Do guys just want to sit around?

Hi Meredith,

I am a 49-year-old divorced woman who was married for 26 years. I married my high school sweetheart so I do not have a lot of dating on my side. I have been alone while raising my youngest daughter for 6 years now. My question is: What do men and women expect nowadays? What does it mean to be a girlfriend? Does being a girlfriend mean being exclusive? Do men my age want to actually date? Or do they just want to hang around each other's houses? Or maybe they just want to go out with the guys during the day hours then hang with the females at night?

I'm asking because I have dated a little, then I was asked to be a girlfriend, but the man just did not want to go OUT with me. He would go out with his buddies to the bars, and then around 6 p.m. we would meet up at each other's places and just sit around and not go out. I am out of that relationship. I am just confused now about what men in their late 40s want out of a relationship? Maybe I am expecting too much.

– Managing Expectations

You're not expecting too much, ME. If you want to go out on dates, you should be looking for someone who likes to leave the house. You don't have to sit around if you don't want to.

There's no cheat sheet to this. I can't make generalizations about what 49-year-old men want. They're all different (thank goodness). The only way to figure them out is to ask questions. If someone calls you a girlfriend, you can ask, "Does that mean we're exclusive?" If you find that you're spending too much time on the couch, you can ask, "Is this your normal routine? Do you prefer staying in to going out on dates?"

The most important thing is to consider your own needs. Instead of trying to figure out what all men want, think about what makes you happy. What are you looking for in a companion?

This one guy just wasn't the right match. He drank with his friends and then sat around with you. You didn't like it, so you moved on. The next guy will present an entirely new set of questions, so get ready to ask.

Readers? Any rules of the road that you can give her? Any generalizations you can make about dating in your late 40s? What does she need to know? Help.

– Meredith