Sounds like she wants him to do all the work (that's that "upper hand" nonsense), and read her mind, and act accordingly. Good luck with that!
Wow, you've gotta get yourself together LW! You are a straight up wreck. There's more cognitive dissonance in that letter than anyone should be comfortable with in themselves. Stayed with someone you neither loved nor found attractive for 3 years and you are thinking of going back to him? Your Neighbor/FWB asks you what you think of your relationship, and you say... not much, but then are hurt over him not wanting something more with you? Finding someone to bang to get over that who leaves you in even more emotional turmoil...?

There's some extrapolation here, but I don't see how you can be OK with yourself if this is how you approach dating. You are bringing your damaged self into all of these relationships. Gotta fix that first. My recommendation is to figure out how to be happy single/alone, then start thinking about dating.
"How can I date with dignity and get what I want?"
What are you looking for?
A husband (or whatever passes for a 'husband' these days...)?
If so you are going about it wrong.
If you put out super readily you are going to attract a different class of male, and the 'relationships' are going to follow a very different course, and have a very different prognosis, and very different outcome than if you place relationship a little higher up the priory list.
Your current Modus operandi is a guaranteed Dignity Destroyer.
Heck, you will even rank below the gals who are selling it in your 'friends' eyes.
If you just want to be a hole men stick their dicks in you are doing great.
If you want something different get an old dating advice book and read it.
Don't ask Dan.
This will sound really harsh, mean and cynical, but I mean it in a liberating, free yourself from those garbage connections, kinda way. She needs to learn how men think, because it is so much different than how we think as women. Guy downstairs is in it for convenient, casual sex-not in it for her. Sorry. If he only wants to see you at his apartment and he puts no effort into keeping you- it's b/c you're making it too easy for him. The boyfriend who ignored her sexual needs for three years has problems that she can't fix and aren't her fault- he's either asexual/gay, has E.D., wants something kinkier than she was offering or he was not that sexually attracted to her. Easier said than done, but she has to learn how to communicate what she wants and then move on immediately if a guy hesitates or pushes her away. Any answer other than "yes, so glad you want this as much as I do", is a no...or at the very least it's a not now b/c I'm not ready for that type of commitment with you. Romantic fairy tale rom-coms are make-believe. The faster you let go of the guys that said "no thanks" the better. Don't be that creepy cling-on girl who is desperately waiting around to convince someone to want you- b/c the more you try to force things the less unattainable/desirable you seem. Probably sounds like I'm regurgitating "he's just not that into you" quotes, but that's b/c there is a lot of truth about dating men in that book. And mostly keep that self-esteem intact, b/c the rejection of the average dating scene can be soul-crushing. But seriously learn to read the signals and then accept the obvious. Don't lie to yourself and stay in a bad place for too long (3 years??? Yikes), b/c you'll miss out some good dating opportunities if you do. In short, I think she's making it too easy for men who are unavailable to either use her for casual sex or keep her in her place for 3 long years of neglected needs. She has to be able to be much more assertive about getting what she wants from a relationship.
I see why Dan's the one who gets paid here, these comments are awful!
Embarrassment of riches. It seems like all these guys have given you exactly what you've asked for.
Oh man, I've been the downstairs neighbor and I've been in this woman's shoes—all in the last year. It gets weird out there, but the fact that you're feeling uneasy about it means it hasn't broken you yet. Hang in there. If you've ever made it happen, you'll make it happen again.
DOL, if Downstairs Neighbor invited you to meet his friends, he was obviously more interested in you than as a sex partner.

