So you meet a nice man or woman and you all decide to do the first safe date… meet for coffee. You put on your best casual, I’m not trying too hard but I kinda am, outfit and head out. He or she is just as attractive as you recall, and you sit down and talk for hours. You both are sure the other could get it… but while your date seems to be interested in something a bit more serious, you know you just want to casually date, period. But that’s another conversation for another time, right.
Your next date is a bit more involved, you meet for Happy Hour at a nice restaurant and decide to stay and get dinner downtown. It’s a nice night so after dinner you take a short walk and talk about everything from your favorite song, neither of you have one because that’s just too hard; you debate Love Jones v Love & Basketball, you both pick the latter (wise choice); and then your date asks you “so when was your last serious relationship?” and you answer truthfully and return the question. Your date says a year or so, and adds that while relationships are hard work they are worth it with the right person. You think to yourself, relationship?!? But that’s another conversation for another time, right?
So you are both over 35, both been in serious relationships before, perhaps even married at one point, whatever shoe fits…if you are the woman, chances are you’ll be fine, as he’ll likely be ok casually dating at least until he makes a plan to be more serious with you. If you are a man… pump your MF brakes and STOP…
Let me let you in on a little secret, there are very few women over 35 looking to casually date your ass for more than six months. At that point, decisions about exclusivity and some type of commitment are expected to be made. She’s watching from date #1, hell conversation #1 if some fundamental things are present. If your watch is digital, unless it’s an old school Casio and you are also rocking an Eastbay backpack and Converse with a crop to your pants, it’s a no dawg…. cuz you faking the funk and not committing. If you say you will call back but don’t or don’t at least acknowledge her texts, it’s a no dawg, your consistency of communication is clearly off. If you look in your wallet, your pants pockets, inside your blazer, and in your coat pocket for the cash to pay for coffee, it’s a no dawg, cuz chaos and financial mismanagement. So if you are getting signals that she wants something serious, and you don’t, speak on it! Quickly!
Since the beginning of time, men being single and free to mingle has been celebrated…bachelor pads, bachelor lifestyle. Single women over 35 were doomed to spinster status, grocery carts full of Fancy Feast, Vienna sausages, and romance novels. As far as we have come, there is still some unfair and frankly very silly stigma attached to single women… as if every non married woman pines for marriage. That is simply not the case. Less than 15% of women who have been married before consider remarriage (according to Pew Center, 2014) and only half of never married women at 35 or older want to be married (Pew Research, Population Survey, 2013). However, over 80% of unmarried women over 35 want to be in committed relationships compared to 65% of unmarried men over 35 (Pew Research, 2015). Commitment is not casual, so speak on it! Quickly!
The truth is, that many of us avoid conversations about our wants and needs because we don’t want to scare off the person… regardless to whether we want something more serious or more casual. However, those conversations are necessary and important, because you strip the other party of the full ability to decide whether they want to continue to spend time with you, if you aren’t being honest about who you are and what you want. Furthermore, women need to start asking the important questions. I know, I know… women want men to be the aggressor and lead the relationship, but he cannot do that if he is unclear about your wants and boundaries. Notice I didn’t use the word expectations… those are your own personal goals that have nothing to do with the other party. You can effectively manage your expectations by being honest and open about what you want, and being okay with stepping away if that’s not what you get. Letting a man know what you want let’s him know you what you are available for and open to… period.
Bottom line… if we all use our words and communicate with people, our overall relationships will be much better. So let him or her know what your music collection looks like, your favorite restaurant, that you are a dog person and not a cat person, and whether you are looking for a partner or a playmate. Honesty is like sugar… it can make sure you begin and end on a sweeter note…and no one likes bitter coffee!