In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes with an issue: A man has asked him out who is looking for LTR, but he’s feeling more NSA.
And this feeling of not wanting to settle down with the guy is baffling to him because on paper he is EVERYTHING he’d think he’d want. So what’s a guy to do?
Well, our dear Papi has some advice that may even catch you off guard, dear reader.
If you want his advice, just email him at email@example.com with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!
I’m a few months away from 30, and I’ve never been in a relationship. A guy asked me out, and he seems to be looking for a boyfriend. But I’m not quite sure how to proceed.
I went out with him several times. It was fun, but I’m not sure I like him beyond sexual attraction. I just want to have lots of sex with him. When he starts talking, I get bored out of my mind. He’s kind, caring, and sexy as hell, but he’s never able to match me intellectually. I feel terrible about this whole thing. I feel like I’m being a bad person when I find myself analyzing his thought process and judging it for its lack of complexity.
Here I have a really great guy, and I’m going to say no because he can’t seem to match me in thought. He asked me whether I’d like to keep seeing him and I said we could see where this goes. I’m one of those people who would rather have a deep conversation than sex. I just feel so terrible.
I usually sleep with guys and they never call me back, so I move on to the next in about five seconds. I don’t want to hurt him, and I feel like that’s what I will do in the end.
Sending out an SOS to you Papi!
Settler for Love
Hi there, Settler!
So, right away, multiple red flags are going up here. If you find yourself writing into an advice column you found on Grindr to talk about how boring and unintelligent your potential mate is, odds are good he’s not the one you really want to be with.
I see you’re aware there are things you don’t like about this dynamic. That’s perfectly natural. Everyone has flaws, and accepting someone’s flaws isn’t necessarily the same thing as settling for them.
Let’s take us, for example. You referenced your superior intelligence no less than three times in your letter, a move that, were we chatting over coffee on a first date, might give me impetus to excuse myself to the bathroom, crawl out the window and not come back.
And yet, here I ambecause I want to help you, and because I am being compensated, which makes it all worth it for Papi. This is what relationships are, Settler. We measure what we like, and what we don’t, and then we decide.
Deciding is a very active process, whereas “settling” is passive. Passive isn’t synonymous with bad, necessarily. But when it comes to relationships, especially early on, it usually isn’t wise.
In ye olden days, we had a lot fewer options when it came to pairing up. Settling was the practical thing to do, and indeed, most often the only thing available to do. But, as evidenced by the fact that we’re not distributing dowries for bottoms, we are living in a new era.
Just because you haven’t been in a relationship yet doesn’t mean you don’t have options. With that in mind, I want you to ask yourself a couple of questions. Answer them honestly.
Take the things you don’t like about this guy, multiply them by five, and then imagine them stretched out over the course of a few years. Can you tolerate that? Remember, time and familiarity will only magnify them.
Pretend for a moment you had another option. Really commit to imagining it. Would you still choose to be with this guy? Or would you walk away with him feeling unsatisfied?
Forgive me if I’m jumping to conclusions, but it sounds like you already know your answers. This guy isn’t a person you want to be with long-term, and your insecurity with the fact that you’ve never had a boyfriend is a bigger driver for you wanting to make this work than he is. You want a relationship badly, but you’re meh on him.
I, for one, would not want someone to settle for me. I want someone who is pretty damn enthused about me, especially in the early part of the relationship.
Perhaps later on, when the passion fizzled, we could settle into a quiet, gentle dissatisfaction, like a WASPy heterosexual couple in New England. I would drink wine and tend to the cats and write poetry while he, Harold, would come home after winning Top Chef.
“I named a meat pastry after you,” he would tell me through his immense mustache. “It helped me win Top Chef, the show.”
“That’s fine, Harold,” I would sigh, tucking my recent rejection letter from The Paris Review under one of my absurdly large cats. Have I settled? I would wonder. Is this all there is?
Sorry, back to your “problem.”
Yes, it sounds like you’re leading this guy on because you’re lonely and anxious. My advice is that you should cut it off now, because the more you wait, the more it will hurt him.
Tell him you’re sorry you didn’t give him a clear answer sooner, and wait until you find someone with whom that deep conversation you want comes naturally. Consider that you might be a little too judgmental with people (implying he’s not complex sounded harsh!) and don’t worry so much about having not had a boyfriend yet.