By Tom Blake
Janice, not her true name, age 70, emailed with this question: “Why can’t senior men be ‘just friends’ with a lady?
“I meet a nice man, we get along, share humor and activities we like. But I’m not romantically or sexually attracted to him. I tell him this, he says OK, but he continually tries to pursue romance.”
A year ago, Janice met a recent widower on Craigslist. He was 71 and lived in her city. She told him she enjoyed his company, but she was not romantically attracted to him. They stopped dating.
He texted her from time to time, asking to see her. This summer, she agreed to meet him again.
Janice said, “Off he went! On the same train of thought. Again, I explained that I really liked his company and would like to do things together, but that I was not attracted to him in a romantic way.
“He still brought up romance, would hug me, touch me . . . try to get me to change my mind. He even stole a kiss when I only bent in to hug him goodbye.
“This has happened to me four times lately with different men. Why can’t senior men, many who are lonely, be content just being friends without wanting the physical aspect?”
I surveyed readers for their opinions:
Richard: “I’m always amused at the ‘surprise’ women report when the men they date want sex. Here’s a bulletin for females in that category: Men date to get sex! That’s not all that bad, because for lots of guys like me, that’s the minimum relationship requirement.”
Sandi: “Men are hard-wired so differently from women. I think by now we know sex is uppermost in men’s thinking process.”
Joel: “Someone who is a good companion for activities and conversation likely has most all of the qualities for a long-term relationship. When I enjoy a woman, after a while, I want to completely ‘enjoy’ her.
“Women want love before sex; men, sex before love. Men are motivated by lust.”
Henry: “If I wanted a friend to hang out with and not have sex, I’d hang out with guy friends, who wouldn’t have to be wined and dined. Just two, three or more guys lying to each other, laughing about the good old times, discussing our pains and talking about the ones that got away.
“Most older women don’t want sex. If they just want a friend, they can go out with women friends.”
Tom’s opinion: Most men I know say they enjoy physical contact with women. If a man is attracted to a woman, in addition to doing things together—movies, plays, travel, camping, dinner, walking, for example—he likely wants the physical contact as well.
If a man is interested in a relationship with a woman, he’ll wait until she’s ready to be physical. Of course, at some point, he may decide the situation is never going to change and he’ll move on to be with a woman who wants romance.
The widower who pursued Janice kept trying because he was attracted to her. He hoped she’d change her feelings and felt she was worth waiting for.
As far as his stealing that kiss—at least the guy had a little fire in his belly at age 71.
I understand Janice’s frustration. And one item she mentioned I agree with: I don’t understand why a man who is lonely, and has no one, isn’t willing to have a friend without benefits.
Wouldn’t that be better than not having a friend at all?
Joel summed up this topic by adding: “It’s a jungle out there.”
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and San Clemente resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.