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Hello everyone,

I'm about 26 years old, single and looking for a relationship/marriage in marriage builders style. I'm from Europe and not a native speaker - so please forgive any mistakes that I make.

Just to put everything into perspective: I read several books of Dr. Harley's and know all of his principles mentioned there and on his website. I guess what I'm looking for is some real-life advice on how to use the principles in online dating.

I came across the website a couple of years ago and got your help with some relationship issues that I struggled with (it was my second longterm relationship). We didn't make up and since then I've been looking for a new relationship. I dated several men and things looked good with 3-4 of them but somehow it never worked out. I got some reasonable explanation from all of them - living too far apart, having an ill mother to take care of and not having the time to commit seriously at the moment etc - but it's still hurtful and I realize that I'm beginning to ask myself whether I'm doing something wrong. After all, they came up with their reasons after we started to date.

The second thing I'm struggling with is the way dating works (here). In contrast to the US, dating several people at once is not very common if we're not talking about online dating. It is common, however, to get intimate pretty soon and have the relationship work like an affair which can turn into something serious after some weeks. My female friends are perfectly happy to go along, even sleep with men, and then decide after several weeks that it's not meant to be something serious. They see that as being relaxed, easy going and enjoying themselves.

I don't really know how to pull that of. My ideal way of doing it would be to know first, whether someone is actually looking for something serious/a marriage, then get to know him well, then fall in love and then be intimate and maybe sleep with each other ( I know that Dr. Harley doesn't recommend it before marriage). I know that I need to guard my feelings a little more to be more objective (I tend to develop feelings quite easily) but I don't want to kiss someone before I have some romantic feelings for him and kissing/cuddling (affection) + some romantic feelings + intimate conversions = rapidly growing romantic feelings for me. And since it is so common to kiss on one of the first dates, my guard is down pretty quickly. On the other hand, if I tell guys that I want to wait with something as harmless as kissing and ask them on one of the first dates whether they are looking for something serious/a marriage (just hypothetically! to sort out the ones who are looking for something casual), I come across as very conservative, prudish and maybe even needy and I fear that I chase men away who would otherwise be good matches and are just used to not "talking serious" during the first weeks.
And even when I just try to talk about what someones wants from a relationship - I think that this is very important information for deciding whether it could work out between the two of you - people seem to think that I'm pushy, that I try to catalogue them or they reply something along the lines that they don't want to decide on any limits right now and just try to work it out with me - which is sweet but not very honest in my opinion. We all come with some ideas on how relationships work and what we want from them.

So I guess my problem is a) that I'm a little disheartened and b) that I want to find someone with similar relationship ideals and need to balance my need for knowing these things before I start to develop feelings with their need to keep things light and casual for some while without me being the one being hurt in the process.

Some days ago I started online dating to get to know more people and maybe even limit the pool of prospective candidates to the ones who are looking for a longterm relationship. I was hoping that maybe you could help me once in a while to put things into perspective (guard my feelings) and to decide whether it's worth it to get to know someone better. And to help me sort out the question when and how to talk about what the other person wants from a relationship.

Sorry for the long text and a very grateful thank you to every reader smile

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Maybe one concrete question to get the conversation going: I wrote back and forth for some days with a guy (J) who seems to have similar interests. I enjoy philosophical discussions (and it's a really important need for me) and the conversation got challenging and fascinating pretty quickly, something which doesn't happen often online in my experience. When I asked him what he was looking for, this was his reply more or less:

"I'm looking for love. I'm completely open and want to see what happens. I don't have a clear image but want to be surprised." I replied that I was looking for something serious/a marriage, that of course I also wanted to see what happened and not jump into anything but that I would not want anything casual if that was his goal.

J replied: " Well, I took some time to think about your message and what I want and I decided to stay open and honest, just as I had always wanted to be. I think that I said "a few months to a year" in my profile (note: there's a question about what you want from a relationship) because I've never had a relationship that lasted longer. I'm not interested in marriage currently although I can see it advantages. My goals are more about my self at the moment, I guess. I wanna grow and share this with people, so I try to get rid of all expectations. I think, however, that we are pretty similar in some regards and had a really good conversation. It would be a pity to not get to know each other better."

