At dinner with 3 other midlife dating women, one asked for input on a situation.
She’d gone out with a man three times. While she said she enjoyed his company, she didn’t feel any romantic attraction. He’d asked her to call him when she returned from a recent trip, which she had that day.
She didn’t want to call him. She said, “What would I say? That I didn’t want to go out with him again? That seems dumb and hurtful. If I don’t call him, won’t he get the message?”
We all agreed that the easy way out was not to call him. But the easy way was not the right way.
All of us had experienced men going poof and none of us liked it. Especially if we’d gone out with someone several times. We all felt it was disrespectful.
Her not calling him is not only disrespecting him, it is, in fact, disrespecting her. Anytime we don’t act the way we know is “right,” we ignore our own moral compass. I said that I wanted to behave in a way that had me respect my own actions, even when they involved something that was uncomfortable or difficult.
I think we all want to respect ourselves and feel we are acting with character. The dictionary defines that as “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual; a person’s good reputation.” Many of us have been told that character is doing what is right when no one is looking.
We need to have character in dating, whether we call it that or integrity, backbone, uprightness, moral strength, or something else. We get frustrated when the men we date don’t personify these traits. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to — for our own self-respect.
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