Older Couples Are Living Apart Together. Or Are They?

The world is changing rapidly.

The world is changing way too slowly.

You can make a case for both arguments.

If you’re African-American in your sixties, you’ve lived through Jim Crow to President Obama and seen remarkable changes in the past five decades. At the same time, it’s hard not to see evidence of systemic and latent racism everywhere you go.

So which is it? Is the world changing? Is the world stagnating?

The answer, of course, is both. Which leads me to a discussion we’ve had on here for over a decade. Men in the MGTOW crowd say they don’t need women. Women on the far left are unerringly critical of men. You can cherry pick studies that show marriage rates are going down. But, in truth, if you’re in my demographic (and my readers demographic), marriage is, in fact, alive and well

If you click that link, you’ll see that 88% of college-educated people have been married by age 46 with less than a 25% divorce rate. That’s considerably different than the larger societal narrative, isn’t it?

All of this is just a long prelude to today’s article from Time, about how older couples are increasingly living apart. It’s an interesting angle for a story, especially since it makes logical sense:

“Seniors wanted to have “intimate companionship” while maintaining their own homes,

Seniors wanted to have “intimate companionship” while maintaining their own homes

social circles, customary activities and finances, she discovered. Those who’d been divorced or in unhappy earlier marriages didn’t want to tie themselves down again and believed a degree of distance was preferable to day-to-day togetherness. Also, several women who’d cared previously for sick parents or husbands wanted to avoid assuming caregiving responsibilities or the burden of running a household again.”

All true. All things I’ve heard from clients in their 60’s over the years. But read the article closely and you’ll see less than 7% of seniors were “living apart together.” Is that a trend or is it just part of the long tail of different lifestyle choices, like never getting married or being polyamorous?

When I encounter women who tell me they never want to get married again, all I have to do is dig a little deeper to discover the truth. It’s not that she doesn’t want to get married again – she would gladly get married if she knew it was going to be a HAPPY marriage. Generally, women don’t want to repeat the same mistakes of their previous marriage, but instead of blaming their husband, they blame the institution of marriage itself.

Very quickly, clients who thought they never wanted to be married again realize that they do – they just want to do it right the next time around.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

 

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Bunny

    I’m in the “living apart together” camp, though I’m only in my 40’s.  I found marriage to be insufferable.  By the time I turned 23 I was divorced and never looked back.  I raised 2 kids on my own, put myself through grad school, and acquired my own assets.

    In all that time, I watched the married people around me suffer, seldom in silence, and wondered why they stayed married if they found it as miserable as I did.  The answer was usually to avoid the social stigma of being divorced.

    Those people who are able to set aside the cultural insistence on marriage usually find they are able to enjoy the best of both worlds: A kind, caring, intimate relationship with someone they love, AND the freedom to live where and how they like, maintain friendships, peruse careers and hobbies, AND generally act in their own best interest.  Women who are married never get to do what is best for them.  Instead they must defer to what their husband, parents, in-laws, children, or religious leaders expect of them.

    Marriage is an institution.  Sane people don’t live inside an institution.

    1. 1.1
      Jane Dominguez

      Wow, I love your reply. I can’t even add anything to it without repeating your words. This is all so true, I’m hoping to live out my life like this too.

  2. 2
    Gina Charpentier

    After 27 years of marriage, I am entitled to collect Social Security benefits under my ex husband. If I remarry, I do not collect those benefits. It’s not that I am opposed to marriage. The benefits are a huge concern for more mature women. Especially those women who spent the majority of the marriage as stay at home mothers instead of further developing their careers.

  3. 3
    Trixie

     

    I am 61 and currently unattached imo living together apart is just another lifestyle choice.

    I don’t think people necessarily blame the institution of marriage but there maybe financial/legal issues that make living together apart the way to go.  Others need the piece of paper.  I was married once so I have nothing against marriage as an institution but I don’t see myself ever marrying again. Among other things I always remember the stats about the higher failure rates of 2nd marriages.

    I would like to have a happy fulfilling relationship as many women my age would but marriage is not required for fact nor is living together.

     

  4. 4
    Gala

    With all due respect the *institution of marriage* itself has plenty of undesirable attributes for some people, depending on their situation. I am moving in with my boyfriend this week but i fully intend to never marry him, or anyone else for that matter (may be if George Clooney becomes available and knocks on my door i will reconsider. Short of that – no). And, the only reason i am even moving in with the guy is because we want to have a baby together. If it wasn’t for that, the ideal situation for me would be for me to have my own space. In fact, if the baby plan fails (say due to fertility issues), i will move back out and get my own place again… this is nothing personal i just don’t see the value in the constant “togetherness” and i much prefer living alone. I don’t know why any woman who can afford her own place wouldn’t, to be honest. Men only add mess, noise and pester you for sex when you would much rather just watch the reruns of “the law and order” with a cup of warm chocolate and snuggle with your cat 😀

    1. 4.1
      Emily, the original

      Gala, 

      i just don’t see the value in the constant “togetherness” and i much prefer living alone. I don’t know why any woman who can afford her own place wouldn’t, to be honest.

      I agree. The ideal for me would be that we each have our own space, a friend or two, a hobby … we get together several times a week, we have each other’s backs, it’s serious, but we aren’t sewn together. I don’t want to be someone’s social/life organizer.

      Men only add mess, noise and pester you for sex when you would much rather just watch the reruns of “the law and order” with a cup of warm chocolate and snuggle with your cat 😀

      Oh … you’ve opened a can of worms with this one. 🙂 It’s been an ongoing discussion for days. I’m with you on this also, minus the cat.

      1. 4.1.1
        Selena

        Emily: The ideal for me would be that we each have our own space, a friend or two, a hobby … we get together several times a week, we have each other’s backs, it’s serious, but we aren’t sewn together. I don’t want to be someone’s social/life organizer.

        This appeals to me also. I am at an age where a prospective partner is likely to be retired. I am a homebody and I don’t relish the idea of living with someone who is home with me all day, every day. I don’t want to feel I have take someone with me whenever I go grocery shopping, run errands, because they are bored and want to get out of the house. I am very good at keeping myself entertained. Someone who required continuous attention because they don’t know how to entertain their self would wear on me.

        Some of the frustrations I felt in my living-together relationships would be lessened or eliminated in a lovers who live in the same neighborhood relationship.

        1. Emily, the original

          Selena,

          I don’t want to feel I have take someone with me whenever I go grocery shopping, run errands, because they are bored and want to get out of the house

          I agree. Also, let’s’ get together and do fun shit. I don’t want to do boring shit. I don’t want to do stuff with someone I don’t even want to on my own.

           I am very good at keeping myself entertained. Someone who required continuous attention because they don’t know how to entertain their self would wear on me.

          I feel the same way, but I’ve known men whose wives gave them a list of things to do when they get home from work or on the weekends or attended to all the social arrangements, and I honestly don’t think these men would know what to do with themselves without that direction. They needed the women to organize their lives, but I’m almost 47. A man my age should know how to manage his own life.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          I’ve known men whose wives gave them a list of things to do when they get home from work or on the weekends or attended to all the social arrangements, and I honestly don’t think these men would know what to do with themselves without that direction. They needed the women to organize their lives, but I’m almost 47. A man my age should know how to manage his own life.

          You would be surprised to learn that most of these men do what they do to keep the peace on their homes (the list is referred to as a “honey do list”).  Have you ever heard the saying, “If mama isn’t happy, no one is happy?”  The transition from self-directed man to one who is obedient to his wife’s demands is a slow, but steady process.  Along with this transformation, a man learns to say, “Yes, Dear.” 🙂

           

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @selena

          How would you feel if you if you had what you desired by having a lover who lives in the same neighborhood, but you were just one of his partners?  For me, the problem is not so much the day-to-day of living together.  It is having to have sex with just one woman.  I get bored of women sexually very quickly.

        4. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          You would be surprised to learn that most of these men do what they do to keep the peace on their homes (the list is referred to as a “honey do list”).  Have you ever heard the saying, “If mama isn’t happy, no one is happy?”  The transition from self-directed man to one who is obedient to his wife’s demands is a slow, but steady process.  Along with this transformation, a man learns to say, “Yes, Dear.”

          I don’t agree with you, YAG. These men would be lost without female direction. They WANT to be dictated to. And some of these guys were outwardly masculine, take-charge types. The wife showed up … you didn’t even recognize them. Something in them needed that, as sad as it was to watch. But if that’s not how some of them want to live, there is a door, and it opens to the outside.

