Bridge trumps relationship

A gal pal recently asked me why I thought a man would go poof after expressing great interest in a woman. The obvious answers would be:

  • he was a player and said he was very interested in every woman
  • something happened for him to lose interest (e.g., she said/did something that was off-putting; he got more interested in someone else; he got busy with work).

However, I think there is another, less commonly discussed possibility:

He decided that if the relationship worked out, he would have to change his life patterns too much and he liked his life pretty much as it was, thank you very much. Even with the carrot of regular sex, it would be too much adjusting to get to that point. And besides, if a new relationship would be anything like his former one(s), he wouldn’t be getting that regular sex for very long before he’d be putting up with an unhappy, nagging woman who wanted him to change for her to be happy.

The other day I’d learned that a long-time single friend had finally found a beau whom she dated exclusively for six months. However, he told her last week that he’d decided to focus on his competitive bridge (the card game) playing and therefore wouldn’t have time for her. They broke up.

So this man decided that playing bridge was more of a priority than a relationship with my friend.

Keep in mind that my friend is an attractive, loving, intelligent, caring, woman, not some controlling, nagging shrew. But I have no idea if their relationship was contentious or not. For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume they had an enjoyable time together, they liked hanging out together, and they liked enough of the same activities to make them compatible. But bridge wasn’t something they shared. So he decided he had to choose.

We could say this was a sign he just wasn’t that into her. Or it could be a sign he was clear what he wanted, and spending time in a relationship wasn’t as important to him as mastering the game of bridge. I don’t judge him — I think it’s best to not try to lie to your partner about your priorities and make him/her think you are willing to invest time in the relationship when you aren’t.

In Date or Wait: Are You Ready for Mr. Great? we explore are you ready for a relationship? Are you willing to invest time in growing the relationship? And if you know you only want something casual, do you clearly communicate that to potential suitors, so those looking for a LTR don’t waste their time and their heart in you?

And if you know you have a hobby or work that you want to focus on, don’t pretend you will make the time for the relationship when really you won’t.

Have you ever broken up with someone when you realized you’d rather be spending time on a hobby, sport or work than with them? Or have you ever been on the receiving end of this decision? If so, how did you feel?


Not sure if you’re really ready to date? Date or Wait: Are You Ready for Mr. Great? will help you decide.



37 responses to “Bridge trumps relationship”

  1. Richard Avatar

    “why I thought a man would go poof after expressing great interest in a woman”
    “Have you ever broken up with someone when you realized you’d rather be spending time on a hobby, sport or work than with them?”

    I think hobby/sport/etc. is just a way to break it off in a “nice” way (excuse #2). Yes, there is great interest in the beginning of a relationship. But, the purpose of dating is to find out if there is LTR possibilities. If one person comes to the realization that there is not (for whatever reason), isn’t the best course of action to break off the relationship and free the other person to continue their search for Mr/Ms Right?

    Do you really want to know that your laugh, while endearing at the beginning, is really starting to grate on me? Or, now that I have met your kids, I think they are really brats, and I don’t want to deal with that for the rest of my life?

    Sometimes the little white lie is best to preserve the peace. Maybe you can transition the relationship into a nice friendship.

  2. Candice Avatar

    I agree with Richard. It is a “kind” way of breaking with someone in a nice way, instead of saying…your kids are brats or you irritate me.

    A friend ofmine met a “wonderfull” man, was over the moon in love and they moved in together after dating 3months. But after a year….he resented her boy child of 11, told her she made him sick and he wanted her out his house a.s.a.p, when she tried to understand what had happened and why ……… he just shouted at her that he is sick of her cleaning untill 1pm at night, spending all her time with her brat kid, the kid had no friends cos he was too absorbed with an abnormal bond with “mommy”……… as much as she is my friend, I can actually see his point, she never made time for him the man in her life, got to bed after he was asleep, woke up at 5am and rushed off to work….so being a man who never had children of his own, got very little attention from her and when they did try and make out over a weekend, the kid would walk in on them…..I really can’t blame him. Some kids can be very annoying and want everything their way. This also goes for a woman who has never had kids and has to dealwith a mans ex wife and kids every 2nd weekend or more, some kids don’t want to see their parents happy with another spouse so they are nasty and rude and this puts a lot of strain on the new girlfriend or boyfriend….I know…been there.

  3. Candice Avatar

    I also have a male friend of about 51, who played the dating sites for about 7 years, dated many women, many one night stands. Was prone to wanting woman he just met to go away weekends with him…….to me this was a sure sign of a player.

    Anyway, he met a 29 year old girl/woman with a daughter. From what I can make out, he said she was the “one”, but was concerned at the fact that she had a daugter of 10???? why would something so small like this be a concern for him???, they dated for 1 year and have lived together for 6 months and got engaged, I think this relationship is going to work? everything looks promising.

  4. Mike Lowrey Avatar

    Kudos Richard, perfect explanation.

    (This is just my opinion and I’m open to other views, because I’m trying to understand this key part of relationships myself…the exact cause and the turning point from I’m crazy about you…to…I’m just not that into you!)

    What I think is that many women tend to get comfortable.
    After 6 mths or a year of dating things tend to get comfortable in most relationships that I’ve seen. Guys do this too but I’ve seen it waaay more in women.

    What used to happen was that maybe they would watch the same TV shows, and what happens now is that she’s watching Oprah lol. No guy is trying to watch that.

    Or better yet when they would see each other she would pay extra attention of how she looked, meaning hair, makeup, clothes shoes, etc… Even if they weren’t going anywhere special she might put that extra effort in at the beginning to make sure she looked her best because she was meeting him. 6 months later, it’s sweatpants and she’ll just run a comb through the hair real quick.

