When midlife daters have shared about their unfulfilling multi-month or -year relationships, I’ve asked why they stayed. After complaining about their former sweetie’s selfishness, immaturity, miserliness, controlling, and/or downright meanness it seems to me you’d be a fool to stay in this relationship. I’m astonished when I hear a commonly cited reason for staying: “The sex was good.”
What is this hold that good sex has over many people that they will stay in a bad relationship just because of it? Are they so fearful they won’t find a good mate and good sex that they languish with someone who’s not a good fit because of this scarcity mentality?
Before online dating, many midlife daters report it was difficult to meet someone to go out with. After the usual sources of friends, work, church, gym, classes, singles events and the grocery store produce section, there was not a steady stream of potential mates to be found. So it seems people would cling to whomever met at least a minimum standard. And for some that minimum standard was good sex.
Both men and women have told me they want to be in the sack with someone early on to see if there is sexual compatibility. (See “An excuse to seduce.”) While I think this is important, I believe it is more important to have overall compatibility. As I shared in “Would you like the recipe to seduce me” and “Sharing your sexual owner’s manual with him,” “good sex” is something that is different for everyone so, to some degree, must be learned.
So why would you stay with someone just because of something that can be learned — and taught — assuming your partner has an interest in learning as well as teaching? To me it would be like staying with someone who is a good cook. While it’s great to have someone who already knows how to cook your favorite dishes, if he doesn’t but is really interested in learning, most can learn what will please you.
I better understand why people have an eight- or ten-date, or 3-month sex rule. It helps you know if you are really a good fit before making the plunge. And it will prevent you staying with someone who isn’t a good match just because of the sex.
Have you stayed in a not-great relationship just because of good sex? If so, share what your thinking was.
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