I'm currently in a new relationship that is already experiencing familiar problems.
I'm a 27 yr old male. I'm reasonably attractive, but I've never been very popular with the ladies. I'm at a place in my life where I enjoy dating, but can't really do anything very serious. The trouble is that on one level I'm a very nice guy and know how to treat women well, and when I do get involved, the women I'm with tend to get very attached to me and want serious commitments from me. It's a lot of pressure, because I always enjoy being with these women, am happy to date them, care for them and respect them very much, but am just not ready for very serious commitments.
The woman I'm seeing presently is very sweet and pretty, and I really like being with her. From our first date I told her that I had serious plans for long term travel in the near future. Again, I'm very good to her and genuinely like her, but can't see being in a relationship with her for very long. Today she told me that she wants to go with me when I decide to travel, which is something I'm not at all comfortable with.
Can I tell this person to back off without killing what we have together? What do I say? Is there a way to avoid breaking this wonderful woman's heart?
If she isn't going to be with you for the long haul, you need to make that clear, early on, every time. Anything less is lying by ommission. If you say the words and they either refuse to listen, refuse to believe or think they can "fix" you, then you've done all you can. Many women need to learn to listen. Of course, if you realize they are getting to attached, you can always choose to end it yourself, to avoid any additional pain for them. That would be a more selfless act and can be hard to do, but it would be more honorable then continuing to use a woman who has growing feelings for you. This would be what a "nice man" would do. You know, there are women out there who feel the same way you do. They aren't looking for more then a little fun. Marriage and children are down the road for them. You may want to consider dating women who think like you do, until you are ready to settle down.
Arrrgh, this is exactly the problem with dating for the sake of dating. Someone is usually going to get hurt, one way or another. You are the walking proof that, in fact, a lot of women want to get serious with a "nice guy." They see you as someone to be with long-term, maybe even "marriage" material. I guess that should be flattering, but at the same time, this is not something you want any time in the foreseeable future. I don't know...it's a tough call. Obviously this woman you're dating now is getting attached and likes you. You could break up with her and find someone else, but the problem is, if they like you and you treat them reasonably well (and the sex is good), it's almost guaranteed they will get attached. Maybe try dating someone who just got out of a long term relationship and has no desire for anything serious?? Of course, that could backfire also because YOU might get too attached yourself. Or try dating a woman who's much younger and not ready for a serious relationship herself. What I don't understand is, why is it so important to you to not get attached, even if you seemingly like this woman very much. Are you in love with her? Wouldn't it be more fun to travel with a gf rather than by yourself?? Hmm...the best solution might be not to date anyone until you figure out if you're ready to be in a relationship with a woman that could potentially go somewhere, at least in theory.
I just read your post and have to agree with Sophie M that you should proubly not be seeing someong till you figure out what it is that you want. Please spare this very sweet pretty girls feelings and let her know that you are not looking for commitment and not looking for a travel partner. You say that woman get attached to you well maybe that is because you are not exactly upfront with them I'm sure you try to be but perhaps you lead them on a little?? This is a funny situation because you are dating just to date and most woman/men are dating to find someone to share a long term commitment with. As far as telling her to back off with out killing what you have together I doubt that will happen seeings though you both are on two different levels. Your best bet is to be with someone who will not want to share any more or any less then you and that may be hard to find but not impossible.
The other problem is that telling these girls you're not looking for commitment while at the same time treating them nice and spending time with them will not really help. Most women nowadays (including myself) think that it's like a knee-jerk reaction for guys to say they're not looking for commitment because so many of them say it. Unfortunately, when that comment is combined with a behavior of a good boyfriend, the majority of women would go by your actions not by your comment. We tend to think if a guy really likes us, he will change his mind about commitment. Apparently, that's not always the case. Well, you have to decide if travelling alone and exploring other options is worth losing this sweet and pretty girl who is so into you. Your choice.
Also, perhaps you could give some hints to some other nice and sweet guys on this board who would love to have your "problem," but somehow can't find girls interested in a relationship with them. Life is really ironic more often than not, I think, and most people want the opposite of what they have.
I am kind of torn... on one hand, I don't know if I believe that you are all that nice guy. It seems that you enjoy the benefits of being with someone without paying the cost of a commitment. However, maybe you are just a nice guy.
Most women expect only what you give them. You give them all the attention and responses of someone who is interested in something more than casual dating. Why are you so surprised that a woman would want to be with an attractive, nice man who treats them well?
I agree with the others who say you need to date women who are not interested in longterm or don't date the same woman past the third date.
I appreciate these comments very much. Eve's comment was hard to hear, but obviously true:
"If she isn't going to be with you for the long haul, you need to make that clear, early on, every time. Anything less is lying by ommission."
One big weakness of mine is that I'm not at all confrontational. It's a quality that makes relationships with me seem very smooth, but in the end can be a real fault, because I have a bit of trouble expressing my needs. I never bicker or get angry or upset and generally try to be very flexible to what my partner wants and needs.
