By Deirdre McGruder and Alicia Roberts
McClatchy Newspapers
Alicia: Today, we pose a question: If the object of your attraction states at the first date that he/she isn’t interested in a commitment, do you stick around? We ask because a reader wonders:
“What about women wanting a commitment when men state from the start they do not want one? Usually men and women do want to date, but want to casually – this does not always mean that sex is involved. I’ve noticed it’s more prevalent in these parts that if you want to casually date, and say that at the beginning, women are up for it at first, but after three dates or so they are pressing you for some sort of commitment. What about keeping your options open? Men and women, at least this gives us something to compare, and to see whose personality or vibe is a better fit. I do think it would have both sexes thinking and looking more inward.”
Deirdre: It’s been said that people tell you exactly who they are when you first meet them. It’s just a matter of if you choose to hear them or not. I think in a lot of cases, people turn a deaf ear to news that the person they want a relationship with is not interested in a relationship with anyone.
Alicia: Someone who says “no commitment” at the outset is closing off possibilities that haven’t even opened up. Doesn’t seem like someone I’d want to hang with romantically or otherwise.
Deirdre: I don’t know. I think I might. I’m not looking for a relationship either, and it would be fun and freeing to hang out with someone with no strings attached. But what if I become attached?
Alicia: That’s always the danger, isn’t it? And isn’t someone who says he’s not looking for a commitment at the outset daring you not to care? I’d be headed for a lot of hurt.
Deirdre: And how many people have we known who have dated a commitmentphobe thinking that person would change their mind?
Alicia: I know I’ve broken up with a few …
Deirdre: And the reader’s point about why we have to make a decision after the third date – I say: not everyone does. But the majority of women in America do want to partner up and have kids. The clocking is ticking on their eggs. Also, in general people’s time is limited. They often date with a purpose now.
Alicia: That’s true. Do you agree with his opinion that the expectations seem to be higher in our area than in others? I’ve found that it doesn’t matter where you live, more people in the dating way want commitment than don’t. Or maybe it’s just the people I know.
Deirdre: Like a friend of mine recently said: “Women in different regions are just different kinds of crazy.” That goes for men, too. It just seems hard where you are because that’s where you are.
Alicia: Geographically and emotionally.
Deirdre: Also, the reader’s mention of sex – is it even possible to make it to the third date without at least a trip to third base? When I say I’d rather not kiss on the first date, people look at me like I’m a nun. There’s an assumption of physical intimacy these days that makes a person suspect if they enjoy someone’s company without swapping bodily fluids.
Alicia: And that’s a whole other level of entanglement.
Deirdre: So, yeah, for a lot of people plenty is riding on those early dates. If it was ever a “casual” pastime, it certainly isn’t now.
Read more riffs on relationships at The Charlotte Observer’s We Can Relate blog: The bloggers: Alicia Roberts (39, married, two kids) is a news editor at The Charlotte Observer and Deirdre McGruder (39, single) is an online producer for

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