    What I mean is, little by little things break down and it’s super obvious to the guy but women don’t seem to see a thing and are shocked as hell when the breakup happens.
    The signs were there and most likely visible for the last 6 weeks of your friend’s relationship.

    So to wrap up DG I don’t think it’s as soon as a guy shows great interest he’s gone, it’s when the interest is gone…he’s gone. The guy was with her for 6 mths exclusively, in a man’s world that’s the highest level of interest!! So the interest was there from the start, but what did your friend do to secure that interest…or did she get comfortable because the thing was exclusive.

  5. Mark Avatar

    I think what Mike says goes both ways. We are always on our best behavior early in a relationship. At some point, we relax and don’t put as much effort into it. That’s part of being comfortable, but it can be damaging if the other party resents it.

    Also, six months in seems to be a time where often things change. You’re over the initial heat in a relationship where you can’t wait to see each other. That passion can’t be maintained, and when it goes some people feel deflated. Some people live for that passion and want something new when it’s gone.

    In short, relationships can be complicated.

    (And yes, we do get set in our ways, men and women both, and change can be difficult. I think when we get married in our twenties, we don’t know very much. By mid-life, we know too much.)

  6. Candice Avatar

    Mark and Mike…..I have to agree with you….from a man’s point of view, I value what you have said…and I know women have this romantic point of view of running around with hair sticking up, a man seeing them at their worst….no make up with puffy eyes and as you said….”a baggy old tracksuite”, to a woman if a man can love her at her worst then it is “real Love”. I beg to differ……I feel a woman should always look her best for her man, always wear a nice fitting jean and t shirt when being casual, make sure your nails and pedi are always done, watch your weight…..remember he fell in love with you being stunning and looking good…not a bag lady. Why not keep a level of mystery, even if living together……don’t walk naked with all your flaws showing, wear a sexy something……have your own space, give him space….don’t become joined at the hip. Have your friends you meet for coffee, and also give him time to play golf and have his own interest. So many woman want to own a man, do everything together…….we are individuals going into a relationship, especially in your later years……you have a brain, remain an individual yet be companions and lovers……..and don’t let it all hang out…..sure we can’t always be perfect at all times….but do try and keep yourself glam and in shape. That goes for a man aswell. And also don’t act like the “perfect little housewife” cleaning, washing, ironing, cooking….leave that for the maid.

  7. Richard Avatar

    When people first meet, they put on their “A” game. It takes time to discover the “B” and “C” game. You can’t field your best players all the time. It would be unrealistic to expect to see her as she wakes up looking like Scarlett O’Hara right after giving birth, or as June Cleaver vacuuming in pearls and heals. There are jokes about women waking up an hour early to put on their makeup and then go back to bed.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have a wife like that. I’m just saying, when each person lets down their guard, how much let down is there?

    If she takes a few minutes to put on makeup, dresses smartly (yes, you can be casual, and still smart looking), and thinks anything less than a 2″ heal is for working out, that’s awesome. If she takes 2 hours each day to fix herself up, I don’t care if she has a great “A” game, I don’t think I could deal with that over the long term.

    “I think this relationship is going to work? everything looks promising.” – as much as it is a fantasy of guys, I don’t think a 51/29, 22 year span, can work over the long term. He’s in it for the ego, and she’s in it for the dependency. It is unhealthy. Something is going to give in a few years.

    I met an awesome lady 13 years my junior. I think even that may be too wide a bridge to gap. However, at our ages, the gap is not as great.

    Anyone have thoughts on how wide an age span can work for the over 40 crowd?

  8. Anna Avatar

    I have the pleasure of observing two couples who after 25 years of marriage are still crazy in love with each other. In both cases, they take time for romance. The women keep themselves glamorous, fit and stylish and the guys take time to romance their wives and keep in shape, physically and mentally. They all work full time and have busy lives and children. I do think their approach is the secret to making a marriage work. Now no doubt its not all roses behind closed doors and takes great effort but I love spending time with them and watching this magic in action. No one wants to end up living with a slob when in fact a couple of years, or months before, they met a different persona altogether. Then again, some guys go “poof” because they have commitment phobias so its complex. As to the age gap thing, 51/29 may be ok now but what about when he is 71 and she is 49?? It would be hard for them both as age creeps up on him. When I consider age gaps I always project the years forward, how would you feel if your partner turned into an old man or woman before your eyes while you were still more or less in your prime?

  9. Candice Avatar

    Hi Richard

    I would say a 5 to 9 years gap (Man being older). Personally I feel uncomfortable with a younger man, even though it is flattering to be approached by them and told how attractive I am….”it is now my ego that is being stroked”….but I know I will feel insecure as I get older. I would ideally love to age with someone especially now who is my own age. As I even now find a man who is 9 years older than me to be from a different era, I was also approached by a 68 year old man, and as much as he pointed out how good he thinks he looks, how much money he has……..well, lets just say I felt repulsed by him, my father is 70.

    And you are right about the “ego” part……51/29 ..22 year gap. I was just waiting to hear what a man had to say about this……..;-)) Thanks….

    One male friend put it so……..he is wealthy, he married her cos she is beautifull (she takes 2 hours to get ready…bleached blonde, everything silicone) and she gives him what he needs cos she wanted to be looked after (she spends all his money on face lifts, botox, fillers, hair implants, and has had 2 boob jobs and is still planning liposuction…..). Ageing doll.

    What have we become as humans that we measure love and needs by beauty and wealth only.

    I believe a woman should look after herself, be well dressed, even if it is jeans and a nice top. But not to the point of being a plastic doll….and don’t sleep with makeup on….it really is not good for your skin.