Also, this “who has the upper hand” idea is nonsense. You’re turning dating and sex, into mortal combat. It’s ideas like this that make dating so hard, not just on you, but on the people you’re meeting.
@5 chaosgirl Yes, Dan is the expert and also more tactful in his response. Maybe I didn't say it the right way, but was being cruel to be kind. It sucks so much to get strung-out on a casual sex fwb who will probably never be a real relationship. She will give too much of herself and then wind up feeling used, even though she knew the whole time what she was doing. I honestly believe that if the neighbor moved to another building, she would never hear from him again. Or, if she did hear back it would be a random, out of the blue, midnight booty call. My immediate reaction to her letter was that it's the convenience factor. Otherwise, her neighbor would already be in relationship mode and she would be his girlfriend by now. Reminds me of an Onion article: How do I get the guy I'm having sex with to notice me? Convenience sex does not a relationship make. She's holding onto an imaginary connection with a guy who doesn't care for her, when she could be taking a chance on meeting someone that actually does.
I'm not sure that Mr. New York did actually ghost DOL. He said he'd like to see her if she came to NY and that she could stay with him then. She didn't say she was planning a trip so he saw no reason to answer. Look, DOL, a place to stay in NYC is golden. I'd stay in touch with any number of peripheral friends I didn't otherwise care about for a place to stay there, and that's without sex. Don't give up on this guy. Just tell him when you have dates mapped out for a few days in the city. If doesn't get back to you then, then you can get your feelings hurt. As it is, he's just a guy who doesn't care to waste time on banal chit-chat, especially the written form.
"Emotionally unavailable" is the new "he's just not that into you."
Oh for petessake. You've been seeing somebody for four months, including sleepovers and hanging out together publicly and socially with friends. He started a conversation widely known as The Relationship Talk. You said you consider it as a short term casual thing and you're both on the market while looking for a real relationship. And then... you are upset that he agreed to a short term casual thing while looking for real relationship?
lol @4 "not good looking enough" = "ignored your sexual needs" + "is probably gay". Oy vey.

@12 it's cause of the patriarchy
I agree with Dan about giving it a shot with the neighbour, but about New York Guy... sounds like he made a really specific offer and asked her when she was coming back and to keep in touch, and her response was "nice meeting you see you again someday maybe"? If I were him I don't think I'd reply either, kinda sounds like she was blowing him off. It's not the kind of message I'd send to someone I actually wanted to see again, anyway.
I don't disagree materially with the commenters above who point out that DOL says one thing, acts on another, thinks she knows what she wants, then doesn't act in her own best interests towards getting it. I just don't think she's as crazy as all that. I'm sympathetic. Dating is hard! There are inconsistencies and hypocrisies built into the system. You're supposed to be vulnerable but not an emotional wreck. You have to show interest but not desperation. You don't want to have sex too quickly because that's slutty, but don't wait too long before sleeping with a guy because there's no sense in investing a lot in a relationship over to discover you're not sexually compatible. Also the opposite. Don't find you have great sex with a guy only to discover you have nothing in common that would make other aspects of the relationship work. Oh, and don't settle for less than ecstatic love with someone who's both your soul mate and your best friend. It's like you're constantly walking several tightropes at once.

The good news is that Joshua Harris has repented and is now realizing how much harm he did with the whole purity movement thing.
@14 - I totally agree. 'It was nice meeting you and I hope to see you again someday' is a great way to slam the door in a guy's face. I don't get the impression LW has very good emotional comprehension when it comes to language and personal relationships. That text message might just as well have been a photo of her saying Bye-bye. Yet she wonders why she can't attract or keep the right man. Hmm. Maybe a marriage and family counselor-type therapist would be a good start.
Girliegams @4: You've completely fabricated a boyfriend "who ignored her sexual needs for three years." She says she wasn't sexually attracted to him. Nothing about the quality of the sex they had.

And I beg to differ that Neighbour doesn't like like her, as Dan said. He introduced her to his friends. Asked her to stay over. Dan's right -- she's the one who told him she wanted to keep things casual, then she got hurt when he "didn't want to date her."

Other than "to not get hurt," DOL doesn't know what she wants. I agree her use of the phrase "upper hand" is a red flag: she's bought into this idea of dating as an adversary pursuit. She "lost" to Mr New York because he ghosted her. She could choose to see this as a wonderful night spent with someone she had no future with anyway because opposite coasts, and yes I do blame him for talking the talk about seeing her again because he wanted to get her laid. But there is a lot of internalised slut-shaming, particularly around one-night stands, so I'm not surprised DOL is seeing Mr New York as having "gained the upper hand" by reducing her "value" when he added to her "number." (Gag, gag, on all these bullshit social constructs.)

