Wise Counsel from Susan Quilliam: Have Dating Rules Changed?

Dear Susan
I’m a 52 year old woman married for 25 years and divorced for two. The split was absolutely the right thing to do, but now I’m ready to fall in love again, things are going wrong. I’ve gone to a number of events – speed dating, online dating meet-ups, alternative workshops – where I meet men and they seem attracted to me. But then I get caught up with passion, we end up in bed very quickly and then have a conversation where he says he doesn’t want commitment. And after that he doesn’t call, I end up calling him endlessly, and I don’t know how to make him want me again. So have the rules changed since I was last dating? Is it that all men of my age are now just looking for sex? 
Dear Rose
I’m sure that not all men of your age are just looking for sex. Some of them certainly are, but most of them will be looking for love – which by the sound of it is also what you want.
But yes, nowadays the ‘rules’ of sex may be different from what you remember first time round. Nowadays men (and women too, of any age) often have sex with somebody as a way of finding out whether they can love that person – and if they find they can’t, then they will naturally back off and end the connection.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t end up in bed with men as quickly as you feel like it. It’s a lovely thing to do if you can then happily walk away if things don’t work out between you. But you shouldn’t do it if you aren’t able to accept that a man may walk away if he feels that things aren’t working out. Bottom line, even if you’ve made love with someone you can’t make them love you. (And, frankly, if he doesn’t call, then calling him endlessly won’t help your cause.)
My advice to you – considering what you want from a relationship – would be to take things much more slowly. Don’t get caught up in passion until you are sure that the connection is solid and is going to last at least a little while. Hold back from lovemaking until you’ve actually talked through whether the two of you are looking for at least a basic level of commitment – and whether that commitment could be to each other.
By doing that you may lose a few possibles, who decide that they don’t want to pursue a relationship if it doesn’t include immediate sex. But when you do make love, you will be far less likely to get hurt.

Susan Quilliam also offers email, phone and face-to-face coaching on relationship and sexuality issues. Contact her here

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