        5. Selena

          YAG: @selena
          How would you feel if you if you had what you desired by having a lover who lives in the same neighborhood, but you were just one of his partners?
          Had those situations a few times when I was younger. Called it casual dating. Short term. Not very satisifying. Not something that holds any appeal for me now.

          If you get sexually bored so quickly, perhaps you should utilize escort services. You know, where you pay them to go away. 😉

        6. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          But if that’s not how some of them want to live, there is a door, and it opens to the outside.

          Do these men have children?  If that is the case, then finding the door is easier said than done.  Children are the ultimate leverage a woman has over a man.

        7. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          We draw and are drawn to partners subconsciously. Something in these men drew these women who would dictate to them. They wanted that, even if they didn’t know it, children or no children. The guy I’m thinking of, a former co-worker, was take charge in his work life — he’d sold businesses, was an entrepreneur-type. But boy did my respect for him drop like a brick when he literally said he wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he had the opportunity to just go home and do whatever he wanted. He needed the chores list.

        8. Yet Another Guy

          @Selena

          If you get sexually bored so quickly, perhaps you should utilize escort services. You know, where you pay them to go away. 😉

          No, I would rather practice short-term serial monogamy.  If push came to shove, I would rather be celibate at this point in my life than be stuck with having sex with the same woman for an extended period of time.  I prefer new and exciting to old and familiar.

        9. sylvana

          Selena, YAG

          But isn’t the whole idea of living apart together pretty much the same as a casual relationship?

          You’re basically keeping someone around you can call on whenever it’s convenient for you. And they might have your back when you need it, which basically makes them a friend with benefits.

          But the whole concept of “whenever it’s convenient for you” does not exactly scream commitment to me. You’re special, but not special enough for me to sacrifice too much. I would consider those type of relationships, even long-term ones as absolutely open.

          And YAG,

          I would rather be celibate at this point in my life than be stuck with having sex with the same woman for an extended period of time.

          So you’re saying you’re done with any sort of relationship at all. Considering that even if you’re in an open relationship, you’d still end up being stuck having sex with the same woman for an extended period of time. And short-term monogamy isn’t a relationship either.

          Btw…masturbating every night gets awfully boring too after a while. They haven’t invented any form of porn yet that doesn’t bore me after a few repetitions. And I have an incredibly twisted mind, and therefore very, very few limits. Same goes for toys, or even machines.

          I think you might consider whether you’ve become bored with sex in general. Or maybe address all the pain, bitterness, and anger you’re holding on to.

          Rediscover your passion, instead of lashing out, trying to punish women for the pain and grief other women caused you. I don’t know what you’re trying to achieve with these constant stabs at women. The only person that hurts is yourself.

          It doesn’t bring women down, it simply makes it obvious that you’re trying to get back at women for whatever crimes they have committed against you.

           

    2. 4.2
      Gab

      Noise, mess, and pestering you to do stuff you don’t want? You might want to rethink the whole baby thing.

      1. 4.2.1
        SparklingEmerald

        LOL, I didn’t even THINK of that aspect, but yes, if noise, mess and pestering bother Gala, she should re-think having a baby with “the guy” or any other guy for that matter.

    3. 4.3
      SparklingEmerald

      Does your boyfriend know that you only regard him as a noisy, messy, pestering sperm donor ?

      1. 4.3.1
        Gala

        Well we each get our needs met and get what we want out of this relationship. He gets regular sex and companionship, i get a baby daddy (and yes i also do get sex and companionship but those aren’t my NEEDS so it doesn’t count). As long as everybody gets their needs met, this works.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Gala – ” As long as everybody gets their needs met,”Once you have your baby or babies, I suspect you won’t “need” sex then, as you don’t seem to need this from that noisy, messy, pest of a boyfriend.  I can see you dumping him cold down the road when he “pesters” you for sex after you no longer need that from you sperm donor.  Will you allow him to have a relationship with the child once you dump him for your cat and Law and Order episodes ?How are you going to respond to your noisy, messy offspring’s frequent pestering when it interferes with you love affair with chocolate and cats ?Do you think you will be able to meet the needs of your noisy messy offspring ?  Do you think your babies will need a relationship with their daddy after you dump him ?You say as long as everyone gets their needs met (by everyone, I suspect you mean YOU) everything is hunky dory.  What about the babies needs ?  Do they count, or are they an interference with your feline relationship and your TV watching ?  What if after you decide baby daddy is no longer needed, that your children need their daddy ?  What then.  Does “everybody’s needs” include that of your children ? Why do you even want children ?  You speak of having children as if they are just another fashion accessory like a purse or shoes.  You don’t strike me as the loving maternal type at all.

  5. 5
    Elena

    Interesting replies above.

    I am in my early 40s and can afford to live on my own quite comfortably. But I don’t mind moving in with a man provided he is a right man.  Not bothered with official marriage at all. I don’t have anything against it too. I was married twice before and don’t see marriage useful for myself anymore. My motivation to move in with a man simply that it’s more fun to have a permanent live-in partner. Plus bills are split between two people which leaves more disposable income for hobbies and travel. I’d say I see living with a partner more advantageous than living without. But it boils down to finding a RIGHT partner.

  6. 6
    SparklingEmerald

    Me and my hubby are sort of a combination of a legally married couple, and a couple “living together apart”

    We each owned our own home when we met.  I sold my bigger home, and bought another smaller home in his neighborhood.  We keep our finances separate.  We live in my home, and his home serves as a guest house/storage facility and his man cave, when we both want to watch different TV shows.

  7. 7
    Noquay

    I get it. Though I’m in my 50’s, I’m in the same camp. Since living in Colorado, I’ve mostly dated out of towners due to a very poor regional dating pool. I date older because that’s the group I’m most compatible with. Older men can be pretty convenience oriented; don’t like having pets, dealing with wood stoves, growing food and my home has all those things. I’m a stickler for cleanliness and home maintainence and some older men are less so. I’m not into TV, spectator sports, cities, subdivisions, or dealing with someone’s adult children still at home. Did my time doing the parenting plus caretaker of parents thing and those times are over. When married, we worked well together and worked out our respective duties in the home and on the land but men that are that compatible are hard to find so living together apart is perhaps the best solution from here on out.

  8. 8
    Tron Swanson

    I’ve basically lived alone for my entire adult life; I can’t imagine ever living with anyone, let alone in some sort of romantic relationship. I used to think I was lonely, but, whenever I had the chance for a relationship, I hated it, because I missed my independence. I’ll gladly join Gala on Team “Watching Law and Order”.

    Also, as for the divorce stats for college grads…yeah, people who are successful and financially stable (compared to others, at least) will likely have an easier time of it in relationships. Most marriages end because of financial issues, IIRC. As time goes on, though, there will be fewer and fewer middle-class people, so it’s sort of a moot point. It reminds me of the advice so often given to men: “All you have to do to get a girlfriend is be generally successful in life!” So, do something that may take a lifetime, and that most people can’t do, in order to unlock a very basic part of life. As for average people, who aren’t successful, and are just lucky to get by…well, tough luck, I guess.

    1. 8.1
      Emily, the original

      There’s a great quote in the movie “The Departed” about  marriage:

      “Marriage is an important part of getting ahead. It lets people know you’re not [gay]. A married guy seems more stable. People see the ring, they think ‘at least somebody can stand the son of a bitch.’ Ladies see the ring, they know immediately that you must have some cash, and your c*** must work.”

      It’s funny and largely true.

      1. 8.1.1
        Tron Swanson

        The Departed is one of my favorite movies, so I’m familiar with that quote.

        I’m torn on how much truth that quote has, though. In more traditional areas/subcultures, and for more traditional people, yes, marriage has some social value for men. I live in a more traditional area, so I see it all the time. And there’s a materialistic element, as Mr. Baldwin’s character said. If a man is married, he must be successful enough to attract a woman, which can add to his image.

        But I suspect that, in 2018 America, husbands are less respected–both in private and public–than they’ve ever been in the country’s history. Jokes about the wife being the boss, husbands/fathers being portrayed as bumbling idiots in pop culture, and so on. They’re viewed as less necessary, as well. I frequently see people claim that marriage is great for men, and then turn around and say that women don’t need men at all. Talk about selling two mutually-exclusive products. “Men, if you don’t get married, you aren’t a mature adult, and if you don’t want to get married, something’s wrong with you! But women don’t need it at all, they’re fine without you.”

