Paging Dr. NerdLove Episode #11: Are Your Friends Holding You Back?

This week has been crazy busy and there wasn’t time to record a full-length episode. But rather than leave you guys hanging, Dr. NerdLove dipped into the mail bag to answer a couple of your questions: what do you do when your friends are holding you back from dating success? And where does a woman go when she’s looking for some simple, no-strings attached sex from someone she never wants to see again?

Have a dating issue that you need Dr. NerdLove’s help with? Call (512) 522-6513 to record a question or comment for the podcast. 

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  • Commonly known as X

    Thanks for this! I worded something badly though – by no follow-up, I meant no more sex, not no more contact. So far I've only succeeded in doing this with people I already knew or met through friends, and have stayed friends after, but I have hurt someone's feelings despite prior and post conversations. I was thinking one-night-only stands would reduce the risk of emotional bruising all round, but we will definitely rethink friends with benefits. I really don't like the idea of hurting other people, I'd rather go monogamous than that, and will if this doesn't work out.

    Travel is a good idea but impractical for me – this may seem hypocritical after having a massive go at another poster over sex tourism, but it wasn't the casual sex I was angry about.

    • Becelec

      Most of the time in friends with benefits scenarios you won't hurt anyone, especially if you're very clear about it before you go into it. Most of the ones I've been involved in we stayed very good friends before and after – and the only one that ended terribly had very clear warning signs that it was going to end that way. I think that so long as you're really upfront about it, and watch for warning signs that your friend is starting to get attached, you should both be able to come out of it ok. It's still a lot safer and more satisfying than a one night stand.

    • Camelopardalis

      "but I have hurt someone's feelings despite prior and post conversations."

      It's always sucks to hurt somebody. However, you had the prior and post conversations, you did not lead him on, you did not give false expectations. His feelings are not your responsibility. They are his responsibility.

      I would give the on-line dating thing a shot again. OKCupid has an option to list your status as "available" which is widely understood to mean that the person is in a relationship. Yeah, there are subliterate jerks out there, but that's what the delete key is for. There are also quite nice guys who are also "available" and will be up for NSA.

      • Commonly known as X

        Thanks. I will give it another go.

        • RebelScientist

          Gonna make a bit of an out there suggestion, but if you're looking for some NSA sex outside of your primary relationship with little or no expectation of an attachment forming, then swingers clubs are literally *all about that*. It also has the added bonus that you can go either with or without your partner and there will be rules in place to filter out creepers. It helps that age and looks aren't hugely important for you, because while there will probably be a few young, good-looking guys there, it'll be likely that most of the other customers will be middle-aged or older, but either way there's likely to be enough variety that you'll find at least one person that you're interested in.

  • Camelopardalis

    So if a woman is in an open relationship, she should lie about her partner status? That is some piss poor advice, Nerdlove. No one likes being lied to, even when it's a lie of omission. Presence of relationship needs to be disclosed before meeting in public. If it's a deal breaker for the guy, he gets to make that decision, and she should have enough respect for potential partners to give them all the information to decide if they want to go forward for an in person meeting.

    • Mel

      I tend to agree. I think DNL's right to suggest not putting that info right in the profile, but once a person's messaged you and you're starting a one-on-one conversation with them, I think you should mention fairly early on that the short-term casual "dating" you're looking for is in addition to an existing partner. Definitely before meeting in person. Because I'm sure for some people, that'll be a definite dealbreaker even for casual dating, and it makes things much more awkward if they have to tell you that to their face (plus, you've both kind of wasted your time when you each could have been meeting other people who did fit what you're looking for better).

      • eselle28

        I agree, but I think that if someone's profile is untruthful about something important, it needs to be revealed in the very first message or the very first reply.

        I'm currently on a dating site and due to other compatibilities, my profile attracts poly people in droves, even though I'm not open to dating someone who's already committed. I'm fine with the easy deletes, but it's really discouraging when someone strings me along for a few messages (they take some time and thought to write!) and then mentions a partner, especially if we've been talking long enough that I need to send an explanation. It seems more ethical to let people who find it to be a dealbreaker opt out immediately.

        • Trooper6

          What I think is tricky, is that you can never know what someone's dealbreakers are you can put *everything* in your first post/profile…and there may be things that are dealbreakers for someone that you don't even occur to you are dealbreakers.

          So rather than indicting a person for not telling someone one's deal breaker up front, I think the person with the dealbreaker needs to ask up front. And, of course, when asked, a person should be honest.