The woman I'm with now is young (22), idealistic, a bit domineering, and very inexperienced. We've been together five weeks, she slept with me the day we met, and even though I've talked about my plans to travel throughout our time together, she somehow expects me to make big changes to my life for her. She's putting tons of pressure on the relationship and I'm too accomodating to confront her about it! I don't want to lead her on, but to say something that will hurt her goes so against my nature. It's excruciatingly difficult for me.
On dating someone with more similar needs: That's a lot easier said than done. How to find such a person? I'm definitely not into internet dating or anything like that, and I'm not like a pick-up master or something AT ALL. Good girls come to me once in a while; it's not like it's so simple for me to just trade in for a new one, not to speak of a new one that I'll both like and that won't want me long term.
I've made a lesbian question her sexuality. A complete "serial dater" told me she wanted to marry me. Practically every single girl I've ever been with has wanted more from me (in terms of commitment) than I've wanted from them.
On figuring out what I want: I know exactly what I want. That's something I'm not confused about at all. I want a girlfriend to share good times with. For now. And that's it.
I appreciate everyone's imput here - can you maybe hold my hand here and give me some more advice about what to say? Does anyone have any experience either saying something in this type of situation or having someone said something to them in a way that was right?
Last edited by vespertine212; 09-12-2005 at 08:57 PM.
1. Do you want to have a girlfriend to spend time with and have sex with until you go off on your international trip?
2. When exactly are you planning to leave for your trip and for how long?
3. What do you plan to do about your relationship once you leave: do you want to end it completely, or do you want to keep your options open for when you come back?
These are very important questions you need to ask yourself. If you are leaving for an extensive trip soon and want to be single once you leave, I think the best thing is to end things with this girl now. Why prolong the agony? The more I read your post, the more I think this is what would make the most sense to do. You are clearly not interested in a long term relationship with her. There's nothing you can possibly say that will sound 100% right and not hurt her, but I guess you could say the truth that you are not ready for any kind of committed relationship for a long time and that you are serious about your long-term travel plans. It will hurt her no matter what if she has any feelings for you, but it's better to do it sooner rather than later. Oh, and please don't break up with her over email.
Look, I don't have ANY problem with you not wanting to settle down. It's very refreshing to meet a man who knows what he wants and is unafraid to admit it. But you must make it brutally clear that there is no real future in your relationships. Stick with older woman who know, or can handle, the score. A lot of young women don't have the experience to handle you or fully understand the limitations of what you are offering. Be prepared to loose alot more "nice" women, of any age. End any relatioship with women you suspect are starting to develop feelings for you. Not warning women or ending these relationships when things get intense, makes you, not an honest uncommitted man, but a player. Not liking confrontation IS NOT a good enough reason to to chicken out and not warn women of your intentions. On the contary, NOT telling them, then treating them in a loving way, is out and out lying. NOT the behavior of a "nice man". If fun is all you have to offer, then all you SHOULD have, in return, is a party girl. It is, after all, all you say you need. I don't mean to be harsh with you, just very direct and honest, in a way you can understand and hopefully appreciate.
What it seems like is that unless I'm ready to get married I don't really have a right to date, or only have a very limited right to date. Is that how people feel?
Another point is that the woman I'm with now asked me out, not the other way around. Maybe my answer should have been "I don't think we should see each other for dinner because I already know I'm not going to marry you no matter how great I end up thinking you are."
According to some of these responses I either need to be celibate or break up after the third date. I get a little emotional after having sex as well, it's not like I have a heart made of stone. I certainly have feelings for the woman I'm with now. Isn't it ok to explore those feelings as part of the getting-to-know-you process?
Part of me feels like nothing is impossible. If a woman is really so amazing, maybe she could do the impossible and even change my mind. Even if I'm really skeptical that can happen, shouldn't I at least let her try?
If you're seeing someone and KNOW there is no realy future in the relationship, is it unethical to have sex with that person? Or do you at least need to have a dramatic confrontational, mood-spoiling conversation with the person before having sex?
You're missing the point VP. Go ahead and date them, have a relationship and sex with them. AFTER, you make it CLEAR that you will offer them no future. Tell them, this is all I have to give. Do you really not want to warn them beforehand because you don't like confrontation? Or, could it be because you know, deep down, that when they find out you will being willing to take all the love and committment they have to offer without giving any of it back, the smart ones will head straight for the nearest door? I'm just asking you to think about that. I don't think you have, up till now. And yes, VP you DO NOT have sex with a woman until you've told her the score! To do otherwise is player behavior. She assumes you are an average man, looking to take the next step in the relationship. You are instead, an ambivalent man, not looking for committment. She can't read your mind, especially if you treat her like you care, as you've admitted you do. Just be honest. That's what a nice man does.