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Stairway to Taboo Conversations

prayer time

If George Michael can do it… why can’t we?  Let’s talk about faith! 
(Granted, George was just trying to get laid, but still…)

Alright – before all my non-religious readers start collectively rolling their eyes and reaching for the mouse to go see if there’s any less-fanatic reading material close by, let me say that this post is NOT just for the Bible-belters out there.  It is a post for anyone who has ever had to consider the issue of faith, or LACK THEREOF when entering into relationships (including friendships, blending families, co-workers, etc.). 

That’s EVERYONE

Even if you’re one of my dear friends or family who thinks that any iteration of religious belief is just as ridiculous, you’ve still undoubtedly run into the issue of not being in agreement with other people… and this post is about THAT.

From Lord Xenu to science alone… we all put our faith (insert the word ‘belief’ or ‘trust’ here if that makes you feel all heeby-jeeby-ish) in SOMEthing. 
So – can’t we talk it out?article insert - We all believe in something

How to date when your faith (or your desire to be free of religious bounds and AVOID people like me) is important to you. 
When do you talk about it? 
How do you assess it? 
How do you navigate a relationship between two people, each with his/her own thoughts/philosophies/backgrounds/levels of passion, etc. 

This discussion was bound to happen.  And it’s here.  It is upon us. 
So, buckle up – grab your Bible or your Qur’an or your Richard Dawkins book or your empty tea-leaved Starbucks venti cup and come sit down by my fire.  (It’s not a real fire…it’s a metaphor.  We’re gon’ get INTO it).

Everyone believes in something.  Even if that belief is the firm philosophy that we are ALL there is and that all religions are nonsense. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum are those of us (me included) who believe that there IS something bigger than us out there.  This discussion is not really to get into the nitty-gritty of what I believe (but if you wanna know…I’m happy to tell). 
But I DO want to talk about HOW you talk about it.

Being on the dating scene as a Christian is incredibly tricky. 

  • Problem #1:  Sheer numbers.
    Knowing that I’ll only end up choosing someone who shares my faith, narrows the excitingly high potential pool of men down to a tiny despairing drop. 
  • Problem #2:  Identifying yourself as a Christian often sends the message: 
    “I’m not fun” or “I hate sex.”article insert - I'm not fun...
    Great.  Both of those things are absolutely false… for me.  So – how do I make that a priority while still letting the dating world know I’m a cool and passionate chick?
  • Problem #3:  WHEN to get into this… how many dates do I “waste” before finding out where he stands on this topic?  You can’t throw it out right away… it’s too “heavy.”  But you can’t wait too long – til you’re hooked and falling for him… then you open yourself up to disappointment and heartache if he’s not where you are…
  • How much wiggle room is there on differences in belief?  I mean… I may not be aiming for a full-on atheist, but I’m also not going to draw the line on some trivial point of theology either.  What about different styles of worship?  Different views on side issues?  Different ideas about church attendance?  Sigh… It’s dizzying.

The next couple of posts will be a round-table discussion on these ideas.  I’m going to ask some friends of differing faiths to weigh in, and I’ll talk about my own experience on this front. 

Meanwhile… scroll through your contacts and if you know a handsome, single man who loves Jesus – send him my way, and there’s an “AndAllThatSass” notepad in it for ya…


Ask Sarah – Raul’s Take

As I said yesterday, I polled several friends on the question I received through my website.

And as he’s often wont to do, Raul wrote down some of his thoughts/reactions.  I appreciated them, so I thought I’d post ’em.

So, here we go again – Raul speaks.  …

“Sarah, what is your perspective on dating before the ink is dry on the divorce papers. It has been a year since the decision to divorce was made and I have been living on my own for five months now. I’m worried that answering “separated” on my dating profile will get me overlooked. Answering “married” will most likely come off like someone trying to cheat. However answering “single” might end up backfiring when you eventually have to tell your date it isn’t official yet. Am I just over-thinking this or should I just wait till I’m officially divorced before pursuing any new relationships?”

