Dating as sport

I spent some time recently with a mid-50s, never-married, long-time friend. He’s been in relationships lasting a few years, but never found someone he wanted to be with long term.

But he does love women and he loves to date. He had 3 dates last weekend with different women. He said he liked all of them but only planned to see one of them again. And he had another set of women lined up for the following week.

I asked why he didn’t just focus on one.

He said he loved taking out beautiful, interesting women. It was a form of entertainment for him.

When I pointed out he was probably leaving a stream of broken hearts in his wake, he said he never led anyone on. If he didn’t see having a second date, he told them. He never made overtures that made it seem he was interested in a woman long term if he wasn’t.

I walked away from the conversation thinking, “He sees dating as a sport — a form of recreation.” Then I realized I’d been there too, when I was just beginning to date.

I met up with 45 men the year I started dating. One week, I had 7 dates with 6 guys in 5 days.

Yes, I, too, enjoyed meeting interesting guys. I liked earning about the variety of men I was encountering. I liked the attention I was getting from most of them. I liked feeling attractive and never knowing if the next guy could be a beau. So I understand the allure.

In reflection after my conversation with my friend, I wonder if when we’re in this mode, we ought to communicate that we’re just dating for fun right now. I know he’d say, “But I am looking for the one” and I would say the same thing.

But when on the receiving end, and a first (and perhaps subsequent dates) goes well, I build up my hopes that more will unfold. And if the guy is just in it for some fun and then disappears, I feel mislead.

So I don’t know the best way to deal with it when you’re in sport dating mode. What is your experience? What have you done when you’re in this mode? And what would you like to happen if someone you’ve begun dating is in this mode?


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3 responses to “Dating as sport”

  1. Almita Avatar

    I think a big difference is that your “recreational dating” was short term whereas your friend’s “recreational dating” has gone on for 40 years!

    Yes, I would definitely appreciate if a man who was “dating for fun” told me so up front (or stated it in their profile, in the case of online dating). Then, I wouldn’t waste my time with him!

  2. Alexandra Avatar

    It would be nice if a person who you’re just starting to date would tell you the truth about their intentions. It is only fair that you should know in advance, so you don’t make expectations that would never be met and would only leave you disapointed and mislead.

  3. Blaine Avatar

    The key is to ask questions. It doesn’t have to be an interrogation. But you should be asking questions – in particular, ask, “What are you looking for?” That will usually reveal some interesting information for you to decide whether the guy is worth your time.