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Is this just what "compromise" is?


SonicHighway
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I've had a weird last couple of months. So, it started when I developed strong feelings for my best friend of four years (I still haven't talked to her about it, but not because I don't want to, but rather, it's just been difficult seeing each other due to pandemic numbers getting bad, but I still want to talk to her about it next time I can).

 

But, knowing that things with her are a huge long shot at best, I've been trying to turn my attention elsewhere and try to find a dating/ relationship scenario that can actually happen for me (for what it's worth, I'm early 30s, and have never dated or been involved in any way with anyone at all). I've been using dating apps, and it amounted to one date with someone, and it was okay but nothing more came of it. Things slowed down for me significantly there, though.

 

Then, a couple weeks ago, I met someone online and we clicked via messaging pretty fast. But, we're going in the direction of "friends with benefits". And honestly, I'm okay with that. She's poly and not interested in "romantic relationships", and while I like her a bit, I don't see her as someone I want to pursue for a "relationship". But we've been in constant contact, we've had numerous "video dates", and while we haven't seen each other in person to actually sleep together, we've kinda already done everything else under the sun. It's fun and exciting, and I don't mind this "FWB" scenario in general.

 

Thing is, I've been feeling pensive, the last couple days. Because I like where things are going, but at the same time, I'm not sure how I feel about how every relationship seems "imperfect". Like, with my FWB, it's fun and exciting and flirty and there's a definite sexual spark there, but we're not going to be more than FWB. And with my friend, there's a strong connection there, and we want the same things out of dating and relationships, but I suspect she won't be attracted to me to make dating an actual possibility.

 

I dunno. I wish I could have all of those good things in one person that I could be with. People talk about "compromise" a lot in dating and relationships. Is this one of those instances, where you just kind of have to accept that no one person will ever be able to fulfill all of those things? I'm just unsure of how I feel about everything, and I'm still trying to unpack it and process it.

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So I think you're thinking of this wrong . You're not friends with the stranger and you're not dating her. You're chatting with a stranger in a sexual way. That's not dating, that's not friendship. Sure over time you may develop online platonic friendships but not with this stranger where the focus is sexual - you're not going to end up being online platonic friends most likely.

 

Compromising has nothing to do with settling. Once you do start to date in real life (again what you describe has nothing to do with dating or romantic relationships) then the compromise part comes in when there are non-values based things and non deal breaker issues. So for example I only dated men who had at least accomplished a college degree, who were financially stable (all like me), who were the same religion and who absolutely wanted marriage and kids. I only considered a man with serious potential if on top of that we also had strong chemistry and potential to fall in love. Compromise is on non-deal breaker/non-settling stuff. For example - here are some of the ways I compromise in my marriage. I try not to point out every time my husband hums/sings when I am eating even though I have asked him so many times to please not do that while I am eating (other times ok). Because I'd rather be close than right. Many times I went to visit my inlaws when they were alive even though it was extremely difficult for me logistically, often exhausting and at times I was not treated that well in the later years. I compromised for the good of the family.

 

I don't pick my battles with my husband's pack rat habits which I hate. I cannot stand living this way. But I'm going to lose that battle, and he does so so much for me, for our family, for my life - I find a way to self talk and make peace with it.

 

That's what compromise means to me. Had I married him the first time around we dated I'd have been settling - it just didn't feel right. We most likely would have gotten divorced. Several years later we changed and it did feel right for concrete reasons and "just because". That magical something. So yes I compromise. No I didn't settle. Thank goodness. Please do not settle.

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No, that's not what people mean when they are talking about compromise in relationships.

 

What you are talking about aren't "imperfections" but rather massive, fundamental issues. An fwb is not a relationship, so if you want an actual relationship, you need to keep looking. A friend who is only interested in you platonically is not a compromise of anything, just a friend.

 

It sounds to me like you tend to bark up the wrong trees and then.... do nothing. When people do that, it's usually because they are not really fully available or interested in an actual relationship. Something deep down is holding them back and others can sense that.....so it becomes a vicious cycle. When you aren't fully available, you end up attracting and being attracted to the unavailable....like the fwb, like a friend who is not into you, etc. You might to want to look deep inside and start figuring it out - what is holding you back exactly because something is.

 

When people talk about compromise, they are talking minor daily kind of stuff. He wants to go out to eat, I want to stay in, so we get take out - compromised a little both ways. What you are talking about is more like giving up on what you want because for whatever reason, you find giving up easier than the effort and work required to pursue a proper relationship.