          I friend of mine won't date anyone who is an only child. How are you to know being an only child is a dealbreaker unless she asks? You aren't being unethical because you didn't mention it up front.

          Republicans are dealbreakers for me. But for a bunch of people, their political beliefs are private or unimportant and they wouldn't bring it up if I didn't. So, if it is important to me, I need to bring up politics myself.

          • eselle28

            We're not talking about simply omitting information, though. I'd agree that it's unreasonable to expect people to reveal everything about themselves immediately. We're talking about correcting lies, and I think the obligation there is very different.

            Every dating site I know of besides Craigslist asks people to list a relationship status. If someone chooses Single rather than Available, I think their potential partners should be able to rely on that without having to send a follow up email asking "You are actually single, right? And your age and location are as listed? And, just to confirm, the person in those pictures is actually you?" I'm willing to condone some untruthfulness if the person is afraid of harassment, but I think misinformation needs to be corrected immediately.

          • Mel

            That's a good point. I agree if you're listing yourself as single when you're not, that is being untruthful and you should correct that in the very first message. But if there isn't a relationship status selector on whatever site you're using, or if it allows you to pick "available" without mentioning whether you're single and available or available with existing partner, I don't think that's a lie or that you need to clarify it immediately unless asked.

          • eselle28

            That seems like a good set of rules. Sites that don't have relationship selectors seem like clear buyer beware situations, and I'm pretty sure there's a general understanding on OkCupid that people who select available have some manner of existing relationship, even if they don't go into detail about it.

          • Trooper6

            I agree with both you and Mel! Actively putting down info a person knows is not true? That is not kosher, that person should correct that in the very first message…though, actually, I don't think a person should put inaccurate things on their profile in the first place.

            Leaving things out? Sure! Inaccuracies? No.

            Though, I also have a complicated relationship to this whole topic as a Transperson and transactivist. A trans woman is a woman. Yet some people disagree and murder trans women if they learn about their medical histories. Because of my particular medical history, I disclose on dating sites (also for my safety, best to weed out transphobes early)…though there are many people I know casually in real life who don't know, because my medical history is in the past and doesn't come up in casual conversation. But I'm not lying or deceiving anyone, because I am who I say I am. If I were to date someone I knew casually, because of my circumstances, I'd disclose (probably on the second date), but I know people who don't have to and don't other than to let their partner know that they are sterile. And I don't think of those people as deceivers.

  • Commonly known as X

    What do people think about the prostitution angle? I've always been worried about consent. I don't want a casual sexual partner in love with me, but I hope they have a good time. I don't like to think of him going back to his boyfriend feeling crap about his horrible job.

    Also, in the UK there is always stuff coming out about women in fairly coercive situations ie. passports being witheld till they worked off a debt etc. I've never heard about that happening to men, but that might just be because of lack of demand.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      You're going to have a hard time finding male escorts who service women. 99% of rent boys take on gay clients exclusively and the 1% that claim to be gay-for-pay are usually just saying that for advertising purposes.Not to say that you won't find one, but you'll have an easier time going back to OKCupid.

      • Commonly known as X

        I don’t think I would anyway because I’d worry its not what they want. I’m trying to connect to the men actually want NSA – for the stereotype of male sexuality it seems pretty uncommon in the wild.

        I guess I’m curious about prostitution because you raised it as an option. Would it be something you’d ever recommend to a man? (Or were you being a bit sarcastic because I sound kind of callous? Maybe what I want is intrinsically callous – that’s not good)

    • Trooper6

      Apparently there is a thriving sex work market for black male escorts who will cuckold white women. So, a white dude will hire a black male prostitute to have sex with his wife while he watches.

      But back to you wanting No Strings Attached Sex, craigslist has a whole category for that and as a woman it'll be a buyers market. You should be able to have your pick of dudes who would have sex with you for free.

      • Commonly known as X

        See above – wasn’t that easy. Not because there wasn’t offers, but because I think most would have been mutually unsuitable or unsafe. I’ve got some good tips now though, so I will give it another go.

      • Commonly known as X

        Also, the cuckolding thing sounds staggeringly racist ( I’m guessing its supposed to be more humiliating to be rejected for a black man?). That’s the thing about consent – ok, so a man might be doing it for the money, but unless the black guy is into humiliation too that has to be a pretty degrading job.

        • Trooper6

          Oh yeah, totally racist…and apparently mostly driven by the husband. I was watching a documentary with male prostitutes, and none of them seemed really happy to be in the situation they were, and the black guy was definitely not super excited about the implications of the kind of sex work he was doing…but he needed the money.

          • Commonly known as X

            That is so awful…