One of my married friends who joined me at a recent outing told me one of his friends--a guy I've met once or twice--just broke up with his girlfriend of two years. The guy is 45. His girlfriend is about the same age.
I was furious. I blew up in an explosion of fury and profanity. "He just stole two years of her life," I told my friend. She doesn't have that kind of time. It's selfish for him to enjoy sexual favors with no obligation for a long-term commitment on his part. My friend added he knew another couple who has been dating for five years.
What the hell is going on? Why do women put up with this? There are some rules for dating that I think most people live with: the first date is coffee, not dinner/movie; no sex on the first date; no serious dates (a wedding, meet parents) for the first month or so. Here's a new rule: no dating over three months for women over 30. To quote myself (sorry), she just doesn't have that kind of time. It's working out? Great. Start discussing the future. It's not working out? Sorry to hear that. It's time for her to move on to find her beshert (true love), because it sure as hell isn't you.
"It's guys like him who are contributing to the shidduch (dating) crisis," I told my friend when he told me about the breakup. I tried to jump-start two of my friends last year who told me about dating their early-30's girlfriends. Both relationships were lasting longer than a year. I know one of the girlfriends, and for a couple of reasons I think she's going to have a tough time finding someone to marry if this current relationship doesn't work out. I told my friends they weren't being fair to their girlfriends by stringing them along. They needed to make a decision one way or the other. I doubt my advice went over well. As far as I know, both relationships continue without engagements.
These men enjoying the free sex (no long-term obligation/commitment) are not only cheating their girlfriends out of marital opportunities from men who take dating and marriage more seriously. They are also cheating these same men by taking high-quality women off the market and holding them hostage to their own selfish desires.
Allow me to explain. Maybe Grace is perfect for James, who has dated several different women over the past year but can't seem to find the right match. Too bad for James that Lionel has been stringing Grace along for the past 18 months. Grace is turning 31 and tired of taking a daily birth control pill. She has a uterus and wants to use it. She wants to get married but is afraid of hitting the front lines of dating again. Lionel likes Grace but isn't sure if he's in love. He's terrified of the thought of marriage and a long-term commitment despite being 33. Why should he propose marriage? Grace gives him everything he needs now: a best friend, a reliable date, and a sexual partner. James is willing to propose if he meets the right woman. Unfortunately for James and Grace, Grace is a kept woman. By the time Lionel breaks up with her, James is already engaged to Caitlin. She's not exactly what he was looking for, but James takes her seriously anyway. And Grace lost out.