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Do you intend to meet this person?

 

If you show interest in someone and the other person is interested, the natural thing is for the both of you to spend more time together.

 

Simplify this a bit more. You have two options: 1) plan to meet her and enjoy the sex or 2) end communications as they're uninteresting if what you're looking for is something more serious or of a different flavour.

 

It does not have to be complicated.

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Is there any way to meet the fwb in person? Cybersex with someone in other relationships may not be that satisfying. Anyone else on the horizon, as far as dating?

 

Bluecastle offered some excellent ideas, page after page on this situation:

https://www.enotalone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=566069&page=4&p=7241586&viewfull=1#post7241586

it started when I developed strong feelings for my best friend of four years
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So I think you're thinking of this wrong . You're not friends with the stranger and you're not dating her. You're chatting with a stranger in a sexual way. That's not dating, that's not friendship. Sure over time you may develop online platonic friendships but not with this stranger where the focus is sexual - you're not going to end up being online platonic friends most likely.

 

Well, she and I are planning to eventually meet in person and have a sexual relationship. I was leery at first, but we've been in frequent contact and had numerous video chat dates that have each lasted hours, and I don't get any bad vibes from her. And she definitely wants me that way, so if I want to make it happen, I most certainly can.

 

What you are talking about is more like giving up on what you want because for whatever reason, you find giving up easier than the effort and work required to pursue a proper relationship.

 

I guess, but I didn't really think of it as "giving up", so much as questioning if maybe my previous views were unrealistic.

 

To me, it doesn't necessarily feel realistic to meet someone that could be "everything" for me. I just can't really imagine that. You know? In my 30+ years of life, I've never encountered that. Everyone is always just a little of this or that, but never everything. As much as I WANT someone who is "everything", it just doesn't feel real.

 

I dunno. I guess I'm just trying to figure out if it's so bad if I indulge in these sort of "fragments" of interpersonal relationships. Having a FWB for the sexual and "passionate" aspects, having a good friend to always have a strong bond with, etc.

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Do you intend to meet this person?

 

If you show interest in someone and the other person is interested, the natural thing is for the both of you to spend more time together.

 

Simplify this a bit more. You have two options: 1) plan to meet her and enjoy the sex or 2) end communications as they're uninteresting if what you're looking for is something more serious or of a different flavour.

 

It does not have to be complicated.

 

I do intend to meet her, yes. Not really trying to make it "complicated". It's just, it all happened so out of nowhere for me, and I never really took a step back and processed it and thought about it. What she and I have is very fun and exciting, and it's very stimulating, and I want to indulge in sex with her. It's just that there's that part of me in my brain that doesn't like thinking about anything but the "bigger picture".

 

Is there any way to meet the fwb in person? Cybersex with someone in other relationships may not be that satisfying. Anyone else on the horizon, as far as dating?

 

Bluecastle offered some excellent ideas, page after page on this situation:

https://www.enotalone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=566069&page=4&p=7241586&viewfull=1#post7241586

 

Yeah, she and I are going to meet eventually. We haven't entirely worked it out; we're not "local", but we're also not really very far apart, either. We're both leery of traveling at the moment because the covid numbers are so bad right now, but we're both very interested in getting together at some point.

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All things considered, I think it's best to put this on the backburner for the moment. Hold off traveling. The risks are greater than the reward and you don't know her.

 

You also seem extremely nervous about meeting someone for sex. Until you reconcile this or feel better about it, I think you are settling and going to feel worse after you meet her. Dial back the communications, refocus what matters to you and if dating locally and meeting someone for something a bit more low key and serious is what you prefer, don't make any compromises about that.

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All things considered, I think it's best to put this on the backburner for the moment. Hold off traveling. The risks are greater than the reward and you don't know her.

 

You also seem extremely nervous about meeting someone for sex. Until you reconcile this or feel better about it, I think you are settling and going to feel worse after you meet her. Dial back the communications, refocus what matters to you and if dating locally and meeting someone for something a bit more low key and serious is what you prefer, don't make any compromises about that.

 

Yes.

