During my recent adventures into the world of online dating, it’s amazed me how many people really don’t know what it is they are looking for from those they are attempting to get a date with.

 

Online dating is, shall we say, a murky world. If you’ve spent any time on the more popular apps then you’ll know exactly what I mean. Between the fake profiles, the catfish, the marrieds and the just want hookups, the pickings are slim. And then from the slim pickings you have to navigate your way through the truly batshit, too many issues and the not overly sure what they want to achieve from all this swiping. I know we hear all these heart-warming tales of star-crossed lovers that meet online, but the reality is this; it’s not the rule. It’s the exception. Ladies, I hate to break it to you, but your chances of meeting Prince Charming on Tinder are somewhere around zero. Maybe 1%. At best.

 

But what you might meet, is a potential friend with benefits. No, I don’t mean Justin Timberlake. Let’s face it, if every FWB was of that standard, we’d all be wanting one. I mean the type of friend you can hang out with, chat with, Netflix and a lot of chill with. I’m not talking about a 2am booty call. That’s a dickhead that’s using you. I’m talking about a guy mate, who you can have fun with, without the hassle of sticking a label on it. Just enjoying the moment while it lasts. But such an arrangement requires a brutal level of honesty on all parts. That is where I’ve seen most people getting it wrong.

 

Let me explain.

The Good, The Bad, And The Batshit

When I’m assessing my potential suitors (deciding whether to swipe right or progress to date two) I put men into three categories. 1.The absolutely no way. Not touching them with a 10-foot barge pole or off bounds and unavailable, usually married or taken. 2. Short term fun. Usually hot and younger, great for the fun times but won’t be around for the long time. 3. A keeper. A grown-up, emotionally mature, knows what they want in life and where they are heading. Doesn’t judge the size of my boobs but loves the complexity of my brain.

 

A 2 can become a 3, but it’s rare, like a unicorn. A 3 can become a 1 and so can a 2. A 1 will always be a 1.

 

A 2 is also your perfect friends with benefits candidate. Just don’t get attached and don’t expect them to become a 3. They are not boyfriend material.

 

Listen, girls, I’m not saying that once we reach a certain age (over 40) and find ourselves single, we should start becoming promiscuous little bunnies and be rattling around with any old ride that passes us by. And if only it was that easy! But ladies, if you’re over 40 chances are you should have developed the emotional maturity by now to know that some men just aren’t good for you long term. But if you’re bored in the short term, make hay while the sun shines! And if you can hook yourself a hot younger thing, or just someone that floats your boat, then damn, girl you’ve still got it. Flaunt it! Just remember to stay safe! And be very clear that there will be no marriage and no babies. These are not the men you want for that.

 

What Are Your Needs

In my own little adventures, I’ve found a lot of men will tell you what they think you want to hear. They will tell you they are looking for their soul mate/partner in crime/next wife/long term commitment etc. Stop! Don’t let your fanny start fluttering at all this guff. In my experience, most men haven’t got a clue what they are actually looking for. Most lead with a different organ that isn’t their brains. If a man can tell you exactly what he’s looking for, I’d hazard a guess that it’s a carefully prepared line. Sorry to burst that bubble.

 

When you are a bit older you have far more other things going on in your life to be able to be that clear about what it is you want from the off. Because if you are judging each person as they cross your path then what you want from them will change.

For example, if all you ever encounter is 1’s, then you may want to just get a dog and delete the Pinterest wedding board. If you meet lots of 2’s and you are always short of a plus one or something to do on a Sunday afternoon, then they may just fill a temporary gap for you. If you happen to be really lucky and meet a 3, then they won’t hit you straight from the off with their list of requirements. They will be busy getting to know you, at a steady pace, respectfully, to see if you are their 3.

If you are in a place in your life where you have a lot going on or you’re fresh out of a long-term relationship, then seeking a 3 might not be a great idea. But a well-chosen 2 might be the answer.

They All Want Friends with Benefits

I know that given a choice lots of men would love an FWB over the endless trawling for whatever it is they think they are looking for. But a true FWB actually requires a level of honesty with each other, open communication and actual friendship. So not all 2’s are even suitable for that. Don’t tell the boys, but a good FWB is actually just like a casual relationship, just without the label and pressure to have a direction and make it Facebook official. But we’ll just tell them it’s FWB.

