I miss the sparks

I'm in London and Germany this week. In fact, as I write this, I'm watching "Good Will Hunting" in my hotel room. It's the only thing that's on.

I'm here visiting the foreign publishers of my book. (In Munich, they call Love Letters a Ratgeberkolumne, it seems.) I promise to look out for good European self-help books to bring home. I'll be posting letters before you get up in the morning.

We'll be doing British/German songs of the day on Twitter all week. Feel free to recommend some. Now go get your ratgeberkolumne on.

How do adults date? (And I don't mean in the "should we go out to dinner and politely exchange questions about our interests?" sense.)

I'm writing you because it's been five years since the last time I was in love and in a relationship with someone who reciprocated that love. In the time since that relationship I have been in several other relationships -- none longer than a year -- that just never grew into love for me. I've also fallen for men that I cannot have due to their unavailability or the geographical distance between us.

It seems when I meet a nice guy, who I get along with, that is perfect on paper that I just don't feel a spark. Yet, I've managed to fall for co-workers on multiple occasions. I've considered that my problem is that I want what I can't have or that I like the chase. But I also think maybe I just miss the buildup that comes with liking someone you see in an everyday setting -- the way it used to be in high school, college, and now the work place.

How do I find those sparks again without sizing up my coworkers as potential boyfriends?

– Searching for Sparks, Boston

How do adults date, SFS?

They try harder than they did when they were kids. They think less about meet-cutes and learn to appreciate good company. They get to the point where long, will-they-or-won't-they games seem tiring.

And, of course, sometimes they date co-workers. That's OK, provided everybody's single and no one is a superior.

The way I see it, you've had a bunch of relationships. Some have lasted almost a year. And you've had a few crushes. That sounds about right. In fact, your stats are pretty good.

I understand what you're missing. It'd be great if grown-up life exposed us to dozens of single, good-looking people who fell in love with us over time. But ... here we are -- older, busier, and more responsible. There's less time and opportunity for the chase.

My advice is to join activities that emulate school and work. Do something that meets regularly, even if it just exposes you to a new circle of friends. I'd also just keep dating. It is possible to get that smitten feeling after a first date. You just have to keep trying. And please remember that meet-cutes make for a great "how we met" story, but they don't always make for great relationships. Pay more attention to date five and six than how you got there.
Readers? Is she doing anything wrong? Does she like the chase or is it just hard to meet people? How to you find that school and workplace kind of love if you're not in school and everyone at work is married? Help.

– Meredith