        The social image angle is overrated, as well. The people more likely to respect you for getting married are the people who hold similarly antiquated views in other areas. Some people have pushed me to get married, and, well…I’m sort of glad I don’t have their approval, because they approve of some creepy stuff. And while some industries are looking for family men, I’ve found that most prefer single, childless men who can put in long hours and are available at the drop of a hat. That’s mostly anecdotal, of course.

        In The Departed, the main cop is working for the criminals, and the main criminal is working for the cops. I view marriage as having a similar dynamic. The guys I know that have gotten married…they were hungry for respect, traditional social approval, and most of them wanted it for less-than-healthy reasons. They got married, but most still didn’t get what they were looking for. I don’t trust people that want that kind of approval. IMHO, they’re looking for an image to hide in, a la Don Draper. I’m happy being an outsider who doesn’t pretend to be more than he is.

        1. Emily, the original

          Tron,

          I’m torn on how much truth that quote has, though. In more traditional areas/subcultures, and for more traditional people, yes, marriage has some social value for men. I live in a more traditional area, so I see it all the time.

          I live in a traditional area, too, and I know that because i don’t explain myself or ramble on about my life, I make some people uncomfortable. I don’t have a narrative and I make no attempt to provide one. Being married at most places of employment helps you, whether you’re a man or a woman. Your co-workers can picture what you do in your personal life. (If you’re not married, you need to at least have kids. Kids also give you a narrative.) Being married means you live as they do and so you validate their choices. You’re one of them. It’s a cliche, but a big part of promotions and moving up are based on whether or not you fit in and are liked.

        2. Tron Swanson

          Emily,

          I have serious doubts about your claim, but it ultimately doesn’t matter–I’m very thankful to have never gotten married or had kids, and I can’t say that I care how it affects my career one way or the other. With fewer people getting married and having kids, it’ll be interesting to see how all these old dynamics play out.

        3. Emily, the original

          Tron,

          I have serious doubts about your claim,

          I have literally had bosses ask me what I do on the weekends. I make them uncomfortable because I don’t have the family narrative and it’s hurt me professionally. Whether you believe me or not is up to you.

           With fewer people getting married and having kids, it’ll be interesting to see how all these old dynamics play out.

          I keep reading that but I’m not sure where these hordes of single people are. Particularly where I live now. I’d love to find a village of single men and women that was also equipped with a disco … seriously. No responsibilities. Just fun.

        4. Tron Swanson

          That’s interesting, Emily. I’ve had clients who have secretly told me that they prefer hiring single contractors, as married ones can’t put in the same hours.

        5. Emily, the original

          Tron,

          That’s interesting, Emily. I’ve had clients who have secretly told me that they prefer hiring single contractors, as married ones can’t put in the same hours.

          That’s not anything new. Some employers expect more of single people in terms of the hours they work because they think they have nothing to do, which is offensive. My off-time is my off-time, regardless of what I do with it.

    2. 8.2
      sylvana

      Tron,

      Am I the only one who has the feeling that Tron is actually a really attractive man who could have just about any woman he wanted if he could just get out of his head?

      That’s been bugging me for a while now.

      I’m intrigued… (not like my old, fat behind would ever stand a chance. But still…)

      1. 8.2.1
        Tron Swanson

        Sylvana,

        If you don’t hold my lack of height and lack of ambition against me, I’m a solid 8/10. Despite never dating and never putting much effort into women, I’ve been shockingly successful with them, all things considered. It’s been a combination of dumb luck, physical attractiveness, and me having a surprisingly decent personality.

        1. sylvana

          I’m not so surprised about the personality. It does show in a lot of your comments. Height is a pesky thing. You’re too short, I’m way too darn tall. Oh well.

          And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with lack of ambition. Unless it’s directed toward a good cause, it usually does nothing but bring out the worst in people.

  9. 9
    Yet Another Guy

    I am in the camp of never getting remarried.  I am also starting to see polyamory as the solution to the kind of life that I desire to live.  I attempted to avoid the “pestering me for sex” free-for-all that occurred in the Aziz thread, but Buck25 was on the money with respect to women using sex as a weapon of control. So many women engage in this behavior that men become accustomed to it. I see polyamory as a way of disarming that weapon; therefore, making women get what they desire from me by means other than withholding sex.

    As to men being noisy and messy, well, there are a lot of women who fit that description as well.  My place is as clean, if not cleaner than those of most of the women I have dated since re-entering the dating pool.  That is one of my sticking points with cohabitation.  I battled my ex over how clean the house should be kept, and I refuse to repeat that mistake.  Different people have different opinions of what is considered to be clean, and my opinion verges on being anal.  It is better just to live in my own place.

    Anyway, man sharing is going to become progressively more common in my age cohort, as single women outnumber single men in my area of the country.  If we add educational attainment to the list of “must have” attributes, single college-educated women outnumber single college-educated men by up to 2 to 1 in my age cohort and by even larger ratios in next older age cohort.  Add in the laundry list of desired attributes and the female preference for the top 20% of men looks-wise, and I have little incentive to settle down with one woman.  I spent a long time in purgatory in my marriage.  I paid my penance. Ten years without any intimate contact whatsoever is a heavy price to pay.  Being single and lonely does not remotely compare to being lonely in one’s marriage.  That is a self-esteem and soul stripping experience.

     

    1. 9.1
      No Name To Give

      If this thread is any indication, polyamory might not be an option, unless you are successful with younger women who think they can change you. Older women seem to be fine without any man at all, let alone having to share one. I know if I had to share, I’d just say, no thanks, let the other gals fight over him, I doing fine in my own.

      1. 9.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @No Name To Give

        I agree that a lot of older women are fine without a man just like a lot of older men get along without a woman.  However, unlike men who will date down for sex, women tend to focus on the top 20% of any male demographic to the exclusion of the other 80%.  If a man is in that top 20%, he does not want for dates.

        1. sylvana

          YAG,

          Why bother having any form of relationship at all? Why are you so obsessed with proving women that you so easily get bored with them?

          That sounds a lot like manic depression. Inflicting pain on others to make your own pain lesson for a while.

          Why not just stick to casual affairs or friends with benefits, no questions asked? You can still go on “dates” and enjoy spending time together outside of bed.

          But even polygamous or polyamorous relationships aim for long-term. And, as you’ve mentioned over and over again, you cannot imagine having sex with the same women for too long because you get so bored. Or do you just want a relationship with one women without sex, and have sex only with others?

          If you want to have various sex-partners, by all means, do. There are plenty of women out there who’d be happy to add another dick to their reverse harem. And meet you on equal terms.

          But don’t drag a woman who wants something meaningful (poly or not) into anything just so you can take a chunk out of her self-confidence.

          Man, your ex did a number on you.

          And yes, yes. We get it. You’re fit, hot, top 20%, most desirable male. We are swooning, bowing to your awesomeness. And forever lamenting the fact that we are not skinny/hot/exciting enough for you. Eyeroll.

          You know, just the fact that you keep needing to point out that you’re so desirable, and most women are fat, out of shape, and unattractive, hints toward some major insecurities.

          Although I do have to say, I do rather much enjoy butting heads with you. So no more statements like you hating cheating. Because I actually had to swallow my pride and agree with you. That was painful.

           

        2. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          And yes, yes. We get it. You’re fit, hot, top 20%, most desirable male. We are swooning, bowing to your awesomeness. And forever lamenting the fact that we are not skinny/hot/exciting enough for you. Eyeroll.

          I get tired of reading that shit, too. Obviously, something’s up if he’s on a site about dating. If things were really going that well, wouldn’t he be out doing them? I’m guessing, but the misogynistic attitude is probably picked up by his dates.

        3. Tron Swanson

          I’m always amused by the whole “If you aren’t successful with women, it’s because they can telepathically sense that you’re a misogynist!” idea. Because, when men point out that 70% of women initiate all divorces, we’re told that it’s often/usually because of abuse. If women have some magic radar that alerts them to misogyny, it must not work very well, because a whole bunch of violent husbands and boyfriends are slipping through the cracks.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          I get tired of reading that shit, too. Obviously, something’s up if he’s on a site about dating. If things were really going that well, wouldn’t he be out doing them? I’m guessing, but the misogynistic attitude is probably picked up by his dates.