I think this question is a lot more than what, on the surface, seems like a commandment-against-adultery issue.  It is a broader moral question that goes right to the foundation stone of all relationships – trust.

One thing that absolutely infuriates people is when one person in a relationship, knowing that they are or soon will be exiting that relationship, begins to secretly build a second one before the first has ended.  Is the current scenario so far removed just because the two original parties to the relationship have decided to call it quits?  Or because they have initiated some formal legal process?  Or because they have moved out to separate homes for some length of time?  Even though the facts are different on the surface, I believe the heart of it is the same.  Why?  Because “separated” is a misnomer.  Marriage, like pregnancy, is a binary proposition – you either are or you are not.  So let’s be honest about what “separated” really is:  unhappily married.

When you begin a secret second relationship while you’re married, we call it cheating…but just because someone starts a second relationship openly, in the light of day, doesn’t mean that the original marriage vow doesn’t exist.  It’s still infidelity (from the Latin fidelis, meaning faithful, loyal).  That infidelity is both a betrayal of the spouse as well as being unfaithful to the seriousness of your own promise.  The only difference about doing it openly is that you’re more honest and forthright about your willingness to break the vow.  Think about what that says about you to other people.

Ask your reader to put the shoe on the other foot – would he be impressed by a girl that marked ‘single,’ then revealed on the first date (or sometime later) that well, she’s actually married?  Probably not.  Would he find someone trustworthy that marked ‘separated,’ knowing that she didn’t take her marriage vow seriously enough to keep from dating before it had been truly dissolved?  I hope not.  If he were single would he consider dating a girl who marked ‘married’?  Never!  So if he wouldn’t like those qualities in someone else, would the right potential girlfriend value those qualities in him?

Now let’s think about this shoe-on the-other-foot scenario another way:  What are we searching for in a life partner?  Someone good.  Good down to their bones, not just someone who starts off seeming like a good thing.  So let’s stipulate that a good person is someone who recognizes and does – or certainly tries to do – the right thing in any given situation.  And what do we know about doing the right thing?  That doing the right thing is not always doing the easy thing.  In fact, you can often tell the right path by the very fact that it is harder.  The right thing is getting divorced before you start to date someone else.  Is it harder? Of course it is.  But that only bolsters my conviction that it is, indeed, the right thing to do.  The kind of person she should want to start a new relationship with is not the kind of person that will want to start something with a [happily or unhappily] married person.  I hate to say it, but unless he does the right thing and divorces first, he will most likely attract people who: 1) do not truly, deeply take marriage vows (and the trust that those relationship commitments are based on) seriously, and 2) do not place a high priority on other peoples’ goodness – their willingness to try to recognize and do the right thing.  The best girls out there will want to date someone that is truly single, and who strives to do the right thing…Why? Because they don’t want someone that is all- too-easily tempted to do the wrong thing (Like cheat!  See how it all goes in a circle here?).

OK, we’ve identified the right thing – If you want to start a new relationship, you should be single first, and that means getting un-married.  If both parties are truly serious about divorce (as opposed to even entertaining the possibility of getting back together), it’s tempting to say something like, “Just get it done already.  People let these things drag on for so long, and to no purpose.  Get. It. Done.”  But divorce is a complicated, many-faceted thing, and it is beyond the scope of this reader’s question to go into how, why, and whether such matters can be expedited, or done less expensively, etc.  Suffice it to say that each divorce is different, and contains a great deal of emotional processing that takes place outside the confines of a contract to divvy up various assets.  In the worst-case scenario, one ends up in a messy, protracted divorce proceeding.  Some might argue that that in itself is reason to let yourself begin something new – who knows how long ending the first relationship might take?  But would you want to begin a relationship with someone embroiled in that drama?  Of course not.  And if you’re the person in that drama, do you honestly believe you’d be a good relationship partner for someone else?  The fact is, doing so would be a selfish act:  Although you might feel better by starting a new relationship with some nice guy, you ultimately do a disservice to that person by sucking them into the maelstrom of your divorce.

