By Jackie Pilossoph
In my new novel, Free Gift With Purchase, the main character, Emma, a 42-year-old widow who has pretty much acted dead herself for the past year (since her husband passed away) meets and begins a steamy hot, cougar-ish relationship with Preston, a gorgeous man with the best abs she’s ever seen, but who is admittedly non-committal and calls himself “The Fun Guy.”
Throughout their crazy, no-holds-barred, very physical relationship, however, Emma begins to wonder if Preston means more to her than just the guy who gets her hot and bothered between the sheets. In other words, she kids herself that maybe the two of them have MORE in common than just the love of ripping off each other’s clothes, and that there’s a possibility they might have a deep, emotional connection, as well.
I think Emma fooling herself that her Boy Toy is more than just a temporary fling is VERY typical of women. I have been in that place before. Tons of my friends have been there, too. Women typically connect sex with love.
When a woman starts sleeping with a man, she might tell herself “It’s just sex” … she might tell her friends “It’s just sex” … and at the beginning of the relationship, it just might be. But as time goes by, I don’t care what anyone says, I think women have an extremely difficult time separating sex and emotions, and they begin to fool themselves that maybe their “Boy Toy” is the man of their dreams.
Men are different. If a man is in a “hook-up” type relationship, he could keep it that way for 10 years and be happy. Men can separate sex and love. I’ve never really understood how, but they can. And usually what ends up happening is, the woman breaks it off with the guy because she wants more. In other words:
Ladies, if you are waiting for the guy you’re casually sleeping with to turn out like Christian Grey, change and all of a sudden want to marry you and have babies, you’re dreaming. I’m not trying to be cruel, just realistic.
So, how do you differentiate the guy who is just in your life for pure sex, and the guy you might see yourself swapping rings with someday?
Here are 5 signs that a relationship isn’t going beyond the bedroom:
1. The Wandering Eye: You’re out with your girlfriends and you’re looking around for eligible guys. “What about so and so?” your friend asks you. “What about him?” you respond. “We’re not married.” You flirt with other guys and you are open to dating other people, almost as if you think that will help you get out of the situation you don’t know how to get out of. You are acting single, even though you are sleeping with someone.
2. Not Taking Him to Events: Your BFF is getting married and you are a bridesmaid. You don’t ask him to go with you to the wedding for two reasons: one, the bride’s gorgeous, wealthy and available cousin is flying in from New York and you want to be seated next to him; and two, you know your “Boy Toy” will say no anyhow.
3. You Don’t Date: He doesn’t take you to the movies, he doesn’t take you out for dinner. Instead, he texts you an hour before he’s leaving work. The text says, “What u up to 2nite? Want to hook up?” You drop all your plans, he comes over, you spend the entire night in bed, and the next day, you remember it as a date, when in reality, it was a hook-up, just like he said.
4. Family and Kids: He’s not interested in going to the community pool with you and your kids, or going miniature golfing with you guys. He has no interest in meeting your sister and you for lunch. His parents are in town and he doesn’t ask you to go out for dinner with them. Know why? Because he doesn’t want to take things any further than your Tempur-Pedic mattress. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy, but wake up! (no pun intended.)
5. You Drink A Lot With Him: Whenever he’s around, you drink. A lot. You drink wine, you drink beer. You’ve never actually hooked up with him sober. He has, but not you.
The thing is, I’m not saying that getting into a purely physical relationship is always a bad thing. In fact, I think there are times in life when Boy Toys are perfect for a woman, like right after a divorce, or after the break-up of a long-term relationship.
The downside, in my opinion, to sex-based hook-uppy relationships is that they play tricks on a woman’s self-esteem.
Sure, we can kid ourselves that we are using the guy just as much as he is using us, and we can tell ourselves and our girlfriends that sex is all we want, but really girls? Haven’t we all believed since birth that our Prince Charming is out there and he’s going to love every part of us? That he’s going to take the time to get to know every inch? That he truly cares about us? Even divorced women have this hope when it comes to relationships.
We want a guy to take us to a concert he knows we love, or who calls us in the middle of a work day just to say Hi, or who comes over with chicken soup when we are ill. Boy Toys don’t do that. Yes, they make our bodies feel amazing, and they make us feel sexy and beautiful, but it doesn’t last long because when we find ourselves alone on a Saturday night, or when he doesn’t text us for four days straight, it hurts, no matter if we want to admit it or not.
The most important thing is to know what you have. If you are honest with yourself, and you are okay with accepting what the guy is willing to give, (just as Emma was with Preston for awhile) then just have fun. But be true to yourself. If you truly want more, have the guts to find it with someone who wants what you want, who wants a girl to cherish, and who wants more than a hop-in-the-sack every few nights.
Here are 5 signs it’s MORE than just sex:
1. Money: Both of you have made it clear to each other that if either of you went broke, the other would happily support the poor one until he or she got back on their feet.
2. His Eyes: You aren’t afraid to look deeply in his eyes (sober) while saying anything. His eyes are home to you. Yes, they are sexy and beautiful, but they are also kind and warm, and you are almost looking into his soul.
3. Best Friends: You guys are truly best friends. You would do ANYTHING he needed and vice versa. When you have bad news, you call him first (or right after your sister.) When you have good news, you call him first (or definitely after your sister.)
4. Family: You love him even more when he’s around your family. You can tell they love him and that they are happy for you.
5. Butterflies: You still get shivers when he walks into the room and you truly want to rip his clothes off. Yet, at the same time, you want to get into your sweatpants, watch a movie and eat popcorn with him. He’s EVERYTHING to you.
Lisa Barr, GW Editor: Love Jackie’s new book … check it out GIRLillas!