There has been a lot of talk lately about #MeToo and while I haven’t said much about it on this blog, it’s certainly come up in conversations with friends. A few guys I’ve spoken to IRL (in real life) explain that they worry now about women taking their advances differently than they were intended and consent issues coming into play. While some men have spoken up under the #MeToo hashtag, the reality is that it has mostly been women coming forward. Another reality is that dating in 2018 is likely to be even more confusing than ever. Or is it?
Disclosure: It’s an important topic I want to tackle in this post sponsored by Seniors Dating, who compensated me for my honest opinions.
More Awareness is a Good Thing
It’s awesome that more women are coming forward to share their stories on Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms. They’re saying it’s not okay again and again, and more women feel they’re not alone or have to bear the brunt of sexual harassment. So, absolutely the #MeToo movement has positive results. So don’t get me wrong about that!
Does the Line Blur Between Flirtation and Harassment?
Dating has never been easy for most of us, wherever we’re looking for single gals or guys. But there seems also to be confusion for some people (as they’ve expressed to me) between their actions being taken as flirty or as harassing behavior.
While the man or woman who is doing the activity typically knows the difference, it could be that the advances are overly sensitized now in light of the #MeToo movement by the person on the receiving end. While groping is obviously harassment, what about stroking the arm of your date sitting beside you at the movie theater? Especially if she thinks she’s given you signs that she’s not interested in you but you haven’t picked up on them? This brings up another issue: men and women think differently so miscommunication could happen!
This type of scenario could happen in person or online. We cannot forget about online dating given how popular it is in 2018. There are local platforms dedicated to senior dating, as well as those for people of younger ages.
It could now be that men fear reaching out to women (yes, men have traditionally been the ones to ask women out first, although more women now are taking up that role). This could be because they worry about being labeled as harassers. After all, we’ve all watched on TV as many famous men have fallen over allegations of sexual abuse or harassment. And that’s surely terrifying many males. While it’s good that men are going to hopefully be much less likely to try to act violently or sexually against women, they also might think twice about simply trying to flirt or ask a woman out on a date for fear of being accused of harassment.
Make Sure There’s Respect
The reality is that women still want to be asked out on dates and we all want to feel loved. There’s a lot to be said about feeling a connection to another person, from creating a sense of belonging to increasing self-confidence. While, as I wrote earlier, men and women don’t always think the same, the point that we can hopefully all agree on is that there needs to be respect between individuals on adult dating sites and in person.
And respect is a two-way street between those on the date. So, a flirty comment to a woman does not necessarily constitute sexual harassment. In this instance, the recipient could say they don’t appreciate this remark (if that’s the case) and please stop. Again, said respectfully. The respectful response is for the person making that comment to stop doing so. An apology would be nice too. Respect.
Dating Involves Figuring Out Boundaries
With the #MeToo movement, serious assaults have been brought forward. It’s empowering many people, and evil acts are coming to light. But something that still needs to be addressed is that it takes time for those who are dating to figure out where is each of their comfort limits. While a situation may be uncomfortable, that does not necessarily mean it is rape, for example.
There need to be honest talks between men and women about how they feel in situations and what they’re not okay with. And that boundary will be different from one person to the next, by the way. There’s not just one objective guideline to follow.
The hashtag #MeToo is about assault, harassment, and abusing power. And I applaud every woman who’s sharing her story. And other genders who share their story too, as happens with Kyle in What We Never Say.
But unfortunately, it’s confusing the dating scene for many people. Now some men are second-guessing what to write as an opening message online, and that leaves women to make the first move (which not all females are willing to do).
But then on the other side of the coin, maybe this is all a sign of progression as women have faced bigger repercussions after sex than men for so long. Now men are feeling more consequences on them, so maybe this is a sign of the genders starting to balance out more?
Another question to ask is, what is the best thing to do if a man (or woman) isn’t sure if something is consensual or not? Ask. It’s not the most romantic thing but at least then you know the person you’re dating in Cumbria or elsewhere is okay with what’s happening. Again, this goes back to the respect factor. And if a man has good intentions then just keep on that same true path.
What are your thoughts on how the #MeToo movement affects dating?