I would advise her to spend some time single -- like single single -- to figure herself out. But she's already vested in Neighbour and I think they could have a future if, as Dan says, she's willing to make the first emotionally risky move and say she does want to date him.
Ankyl @12 and Fichu @15: Spot on.
Jasmins @14: I can see how your theory holds some water, or would, if her message had indeed said "maybe" which it didn't. "I hope to see you again someday" doesn't sound like a blow-off to me. It sounds like "I am looking forward to this but don't worry, I haven't started practising my signature with your last name yet." Sounds about right for someone you've only met once and who lives on the opposite coast -- and who may have been saying "come visit me" as code for "I'm not treating you like a one-night stand, oh but ha-ha! I am!"
LW, stop being APOA - Another Piece Of Ass and expecting to find love. It doesn't work that way. Lust is selfish by definition but love encompasses many other desirable attributes that will last once the lust has dwindled. You're currently on the Lust Train and until you change, that's all you're going to get.
Ms Fan - Yes; I am tempted to ask Ms Gams where she has her cosmic vibrations serviced, as hers seem to perform much better than mine. Finding a boyfriend who ignored LW's sexual needs was rather impressive.

Juan @19: Bullshit. Thousands of relationships have started with hookups. Love attacks when people are least suspecting it, and often while they are basking in the afterglow of really good sex. Of course, love always seems to find the hooker uppers who want it least... which would exclude our DOL. No, one should not go into a hookup situation expecting it to lead to more -- it probably won't. But passengers of the Lust Train often discover they've upgraded their fuckbuddies to a first-class cabin, quite in spite of themselves.
If I were the men dealing with LW....
NY Guy: maybe I didn’t see your text or recognize the number & thought scam or sales call. Maybe I saw it but was busy & later forgot about it. Maybe I didn’t like something about the message. Maybe I was just being a dick and didn’t really mean it when I said call me. Try to reach out again, “ Just staying in touch” and if there’s still no reply, drop it. That is the message.

Downstairs fuck buddy: Hey, YOU said this was just temporary. Of course I’m looking elsewhere. I like you enough to keep having sex with you and even invited you to meet my friends. Guys don’t do that for girls that don’t like to hang out with. I’m being a nice guy and not pushing for more when you said you didn’t want it. But I like you and might consider more if you USE YOUR WORDS.

It's funny how we search desperately for love, never fully realizing we already have it in us. Love isn't someone you find--its who you are!

Or when we say we're saving ourselves for our perfectly suited soul mate. I recommend practicing how to extend your love to others so you'll know how to act when the "right one" comes along.

If you want more love in your life, then give more love to others. Because love is attracted to itself.

In the end, it wouldn't matter if all 7 of the men DOL has been with loved her with all their heart, what matters is if she loves herself. Nothing else will ever satisfy her.
"It's really puzzling. I act like a cheap hooker and guys treat me like a cheap hooker. I told the one guy who wanred to treat me like someone he cared about I prefer he treat me like a cheap hooker. What am I doing wrong?"

The question answers itself, kiddo. Stop acting like a cheap hooker.
Oh and Mr. Savage? This young woman is already plenty vulnerable. Her choices are making her more vulnerable than another less promiscuous women to sexual assault, stalking, STIs and all kinds of other things.

Increasing vulnerability isn't her problem.
Dating someone you're not sexually attracted to is an asshole move. Dating someone you're not in love with for three years is also an asshole move. The fact that someone wants to date you doesn't make them your security blanket. Show this letter to your ex and see if he still has any interest in getting back together with you.

You've had seven partners in the seven months since you broke up, one of whom has been a recurring thing. I'm finding it a little hard to muster sympathy for your terrible plight, especially since it sounds like the real problem is that you don't know what the fuck you want, but you're expecting someone else to come along do the work to sort it all out for you. Good luck with that.
Thecentet @24-@25: And now we see exactly WHY this young woman is shaming herself for her choices. She's not doing it in a vacuum. No, increasing vulnerability isn't her problem -- men like you are.
Yes LW, talk to the guy downstairs and see how he feels about stepping the relationship up a notch. Don't be too intense about it, because like you he's probably a little all over the shop.
What else is taking up your time? Career stuff, hobbies. Being thirty or just before, I remember I was in mate mode, so I do understand the plea in your voice.
Chase @26 has dealt with the implications from your three year relationship and one night stand boy was just that. So try again, once, if you're heading to NY.
Time to stand up straight and not be so invested in men. Check the guy downstairs out if you want a relationship with him. If you are sexually, intellectually and emotionally attracted to him.
At the same time, find your inner life and passions. Thirties are a great time of life, enjoy yours.
@27, yes Fan. Men like @24/5 exist, that mean stupid attitude to a woman's agency. And men can get violent so @25s point about safety is true.
This young woman should stop with the random fucking and gather some strength. It is dangerous out there, and it doesn't sound like her encounters have given her much joy. So close em down. What happens with downstairs guy is more complex.
This LW sounds scattered, and that does make one vulnerable. There are good men out there, just got to sharpen her eyes so she can find them.

