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Relationship Health Message Board


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Hi guys, I'm sorry to have disappeared for awhile...I tried to cope with my chronic pain all on my own for awhile and it didn't go well, to say the least, though I am now back under my doctor's care and much more functional. Anyway, that resulted in a not unwelcome break from dating but now that I'm feeling better and able and wanting to go out again, I could really use any insight or advice that you have to offer. Iím quite confused as to how to proceed with men at this point, which is a pretty unfamiliar feeling, as in the past Iíve always dated a lot and never been single for long. I've tended to go from one long-term, serious relationship to the next intermingled with various flings, and when Iíve been single, Iíve been really happy seeing numerous guys at once. My last (3 year, ultra-serious, living together from day one) relationship ended over six months ago, and I started dating frequently and regularly soon after...Iíd really missed seeing different guys and going out a lot.

I should probably explain that I donít have much in common with most women when it comes to my approach to datingóIíve always had a very strong sex drive and since I was quite young, I've sexually desired and experienced a wide variety of men. I've always been that way and am very content with this approach to dating and sex, but I know it's unusual and outside the mainstream, especially for women, which makes dealing with men tricky if I'm to be completely honest with myself and indulge my natural instincts and desires. Relationships, commitment, and monogamy donít really appeal to me, though Iíve had a lot of experience with all three because I get on well with men and even though Iíd prefer to stay single and free to date around, I tend to meet great guys just when Iíve resolved to remain unattached and end up sucked into relationships because they push the issue. When I was younger, more selfish, and less considerate, I used to cheat pretty regularly, or at least have considerable overlap between relationships. While Iíve been lucky to have been in love with a number of wonderful guys, being tied down to one is just not at all natural or appealing to me. A lot of people donít understand that or even refuse to believe it, but thatís just the way Iíve been since as far back as I can rememberówhat appeals to me most is the pattern Iíve always followed, more or less, which is to have a number of close male friends, some of whom have been much more than that to me during various periods of our relationships.

Iím still in my early twenties, but the prospect of marriage and settling down with one guy has never been and never will be something I desireÖthis is causing me a lot of confusion as I try to figure out how to approach dating from now on. For those of you who have followed my dating exploits this year, Patrick and I split in the spring, then I online-dated for awhile until I hooked up with Justin for a few months, then I moved on to playing the field again. That was all well and good until about a month ago, when the chronic pain condition Iíve been fighting won the battle when I decided to detox off the meds I was taking (among the dozens of meds my doctors have prescribed all along) and ended up way too sick and weak to do anything at all, much less date. I ignored all the emails and winks from the dating site Iíve been using until very recently, when I started feeling better after conceding my futile war against relying on meds to function. After doing nothing and feeling so awful for weeks, Iím anxious to get back out and start dating again, but Iím really torn as to how to proceed. I have my hands full coping with my chronic pain, trying to work, get on with my life, and apply to grad school.

While Iím always happy to be dating a variety of guys and having fun without answering to anyone, I really really donít have the slightest interest in a boyfriend or a relationship anytime in the foreseeable future. But I feel uncomfortable and guilty about dating under these conditions, as what I see both here and in the real world leads me to believe that men must quite reasonably assume that all single woman want to find a boyfriend and settle into a committed relationship. I canít help but think that if a guy posted about wanting to play the field and sleep around with no attachments, people would chastise him if he dated without taking this into account somehowóthe problem is, I donít know how to account for it. I am an honest and upfront, even blunt, person to a fault, but I feel like the world doesnít really believe that there are confident, emotionally healthy women out there who donít want to find Mr. Right and live happily ever after and for whom marriage and commitment hold absolutely no appeal. Iíve been happy with online dating so far and want to continue, but I donít have any idea how to approach it now that Iím more settled in my determined-to-stay-single mindset than ever before, especially since without fail, adopting this mindset has always resulted in a guy coming along to temporarily blind me to this fact and ensnare me in a relationship. I donít want to cheat or lie; I just want to be free and unattached and I donít see that changing anytime soon, so is it even fair for me to be out dating and potentially hurting a number of guys? I really donít know what to do or how to handle thisÖplease help if you have any suggestions for me at all. Thanks in advance everyone! :wave:





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