Too long?   Then here’s my summary (which, of course, is also long):

1)     The reader should not be on a dating site.  Period.  Full stop.  I know – it’s so harsh!  But don’t think about it through the lens of what you’re giving up (all those smokin’ hot women with kitten pics!), think of the rewards he gets, instead:  1) He rewards himself by not giving in to temptation breaking his original vows.  Once you break them, you can’t go back – even if you’re the only one who knows – so why tempt yourself?  2) He rewards himself by not putting the divorce negotiations in a precarious position (in a bitter dispute, the wife’s knowledge of the dating could be used as leverage to alter key points – money, property, and especially custody arrangements, etc. because the adultery here [real or potential] casts him in a questionable moral light). 3) By not dating yet, he rewards himself by avoiding the bad girls – those who don’t value trust – because whoever he dates now won’t care about the fact that he is [unhappily] married (however handsome/charming/etc. she might otherwise be).  4) He is doing himself a favor by creating an impetus to finalize the divorce.  The sooner that ink is dry, the sooner he can begin to search for something new – think of it as a reward for doing the right thing.  And he will be attracting better women because of it – another reward!  5) He will also have the quiet pride of knowing that he did things the right way, in the right order – and that has a value all its own.

2)     If the reader insists on dating-while-separated, then the reader MUST state on his profile that he is married or separated, because that is the truth and anything else is at best a lie, at worst a gross and willful misrepresentation of the facts.  He is still married in the eyes of God and Man, and even if some people don’t care about the former, the latter still has plenty of repercussions on its own.  There is a social stigma attached to dating outside of marriage it for a reason!  (ex:  Would he want his kids teased at school because of it if gossip got out?)

3)     There is nothing wrong with meeting new people, building friendships, and socializing.  That is not out-of-bounds.  But the intimacy of a relationship – particularly the physical intimacy of holding, touching, kissing, and loving someone – should be built upon a solid foundation.  If you’re still married (however much you’ve managed to diminish the value of that marriage in your own mind), you are definitely NOT building on a solid foundation.

Well, that’s what Raul thinks, anyhow.  🙂


*-*-T-E-R and Smoocher Was her Name-O …pt. III

…isn’t it?

I don’t think it’ll come as any great shock to most of you that I like to smooch.  I do.  Are there people who DON’T?
And I give a lot of mental airtime to the idea of kissing… after all, not only is it fun to do, but I honestly think it is a significant form of communication and connection.

Now, this doesn’t mean I go throwing it around…and I’m happy to define my terms here, but when I’m on a date and I’m learning about the guy… if I feel an attraction, why wouldn’t I want to know how he communicates in that way?

Let me be clear…there are all sorts of ways to kiss.
There are sweet short kisses that tell you what you need to know and simultaneously impress you in their restraint,
and then all the way at the other end of the continuum, you’re muggin’ down on the couch of some wine bar for all the world to see.
And then, … in some rare cases, thre are those dates that end with your neck getting licked…like a dog.
No, I do not lie.  My dear friend went on a date that ended just like that.  No kiss.  No makeout session.  Just one long clean lick of the neck and off he went… probably to go chase a tennis ball.
Say it with me:  “Guh-ross.”

So, today’s 2-part question is – how does kissing play into the beginning phase of the dating process…and how does it affect the relationship afterward, if you decide to stay friends?

