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Thread: Project Dating!

  1. #91
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ian4996
    That's good! How do you find it better?
    A number of reasons.

    It sounds funny, but the whole thing is just more chill, more fun, while also having much more depth. I like that the foundation of our meeting, courtship, and now early months of being together in partnership-building mode wasn't all built around the big, abstract, often pressurized questions of whether or not we'd get married and have kids. Those questions have never been so important to me, but they are for many, understandably, especially when you get into my/your age group.

    Her focus, much like mine, has been on the depth of a connection, letting it develop and expand naturally without some hard rule of where it all needs to go by date x. If we were meant to just be lovers, that's how it would have gone. Ditto if we were just meant to be friends. There was/is a kind of openness to letting the true story become the story, rather than each of us jockeying to make our story the story. Weirdly it reminds me a bit of dating when I was much younger, when everything was about the present tense, but with the added level of maturity, ease, and intentionality that comes with being in your mid and late 30s.

    The kid component also invariably acts as a kind of pacemaker. That wouldn't work for a lot of people, but really worked, and works, for us. Together and as individuals. We didn't even have the option of doing that thing people do when the butterflies and flapping and hormones raging, where you kind of jump into a hole together, spend nearly every day together, and emerge from that phase a little dizzy, a little overwhelmed. Given the chemistry between us, there's a good chance we could have gone there, possibly overloading the ship just as it was setting off. But alas, not possible.

    Don't get me wrong. We saw, and see, each other a lot. She has an awesome relationship with her ex: no drama, split custody; won't go into details, but you couldn't ask for a better situation in my shoes. There were just hard boundaries right from the start, and boundaries, I think, breed respect. They also allow things to develop at a pace more constructive to sustainability.

    And, of course, there is an amazing human being—her child—who I'm also now getting to know. I am flat-out adoring that part of things in ways that surprise me daily, allowing me to discover parts of myself I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. I'm a child of a powerhouse single mom, so I have a built-in respect for the whole thing—good instincts all around, according to my girlfriend. It's very natural, which isn't to say I'm thirsty to establish myself as some towering role in her child's life. Probably the opposite. I know the rules in my bones. I was that kid.

    There are a lot of ways in which I could see it not working for a lot of people, especially with a tense co-parenting relationship or, well, a handful of a kid. An infant/toddler could be tricky, as could a teenager, in terms of there being room for the fireworks to go off without a hitch. If you need a lot of attention—well, not for you. If you need to feel like someone is obsessed with you, and you only, 24/7—ditto. But if you are turned on, impressed, and inspired by someone who has taken on maybe the most emotionally complex responsibility in life, and who cherishes her place in the world on her own—well, it just brings some serious magic to the table.

    My few cents.

  2. #92
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    That's interesting and does sound like a good arrangement. I think there's a world of difference between what your girlfriend has (one child and a good custody arrangement with a sane ex) than what Casey has (4 kids, 2 of them babies, with 2 'problem' exes). The thing is, the apps' search functions don't distinguish between the 2 situations, it's simply 'kids' or 'no kids'!

    Those questions have never been so important to me, but they are for many, understandably, especially when you get into my/your age group.

    Same, I don't have a strong opinion either way on marriage and kids. If I was with someone long-term to whom these things were important, I could do them. But equally, if my partner was of the 'marriage is a waste of money and I can't stand kids' mindset, I'd have no problem with that either. I know it might seem strange to be sat on the fence on such big issues but that is just how I am.

    Updates (Friday 6th & Saturday 7th September)

    Went out with Emily Friday night with a few others to the comedy night at my local (3rd date). Afterwards, me and her went to another venue nearby where we started making out. She then came back to mine for 10 minutes while she waited for her taxi and things became quite physical. She's now away for a week but she's been texting me quite provocatively and has told me straight up that she wants to have sex when she gets back.

    At the moment, I'm kind of unsure where I want it to go with Emily. She's good fun, we have good banter and I definitely want to sleep with her. But I've got a tendency to compare how I felt about other women after x dates. So for example, after 3 dates with J, I felt head over heels, I was walking around on Cloud 9. Same with another girl, Carrie, who I dated a decade ago. These are the 2 girls I felt I was in love with at the time and, with both of them, I was looking at nobody else after 3 dates, I had no interest in anyone else at all. With Emily at the moment, I'm looking forward to the next date with her. But at the same time, I'm not walking around on Cloud 9 and I am still looking at other women (I have a 1st date with a girl, Lisa, this evening, for example). The question on my mind is 'does not feeling really strongly about someone after 3 dates mean I'm never going to feel that way? Or with some people, do they develop more slowly over time?' I'm not 100% sure of this myself at the moment.

    Anyway, upcoming dating: as mentioned above, drink scheduled with Lisa this evening, although she's texted me this morning saying she's a bit delicate. I've asked her to let me know as soon as she can whether she'll be ok to meet. Nothing scheduled until next weekend after tonight although to be fair, I'm working til 9pm each night, which will limit my options anyway.

