Do You Date like a Wife?


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Now, for todays post:

A close family friend of ours has sadly gone through a divorce and now she’s back in the dating game. She came into the city to meet me for lunch and during our conversation about relationships she said something very interesting,

“I’ve spent the last few months dating like a wife.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I was doing too much for men who weren’t anything to me yet. There are allowances you make for your husband that you don’t make for someone you’re dating…”

She continued to give me examples of situations where she was supportive of her husband and how she did the same things with guys she was dating. She explained that there’s a big difference between supporting your husband when he gets laid off and supporting someone you’re dating when he gets laid off.

“It’s a no-brainer to support your spouse financially when they lose a job, but I was taking that same mentality into dating and that was a bad move on my part…”

I can’t imagine what its like to have to take yourself out of “wife mode” after being in that role for years. As I listened to her talk I started thinking about the times I gave a little too much.

I’ve given too much of my time. When I first started online dating, I spent hours on the phone with a guy named Ricky who lived 20 minutes away from me. I thought spending hours on the phone would help to see if we connected, and we did! He called me every night for long phone calls. But he never made the 20 minute trip to meet me, he never suggested a date and ultimately he had an on/off girlfriend. That situation, is why I keep phone calls with guys short in the beginning, its important to get to know someone in person and if a guy isn’t willing to make that effort then I know he’s not that interested anyway (or that he has a sometimes-girlfriend, augh)

I’ve given too much of my heart. In college I had a major crush on a guy who was very “emo”. As an oldest child and a Cancer, my instincts are super maternal, so I would sit with him in his dorm and talk through all of his problems. I’d listen to him lament about life and how bad things were. I thought that if I was there for him he’d see how much I cared and how that would make me a good girlfriend. Yeah… that never happened.

I’ve given too much money. I’ve only given money to a guy once. My parents taught me that you only lend out money if you can afford never to see it again. The amount he asked for was doable, but the moment I gave it to him our chemistry shifted in a way I can’t explain. Looking back, him asking me for money showed that he wasn’t really trying to put his best foot forward with me. I found myself becoming more irritable with him and of course when he was supposed to pay me back on the 15th… and I didn’t hear from him until I hit him up on the 25th, our whole relationship was dunzo.

Dating for girls in my generation can be so confusing. We’re being told to be “Miss. Independent” but also charged with proving to men that we can be “Wifey”. I swear there was a time when men had to prove themselves to us, but maybe I just read about that in a book.

If marriage is something you want, its tempting to show you’ve got the goods but sometimes I wonder if some things should really be reserved for people who are on track to be our spouses. Of course, that looks different for everyone and its up to us to decide what our dating style is. For example because I’m a Plus Size Princess, men always ask me to cook for them (read my rant on that here) *eye roll* Anyway, I decided that I only cook for guys I’m serious about. Because for me cooking is a “wifey” expression of care and not every guy deserves that. Its a silly rule, but it helps me keep relationships in perspective.

When we know the value of something, we’re prone to be selective about who gets to see/touch/experience it– why don’t we apply that same logic to ourselves?

We are valuable individuals with so much to offer, maybe we should be more selective about who gets access to every part of us…

Have you ever dated like a wife? How did it turn out?

  • Monique

    My divorce was finalized in 2005, but I didn’t start dating again until 2007. And when I first started dating again, I immediately fell into the trap of “If I do ______, he’ll like me more and we’ll live happily ever after.” And I, not surprisingly, was wrong. It made me a pushover. Around 2009, I came to the realization that I needed to be the kind of person I wanted to date. And that’s worked well for me. Am I dating right now? No. But honestly, I’m okay with that. Because I’m worth waiting for.

    Great wake up call post, by the way CeCe. :)

  • Kurves

    Another Great Post! THANKS. I have been on the dating scene for more than 10 years and fell out with guys who were honor graduates of the “School of Lie”. I cannot tell you how many men I’ve met who have all the talk but could not walk over to open the car door. I am not dating presently but I am datable & lovable and one day HE will find me.

    • Miss_Maven

      “I am datable & lovable and one day HE will find me.”

      I am so loving your quote and will use it as my mantra from now on. How beautiful that is. And good for you for waking up about the guys that lie, took me forever and I’m still learning.

      GREAT post as well CeCe, I definately feel you on this one. We give too much of ourselves away to people who haven’t earned it or don’t reciporiate it. Then when we finally figure out we’re being used or whatever, it’s like “but I spent all this time, I gotta make it work” attitude that takes over.