Everyone is different with their “rules.”  (By the way, if you think you don’t have rules and that you just “go with the flow” and see where the wind takes you, you’re wrong.  You may be open to spontaneity, but you have boundaries and lines you won’t cross…they may not be as tidy and defined as mine, but you’ve got ’em.  We all do.  For instance, one of my rules (now), is – ‘no second date if he licks me.’  Just sayin’…).
But everyone differs on whether they’ll kiss on the first date, and if so, what KIND of smooch it’ll be…
For me, it’s less about a line in the sand I’ve made, and more about the nature of the date.  If we are connecting and enjoying each other and there’s a natural opportunity for a kiss, I’m going to go for it.  After all – it’s more information!  Is he a good kisser?  (as defined my more than technique… looking for passion and thoughtfulness… to see more about how I gauge a kiss, check out this post.)  My time is limited and if I go on 5 dates with a guy before ever getting smooched, only to find that he’s inconsiderate, overly aggressive, or a myriad other deal-killers, those are 5 dates worth of nights I’m never getting back!

I know some of you are thinking…. well, what if that makes you too easy?
Look…I’m not giving away the whole enchilada… just a kiss.
It matches my personality – outgoing, expressive, passionate.

And… to clarify…I go on PLENTY of first dates where I DON’T kiss.  It’s not a given.  It just isn’t ‘off’ the table.

In some cases, I’ve had girlfriends who kissed on the first date and then never heard back from the guy.  They thought that maybe it was because they’d “given too much away on the first date.”
Doubtful.
I dare say I’ve never met ANY guy who wouldn’t call a girl back for a second date because she kissed him at the end of the date.  Not unless the kiss was BAD….or something ELSE was going on.  Readers, feel free to disagree with me.

Next…post-snogging relationships.  If you decide to take your relationship to the friend zone (“Iiiii’ve been to the fri-iend zone…fri-iend zone… take me riiiiiight into-oooooooo the frie-end zooooone……. ok, sorry…I simply couldn’t resist it), and you’ve already been to smoochville?  Simple answer.  Just talk about it.  One converstaion is all it will take.  Quick and dirty.  Something like this:
Hey – you’re so fun.  I’d love to keep this friendship going, but I just don’t think we’re a good romantic match.  And yes…I know… we’ve kissed.  But I can be cool about it if you can.”  Boom.  Done.
Who knows…you may even laugh about it.  You MAY even be able to give each other tips for going forward!  It HAS been known to happen.

Basically, I’m saying there’s no need to be afraid of kissing.

BUT.   (and, naturally, I’m assuming the appropriate high school youth pastor posture as I say this)…
know your limits and lines going INTO a date.
It may sound parental and silly, given that many of us are adults in our 30’s, 40’s and up… but I still have to remind myself of my standards and ‘rules’ for physical connection.  And if I know what I will and won’t do on a date, going into it, that frees me up to be able to enjoy a snog-fest, should it come my way.


*-A-T-E-R and Caller Was her Name-O …pt. II

We left off last time with giving your phone number out easily and freely… because… why not?

So, then what?
Maybe you get a flirty banter going…and then on to a date.  Fantastic!

But sometimes you get the most charming back and forth on the phone or text, but it just sits there indefinitely… ugh…

Let’s look at the case of my friend:  we’ll call her Karen.  She met a guy on a 20-mile bike ride/race/drinking thing…(sounds fun, huh?  Except for the biking part).  They talked on and off for 2 hours, ended up having a smooch fest in the parking lot and he put his number into her phone.  The next day he called, but quickly had to get off the phone for some technical difficulty issue, but texted her promptly thereafter.  Then, nothing.

Karen wanted to know if she should shoot him a text to let him know she was still interested.  I said, DEFINITELY.  I mean, …again – what’s the harm?  If he likes her, he’ll be glad to know he’s not alone and that she is intrigued as well.  If he is done with her, then she has nothing to lose.  He’s already a loser.  Ya know?

She (wisely) took my advice and was emboldened to write him back.  They’ve been texting ever since, but sporadically.  They’ll go strong for a while and then nothing…and then she’s left wondering if she should initiate again to pick it back up or if that will create a bad habit of her always having to light the communication fire.  Also… it’s now been over 2 weeks of on/off texting and he hasn’t asked her out again.  She’s pretty traditional and won’t do the asking…so here we sit.  And wait.  In textual, but stagnant land.
(which, by clarification, is not nearly as much fun as the title suggests…)

This brings up an interesting point I’ve noticed as I’ve talked with my single friends, and as I’ve been on ‘the scene’ myself.