Yes it's unrealistic and way too vague to expect someone to be your "everything." My standard was - I had my list of musts - it wasn't a very long list but it was very very specific. Then my head/heart standard was - I had to be in love with (or potential for love/in love), reasonably sure of and excited to be with this person in a serious, committed relationship leading to marriage -potential for marriage depending on how long we knew each other. Reasonably sure -some doubts are normal, foundation/core-shaking doubts are not. Excited -meaning, like friendship caught on fire - we had to have that click, rapport, chemistry, passion so that I was excited to be committed to this person. Not settling, not "well my ideals are unrealistic so yeah, he's Mr. Right on Paper, why not."

 

Be very specific -with yourself -what is "everything" to you? What does that mean? Why do your refer to your search as looking for someone who is "everything?" Casual sex can scratch an itch for sure but it's a bad idea to me if what you really are looking for is a serious committed relationship. One reason is because what if you meet someone who is not a fan of you having been promiscuous as an excuse when you couldn't find someone you really wanted to be with? I wouldn't have liked that in a partner. I had no issue with someone who'd gone on a couple of dates -or even dated someone for a few months -who was not really serious potential but the person was at a point where that's what he wanted -and he wasn't leading anyone on. I did that a couple of times (and we did not have sex, and there was no leading on -just casual dating, lighthearted, not really going to lead anywhere -when I was much younger).

 

I find that people who get cynical get that way because they're really vague on what they actually want, then they settle for scraps and use the bad experience scraps as an excuse to make negative generalizations about relationships and dating. You're giving two examples of nonstarters -a platonic friend who is not interested in a relationship with you and an online stranger who wants to meet up for sex when it's safe covid-wise (and understand -if either of you actually saw potential other than a sexual arrangement you'd meet for a socially distanced walk to meet in person and get to know each other -in fact I'm meeting an online platonic friend this weekend most likely for a socially distanced walk -I have done that zero times since the pandemic even with a real life friend but I'm doing it because I do want to make new friends and I want to show her I'm game to meet and put in the effort to meet rather than just text back and forth or have phone calls).

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My impression with all this—and I hope this comes out right—is that your thinking-to-doing ratio is off, inverted to the point where rumination has become confused with exploration, a bit like mistaking reading a menu for sampling the food. This is not judgement, but just one person's observation—and one made, for transparency's sake, by someone as prone to rabbit holes of rumination as I am wanton surrender to various appetites.

 

It doesn't need to be complicated, as Rose said. Subtract the rumination, and what do you have? A friend you're curious about romantically, which is actually easy to explore, as prismatically covered in the last thread. As for this online dalliance? Nothing wrong with enjoying some pixilated flutter, nor is there anything wrong with seeing how that translates IRL. None of those choices need to carry much meaning, at this stage; zoom out and you are in the company of many, many people swimming around.

 

Speaking of the big picture? Learning what we want from a relationship, what "everything" means to us, is, if you'll forgive me going back to the food analogy, kind of like learning what we want to eat. A forever process marked by bouts of ecstasy, frustration, indigestion, and so on. Some stages of that process might be of the buffet variety: a sparkly chat here, a fling there, a gooey love that feels eternal until it expires quickly. Other stages of that process might transpire inside a single relationship, expanding and evolving between you and another person: learning what works, and doesn't, in realms ranging from when the lights are dimmed to how to organize linen closets. Sometimes all that learning allows you to stay together, while sometimes it teaches you that you've grown apart.

 

Per the specifics of this moment: If, after some fun chitchat and sex talk, this thing with this woman feels a bit odd, a bit edgy, no shame in just retreating a few steps. That's you being honest with yourself. This is the buffet: you try the octopus, it's interesting, you eat some more, it doesn't sit well. Time for a glass of water. Maybe octopus isn't your thing, or wasn't your thing on that day. When you're hungry again, you try something else. Information is gathered, metabolized, and your dietary needs, romantically speaking, go from being abstractions you ruminate about to specific cravings you seek for nourishment.

 

Not sure if that helps. Imagine there's a sense of pressure, here in your 30s, in a pandemic, wanting to be on a different spot on the bell curve than you feel yourself to be. Inhale, exhale. I think, all in all, that's how we all feel, at times, regardless of our age or experience.

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Be wary if someone tells you "i am not looking for a relationship" right off the bat. They will meet with you, maybe sleep with you and when you have feelings they will say "oh, remember, i don't want anything serious." The dating could go on for months or years and then they have an out as soon as they find someone more interesting or you get too serious for them.

