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‘All I want is no-strings fun’

In New York City, a single mom captivates her new neighbour, a much younger man.

In New York City, a single mom captivates her new neighbour, a much younger man.

Published Oct 2, 2012


QUESTION: Four years ago, I left a 23-year marriage because my husband had little interest in sex. However, we’re still very close emotionally, co-parent our three children and see each other most days. So what I really want is a fun, no-strings physical relationship with a nice man of my own age. The trouble is the men I meet always, eventually, want more than that. Am I being unreasonable?

ANSWER: It’s funny, isn’t it, how we always assume it’s men who want no-strings relationships. But I’ve known many women who were up for something fun and light, particularly after the maelstrom of raw emotion that typifies the end of a long relationship.

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However, your situation is somewhat different. You may have separated from your husband in a physical sense, but your emotions remain entwined and you seem perfectly happy about that fact.

I don’t sense, from your letter, that you want to make space in your heart for a profound relationship with someone else.

This might be just fine and dandy if your taste in dating leaned towards the type of younger men who run a mile from anything meaningful.

Just look at all the cougars out there: women who hook up with younger men on a casual basis for mutually satisfying flings. Your dating intentions might also go down well with married men (although that opens up a whole other can of worms) or commitment-phobes.

But you seem hell bent on stepping out with pleasant, well-intentioned men of your own age, while demanding they behave like skittish lotharios. Are you surprised they become unhappy?

A sex-only fling may seem appealing on date one, or two, but what happens six months down the line?

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I don’t know what your no-strings rules are with your dates, but I’d make an educated guess you don’t roast chickens, do country weekends or introduce your children.

In fact, it sounds like you’re still doing many of these things with your ex-spouse. Eventually, a relationship that has no emotional closeness, or casual familiarity feels two dimensional, however great the sex.

It seems you have tough choices to make. You are either going to have to change your taste in men, or allow your dates a little more non-sexual intimacy.

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If you chose the former option, just enter the words “cougar” or “casual dating sites” into Google and you’ll find plenty that are aimed at no-strings encounters.

However, if you want to date a fundamentally well-rounded man with a modicum of sincerity, you might have to resign yourself to a partner who - at some point - asks more from you than sex.

At that point would a compromise really be so dreadful? Couldn’t you become less dependent on your ex and a little more reliant on your boyfriend?

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I know people in second-time-round relationships who live in separate homes and invite each other round for intimate evenings, which means they maintain lover-like tension. And - crucially - they have plenty of time for themselves and their family.

In the final reckoning, these choices are up to you. I don’t think you’re being unreasonable, so much as unrealistic. - Daily Mail

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