What the heck do I want, anyway?

My natural inclination is to date only one person at a time. Even if just for one date. But I like to focus on one person, figure out our compatability, and then in theory, keep progressing if things work out.

Prior to meeting Will, I was a serial monogamist. Even if just for one night. I didn’t really ever date multiple people, although there were some times in University where I was sleeping off and on with a couple different men. But that was the exception.

When thrust into the dating scene last year, I found that talking to multiple people seemed the only way to go. Given how often men disappear, or bail, or turn out to want something other than what they profess, it’s the easiest way to ensure you have a full pipeline. It also ensures that when you are rejected, there is someone else to dull the pain. Furthermore, the relative anonymity of being online also makes this possible.

As much as I can navigate these waters, I don’t like them. They are too choppy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m capable of casual sex and all that. Always have been. While I want a relationship, I have my libido to contend with. So I get stuck between wanting to have great sex and wanting a relationship.

After being online for a while, I got better at wasting less time up front, both because I identified patterns more quickly, and also because I decided I would meet men over a drink or coffee pretty soon after establishing a connection. If you have been texting them for weeks before meeting them, they rarely meet your expectations.

Then I met Johnny.

Despite some hiccups (of which you are all aware), he treated me very very very well. I miss how I felt when I was with him.

We both wrote a lot about open vs closed relationships when we were together. I’ve subsequently realised I have left many of you with the impression that I permanently want to have my cake and eat it too. So your comments and my responses have got me thinking.

In addition, I haven’t been in the online dating scene since the Spring. I didn’t expect to have a 6-week “relationship” with someone (Andrew) after a threesome. As I find myself now truly without any partner whatsover, it’s a really good thing for me to figure out what I want.

Here’s my attempt at a list.

I would like to focus on just a few men at a time. I don’t have the time or energy for the constant stream of texting and online shenanigans. Nor can I find time for that many coffee dates to suss out how interested I am. If I go online, I will only respond to those that seem like a really good match. I will find a couple of men, if there seems to be some compatability, I will offer coffee or an after work drink. If we can’t even make that work, then they are off the table.

I want to be in a relationship. Not casual fuck-buddies with someone (I’m starting to hate the “friends with benefits” term because unless you are friends first, you aren’t really friends). I want to go on actual dates – live music, the art gallery, fun times, dinner. Not just come-over-and-have-sex dates. Here’s the frustrating thing: given my current schedule, I don’t have a lot of time for dates. But I didn’t say this was everything I could have, but it is what I want.

I don’t want to settle down with someone quite yet. What do I mean by this? I would love to be exclusive with someone – I don’t like to share and I want someone who doesn’t want to share me, either. BUT I don’t want to be with someone who is cloying. I need a little bit of space. Someone who comes along and wants to meet all my family and my son right away, and spend every waking moment with me, will totally freak me out. I’m not ready for super-serious.

I want to be with someone who is as sexual as I am. Given all the guys I’ve dated since becoming single, I can tell you this is not easy. I realized today that (not including Johnny), the best ongoing encounters I had were with men I met on the naughty section of a dating site. These guys (Ariel, Jason, NIM) all understood that I could be highly sexual and have a lot of other great things to offer. Obviously Andrew did as well. The “vanilla” dating sites seem to be filled with men who, once they realize my sexual needs, or if I have sex with them right away, treat me as ONLY a sexual conquest and not relationship material. So I’m left feeling like I need to keep the sexual needs under wraps…which is really hard to do.

I am NOT ready to close all my sexual doors., Ideally, I would be with someone who is willing to help me explore my sexual boundaries. Someone who is a little kinkier than I am and is open to play. Which for me means…

I DO NOT want an open relationship, but I might want to play with my partner and others – together – every once in a while. For example, as you may remember, I have a fantasy about having sex with multiple men. I would love to have a partner that would do this with me. I am perhaps open to exploring with women. Same idea.

