Dear DSO: How Can I Date Casually But Still Be A Nice Guy?

DSO, First off, just wanted to say how blown away I’ve been by your content, and your books. They are truly life changing, and after listening to dozens of other self help teachers, your articles, and books are truly on a different level. You have a succinct, punchy writing style that is filled with dense wisdom. Please continue doing what you’re doing – the world needs it.

I discovered your site after googling ‘wife wants an open relationship’. I was really wracked by guilt about the end of our marriage (especially with a kid involved), but the ‘straw the broke the camels back’ in my case was my wife insisting on opening up the relationship (she wanted to try swinging, and this demand later escalated to full blown open relationship). We had endured a horrific year (partially due to my wife’s postnatal depression, which made her quite abusive towards me). I remained the emotional punching bag many months after she had largely recovered. Needless to say, I didn’t feel that it was the right time to try swinging, to say the least. I opened up to her that the thought of her with someone else (while I was there!) made me feel sick inside. I was met with ‘well how are we going to fix this, if I don’t get to do this I’ll end up resenting you for the rest of my life…’. Needless to say the relationship ended soon after that.

I am so, so glad I didn’t capitulate to that last, humiliating demand (after capitulating to other demands that I ended up regretting). I have you to thank for helping me see clearly, and helping me reinforce that faint gut feeling that said ‘this is wrong, don’t accept this’. I’m now faced with a different issue. At some stage (certainly not any time soon) I’d like to start dating. But the *last* thing I want is to be roped in to long term commitment, co-habitation (with its sadistic legal risks) or to have more kids. Basically I want to be more, not less free. I also want to experience dating abundance, something that I have never had before, before even considering another LTR. Your book and many other pundits suggest having short-term relationships. But there’s something that feels ‘not quite right’ about this, as if I would be doing that’s unethical on some level.

As your ‘open relationship’ article mentions, women (unlike men) are not hardwired for promiscuity. They tend to develop close emotional bonds through the act of having sex. Unlike men, they are wired for emotional attachment to one, high quality partner. Even if women stated they were just after a casual fling, I can’t help imagine that a primal part of them does get attached, and would ultimately be hurt when the STR inevitably ended. Would I want my own daughter to be promiscuous? Probably not. There have been studies come to light that show that higher female promiscuity before marriage is associated with reduced ability to pair bond, and higher marriage dissatisfaction/divorce later on in life. How do I pursue STR’s in a way that is good (both in the short and long term) for both myself and future partners. In a way that is consistent with integrity, and how I would want my hypothetical daughter to be treated? Keen to hear your thoughts DSO.

Cheers, J

Interesting question. You want to have your needs met, be a sexual and fun guy, but you don’t want to hurt feelings or create terrible women along the way. I think this is a combination of “nice guy” behavior, and also a bit of covert sexism on your part. “But these poor innocent women will be hurt by angry sex fiends like myself and turn into terrible sluts!” No. These women aren’t nearly as innocent and pure as you think (your ex-wife should’ve been clue #1 for you). Some are, in fact, perfectly okay with being in casual relationships with no desire to “settle down” in life. If that’s not for you, that’s perfectly fine… but don’t do so out of some obligation to protect the fairer sex. Yes, you will be selfish. You need to state your needs and put up boundaries when it comes to relationships. Yes, you are going to hurt feelings. You will also get your heart broken. You will be amazed at just how “cold” and “detached” a woman can be after “falling in love” with her. That just comes with the territory. Welcome to being a human being.

You can be whoever the hell you want to be. Do you want to be Mr. Playboy with a heart of gold? Fine, then be that guy. Take on that persona. It doesn’t mean treating women like dirt and leaving a trail of broken women behind. It means stating your needs, being open and honest, sticking to it, and not allowing others to dictate your actions and mood based on their own emotional shortcomings. You have a long and interesting road ahead of you. Don’t overthink things. Have fun.