I'm pretty intrigued by him - as I said, the conversation was fascinating and this is rare for me - and so I'm unsure whether I'm a coward when I back off after this or whether I'm reasonable. J reminds me of the last guy I dated - S. We also get along very, very well but after about 5 dates S told me that he was only looking for something casual. Since he didn't give me the impression before that conversation (although I mentioned what I was looking for), I was hurt and try to stay away from S now because I still like him too much...

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Llizzy22, you sound similar to me. I don't want to mess around with a number of men but when I meet someone I feel a connection with, I tend to fall very quickly. I invest way to much emotionally too soon and I don't know how to stop myself. Online dating doesn't appeal to me so I am trying to go to Meetup events to meet people in social settings. At least that way, I should have a good night out. With regards to the question, I would just be straight with people. If they are decent men, then it shouldn't bother them. The ones which react by moving away are not the ones for you anyway.
Good luck on your dating adventures!

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I see my daughter go through this too, they want her to be exclusive with them even though they are not sure shes who they will want to be with in the future. Why be exclusive at that point? Better to date nonexclusively then. I think youre doing well to keep the bar high and wait until you find someone you click with to the point you cant imagine a future without each other.


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Thank you very much for your perspective, Cat Lover smile

You're right, I guess we are pretty similar regarding dating *sigh*. I also don't like online dating (it feels so much like shopping and few men write something useful in their profiles) but I think it's probably the best way to meet people. I'm also planning to go to some meet up events but a) I'm quite introverted and would probably not stand out very much in big groups and b) I think that other introverted men might also not go there. I'll find out though smile

The thing is, I have some very "decent" friends who also voice similar opinions (trying to keep it light). When I tell them why I don't want to be intimate before being quite sure that the other one is someone I want to pursue seriously and why I think that marriage matters and is not just a way to save taxes or have a big party, then they usually say that they can understand my point. But this is a very heavy, long conversation, usually requires some personal information and it doesn't feel "socially acceptable" soon after you meet someone.

I'm still trying to figure out how to talk about it in a light way and still get my arguments and viewpoints across before they decide I'm in desperate need to be married tomorrow and run.

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Hi Lizzy, I think online dating would be perfect for you because you should be able to screen out those who are not serious about marriage before you go to the trouble of meeting them. Communicating with them online is also ideal for an introvert. I met my husband online [not on a dating site but a political organization] and he is an introvert too. Communicating online first really helped me get to know him.

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I'm pretty intrigued by him - as I said, the conversation was fascinating and this is rare for me - and so I'm unsure whether I'm a coward when I back off after this or whether I'm reasonable.


J is exactly the kind of guy you need to avoid. He has told you honestly that he is not interested in marriage so you are right to avoid him. He might be a great conversationalist but that is about all he is offering.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Thank you very much for your reply, MelodyLane.

Do you have any suggestions on how to bring up the topic? I try to stir people away from "where are you from" questions towards "what do you think about life" questions pretty soon but I think I might come across as weird asking personal questions before even meeting someone in person. And some female friends of mine clearly expressed the view that they would run from a guy who asked them about marriage before having met her in person. They want to get to know someone casually first and decide whether they like them before "talking business".

Also, another good female friend of mine was also open for something casual as well as something serious and had one or two casual things going. Then she met her - Christian - husband, got into contact with his views on marriage (similar to the ones here) and changed her mind completely. As of now, their (short) marriage is going really well. She keeps reminding me that the current culture is working against me and that I therefore should keep my heart open. Sometimes people just need a chance to meet the right person and reflect on a new perspective. I'm just really tired of hoping for that and being disappointed again.

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Lizzy, I would work on a good dating profile that rules out people who are not serious about marriage. I have friends who have found their spouses on dating sites and they narrowed down the playing field by carefully crafting their profiles. That way they weren't wasting their time on unsuitable candidates. For example you could say something like "I like to take things slow but am ultimately looking for a committed relationship." Or something like that.

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And some female friends of mine clearly expressed the view that they would run from a guy who asked them about marriage before having met her in person.


There is a massive difference between asking someone to marry them and stating one's objective for dating. Some people are just dating to date and many others are dating to find a marriage partner. There is nothing wrong with being honest about that. Being up front about your dating objectives should be a very important element so you aren't wasting each others time.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted by llizzy22
She keeps reminding me that the current culture is working against me and that I therefore should keep my heart open. Sometimes people just need a chance to meet the right person and reflect on a new perspective. I'm just really tired of hoping for that and being disappointed again.


