Lovers as Dating Support!

River flowing between dry grass banks: metaphor of lovers as dating support.

Lovers as Dating Support!

How lovers can support dating

Lovers were crucial support for me while dating. Like a California river flowing despite the drought, supportive lovers who were not partner-material kept my sexual energy flowing during my long dating project to find my partner.  You can read about my dating journey and how I found my perfect partner in my memoir, Fifty First Dates After Fifty.

While this post discusses how lovers enhanced the dating journey for me, there are plenty of non-sexual ways to enjoy the dating journey and find your partner. See these related posts: Dating Support: Non-Sexual Touch, 6 Types of Dating Support, and Carolyn’s 10 Dating Tips.

The decision to have touch and sex in my life

When I was in my 40s, single, and looking for a male partner, I made a decision to not always sleep alone while I was single.  Touch and sex were too important to me – they buoyed me, they sparked me, they gave me my enthusiasm for life.  And I didn’t know how long it would be before I found a partner or when menopause would hit and diminish my lust.  

Sex in short dating relationships

I chose to be sexual with the men I was dating, even if I was dating several.  This also helped me enjoy them without glomming on to any one of them.  My free-spirit Buddhist guy, my married polyamorous guy, and my unmarried poly guy provided a balanced emotional and sexual life with plenty of touch.  Eventually, the free-spirit Buddhist guy and I became partners, which lasted for seven years.

Dating to find a long-term partner

When I started dating in my late 50s to find a long-term partner, I set a goal of dating 50 men, and realized that lingering with several men would really hold up the search.  Most of my previous relationships had been short – under 2 years – and based on sexual attraction and lust. But now I wanted a long-term committed partner who matched me and my energetic lifestyle, and I was prepared to go on 50 first dates to find him.

Could I still have sex while I date?

There was only one problem:  I was used to being sexual and sleeping with someone.  Not every night, but often enough to miss it while I went through the 50 dates searching for my partner. I knew how compelling sex was. If I had sex with any of my dates, as I was likely to do, I would probably be lured into a relationship that would be short again. 

How could I reconcile purposeful dating with sex and sleeping with someone? 

The first lover: Date number 2

Date number 2 of 50 solved the problem for me.  He was about 20 years younger, and looking for someone his age. I was looking for someone my age, so we both knew we would not be long-term partners. We were drawn together by a mutual attraction and genuine fondness—he was a good listener, a supportive friend, and took me to concerts of my favorite musicians like Bob Dylan. And we both communicated clearly about what it meant to be sexual and enjoyed very sweet encounters.

He was the perfect lover to have while I was dating—we fulfilled each other’s needs for sex and closeness, while knowing we were free to meet and date others. I could call him when a date went bad or I got my heartbroken, and we could get together when I wasn’t seeing other dates or friends.

Result: I didn’t need sex from my dates

Now it was less important and less compelling to sleep with my 50 dates, because I didn’t need the sex or touch from them—I could look at them more objectively.  This worked well for dates #3-8.

The second lover: Date number 9

Date number 9 and I had a highly charged sexual connection, but he had a primary partner and was only allowed to ‘play’ with other women on special occasions.  This suited me fine.  I didn’t want to be his main lover. I just wanted to experience the compelling sex—it was what I wanted in a relationship.

So he became one of my lovers, and I had intense, if occasional trysts with him.  Now with two lovers, I could be more objective with dates #10-23, and I was. 

The third lover: Date number 24

Date  number 24 was another compelling sexual connection.  This time, he was married but allowed to have other lovers.  I wanted to keep seeing him because he was the type of man I wanted—fun, sexual, smart, engaging.  By experiencing him, I could imprint that model into my body, without craving him as my partner. 

Finding my partner

I proceeded through my 50 dates, over 2.5 years, with these three lovers. While I lingered with a few dates and slept with others, I did not stop my dating project until I found the partner I was looking for.  The man I found was sexual, fun, smart, engaging and sweet like my lovers.  He also had other traits I wanted in a partner—commitment to me and our relationship, and an energy for life, work, love, and play that matched my own.  

How lovers supported dating, and menopause…

By sustaining myself with touch and sex during a long dating period, I was able to keep dating until I found the man who was the right partner for me.

And menopause?  It hit just before I started the 50 dates, and my lust did diminish. However, because I kept having sex during the transition, with these lovers and then my partner, my enjoyment of sex remained, and post-menopausal sex was as satisfying as ever.

Published by Carolyn Lee Arnold

I'm the author of Fifty First Dates After Fifty: A Memoir, about my dating adventures to find my perfect partner in my late fifties. I found him, and we've been happily together for over 10 years. These blog posts explore what I learned while dating and from writing my book. For more about the book, including dating resources, other writings, and fun interviews with me, check out my website at the top of this page.

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