I have often wondered about the communication breakdown that almost inevitably occurs between a man and a woman when they start dating. From the time I was in Elementary School, up to the present, I've always been told that I get my thoughts across quite well. Unless I mumble, I usually do not get a quizzical look when I communicate, or a "Huh? What did you say?" when I converse with someone.

However, as soon as I get myself into a dating relationship, my words no longer have their intended meaning. Seeing the blank look on my date's face, I can't help but wonder if I've blurted out something in Mandarin Chinese! I am not at a time in my life where I'm looking to settle down.

This is not a fact that I keep hidden when I ask a woman out on a date. I am completely truthful and upfront, as I would want the woman to be truthful and upfront with me. We are inundated with talk-show wisdom about being open and honest in our communication with the opposite sex. However, why does honest communication go right out the window when I say, "I'm not looking for a serious relationship," and my date hears "I'm not looking for a serious relationship right now, but after several dates, that will change."

That is not what I said! I'm positive, I did not stutter! The message sent was not the message received. I don't consider myself mean-spirited or a "player". What I am is honest and upfront. An enjoyable evening with a lovely woman does not include her in tears stating, "I thought you really cared about me." That is why I tell her on the first date, "I'm not looking for a serious relationship."

Gogus olculeri

Yes, it is true, that we may have been seeing each other on a regular basis for the past 6 months or that we went to the Catskills for the weekend, but I'm still not looking for a serious relationship. If I were, I would not have said those fateful words to begin with. Please, someone, anyone, tell me how to say "I'm not looking for a serious relationship" in a language the fairer sex can comprehend. As of right now, I'm at a loss.

This communication deficit has ended several relationships I would like to have continued. However, when the question would arise, "When will I meet your parents?" or "I'd like you to meet my parents", I knew that I would have to end the romance. The strain on the both of us would just be too much. I believe I can speak for many men when I say we honestly mean it when we say we don't want a serious relationship right now.

We know when we are ready to settle down with one woman and possibly start a family. Those that are not ready definitely know it! This does not change because we dated for a set number of months, or because we had a certain look in our eyes when we leaned in for a kiss. I would love an 8 x 10 glossy of the look so I could sell it on eBay. Better yet, it could be sent off for research. How a particular look can say what the spoken word does not is really fascinating. Think of the far-reaching implications and the bridge that might be improved in male to female communication!

I think the bottom line is that women hear what they want to hear, and interpret our words completely differently than we mean them! Every time I am honest and tell a date that I am not ready to settle down, I can see this smug look in her eyes; I imagine her cackling evilly and saying to herself, "Excellent! We'll just see about that! I love a challenge!"

One day I will be ready to settle down, have a lovely wife and a family, but as of right now, I'm not ready. It has nothing to do with the woman and everything to do about me. Hopefully when I'm ready to take the plunge, the right woman will come along.