Finding someone to be intimate with?
October 9, 2017 5:24 AM   Subscribe

I (30F) would like to find a trustworthy guy to be intimate with on a consistent basis, but am not sure how to go about it.

This is going to be a bit long in the hopes of adequately providing context, so I apologize in advance and thank anyone who has the patience to get through the whole thing.

I’ve always had a hard time with relationships (both platonic and romantic). The few friendships and family relationships I had (I was rather a social outcast) involved me giving and giving, with little to no reciprocation (or worse, with negative reciprocation - e.g. breaking into my diary and telling others what they’d read). I had no romantic relationships because I couldn’t believe anyone could actually like me (thanks to years of being told that I was ugly and stupid, someone “who no one would ever love”), and as time went on my lack of experience made the idea of romantic interactions uncomfortable. I’m fairly sure that resulted in me putting out “do not approach me” vibes, even though on the inside I desperately wanted such emotional and physical closeness. The few attempts I made to reach out (telling friends I was interested in someone, asking someone out on a date, etc.) did not work out - I have only gone out on one date, and only recently ended my virginity with an escort (no regrets over this, the man was lovely and made the experience an excellent one).

I eventually came to hate the feeling that I was being taken advantage of after years of sacrificing time, energy, mental wellbeing, etc. To put it simply, I burned out on relationships. I figured that if I couldn’t expect anyone else to care for me, I would be better off spending my energy caring for myself instead of others. This has in fact proven to be the case; I am the happiest and most at peace with myself that I’ve ever been in my entire life.

But a part of me would still like to have some kind of intimacy. Not much - I don’t want to feel like I’m obligated to care for someone (marriage and kids are completely off the table; truthfully I don’t even want pets at this point), nor do I want to find myself feeling like I’m relying on someone for my well-being. Ideally, I’d just like to meet someone that I could go out with once in a while (maybe once a week?) to chat (lighthearted things only) and have sex. An honest guy who’d treat me with respect and care that I’m enjoying myself (as I would do the same to him); someone with whom there’d be mutual attraction (or at least not repulsion).

Is it possible to find something like this, and if so, how? Reading up online, it seems like this would be a friends-with-benefits situation, but I don’t really feel like I have friends at this point (there are people I sometimes meet up with, but they have drama-filled lives; I consequently also don’t feel I can trust their judgement enough to set me up properly). I could try online dating, but I photograph terribly (to the point where the last time I tried it in my early 20s, I barely got any responses; I’m not a model, but I’m not ugly and I take care of myself, plus I'm pretty sure my writing was good, so…); I'm also a bit wary of meeting people that are complete unknowables (i.e. where the only info I have is what's been generated by them, making it impossible to determine if their self-representations are accurate). I've tried the whole Meetup thing, but most of my interests are solitary and honestly, I found I don't particularly enjoy attending such events (I'm pretty introverted and they take a lot out of me while providing little in return). I’m fairly open-minded, so I looked into things like polyamory, but it seems like people are either looking for a full-on relationship or are straight couples looking for a bi woman (and I’m not even bi-curious). Honestly, I’d even be happy to pay for an escort again, but I want physical intimacy as well as (or even more than) company, and there’s no way to be sure in advance that an escort would want to be intimate (in the U.S. even trying to have that conversation would be illegal; my previous meeting was in a far-away country where it was legal). So…what do I do?

Throwaway email if case anyone would rather not post here:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

- Therapy? It sounds like you really want intimacy, company, and LOVE! You only get one life, and you know, you don't have to settle, maybe therapy would help you heal some of your wounds?
- Tinder / Bumble / OKCupid - use a nice photo of you, and online dating is a numbers game!
- Craigslist? Just ask for what you want, and see if you get any responses
- Getting comfortable with other types of intimacy e.g. joining a book club or frequenting a meetup, or following your interests
- You write well, which leads me to believe that you're a reader. Why not check out some of the classic ones like 'Intimate Connections' or 'Attached' - the relationship therapist books have helped me to understand relationships better and find them less intimidating.
- Also, I've been reading Mastery of Love lately. I really like it and it talks a lot about emotional trauma, and unconditional love. It's wise and paradigm-changing. I like it! Check it out?