  10. Candice Avatar

    Well Anna, I agree with you and Richard regarding the age gap of 51/29. For now he is showing all his friends that he can still do it at 51, she however, needs a mealticket to take care of her and her child. Both their needs are totally different. Sure…there might be feelings, but as he gets older and she hits her prime in her 30’s and wants a younger man closer to her age, he will be declining towards 60. As a friend…I truley hope he wakes up before he gets hurt further, as his 1st wife apparently had numerous affairs on him, and I think this left his self esteem as a man very low. All we can do is watch and hope that he comes to his senses and gets over the initial infatuation and ego boost.

  11. Darren Avatar

    Some men actually don’t see that they have aged. They will commit to a younger woman fast as he is thinking of the now, not the future. She gives him the ego boost, there is nothing you can do to make him see sense. He will end up hating you and think you are jealous of him and her for pointing out the obvious.

    My advice, leave him to sort out his own life and whatever ego issues he has, even if he gets hurt, he must deal with it. He is old enough.

    I must just add that I dated a woman, nice attractive and all. But she used to sniff constantly, never used a tissue, rather sucked it all back. This drove me to break with her, when I would ask her if she needed a hankie, she would say “no, I’m Ok”, she did not catch the broad hints time after time. Sometimes it is something so small and irritating that actually causes a break.

  12. Karen Avatar

    Re the DG’s bridge player–at least he was being honest! Apparently, you didn’t have all that much in common, ie you didn’t really fit into his life very well. Good to find that out before you get married or get into something long-term like that!

    I do think that this sort of re-evaluation of a relationship typically occurs around 6 months…but I don’t think it’s bad. I’ve done it myself, and I think it can show up true incompatibilities whereas before that you’ve just been on a hormonal speeding train.

    Suddenly, it seems like I “wake up” and realize that I’m tired of spending my time with Mr. Doesn’t-want-to-do-anything-that-I-like-to-do. I start to miss having my friends over for dinner (when I was with a guy who was allergic to social situations), hiking and skiing and biking (when I was with that guy who hated the outdoors), reading quietly at home (when I was with the guy who was the life of the party, and there was always a party he had to go to), etc. And I get sick of arranging my life/when we can see each other around when various sports teams are playing, deer hunting season, and etc.

    I know that for many people, they don’t need a partner who likes to do what they like to do–they’re happy co-existing with each of them having their own spheres. But that’s not what I want. At my age (48) and after a couple kids and a couple of of divorces I’m not desperate to get married, I can support myself, and I’m not really interested in “making a home” for some guy I never see. I want a companionable companion, a lover, and a true partner that I enjoy spending time with. If we can’t function as friends, what’s the point?

  13. Karen Avatar

    Re dating men older than me—yes, these are the type of men I’d typicall go for! I’ve always like men older than me.

    But I’ve had to dial it back since I’m older now myself. Also because men age more quickly than women. For example, I was recently dating a really nice man who was 13 years older than me—which was great until I projected ahead 10 years–he’d be past 70 and probably wouldn’t last much longer than that (men tend to die young), and I’d still be 5 years away from retiring—what kind of a future would we have to look forward to?

    Besides looking to the future, I started feeling weird about the present too—he really looks like an old man now (bald) and I still look young (much younger than I am, actually, especially when the light’s bad!). When we went out, everyone treated him like “you the man!” since they thought he was a rich guy squiring around a really young chick–everyone assumed we were together only because I was a golddigger and he was spending money on me. Ugh. So it’s different now than when I was in my 20’s dating a guy in his 40’s.

  14. Mark Avatar

    I dated a woman eight years younger than me and I thought that was about as much of an age difference as I wanted. It was fine. Twenty-two years would be a bit crazy, though. That’s a woman who could be my daughter. I wouldn’t be comfortable with that. I’m not even sure how I would ever get involved in anything like that.

    And both men and women sometimes age well and sometimes age poorly. I see people of both sexes in their early 40’s who look nearly 60 and see people in their early 50’s who look like they are 40.

  15. CP Avatar

    It’s interesting that the focus is on the woman’s appearance and her need to take care of herself for her man to maintain interest. What about his appearance? I see sloppy men with too tight T shirts over their beer guts, baggy dirty jeans, unshaven, hair uncombed, looking unwashed and unkempt. Does she want to look at that? Does she want to sleep with that?

    Does he still woo her? Does he open her car door, bring flowers occasionally, surprise her with appointments for him and her massages, prepare a romantic dinner with candlelight? It takes two to keep it going.

  16. Anna Avatar

    A thought on the make-up thing. I think if a woman is wearing make-up to bed because she does not want to be seen without it, then she is wearing too much to start off with !! If I were a guy, I would not want to see two faces, one with a mask on and one without the mask. Make-up should merely enhance her face, and maybe hide a few blemishes but not be caked on to the point where she looks completely different without it. And now I am off topic.
    CP, I do agree with you that men must also keep themselves fit, healthy and dressed well. Its a two way street.

  17. Karen Avatar

    I’d like to raise a quibble concerning the underlying assumption behind the DG’s original post here.

    Why is it so always terrible if we’re dating someone, and they decide it’s not working and end it? Why do we have to heap abuse upon the man (or woman) who does this? Why do we think it’s weird if they cut off seeing us? Do we think they have to get in a tremendous fight with us first? Because a huge fight–that’s pretty childish behavior, and most adults are polite enough not to do that.

    Isn’t the point of dating to 1) have fun, and/or 2) to determine compatibility for a long term relationship? If you’re dating for #2, why complain if the man makes and excuse and bails after 6 months? If you don’t know someone at all before you start dating them, 6 months isn’t all that long to get to know them. And at 6 months lots of incompatibilities reveal themselves. Isn’t it better to realize reality and throw him/her back so they can find someone they’re more compatible with? I agree that dating for years and then ending it suddenly is probably unfair, but I don’t think you can blame anyone for ending any relationship after 3-6 months.