 

Its fine to go out with that person if you just want to get out of the house to have experience going on a date, but don't think of it as anything more because they are not for you

 

On the other hand, if you date someone who who doesn't tell you that and is just focused on meeting someone for coffee or whatever you are allowed to do in your state, you meet, see if there is enough there and then have a second date. And a third date, and then pretty soon both of you know whether the two of you are both interested in eachother/want to date eachother.

 

When i was unsure about stepping out into the dating pool and had a chance to meet my guy for lunch as a first meet, a friend of mine said "its just lunch." "he may be the love of your life -- he may not be --- but either way, its just lunch. if it doesn't work out - -- you just had a nice lunch".

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Sounds like you've been passive in the dating world and might've poured a lot of your emotional energy and time into your female friend. Finding a potential lifetime companion can be like a full time job. It's like sifting through a lot of sand to find the treasure. After my first marriage ended, I went on dates with about 30 men in a 2 and a half year period before I met the man who eventually became my second husband. And how many men I talked to and ruled out, or they ruled me out, amounted to even more. I did OLD, I went to Meetup.com groups. I took East Coast Swing group dance lessons and attended the dance that happened afterwards.

 

Hopefully a vaccine for COVID will be happening early next year so you can venture out more to do things like that which you have you spreading your net wide to catch the fish meant for you.

 

I wouldn't go for the FWB thing. For one thing, it could make you less appealing if you reveal that to a potential future partner. Or if she finds out by accident, or you feel weird hiding it. Though to each his own, and I don't care how others operate in life, except for a partner I'm choosing--I wouldn't feel comfortable if he revealed that to me, since it's never been my style to be in a FWB situation.

 

Make sure your self worth is healthy, or you will attract, and be attracted to, toxic people.

 

I've seen a couple meet when they volunteered at the zoo. Volunteering at zoos, museums, environmental cleanups, Habitat for Humanity, etc. is great for meeting quality people. Join a co-ed sports team. Take up a new hobby like pottery or painting. Take sign language. If you have a dog, take him/her on walks in different places instead of the neighborhood, like by a lake or go to a dog park. Getting yourself out in the world when safe to do so will grant you a higher risk of success than sitting home and watching t.v. or hanging out with a female friend.

 

I wish you the best of luck. Keep us updated.

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You also seem extremely nervous about meeting someone for sex. Until you reconcile this or feel better about it, I think you are settling and going to feel worse after you meet her. Dial back the communications, refocus what matters to you and if dating locally and meeting someone for something a bit more low key and serious is what you prefer, don't make any compromises about that.

 

I mean, casual sex/ FWB isn't something I would've pursued on my own, and in the long run, it's not what I "want". But this connection she and I have developed is fun and exciting, and I, myself, don't see her as someone I want to be in a "relationship" with. In the long run, I would prefer to be in a proper relationship, but I'm not so sure I believe I'll find someone that will be what I'm looking for, and it seems like maybe I can at least "compartmentalize" the things I'm looking for across different people. I dunno.

 

Yes.

Yes it's unrealistic and way too vague to expect someone to be your "everything."

 

Well, I don't mean "my everything" in the sense of "my whole world"; all I'm saying is that I always dreamed of having a partner that is my best friend, my lover, someone I can be my truest self with, someone who I can talk with and laugh with and be flirty with, someone who wants me as much as I want them. But I don't know. Can I have all of those things with someone? It sure doesn't seem like it, from what I've seen in my life. So, I don't know, maybe it just makes more sense to look for those things across different people instead of hoping to find one person that can be all of those things.

 

Not sure if that helps. Imagine there's a sense of pressure, here in your 30s, in a pandemic, wanting to be on a different spot on the bell curve than you feel yourself to be. Inhale, exhale. I think, all in all, that's how we all feel, at times, regardless of our age or experience.

 

Yeah. I dunno. I'm just tired of being "alone", and at this point, I'm just so desperate to have "something" with someone. And it just doesn't feel like what I want is out there. Or if it is, I can't imagine being able to find it. I'm just tired of it.

 

Be wary if someone tells you "i am not looking for a relationship" right off the bat. They will meet with you, maybe sleep with you and when you have feelings they will say "oh, remember, i don't want anything serious." The dating could go on for months or years and then they have an out as soon as they find someone more interesting or you get too serious for them.