Now, I may have confused those of you who recall while I wanted to be open with Johnny, I wanted him to be closed. It was contextual. It was about the situation we were in (serious long distance relationship) and his reasons for wanting to be with other women. I’m not going to get into the details here, because it’s absolutely not a dig at him or our relationship. But what I have learned is, I don’t want an Open relationship. Nor am I Polyamorous.

So, that’s my starting point of what I want. I think I should also write a post on how I want to be treated, and what characteristics I want in a partner. Then I should re-read those posts EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Have I missed anything?

0 thoughts on “What the heck do I want, anyway?

  1. Ann, you are making a great deal of sense, and your criteria are all reasonable. Basically, you want one guy who likes sex and wants to stay committed to you for that sex. Online is a tricky place to meet that guy, because, basically, men lie. Do you use any particular criterion to sort the men (for example, travel habits, hobbies, volunteering, etc.)? If you find one thing you both like and is important to you in addition to the really great sex, it might serve as the tie that balances out a relationship that can become more permanent and exclusive?

    • Glad it makes sense, Brad.

      And Yes, absolutely I have criterion for who I engage with online. I will write that separately. Also how I want to be treated, because I think that’s where I make the most sacrifices :

      • Yes, very important — people who don’t treat the person they are dating well are jerks. Unfortunately, I think it is a natural tendency to put up with bad treatment when trying to date, but it should be an absolute criterion for booting the guy out the door. Easier said than done, in my experience.

          • Yay!

            Will tells me this ALL THE TIME. I tend to put everyone else first and I suffer. He is so amazing that he puts me first and will stop me when I head down that path, away from what will keep me healthy.

          • Well Savannah, I put you first because I spent far too many years not putting anything first in my life. You are first and will always be that for me!

            Ann, I am reading this post and feeling very good for you. I can echo what Savannah said in these comments. Take this from someone who was far from healthy with his thinking, I had to take the time to heal (after ignoring and avoiding the issues) before I could be valuable and someone who Savannah could trust and rely upon. I never took care of me. When I did, I could then be the husband that I am supposed to and want to be.

          • Yes, healing is a really good thing. I know I need to take time to do it, and it’s not easy.

            I also need experience to figure out what I want. So there’s that, too.

          • Easy? No. My wounds are still with me but they no longer define me.

            I think you already possess the experience in understanding MOST of what you want. You just need to learn how to recognize it when you see and feel it.

  2. Ann, that you took the time to put this down and commit it to the internet page tells me that you are spending some very healthy time reflecting and thinking about all of Ann’s needs and wants. I think that if you continue to do this and analyze these thoughts as starting points, you will be refining the list.

    From all that you have been through since your marriage began to breakdown (years before it ended, right??), you have been through shitload of hurts and attempting to cover those hurts with sensual pleasures. This list (to me) seems like a very sound attempt to allow the wounds the time to heal.

    I hope that you’re feeling better today and making headway against that bad cold!

    Hugs for you, sweetie!

    • When stuck in bed all day, and my brain doesn’t feel up to reading, there’s not much to do other than hang out online (that’s a separate post) and ponder my needs πŸ™‚

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support. It means a lot. xo

      • I am glad to be here for you, Ann. I truly am.

        I look forward to your next post. I was given a writing assignment from my blogging taskmaster and I am plodding my way through that. I don’t have the prowess in blogging that you have (just a little jealous). πŸ˜‰

          • Have you looked at your body of work? Good Lord, sweetie! You are an impressive writer.

          • It is good, Ann. You are a very adept communicator which helps in the way that you write. You possess both quantity and quality.I suppose that the subject matter (you) helps since you seem to be (was it 90%?) truthful?

            Luv ya, sweetie!

          • Thank you Savannah! Measuring truth is tricky – I think I referenced 99% before. There is very little I write that is deliberately untrue – and I was pretty open in my “liars” post about the things I lie about. And there are a couple things that I have not written about. But other than that, what you read is what I am.