    Also–re “going poof”: what do you expect? Isn’t a clean break better? And earlier, when you are first dating, why do you expect the guy to treat you badly if he’s not sure how it’s going to turn out? If a guy treats me badly on the 1st or 2nd or 3rd date, I’m not going to stick around to see if he treats me better after 6 months when he decides that he “really likes me”.

    I’ve had men complain when I’ve cut things off after 3-6 months, saying, “but we always had so much fun! You were always so nice!” But hey, I’m nice to pretty much to everyone all the time (I have manners & I’m a grown up), and I don’t see any reason to be a pill or have a bad time on any date or anytime I’m with someone. I take clients to dinner all the time, and even though I’m not “interested” in them I have enough social skills to make conversation and draw people out, ie I can have a good evening with even the dullest sticks. It’s more fun that way, and I like talking with people and hearing what they have to say–even (gasp!) people I’m not dating.

    I just would like to suggest that the DG and others complaining about the “poof” should think about what they are really saying, and maybe then they’d realize that it’s not a very rational complaint.

  18. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Karen: The point you’re quibbling with was not the point I was making. I think it’s perfectly fine to break up with someone after a number of months when you discover you don’t see a future together. My point was that some people like their lives the way they are, and don’t really want to make room for a relationship.

    Perhaps they don’t realize this until after they have begun a relationship, which then makes it difficult for the person who has invested some time, energy, and emotion into the relationship. Ideally, these people don’t even begin dating so they don’t waste another’s time. But we know that doesn’t happen. Or they think they are ready, then discover they aren’t really that interested in a relationship.

    And regarding going “poof” — that term usually means without any discussion or explanation. The “poofer” usually just disappears, not making contact again. I think midlife daters need to break off a relationship with maturity, by sharing with the other their change of feeling. It shouldn’t be a litany of why the other is a bad person, just that you’ve had a change of heart. This can be a difficult discussion, which is why nearly everyone avoids it. But the few times a man has had the maturity to share with me his change of heart face-to-face, I’ve respected him greatly for it.

  19. Anna Avatar

    Karen, DG’s friend was told that her boyfriend of six months wanted to spend time on his Bridge game instead of her. At best, if this was an excuse, that was childish if indeed he just wanted to break up with her. I am sure she would have preferred to hear the real reason, even if it hurt, she could use that information to improve on future relationships. Or use it to take a sigh and know that she dodged a bullet with this guy. Of course we are entitled to break up with someone always, but handling it in a cowardly manner is never mature. We are not 17 year olds, breaking it off by text. After six months with that guy she deserved more than “I would prefer to play bridge”. As DG points out, going “poof” means literally disappearing off the face of the earth leaving no explanation of what went wrong. Thats not a Clean Break, thats a mean, immature and pathetic thing to do to another fellow human being, I don’t care what problems he/she came up against. A clean break, is a short (and yes uncomfortable but short lived) face to face conversation / explanation and then moving on.

  20. Karen Avatar

    Ok, I think I see what you’re saying now. Yes of course, mature adults should be able to have a face to face conversation when breaking up.

    But in my experience this is harder than it sounds! In my limited experience dating after I was divorced 5 yrs ago, the problems I’ve encountered are:

    1) how can you be honest without destroying a nice guy’s ego? For example, how do you say nicely that you aren’t sexually compatible? Or that his personality is just very annoying? Or that you are tired of editing your vocabulary because he’s not as well read or educated as you are? Or that you can’t stand his kids? Or even that you feel like you’re living in two economically unrelated worlds (ie he makes much less money than you and you can’t see that working out in the long term?) All excellent practical reasons to end a relationship, but what possible good would it do him to hear those excuses?

    2) What do you do if the man doesn’t want to have a mature talk? I dated 2 men who, when I wanted to break it off, basically went ballistic on me in different ways. One started sobbing so hard that he literally halted the entire conversation–I kept waiting for him to pull it together but when he didn’t stop after 30 min I just left. I contacted him the next day to try again, and even on the phone he sobbed so hard that we couldn’t even have a conversation! I resented the emotion overdose–it seemed faked and manipulative, it didn’t match the intensity or length of our dating (which was casual), and it seemed like just an avoidance strategy or like he was trying to make me feel guilty.

    Another man who I’d dated only a couple of months went stalker on me when I said I wanted to break it off. He refused to listen when I tried to explain the reasons, and when I finally just gave up and left, he kept calling and saying I “owed” him an explanation, that I “had” to meet him, and he kept saying I “couldn’t” break up with him, he wouldn’t allow it, etc. Then he showed up at my house and when I let him in he wouldn’t leave–he trapped me in my basement and refused to let me out unless I agreed to keep on seeing him! I finally got out by agreeing to his demand, and then I called the police. He ended up stalking me at home and at my workplace for over a year.

    What difference does it make anyway? If someone wants to break up with me, I really don’t need to hear his reasons. Maybe he thinks I’m too old, too fat, too independent, can’t cook, or doesn’t like my kids. I’d actually rather just have him tell me “it isn’t working out for me, let’s stay friends” which is clear and kind.

  21. SB Avatar

    Everyone has their own particular quirks about breaking up. I agree with Karen’s sentiment that “it isn’t working out” is the most humane method, and personally I go even farther than that!