 

Well, in this case, the way she and I met online wasn't initially about something happening between she and I. We met on a forum, not unlike this one, talking about sex and relationship troubles. She mentioned something to me about the "kink" community being a potential way for me to explore sex. I reached out to her privately to ask her more about that stuff and her involvement, then things got flirty between us, and it just exploded from there.

 

I know from the get go that she's poly and not monogamous, and active in her local kink community. So, I have no expectations or interest in something more than FWB .

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If you're willing to set your bar so low that you'll mess around with anyone who will deal with you, then that's not against the law, it's just not a great idea to expect anything meaningful to shake out of that.

 

Either you know what you want, or you don't. If not, there you are. If so, then create profiles that specify what you want. From there, screen people to learn whether they're looking for the same things you want, and if not, skip them.

 

Nobody can tell you that taking the long road and the hard way is 'wrong' or 'bad,' because nobody else is living our lives for us--so they don't get a vote. But speaking only for myself, I don't see value in engaging people who's wants and goals don't match my own.

 

There's a difference between compromising on certain things, like where to eat or what color of a couch to buy, within a relationship that otherwise meets your desires and goals with someone you love versus compromising your goals altogether just to spend time with anyone who will give you some of theirs.

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Well, it's more that I'm just not so sure what I "want" is really realistic or likely at all. I'm already early 30s, and I've not really even come close to finding that yet. I'm just... tired, and lonely, and frustrated. I don't know. I just want something, anything, at this point. Having to "compartmentalize" aspects of what I want across different people certainly isn't ideal, and in the long run, probably not very fulfilling. But it's something. And I don't know what else to do at this point.

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What you do is you literally write out what you want - the qualities your partner would have, the "musts", - then make a list of all the places this person is likely to be found -based on her interests, characteristics, etc. Evaluate what you are willing to do -meaning front line boots on the ground stuff -to be where people like her are likely to be. How is sexting with a stranger "something" when it comes to finding a potentially serious relationship? What in the world does your sexting with a stranger have to do with your goal?

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How is sexting with a stranger "something" when it comes to finding a potentially serious relationship? What in the world does your sexting with a stranger have to do with your goal?

 

I mean, it isn't. But it's more than I've ever had before. It's "different". It's a new experience. It's someone that's attracted to me, someone that's sexually excited about me, someone that's giving me attention that wants my attention as well.

 

What you do is you literally write out what you want - the qualities your partner would have, the "musts", - then make a list of all the places this person is likely to be found -based on her interests, characteristics, etc. Evaluate what you are willing to do -meaning front line boots on the ground stuff -to be where people like her are likely to be.

 

Eh. I've always been trying to figure out what my "musts" are, but I can't really define it, unfortunately. I've only really been attracted (as far as wanting a serious relationship with) to two different women in my life, and between them, I can't really draw any similarities. They're both very different people.

 

I can't even begin to figure out where such a woman would exist, or how I'd go about finding her. I just... don't know. I don't know.

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It sounds like it's something you're interested in trying out. There are some basic guidelines though. 1) you shouldn't have to work so hard for a friends with benefits or travel out of your way and 2) it shouldn't take this much thought or so much work.

 

Maybe it's something you need to get out of the way and dabble in before you start to find more confidence in yourself. Similar to Catfeeder's comment, I don't think anyone can tell you that casual sex is right or wrong. You are the one who should make that decision. You should be prepared to fall flat quite fast if you're looking for something more than that in general. In other words, your expectations may be a little too high and you might want to adjust how hard you're working or how much thought you're putting into someone who essentially means nothing to you in your world or brings no intellectual or substantial value or reward.

 

Your initial concern was that you were compromising because you lack faith in humanity in general or your ability to find someone who matches you. I think this is the heart of the problem and your depression or negative outlook might cause you to go around in circles ruminating this again like you did having feelings for your best friend or you may be stuck mentally in a vortex of fwb, believing it to be your only choice in life or chance at happiness. This is a very alarming outlook.

 

Bearing all this in mind, it doesn't mean you can't do what you want to do with this person. I don't recommend it knowing your thoughts or having read the situation. Just be wary, that's all. And stay safe.

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Well, I wasn't really "thinking" much about this FWB thing. Since it started, I've just been "going with it" and indulging in the fun of it, but it happened so quickly, and it just started catching up with me over the last couple of days.

 

I wouldn't necessarily say I "lack faith in humanity" or anything so dire. It's just, it really feels to me like what I really "want" either just doesn't exist, or that I'll never be able to figure out how to find it.

