‘Men my age want a woman who is already put together’

I'm 34 years old. Never been married and don't have any children. I haven't dated for years because of some traumatic things that happened in my past, but I'm more or less ready now ... somewhat.

I think I'm attractive with a great personality, a bit introverted, but liked by most. My problem is that I avoid potential suitors because I'm not situated in my career, and I feel that men my age want a woman who is already put together.

I don't think I'm good enough (financially, educationally) for the man I want to attract. As a result, I kind of just avoid men altogether because I won't settle, and don't want to keep putting myself out there to get hurt. I want that special bond with someone who will accept me for me. Just me. Not a degree or a job. Just me. How do I navigate through this? Am I wrong about the expectations of men I might meet?

– Not Finished

Let's not generalize. Some men in their mid-30s want a partner who has it all figured out, but many don't require that kind of stability. Also, I'll remind you that a lot of the people who are "already put together" at 34 realize by 35 that they want to try something new. The point is: long-term couples grow together. No one comes to the table as a finished person – because none of us are.

One of the great things about you is that you seem to have big goals and a vision for the future. Isn't that the most important thing? Your passion? It's exciting to be with someone who has dreams, desires, and the drive to come up with a plan. That makes you very dateable.

Your letter made me wonder how you'd feel about dating someone who's in a similar place in life (still figuring it out, etc.). If you haven't been open to that kind of partner, maybe you should be. As you know, they have plenty to offer.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW wait to date until she has it all figured out?