    I’ve told my boyfriend that if he decides to break up with me, I would prefer it to be by instant messenger because frankly, I’m not interested in giving him the benefit of seeing me cry, looking shocked, or starting a conversation I’m going to regret later. [I would accept e-mail too, although breaking up by text msg is admittedly somewhat strange.] Anyway, I’m more interested in him going “poof” just about as quietly and quickly as possible if he feels the need to turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

    As far as I can tell, the only benefit to a “full explanation” break up is one where the breaker-upper’s mind can be changed. But if my boyfriend decided to end it, then I’m not going to try to change his mind; if he’s decided we’re done I am not going to go crawling on my hands and knees to get him back, regardless of how much I might think I like him now.

    Everyone has his or her own breaking up preferences, though. My boyfriend for reasons I don’t understand, has said that I have to break up with him face to face if I decide to do it. He has some incomprehensible need to see me to know if I “ever cared”. He wants to know that I feel bad about it, I guess (this seems like remarkably little consolation, to me, but to each his own). He wants to know that it was hard for me to do. That I wasn’t just “wasting his time”.

    Go figure.

  22. Richard Avatar

    “My point was that some people like their lives the way they are, and don’t really want to make room for a relationship.

    Or they think they are ready, then discover they aren’t really that interested in a relationship.”

    I wonder if the problem is more fundamental – They don’t know what they want. Or, more precisely, they don’t know what they are willing to give up.

    Every relationship is about compromises. Ideally, you find a soul mate who is compatible in all areas. More likely, you find a potential soul mate, with some potential issues. Is it that they don’t want to make room for a relationship, or that they realize an area of their life is not open for compromise.

    I admit that competitive bridge playing may seem a little shallow. Maybe he discovered that his soul mate is a lady who can be his competitive bridge partner. If he is 55+, and envisions that for his retirement years (vs. golfing), is that a bad thing? I think it would be romantic to see a husband/wife team enjoying their retirement years playing bridge. It will definitely keep their minds sharp.

    “… you’d rather be spending time on a hobby, sport or work than with them?” Maybe it is less “than with them”, than it is finding the soul mate who can share their hobby.

    I’m trying to figure out if I can have a long-term relationship with a vegetarian who does not drink. Two of my life’s pleasures are enjoying fine dining at all types of restaurants, and spending the evening sharing a bottle of wine with my mate. If I break up with her because she cannot share that hobby, is that reason any less shallow?

  23. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Richard: “They don’t know what they want. Or, more precisely, they don’t know what they are willing to give up.” Yes, this is what I was trying to get to. When people tell me they wouldn’t have the patience to go out with 101 men, I say that I’ve learned a lot about what I want — and don’t want. Unfortunately, sometimes that clarity doesn’t come until one has dated someone for a while.

    I don’t think your clarity about your pleasure with dining makes you shallow. However, I would counter that vegetarians can do quite well at fine dining restaurants. I’ve travel abroad with a vegetarian gal pal and it’s never been much of a problem. So why does it matter *what* she eats (or drinks) as long as you are enjoying each other’s company? I’m not a big drinker — maybe having one or two drinks a month. And I’m a picky wine drinker so prefer a soda if wine I like isn’t available. But I usually have a good time, and hopefully my companion does, too, no matter what I’m imbibing.

    I think shallowness is around characteristics that are really minor — “he’s only 5’11 and I wanted a man 6′ or taller;” “her breasts aren’t as big as I like;” “he didn’t graduate from an Ivy League college.”

  24. Karen Avatar

    Richard, as another person who enjoys so much fine wine and dining, particularly with a significant other, I can understand your trepidation! The pleasure isn’t so much in what *you* get to eat/drink, it’s in sharing it. On the other hand, you might want to try exploring vegetarian food with her, because this type of food is often exquisite with it’s emphasis on complex spices and fresh ingredients.

  25. Carol Avatar

    As per Richard

    I agree on the eating part. I met a guy who was a vegetarian. We had to go to where HE could eat, never mind what I wanted to eat. I ended up eating lettuce leaves and raw carrots or pizza with only certain things on…I don’t even like pizza (maybe now and then as a takeaway). This did bug me as I find vegetarians very selfish people and eaters. I would also send him packing.

  26. Mark Avatar

    Richard: If you meet a woman and really care for her, it won’t really matter if she’s a vegetarian and doesn’t drink as long as she doesn’t ask you to change — you’ll want to be with her if you desire to be with anyone. You can always find a friend to experience good wine with.

    About bad breakups: The problem is that when you get dumped and it’s a surprise, you long for some kind of understanding, some closure. Some people are aggressive about trying to get that closure and can cause problems. I think when a couple has been dating for several months, a breakup conversation is warranted if asked for. Few weeks? Nah, just a “Sorry, this isn’t working for me” reason.

    And I agree with DG and others that sometimes people don’t know what they want until they date someone for awhile. My counter to that is if you’re reasonably compatible and you genuinely care for one another, you will try to make it work. Why give up something that is potentially quite good just because it’s not what you think you want?

    What I want now probably won’t be what I want in two years, so I’m willing to compromise on many issues. I’ve dated really poor women and some well-off women. Slender women and overweight women. Very pretty women and plain women. About the only quality I insist on is that they be interesting, i.e., intelligent and engaging.

  27. Candice Avatar

    We can debate forever over this issue. Dating for 6 months is already a bit long and is giving the other person some sort of expectation, to say something like you prefer bridge is a very lame excuse. I tend to break at the latest 3 months, by then you SHOULD know if it is working out or not, unless both are fighting like cat and dog and you both know it is not working then obviously it will not come as a surprise.