Many, many moons ago, I had an FWB. At the time neither of us communicated it very well and had very different levels of expectations. But years later we are still friends, just absolutely no benefits now, and I know that if I needed him for something he’d be there, and vice versa. When I went through a rough time quite a while back, he showed up and was the friend I needed. I also know he’s someone I can 100% trust. I can tell him anything and he will never judge me. But during our FWB time, we had some great times and a lot of laughs. And now he’s grown up and settled down, I’m delighted that he’s got his shit together and he’s happy. I’m not jealous and I don’t want him for myself.

Even if the benefits fizzle out or you meet a 3, it’s good to retain the friendship. You never know when you may need a good friend like that. And once you’ve seen each other naked you’ve not a lot of hiding places left, so you might as well keep a friend you can have embarrassing conversations with.

 

Look For Potential

In my own recent encounters, there were a couple of blokes who could have been great 2’s and FWB. But they didn’t communicate that really that was all they probably wanted or were capable of. They told me what they thought I wanted to hear, that they were 3’s, so then when they clearly weren’t 3’s they bolted.

 

I had a few others that told me straight up that they only wanted FWB. That was fine. Many were 1’s. Some were 2’s. The 2’s were all hot, younger and not very local, which helps when you don’t want to bump into them in Tesco. But they hadn’t figured out the friends’ bit or even the conversation bit. One insisted that he wanted to chat a lot before we got to the benefits. Fine, I was totally in agreement. But he had no chat. Simple two and three-word answers doesn’t equal chat. I was bored very quickly. Very quickly. Good looks and abs can only get you so far.

 

Then there was Mr Adventurous. He was cute, fit, funny chat. Definite 2. But then he wanted to chat about the benefits a lot but made no moves whatsoever to arrange even a coffee. I don’t know if it was stage fright or just that he wanted a sexting pen pal. I got bored and stopped replying. His boxer shorts bulge photos every morning were interesting though.

 

Mr Chat A Lot. Too much mundane chat. But jeez he was hot. And young. He hadn’t mastered the art of moving the conversation forward. I got bored.

 

Doctor McSteamy. He was hot. Like seriously hot. And fit. Abs for miles. His chat was great. He laughed at my jokes. And then he freaking vanished!!!! Profile gone along with my exploding ovaries.

 

And then Young Irish. Hot. Cute. Modest. Funny. But not got the hang of actually fixing up the date. A girl can get bored of having yet another pen pal. 

 

Actual Potential

With the right communication though my potential FWB’s could have turned out better. Mr Hot As Hell is pretty much summed up by the name I’ve given him. I could never have had a relationship with him because I couldn’t even have taken him to Tesco without knowing other women would be eyeing him up. And don’t pretend you don’t do that girl. I’m forever eyeing up the DILF’s and checking for wedding rings down the fresh meat aisle.

 

But for the short term, the potential was there. I could barely speak to him without drooling and he could have given me fanny flutters a mile off. From a chat perspective, we got on great. He was a smart guy so could hold a conversation. But I knew from the off he was not going to be a 3.

 

He was too young for that and would eventually have found himself a younger model that wanted marriage and babies. But he was a solid short term 2. I’d have gotten a massive self-esteem boost, he’d have gotten a MILF and a friend. But again, he told me what he thought I wanted to hear and didn’t listen when I said that I just wanted to find a grown-up to hang out with that wasn’t my daughter or my mum. He should have interpreted that as I wanted an escape from my everyday life. A good solid 2 is perfect for that.

And then there was Mr Tom Clarke Lookalike. Most of you won’t know who Tom Clarke is. Google it. He put the ball in the Blackpool net. Anyway. He portrayed himself as a solid 3. On paper, he was a solid 3. In reality, he was a 2 and if he’d been honest, he’d have been a solid 2 and perfect FWB. But when it became apparent he wasn’t anywhere near a 3, he didn’t communicate it very well, positioned himself as a 2 but still tried to crack on that he was a 3 and fell into the lying stage. Shame because he was the type of guy that had the potential to progress from a 2 to a 3 if he’d been true to his word.

Communicate Your Needs

When approaching a potential 2 and an FWB situation, look very carefully at your own needs. Are you looking for an escape from your everyday life? This is a serious point to think about. If you are in the over 40, single, kids, work, house, bills, what’s for dinner, piles of washing and a limited supply of single friends to hang out with, chances are you need an escape. You don’t have the capacity to deal with someone else’s kids, work issues, ex-wife issues, or their piles of washing. You’re stressed enough as it is. So, having a solid 2 to meet up with, escape to when you can, watch a film on Netflix with without being constantly interrupted, and yes, having great sex with, by god that sounds like a great escape. But remember, a 2 is not for the long term. He’s the wrong guy for that.