 

Is casual sex/ FWB what I "want"? Well, no. It's not. But... what else do I really have at this point?

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Well, I wasn't really "thinking" much about this FWB thing. Since it started, I've just been "going with it" and indulging in the fun of it, but it happened so quickly, and it just started catching up with me over the last couple of days.

 

I wouldn't necessarily say I "lack faith in humanity" or anything so dire. It's just, it really feels to me like what I really "want" either just doesn't exist, or that I'll never be able to figure out how to find it.

 

Is casual sex/ FWB what I "want"? Well, no. It's not. But... what else do I really have at this point?

 

But this is not an FWB. You are sexting with a stranger who may or may not be a woman, who may or may not be single. This is not a friend of yours who you've now decided to have a sexual arrangement with. Labeling this as if you are interacting with a real person in person -let alone a "friend" makes no sense especially since you're already feeling confused -just adds to the confusion.

 

What do you want? Would you tell your friend to settle in this way -makes no sense -the choice is not "what else do I have" to justify sexting with a stranger - you have time to make plans to reach your goal. And you still haven't said (either here or apparently to yourself) specifically what you want (or think you want) in a serious relationship leading to forever.

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I mean, it isn't. But it's more than I've ever had before. It's "different". It's a new experience. It's someone that's attracted to me, someone that's sexually excited about me, someone that's giving me attention that wants my attention as well.

 

 

 

Eh. I've always been trying to figure out what my "musts" are, but I can't really define it, unfortunately. I've only really been attracted (as far as wanting a serious relationship with) to two different women in my life, and between them, I can't really draw any similarities. They're both very different people.

 

I can't even begin to figure out where such a woman would exist, or how I'd go about finding her. I just... don't know. I don't know.

 

Well no make a specific list -not based on the two women you say you've been attracted to. Of course we can have different types- you make a list not depending on those women - what do you want in a serious relationship -what are your musts, what are your dealbreakers. Make categories if needed like physical type, interests, values, goals.

 

You have no idea if this stranger is sexually excited by you -it's someone you've never met in person - and the attention is not "attention" - it's easy to sext with a stranger -takes little effort other than time and a device. She's not paying attention to you -she's paying attention to a screen and to herself (if it is actually a woman).

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She and I have video chatted several times, now, so I know she's not "catfishing" me or anything like that. We may not have physically been in the same room together yet, but we've been "face to face" on video "dates". And I know that she is poly, but not "romantic"; she currently has another FWB, and prior to covid, she is involved in a local kink community, and had an active sex life as part of that. I think if she were lying about herself to try to sucker me in, she probably wouldn't have went with that sort of "story".

 

That said, it's true that I don't know whether her "excitement" to me is genuine or if she's just telling me things I want to hear, for some reason unbeknownst to me. I admit, I'm pretty naïve to this kind of thing in general, but it feels nice for someone to be giving me this kind of attention. It's certainly possible I could be being "suckered in" to something, and I wouldn't necessarily notice the glaring "red flags" if they were there. I don't necessarily get any "bad vibes" from her, she seems "genuine" from what I can tell. But I'd admit, it does feel strange that she seems so "excited" about me in such a short period of time. Then again, with her being poly, she's only really been seeing her one FWB for the last several months, so perhaps she's just really excited to find someone new to add to her mix? I dunno.

 

Would you tell your friend to settle in this way

 

Well, no, but that's different. She's a likable woman; she has more options than I could even imagine, because there's probably an endless amount of guys that would jump at the chance to date her, and all she really has to do is sift through them and find one that she likes a lot. Which, sure, will probably take some time and not be super easy. But she still has all of those plentiful options. Me, I don't really have "options". And don't get me wrong, I don't consider myself to be an "unattractive" kind of guy or anything like that, but at the same time, there isn't exactly an endless supply of women that would jump at the chance to date me, yanno? It's incredibly rare for me to even find someone that I can be more than an "acquaintance" with, let alone be something more than friends with. I don't feel like I have the liberty of "having options". I feel like I have to take what I can get, because there just isn't much of anything out there for me.

 

Well no make a specific list -not based on the two women you say you've been attracted to. Of course we can have different types- you make a list not depending on those women - what do you want in a serious relationship -what are your musts, what are your dealbreakers. Make categories if needed like physical type, interests, values, goals.

