I have been divorced for ten years and just started dating again. On Saturday, I had a third date with Alan, a guy I really like. We went hiking for a few hours, came back to my house, eventually had sex for the first time, then went out to a movie. When we drove back to my house, he just walked me in and left quickly. It was ok that he was leaving. It just happened a bit abruptly. I thought he might call on Sunday, but when he didn’t, I sent him a quick email. I guess I expected a bit more on the return email. He didn’t mention anything about our date, or talking again, or asking me out again. So my 16-year-old self is telling me that he doesn’t really like me and I might have made a big mistake. Should I wait and see if he calls again or email him again? I hate playing these stupid dating games!
First, I want to congratulate you for having the courage to date again after your ten-year hiatus. And congrats on having sex again – two big hurdles to cross after your divorce. Many women take a lot longer to leap back into the dating world.
The man you slept with seems like a jerk for disappearing after being intimate with you. I understand why your “teenage self” feels rejected and hurt. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can go back to being an adolescent again when a man hurts our feelings? I’m going to play the devil’s advocate for a moment and suggest that there’s also the chance that Alan’s really not such a bad guy. He might have jumped in too quickly and gotten scared. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it might shed some light on why he did what he did. Let’s dive deeper into what happened.
First, while there are no hard and fast rules in dating, there are some basic principles that I teach my clients. They’re all connected to self-respect and setting your own personal boundaries around sex and relationships.
The first time to have sex with someone you care about can be anywhere from the first date to three months in – or even longer. The most important factors to consider are whether you have trust and exclusivity.
It’s okay to be physical with a guy you just met, but sleeping with a man is reserved for when you both trust each other and decide to be exclusive. Why? For two main reasons.
1. If you’re not on the same page in a relationship, one of you is bound to get hurt.
2. You want to be sure you’re safe from STDs. If either of you has multiple partners, it increases your risks of catching a sexually transmitted disease, even if you use protection.
So it seems as if you may have jumped in too quickly. Here’s something else to consider:
Men and women approach love and sex from different perspectives.
Most men come to relationships looking for sex and discover love along the way (sometimes by accident).
Most women come to relationships looking for love and discover sex along the way.
Men lead with their sexuality. Some are quite obvious about it. It doesn’t mean you have to give in to their timeline for sex. And it also means that they are…MEN. Wouldn’t you rather have a man be attracted to you and show his desire than a man who is asexual or afraid to make a move?
Women lead with their emotions. They look for intimacy and connection. During sex, women release the hormone Oxytocin, which makes them bond to the man they’re with. I’ve had many clients who thought they’d be okay with casual sex, but when the man didn’t call the next day, they were devastated. They felt used. They wanted to know that a guy cared about them after sex. When you give it away too quickly, he gets the prize he’s hunting, and he might be done with the chase. A man like Alan is probably on to the next hunt. Many men are more sensitive than Alan and will cherish you more after sex. They’ll follow up with an email or text. But a majority of men are just like Alan. When sex comes too easily, they can lose interest. You become less valuable to them.
I also would have recommended against emailing a man the next day if you didn’t hear from him first. You can come across as needy. If he’s interested, he’ll pursue you. He’ll text you on his way home. He’ll call the next morning. He’ll set up the next date as quickly as possible. He realizes you are special and wants to move forward to have you in his life. If he doesn’t, he may lose you.
I’m not advocating for you to give up your strength or power as a woman.
What I am telling you is that these guidelines work for dating as a high value empowered woman. It’s not about hard and fast rules like waiting three months for sex as some experts say. It’s about dating with dignity. It’s about showing a man that you are a woman who honors and respects herself. It’s also about understanding men who are hardwired to be hunters.
As the hunter, he makes many of the first moves in the courtship process.
He calls, you answer. He emails, you respond.
He asks you out, you say yes.
He wants sex, you tell him something along these lines:
“I am really attracted to you. And I need to let you know that I only have sex with men after we are exclusive. This is not to pressure you in any way. In fact, I am not sure where we’re heading. For now, there’s plenty we can do without sleeping together. And if and when we do have sex, you’ll be so glad you waited!”
So, Mary, don’t beat yourself up for what happened with Alan. I suggest that as you continue to date, develop your standards around sex and relationships. This is not about playing “stupid dating games”. It’s about loving and respecting yourself enough to not tolerate the “wham bam thank you Ma’am” guys. (Or the ones who don’t even have the courtesy to say, “Thank you, Ma’am” like Alan.) When you know your relationship standards and you communicate them to the men you’re dating, you’ll separate the jerks from the keepers and soon find a man who respects and loves you as you deserve.
Have you ever been intimate with a man who disappeared after he slept with you? Please share your experience below.
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