          • 90, 99…I couldn’t recall the number. πŸ˜‰

            I don’t understand the “lie” portion. As Will explained it to me (before we took our personal life (and pictures) and placed it on the web, omission is not lying. The only thing we changed was our online names. Our faces will never be online, but images of bits of our bodies are truly us. Is there any deception in withholding our faces?

            I don’t know where your 1% fell within your posts and frankly, I don’t care. I can sense the truth in your very candid posts. It is what comes out of your heart that is so easily read.

          • Ah, this is not a debate I want to get back into lol…

            I think that omission CAN be a form of lying, but context and intent is what really matters, at least to me. It’s not like you are leaving out something that changes how your writing is interpreted, or the impression of who you are.

          • Sorry. I didn’t mean to take this discussion there. We can end it. I am happy with your writing. πŸ˜€

            I am just happy for you, today. Healthy steps don’t always feel good but you are normally an upbeat woman and (I think) that this shift in your thinking will be so good in getting you to that place where you are enjoying being you.

            The right guy is there, looking to discover you and to help you with your wants and needs and you will mutually be doing the same with him.

  3. How do you want to feel?

    Someone can be and offer all those things, but it can still not feel how you want it to feel.

    Maybe that’s the next post :).


    • Yes, you are quite right, Ferns. I’m going to write about how I want to be treated…which is definitely all about how I feel.

      For me, putting up with crappy behavior is probably the thing I do most. Even Andrew, for all his maturity and the nice times we had together, didn’t give me what I needed…hence the crap feelings.

      Figuring out how to not put up with bad stuff is definitely a lesson I need to learn.

  4. I remember saying to my therapist early on that ideally, my husband and I, would have an open relationship, and by that I mean we would be the central unit, but each of us would be free to have outside sexual partners. He very clearly said that without a strong foundation, a solid connection within the central unit my fantasy would remain just that. That makes sense to me now, even if it didn’t then. The funny thing is, now that I finally feel connected to my husband I’m less inclined to share him or myself with anyone else. I think my point is simply that focusing on one relationship at a time is a good plan. Then, once you are comfortable and securely bonded, if outside partners or playmates are still of interest, explore that.

    • That completely makes sense. The difference for me is that Open means you can have relations with other people without your partner present. I don’t want that. With Johnny, I experienced what can happen with that from both sides – and I didn’t like it. I’m just not wired for it.

      What I would be interested in, in theory, is something more akin to swinging. So if you engage with other people, it’s always with your partner present. This was something Andrew and I discussed – even with the gangbang, he said what would be key is that we connect beforehand (physically and mentally), during, and afterwards. It reinforces the connection you have with your partner. And that is where my insecurities lie… so that seems to me to be the right balance.

      • This is something we talk about, but a little less frequently now. The fantasy is still there, but I think that we are both less willing to explore. Like SFL, our relationship has grown in giant leaps this year. The most important step that we took is opening up dialogue that was never really there before – at least not with any sort of depth or comfort. Maybe we will take a step towards that, but with how amazing things are, I am happy with status quo (which only means that we are engaged in exploring each other with reckless abandon).

  5. You are much clearer now about what you want and I think that is wonderful. I’m not sure I understood it well enough until just now – probably because the vocabulary is new to me and all the various configurations one can have in a kink relationship can be confusing. You want a partner with whom to explore your sexuality, not someone that wants to continue sleeping with outside partners or who is okay with you doing the same. Kinda like Ken and Barbie with the occasional visit from Midge or Allan Sherwood. πŸ˜‰

    • It’s through experience that I am learning what I want and what I need. I’d love to believe I’m capable of trusting someone so completely that I’m not threatened by their relationships with others, but I can’t do it.

      I no longer feel it’s something I need to evolve to, either, which is a significant thing for me to realize.

      And perhaps once I get into that relationship someday, I won’t have a need to explore elsewhere. I can’t know it until I experience it.