    Some people prefer to break quickly and walk away, that way it saves them the stress of having to face the other person especially after 6 months dating, as by then there is intimacy and expectations and the other person (Male or female) will feel very rejected being told off by phone, e.mail or directly to the face. , Some people like my friend, wants to know what she did wrong and why!, a guy she had been dating for 3 months sent her an e.mail saying it was over…she cried the whole night, phoned him, smsed him wanting to know WHY!! and as much as I have dumped men by just not returning their calls especially after a night together, realise it must hurt them or their ego’s, still feel it was better, as how do you tell him I did not like waking up next to you the next morning?? rather even though we are mature, just withdraw and leave it at that, he can figure it out for himself anyway. Why still spell it out to him.

    I also find the person who is dumped tends to become the stalker or remains obsessed with the one that dumped them. Sometimes not, but most people struggle to handle rejection. It is only human. Just don’t start stalking, rather move on and meet new people.

    We are all going to get hurt at some point in our lives, it is something we have to accept, how one deals with breaking up is different for everyone, we not all the same.

  28. Richard Avatar

    Candace: “he can figure it out for himself anyway. ” If you mean “why you broke off the relationship”, I beg to differ. If he doesn’t tell you, how would you know his reason is: “I’d rather play bridge”?

    At one level, I’d like to know the real reason(s). That way, if I see a pattern, I know I should probably work on that. For instance, there are stories about some ladies that become quite clingy very early in the relationship. If her last 10 relationships broke off for that reason, maybe that is a sign she should work on it.

    But, if you want to know, you have to be prepared to know. Don’t use it as an excuse to see the other person one last time to change their mind. Limit the sobbing. Etc. So, how do you know when the person really wants to know, and should you be completely honest if they ask?

    I remember a college girlfriend dumped me. I don’t know why, other than she met someone else. About a year later, we graduated and worked in the same city. Her other relationship ended, and we went out on a date. It wasn’t the same, and that was the end. If she was willing to try again, what was the reason?

    Regarding vegetarians: I think there is a difference between “finding a place to eat”, and the restaurant as a destination for enjoying the evening. If we go to a steak or seafood restaurant, I would feel odd enjoying a prime rib while she had the one pasta dish on the menu. I know there are good vegetarian places – I love Indian food. I’m also looking forward to learning a whole new style of cooking. Veggies tend to be a side dish for me. Now to learn to make them the main course. Fortunately, she eats eggs and cheese. It gives me a more to work with. Maybe this is how I can finally loose those pesky extra pounds.

    Mark: She is not asking me to change. She even said that she has cooked meat for her friends. It is just odd if I don’t change. Eating a meal with someone who keeps kosher is awkward enough when it happens once in a while. But, when it happens every day, one needs to adapt. I’m thinking I’ll keep vegetarian at home, and get my meat fix for lunch at work. She is happy with that.

    Regarding alcohol: Before I come off seeming like a lush, I was just using wine as an example. I’m like DG, a drink once or twice a month. I would not miss it, although I need to finish off my limited wine collection (or save it for cooking). One benefit: More storage space for all my kitchen gadgets.

    DG: “Unfortunately, sometimes that clarity doesn’t come until one has dated someone for a while.” – Now that you are at #101, have you had second thoughts about what you thought you wanted, and broke up with #1 about?

  29. Candice Avatar

    Hi Richard

    If a guy breaks it off with me, after 3 months I will know he did not care enough and also did not find us compatible. Surely when you date you speak to each other and will seethe signs of loss of interest on his part or your part. If however, you can’t keep your hands off each other, he comes around often, you see each other weekends……you would imagine that things are ok. I know of so many marriages where the people have been married for 15 to 20 years, fight, disagree on things, have things that irritate each other, but they don’t just go “poof”….nobody is perfect and sooner or later we are going to irritate each other. It is loving that other person that makes you make allowances for their small annoying ways. Imagine if we all divorsed or walked out because of little things that annoy us???? No relationship or marriage is “perfect” and live happily ever after……heavens, if only!!

    I feel that 6 months is not too long, but also definitely not a short time for someone to say “bridge” is more important….that was something he should have figured out in 3 months. I personally feel he was not ready to commit to HER. The strange thing with men I find….they (the divorsed one’s) always speak of how jealous their ex wives were and they could just not handle this…..yet they tell you on the 1st date they they believe if they find a girl on the dating site that they like and start dating, she should not feel offended if he still stays active on the site and goes on meeting and chatting to other woman as “Friends”, my reply is (as I am very aloof and detached by nature), I think you are 100% right, I think woman and men should date as many people as they like , even if they are “so called dating”……..I can also still date men when I don’t see him….just in case I meet someone else I like better. This really cheesed the men off as it was “it’s OK for us men to do this, but not for a woman….she must be loyal”….hello are they brain dead or plain nuts, why must I waste 6 months on a man who can’t make up his mind, stays on the internet…..and I’m supposed to be loyal during this time…..and possibly dumped after 6 months as he then finds he has met ‘THE ONE”.

    No….I think the problem is that most men are so afraid to commit, yet I find that they are the jealous ones in a relationship, they are the insecure ones always asking why am I home later than normal, why was I not home when he phoned my landline, why was his friend talking with me to one side…..who is now the clingly jealous one…….not me!!!

    I think as men and woman get to 40, they just become plain difficult, non commital, critical, fault finding….they have lost that passion and romance that the young lovers in their 20’s still have, the need to have a partner, marry and have a family…….it’s lost after a divorse, and a couple of kids down the line……they have become hard and bitter and don’t just fall in love, but rather sit and analyse and pull down.

    Right now I am off any dating site, I find the men are hyper sensitive, especially when they are your height and shorter……..if you are feeling ill and ask to be excused after sitting chatting with him for 3 hours, have a bad strep throat and politely thank him for a cup of coffee, you get a little sms saying “Was it such a strain for you to be in my company”, this after you told him you were not feeling well, yet still met him, and sat and chatted for 3 hours. Personally, I feel men have become soft, don’t know how to court a woman properly, worry too much about their ego’s and being hurt…and this is the male over 40.