1.  Women (other than myself) often don’t want to be the initiators of texting or getting together –
NOT because they’re shy or old-fashioned, but because they don’t want to set a precedent early on that they will be the take-control person in the relationship.  Many of my friends have expressed fear that if they act more assertively in asking a guy out, that he’ll take the cue and run with it…never to pursue her again.  And that will define their relationship forever…him being lazy in the back seat and her being forced to “nag” him into action.  Ick.

And yet, I don’t think they’re all wrong.  I also don’t think that initiating the first meet-up necessarily turns them into the rat in the skinner box either – ever conditioned to be on the sidelines of the dating relationship and never to take the reigns.  But, this is how the tricky world of dating gets so convoluted….she doesn’t want to be read as the necessary agressor, he doesn’t want to move forward not knowing if she’s truly interested or only game-playing…so neither of them paddles the boat…and so it sits.  Unmoving in the middle of the lake.  Wow…exciting stuff…

Sigh…it’s like we’re on a giant strategy game board and and each piece is pacing and darting…just watching and waiting to see how to best make their move in such a way that they’ll save face, not look like an idiot, pursue with enthusiasm but not be seen as overly agresive, and still be thought of as romantic and sweet, but not TOO sweet or doormat-ish, …….it’s EXHAUSTING!

Next time…does mugging down hurt your chances of a second date?  (or a real first date?… or being friends later?)


D-A-T-E-R and Flirter Was her Name-O …pt. I

 

 

A friend recently asked me about how to know when it’s the right time to give out your number, and how/when to initiate conversation after meeting someone, including texting, etc. and as a woman, where the line is of initiating/driving the communication.  
Whew!  
Good stuff, let’s just dive right in.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that this is an area of struggle for me because my natural tendency is to aggressively pursue something I see that I like…but I’ve gotten into trouble being too pushy after an initial good first date/meeting and it’s spooked guys.  So, let me BEGIN with the full disclosure clause, that I MAY not be the best source of wisdom on this matter.  Between curiosity and naive optimism… I will text/hound a guy until he has to practically pry my proverbial fingers off of him.  Sexy, huh?

That being said…I always have lots of opinions!

First – how/when to give out your number… 

I’m a big proponent of giving it out quickly.  BE BOLD, ladies!  What’s the harm? 
To me, texting and talking are much faster methods of assessing whether there could be a love connection than the messaging systems on the online dating sites (especially the eHarm…good GRIEF…I grow at least 6 gray hairs every time I have to wait for a guy to “respond to my closed ended questions,” etc…. snore… I’m asleep.  Wake me up when there’s an atual DATE on the table).

So, if I’m messaging someone and he seems like a potential match, I’ll usually throw out the digits pretty quickly and even ask him if he’s interested in grabbing a drink sometime.  There is NO time to waste!!  Life is short (and often smoochless), so…I say, strike while the iron is handsome.

And when I’m out and about – if I meet a cute guy without a wedding ring, I’ll often pass him my number as I leave the place (coffeehouse, bar/restaurant, taxodermist’s office…you know…the usuals).  It can be anything from striking up conversation and then giving him my card (I’ll tell you later about the cards I ALWAYS carry with me), to literally scrawling on a napkin, something flirty and simple like: 
You’re cute.  I’m cute.  We should go grab a drink sometime and be cute together.  555-123….” 
(I know, right?  WHAT are the odds that my cell number starts out just like all the phone numbers in the movies?  Crazy.)

But, once you get beyond the initial phone number exchange…then what? 

Tune in tomorrow to find out…


Breakin’ Up is Hard to Deux

So…HOW exactly do you break things off with someone when you’ve decided you’re not a good fit, you ask?
(No, literally, several people have asked me this recently).