          No, I am not a misogynist.  I am just a guy who won the genetic lottery in a few areas, and I am making the best of it.  I know that it will not last; therefore, I am making hay while the sun is shining.

          I post to this site because I find to be intellectually stimulating to discuss these topics.

          @Sylvana

          But don’t drag a woman who wants something meaningful (poly or not) into anything just so you can take a chunk out of her self-confidence.

          I am not obsessed with proving to women that I am I get bored easily.  I just happens!  I am not taking a chunk out of any woman’s self-confidence.  A woman should know the dangers involved with dating and having sex with multiple men or dating a man who is having sex with multiple women.  I am not looking for a long-term commitment of any kind, nor do I go out of my way to be unkind.  I am looking for relationships of convenience with willing participants.  Believe it or not, there are women out there that are fine with that arrangement because they have their own lives.

        5. Yet Another Guy

          @Tron

          I’m always amused by the whole “If you aren’t successful with women, it’s because they can telepathically sense that you’re a misogynist!” idea.  

          That misogynist chestnut is threadbare.  Women love to throw it out when men are engaged in activities that better the lives of men.  However, it is perfectly acceptable for women to engage in activities that better the lives of women at the expense of men.

          If a woman does not want to risk having a man use her sexually, she can keep her legs closed.  It is that simple.  No one twisted her arm.  Her hormones did  that duty.  Here we have a clear-cut case of you cannot fix stupid.

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          I don’t think it’s an either/or. I do think women can serve to take responsibility for sleeping with emotionally unavailable and selfish men. I also think that if a man is a misogynist, most women with any confidence will run far and fast.

        7. Emily, the original

          Yag,

          No, I’m not a misognynist.

          You are a misogynist. The way you write about women’s looks and middle-age body decline demonstrates that. It’s disgusting really, given the fact that you can’t see that everyone declines. Even a person in great shape. No one’s face looks as good at 50 as it did at 25. It’s not possible.

          I post to this site because I find to be intellectually stimulating to discuss these topics.

          I think you are looking for something or else you wouldn’t be here.

        8. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          “You are a misogynist. ”

          Okay, I am a misogynist. Do you feel better? I do not hate women. I am not interested in dating out of shape women. That preference may make me shallow, but it does not make me a misogynist.

          “The way you write about women’s looks and middle-age body decline demonstrates that. It’s disgusting really, given the fact that you can’t see that everyone declines. Even a person in great shape. No one’s face looks as good at 50 as it did at 25. It’s not possible.”

          Yes, but a lot of women make absolutely no attempt to halt the hands of time let alone turn them back. They all have their fair share of excuses for maintaining a matronly appearance; however, it comes down to lack of will power. Change is difficult. Being overweight and out of shape makes a person look older. Getting back into shape after allowing oneself to get out shape for a couple of decades is painful. A woman cannot bitch about men looking for Barbie when she is allowing aging to have unfettered access to her body and face. There are a lot of women my age who do not look their age. They have no problem whatsoever attracting men their age and younger. How do they do it? They exercise 5+ days a week, pay attention to their skin, eat well, get plenty of rest, and avoid unhealthy habits. These women will not date a man who is out of shape. Are they misandrists for doing so? Of course, but here we have and example of what discussed earlier; namely, is okay for women to engage in behaviors that better the lives of women to the expense, but not vice versa.

        9. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          You win, dude. I’m tired. As S. wrote, writing on this blog is often just going around in circles. Shouting at the wall. I didn’t post for about two months and when I came back, the same commenters were posting almost the exact same things. Everyone has their pet topics. Like lobbyists.

        10. Nissa

           A woman should know the dangers involved with dating and having sex with multiple men or dating a man who is having sex with multiple women.

          And yet, women like me who don’t have sex with multiple men or date men who are having sex with multiple women, are characterized as “special snowflakes”. Evan himself seems to feel that women who don’t put sex or rounding the sexual bases on the menu are courting spinsterhood by limiting their options. (Not that this is incorrect – but it does not really take into account the wonderful, delightful, pleasurable experiences men can have that are intimate, desirable and available yet not sexual). Men aren’t bad people if they don’t offer women what the women want – and vice versa.

          Think of it this way. When YAG talks about being “bored easily” with women, Evan’s word’s about being a fun date apply. No man wants to be on a date with a women who looks bored by him…and neither does a woman.

          While I wouldn’t call YAG misogynist for saying that he prefers fit over fat – I’d say both genders prefer it, and both genders usually end up doing a bit of settling. Where I do think YAG is off the mark a bit, is in the idea that he is dealing with women who are also looking for a relationship of convenience with women who are willing to accept that.

          It has been my experience that 1) most of us believe what we want to believe and/or expect, so it is possible that YAG is assuming these women are okay with the little that he offers because that’s what HE wants and is experiencing confirmation bias and 2) a lot of people say one thing while secretly (then not so secretly or quietly) asking for something different. Some women think that men will change if she pesters or demands. Some women think if she’s nice enough, or gives enough, he’ll change and finally love her. Some men don’t react well to any change in behavior in their partner, and instead of renegotiating, sulk and punish in hopes that she’ll be so miserable that she will go back to doing things his way.

          Tron writes: if a woman doesn’t want to be taken advantage of, she should keep her legs closed. Evan’s right in calling that an either/or. Intimacy is NOT reserved for sexuality. For example: I’m a very intimate person. I can sit with a stranger and have intimacy within 15 minutes, in a noisy public place, such that at the end of that time, they give me a hug and their eyes have tears. It’s the intimacy and creating a safe place for them to be vulnerable that creates the reaction. BUT – it is entirely not sexual. It’s being appreciated, supported, accepted.

          What I think we are seeing here is the gender divide in how we as groups go about getting our needs met. Women are getting their intimacy, connection and love needs met with family, friends and pets. Men (in general) tend to associate those things with sex, since they are not getting much of those things from family, friends or work. Therefore men are (IMO) often chasing sex, when what they really crave is connection. They just don’t know that’s what is happening. Which is understandable, especially when they have had crappy parents who didn’t meet their needs or past spouses or partners that were a poor match, who weren’t offering them the intimacy, unconditional love and acceptance that they craved. That’s why guys like Evan, after sleeping around, are satisfied with one sexual partner. It’s because he is getting from that one sexual partner, the things he was not finding in multiple sexual partners.

        11. Jeremy

          Nissa, although I largely agree with what you wrote here, I wanted to clarify something.  I’ve heard women say over and over about men that they fear intimacy.  Or in your case, that what men want is ultimately intimacy.  But there’s a nuance here that many women don’t get, because of differing hierarchial pyramids.

           

          For many women, intimacy is a base need.  They are hard-wired nurturer-connectors, born to communicate, rewarded by their neurochemistry for doing so.  For such women, it is only once they have established intimacy and closeness that they would consider climbing the pyramid to a higher plateau and having sex – because the sex is an even higher level of connectedness to them.  This is obviously not true of all women, but many.

           

          For men, sex and admiration is the base need of the relationship hierarchial pyramid, not intimacy.  Men are born hard-wired to pursue these, and are rewarded by their neurochemistry for doing so.  And are NOT rewarded by their neurochemistry for pursuing intimacy outside of relationships involving sex and/or admiration…which is why most men don’t do so.  It is only once men are no longer starving for sex/admiration that they climb to a higher plateau on their pyramid and pursue intimacy, which provides greater rewards than the sex/admiration alone – but the intimacy on its own is NOT what men crave.  This isn’t all men, but most.

           

          The men whom women believe fear intimacy aren’t afraid – they just aren’t interested.  Women find this hard to believe because it isn’t their lived reality.  It sounds like you are providing the admiration – and I think most men would appreciate that…..but I wouldn’t count on the fact that you provide admiration and intimacy as replacing the desire for sex or fulfilling their emotional needs.  You are enforcing your own boundaries and protecting your feelings – which is fine – but don’t believe for a moment that you are fulfilling men’s emotional hierarchial needs this way.  There are men who will wait, but there aren’t many men who will be fulfilled by waiting.  Intimacy or not.

        12. Nissa

          @Jeremy,

          I find what you said interesting.  Most of the men I meet seem to be starving for connection. I see validity in your point about my word of ‘intimacy’ being more pertinent for women than men. 

