Ask Ellie: Divorced woman sends wrong message with dating apps

Advice columnist Ellie

Dear Readers: Some relationship advice questions and commentaries seem to grow legs after a day or two. Such is the case with the one written by a woman who signed, “Fed Up,” and it appeared on Aug. 2. Divorced after 20 years, she finally felt free to indulge her own tastes in activities, rather than accompany her husband to suit his interests.

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But she also finds it annoying that the men she found on dating apps to accompany her to attend a concert (pre-pandemic) or hunt for “finds” in antique shops, didn’t pay attention to her dating rules of no kissing/no sex. Here are two examples of how some of you reacted:

Reader #1: “Change the genders and you have my story. I’m a male in my early 60s coming to the end of 20-plus years of marriage (in the final stages of divorce process). Right now, I have absolutely no desire to get close to anyone, although I do enjoy the companionship and company of intelligent women. I’m still at the “peck on the cheek” stage at the end of dates, but am totally surprised at how many women are actually expecting more. I am very open to seeing how things develop,” but not after just one or two dates.

“It actually sounds like “Fed Up” could be a person I could enjoy developing a companionship with, and without the expectations of something developing that neither of us would want. Does she live in my area?”

Ellie: I don’t reveal readers’ names, addresses or contact information. The intent of the column is to open a window on ways to deal with relationship issues, not to matchmake or provide a dating service. But your feedback and the original question from “Fed Up” offer an opportunity for some advice: If you don’t want any of the by-product behaviour of companionship with someone of the opposite sex, don’t seek people through “dating” apps or sites. And don’t call your get-togethers “dates.” You’re clouding your base-line intent, which is to just enjoy someone’s company, with no emotional involvement. Good luck with keeping that message clear.

Reader #2: “I think your response to the woman who wanted to date for companionship only was spot on. My first thought was, why are you looking to dating apps and to men for this sort of companionship?

Why not cultivate friendships with other women to enjoy shared interests? Clearly, having a male escort is still a necessary accessory for this woman and she has some issues to work through.”

Ellie: A strong point is being made here and it has to do with women’s self-confidence and self-image. Having been married for 20 years before her divorce, the letter-writer appeared lost in the old-school images of her past: i.e. if seen at a concert or about her city, she must be accompanied by a man. To her, being out and seen with a woman companion is somehow a lesser choice.

Feedback regarding the woman, 61, who was shocked at being ghosted by a man, successful and accomplished, who’d embraced her passionately and with whom she’d been intimate (August 7):

Reader: “Women’s behaviour is equally as bad or even worse than men. It’s so tiring in the time of #metoo and anti-discrimination that men still get the blame for everything.

“I’m a mature man, 60, and have been ghosted by women and much worse behaviour.”

Ellie: Yes, women have also been guilty of cowardly/mean dating behaviour.

Feedback regarding the twin twenty-somethings who wanted to fly to the U.S. to visit with their significant others (Aug. 7 and July 17):

Reader: “It was an excellent write-up to my concerned response about the twins’ planned trip. Sharing this information will help many parents facing such decisions. I am one of twins in their 20s and have heard of many families in angst over this topic, as many have moved home due to COVID. Great that you added the fact that they’ll have to quarantine away from their parents for two weeks on their return. Also, important that you took the opportunity to point to the mistakes Americans have made that have led them to the state (of infections and deaths) they are in today. “I also agree with you on having the twins research that information (Ellie: to know the risks they’d face, if they travel).”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Besides two sides to every story, readers’ feedbacks provide further possibilities.

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