I say, you can’t go wrong with honesty.
No, not the nasty “brutal honesty” where you crush a person’s spirit…I’m not suggesting we go all Bill O Reilly on a less-than-perfect match, but just being authentic.  Most people truly appreciate that.

Here are a few tips I’ve found in my foray:

1.  If you’ve gone on 2/3 dates or fewer, texting someone to end things is perfectly acceptable.

“What?  (audibly gasps)  Isn’t texting so TACKY!?!”

Alright…let’s do this.  Let’s have the talk about texting.  It’s been comin’ for a while now…

Back in the day when texting was new to the social communication scene, yeah… it was tacky.  Because then, texting was only used for quick details, directions… more pragmatic purposes.  Texts were adjuncts to phone calls, not the culturally acceptable vehicle of communication that they are now.  Texting is ok!

If you don’t believe me that we can use texts to convey matters of the heart, think back to your dating/love life and tell me honestly that you’ve never gotten a text that made your heart flutter with excitement?  Or (especially if you’re a girl), made you get that visceral version of “awwww….” inside you?
If we can convey the good parts of dating via text (falling in love, flirting, proclamations of devotion and affection), why can we not do the negative equivalent?

Using texting or FB messaging to let someone off your dating hook is also an act of mercy.  Think about it – would you rather get a disappointing text while you’re in your own safe territory or would you prefer to have someone sit you down to dinner, break things off and force you to decide what sort of awkward conversation to have for the duration of your time together?  The phone isn’t AS bad as in person, but it still requires a poised response, whereas being on the receiving end of a text, you don’t have to do ANYthing!?  You can make funny faces, yell, flip the other party the bird…whatever works in your time of grief.

2.  Do NOT use the “fall off the map” method to get your point across.  This is just childish.

I know some of you out there (men AND women) think you’re sparing someone by just fading away… that way you don’t have to say those hurtful words about not wanting to date them anymore.  And you think that somehow, magically, this will make them be JUST FINE with you being gone.

You are wrong.

People want answers.  They want explanations.

If you don’t feel like the two of you have what it takes to be happy as a romantic couple, then have the decency to say so.
Even if it’s hard to be the bearer of bad news, you’re sparing the other person having to guess at WHY you went away.  And I hypothesize that usually the REAL reason why someone walks away from a relationship is FAR LESS hurtful than the possibilities we’re left to come up with in our heads.

In my own personal experience over the last 9 months, if a guy says he’d rather just be friends or he’s not interested and he tells me the reason, it’s SO much better than what my own fear and insecurity will plot against me in my mind.  If a guy just disappears, I’m left thinking he thought I was hideous or worse-he doesn’t think my jokes are funny!  *cringes…

We are grown-ups.  If you don’t want something/someone, be kind enough to tell that person.

You don’t have to offer up a long explanation.
You can simply say, “I’ve thought about the two of us and I just don’t think we’ll make a good match.”  TaDa!  Done.

Now, if the person comes back and asks why, it’s up to you whether you want to

a.  give a politician’s answer (double speak, using ambiguity and confusion to sound like you’re saying something when you’re really not).  This smoke ‘n mirrors option is recommended if the reason you’re taking the last train to splitsville is something out of his control.  Better to use dizzying circular logic to say nothing, than to say, “you’re so short that when we’re out together, even without wearing heels, I feel like I’m walking my child across the street.”

b.  tell him/her the truth.  I usually opt for this one because I know how much I want this when I’m on the other side of the ‘no match’ message.  You’ll be surprised how well people will react to this.

By way of example, I’ve told men:  We don’t line up on the issue of faith/spirituality, your ADD makes me feel like you’re not interested in knowing me, we having different smooching styles, and a myriad other answers.  Surprisingly, all have been graciously received.

