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Are men in their (20s) looking to "settle down"? or "play the field"?

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I’ve read numerous posts from women in their 20s who are very unhappy with men in their age group when it comes to dating and having a serious relationship/marriage mindset. I suspect gender differences especially during our formative years play a large part. Having unrealistic expectations can lead to heartache and disappointment. One young lady recently wrote:

“I have a boyfriend, he's 22, he likes to drink and gamble. We've been together for 6 months already. He has a very hard time showing any type of emotion and he is hard on me about showing my emotions about anything. I really care about him and I like him but I feel like I have to show him how a relationship works because he's never been in a relationship. He doesn't even know how love and being in love works. It's like rocket science for him. He was able to "open up" to me but it’s sad because I mean he was drunk; it's like how am I supposed to believe any of this. Am I wasting my time here? Should I even try anymore?” - Desiree T.

Timing

Desiree, First of all most 22 year old guys are not looking to have a "serious relationship" regardless of whether they've had girlfriends before. The thought of settling down, potentially getting married, taking on a 30 year mortgage, and having children is like watching their life flash before their eyes!

The average 22 year old guy today just moved out of his parent's basement or a college dorm room. He wants to party with friends, play video games, watch sports, have sex, and possibly focus on career options. He is in no rush to become his parents! Six months of dating is not a major milestone to men.

Gender Differences

The majority of women as little girls were given baby dolls to change diapers, comb hair, feed a bottle, and push around in strollers. Many were also given “Easy-Bake Ovens” to make assorted cookies and cakes, or a Ken & Barbie's playhouse to furnish and decorate. In some instances little girls were given "princess dresses" which are symbolic of the wedding gown, and they've read several books about a Dashing Knight or Prince who swept the damsel in distress off of her feet and they've lived "happily ever after". It's also not uncommon for pre-teen girls to begin their first menstrual cycle. This is often seen as a rite of passage towards womanhood which often leads to serious discussions about maturity.

Essentially by the time the typical girl has reached age 12 or 13 she has been "practicing to be a mother and a wife" for the bulk of her life especially during her "formative years". Subconsciously a relationship/motherhood seed has been planted. By the time a lot of women reach their mid-20s they've attended weddings and mentally they're looking forward to having their own.

By contrast very few men ever "pretended to be fathers or husbands" during their childhood or "formative years". They were given water pistols, remote control planes/boats/cars, games to compete with friends, and just about anything that flashed lights and made noises. Many of them later were introduced to pewee football and little league baseball, or Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts. There is nothing that generally happens in a 12 or 13 year old boy's life that is equivalent to a girl's menstrual cycle which warrants an adulthood conversation. Men have not been fantasizing about having a loving relationship or marriage since their childhood. Note: There is no TV show called "Groomzilla".

My point is most women in their early 20s experience heartache when they pin their hopes of having a lasting relationship by falling in love with a guy in his 20s. They're just not mentally in that space. Many of the guys who have had relationship experience view their 20s as a time to "play the field" and not as a time to "settle down". If a woman in her 20s is looking to get married she might do better to consider dating guys in their early 30s who've established a career path and have not been married before. Guys in their late 20s or early 30s tend to be more ready to consider serious relationships.

Lessons In Love

Lastly if a man is truly "in love" or seriously cares about a woman he does not need "liquid courage" to express his feelings. Life is a personal journey. It's not your job to teach a man how to have a relationship or how to treat a woman. These are things one learns on their own through life experience. I imagine no one "taught you". Change comes from within. People don't change unless they're unhappy with the results they're getting. Most people want to be loved and accepted for who they are. No one walks around saying; "I'm looking for someone to change me."

Awhile back I wrote a book: My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany) and in it I wrote the following. "There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships: we either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have." Best of luck!

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