Friday, November 12, 2010

A Follow-up On My Most Recent Post

I wrote a post on LDS dating, and I received a comment from Kress that deserves its own post. He said
What was wrong with so-and-so that "nice" just wasn't enough to keep your interest? What would change your perspective from "oh gosh why would I ever spend more time with so-and-so" to "well, he's a nice chap; why don't we do something different next time and see if I find him more interesting in a different setting?"
First off, I left out several key details of why the particular men I was set up with were bad matches. I left out these details in the interest of protecting their privacy. I'm certainly not one to write somebody off just because there were no sparks flying with violins in the background on the first date. In fact, some of my most successful relationships have been with men who didn't sweep me off my feet instantly.

What makes the dates with these "nice" guys awkward is the expectation (culturally) that there's only one purpose to the encounter - a marriage interview, and that it has to happen on the accelerated LDS schedule. (You know, the stories about people meeting and then marrying within a few months.) When I express a sincere desire to be friends with these men, they assume that means that I never want to see them again. Really, what it means is that I want to be their friend. Maybe something more will happen, but maybe not. Either way, when I tell a man that I want to be friends, it's not a brush off. It means I really want to be friends.

Stephen M at Ethesis addresses much better what I was trying to get at with my fungibility comment in his post On Finding a Match.


C.J. said...

I think, inside the LDS dating pool and out, there's a lot of pressure to a) achieve the "right" goal and b) want the "right" result. Many women convince themselves they're in love, because they don't believe it's "OK" to feel purely sexual feelings toward someone--whether they act on those feelings or not.

Moreover, many women have a preconceived notion of what their courtship is supposed to be like--so they try to fudge reality to fit the facts. I think, certainly, "love at first sight", or at least first date, does happen (I knew my husband was "the one" on our first date), but it's rare. And, stuff like that, it happens naturally if it happens at all. It's not something you can force.

Stephen said...

Interesting point that many people are not willing to be friends. Seems silly to me, a cultural blind spot.

C.J. said...

Especially considering the initial romantic potential of the date. They're willing to (maybe) marry you, but they're not willing to be friends? Most people put far more care into the selection of their friends than the selection of their spouses.