Nope. If I ate only McDonald's fries three things would be true. I'd be hungry a lot no matter how much I ate since nutritive value in those is nil. At some point my health would be affected. And others seeing this diet would be concerned or even contemptuous, depending on the person and their relationship to me.

Promiscuity, one night stands, OkCupid (I'm guessing by context this is the sexual equivalent of McDonalds drive-up?) and so on are the sexual equivalent of eating only fries. What she feels isn't shame. It's the realization that her sexual choices are incapable of bringing real joy. Ever.

That they're also actively dangerous is not anything to do with me.

Men like me do exist. Men wbo cultivate or cultivated friendships with women first, romance if it's what happens naturally as the relationship develops and eventually sex as an expression of intimacy and love already felt do exist. I'm far from perfect. I've done dumb relationship stuff like anyone else. But at least I know how it ought to be and mostly try to make that happen.

Men like those this woman is having sex with also exist. Men who treat women the same a cigarettel to be briefly enjoyed and tossed aside do exist. If anyone is likely to assault or pass an STI or dope her drink or otherwise harm this young woman it's that kind of man, utterly unconcerned with her or her welfare as long as they get laid.

It may be for you and Mr Savage and others here the McDonald's approach to sex is fine. Bully for you. You're presumably adults with the right to make your choices. For this woman it isn't or she wouldn't be complaining about it.

Sexual morality isn't someone trying to take your fun or impose a patriarchy or the other bullshit. It's a recognition of an order to things that if followed engances the sexual experience for both the man and the woman. It"s only an adolescent of whatever age constantly saying 'you're not the boss of ME!' who believes otherwise.
@Thecentetisright: you seem to see sex as something women do *for* men - in exchange for marriage or emotional support. Hate to break this to you, but women also like to have sex just because... they like sex. I mean, maybe no one ever has sex with you just to enjoy it (at least, not twice) but a lot of other people do.
@Thecentetisright: Casual sex is like McDonalds? Maybe, but sometimes it’s like a tall, cool glass of water on parched lips. I’ve met women in bars, taken them home for sex, and then dated them for years. Those relationships didn’t need any “enhancement,” however you define such thing. And if you’ve read many of these columns, you’ll know that following the path you commend is far from a guarantee of a happy relationship or even fulfilling sexual connection.

What part of "sexual morality.... enhances the sexual experience for both man and woman" was difficult for you?

But again, if the equivalent of greasy, lukewarm mass produced fries is cool for you sexually it's no skin off my nose.

For this woman she wants dignity and love (a bit redundant admittedly) and sexual gratification in her relationships.

Man or woman, that's possible to have. OR promiscuity, one night stands and "FWB" relationships. Not both.

On average a college education adds considerably to earning expectations. Some people with a degree don't make as much as a plumber or electrician without one. So.e make much more. But on average, if earning potential is the primary motivator (it shouldn't be but that's another discussion) advising a young person to get a degree is good advice.

There may be people who meet in bars, go home for a quick release of sexual tension, and either leave it at that feeling good or become friends or lovers..

Gonna say this is very, very much the exception. For most people this a recipe for problems.
Thecentetisright, @34 & 35.

I think your analogy is misleading and I don't agree that good relationships that spring from casual sex are "very very much the exeption".