  3. #93
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Fun night!

    I have mixed feelings on the Cloud 9 stuff. It's not really a state I get to quickly, at least not since my late teens. I don't think that's a bad thing. To me it's a sign of becoming more secure in your own skin, in your own life, and more cozy in the reality of living and more interested in a certain kind of sincerity in connection rather than needing the drug of fantasies to get through the day. So ideally, you could say, the assent to Cloud 9 is a bit slower with maturity, with the major bonus that your ascending to is not some state of hormonal intoxication but something realer, more sustainable. I feel more on Cloud 9 today with my girlfriend than I did yesterday, certainly more than I did after three dates, exciting as that time was. It's like our ground is the clouds, that the sense of groundedness produces the butterflies, if that makes sense.

    That said, you of course want to be thrilled, compelled, intrigued. So it's a balance. My advice would be to try not to think about it all too much, trusting these answers will reveal themselves in time. If the right synapses aren't being lit, if you're kind of forcing it or going with it more for primal reasons than the full spectrum, time will tell you. Will tell her too, of course. That you're still swiping, meeting up, not closing those doors is...well, it's just that. Not really a verdict on anything, but simply how you're going about dating and living at this juncture. That can be very healthy. Where it can get a little questionable, in my opinion, is if you're swiping/exploring because you're just hooked on the buzz of all that or using it to avoid a certain state of vulnerability—within—that is essential for deep connecting. But time reveals all that as well.

    Sounds like we have basically the exact same attitude about marriage and kids. My emphasis has always been on an idea of partnership—a certain feeling of connection that is built as much from emotional and pheromonal juju as it is a shared value system and approach to living. Someone I could imagine living alongside while feeling a certain way inside myself and about her, about us. If that state of being evolved into marriage and kids, great. If not, equally great. Always found that hard to express without sounding like a non-committal Peter Pan. Alas, found someone on the same page. Ironically, in finding that things that often gave me hiccups—those questions of marriage and kids and cohabitation—are now very easy and fun for me to contemplate, down the line, knowing they wouldn't come in order to give it all a serious stamp of validation but would be products of a very serious connection.

  4. #94
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    My personal litmus test -I kept dating the person as long as by the 4th date I had the desire to kiss him and/or had kissed him and felt a spark. I did not need to feel on cloud 9. I know of many happy couples very much in love who were not on cloud 9 at first, plus many who were, plus many who crashed and burned.

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  6. #95
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    the ascent to Cloud 9 is a bit slower with maturity, with the major bonus that your ascending to is not some state of hormonal intoxication but something realer, more sustainable

    Yeah that's something I was considering myself - am I now less inclined to feel that mad infatuation very quickly because I'm learning to slow myself down rather than diving in head first, like I have in the past. I think you're right, it is a case of just see how things go over a period of a bit longer than 3 dates.

    Where it can get a little questionable, in my opinion, is if you're swiping/exploring because you're just hooked on the buzz of all that

    To be honest, I'm definitely not feeling any kind of swiping buzz. I'm actually lacking quite a bit of swiping motivation and have barely swiped or started any new conversations over the past couple of days. I might do tomorrow though - I've got some free time this weekend I feel that exchanging a few quick messages around Wednesday time works well for setting up a quick weekend meet. Leaving it later means weekend plans have already been made, much earlier and it kind of feels too far in advance (I've found that the dates arranged over a week in advance are the most likely ones to cancel).

    My personal litmus test -I kept dating the person as long as by the 4th date I had the desire to kiss

    If that was my litmus test, almost everyone (who I've been on dates with) would pass!

    Being totally honest here, I'll happily kiss (and more) with someone purely based on physical attraction even if we don't have a great connection and little in common. I think maybe men and women are wired a little bit differently in this way. When it comes to actually dating though, my standards are quite different, the connection definitely has to be there.

    I know of many happy couples very much in love who were not on cloud 9 at first, plus many who were, plus many who crashed and burned.

    That's good. It's good to know that the overwhelming immediate cloud 9 feeling isn't necessarily essential. I think that because, I've never had that slow ascent to being 'in love' (the 2 times I have felt 'in love', I felt that way almost immediately), this has clouded my judgement a little bit in the past and made me think 'if I don't feel that way about someone immediately, I never will'.

    Updates (Sunday 8th Sept - Tuesday 10th Sept)

    Had a drink with Lisa Sunday night. It was a lot of fun and we were laughing a lot but she texted me this evening with a 'really enjoyed your company but there was no chemistry for me' message. I would've seen her again myself but hey ho.
    Other than that, not a lot to report! Emily's away, I've been working til 9pm and barely been swiping / messaging! Exchanging messages and thinking of things to message to a new person feels like quite a lot of effort at the mo! I probably will make a bit of an effort tomorrow though!

