I believe there are still some solid criteria to help both genders decide between long-term partnering or short-term sequential explorations. Those qualifications are neither mysterious nor difficult to understand, but may have become buried by media hype and unrealistic expectations. Here is what I've seen:
As the capacity to love one another grows, we become increasingly able to rest comfortably in the knowledge that we are loved for who we are, not what we do. Over time, we may come to experience a previously unknown well of self-love. Feeling loved and really letting that in provides a fantastic sense of freedom -- freedom from fear of loss and freedom to be ourselves fully.
We have friends in the trenches of young parenthood; their lives filled with diapers, sleepless nights and temper tantrums. We have friends in empty nests; their children gone to college or moving away to embark on careers. We don't, however, have many friends who're in both, and who consequently experience what I call CPF: chronic parenting fatigue.