dear sharideth: How much should I invest in someone?

this is less “dear sharideth” and more “i met a drunk gay man in a bar and he started asking me questions about dating”.

so i bought him a glass of water and put out my 5 cent Dr Is Out In sign a la Lucy and had a conversation.

just for the record, every time i said something he thought was the most brilliant thing he’d ever heard (remember, he was loaded) he would grasp my hand. there was a lot of hand grasping. i may have also used the phrase “You are a grown ass gay man.” more than once.

his primary conflict was this:

is it okay to just enjoy someone’s company because they’re attractive even though you know you are both in totally different stages of life and a long term relationship would never work?

oh boy. literally in this case.

here’s my thoughts in list form. imagine grasping my hand whenever you feel like it.

1. check your motivations. why are you wanting to hang out with someone who wants completely different things than you do? an ego stroke? to get laid? because he/she might go with you to see that movie that makes you an embarrassment to your friends? because you’re lonely? because you’re flattered? some other reason that doesn’t sound like a terrible idea?

2. does this person want more or less out of a relationship than you do? you really need to be sure whether you are the serious one or not. are you the one wanting to keep things light or are you the one that is totally over casual dating. seems like an easy question, but people are crazy good at fooling themselves, so take a minute before you answer.

3. is the time you are going to spend on that person something you are willing to surrender with no hope of a future? hold on to your butts…answering “yes” is perfectly acceptable here. it’s actually not a crime to go on a date simply for the good time of it. you just have to decide if that’s for you. which leads us to…

4. do you value your time as much as you value yourself? is the good, yet finite, time worth it to you in the long run or should you be focusing your time and attention on what you really want? i can’t answer that for you. but question #2 can probably help you out some.

long bar conversation and much hand grasping later, i summed it up with this:

casual dating is fine. it can be spontaneous and fun and you don’t have to think much about it the next day. and let me be clear, when i say “dating” i do not mean “sex”, so don’t translate it that way. if you want someone to be on board with casual sex, i, my friend, am not your girl. but hanging out and enjoying each others company is allowable all the time.

until that is no longer satisfying.

when jumping from datable person to datable person is no longer appealing, you may have just become a grown up.

go ahead. grasp my hand. it’s all right.

all my love,


what are you thoughts on dating someone who wants a completely different relationship than you do?


13 comments on “dear sharideth: How much should I invest in someone?

  1. Jennwith2ns says:

    Did that for three years. Well, 2-3 years, since nothing about the relationship was clear at the outset. There were pros and cons, but the lying-to-onesself-about-how-serious-one-is/isn’t is one of the stupidest ideas out there. I’m now married–to someone else–and I still can’t figure out whether I regret those 2-3 years or not. I guess I’m less torn up about figuring it out at this stage, though.

  2. asoulwalker says:

    Kudos for the Samuel L. Jackson quote. Sometimes you just have to get a little Jurassic.

  3. Heidi K says:

    I think I’m in the middle of it right now. It started as a potential relationship and VERY quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going anywhere. We’re still friends, and don’t date per se, though sometimes I refer to him as my pseudo-boyfriend. Because if I’m honest with myself, we sometimes act like we’re dating .. without actually dating. Eh. We’re both still going on other actual dates. My stance right now is that it’s nice to have a default person to go out with when there’s no one else.

  4. I was dating a girl once that was nowhere near relationship material (for me). She had a tattoo (not the could-be cute, subtle and small or upper arm tough kind of tattoo, but a tribal sign of bad taste on her belly), bought everyone Buddhas for their birthday and really liked partying and alcohol. We dated for a few weeks and I never knew why. I was actually looking for a christian girl that I shared my beliefs with, but instead went for someone I knew would never last. Up to this day I’m not sure, but I think I just liked the attention. She must have had similar reasons.

  5. “what are you thoughts on dating someone who wants a completely different relationship than you do?” ~amusing to me how the comments rarely answer the question.

    My thoughts on dating someone who wants a completely different relationship than I do are that it shouldn’t happen. I’m definitely going to be in the minority here, but I don’t believe casual dating should happen at all. I believe more in the concept of courtship than dating. Courtship would say not to pursue someone until you’ve decided you want to get married. Then, the pursuit should look almost like an immediate engagement. The point is marriage, not ‘hanging out’. Hanging out is for friends.

    • Heidi K says:

      My question with this is how do I decide if I would want to marry someone unless I date them? You could say that you’re just friends first, but I think as soon as there is some interest, it changes the friendship into something more focused on *deciding* if you could marry that person.

      • You’re right. And since I was leaving a comment, as opposed to writing my own article, I didn’t go into full lengths in my explanation. I believe compatibility is a sham. You asked “how do I decide if I would want to marry someone unless I date them?” My response (in light of my beliefs on courtship): You first decide whether you want to get married in general. Then, when you’ve decided you want to get married, you wait for a man to pursue you. His pursuit should involve him also deciding that he wants to get married, then him finding a girl whose beliefs line up with his. Then, he asks to court you. As I said above, the courtship should look like an immediate engagement. You basically go from single to engaged. I know this is drastically different than what the societal interpretation of dating is. They would say “date so you can figure out if you’re compatible, then if you are compatible, get engaged.” I would say, “you don’t have to figure out if you’re compatible.” You can be compatible with anyone as long as you both agree on what the definition of love is. If love is truly unconditional, then compatibility doesn’t matter. If love is a choice, an action, (which it is) then you can love, and stay with, anyone, regardless of whether you appear to be compatible. Compatibility doesn’t dictate love. Love dictates compatibility.

        • Heidi K says:

          Thanks for clarifying. Though, I still don’t think it answers my question. How does a man find out if someone’s beliefs line up with his .. other than spending time with her and getting to know her? I would call that dating.

          • Well, if he spends time with her and gets to know her one on one, then it would be dating. However, he could also find out those types of things about her by spending time in groups. If, through the group hang outs, he learns that they share the core, fundamental beliefs, he can decide whether to pursue or not.

            • jonnybgood says:

              wow sounds pretty close … but how do you find out if shes fake?

              • jonnybgood, please expound on exactly what you mean.

                • jonnybgood says:

                  ok i have a story of a guy that meets a girl and girl gives guy number but wont talk on phone is going to school full time and does church which guy respects that but girl isnt making time for him, is he too available or is she just not in to him … two people find eachother and guy feals some good chemistry but still wonders if he missed sompthing or does he just need to wait for her, or be persistant or is that even what she wants from him at all?

      • jonnybgood says:

        to each their own but with the idea that dating is still a precursor for a I’m serous about a real and exclusive relationship.. i think the key word is exclusivity… and define where that line is crossed and you will have the realists answer. in a real world with real definitions. and i try my best to live in a world with out shadows and smoking mirrors and unrealistic ideas … let all truth be crystal and reality shall be just what it is suppose to be…. REAL.
        when you are asking your self that question you are probably at that line but hesitant.
        look at the facts can he hold a job?, can he think ahead? , can he provide the lifestyle you feal you deserve? , do you both share similar respect for moral and conservative values in terms of standards and what is appropriate and not in society? if you can get in the 90 percent agreement on that than id say marry the guy already lol
        let me know if you were helped by the words…

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