Dear Annie, I’m sick and tired of dating men who just want to go from one woman to the next. I don’t want to waste my time and risk heartbreak by becoming involved with players.
I’ve even made it a policy not to go a second date unless I know that a man has assured me that he’s looking for a serious, long-term commitment. Yet, I can’t seem to find a relationship that lasts for more than three or four months.
My last boyfriend, David, told me that marriage was his ultimate goal. I was convinced that he could be “The One." Our chemistry was off the charts, both in and out of bed.
We enjoyed doing the same things, had delightful conversations and always had a wonderfully romantic time together. He started backing off after a couple of months and ended it a few weeks later. I was devastated.
Why can’t I find a man who doesn’t leave when it gets serious? Sue
The problem starts when you sleep with a man and assume that both of you are moving towards a long-term relationship. Yet, chemistry just means that you're sexually attracted to each other. It doesn't mean there is actually a future.
A man who tells you that he wants a long-term commitment is probably telling you the truth. What he doesn’t know early on is whether you’re the woman in whom he wants to invest his future.
Most single men desire a loving, loyal, committed relationship with an attractive, compatible, affectionate woman who appreciates, loves and accepts him.
Unlike many women, some men who are seeking a long-term connection find it easy to engage in a romantic, chemistry-fueled relationship with “Ms. Right for Right Now,” while being on the lookout for the long-term “Ms. Right.”
These men often signal that you’re not “The One” by sending mixed messages. He may tell you that you’re special, but he won’t say that he’s your boyfriend. You may spend a passionate weekend together and not hear from him for days. He’ll may avoid telling you where you stand or where he thinks/believes? your relationship is going.
Uncertainty fuels chemistry and infatuation, which can make you even more determined to win him over. To further complicate matters, the chemicals of love and sex can easily blind you to what is really happening.
Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” is a chemical secreted by your pituitary gland when your nipples are stimulated and when you have an orgasm. It provides you with strong feelings of attachment to the person who provided that stimulation.
What of the tricky things about oxytocin is that estrogen enhances its effects, which means that, as a woman you’re more likely to deeply bond because of sexual activity. Testosterone mitigates oxytocin’s effects, providing many men with the ability to enjoy casual sexual encounters without becoming attached to the people with whom they experienced them.
Infatuation also causes high levels of dopamine in men and women. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers.
It gives you that highly energized feeling of being infatuated.
These chemicals often cause you to become involved before you’ve gotten to know each other. They usually cause you to potentially believe in an idealized version of the person you’re dating so that you focus on his positive side. You’re likely to make excuses for any behavior that doesn’t work.
If all you want is a casual sexual encounter and you're OK with it ending abruptly or you don’t mind seeing each other intermittently, there is no reason not to become sexually involved before you know where a your relationship is going.
However, if you're serious about seeking a long-term relationship or you always get emotionally involved with the men that you sleep with, don’t sleep with a man until you are sure of his intentions, values and long-term goals. Pay attention to his words, actions and how he treats you, rather than believing in the illusions of chemistry.
Rather than refusing a second date with a man unless he says that he’s interested in seeking a long-term committed relationship, you could continue to get to become acquainted with him in a friendly, flirty way while resisting the pull of chemistry until you’re sure that you both want the same thing.
A man who is only interested in dating a variety of women won’t stick around. A man who wants a future with you will hang in there. Keep an open mind and continue to date others until you know what you both want to do/how you want to proceed/move forward.