celibacy, life, love, men, relationships, thoughts, women

Dating your non type

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I’ve just finished reading “He’s not just your type (and it’s a good thing)” by Andrea Syrtash. She advises to look over your type of men or women to find love, and also follow your heart when you feel comfortable  with someone who doesn’t fit in your ideal type or your family’s expectations.

The author defines your non type by someone you would rule out at first because that someone may be too old for you, too far from you, too young, divorced with children… Or because that someone is very different from all your ex’s especially if you’ve dated the same profile over and over again. In other words, she advises to keep an open mind when it comes to love. But she adds you don’t have to accept everything, especially when your non type doesn’t treat you very well (by going M.I.A., or being physically or verbally abusive).

She admits your family and friends can have a problem accepting your non type. One of my friends admitted he had a problem accepting at first his friend’s companion, when she introduced her to all of her friends. It was a surprise for him because his friend used to date men before. Another of my friends told me her mother didn’t accept at first her new beau, who was divorced with two children.

Of course, all families and friends are not all judgmental about your choices. And sometimes, a good conversation with your friends and your family about your non type can  help them accepting him/her. Your choice can worry your family and friends. Because if you choose someone who’s older than you, over ten years of difference, that difference can weigh on your couple as both of you grow older, with the problems associated to ageing.

The author adds you can feel disappointed by your type of lovers. What looks good on paper doesn’t make necessarily a good match for you. Like if your date has all the qualities (achievements, emotional intelligence, education, wealth, …) but is terrible in bed (because he can’t have an erection).

But I have some remarks about keeping an open mind. If your significant other wants you to change, even if you love him/her, I don’t think an open mind it’s an option here.

Nevertheless, most of my female friends told me they weren’t attracted at first with their significant other. And there are some famous examples too, like Michelle Obama when she saw her future husband trying to flirt with her, or Amal Clooney, when George tried to make his first move. At first, those ladies weren’t interested. As if their husband were their non type.

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The trophy

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Many wealthy women have tried to flirt with me after my divorce” said one of my friends, who’s a university professor. “But I refused all of them, because I don’t want to be the intellectual trophy they parade at their galas,… It’s not my cup of tea” he added.

My friend often gives lectures and conferences, and sometimes appears on TV. Usually, after his conferences, there are a lot of women who come and ask him questions. But my friend told me he’s a bit afraid of them.

I can understand him, as I also turned down two wealthy men last year, who were impressed by my intelligence as they said. I met them at a conference where I was one of the speakers. Both of them were much older than me. I felt exactly the same way as my friend with his wealthy suitors. Except I’m not shaken by a divorce like my friend.

My friend was married to a woman who was wealthy, but didn’t match his intelligence. I told him several times they weren’t a good match. His ex-wife is a socialite, whose goal is to appear in the cocktail parties pictures published in people magazines. She often  gunned him down in front of other people.  I told him she was very mean. Of course, she hated me.

“Why don’t you go for a female professor?” I asked him. He didn’t reply.

Nowadays, as men aren’t the sole breadwinner and decision-maker in a couple, most men search for their equal in education, intelligence, achievement,… They don’t look for a woman who just looks good. But it’s the same, and ever more, for women.

I half joked in a previous post about asking my potential dates if they can quote a poem from Baudelaire, some lines from “Economie du Bien commun”, or a theorem from Mandelbrot. Usually, I just ask what is the last book they read. If they can’t answer, I tell them it’s not worth to pursue the conversation. If they answer “just Sci-Fi ” or something like that, I don’t want the conversation to go on either. One of my dates told me he was reading “Le rouge et le noir” by Stendhal. I happily decided to pursue the conversation with him.

Besides,  your circles can dismiss quickly a companion who doesn’t match you in education or status. So, yes, your friends are a precious ally.

Guys who just look for a model as their significant other are either narcissistic, or just another model.

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The right stages of a relationship

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Is there a right order in relationships? I’m not so sure. Several of my friends had their children before getting married to their significant other. Some are even not married. “Traditional” couples still get married first and have children after.

But this is an evolution of relationships because it has to start from scratch. Every relationship begins with an encounter. Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Happn,… favour those encounters. Our professional and private circles can also help to meet someone. There are many ways to find a new relationship. To be fair, my last relationships all started with Tinder.

After the first contact, there is the first date. If you are careful, the first exchanges you made with your date help you to sort those who would make a disastrous first date. The men I met through Tinder exchanged several messages with me before our first date, and I was relieved by what they wrote. I didn’t have much surprises when I met them.

