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I have read some of the comments and reading between the lines I hear a lot of hurt, anger and distrust. I think that the ladies have taken a hard line, not unintented, because of their past experiences. However, please don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. I am a male who has been lumped in with all the males that have taken advantage of ladies. My experience is that the women still want the man to pay for everything and the women keep their money. I avoid those women. I expect an open and honest relationship where we both contribute. I don't make nearly the money I made in my younger years so I have to be careful. I want and have someone in my life that respects my transparency and she does the same for me. Will we continue our relationship beyond this friendship? I don't know. I have been divorced for many years and I'm not needy. I want and expect a honest, open, loving relationship with as little baggage as possible. We all have baggage, even you who deny it. It's what we do with those past experiences, I feel, define us today.
Yes, we need to be cautious, men and women, as there are many scammers out there. I have met many delightful ladies, but not the right chemistry. Some I should not have let go and tried to find out more about them and myself with them. Others I am happy they are gone. However, I have grown and learned from each of them. Some have become lifelone friends whom I have kept in touch. They have enriched my life.
I wish you all the best in your search for someone, whether it be friendship or more. Yes, I am a hopeful romantic with, I hope, my feet firmly planted on the ground.