I haven’t made a meaningful connection

Dear Meredith,

I am a man in my mid-30s, and am increasingly concerned about the prospect of finding a successful and meaningful long-term relationship. I think I have those qualities that people generally seek in a partner. I'd like to believe I am interesting and fun to be with. I treat others with respect. But I have had no success in building a relationship. I have never had a relationship last more than a few months. In each of these few cases, either I decide I am not interested, or she decides she is not. Mostly, the relationships just run their course after a short amount of time.

I tried online dating for more than a year, but found it exhausting and never really felt comfortable with the routine. The point is, while I can find dates, I can't seem to find a meaningful connection. I've never really dated or met someone with whom I can picture spending my life. So I wonder if you think the issue is merely a matter of bad luck, and the remedy is patience and persistence, or is the fact that I never been able to picture a future with anyone indicative of a deeper problem, perhaps one requiring counseling? Or if counseling may not be necessary, are there other approaches I should be taking? Thank you for your thoughtful response.

– Anxious in Boston

Think about the other relationships in your life. Who are your close friends? Are any of them new – and are any of them women?

If you're capable of bonding with new friends, you shouldn't be too worried about the dating thing. Online dating can be exhausting, and finding a match in the real world can take a long time.

That said, if you have trouble connecting with new people in general, you should consider therapy. It might help to talk about who you like to have around and what you do think about when you picture your future.

Either way, you should focus on expanding your platonic circle. Friends teach you how to get close, and meeting someone through your community gives you a baseline connection. The more social you are right now, the better.

Readers? Should he be worried? Tips for new approaches?

– Meredith