           What seems significant is that most men seem to be attempting to fill their needs via a romantic relationship, and if that fails, they settle for companionship. I saw this quite a bit with older men, and think that perhaps it has something to do with lower testosterone levels as they age, causing them to be more (but not fully) satisfied with friendship vs romance.
          I would agree with you that men are more focused on admiration rather than intimacy. I have observed that for men there is almost always a need to be ‘the best’, ‘the highest’, or ‘the most powerful’ – supporting your words about admiration being the base need of a man. I would argue that sex is to some degree an extension of that (look at my magnificent manly bits!) by virtue of the thought that women only have sex with men they admire. I’ll concede that one, if one includes ‘admire’ to include ‘value by virtue of good looks, money, proximity or circumstance’ – because I hear a lot of women say, they are having sex with that particular guy for no other reason than he had a penis and he was there.
          So I’d agree that men are getting the feeling of admiration by route of sex. I’d also say that men get that ‘one up’ feeling in relationships in a way that is not there in friendships – leading them to value relationships as equal to sex. There’s a thought that he is the ‘best’ because he has been chosen or accepted as a date/boyfriend/spouse that gives more admiration than a friend. Before someone argues that men value sex more, I think the tipping factor is that sex is easy for men, and relationships are not. Meaning, if two things have equal value, but one is easier, most people go for the one that is easier. 
          However, isn’t admiration somewhat inherent in intimacy? It seems as if opening up to a man, would make him feel needed and important, and thus admired. It’s a mutual act that provides each with what they need – intimacy for the woman, importance/status/being needed for the man, and connection for both. Win-win. That’s the part that I do think fulfills some of men’s emotional needs (I concede, not all). I would agree that this does not replace a desire for sex, but that it’s easier to resist temptation of any sort when you are more sated.
          For myself, not having sex is not about protecting my feelings. I don’t believe that not having sex saves anyone’s feelings. One might feel less used or less taken advantage of, but that’s a decrease, not an elimination. And me being the person I am, I have felt crushed over being rejected by men with whom I never even shared a kiss. Not having sex is merely an intellectual choice to respect the power of oxytocin, of habit, of familiarity. If I do have sex, I want it to be a conscious choice, rather than “well, I’ve gone this far, what’s a little more”? Notice those are my thoughts about my behavior, rather than the guy’s. It’s not designed to change his thoughts or behavior – it’s designed to help me retain objectivity that I routinely lose.  
           It seems to me that it’s less that a woman needs the intimacy before she needs sex, than it is that sex without the intimacy falls flat, like bread without yeast. You can have either, but one is more palatable.

        13. Emily, the original

          Nissa,

          While I wouldn’t call YAG misogynist for saying that he prefers fit over fat – I’d say both genders prefer it, and both genders usually end up doing a bit of settling. 

          He’s hedging. He’s a misogynist because of the way he described women’s bodies who had children. It was disgusting. It had nothing to do with being in shape.

        14. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          I would argue that sex is to some degree an extension of that (look at my magnificent manly bits!) by virtue of the thought that women only have sex with men they admire. I’ll concede that one, if one includes ‘admire’ to include ‘value by virtue of good looks, money, proximity or circumstance’ – because I hear a lot of women say, they are having sex with that particular guy for no other reason than he had a penis and he was there.

          Jeremy, can you speak on this comment from Nissa. I have often wondered the same thing. How could a man possibly feel validated or admired by women who simply said yes to sex because he was the one standing the closest to her? Or the one who asked? Or she really wants his friend, who turned her down, etc.? If they don’t know each other well, he really doesn’t know her motivation for agreeing to sleep with him.

        15. Jeremy

          Emily and Nissa, actually, the best answer I’ve heard recently for your question here is the interview with Brett Weinstein that Evan posted recently. To precis his statement, men have historically had 2 reproductive strategies when dealing with women – either show that the men are capable of being providers (and hence be chosen as involved dads by a given woman), or be so genetically superior that a woman was willing to risk pregnancy with you with no expectation of support should she become pregnant. Weinstein uses this argument to parse the difference between hotness and beauty, but it applies to your question, and to the cyclical arguments we’ve had over and over on this website about women who have quick, meaningless sex with a man.

          You and Nissa wrote the typical female perspective on the matter – the woman might be having sex with the guy simply because he’s there and she’s horny, or lonely, or whatever. But her reasons aside, what’s important to him is HIS perspective, not hers. And his perspective is informed by his evolution. A woman who is willing to have sex without commitment or support MUST, by the evolved pathways in the male brain, see him as superior to other suitors. Whether she does or not. Because otherwise she wouldn’t do something so evolutionarily-stupid as having sex without provisioning. Of course, birth control puts a spin on this logic, but it remains a deep part of the male psyche.

          So I partly agree with Nissa’s comment – that men see a woman’s desire to have sex with him as making him one-up. But that’s for sex, not for relationships, because from an evolutionary perspective relationships were the price men paid for sex, not the goal. Women have trouble seeing this, because for them the reverse is true.

        16. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          So I partly agree with Nissa’s comment – that men see a woman’s desire to have sex with him as making him one-up.

          But what I think men aren’t getting is that it’s sometimes the desire for sex, NOT the desire for him. Those are two totally different things. Men need to understand that some women are quite capable of having cheap sex the same way men do —  with men they have little use for. It’s a bit like a rich, older man who thinks he’s won points in the male hierarchy because he shows up with a young, beautiful woman. But it doesn’t mean anything if she wouldn’t be there without the money.

        17. sylvana

          YAG,

          You somehow seem to have a problem understanding the difference between a casual relationship and a polyamorous or polygamous relationship.

          Poly’s require commitment that you’re not willing to give. So if you’re pretending to want poly, when in fact all you want is casual and short-term, you’re deliberately deceiving people.

          I have no problem with either. Personally, I prefer fuck-buddies, with no friendship or other involvement at all. They serve one purpose only: Sex.

          But I make that perfectly clear.

          So polyamory is absolutely NOT the solution for the kind of life you want to life. Short-term, casual relationship are.

          If you’re using poly as a disguise, you’re purposely setting out to hurt someone’s feelings.

  10. 10
    Gab

    What I’d like to know is how do cohabiting couples keep the sexual spark alive in the long term. How do you not take them for granted when your sense of ‘comfort’ and ‘safety’ is high? I’d really like to hear from Jeremy how he turned his sexless marriage around. I think I too need a little bit of uncertainty in the context of a committed relationship to be super aroused. How does one actually achieve this? Living apart gives me the uncertainty. I’d like to know I can also have it when cohabiting (did not in my marriage of 13 years, we were more like siblings).

    1. 10.1
      sylvana

      Uncertainty? Tell her she’s allowed to have sex with other men. That should do it…lol. Then you can always worry whether she’ll take you up on it. And make it your goal to be so good in bed that she won’t want to. That should keep you entertained for years.

      On a serious note, I guess you should find out what it is about the uncertainty that makes you tick. Then try to recreate it in healthier ways.

      There are thousands of ways in which to keep the spark alive. Especially with a more open-minded partner (even if it doesn’t include open relationships). People who get bored tend to lack imagination.

      Nothing keeps the spark going like constantly trying to imagine new ways to pleasure your partner within their limits. Spend all day imagining what you’ll do, and the hours will fly by (not to mention you’ll be more than aroused by the time you get home).

      Stop thinking of sex as a pleasurable respite, and turn it into a form of art. Be present, instead of just going through the motions. Personally, I don’t see how anyone could ever get bored.

      1. 10.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @sylvana

        Personally, I don’t see how anyone could ever get bored.

        Trust me, it is incredibly easy for some people to get bored with a sexual partner.  I wish that it were not so, but most of the relationships I have had in my life lasted less than six months, most three months or less.  I was not that I could not get alone with a woman or enjoy her company. It is because I grew tired of having sex with her.  That is when it is time to move on before it becomes a soul crushing experience.  There have been a few women for whom sex did not boring, but those relationships ended for other reasons.

        1. Theodora

          YAG, you are one of the most contradictory men I ever heard.

          You get sexually bored with the same woman in a few months, but you spent a decade in a sexless marriage and you accepted celibacy for the sake of marital fidelity and personal integrity?

          This is strange to say the least. Usually men who are easily sexually bored would find a mistress or an escort after a short period of involuntary celibacy in their marriage and would have no moral dilemmas about it. Something doesn’t add up.