After that, some people decide to lead a particular relationship. An acquaintance started to be sex friends with the man she met thanks to Tinder. Another one started to casual date a man she met through some common friends. Generally, people take their time to evaluate their date. Especially when they have experienced several relationships.  But it can happen that some people want to start right away a long term relationship. Even if only the long run can tell if the relationship is sustainable or not.

With age, people also take their time before having sex with their date. Even with the people who meet through Tinder, which is famous to be a hookup site. This may be true for the young people between 18-24, but above that age, it’s not necessarily the case. Some people wait until they are certain there are feelings involved before having sex. It can take weeks or even months. The key is to take time to know our date. It’s not that simple. But if our date don’t want to spend time with us, that’s a sign he/she doesn’t want to have a relationship.

Some people wait until they meet their date’s friends and family, which is a sign the relationship is going strong. After all, if you don’t pass that step, it’s not a good sign. Our friends and family can also help us to tell if our date is right for us. Usually, our friends and family see when there’s a problem while we’re too blind with love. This step isn’t a problem if you date someone from your private circle, who was introduced to you by common friends. The blessing is already there.

Recently, one of my coworkers told me he’s divorcing. He met his wife at our office five years ago, and people were really surprised how fast their relationship evolved. She got pregnant only four months after they started dating, and got married in a hurry. Had they have waited, he may have known she was a bad influence to him. His career stalled after they started dating. She was really jealous and made him a scene every time he talked to female coworkers.

Yes, we all know some exceptions to this. Two of my friends got pregnant really quickly after they met their significant other. So far, they are still in their relationship. But they met their significant other through common friends.

Only fools rush in, isn’t it?

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Dating by text

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Nowadays, people don’t call each other anymore. I don’t call my friends anymore. We communicate either on WhatsApp, Messenger, iMessage,… And we schedule every of our meetings with texts.  I still call people from my professional sphere though. But I’ve noticed people communicate more and more by emails. Even on Linkedin.

But texts are not a real conversation. As Sherry Turkle said in her TED speech, we find a way to be connected, but alone. With texts, we keep people at distance.

Yet, when it comes to dating, texts can be useful. Who has the guts to talk to someone in the street and ask him/her out? The risk of rejection is really high in that case. It’s less of a big deal with texts. Although  with texts there’s a grey area because people can wait to reply to your text, and even not reply at all. And this can be a source of anxiety. On Messenger and iMessage, you can also see the dots indicating your friends (or family or lover) currently typing. It’s frustrating  when  those dots  don’t turn into a text.

When you try to ask out someone over texts, there’s nothing more frustrating to see this.

Aziz Ansari, who wrote “Modern romance” with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, has a theory about what you should write in your text to reach your goal. In short, don’t do endless back and forth. A firm invitation to do something specific at a specific time is a better solution than typing pointless texts about everything and nothing to eventually forget why you started to text. Some humorous texts will also do the trick.

Yes, it can backfire because the other can refuse your invitation or can’t understand your humorous texts. But at least,  you don’t spend time typing pointless texts.

With a text like “Hey”, “what’s up?”, very few people would  write you back. At least, if you don’t know well the person. I don’t mind if my friends text me those, but they don’t do that in general.

Texts are just a mean to meet people. You can feel really alone if you text all of the time and never meet the other person at the receiving end.

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Facebook as a dating site?

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The social media is currently working on a new button which will be available on our smartphone, called “discover people”. It will allow you to find new “friends” based on your common “likes” and interests, a bit like Tinder, the dating app. This new button is already available, but I don’t have access to it yet.

I don’t know if Facebook can be helpful for finding love. I read several stories on the New York Times in their section “wedding” where the spouses met thanks to Facebook, and the section “people you may know, because they were related in the past.

On Tinder, I haven’t found many men who share a lot of common “likes” and interests with me. I swiped right one man who had 15 common “likes” with me (and two common friends). But he never swiped me right. He was the man who had the more common “likes” with me. I’ve never encountered any other man like that ever since.

The only man who swiped me right with a lot of common “likes” (and two common friends) was disappointed when we started dating each other. We discovered many other common points when we were together, but it wasn’t enough. I found the guy on the defensive all of the time, and I felt weak and powerless because of that. One of my friends told me we have the same common point with defensiveness.

His pictures were very revealing about his behaviour, but I didn’t want to consider those. He had his arms closed on the two pictures he put on Tinder. It’s also the case for his Facebook profile picture.