3.  Don’t waste time out of guilt, talking with or going out on dates with someone when you know you’re not into it. 

Women are especially notorious for this unnecessary sense of obligation.  Why?  Once you know in your mind that the duo isn’t meant for romantic greatness – break it off right away.  You’ll save yourself time and energy and you won’t lead the other person on, thinking things are good when they’re oh-so-not.

Half the time I begin communicating with someone, all it takes is a series of texts or a phone call to know we’re not meant to be.  And there’s NO way I’m going on a date (read: getting dolled up and using up precious kid-free schedule real estate) if I know we won’t click… that’s just not good biz.

In my NEXT post, I’ll tell you about Raul…Rahul?…hmm… anyway – a guy who I went on 7 dates with before I finally had to break it off, HOW I did it and how HE reacted.

‘Til then – no falling off maps.  Keep it real.


Game of Drones

 

A few weeks ago, I received a comment replying to one of my posts, from a man I’d gone out with once.   His response answered the question of what had happened with us, but it sparked so many more thoughts/questions, that I thought it demanded its own post.  Here goes.

Before I dive in, …Yes, I asked the guy if I could use his thoughts as a springboard for a post and he was very gracious to say yes.  (After a fair amount of bribery, cajoling and …there may have been a couple days in my basement bunker with nothing to eat but vienna sausages and some light water boarding, but he’s fiiiiine now).  Also – since his first name was on the comment, I’m just going to go ahead and use it.

If you want to see the original post with his comment – check it out here.

[for those of you who know the “Kevin” situation…this is neither “good Kevin,” nor “bad Kevin”…this is an entirely different Kevin.  Whew… glad we covered that.]

Kevin responded to my perplexity at not hearing back from him for a while after what I thought was a pretty good first date.  Then, when we DID connect, he told me he wanted to see me again.. and then fell off the map.  Here’s a snippet of the comment he left:

I have been reading a book entitled “The System” by “Doc Love” of all names! “The System” basically encourages the man to show interest in the female and then intentionally back off for an extended period of time to cause her to chase you. “Women love to be the aggressor,” says Doc Love. It makes the man a challenge for the female. If the woman pursues the man, then her interest level is high. If she does not chase the man, then she’s not interested and should be forgotten. As for whether or not this line of thinking is accurate is certainly questionable, especially since each female reaction cannot be predicted to an exact science. Anyhow, right or wrong, I backed off on communication with you intentionally to measure your interest level. Not once do I remember you initiating contact with me during that time. You do present yourself as one who dates quite a few men. That in itself for me was a little off putting. You seemed so enamored by the quest for love and elevated it to such a public status that I often wondered if/when “Mr Right” did come along, would you be able to end the search? Sort of like the dog chasing the car analogy. When the car stops, now what? Game over?

First of all… so… which problem WAS it that kept him from taking me out again?  Sounds like there were a few, and they conflict with each other.

a.  he backed off of communication and when I didn’t initiate, he assumed I wasn’t that interested?
b.  I was TOO interested in the pursuit of real love?
c.  I date too many people?

Dude, you gotta pick one.  I mean… if you claim that I elevate love to a too-lofty place, then how can you simultaneously be upset with me for casually dating?  And if I seem too heavy with the love stuff, then why did it bother you that I seemed to back off of communication?  I would think that would temper the intensity of my too-strong love search?

Also – it seems contradictory to say that I am so enamored with the quest for love that, perhaps, if Mr. Right did come along, I wouldn’t be able to end the search.  Help me out here.  If you have a lofty goal and you go seeking that goal, people will criticize you for it and wonder if maybe your real goal is just the search?  Isn’t that a little presumptuous?  It implies that you either know me better than I know myself (and after one date, I think that’s highly unlikely), or that you think you’re SO amazing that if I don’t fall in love with YOU, that my love-finder-o-meter must be broken, or only for show.

