CHOOSE A RELATIONSHIP QUESTION BY SUBJECT
Q. What guidance can you offer for someone who wants to be married but can’t seem to even get a date? I’m 54 and I haven’t been on a date in 15 years. Friends say I’m attractive, intelligent and fun, but it has been near impossible to even find single, eligible men near my decade, let alone ones who would entertain spending time with me. What am I missing? I would like to be married.
A. This is a problem for everyone. I see it all the time in my practice. As you described it is almost impossible to meet single men out in the world. I pay close attention to where men “gather”. It is so hard to find them that I notice when I do.
I hear men are at sporting events. If you are not interested in sports, this is not an ideal option because you certainly will lose them on game night. I have also seen them at Threadgills (“home-cookin”) and at nicer restaurant bars, like Ruth Chris steakhouse. It might be possible to meet a man at http://www.meetup.com/ depending on your interest. The good thing about meet ups is that you share a common interest.
Overall, finding older single men out in the real world seems next to impossible so you will have to meet them where they hang out the most, in front of their computers. Yes I know, here is the news nobody in their 50’s wants to hear, you have to go on-line. I’m sure that the simple thought of doing such a thing pains you in a thousand ways, but if you want to meet someone that has been around in the same decades, this is the best option. You can’t get married if you don’t meet men and the chances of you marrying the first one you meet is probably not going to happen.
I have an entire course on how to on-line date but for now, I have a few simple suggestions.
1. Pick a free service where there are many men to choose from http://www.plentyoffish.com/ might be a good one to start.
2. Put who you are in your profile. What you are interested in is far less important than giving them an in-depth look at your being. If you have a sense of humor, show it. Everyone responds to someone that makes them laugh.
3. Try to ignore the picture. Rarely does anyone look like what they post and in the end, most people never end up with someone that matches the “dream” created in their state of imagination. Too many other factors are at play and they are way more important than “the look”.
4. Don’t wait around for the guys to find your profile. Contact anyone that you are drawn to. The old rules you had about who contacts who are gone.
5. No phone calls, no extended e-mails. Meet for a cup of coffee near your home right away. You both will know within minutes if there is any “chemistry”.
6. Be interesting and interested. Even if you know he isn’t “it”, learn something new you didn’t know and impress the next guy with your new found knowledge.
7. Don’t be desperate. Men can spot it across a crowded room and will run the other direction. Remember, you are not desperate. There really are “plenty of fish”.
8. If you sitting on the fence, give the guy a chance. Nobody is who they really are on the first date and you probably aren’t either. After all, meeting someone new is like sitting through a job interview. Making it light and being present (instead of planning the wedding) will score you some points.
9. Don’t dwell on the success of the meeting. Move on and move forward. Meeting “Mr. Right” is in the numbers. You might have to meet many, many, many men to find him. But, it will be worth it when you say the “I do’s”.
You can do this and with the right attitude, it can be fun. There are success stories all over the place. I’m looking forward to hearing yours.
Q. Around a month ago I walked into my boyfriend of six months bedroom and found a girl (completely clothed & his friend) in his bed with him next to her. They were not touching & he swears to me he did not cheat. I believe him but recently I am experiencing severe pangs of jealousy over his past relationships and/or him wanting to go out with his friends. It comes and goes but I just want this issue to leave. I find myself constantly asking for reassurance that he loves me and wants to be with me. I feel like I am pushing him away and becoming sucked into this crazy side of myself. I do not want to ruin a great relationship because I am becoming insecure. I love him so much and don’t know how to fix this problem.
A. Jealousy is just another term for “I’m insecure”. Of all the human emotions this one is the most useless and destructive. While a few misguided (also insecure) individuals might consider jealousy a compliment, the truth is it has nothing to do with anyone except the owner of the emotion. Being in a relationship and having to prove your love and devotion over and over is way too much work for anyone.
It shouldn’t be a requirement. There are so many other issues in relationships that deserve attention when they arise that there can’t be an on-going one that makes the relationship hard and exhausting. If you want monogamy why invite a ménage-a-trois with jealousy as the third partner?