 

I mean, like I said, I've spent a lot of time trying to figure this kind of thing out in the past, and all I can really come up with are very general things that aren't so easy to "quantify".

 

The most I can really say is that I want someone who is my "best friend", someone I can talk about anything with, someone I can laugh with, someone I can go on little "adventures" with, someone I can be completely honest and open and comfortable with, someone I can share affection and intimacy with (both physically and mentally/ emotionally), someone in which we share a mutual excitement about each other, etc. That's all I can really come up with. Beyond that, I got nothing. I don't feel like I have a "type", or anything like that. It kind of just feels like a "I'll know it when I see it" kind of thing, but thus far, that's only really happened twice in my life. And neither time has amounted to anything more than friendship.

 

So... I don't know. For the most part, I never really feel any sense of personal attraction to women that I meet or come across. And I mean that in a mutual way. It's like, everyone I encounter is just an "acquaintance" at best. That's not to say I've had "bad" or "negative" experiences with anyone, nor that I feel disinterested, per se, but... there's just never anything there between me and anyone else. I admit, it's been a couple years, now, since I've had ways to meet and interact with new people in the "real world", but for the previous 10+ years, that is my experience with the many people (including women) that I'd met all throughout my 20s. Nothing between us, I mean.

 

I've been trying to give an honest shot to online dating/ dating apps for the last couple of months, but even then, there's just never really anything there. Matches for me are few and far between, and when they do happen, the conversations don't amount to much. I did manage to go on a single date last month, and it was okay, but again... Just nothing there.

 

From what I can see, most people have a much easier time finding others that they feel "excited" about or attracted to, and even if those relationships don't end up leading to lifelong partnerships, most people seem to be able to date and have relationships with relative ease. Me, I don't really get it. I couldn't make any progress on that at all throughout my 20s, and now it's starting to feel like my 30s are starting to fly by, too. It's just frustrating, because it really doesn't feel like what I "want" is ever going to happen for me. I just can't see it.

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I wouldn't necessarily say I "lack faith in humanity" or anything so dire. It's just, it really feels to me like what I really "want" either just doesn't exist, or that I'll never be able to figure out how to find it.

 

Is casual sex/ FWB what I "want"? Well, no. It's not. But... what else do I really have at this point?

 

There is a fatalism to your words that is distressing. Are you familiar with the concept of a scarcity vs abundance in terms of mindset? Might be worth reading about a bit.

 

You're early 30s, which is young. That's just a fact based on average human life expectancy: you have spent more of your life, at this point, as a child than as an adult. Best I understand things, you have not spent much of your adult time being proactive on the romantic front—more observing, pondering, self-judging. Which is absolutely fine! You have your reasons for that, reasons perhaps you haven't fully reckoned with, which is also fine. All in good time. And friend? There is time.

 

Now, it seems, you're challenging yourself to approach things more actively, wading a toe in: with your friend, with a so-so date, with this woman. Wonderful! Shake the snow globe and all that presents a story of abundance: options, exploration, a compass sharpening. What you have "at this point" is...quite a bit. Your last thread on here made it sound like your friend was the only woman on planet earth. Five minutes later, during a pandemic no less, you've met one woman, have this opportunity. Think about that as if it were a math problem: odds are in your favor that there is more than all this, as long as you make the effort to find it and clarify what you want.

 

A dash of casual sex, a salt shake of a casual relationship—these things don't have to be seen as "settling" for something we don't want. We are allowed, as humans, to want partnership, say, but to also some hot sauce, just like we allowed to want to eat healthy and occasionally enjoy a plate of nachos washed down with a bourbon. We are allowed to stumble around a bit, slip on the ice.

 

Like Rose, my impression is that engaging with this woman, right now, in a sexual way may not be ideal with your present attitude, but I share all this to encourage you to cut yourself a bit of slack and let the aperture open a bit.

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It's a little premature to be drawing conclusions about compromise in relationships.

 

When people talk about compromise in relationships, they mean agreements between the two people who are in a relationship.

 

You are not in a relationship. In your case, you are compromising yourself and your own relationship goals.

 

You got involved with someone who you don't want to be in a relationship with.

 

You did this because you can't be in a relationship with the person that you do want to be with.

 

It's like you're trying to prove that if you can't be with your friend, you can't be with anyone.

 

That's silly. It's a defeatist attitude.

 

Yes, dating can be an unpleasant, arduous experience. But you have absolutely no chance of success if you give up before you even start.

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