    I find the men in their 30’s so much more bold, confident and fun to be with….no wonder so many 40 year old woman go for 35 year old men, they still have zest for life and are exciting.

    I’m now done with this topic and analysing what went wrong with “Poof”….lets move onto something more interesting….this is now becoming boring and we all going in circles here.

  30. Mark Avatar

    Candice, you’ve been dating some losers it sounds like.

    One point you made is interesting, that of the idea of dating several people at the same time. That’s great on paper, but I’ve never been able to pull that off with any degree of success. It seems like if sex is introduced, it’s automatically exclusive from then on, and sex tends to happy pretty fast.

  31. Mike Lowrey Avatar

    Lol, side notes:
    Richard/DG: one glass per month? So are you trying to say…going through 3 (1.75L) bottles over these past two holiday weeks is bad? lol.

    Mark: you’re not applying yourself enough.
    In my opinion:
    pleasing one woman is easy, pleasing several at the same time is a gift.

    Back to the subject at hand.

    Everyone is different. I’m not so sensitive about breakups.
    (probably because I’ve done most of the breaking up)
    When I was like 16, yeah I needed to know why my first love broke up with me. But since then, damn if I care why…I grew up.

    Some folks are extra sensitive and need closure.
    They want to better themselves for the next relationship.
    They need to understand what went wrong.

    In my world, what went wrong is that someone doesn’t want to be with me and that’s all I would need to know.

    Sometimes there isn’t an answer, folks should stop looking for the magical (JFK) bullet that killed your relationship.
    Maybe just move on, and save yourself some grief.
    Chances are there isn’t anything wrong with you, the issue may be that the person you picked to date is an idiot.

    Pardon me if I’m a little more hostile today,
    I haven’t had my morning or afternoon glasses of wine yet.
    I’m a mess until then 😉

  32. Candice Avatar

    Hi Mark

    I have been dating losers….I just seem to draw them to me.

    I am not into one night stands, neither do I just jump into bed too soon until I am at least sure I can actually be with this man, I must at least date him and get some sort of feeling for him, before I can actually get sexual with him. I really don’t know how some men and woman can do it the 1st or 2nd date, to me it takes the “dating spark” out so quickly….like main meal and desert all in the 1st 10 minutes….what intrigue is left??

    I do agree that you not going to go and commit to someone that you’re not sexually and mentally compatible with, thats why I like to1st get to know the man, see his sense of humour, how he handles himself in public and around friends, then from there move on to the more intimate side. And the 2nd date is definitely way too soon. Now I know ALL men are going to disagree with me on this point…….

    I also can’t bring myself todate multiple men at the same time, I’d forget their names and how many kids they each have…… when men tell me this, I just wonder how they do it……….

    I think people should maybe say after 3 to 6 months, we are boyfriend and girlfriend….so that there is no confusion as to are they exclusive or just hanging out having sex until someone better pops up. Maybe we should all be more open and tell the person where they stand, and if then it breaks up due to irritating brat kids or just for whatever reason, maybe just tell the person WHY? give closure to the relationship and move on. Maybe it is better to rather tell that person (how they will react, well that’s another story) .

    As Richard mentioned, it can at least let one see (guy or gal) what pattern they are making wrong in a relationship……clingly etc.

    I am not impressed with internet dating, I have found that that is where I have met the strangest men with the most hang ups……. guys I have met at parties, functions etc totally unexpected are the ones that have actually counted in my life

  33. Candice Avatar

    One thing that bothers me..We have a male friend on the dating site for the last 10 years. He brags that he apparently beds every date the 1st meeting or 2nd meeting. The he looses interest as he says he got Main course and Desert all at one go!!

    Yet a woman who held out on him for at least 4 dates, he dumped cos he did not get it fast enough and felt she was playing games….I mean “Hello”….maybe she was trying to not be a notch on his bed post and wanted to see that if he really liked her for who she was and not just being an easy lay (whereby he would in anycase go “Poof”) he would stick around.

    Do men ever consider…they mention they do not like cheap and promiscious women, but if a woman jumps into bed with you the 1st or 2nd date, she has done it with many men before you and how many men has she done this with before she gets to you….what kind of woman is that, (someone just not paid for it) sure she will tell you to flatter your ego…”Oh I’ve never done this before, there must be something about you” yeah right!!!!

    A lot of men feel so flattered by a 1st night date landing in bed, they think it’s the chemistry that was so overwhelming from her side, but alas, so then does every man.

    Don’t you think if you find that you like a woman, no sex yet, like her appearance, chatting to her and just being with her, going on a couple of dates together and then move on to the next stage (intimacy), it could have a better chance of working, as you already sort of know her personality and like what you see. Is it not boring if you get everything at one go before you even know her, does the spark of dating and anticipation on what will be next not more exciting. Have we as over 40 year old’s become so boring, that things must be so adult, no excitment left in the dating game. I know…personally, I would lose interest in a man if I had him the 1st date, as I don’t really know him yet got so intimate with him, without having any feelings yet for him, I think it would kill whatever intrigue there could have been….

    Maybe I’m a woman preditor……but to me the chase is more exciting, holding out that little longer, I would feel rather slutty bedding everyman I met the 1st or 2nd date….that would add up to a lot of men, which would make me feel no better than a “HO”, at least I might have met many men, but not slept with them all, only the ones that figured in may life and kept coming back after having to wait for me to be ready. Those I can count on my one hand, and were relationships.