  7. #96
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    Of course- your standards are your standards and if you believe that only the cloud nine from the beginning people have potential to be the one then limit your dating in that way - you can limit it in any way you wish! What I meant by desire to kiss was that if I liked the person but I didn't feel attracted enough to kiss him by the 4th date I didn't keep dating even though I liked him as a person. If I didn't like him as a person I didn't see him again even if I felt a physical attraction because my only purpose in dating was to find a husband.

  8. #97
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    if you believe that only the cloud nine from the beginning people have potential to be the one then limit your dating in that way

    For clarity, that's how I've felt in the past, not what I believe now. Maybe I didn't explain that quite well enough.

  9. #98
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    Originally Posted by Ian4996
    if you believe that only the cloud nine from the beginning people have potential to be the one then limit your dating in that way

    For clarity, that's how I've felt in the past, not what I believe now. Maybe I didn't explain that quite well enough.
    I understand -it wasn't clear to me that you're thinking of reevaluating your approach. Sounds like you want to!

  10. #99
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Some more Cloud 9 thoughts:

    Thinking about my own life, I'm not even sure, as I said, that with maturity comes a slower ascension to the clouds. My two healthiest relationships, starting at 23 and 31, were with women I knew for a good bit before we even got romantic. One worked in my office for a bit, another was friend of a friend. So there were a lot of non-romantic, non-pressurized hangs—months—before that "click" happened. I found them both captivating and attractive, in the abstract, but neither were occupying much hormonal and emotional real estate in my mind—until, of course, they were. And then it was with a sonic boom.

    This is where dating apps are tricky. People are thirsty for the boom. Thirsty to find a husband or wife, thirsty for a casual fling, thirsty of attention. Different intentions, but a high level of thirst. Nature of the beast, just like people on LinkedIn are thirsty for a new job. There is a subtle "results driven" mindset that pervades, with everyone kind of gauging things from minute one: Is this my husband? Are we going to kiss? Speaking in broad brushstrokes, dates that provide some vision of a "yes" to these questions, ideally within an hour, are "good dates." Those that don't are "so-so" or even "bad."

    Very confusing. Very limiting.

    Guess my point is to say that I don't think becoming "mature" is learning to call a more muted color spectrum Technicolor; at the end of the day, my best relationships, including the one I'm in now, have triggered that high-voltage, adolescent-like sensation. I think that should be valued, never written off as "immaturity."

    I also think patience comes in handy and can be cultivated by channeling that thirst, whatever it is, a bit differently. Rather than thinking along the lines of kisses and partnership, maybe start with an excitement to get to know new people. Makes those 3rd and 5th dates when you're still a little uncertain pretty exciting, you know? Gives room for breathing, rather than assessing and analyzing, and I think the Cloud 9 stuff can come out of that room.

    Maybe it's just me. I don't have a history of "crushing hard" on people, of chasing that drug, and I'm generally very comfortable sitting with some uncertainty. I don't need answers to "where is this going" for a good long time, regardless of whether I'm being physically intimate, which is generally pretty quick, or not, which is also fine. The main question I'm asking is "Do I want to see this person one more time?" and if the answer is yes that's more than enough. It is, if you think about it, kind of everything—when, of course, the other person is also thinking "yes."

    Anyhow, just something to think about.

  11. #100
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    Yeah, there's some very good points in there. I definitely agree about the dating apps making you gauge and judge things much quicker and I do like the 'do I want to see this person one more time?' as a good question for keeping you in the present rather than thinking too far in the future.

    Updates (Wed 11th - Sat 14th September)

    Stayed at Emily's Thursday night and we had sex a few times. She got back from being away early evening and invited me round after I'd finished work. I won't write much about the act itself as, even though it's anonymous on here, I do still see the details as a private matter.

    In terms of dating, not much else to report. I'd had a date arranged with a girl, Steph, last night but she bailed the day before with a 'poorly family member' and so 'not got the time to invest right now in messaging people and meeting up'.
    I did send out a few messages on Tinder on Wednesday but most didn't reply and the ones that did haven't come to much. I also got chatting to a girl while out walking my dog on Thursday. She was lovely and we had a really good chat for about 5 minutes - I regretted afterwards not asking for her number or her Facebook - I felt a bit too awkward to make that shift from 'pleasant daytime interaction', which was within my comfort zone, to actually asking for some contact details, which was definitely outside of that zone!

    In general, over the past few days, I've been feeling a little bit downbeat in general. Not really for any specific reason, just feeling a bit generally negative. My focus at the moment is trying to get a smile on my face. I find that when I'm in a good place, the dating stuff follows a bit easier - I enjoy the messaging and the interactions etc, whereas when I'm in not quite such a good place, it feels like a huge effort. Even writing this journal feels like an effort when I'm a bit downbeat, hence why I've not updated it for a few days. Not feeling quite so bad this evening though.

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