Does he fit in your world?

by Dating Goddess on April 6, 2008

jigsaw pieceFor a relationship to work long term, I believe it’s important that you are able to fit into each other’s world. Not that you have to live parallel lives with the same profession, income, hobbies, etc.

But is important that you can easily slip into each other’s activities, gracefully converse with the other’s counterparts and dress appropriately for the occasion.

This seems common sense, I know. And you’d think that if you are drawn to a man he would automatically fit into your world. However, I can tell you from experience that just because you get along well with him, it doesn’t mean he will meld with your friends and/or colleagues.

Years ago I took the crazy psychiatrist I was dating to my film group’s small potluck dinner and movie viewing. I was stunned at how loud and combative his comments were to the others. And his table manners were atrocious — he piled high the various dishes as if he were the only one to share the dish. He didn’t have great table manners when we ate at my house, but when we are among strangers we usually put on our best manners. Not him.

Another early beau accompanied me to a party. We mixed and mingled, but I noticed that he turned nearly every conversation back to himself, not asking others anything about what they were sharing. He didn’t do this with me, so I was surprised to witness this boorish behavior. At another small party, he took over the group conversation and “held court” with his comments, long past when others tried to have side conversations. He’d call them by name and say, “Listen to this…” and prattle on, relishing being the center of attention. I quickly decided it was time to go, although he protested.

Before I was married, I dated a man who was loving and sweet to me. But when we were around others, he would talk incessantly about things he knew little about but acted like he was an expert. If he learned someone scuba dove, he talked as if he also dove. He’d never donned a tank in his life. I found this too awkward and didn’t invite him to parties.

Other dates have showed up at events inappropriately attired, even though I informed them of the event’s level of dress. Either they didn’t care or thought their underdressed attire would be OK. They didn’t realize their inappropriateness would reflect on me. One came to a dressy cocktail party in a ill-fitting casual sport coat and sneakers.

When King Charming and I were again talking about why I didn’t respond to his first overture when his only picture posted was of him in sunglasses and a t-shirt. I explained that if he’d posted a picture in the cashmere polo shirt he wore to our first date I would have responded. Was I being shallow? Perhaps. But part of our decision of if we want to get to know someone or not is assessing if they will fit into our world or not. If there is too much disparity, it will be harder. It can work, but it is some effort on both your parts.

In an episode of “Sex and the City,” lawyer Miranda invites her new beau to her office party. As a bartender, the only suit he owns is corduroy. They realize this won’t work, but he can’t afford a new suit. She decides to buy him one. It’s awkward for him to accept this, but he knows he must if he is going to be integrated into her world.

One of the things I’ve liked about dating is being brought into a world I might not otherwise experience. I like trying new things, so if a man has different interests and hobbies, I’m generally willing to try his activities — at least once. However, if he only frequents biker bars or the opera, we’re not a good fit. Although I’d probably accompany him to either at least once to see if I liked it.

So when King Charming stated that he was going to buy a new suit to accompany me to some business social functions, I knew he wanted to fit into my world. He has the manners and social graces to fit easily — not that my pals are hoity-toity. But it is nice to know that he would look the part as well as engage others with an equal give and take.

What are ways you access if a new guy will fit into your world? How long do you wait to take a guy you’re dating to social events with friends or colleagues? Have you had a guy not invite you to events you know he attends that would be acceptable for a date (e.g., holiday or birthday parties).

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to Goddess@DatingGoddess.com.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

nysharon April 7, 2008 at 4:48 am

Buying the new suit showed effort and that is what is endearing.
Your post is right on for me again, a little weird. The “bad speller” told me early on that his friends thought that I was out of his league. An awkward moment for me. How do you respond to that? We however, had a lot of actiives in common and children in the same age range and that made it OK. The truth is, I kept thinking I was being shallow, but your post defines it better. He is the maintance man in my building and repairs things and such. On occation the cleaner is sick and one day he empted my garbage can. Another awkward moment. I am aspiring to become management in the next year or so. This with the lack of besottedness it a no brainer.

Dating Goddess April 7, 2008 at 4:40 pm

NYSharon:

The “out of my league” comment is a compliment — one generally just says something like, “How flattering.”

A man who can fix things is worth his weight in gold! But if you aren’t feeling it with him for other reasons, you’re not being snobby. If you were hot for him, I bet it would matter little what he did. I know some couples, like the aforementioned on in Sex and the City make it work — even when it’s real life, not a fictional show!

But it’s good that you see this relationship has run its course so you can release him to some other woman who will be enchanted by him.

nysharon April 8, 2008 at 4:31 am

Agreed and you’re right, if I was hot for him it wouldn’t matter. I tried to over look that because I really did want to feel something. I am sticking to butterflies for now on. BTW: his birthday was the same as my ex’s. That was weird but not a deal breaker.:)

Allison April 9, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Yes, this is a dilemma. I always felt a little guilty for feeling this way about a guy who wasn’t ‘fitting in’ on a social or intellectual level. Felt somehow I was being judgmental. I try to mix my guys in with friends etc pretty early on…because it is important to see what happens and I’d rather find out early if he changes to from Beauty to Beast in that situation.

The other day I picked up a book called If The Buddha Dated. Great book BTW. It had a whole section talking about the best relationships are where the two are ‘equals’, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, etc.

I think it meant that each can ‘hang’ in the other’s world with the respect of their partner. Not that they have to be strictly equal financially or whatever but that they can adapt to the other’s world.

That made alot of sense to me.

bookyone April 12, 2008 at 2:51 am

Hi DG,

Great post! As I was reading this, I realized that I’ve never ever dated a guy who fit into my world even a teeny tiny bit, now how screwy is that? Either I really don’t know what I’m doing (true) or else in the past I wanted a relationship so badly that I took whoever came my way (true again) without seeing how he’d fit into my life as a whole.

No wonder I’ve decided to stay single; IMHO, better alone than a guest on Jerry Springer.

Hugs from bookyone 🙂

caroline April 12, 2008 at 9:12 am

i’m about to venture into dating a younger man for the 1st time.i have a son 1 yr older than him.i’m 60,he’s 38.his mother and i were childhood friends,whom i meet in july for the first time since i was 16.i will meet him soon as a lover.he don’t have a problem with age its me.younger men have always approched me all my life.and i have to admit its been hard to turn down their invitations.ive always liked younger men,but ended up married to a much older man.i’ve listen to my kids and let them voice there thoughts.at first my daughter didnot agree with my dateing a guy so young,my son was all for it maybe because he married a older woman.now that my daughter knows she can’t talk me out of it she s now trying to deal with it.by the way this guy is hot.i don’t believe i’ll back out alot of friends are betting on it.everone tells me i look like i’m 40.GOD as truley blessed me with youth in my older age.

Karen Smith April 22, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I just came across your website through an RSS feed on yahoo. I was wondering how long you have been dating “King Charming” and why you call him that. I recently met a guy on yahoo personals who called himself “King Richard” My tag line was “looking for Prince Charming”. After a couple of days of chating online I dubbed him “King Charming”. I just thought it was wierd to see someone else use it! Thanks for a laugh.

Dating Goddess April 22, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Hi Karen:

I call him King Charming for several reasons:

* In “Understanding the stage your guy is in” http://www.datinggoddess.com/?p=653 I reviewed a book that described that mature, grounded men are in the “king” stage, which my guy is.

* A few months ago I dated a man I dubbed “Prince Considerate.” I think the “prince” moniker if for less mature men, although Prince Considerate is the same age as King Charming. I didn’t want to confuse the two.

* Frankly, Prince Charming is a bit cliche, so I try to avoid it.

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