Fragmentation Theory of Dating

In a recent discussion with a friend about my blog entry on why I’m intentionally single, my friend (who is a few years older than me) brought up a theory on dating and women that he ascribed to “back in the day.” I’m going to quote his description of the “fragmentation theory” below, and then I’ll follow with my remarks:

The Theory: “You hang out with Woman X because, say, she’s a brilliant conversationalist, Woman Y because she’s comforting and uplifting and maternal, Woman Z because she’s sexy as hell and you have an animal attraction and sleep with her, Woman A because you both love to go to museums or write, Woman B because you both love sports, or whatever.

“Of course, there’s a great deal of churn in putting this “theory” into practice, because for the most part most women ultimately are searching for a life mate, but on the other hand, there is a companion theory (not mine, my old girlfriend’s before I got married, but I adopted it and still use it in conversation) of “attract and retain.” This theory states that a woman (and I guess to a lesser extent a man) is either in attract or retain mode, that is, she is trying to attract a mate, or she is trying to retain a mate she has decided (consciously or sub) is a potential life-long companion, and in my experience (now absolutely useless and out of date, I realize) that transition occurs relatively quickly.

“So, putting these two theories together, you can “fragment” among multiple women as long as they still consider you from the perspective of attract mode.”

Jamey’s Take (Complete with Confessions!): Needless to say, I thought this was very interesting. Just to put this out there, I don’t think this is about using people. I think it’s about connecting with different people in different ways instead of relying on one person to satisfy all of your needs, which a ridiculous posit even in the happiest of marriages. Your marriage is no more an island than you are.

That being said, I see a great deal of reason in this theory, particularly for an intentionally single guy like me. All of the people I hang out with on a regular basis–my friends–are guys. But as I wrote about in the entry linked to above, there are things I desire from women and relationships as well. But particularly right now, I don’t want one woman for all of those things.

I remember about 7 years ago there was a younger woman who I was incredibly attracted to but I wasn’t interested at all in what she wanted to talk about. We simply didn’t connect in terms of conversation. When I mentioned to her that I was interested in a physical relationship with her but I didn’t want to date her, she was genuinely hurt that I only viewed her through sexual lenses. I can understand her hurt feelings, especially since she had given me signals that she wanted to date me. But I didn’t want to pretend I liked her on a deeper level just to get in her pants, so to speak.

On the same note, there are women with whom I’ve connected on a conversational level, but I wasn’t physically attracted to them. Of course, those were the women who wanted to be physical with me. See the pattern? I think women–people, really–want to be the whole package. They don’t want to be a fragment of one person’s needs. But I simply don’t think that’s reasonable unless you find someone who you truly want to be with. Otherwise you’re just compromising.

I don’t mean to place judgment on anyone–really, I’m talking about me here. Right now, this fragmentation theory is perfect for me, because I don’t want to find someone who is perfect for me. I want to be single, and at times when I yearn for female connection (physical, conversational, emotional, or even just companionship, like going to the movies), I’d like outlets for that. In fact, I feel like I already do. Pretty close to it, at least. I think the one thing I’m missing is a pretty movie date now and then. So if you know anyone in St. Louis who wants to fill that role and no other, let me know. 🙂

I’m really curious about people’s reactions to this post. Is this an offensive concept? Is it human nature to want different things from different people? How do you fragment in your life, whether you’re single, married, or something else?

(Also, as the picture eludes to, this theory is one of the reasons that I truly love and relate to Definitely, Maybe.)