This Is What It’s Like To Date A Man, Not A Boy

The wonderful Lauren Jarvis-Gibson taught us all how to love a strong woman, so I felt compelled to inform everyone what it’s like to date a man, and not a boy.


It’s Saturday night, and you spot a fine-looking gentleman across the room. Maybe you plan right then and there to find any excuse to talk to him, or maybe you just let things unfold naturally and see what happens.

You talk. You dance. You exchange numbers. Maybe you kiss goodnight. You leave.

It’s Sunday evening and your phone rings. It’s him. Part of you was hoping he would call right away, and another part of you expected not to hear from him for at least a few days. Deep down, another part of you expected to never hear from him at all.

He called because he’s interested, and because he wanted you to know that.

He didn’t want you wondering if he would call, and he is confident enough to express interest without fearing he will come off as too eager or “thirsty,” or any other cousin of desperation.

He wants to know what your plans are for the week because he wants to see you. He wants to get you know you. He wants to see you outside of fun, wild, and possibly drunken night out. He wants to see what kind of chemistry the two of you have. He wants to see how you are in a “normal” setting. He wants to see you.

He offers to pick you up not because he wants to know where you live, but because it feels odd not to do so. He knocks on your door or rings the bell because no self-respecting gentleman would dare honk the horn or send a, “Here,” text and then expect you to meet him in the car. He opens the car door for you not because you’re fragile and may chip a nail on the handle, but because he was raised to do so.

The check comes at the end of the date, and he casually reaches for it in the middle of your conversation. He slides his credit card in without hesitation, closes the book, and places it back on the table.

Subconsciously, he was watching you.

He was watching to see if your arm flinched to reach for it. He was watching to see if you motioned towards your purse. He was watching to see if you moved at all.

Subconsciously, he was judging you.

He was never going to let you pay — for the check, for your half, for dessert, for the tip, for anything — but he wanted to see what your reaction was when the check came.

If you were motionless and carried on the conversation without addressing the bill, there’s a chance he might feel used. He might feel like you’re only out with him for the free food and drinks. He might feel this way, but he will never acknowledge it in the moment.

If you reached for the check, he snatched it before you could get to it. If you voiced your offer to pay part of the tab, he politely declined your offer. The intent was all he was looking for. It shows him you were raised properly, and that you didn’t assume this was going to be a free night out (even though he knew it would be before he left the house).

When you arrive back at your place, he walks you to the door. Once there, he leans in for a goodnight kiss. He is not expecting you to reciprocate, but he is hopeful you will. He is not expecting anything more, nor would he judge you were anything to happen beyond that kiss.

This was one date, but it was a microcosm of what a relationship with him would entail: he will call, not wait; he will have conversations with you, not just talk to kill time; and he will treat you right because it’s who he is, not who he thinks he needs to be.

When you date a man, he will be honest with you in good times and bad.

He will tell you the things most other guys were too afraid to bring to light, and he will express any displeasure with you in a respectful way that is not insulting or demeaning.

A boy will shelter his emotions and make you feel inadequate. A boy will never accept responsibility for his own wrongdoing. A boy does not know how to maturely address a matter that makes him upset or uncomfortable. Men can have discussions, while boys throw fits.

When you date a man, he will work to keep the relationship fresh, strong, and healthy. A boy will let the good times run their course and bail at the first sign of struggle. A man will continue to pull for the relationship if he feels it is worth saving, while a boy will let go simply because it is the easiest thing to do.

When you date a man, he will want to establish the relationship so that you are both on the same page. He will do so because he wants to know he is the only man in your life, and you are the only person in his. A boy will wait for you to set the parameters, avoiding any form of commitment for as long as possible.

A boy wants to have his cake and eat it, too, while a man knows what he brings to the table and isn’t afraid to eat alone.

Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Mike is a New York-based writer and admitted hopeless romantic. If Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw had a son, it would be him. When he’s not writing about love, dating, and relationships, he’s working his actual job as a sports reporter and columnist.

Tune into his podcast, “Heart Of The Matter” here.

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