Wayne and Wanda just love hearing from readers! A couple comments received lately were worth sharing with the masses.
First off, we shared a letter a few weeks back from a reader who was concerned that their occasional and "fine" sex life was doomed to never gain steam. Here's what reader "mrsamylou" had to say:
"Somehow I just think we are always putting the 'cart before the horse'. Wasn't there a time when lots of people built a relationship, committed to one another, married and then had sex? I know it sounds passé, but is what we are doing now working except in a very limited sense of sensual satisfaction and immediate gratification? Reading the stories, it all seems so empty. Yes, I know not everyone 'waited till marriage.' But many of them did and many of them didn't sleep around in countless serial relationships. The old people in devoted and long-term marriages have something many of us will never attain."
I'm a bit chastened by this reader response. It's right-on, isn't it? Everything is accelerated these days. Just 10 years ago, it was acceptable to wait two days to call someone you were into -- and learning whether that person had contacted you required physically going home and checking an answering machine attached to a land-line phone. Likewise, once upon a time, most waited until the vow swap for the sexual interaction. Is it the norm now? No.
Yet I find myself mildly swayed by this shout-out to antiquity and times gone by. It's a good reminder. In some cases, this slow pace will do wonders. Don't rush. Get to know someone. Sex does not a relationship make. Enjoy learning the small idiosyncrasies of a new person and see whether your lives will blend together.
Aww yeah! The first shout-out to antiquity in the history of shout-outs! Go Wanda! And a hearty "Go you!" shout-out to anyone with enough discipline, fortitude and faith to wait for marriage before having sex. You're right mrsamylou, not many people wait these days. Heck, you could go on Craigslist right now and have a hook up lined up by the end of the day. Not sure that's a good sign for civilization.
But I'll also send a special shout-out to anyone out there who isn't willing to stay in an unhappy, unfulfilling relationship. If your needs aren't being met by your partner, you need to address the situation, not ignore it or stew on it. Whether that means you want more sex in your life or you want your partner to respect the fact you want to wait, there's something to be said for keeping it real with yourself and your partner. And that's word to your mother.
A recent letter writer worried about wading into the murky ponds of online dating. He feared his love of "Duck Dynasty" and other (endearing?) quirks would ward off would-be women partners. Reader "Adventurer_ci" had advice that included this:
"Number one, don't have any expectations. Expectations make us unhappy. As for your profile -- be yourself. Accentuate your eccentricities that make you unique. Tell about your life achievements. Tell about your passions. These things tell about your character, vs. listing things you like to do which are pretty much the same in every profile and really say nothing about you. The most important part here is how you treat the other person if you don't click. Be prepared. There is lot of help online how to handle the situation as an honorable man."
Fair point. A wise man (ahem, Wayne) once told me that online dating is often an experience of people meeting to have awkward if not genuine conversations in person to learn they aren't compatible. But, every now and then, something clicks. I agree with most of what Adventurer_ci said, except that we should not have expectations. Disagree. Without them, we accept anything.
We must establish expectations to make clear what we need. That said, I think we should resist comparisons. If you are online dating and meeting up in person with compelling strangers, ignore the urge to compare them -- to crushes, to exes, to anyone. Just go with it, keep an open mind, but never forget what it is that you want.
You're right Wanda -- that Wayne is one wise guy.
You're pretty savvy too. Is it even possible to go on a first date with someone and not have some levels of expectation and excitement? If not, why the heck are you going on a date in the first place?
Those hopes of love, partnership or, heck, even an interesting conversation are what keep us singles going on dates with strangers even though our last four first dates were complete busts. Hope keeps us believing that somewhere in that sea of singles, deep in that jungle of dating, there is someone for us.
It's human to have expectations -- just keep them reasonable
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.