Do Olympians face this problem?  As they’re diligently training, do people come up and tell them they’re not invested in their atheltic journey because they’re only interested in the days of preparation?  That’s crazy.  They’re only putting that much effort into the training SO THAT the endgame (their true goal) will be amazing.  I’d like to think of myself as a relational Olympian.  No, I don’t just love running laps and lifting weights and doing my back handspring 100 times in a day for its own sake.  I’m enjoying the process for sure, but my eye is firmly on the final goal, don’t you worry.  And, I’m not going to settle for participation.  I want to win the gold.

Secondly, let’s talk about this “system,” whereby a man measures a woman’s desire level by ‘backing off.’  EVERYthing is wrong about this, not the least of these is the author’s name…

“Doc Love?” really?  That’s a self-assigned title, no doubt.  I dare say he didn’t get his PhD at an actual accredited “love school.”  That sounds like the sort of graduate program you see on billboards where the student union and academic office sit comfortably between a Famous Footwear and a Dairy Queen. I mean…if we’re just picking whatever darn title we want out of thin air and an overdeveloped sense of significance, I’d like to be called, heretofore, “Relationship Empress.”  (I would’ve gone with queen, but I don’t want to be prideful.)  On a related note, I’m rethinking the title for my upcoming book.  Maybe something understatedly excellent like, “the queen guru of all matters of the heart speaks on life, love and the universe” or a more simple gem: “Dalai Love.”  Alright, alright…back to the task at hand – let’s break this down:

To begin with, women YEARN to be pursued.  This is a universal truth that you can take to the bank.  If anyone says otherwise, they’re either misinformed, lying (to themselves at the very least), so damaged/wounded that they don’t have the capacity for this desire yet or they’re selling you something.  Life IS pain, highness.  Oh wait… wrong inspirational speech.  Yes – women.  Wanting to be pursued.  Right-o.  So, aside from the aforementioned damaged lot, the majority of single women crave the pursuit.  I’ve had this conversation SO many times – with men and women.  Women want a man to desire them so much that he will put his energy toward the investment of chasing her.  This shows his eagerness and that he sees something WORTHY of his time/energy/sacrifice.  Even the women that “love to be the aggressor” are still wooed by a man who initiates with them.  Believe me.

Now, this isn’t mutually exclusive.  I know it’s a pet peeve of men’s when women use the “men should pursue us!’ line to avoid expending energy to cultivate a relationship.  I’m a firm believer in mutual pursuit, once it’s clear both parties are “in.”  Women, while wanting to be chased, can also really enjoy doing the same.  There’s an excitement to being the initiator/aggressor, and I know men appreciate when women jump into that role.  But in the end, we want to land a man who didn’t just sit back on his lazy laurels waiting for us to come scoop him off the couch, take the remote and cheez-its out of his hand and coerce him into a relationship.  Blech.  It’s like most Godfather impressions…No one wins.

So, I suppose after reading Kevin’s comments and my experience with other 1-date-only’s, perhaps I ought to consider a slight paradigm shift.  At the very least, I feel like I need to start giving men an exit interview survey at the end of a date, where I ask if they prefer a woman who comes on strong or one who lets him take the lead.  That way I’ll know the layout of that particular obstacle course before starting the race.

The more I date, the more I have determined that I am a catch.  (I realize the obvious irony here… no need to point it out.  Yes, yes – the longer I go “unclaimed,” the MORE I think I have to offer?  Seems backwards, but it’s true…I’ll explain in another post).  But, I truly believe that if  man sees that (my worth as a woman/friend/romantic partner), he’ll keep putting his line out there to catch me.  And I will be gracious and winsome in the process.  I don’t play hard to get.  I don’t wait a certain amount of hours or days to text or call back… I am just me.  And after the initial steps of the courtship process, I am ALL about mutual pursuit.  I am happy to be the aggressor.  I’m a communication junkie.  If I like someone, you’ll know it – I’m not afraid to express my thoughts and feelings as I gauge my increasing interest in someone.  But, until I know he is interested in me, I feel like all of my gushing would just be suffocating.  

Oh mercy…what a tangled web!