I think that is the exception, not the rule. Hoping to change someone's perspective about marriage adds another hurdle to an already difficult process. Dating is essentially a job interview for marriage and if you interview someone who is not interested in marriage, that person is wasting time that could be spent on other candidates who are more suitable.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Thank you very much for your suggestion. It's a good balance of keeping it light and stating your opinion. I'll try to translate it adequately.

I know and I completely agree with your opinion that there is a big difference. I'm also pretty straightforward and honest with things like that. I just get the feedback from my surroundings that they don't see the difference and would feel it was weird anyway. Out of a group of 7 girls for example, no one sided with my point of view. This is what makes me wonder whether I'm doing something wrong. Sometimes I feel like I'm from a past century *sigh*

I'll text J now, ending our conversation and then I'll try to focus on something else for a while.

I would love to get more input smile

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I found this cleverly worded profile online that has some critical sentences you might be able to use:

Im a fun-loving, affectionate woman who is looking for a long-term relationship. My past partners would say that I am easy maintenance. It takes me awhile to get to know someone, but Im very open and friendly once I feel connected. I have a good job and would like to be with someone who also likes what he does. I know that finding the right person is not easy, but I am willing to do whatever I can to create a good relationship. I am idealistic and romantic at heart, but I also am very practical. Im looking for a kind and sensitive person who is honest and keeps his promises. He would ideally be a social person who enjoys family and friends. He doesnt have to be tremendously handsome, but does take care of himself and doesnt let other people push him around. He likes being the head of a family and sees his partner as an equal.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Thank you very much for this really helpful description, MelodyLane. I tried to use the underlined phrases and fill the rest with honest descriptions of myself.

It feels a little scary to put myself out like this. On the website I'm using are also some people I know from university and my text feels rather open and cheesy compared to theirs. But I guess that's just how it is - it feels scary to open up and expose yourself to judgement and criticism, especially if you can't control who reads the text.

This is my closing paragraph:
From past relationships I learned that I value affection, intimate but also challenging conversations and open and honest discussions of ideas and feelings pretty highly. Between intimacy and freedom, I'm more on the side of intimacy. As I said, I do crave novelty and being challenged - so I'm looking for a curious, sensitive and loyal partner to join my team wink

What do you think? Is it "too much"?

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Originally Posted by llizzy22
Between intimacy and freedom, I'm more on the side of intimacy.

What do you think? Is it "too much"?


I really like it but would remove this sentence: "Between intimacy and freedom, I'm more on the side of intimacy." Maybe that is interpreted differently in your native language, but in ours it sounds like you want to deprive the person of their freedom. That's not really what you are saying at all, though.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Thank you for the suggestion.

No, you're right of course, that's not what I'm trying to say. I tried to google the correct English expression and found something like the balance of closeness and distance in relationships?

What I mean is that for some people it's very important to spend most of their free time with their partners and to blend their lives whereas other people rather just visit twice a week and have lots of space and time for individual experiences in their relationships. This was an important issue in my last relationship for example. I'm naturally inclined to look for closeness instead of distance and MB also encourages it (for marriages). I know it can be misunderstood and might put people off but I feel it's an important aspect of how people approach relationships. I didn't like the feeling that I was intruding on my former boyfriend when I wanted to spend time with him.

Do you think something like "between closeness and distance, I'm a little bit more on the side of closeness" would work or would that equally put you off?

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Being close won't be an issue when you are in love. If a person does not want to spend much time with you, that would be a good indicator that he is not a good candidate. If he is in love, he will want to be with you all the time. If it were me, I wouldn't even put that in your profile.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted by llizzy22
to blend their lives whereas other people rather just visit twice a week and have lots of space and time for individual experiences in their relationships. This was an important issue in my last relationship for example.


A person who would rather do things on his own than be with you is checked out. When you are in love, you don't want other things to interfere with your time with each other.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Maybe the problem comes when the first drug-live-effect wears off. I think people tend to behave more "in character" afterwards than before. But I appreciate the input, I'll change that part.

I had my first date today and it was "nice" but I'm not completely sure yet about how to proceed. He didn't really challenge me while we talked and he mostly talked about work-related topics (our fields are quite close), so I got a little bored. It was nicer than spending the afternoon at home but not so nice that I really need to see him again... it is so different than being interested in someone and then going out.