        2. Tron Swanson

          I was the same way, YAG. My relationships were very short, as I wanted to have sex with other women.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Theodora

          It comes down to one thing; namely, one’s children.  Both of my parents cheated.  To say that their infidelity left an indelible mark is an understatement.  I did not want to risk that experience with my daughters; therefore, I did what I had to do.  My period of celibacy was in part due to my lack of interest in regular sex during the early years. I was busy with my career.  I was working 80 hours a week. Eventually, she lost interest, and there was no righting the ship.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @Tron

          I was the same way, YAG. My relationships were very short, as I wanted to have sex with other women.

          I wish that it were not so for me.  I married because it was time to settle down.  Before that, I went through periods of being a man-slut interleaved with periods of swearing off women.  I am envious of people who manage to find partners with whom sex never grows old.  I have never cheated, but I have abruptly ended relationships, so that I could have sex with a new woman.  I do not know if that practice is morally superior to cheating, but I just cannot bring myself to cheat.

        5. sylvana

          YAG,

          Yeah, I guess I phrased that wrong. Trust me, being a straight woman, I’m well aware of just how boring sex partners can be. We’re the masters of making grocery lists, schedules, and plans for household chores to keep ourselves occupied while the man humps away.

          What I should have said was that I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t use as much creativity and imagination as possible to make their sex-lives as good as they can be.

          It absolutely boggles me that the majority of people seem to lack any and all passion when it comes to sex. And I’m not talking about passion for your partner, but passion for sex itself.

          Most of the time, it is reduced to nothing but physical desire and pleasure. And yes – that can quickly get boring. What makes sex incredible is the mind. Yet so many people pretty much ignore it.

          Fantasizing about or even sleeping with different people is only a tiny fraction of what you can do to get your mind involved. And doesn’t really do much to fix the problem.

          The way I see it, if you eat steak and potatoes every day at home, you’re bound to get bored with it. So, in answer, you decide to go out to eat. And end up having… Steak and potatoes. Ok, so you’re not eating it at home. And the flavor is likely a bit different. But it’s still the same darn meal.

          That’s like having a pepperoni and cheese pizza at Little Caesars one day, Pizza Hut the next, and your local Italian restaurant the third. Difference in quality and flavor? Sure. But you’re still eating pepperoni and cheese pizza every day.

          Instead of changing the location (partner), try changing the darn menu (the sex).

          I’ve met only four men outside of the BDSM field who were actually capable of truly engaging their own and their partner’s minds. Who had a true passion for sex. And all four of them were strong dominants themselves (not men playing at dominant, and forgetting that the dom actually serves the sub). And the women outside of those fields don’t fare much better.

          You can jump from partner to partner all you want (been there, done that, and I’ve also had a few open relationships). But, in the end, you’re still merely adding a little different spice to the same old, boring sex.

          Most women would need a whole train of guys at a time to keep finding satisfaction that way year after year.

          Find a partner who is actually present before and during sex, learn to get your minds involved, actually enjoy arousal and the game of seduction and positive unpredictability, and you’ll run out of years before you run out of ways to pleasure each other.

          I don’t know. Maybe the whole “sex is inherently bad” message most societies still hold on to puts some sort of subconscious guilt block in peoples’ minds that prevents them from truly enjoying sex.

           

           

      2. 10.1.2
        Kenley

        Slylvana,

        I love your pizza analogy and completely agree with you about most people not being very inventive when it comes to sex.  The only guy I know who was  a BDSM guy.  Everytime we had sex it was different and it was awesome.  He was the only man who didn’t bore me to tears!

        1. Marika

          Kenley & Sylvana

          I can honestly say that I’ve never had ‘bad sex’. Possibly because I was a late starter so any sex at all seemed good to me! Haha. But now that I do have a little (still probably waaay less than you two) experience under my belt (no pun intended..;)), while some partners have been better for me than others, still none of them were bad, and definitely not boring.

          Am I in the minority here?

          Maybe it’s because I have no lack of imagination or difficulty visualising or fantasising. But I’ve found with the best sex I can stay out of my head and just be present in how good it feels in the moment. I think also, too, I’m just as interested in their pleasure as I am my own. I want them to enjoy the experience and feel good and satisfied. So, short of other people, animals or anything illegal, I’m pretty open to what they would like me to do. I think that helps too. Also, if it’s not quite getting there for you, there’s no reason you can’t um..help yourself out a bit! I haven’t had one night stands etc either, so there’s always been an emotional component/connection for me.

          I never really thought about it much until I started reading comments on here about bad sex, getting bored, men lacking imagination and I thought..really?

        2. Emily, the original

          Markia,

          Am I in the minority here?

          Yes. Sex is like any other experience. Most of it falls under the 25th – 75th percentile, all the way from very bad to very good. “Great” and “awful” are the highs and lows of percentiles, and are rare.

        3. Kenley

          Marika,

          Interestingly, my complaint isn’t that I didn’t have orgasms per se because I certainly know how to take care of myself.  But, unlike other people who feel that you should just take care of yourself when you are having sex with a partner if they are not doing it for you.  My question is, then what’s the point of being with a partner if they aren’t concerned about your pleasure too?

          My experience has been that the men I have been with were just too focused on making their dicks happy.  There was a lack of sensuality.  As if the only thing that mattered was the penis.  It’s like someone speaking in a monotone voice 100% of the time.  There was no change in volume, or pacing, no variations in emotion.  No attention to how the audience was responding.  It was routine and boring.

          What I loved about the BDSM guy was he was incredibly sensual — not just sexual.  The room, mattered, sound, sight, texture mattered.  It was about a multi-sensual experience.  And, it we thought about and discussed what we wanted to do.  It was great!

          Just so you know, I tried to be inventive with the other guys, but just like tons of other stuff in those relationshiops, I got tired of doing all the heavy lifting.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          Yes. Sex is like any other experience. Most of it falls under the 25th – 75th percentile, all the way from very bad to very good. “Great” and “awful” are the highs and lows of percentiles, and are rare.

          There was a point in my life where there was no such thing as bad sex.  Granted, I still got bored with a woman, but not because the sex was horrible.  It was because the excitement was gone.  I do not know if it is me or if women my age have gotten lazy in bed due to being out of shape (maybe a little of both), but sex is rapidly becoming a “why bother?” experience.

        5. KK

          “Am I in the minority here?”

          Hi Marika,

          I don’t know, but I’m in the same camp as you. Never been interested in one night stands or casual sex. Maybe being selective is beneficial in more ways than one.

        6. Emily, the original

          YAG,  

          Granted, I still got bored with a woman, but not because the sex was horrible.  It was because the excitement was gone.  I do not know if it is me or if women my age have gotten lazy in bed due to being out of shape (maybe a little of both), but sex is rapidly becoming a “why bother?” experience.

          A high level of attraction and a high level of sexual compatibility (you really like the way they do it) — a very rare combination, btw — make sex “great.” It has nothing to do with someone’s skill, but you’re an adrenaline junkie, so you’ll get bored with anyone. I hope you are letting your sex partner’s know they have a short self life instead of just disappearing. You and I are too old for that behavior.

        7. Marika

          Kenley, KK, Emily

          I’m wondering if what Jeremy said in another thread, that maybe it’s my personality/perception that makes the difference? (KK thanks, but not sure I’ve been anywhere near as selective as I could have been!). I hope so, as then potentially I’ll never have bad sex/get bored. I certainly didn’t get bored in 9 years with my ex-husband, so it seems at least possible! Although, I grant you, back then I had very little to compare it to (I do now, though).

          By perception I mean, for all my flaws, I don’t play the blame game. Sex is an act between two people – if you aren’t enjoying something, change it up, guide them (I get that explicitly saying what you want can kill the moment, but you can be subtle), use some imagination! Or enjoy the moment for what it is (less than great sex is still better than no sex). Kenley, if you’re into a sensual experience, create the atmosphere you want. Light candles, give the guy a massage, bring along a toy, whatever it is you like. Are they going to say no? For me, even if it isn’t working perfectly for me, I really enjoy seeing the other person enjoy themselves and giving them pleasure, and that they want me to enjoy it. That can really work for me.

          YAG, I thought what you said to Paloma in another thread was wise – stop blaming the opposite sex for your bad dating experiences.