Insecurity can go beyond jealousy. It has the potential of leading to control issues and ultimately abuse. It is a very dangerous path to walk. I can’t stress enough the importance of working on your insecurity issue in order to have a happy healthy relationship. Relationships should be easy. There is no chance of that happening when one partner is always trying to work through someone else’s insecurity. It’s too much responsibility and it is not their job. You have to do this on your own. This kind of issue usually requires a skilled therapist. You have to get to the core of where it all started and work from there. Until you resolve this issue within yourself, you are simply not relationship material. No relationship will work. This has nothing to do with the guy you are with, it’s just about you.
Q. I’m a single 30 year old. I met a girl a while back who I completely adored immediately. We have the same interests and background and great chemistry. When I met her, she had a live-in boyfriend, but they were already on the verge of breaking up, so I pursued her and told her what a wonderful woman she was. Then she told me she had herpes. We’ve been casually “not dating” for a while now (just hanging out at bars and a kiss good night) and I feel horrible. She’s a great girl, but I just don’t think I can give a girl with herpes a chance. Am I being ignorant? Would most people let herpes deter them from an otherwise great partner?
A. Love is such a gift and of course you do have the potential of getting even more than you are probably looking for. What most people would do has nothing to do with what you should do. You should educate yourself so that whatever you decide has nothing to do with ignorance. Then you should talk to the girl and see how she is dealing with it. Is she taking drugs to prevent an outbreak? What is her history of outbreaks?
Many people have herpes. Most of them have full, rich sex lives and are conscientious about not spreading the disease. The fact that she told you she has herpes means that she is one of those people and has probably always been responsible in this area.
You can figure this out. This woman and love are well worth it.
Q. I have been with my boyfriend for slightly over one year. It is the first serious relationship either of us has been in, and we both openly express our love for one another. On the surface, it seems like a very healthy and happy relationship. However, I struggle with not feeling physically attracted to him. We have sex a few times a week, but I never initiate. Also, I am on anti-depressants that have resulted in a low sex drive. He doesn’t seem too bothered by our sex life. I, on the other hand, am becoming increasingly concerned over it. I have been unable to reach orgasm with him. Although I love him dearly and consider him my best friend, I am having trouble finding any physical attraction to him. There is nothing he could change that would make me more attracted to him. I am in love with him (emotionally) and I know he is in love with me in all aspects of the word, very much. I don’t know what to do. I feel like our relationship is strong and I couldn’t imagine breaking up with him. However, I fantasize about other people and even do so when we are intimate. Do you think the relationship is doomed? Our relationship is incredible (apart from my lack of sexual fulfillment) and I couldn’t imagine not having him in my life.
A. While you have provided me with a great deal of information, some key components are missing that would help me give you a more specific answer.
The best I can do here is provide some general information. First, anti- depressants are powerful drugs that can alter your ability to experience things as they truly are. Did you have orgasms with other men before? Did you have them when you weren’t on anti-depressants? Here is the question: Is the real problem the sex, drugs, or your partner? There is no way of knowing. Drugs can absolutely alter your sexual chemistry and if you haven’t been on them with someone else, you can’t say for sure that the issue is with your current partner.
You say there is no physical attraction but that isn’t the same as sexual chemistry. Sex can always be improved with good open communication and a high desire to make it work on the part of both people. Fantasizing about other people is way more common than most people think and I wouldn’t use it as a measure. Physical attraction can be visual but it can also be just a feeling. I contend you must have had one of these in the beginning to even get in the relationship. To stay “in love” you would also have to have some component of it still.
In general, I don’t recommend that people stay in long term relationships that include unsatisfying sex. Sex is a silent third partner in good relationships. If you figure out together how to make the sex better then you will both be happier. I don’t believe you should even attempt this until you re-evaluate with your Dr. the anti-depressant issue. In this situation, it could be the real culprit and you might need to find an alternative to the one you are taking. Please share all of this with your boyfriend. Finding solutions to complicated problems is part of a great partnership and he deserves to know.