Perhaps for you it's true. In that case, I would argue that it's more about compatibility in values. Without boring everyone with my details, I'll say that a period of casual sex-having after my divorce was the healthiest and most life affirming thing for me. When I was feeling done with that and wanted something more substantial, I was open about my feelings with the very sexy, lovely man I was enjoying at the time. It wasn't what he wanted so I had some sads and moved on. My current partner also started as a fuck buddy and we've become something more. It helps that we have similar views on sex and other things. Our being free and easy with our bodies was no detriment to a relationship. It was actually the opposite.

All of this, of course, required that I be self-aware and honest with myself and others. It's not easy and I suspect that's where LW is getting hung up. She's developing a good idea of what she wants but hasn't yet mastered being completely upfront about it with her partner(s).

The dignity in dating is about honesty, having the hard conversations (without resorting to saying what she thinks will make her more appealing to the guy. That's manipulation and there's no dignity there), and being willing to walk away when it's time to. It has much less to do with when two people decide to hit the sheets.
You guys do realise that you're attempting to "reason" with the latest reincarnation of our dearest old troll SB, right? Just don't bother.
And if I could tweak your McDonald's example, I would argue that casual sex can be more like trying a new restaurant every week, discovering the pleasures (and maybe heartburn) of variety. And for one coming out of a relationship that left them hungry, variety and abundance can be just the thing until they're ready to settle on a regular place, if they ever are. It's one way we discover what we really do want instead of accepting what we're told we should want.

Not everyone, of course. YMMV. Terms and conditions apply. Blah blah blah
@37 Perhaps but some statements needn't be left unchallenged for the sake of solidifying our own arguments and for others who may be swayed.
How do I date with dignity, you ask LW. Great question. Dignity can come from you being much more discerning, having a strong centre where you make very clear boundaries for yourself re men and you stick to them. Feelings come and go, it's the mind if it's strong, that decides to follow feelings or let them pass thru.
Say this man downstairs doesn't now want to go deeper with you. And he's already looking and maybe found a woman he'd like to date. First up, you'd have to accept you threw him off when there might have been a chance, and then sit with your jealousy. How love/ sex is, involves all these afflictive emotions. Your mind though can understand they are just passing, if it is strong, disciplined. Be by yourself for a bit, if this guy is not a goer. Feel the feelings and go do things.
Sangu, yes I know they are a troll. Their point about being vulnerable because some/ many men think like him, is true. All that rage about a woman's agency with her sex. That sort of attitude leads to male violence, because it's so twisted. They came on at a perfect time to remind us all these judging men are out there.
The thing I've noticed about the observation that women who become sexual with men too quickly and then end up unhappy is that it's very dependent on knowing what happened in the end, then going back and revising one's judgment of what happened in the beginning.

If a woman has a lot of casual sex and doesn't find true committed love, well that's because she was sleeping around. If she'd valued herself more, practiced the whole love yourself thing (by denying herself something she enjoys and that makes her feel good- wtf?), then the right guy would have appeared.

But if she has sex early on and it does turn into a great committed relationship, then that's because it was love at first sight, and when you know it's right, there's no sense waiting. All those other relationships were early missteps until the right thing came along.

If she doesn't have a lot of sex until she's in that committed relationship, and if the marriage is miserably unhappy because the sex is so awful for one or both of them that they end having affairs before they divorce, that's because she didn't pray to Jesus.

See how neatly this works?

That said, I favor going a little more slowly than DOL has been going. That's NOT because 7 guys in 7 months is inherently wrong in some moral sense. It's because it has turned out to be wrong for DOL in a practical sense. NOT a judgment on what all women fresh out of a long term relationship should do as a rule. Just a sense that she wouldn't have written Dan if she didn't need advice. In this case, the advice is to pursue Mr. Neighbor or Mr. New York since she likes them. If those relationships don't work out, then a little more online dating and switching it up to meeting guys other places.

I wouldn't rule out the casual sex altogether because so many great guys are frightened off by that whiff of desperation. Having one guy you have nsa sex with regularly can be GREAT for dating. That friends with benefits or fuckbuddy relationship means you're not likely to go too quickly with someone you have doubts about just because it's been so long and you're desperate for someone to touch you. If Mr. Neighbor doesn't turn out to be one for monogamy, it sounds like he could be one for that best friend status.
At least Centet doesn't seem to be one of those garbage dudes who think it's perfectly OK for them to fuck around, but that women who take the same approach are devalued. To paraphrase a well-worn saying about abortion: If you are against casual sex, don't have it.