        8. Emily, the original

          Marika,
           I hope so, as then potentially I’ll never have bad sex/get bored. I certainly didn’t get bored in 9 years with my ex-husband, so it seems at least possible! Although, I grant you, back then I had very little to compare it to (I do now, though).
          You married the “lust of your life.” How could you have gotten bored sexually? 🙂  But in all seriousness, I think that some women have to feel an emotional connection first before they can feel a sexual one. They don’t experience bad sex because the emotional component is more important and makes the sex hot   ?  I don’t experience sex like that. I can really be into someone, but sometimes it just doesn’t click. I’m not blaming the guy. We’re just not compatible.
          Use some imagination! 
          I think sexual compatibility is there or it isn’t. You can always make it better, but why bother if you’re starting with a “meh” level?
          (less than great sex is still better than no sex).
          Totally disagree.

        9. Kenley

          Marika,

          Mmm— I believe I mentioned that I did do things to help — did they like it? Sure. The problem is they did not reciprocate. I asked to have my needs met, they tried and couldn’t so I left. No harm; no foul. What I learned from those relationships is this….if a man’s default behavior in an area that is a deal breaker for me, does not meet my needs, I end the relationship. No complaining or blaming — we just aren’t a match. I move on and wish him well. Perhaps there are some women who can get a man do what they want. I can’t and I don’t even try. I remember a famous relationship expert saying that to keep asking a man for something that he just can’t give you, is cruel. I think that is true. I don’t do that anymore.

          Perhaps I came across as blaming, but really what I am saying is that there are some men who just aren’t interested in approaching sex the way I do. I will not waste my time or his trying to convert him. I will find a man who is already on the same page — they just seem to be a little more difficult to find!

        10. sylvana

          Kenley,

          both of those replies of yours described it wonderfully. Love that “monotone speaker” analogy! That’s the perfect way to describe it.

          And you can’t really teach a man what you like when it comes to what you and I are referring to. It’s mostly the mental component (creativity, presence/focus, attention demanded and given, unpredictability, anticipation, involving various senses, etc.). That kind of sex is mostly about the mind, and plays out in the physical. But the physical isn’t the dominant factor.

          And no matter how open-minded a woman is, there are actually plenty of men who don’t even care to take advantage of it. Plain, old vanilla sex will get them off just fine, without them having to put too much effort into it.

          I’m with you when it comes to a partner who doesn’t do it for you. Why bother being with them? It doesn’t mean we blame them. We’re just not compatible when it comes to sex.

          I think Emily has a point about the emotional aspect. Some women who place a lot of value on the emotional might be fine or not get bored. Or maybe they just haven’t experienced something much better yet 🙂

          I also totally agree with Emily that no sex is much better than bad or boring sex. Why get dirty, sweaty, and totally frustrated, and risk pregnancy (and possibly STDs) when masturbation will get the job done just fine?

          True dominants (even with no pain involved) are definitely the masters of the game.

  11. 11
    Mrs Happy

    The demographics of living alone are interesting.  A quarter of all households in Australia are single-person households; from 1911-61 the percentage hovered around 10%, and it’s been slowly rising to 25% ever since, which is in line with many other developed nations.  Scandinavian and Western European countries now hover between 30-45%.  This is an enormous change worldwide in how humans live – until very recently in human history, most individuals couldn’t survive living alone.  Until the industrial revolution numerous generations lived under the one roof, with many people lived crammed into little spaces, for all but the ultra wealthy.

    People who live alone tend to be older.  Divorce and separation drive the living alone rates in middle age.  Women who live alone earn more, are more educated, and in more professional jobs, than women who live with others.  For men it’s the opposite; men who live alone earn less, have less education, and are in less prestigious jobs, than men who live with others.  It is very interesting to speculate on the why of this differences.  (Until old age widowhood when eventually many people live alone.)

    Thus money matters a lot in the choice to live alone, and in all sorts of ways.  Obviously the whole – if you want to, and can afford to (assets, income, country), you’ve more ability to live alone.  Wider wealth in a society matters, as a country needs the infrastructure (police, law, gaol) for it to be safe for women, or older people, to reside alone.

    But money also matters in inheritance, because I think as single household people with adult children age, the wealth of the older person is seen as partly or vaguely ‘belonging to’ their adult children (in the future, when the aged parent dies).  An older marriage or cohabiting arrangement can legally see that wealth potentially spread outside the family, and it seems older people are reluctant to do that, to share, in the way younger single-parent-of-minor-children are.

    I suspect there is a lot of loneliness in the older community.  Living alone likely exacerbates this.

    My husband’s grandfather (94) lived alone until he entered a nursing home recently.  He was lonely.  When I married 10 years ago, I think he would’ve been thrilled had my husband and I chosen to live with him.  He certainly had a big enough house.  And in some cultures and some parts of the world, even now, and certainly for most centuries gone by, that’s what would have happened.  And I as the granddaughter-in-law would have assumed caring responsibilities for him as his dementia progressed.  But, because it was 2008, and I had my own wealth and income and career, and society had changed, and my culture/country doesn’t openly strictly expect this of their young women anymore, I wasn’t expected to do this.  This was good for me, but probably bad for my husband’s grandfather, because instead he lived alone, lonely, probably scared about his failing health and safety and future, and then he was placed into a nursing home when the other family carers couldn’t cope anymore.

    Since 50% of us who live long enough to, will get dementia, this is the future for many in single-person households.  In young adult and middle age, when healthy, living alone is a clear positive choice for many people, as the stats show.  I don’t know how much of a first choice it is for people aged 80+.

  12. 12
    Gab

    I’m a woman. BF and I are having the best sex of our lives. We are both very giving and inventive. It’s been 15 months since we started dating. My question pertains to keeping it going in the long run if we decide to cohabit. I see him fortnightly so lots of time to fantasize and build the tension. Can’t imagine that level of excitement if we live together, and have to deal with domestic life, our respective kids, etc.

    1. 12.1
      sylvana

      Gab,

      you’re on the right path. Got your minds involved.

      Keep fantasizing. Spend all day (or while you’re doing chores, drive home from work, running errands, etc.) fantasizing about new ways to pleasure each other. Or ways to surprise each other a little. Or simply looking forward to what you’ll be doing. Keep building the tension.

      And you’ll remain happy for a long time to come.

      1. 12.1.1
        Gab

        Sylvana

        This is precisely what we do. Sometimes the physical sensations  caused from my sexual fantasies about him are so overwhelming, I get the female version of blue balls. I just can’t imagine this happening as much if we lived together. I guess the key would be having enough time apart that I knew he wasn’t a sure thing. My ex-husband and I had too much security, not enough uncertainty. At 44 it appears I’m willing to trade in certainty about the future for passion.

  13. 13
    Marika

    Emily said:

    I keep reading that but I’m not sure where these hordes of single people are. Particularly where I live now. I’d love to find a village of single men and women that was also equipped with a disco … seriously. No responsibilities. Just fun.

    Meetup. Seriously. Sydney can’t have the market cornered on dance & fun based age-appropriate Meetup groups with (mostly) single people.

    1. 13.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      Meetup. Seriously.

      There are no meetup groups where I live. Really. Where I was before, there were tons, but it was mostly women. And I mean no responsibilities. I don’t want to hear about your mortgage … because you don’t have one! I don’t think people my age live like that. I want to live like I did at 25 … with people who live the same way, but I those days have are over. At the end of the day, it’s still family and romantic relationships that are most important.

    2. 13.2
      Nissa

      Match.com has events, which I think are absolutely terrific. I’ve been to a couple, and oddly enough, tend to meet lots of women who want to be my best friend after the event. You really can’t beat them for meeting large numbers of single people, in roughly your age group, for an event that interests you (since you get to pick the activity), and if you see someone you like, you can just scroll their profile on your phone as they sit 10 feet away. It’s magic.

  14. 14
    Marika

    Emily

    So start one! That’s the beauty of Meetup, the groups are so specific. There’s probably a group for 20 year old transgender Trump voters who like to fish..I’m sure you could start a 40 something group for those who want to dance and not talk mortgages.

    I dunno..my 20s were certainly filled with going out. But were they carefree? I was riddled with self-doubt, compared myself to my friends, cared waaayy too much what my parents, friends, the guy I liked thought. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin now.

    Move to Sydney, I’ll show you a good time ☺

    1. 14.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      I dunno..my 20s were certainly filled with going out. But were they carefree? I was riddled with self-doubt, compared myself to my friends, cared waaayy too much what my parents, friends, the guy I liked thought. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin now.