So long as you are both approaching the situation with your eyes wide open and are prepared for it to fizzle out or either of you meet someone else, then it’s going to give you a spring in your step and boost your self-esteem. Just stay in control of the situation. Don’t take the booty calls at 2am. Don’t involve your kids. Go out for dinner together occasionally. Don’t let everything be conducted behind closed doors. And don’t be someone’s bit on the side. No marrieds. This is a singles-only situation. You are not his girlfriend. You are not a couple. Don’t get dragged into someone’s shitty behaviour. Be discreet. No posting cute couple like photos on Facebook. And always use condoms, regardless of if they’ve had the snip or your ovaries no longer work. Stay safe.

Catching Feelings

The danger of such a set-up is that one or both of you may catch feelings for each other. This isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. If you both feel the same way then your FWB stage has enabled you to get to know each other well enough to become a 3. That’s great, go for it. But if you suddenly feel yourself getting attached, clingy, annoyed when he doesn’t text back immediately or god forbid you know he’s meeting someone else for a coffee date and it hurts, sorry girl, but you need to go cold turkey and cut yourself off. This wasn’t what you agreed to. If he’s still swiping on Tinder and meeting other girls for dates, then essentially, he’s just honouring your agreement. He’s not cheating on you.

 

You’ve two choices here. Suck it up, be his friend and perhaps give him your female opinion on his dates. If you’re going to set him free, then do it with love. He’ll respect you for it and remain your friend. But once he’s got himself another bed partner, don’t go there. Don’t be that woman. That makes you the other woman.

 

Or you can tell him that you feel like you want more. If he says no, retain your dignity and walk away. Remember, he’s signed up for FWB not family days out to the zoo with your kids or Christmas dinner at your parents. You are not his girlfriend or long-term partner. As I said, 2’s are not for the long term and by choosing not to be in a proper relationship with you, then he’s proven the point. No matter how much he did right for you or how great he made you feel, he’s still wrong for you. He’s a 2.

My Needs My Way

When I look at my own needs or how a potential suitor fits in, I kind of figure that it’s probably very hard for someone to step in as a 3 from the off. I’m an OCD weirdo that overthinks everything and hoovers the stairs far more than is required (it’s stress hoovering for the anxiety). I like my life, I like working all hours, I like my house and where I live. I don’t want boy things cluttering up my bedroom and I won’t even share a bathroom with my own kid. I often go on holiday on my own and I am quite ok with eating out on my own.

 

I don’t have many single friends and a lot of my very good friends are blokes. I like football, cricket and golf and I’m quite ok with lying on the sofa all day to binge-watch something that’s just been released on Netflix. And I spend far too much time with my 18-year-old kid and my mother which does need to change.

My Kinda 2

In an ideal world, I’d have a solid 2 that lived alone so I could escape to their place. They wouldn’t want me to meet their kids and certainly wouldn’t introduce me to their parents (I have a zero success rate with mother-in-laws). They wouldn’t even expect me to sleepover, because let’s face it, snoring is something we don’t need in our lives. And sleepovers are relationship territory. Morning sex is great, but save that for a special occasion or someone of value, like a 3.

 

They’d enjoy the weird shit I screenshot online and randomly send them or find the photos of the dog asleep, legs akimbo with his balls hanging out hilarious. They wouldn’t even want to come to the football with me. That’s my life. But they’ll be ok watching the test match on tv all day with me. Obviously at their place. They might even let me win at crazy golf, just for the extra benefits.

 

But if a potential 3 came along, then none of the above would apply. Because they are a 3 and a keeper.

Moral Of The Story

Judge every potential suitor you meet by what your circumstances at that time dictate. If you aren’t in a position for a full-on relationship, don’t pretend that you’re a 3. Accept that you are a 2, weigh up whether the other person is a 2 and don’t rule out an FWB for now. You just never know what tomorrow might bring.

 

Just don’t go falling in love with a 2. You’re falling in love with the potential and not what’s in front of you. He’s an imposter carrying a fake ‘love of your life’ card. A 3 will be a man of value who will value every last bit of you and all your quirky batshit ways. And he will love the high-value woman that you are. Just perhaps don’t tell him about your lustful adventures with your toy boy 2.

 

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