Fichu @42: You've nailed it.

One other thing I've learned, fairly recently, is that we as women (and DOL has done exactly this with Mr New York) assume that if a hookup ghosts us, we've clearly been the victim of a double-standard-wielding fuck-and-runner like Centet describes. In reality, he may have had other things going on in his fucked-up psyche that led him to freak out and not return a text from a promising new partner. Humans are complicated and it's best to try to just think, OK so obviously he wasn't that great a catch after all, I probably dodged a bullet, and move on.
BiDan-- But Centet does seem to be saying that he's only interested in women who behave in a certain way so he's telling all women to behave that way, presumably to increase his supply.

Help me think of the term I'm looking for in 42. It's related to confirmation bias, but it's specific to that instance where you interpret an earlier event in the light of what happened after.
Fichu @44: One point in favour of fucking around. Judgmental pricks like Centet will rule you out as partner material. Win/win!

Is the term you're looking for "revisionist history"? It definitely applies to "love at first sight" scenarios to justify some folks' belief in this ridiculous idea.
Ms Fan - Why do you have to sour the grapes? I may have said once or twice that I doubted I could have kept him long after a gentleman declined to return interest, but I can't recall ever phrasing it as dodging a bullet. Given that LW's clearly no prize, as you yourself established almost surgically, don't the odds favour that, if one of them dodged a bullet, it was he?


The intersection between people to whom any given person is attracted who reciprocate that attraction is pretty limited. Add in shared interests, values and other compatibility issues to thin that pool out. The wonder is that anyone falls in love and makes it work at all. I'm old enough to know that forcing a relationship ("if this or that change happens it could work") is futile. Dumb enough I had to learn it the hard way, but old enough to have learned it..

Some of you seem to have an obsession with your perception that others are trying to control you. Corporations and churches and anonymous internet commenters who don't know you from Adam- all trying to make you do stuff!

Newsflash, kiddo. Most people don't care nearly that.much about you. They, and I, have our own problems. And that's okay as long as you nurture the relationships with those who do.
@25. Thecentetisright. Did you mistype 'center'? The positions you are espousing are not centrist!
Venn @46: Sour the grapes? I'm suggesting a way that wronged -- specifically ghosted -- parties can choose to see the situation in a way that does not make them feel worthless or heartbroken. "I guess they weren't such a great catch after all, since they have no manners" is surely more positive than "what's wrong with me, I meet someone great and they bail," isn't it?

There's nothing to stop the other person, if they've come to your conclusion that their hookup is "no prize" (wowzers to that; I just said she seems confused, which isn't surprising for a young woman navigating the world of dating), to also conclude that they dodged a bullet. Better to dodge it prior to sticking one's dick in drama, as the saying now goes, so more accurately the fucker-and-runner was grazed by the bullet. Either way, if you personally prefer to see, and regret, "ones that got away," that's entirely your prerogative.

Yes. I did. And yes they are. I've travelled on business relatively extensively. Except a few dense urban core areas of Seattle and LA and New York and so on I'm far far closer to center then anyone I've read here, particularly on social issues. Even in major metro areas the suburbs are far closer to social conservative than the social anarchy advocated for here or the tyrannical nonsense professional noisemakers on the right spout.

The noisy extremes do NOT represent this country. People quietly living decent lives of work and love and marriage and kids and friends according to a long history of morality you and your friends reject (your right obviously) are the beating heart and mind of this country. The extremists are the extended middle finger.
@50. centet. Where do you find social anarchy advocated here? Some people, like me, are more sympathetic to non-traditional relationship configurations than they are to marriage--but surely people in these more innovative arrangements would still have jobs, vote for congressman and mayor and dogcatcher, do jury service etc. just like everyone else? I can't think of a politically liberal commenter on this site who doesn't accept the value of 'decency', 'morality', 'work' and 'love'.
Social anarchy! Cats and dogs living together! Mass hysteria!

If you're using anarchy to mean a state of chaos, then I claim hyperbole on your part. If you're using it to mean the total freedom of the individual...then yeah, I'll step up and claim that I'm for social anarchy. And for ages slavery was considered perfectly moral. Historical precedent is no virtue.

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