Would you think I should end things after the first time when it was just "nice" or give it a second or third try?

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IlIizzy, I just wanted to give you a little cheer and a wave because you know what you want, and you are being guided by real principles, instead of the temporary and popular values from Hollywood Romcoms. That's half the battle!

There's many guys out there who are like your friends, just bumming around with no real plan. But I promise you there are also men like you; who want marriage and closeness and intimacy. Its true, cross my heart! You just have to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Keep yourself available. Keep looking.

Originally Posted by llizzy22


Would you think I should end things after the first time when it was just "nice" or give it a second or third try?


There are many other guys out there, why pursue a luke warm option? Have you read Dr Harleys article where he says you would need to meet around 30 guys before you (on average) find someone better than just average or nice? He says to keep looking until someone "knocks you off your feet"

He says:

"It's been my experience operating a dating service and counseling singles who want to marry that when someone has dated about 30 people, they almost always find at least one very good match among them"

Seven guys is still a very small sample, so don't lose heart.

I agree online dating is perfect for you becayse a) everyone has their cards on the table b) you can rack up your numbers and therefore your odds and c) you can just cut lose people who dont make the cut easily.

This is the article:

https://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi5068a_qa.html


What would you do if you were not afraid?

"Fear is the little death. Fear is the mind-killer" Frank Herbert.

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Originally Posted by llizzy22
Maybe the problem comes when the first drug-live-effect wears off. I think people tend to behave more "in character" afterwards than before. But I appreciate the input, I'll change that part.


If the "drug live effect" wears off that means it is not the right relationship. You are looking for a long term romantic relationship, after all.

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Would you think I should end things after the first time when it was just "nice" or give it a second or third try?


You would have to decide. I was sort of bored on the 1st date with my husband but he was very persistent and I went out on more dates. It was on the 4th date that I really started to like him. You just have to use your judgement.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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I dated online and met my wife, who is amazing. Here's what I'd advise:

Agree with Melody on online dating being useful. It can also take a while. My wife had almost given up on it when I contacted her the first time, so many bad experiences at first. Older men, men with poor standards, men living with their parents. It's a bad market for women these days. But my wife and my sister both had great luck with being patient and selective. My sister met her husband online and he's a great guy.

Don't get close until you've talked to them about life and their circumstances, and don't be afraid to talk to several at once. You don't know who will be the great choices when you're getting started, and someone wanting to move REALLY fast should be a bit of a red flag. It was for me, anyhow. Ask them about past relationships, pay close attention to the things they say they want or idealize in partners, don't be afraid to ask about marriage. Good men are NOT scared of marriage. Permanent freeloaders and renter men are scared of marriage. A good man may not want to rush into it, but he won't flee if it's just a topic of discussion, because deep down inside, he isn't afraid of commitment. Men who are scared of commitment are usually horrible partners.

Dr. Harley talks about the right kinds of attitudes to look for in a partner in his excellent book on dating "Buyers, Renters, Freeloaders" and while you won't be talking to someone in terms of your future relationship with them that seriously at first, you can certainly see how they talk about past relationships and relationships in general. I know for a fact I dodged some bullets because I understood how to spot bad potential marriage partners because of knowledge in the book. You need to look for someone who understands a healthy relationship in terms of "Buyer" attitudes, and if you're not familiar with that term, there's a lot on this website about Buyers.

I agree with Dr. Harley about the "no sex before marriage" advice, and one way to think about it is that your first sexual experience with someone sends love bank deposits through the roof. As we see so often here with affairs, it's usually very hard to make rational and logical decisions about a partner once you're that emotionally banked, like with affair partners who destroy their family life, career and finances to chase trashy boyfriends or girlfriends. You don't want that to be you with some guy you regret. If you're not careful in that situation he could end up fathering children and that could ruin your life.

This will sound harsh but much of the "average" opinion on relationships is nonsense based on pop culture and junk science. Don't feel bad if you're doing things differently, focus on your convictions about what you are doing. The best path is often narrow.


Happily remarried to wonderful woman who I found using the guidelines in "Buyers, Renters, Freeloaders"
2 baby boys, working on #3 and couldn't ask for anything more.

When my ex's affair happened: BH 28, Ex-WW:29
Married: 7 years
Together: 8 years
D-day: 10/5/2014
D filed: 1/22/2015
D Final: 6/4/2015

My story

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