be getting her emotional needs met elsewhere either.
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Post by Enail on Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:24 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
The Wisp wrote:- I don't want to be obligated to be somebody's primary source of emotional and/or practical life support (being a significant source is fine, but being a large majority of it is not), nor do I want to myself start to rely too much on one person (and thus, give them a great deal of power over me and puts me in a very vulnerable position).

Ok, this one kind of makes you sound like a jerk, especially combined with your statements elsewhere that you wouldn't want her to be getting her emotional needs met elsewhere either.

I disagree - he's prepared to be a significant support, which is the same level of support that he'd want from hypothetical partner, and is fine with her having other partners meeting her emotional needs. His only limit is that he doesn't want someone who has a primary partner or who puts him in low priority. Which may not be easy to find, but I have a hard time seeing this as a jerkish expectation.
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:39 pm

I don't think it's a jerkish expectation, either. It's possible to find someone who doesn't have a primary partner. I think where some of the desires start to veer toward not being as feasible is the desire to be the primary partner, or at least have many aspects of that sort of relationship, without providing much in the way of assurance that you'll be around for the longer term. The other person involved in that is likely going to need time and space to devote to other relationships, whether romantic or not, so that there's not a huge empty hole in their life when the primary partnership ends.

But Wisp seems to understand that some of his desires are conflicting and to be working through both what he wants and what could be asked for someone else, which seems like the opposite of jerkish.
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Post by The Wisp on Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:47 pm

Caffeinated wrote:I don't see why you don't see short term monogamous dating as an option. Ok, you said you do if it's got a for sure end date, but I don't see why that matters. In normal dating, you can date someone for a few months and then break up with them, thus setting your own end date for whenever you want it to be. Are you just worried that once you're dating someone, you'll never be able to actually follow through with a breakup?

Yes. I don't trust myself to do that. My big fear of being in a more serious relationship is that I would, through a combination of having a great deal of chemistry with a hypothetical woman, inertia, scarcity mentality, and gradual change, suddenly wake up at 30 and realize that I married my first girlfriend (and possibly have a house and/or a kid) and in the process made a ton of compromises in my life that make me unhappy--that I've only had sex with one person due to monogamous commitment is one of the bigger ones I fear--and that I wasted away my 20s and that further, now I would be the bad guy if I made my needs known or ended the relationship over them (particularly the nonmonogamous piece). I would be the frog who was slowly boiled one degree at a time, except it would be me signing away my autonomy and my wants and goals one small piece at a time.

Caffeinated wrote:
This one is even more bizarre to me. From what you've said elsewhere, you're not in a social class or cultural group that has an expectation of young marriage. In fact, you're kind of explicitly in a group that no one would expect you to get into a really serious possibly-forever kind of relationship until after you're done with grad school. Have you had a bunch of your same-age friends suddenly announce engagements recently or something? Because your worries in this area just seem so far-fetched unless there's some kind of special circumstances or something.

If you're dating someone, and she says she wants you to meet her family, you can say no. If she says she wants to move in together, you can say no. If she says she wants you to consult with her before making major decisions, you can say no. You are an adult. Dating someone doesn't mean you no longer get to make your own decisions.

Well, that's why I didn't mention engagement and marriage. But, there are a lot of couples who live together in my age or those only a few years older than me, who do bring their BF/GF home with them over the holidays, who do enmesh with one another. Maybe, though, this doesn't happen nearly as much as I think it does, and it's only that the committed couples are more visible?

Caffeinated wrote:This one actually makes itself pretty simple. Some time early on you mention that you're planning to go to graduate school. That's appropriate conversational fodder for a first date, in fact.

And right there, you've laid out a version of your future plans that is not so hard to read between the lines that you're going to be focused on school for some time and not looking to settle down locally. If the subject of long distance relationships comes up, you can say they've always seemed like a bad idea to you and you don't see yourself doing that.

That's a good point.

Caffeinated wrote:
Ok, this one kind of makes you sound like a jerk, especially combined with your statements elsewhere that you wouldn't want her to be getting her emotional needs met elsewhere either.

Hrm, well they could get the rest of their emotional needs met by friends, family, and therapists. I just don't think I could emotionally be capable of giving the level of support that is expected in a committed relationship at this point in my life. I used to think I wanted that deep emotional support, but then realized that I don't think I could reciprocate and maintain my own mental health right now.

ETA: And, as eselle point out, I have said that I recognize my ideal desires are confused, implausible-to-impossible to meet, and so on. I'm just trying to figure things out. I haven't really talked about them much with anybody until recently, and obviously have had no experiences related to that part of life either.
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