      Also I think it’s the fear of being alone. I know how hard its been to find a guy I like and likes me, so if things are going bad, I always think of how long it will take me to find anotehr guy who likes me and all the heartbreaks I will have to go through to meet him. So I think it’s not worth it, I stay and put up with way more then what I would wish on my worst enemy.

  • crown

    I’m with you 100% on this article.

  • Katie Alexis

    This was a good read. I’ve been single for so long that I suck at dating I find reason to stop talking to him lol

  • vanessa jackson

    As always great blog. Not sure about dating like a wife since I’ve never been in that particular situation. But I have limits when it comes to someone I’m dating. I have limits with someone I’m in a “committed” relationship with. As for marriage I’m sure there will not be limits as we should be in a equal partnership. Finances, sex, living arrangements, travel are things that are off limit for a date. Finances are off limit for a relationship as that can ruin any situation quickly even friendships. Communication is key to each level. I got your back but I’m not your backer. I can cheer from the stands or sideline but I’m not your mom/dad/bank/sister/grandma/auntie,payday loan source or anything that we’re not building as a married couple. I think a lot of times guys try to lay the guilt trip on women (especially psp). With me “I’m to old for that”…try the next sista/friend. I’ve gotten pretty bold and upfront as I’ve gotten older…don’t have time for messy men folk and there are plenty out there no matter what age they are.

    • Cuppiii

      “I got your back but I’m not your backer. I can cheer from the stands or sideline but I’m not your mom/dad/bank/sister/grandma/auntie,payday loan source or anything that we’re not building as a married couple.” – Vanessa you are awesome, I just texted the bold text to this guy I’m trying to build a relationship with now. THANK YOU!

      • vanessa jackson

        Thanks hope it works for ya!

  • Vanessa

    I’ll admit I probably dated like a wife. But it was once, and he is my boyfriend, so it turned out quite well. And he probably kind of dated like a husband too, which is probably why it made it okay. He’s kind of the sensitive type, who takes people very seriously and it was very natural. I definitely think we should be cautious about dating like wives, though. I can imagine lots of ways this can turn out bad.

  • allinmyworld

    Being divorced i soooo can relate!! I realized i needed to change my expectations of dating and men. Not everyone deserves that “husband treatment” because not every one you date, you will end up marrying. I agree that its hard to take yourself out of the role but with time you can do it. Also realizing that your doing it also helps keeps things in perspective.

  • Olivia

    I’ve personally never dated like a wife but I remember a guy asking me for money ( not borrowing) changed our entire relationship. After that I just completely lost interest.He was an older guy, by about 9 years and I was 21 and a college student at the time. It was such a turn off. I ended up giving him the money because he sounded like he really needed it and it wasn’t that much but after that I completely lost interest and started ignoring his phone calls/ texts.

  • bre

    Yes, and it didn’t go anywhere.I thought it was showing I. cared but obviously not

  • Cuppiii

    First off I would like to say this post was sooo eye opening, I didn’t know of anyone else that has gone through the things that I have. I too am a Cancerian woman and I am always putting my best forward, and not until I read this post did I realize that I have been doing this for just about any man I have a “relationship” with, whether it be purely physical or emotional. I’ve given my time, talents and money thinking that these traits would make a man want to be with me. I don’t want to gush like a baby, but your post has really opened my eyes too soo much, especially since I am at that stage of looking for something long term, meaning I refuse to spend time with you if we aren’t going to potentially get married.

    Thanks soo much for this, you’ve made my day! Dating in NY is hard, but I’m hoping that I will find my the man that makes my stomach fill with butterflies, and will go out of his way for me, like I have done on many occasion.

    xoxo Cuppiii

  • Lydia Thomas

    I love this post! However, it puzzles me on why I feel like I can relate. I am the oldest of four siblings. I have always had a lot of responisbility and expectations as a “third parent” with a father always working. That maternal instinct developed quickly in my teens and hasn’t left. It shows in several of my relationships with friends and my boyfriend which sometimes is unfortunate.
    As a 22 year old and in a three year relationship, I have been in some of the situations that you mentioned. It really reafirmed my beliefs on self-respect, self-reassurance and overall confidence. There is nothing wrong with taking control of what I want for myself or owning what I seek for my future. Yes, this article is more about dating. Yet, It opened up a window to a bigger picture and I just want to say thank you.
    I’m very new to the “blogging” world. Love reading yours.
    Thanks, again!

  • Asmita

    I have a friend who dates like a wife. She cooks meals for the week, cleans house, goes grocery shopping, helps to pay bills and spends a few nights a week. Then she goes home alone to her own home to do all of the same things for herself. I don’t even think she realizes it.