Wednesday, 13 June 2012

to all the men I've scared before: an open letter

Dear Guy Who Disappeared

Lately I've been doing quite a bit of reading (yeah yeah I know it's on the internet but it's still words...) about this crazy world of repartnering that you and I both found ourselves in.  And oh there's so much good advice out there....

Thanks to all that advice, I realise now that the world of the uncoupled now is completely different to the single world I inhabited before I was married (and yes I know I am talking about back in the 80's).   Back then, when someone asked you out it wasn't even called a date. It wasn't hanging out. It wasn't hooking up.  You got asked to the movies, or dinner or whatever, and you went, and that was that. And mostly, it didn't matter which person did the asking.

Back then, there was of course, no social media - so the main place to meet people was work, or through friends.  Which meant there was a bit of background available if you wanted it (not that most of us even would have thought about asking for that).  And because technology was pretty basic, you actually had to talk to some one in real life to know them.  Or to ask them out.  Or to ask them out again.

Back then it was a simple process. You met someone. You liked each other. You went out a few times. You were ''together''. That was that.  No hidden messages, no 'multiple dating'', no prescribed length of time before turning into a couple/making it public/getting exclusive.

Back then I didn't know that sex could be separated from love. That was completely outside of my circle of friends, let alone my own experience.  My expectation was that they kind of went together.  Ideally the love even came first.

Back then, I didn't know about the rules. The ones that said the man should do the ''chasing''. That women who were too direct or honest were not attractive to most men. That women shouldn't initiate contact or dates.  I didn't know that it's not cool to ask a man 'where we stand''. And as for defining a relationship, well we probably didn't even use the word relationship, let alone try and define it.

Back then, we didn't really think that much about the future, or consequence.  If you liked someone you just got on with it.  No person was in charge of the relationship. No one worried about who called who. No one thought about the other as needy or fragile.  Back then, no one had emotional baggage. We were probably too young anyway.  We didn't know about ''its complicated'', ''friends with benefits'' and ''just not that into you''.

What happened to those good old days?  When and how did the rules change so much?  And , yowser, how come I only just found out - 20 years later - about them?

So, to those poor creatures that I have scared half to death by being too honest, too ''keen'', too ''intense'' or too nice to date (what is that about anyway), sorry about that.

I'll try and play by the rules from now on.


  1. I believe that early on, when just dating or just beginning a relationship, that a woman should play her cards close to the vest, so to speak. Don't reveal too much too soon, keep them guessing a bit, proceed cautiously. Just like for a card player, it gives you an advantage over the others in the game.

    And yes, I hate that dating is a game, but it is. So if you want to succeed, you have to play. Wisely.

  2. Yes I agree Cheryl, a hard lesson to learn but there it is. and I think the second or third time around even more important.