I never would have thought of this question, but a friend suggested it as a way of discussing the desire to step up a dating relationship, without it just happening willy nilly in the heat of the moment. I pondered what I’d say if I were asked. Answers did not pour forth, but only came after some concerted thinking. Not that I’ve ever had a man come even remotely close to asking. If I have shared criteria in the past, guys typically try to talk me out of them.
But I realize I’d never asked a man this question either. It has never seemed to be an issue, with most men rushing toward intimacy, so I imagine the answer would be “a willing woman.” OK, maybe I’m a tad jaded.
I gathered up the courage to ask a man I’d been dating three months. He said, “I want to be in love with you.” Wow! I’d never heard a man be so clear. I couldn’t help think it sounded more like something a woman would say. (Yes, I know this is stereotypical.) We then discussed what we each needed to feel comfortable with various steps along the way. I agreed with nearly all of his and he mine.
It was freshing to hear a man talk about taking our time, building a strong foundation first. He was aware of the ramifications and potential hurt caused by entering a sexual relationship before both parties are solidly connected. Of course, some people don’t need that emotional connection, but he realized he does and that the women he’s dated in the past have, so he’s conscientious about it.
This conversation was so revealing and helpful that I’ve now added this question to my repertoire for after dating a guy for a while. And if he isn’t able to come up with his criteria, I offer mine first so he knows I’m clear. There is less opportunity for persuading as he knows my boundaries and if he tries to dissuade me from them, it will tell me all I need to know about his respect — or lack thereof — for mine. And if I try to persuade him, I am disrespecting his values.
Have you asked anything similar to this? If so, how did it work? Do you have a different phrasing of the question?
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