      Yeah, me, too, about all those things. I just meant that everyone was on the same page in terms of priorities. I just thought in my 20s that things would go on as they had. It never dawned on me how many people would want to do the marriage/children thing. I have one close friend left, and we talk about … her kids, her religion, her family. Now, she’s been really good to me, but I’d much rather talk about pop culture, books, music, hot male movie stars, etc. I find those topics much more interesting.  🙂

      1. 14.1.1
        Gab

        I have kids but don’t really enjoy talking about kids. I prefer talking about psychology, politics, current affairs, love and sex. I am 44, have a lot of friends in their late 20s and 30s as I went back to uni to do a PhD a few years ago. That said I’ve found my few 40 something friends also appreciate the chance to talk about things other than family and home. You just need to do a one on one and bring up the topics you enjoy. Popular culture/hot celebs is a difficult one though as people seem to follow it less as they age. I still love films but wouldn’t know the names of any of the new stars.

        1. Emily, the original

          Gab,

          I still love films but wouldn’t know the names of any of the new stars.

          Talking about established stars is fine. I love old Hollywood, too.

          That said I’ve found my few 40 something friends also appreciate the chance to talk about things other than family and home

          How important are these friends to you? Are they people you would call if your car broke down or people you call just to meet up for dinner? As I gotten older, I miss the real friends. I’m not looking for more entertainment friends. Those are easy to find.

      2. 14.1.2
        Nissa

        I find a lot of more people who want to talk about pop culture, books, music etc on childfree sites. Since they don’t have kids, not only do they not talk about kids, but they usually have more disposable income to do things, time and freedom to travel or do events. Win-win.

        1. Emily, the original

          Nissa,

          I find a lot of more people who want to talk about pop culture, books, music etc on childfree sites

          True, but I have yet to see a meetup group for the childfree! I was happy, in the city where I used to live, to find a women’s group for 40-60. I just had more in common with women who were my age and still working. I don’t mind talking about someone’s kids/family, I just don’t want to only talk about that. I work with a woman who has three topics — her husband, her kids, and her house repairs. It’s really a narrow (and self-involved) range of topics.

    2. 14.2
      sylvana

      Emily,

      I feel your pain. Although even in my 20s, I always said I saw no purpose for life after 30. I guess I must have known what was coming.

      I’ve had pretty much all men for friends. And even they can’t ever go anywhere and do anything fun anymore because – well – wives and kids, and responsibilities.

      I have no interest in anything including or involving children, which pretty much leaves most of the population out as friends.

      I’m happy for them, but I do wish there was a larger population in a similar boat as I.

      1. 14.2.1
        Emily, the original

        Sylvana, 
        I’ve had pretty much all men for friends. And even they can’t ever go anywhere and do anything fun anymore because – well – wives and kids, and responsibilities.
        I was informed by a co-worker the other day, after I said that it’s good to have at least one fun thing planned a week, that “that’s not what parents do.” So effing self-righteous. Like I was some kind of profligate for spending money on going to a movie.
        I have no interest in anything including or involving children, which pretty much leaves most of the population out as friends.
        I’m happy for them, but I do wish there was a larger population in a similar boat as I.
        Me, too, but even the people I’ve met without kids seem bogged down by … responsibilities, largely of their own creation. I just can’t relate to it. Yes, there are things that have to be done, but let’s get them done asap and move on to the fun stuff.    🙂

  15. 15
    Marika

    Emily said:

    I’m tired…everyone has their pet topics. Like lobbyists.

    A couple of years ago at my parent’s house, my sister and I were having a conversation. It was mildly controversial, but no big deal. Her husband (call him Richard) did think it was a big deal, interjected, told me off then packed up his family and left.

    Later he sent an email about the interaction to another family member (Natalie) and  then went on a rant about me in general. My Mum read the email..she witnessed the whole thing and she said his perspective was so skewed that it was laughable. He wrote that he was ‘protecting’ his wife (from a conversation about Easter with her younger sister??), blah blah. Took no responsibility for over-reacting or interrupting and acted like a big hero/victim.

    Some people can’t see past their own perspective..

    They are always right and the hero in every story. You think the rest of the family see him that way?…

     

    1. 15.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,
      Some people can’t see past their own perspective. … They are always right and the hero in every story. 
      Those kinds of people don’t have listening ears. Their narcissism causes everything to bounce right off of them. Life experience doesn’t affect them. Prick them and they don’t bleed, and they have nothing to give.

  16. 16
    Gab

    Emily, the Original

    I don’t do acquaintances. Never have. Every single friend I have is someone I can be very open with, and vice versa. There’s enough ‘pretense’ with my colleagues, clients, and extended family that I won’t add to it with shallow friendships. For a long time it meant only having a few friends, but going back to uni put me in touch with a few more smart, open women.

    1. 16.1
      Emily, the original

      Gab,

      For a long time it meant only having a few friends, but going back to uni put me in touch with a few more smart, open women.

      That’s good to know. I mean, if you had a doctor’s appointment and needed someone to pick you up, could you ask one of them? Would they ask that of you? I realized at one point that I was hanging out with women whose last names I didn’t even know, so I’m looking for real friendships.

      1. 16.1.1
        Gab

        Yes I could. But interestingly, asking things of my friends required me to become more comfortable with being vulnerable. In my 20s I never asked friends for favours… I always felt I’d be imposing. I’m still a very independent person, particularly since my marriage ended, but I am will show friends my needs or talk about them.

        I have one friend who needs a lot of space in all of her relationships. You can have an intense, amazing time with her and then she won’t be very responsive for a few days afterwards. At the start of our friendship I thought I’d done something wrong or misjudged how much she liked me, so I told her exactly what my experience of her was like. She was really grateful I’d shared that and I learned that her withdrawal was something she did with everyone, she needed lots of alone time to feel centered (she believes she’s on the spectrum). We were able to come to an understanding and our friendship thrived. I would never have revealed myself like that to a friend 10 years ago, and she said noone had ever told her how her behaviour impacted them.

        1. Emily, the original

          Gab,

          I have one friend who needs a lot of space in all of her relationships. You can have an intense, amazing time with her and then she won’t be very responsive for a few days afterwards. …  so I told her exactly what my experience of her was like. 

          That’s good you were able to have that conversation. I don’t need to hear from someone daily or even weekly, but it depends on the quality of the connection and the amount of effort made by both parties. I have one out-of-town friend who I speak to about every 3 weeks, but we talk for a good hour and I have plans to visit her.  I make the effort with her because I feel supported. For the friends who want to conduct most of the friendship over email (which I find impersonal) and if they take a week to respond, because you don’t have regular phone conversations (all of my friends are out of town), you really notice the lack of real connection.  I make some effort with them. And then there are people who you hear from once a year who you may be fond of but they aren’t consistent. So I wait for them to contact me. I respond to them but I won’t initiate.

  17. 17
    Isobel Matheson

    I’m 60, and have had 3 long term relatonships, where I lived with the man – twice as husband and wife.

    After my 2nd divorce 3 years ago I became depressed, anxious, exhausted, and just seemed to give up. It took a lot of therapy and time to sort myself out. In the course of this, my therapist and I tried to find the common denominator in these disastrous relationships and eventually I came to realise what they had in common was that all three men worked really hard to convince me to be with them. I mean, really hard. I caved each time. I came to undersatnd I don’t want to be with anyone else, certainly not in the sense of marriage and living together. I am veery, very happy solo. I go on holidays by myself, out for meals or to galleries by myself, travel by myself…and I LOVE it. As a child, I never dreamed of walking dowm the aisle (I didn’t do it, either, when I got married; short, business-like, and quick were my weddings, no big dress or fancy party). I never wanted to wear The Dress or have The Cake or The Photos or any other wedding paraphernalia. I came to see that I had allowed myself to believe that I was the abnormal one, that I should be married, that I should be with someone etc etc etc.

    I cannot imagine being with someone ever again. I have tons of friends, an active social life, an interesting job, and just about enough money to get by. I would have to compromise on something (mostly my beloved solitude) to even go on a date, and I don’t want to go on a date enough to do that. Really, honestly, I’ve never been happier of felt more fulfilled. I think getting involved with A.N. Other would crush my life again, and I have let that happen for too long. Some people really do flourish as singles.

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