    Now I want to know ….what is a man’s take on this…..Mark, Richard and Mike???

  34. Mark Avatar


    I don’t ever expect a woman to go to bed with me on a first or second date. I really have little in the way of expectations.

    Let me put it this way: If I’ve dated a woman for awhile, say a couple of months, and she’s reluctant to even get into a hot and heavy makeout session, then I’m going to wonder if she’s actually interested in me.

    It’s not that it’s about sex, but it shouldn’t take weeks and weeks to determine if there’s any physical chemistry, and as much as you can like a person, I think when we date we’re ultimately looking for someone compatible in the bedroom as well as outside it.

    I don’t mind waiting, but I do want some signals.

    And, conversely, if a woman wants to get intimate right away and I like her, I don’t think adversely of her. It’s never happened on a first or second date for me, though. And I’ve never really pushed for it. I expect the woman to let me know in the ways you women can let us men know. (I put my arm around you and you cuddle up to me, and I know you like my arm around you. I kiss you and you hold the kiss and respond to it, and I know you like kissing me. Then we’re on the same page.)

  35. Richard Avatar

    Sex on the 1st or 2nd date is wrong (if your intention is to meet “the one”). By sex, I mean going all the way. There is a natural development of relationships, and having sex stops it cold in its tracks. You need time for the psychological connection to intertwine before you physically intertwine. Dating at 40 needs to start out like dating at 20. There are no shortcuts (except that you may be better at reading people at 40).

    That’s not to say you can’t kiss on the first date. That’s a nice sign that there is interest. Also, as the relationship develops, there can be increased intimacy. A passionate make-out session on the couch is a great way to end a date. But, keep your clothes on.

    I think dating after 40 is different than dating at 20 when you have a committed relationship. Then you can start exploring the long-term compatibility. We tell kids to save it for marriage. While it is the right message, the message has a big flaw: What if they are not sexually compatible? At 40+, I think we have the emotional maturity to be able to handle the exploration, and the manage the risks.

    Do I think badly of women who sleep on the 1st date? No. I just think they haven’t thought through the implications, and do what they need to do for the long-term goal (best way to find and win “the one”).

    I also find it hard to date multiple women at the same time. Or, more precisely, to date someone else when I am seriously dating a woman. When I am seriously dating a woman, my free time is hers. If she wants to go see the new movie coming out on Friday, it is really hard for me to say “Sorry, I’m taking someone else out to dinner on Friday”.

    Eventually, you have to say: I need to put our relationship on hold while I figure out my relationship with another woman. If it doesn’t work out, we can pick up where we left off. It is hard to recover from that.

    Best to have a few “feelers” in the pipeline (not that type of feeler), and develop them one at a time.

  36. Richard Avatar

    “Maybe I’m a woman preditor……but to me the chase is more exciting, holding out that little longer,”

    Actually, most guys are like predators. Once they capture the game, they are on to the next hunt. Thus, the lady needs to keep the guy chasing her. That’s the way to turn a quick hunt into a long-term chase.

    BTW: It would be awesome if lady kept it up even after marriage. A little flirting in the morning, when he responds, tell him: “not till tonight”. Build up the anticipation.

  37. Mitsy Avatar

    “And I agree with DG and others that sometimes people don’t know what they want until they date someone for awhile. My counter to that is if you’re reasonably compatible and you genuinely care for one another, you will try to make it work. Why give up something that is potentially quite good just because it’s not what you think you want?”

    Wow! This was a very interesting thread. I read all of the responses in one sitting. There are several things I can comment on, but let me first agree with Mark’s quote above. That, in a nutshell, was what seemed to happen to me a lot with the online dating. Most of the men I met did not seem to know what they wanted. To me, 6 months is a long enough time to know if you have chemistry, it’s long enough to know if you want that person in your life for any length of time. If you find out something that is a deal-breaker for you during that time, then I think the person breaking up owes the other person an explanation. I won’t begin to say that I have the perfect break-up formula. Going “poof” to me is wrong unless there have only been a couple dates. If you have been seeing each other regularly for several months or more, then the mature thing to do is be honest (within reason). If it’s something small but irritating (like the sniffing deal), you don’t have to flat-out say that, but I bet a white lie would be better than going “poof”.

    What I’ve said many times is that I believe when you are 40 and over, that you can be a bit more honest and a bit more mature than you could be in your 20’s. I was shocked at the number of over 40 men who seemed to have no idea of what they wanted in life but yet they also didn’t seem to want to make room for a woman either. They were very set in their ways and I’m the same way to a degree, but the difference is that if you know you can’t live with someone else, then it’s wrong to date someone who you know is wanting marriage or wants to move in with someone. That part is where the “player” description comes in. They date to keep someone on the string or just so they get regular sex. Oftentimes, a woman (or man) feels used when deep down the other person knows they aren’t willing to compromise for their significant other. So, don’t play games w/people. If you have 3-6 months invested with someone, then man up or woman up with them and they won’t be talking about you on a web site later.

    It sounds like bridge playing guy was lame to me and I tend to agree with some others that it was an excuse that was far from the truth. Unless his date was asking him to give up the game, then I don’t see the conflict. I think relationships have lasting power where you don’t have to have ALL the same interests. I think he didn’t have the guts to be truthful but I would have no clue as to what turned him off. Goddess’ friend likely feels kind of discarded and I can’t say that I’d blame her.

    Nothing is perfect and there is no magic way of breaking up with someone without some amount of hurt. THAT is why people need to be cautious about their interactions and not play games if they know early on it won’t work. Physical chemistry is usually known after the first date or two, so after that, it needs to be more than you just can’t get past their looks. :0 No matter what, considering the other person’s feelings should be important.