Also just wanted to share that I've felt lonely and burnt out from relationships too, and it got better for me, my life is much happier now. This is probably temporary, and hopefully it will slowly start to get better for you too. Big internet hug :)
posted by Crookshanks_Meow at 5:41 AM on October 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

Tinder is very good at this. It means a lot of first dates to screen people out, and potentially a lot of hook-ups to find someone you have chemistry with, and given that you don't have a lot of sexual experience you will probably find that more stressful than I do. But it gave me ongoing weekly fuckbuddies.

The downside was that they generally only lasted a few months at a time before they found girlfriends. That's not universally the case; I'm still seeing one now that I met 18 months ago. But if the searching is really stressful for you and you're likely to take their disappearances personally, it is probably not a good choice for you.

Another option is looking for poly men on OkCupid who are married or in serious relationships. It sounds like you've tried this route, but if you keep at it (stay online longer, dig a little deeper in your search, etc.) you might find something that will work for you. In my experience, men in couples say (and believe) they want an additional serious relationship, but usually don't have the time and mental energy for that in reality, and could potentially give you just what you want. Open relationships can close quickly and suddenly though, so I'd recommend trying out people who have a decent amount of experience at it instead of people trying it out for the first time, because the latter most often change their minds quickly. (Or their wives do.)

And there are people out there who want something similar to what I think you do; a real relationship but without the commitment/ strings. They're not awesome at understanding people and relationships but want certain parts of it. I hate to even say this because it is not even close to universally true, but I see this most often with engineers and computer programmers.
posted by metasarah at 6:55 AM on October 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

"I could try online dating, but I photograph terribly"

Get professional pictures taken, and set up a few profiles (Tinder, OKCupid, Bumble, whatever's popular in your closest city) outlining the situation you want. I don't think most people would define going out "once in a while" as "once a week;" as an introverted person, consider whether you'd comfortable with managing multiple casual relationships to maintain that kind of schedule.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:40 AM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I‘m wondering, since you have a history of being taken advantage are you at asking bluntly for what you want, and at drawing boundaries when something isn‘t working for you? How are you at being just a little bit „selfish“? (Like, making him wait while you finish first? Are you comfortable with that kind of ask?)

Because that‘s going to be so important in a casual arrangement. Otherwise you‘ll just end up making the guy happy and realising later he didn‘t do the same for you.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

where the last time I tried it in my early 20s, I barely got any responses

looks aren't the only factor, but if you're like most women, whatever you looked like/photographed like then, you're much better looking now.

this is not a blanket recommendation of dating sites, which are terrible in their own way, though people do get lucky with them. but do not take it for granted that it's harder the older you get unless you have direct personal experience to confirm that. sometimes it's easier.

you will also get a ton of interest if you say you're looking for a sexual arrangement. terrible people may say terrible things to you, but they will say something.

if you don't restrictively advertise for a physical relationship only, you might also find it easy to attract a number of men in their early to mid 20s who are morose romantics and will idealize an unhappy slightly-older woman like you wouldn't believe. this, also, is not a recommendation. just a note that your options may be broader than you think, even if you aren't interested in that kind of thing.
posted by queenofbithynia at 1:16 PM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Regarding Meetups, yeah, the events where you have to stand around a talk to people can be exhausting, but have you considered events like a bike ride, or movies, where you can't talk during most of the event, but at the end you can meet people?

Do you see guys around that you'd like to get with? At the coffee shop, at the grocery? Maybe try the direct approach: "Hey, wanna go back to my place and fool around?"
posted by cyclicker at 3:12 PM on October 9, 2017

Please avoid FWB situations. Unless you have rock solid boundaries and know exactly what you want and ask for it and aren't upset when he can't or won't answer satisfactorily or honestly, they are a recipe for disaster. Better to have a one-night stand. Once in my life did I experiment with a FWB, and it did not go well.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:02 PM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ideally, I’d just like to meet someone that I could go out with once in a while (maybe once a week?) to chat (lighthearted things only) and have sex. An honest guy who’d treat me with respect and care that I’m enjoying myself (as I would do the same to him); someone with whom there’d be mutual attraction (or at least not repulsion).

Honestly, I found this via reddit. I'll try to get around to emailing your throwaway with more details sometime later today.
posted by foxjacket at 8:18 AM on October 10, 2017

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