It’s like there’s a catch when we search for a partner with common interests. On Tinder, what would you do if you found a man with many common “likes” with you, but has a profile picture where he’s close to another woman? (little advice for men who read this: never put a picture on Tinder where there’s another woman on it).

On Facebook, it can be even more difficult. It can be odd if a person you don’t know comes out of the blue and asks you to accompany him/her to an event you are both interested on Facebook.

Tinder works best with people aged from 18 to 24. Because at this age, they don’t care for their reputation. When we go older, it becomes more difficult. A friend of mine told me he would never used Tinder because people would recognise him easily.We are also more  defensive because of our past experiences.

I guess this new option on Facebook will also work best with young people.

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If there is a will, there is a way

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A long time ago, one reader of this blog wrote me an email ending with this sentence: “A sailor without any destination cannot hope for a favorable wind”. In other words, if we don’t know what we want, we can’t expect to have a positive result.

A will is sometimes not enough, because we can fail at our goal. It’s true for everything we try to accomplish, from our personal goals in life to every challenge we take in our professional life.

But even with failure, we can learn precious lessons from our experience. And eventually succeed. It took me four attempts to win my award in journalism some years ago. I could have dropped the first time I failed, but I didn’t. A friend of mine encouraged me to pursue my attempts. I remember the way I won that award. Before, I didn’t ask people to read my article and to criticise  it before publishing it and sending it to the jury.  The last time, I asked two journalists who were very very difficult to please to read my article, and they advised me to make some small changes in my article before it was published. It was a good advice.

When it comes to love, sometimes, the first attempt is not the right one. One of my friends took years to eventually get back with her ex. They have recently bought a house together and I don’t know why but I hear wedding bells for these two. She met him through mutual friends almost twelve years ago. They started dating shortly after, but he broke up with her after 6 months because he told her he wasn’t ready for a relationship. Yet, they didn’t stop contacting each other. Both dated other people, with not much success, until my friend suddenly had to find another apartment because her two roommates decided to move out of their common apartment as both of them were about to get married. At the time, she had the choice of sharing an apartment with me, or moving in with her ex who had a spare room at his place. She chose that option. She told me she had always wanted to get back with him. It didn’t mean she got back with him right away after she moved in with him. In fact, he kept her at distance at the beginning. But my friend had to be hospitalised  because of her endometriosis. He stood at her side during her hospitalisation. Shortly after, her father passed away. During the funerals, her ex stood at her side all of the time. She winked and smiled at me when I looked at them. That’s how I understood they were back together.

To love someone is to learn how to love him/her, says the philosopher Alain de Botton. It’s not obvious, not at all. But I guess it’s easier when we know what we want.

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The sapiosexual

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A sapiosexual is someone who is only attracted to intelligent people. This definition is very large. I fall into this category since all my ex’s have that common point. But recently, I experienced a strange conversation on Tinder with a guy I matched who told me he was a sapiosexual. He said that after I told him about the books I’m currently reading. I’m a strange reader, because I read several books at the same time. He said I was turning him on with that detail. But then, he asked me to tell him about physics and some obscure concepts. “Seduce me”, he added. I didn’t reply. To be fair, I don’t know anything about physics. I don’t have that scientific sensibility.

The guy has pretty high standards for his potential significant other (or maybe just a hookup, it’s Tinder after all…).

I don’t ask on Tinder to my matchs if they can quote a poem from Baudelaire, some lines from”Economie du bien commun”, a theorem from Mandelbrot,…. Even if the guy can quote any of these, I’m not sure it will turn me on anyway.

I’m not sure any of my ex’s would be able to do so too.

When one of them mocked me because he found “Economie du bien commun” on my coffee table, I didn’t dismiss him because of his ignorance. In fact, I was hurt by his behavior, because he mocked the intellectual who read this book,  he mocked who I am. This is a big deal breaker for me.

If he had asked just why I was reading that book, or asked questions about this book, or even ignored it, I wouldn’t have called it quits with him.

There is more than the intellect, there is emotional intelligence.

What’s the point of dating someone who can discuss with you for hours about literature, but treats you with no respect?

Some years ago, I had a date like that. I met the guy at a conference. He invited me to have a drink with him. We spent the evening discussing about Celine. But when the bill arrived at our table, he asked me if we could go dutch. And he mocked me because I had difficulty to open the door when we went out of the restaurant. He could have helped me gently to open the door.

So, sapiosexuality maybe a horrible dating trend.

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