  6. β€œTo be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best to make you just like everybody else means to fight the greatest battle there is to fight and to never stop fighting.” β€” E. E. Cummings

  7. I think you’ve covered it! I think I want most of these same things. I’ve been criticized pretty recently for being open to dating but not waning serious. Actually, this person didn’t really ask they just assumed I wanted something serious. In theory, I do, with the right person but too much too fast freaks me the fuck out and this person didn’t even make it to the first date before he made me panic. I might have to jot down a list of my own. I wrote about deal breakers but I don’t think I’ve ever penned a list of what I want instead of what I don’t want. Great post.

    • Thanks Hollie! Glad it helped you reflect a little bit. It’s a tough balance, for sure. I remember when the Giant told me he wanted me to be his girlfriend – I think it was our third date, if that – and all I could think about was how foolish it was, when he hadn’t even seen me angry or not at my best.

  8. We have so much in common πŸ™‚ …I’m so glad you made this list. Now whenever you meet someone you’re interested in and go forward with check back to this post and make sure you’re getting what you want. If not, move on! πŸ˜€

    • Yes, we certainly seem to…which means you are WAY ahead of me since I think you are at least a decade younger πŸ˜‰

      I am also writing about how I want to be treated, and another one about what I’m looking for in a partner. The trifecta of posts to review and compare against!!

  9. I think knowing what you want before you start looking is probably a good idea. Maybe when I start looking again I’ll make myself a list first.

  10. My recent expreience has taught me that men confuse “I dont want anything serious” to mean “FWB”. I am having a hard time figuring out the right context of saying that while I want a one person sexual relationship, I am not looking for anything serious. I just ended a 7 year relationship and am learning to enjoy ME, and while I would like someone else on the journey, I dont want to mis-lead that I want to progress into serious territory. Your post confirmed that I am not necessarily the only woman going thru this. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  11. OMG! this is all I want, too. I have been thinking about it recently because I have been confused. Do I want a relationship? If I do, then will this mean I have to spend every minute with them? Do I want exclusivity? I am glad I read your post because it helped me figure out what I am after…Thank you!

  12. I love that you are identifying and spelling out what you want and need in a relationship. This is so important and I have no doubt it will help guide you when moving forward.

    As a reader I will say I’m also thankful for the clarifications. I was one of those people that thought you wanted open, while you expected the person(s) you were with to be closed and this created some head scratching on my part.

    I think now that I have a better understanding of what it is you would ultimately like to find in a partner and your sexual desires, swinging sounds like the way to go for you. With the right partner and people it can be a very fulfilling experience. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Tis. I think it is important for me to think through this again, given the point I am at.

      And yes, there was you and a couple of others who kept asking about open / closed. I realized that I had never described why it was situational with Johnny, versus a standard thing. I am glad it helped πŸ™‚

      And swinging is just a theory…but now I know what I dont want, which is also important!

      • Well playing around and experiencing new things like you are doing definitely helps narrow down the list of what you like and don’t like. I think as long as you are communicating through out the process with your future partner as well as any future sexual hook-ups where your head is at then you will be just fine. πŸ™‚

  13. I remember clear as day when Johnny ventured out on his own with another woman and what a disaster it was. My heart was with you. And when my little disaster happened, believe me, your experience was front-center in my mind. So yes, I hear what you’re saying on my blog. Swinging maybe. Open… poly… oy oy oy. But it’s very good that you’ve discovered exactly what you want. These personal discoveries should be celebrated. MFM! xoxoxo! jk

  14. You are way more openly sexual than me when it comes to dating, but ultimately our experiences are all the same – with or without the sex. And you summarized it all so perfectly here when you explain why you have to have multiple guys on the hook: “Given how often men disappear, or bail, or turn out to want something other than what they profess, it’s the easiest way to ensure you have a full pipeline.” Hanging that quote on my wall.

  15. I think you summed everything up quite nicely! πŸ™‚
    The tricky part is conveying this to any potential partners and see if they concur or have the same needs. I imagine this will be very difficult given you are such an interesting and complex person. Women are certainly complicated but men are also…. (contrary to popular belief) I hope you find the one who comes the closest to being your equal! Something tells me that ain’t gonna be easy sweets! πŸ™‚

What do you think?