Have a safe weekend. Letters to [email protected]
I'm the guy! The guy in romantic comedies that everyone wants to get the girl. The guy parents, animals, and kids love, and females always say they want their boyfriends to be like. I'm thoughtful, caring, supportive, affectionate, loving, an amazing father, in good shape, etc. I'm the one my friends call or text when their relationships go bad and they need advice.
When I meet someone, I build up their self-esteem, show them how they should be treated and respected. I do this assuming I will continue to build a relationship with them, only to essentially be fostering them until they can find their forever homes with someone else. I am almost 44. I've been told I look 34. Funny, witty, sarcastic, good smile, give great hugs, an overall solid companion. I have been with the same company for 20 years. Great career, homeowner, two kids over 10, financially stable, good credit, occasional drinker, clean criminal record, etc. Yet, I am two years out of a 20-year relationship with someone who cheated on me, and I can't throw a rock and hit a woman who wants to build a long-term relationship.
I've tried being aggressive toward a relationship, I've tried going slow. But it never works. Am I too nice? Too giving? Boring? Not a challenge? I am completely at a loss. Maybe my friends are lying. Maybe I am not the things they say I am. Maybe they are being nice. I'm tired of the platitudes. It will happen when you least expect it, stop looking and enjoy life, get busy and they will just find you, etc. The apps near me are a joke, all my friends are married, and their friends are married – or they have so much trash in their yard they are not worth pursuing. I have dated girls from 30 to 44. They seem to be all the same. They want someone like me, but not me! I am no Brad Pitt, but I'm no Steve Buscemi either!
First of all, Steve Buscemi is a legend.
Second, instead of "females" and "girls," let's just say women.
Now for the advice. The only platitude I like, of the many you mentioned, is "get busy and they will find you." You gave us your incredible resume – every reason you'd be a solid significant other. But I have no idea what you like to do on your own. I don't know how you're building a new life for yourself now that you're single. It’s almost as if you want someone to pass you a similar resume and then negotiate a deal for commitment.
I know the whole "I'm the guy you root for in a movie!" line was your clever way of introducing your problem, but I do see an issue in that, too. Sometimes it helps to remember that you're not the main character. I mean, you are in your own life, but the person on an app or sitting across from you has their own story. People are rooting for them, too. Maybe you could be better about understanding how/if you fit into their lives as opposed to being annoyed that they aren't rushing to jump into yours. You're not supposed to fix them – to show them how they should be treated. It's better to get to know them and be present. You make it sound like you leave these dates thinking, "Look what I did!" It's supposed to be a shared experience.
Also, and this is a big one, two years isn't a very long time. There are people who write into this column who date around for many years before finding a partner. I mean, if this process were easy, the app industry wouldn't be so huge. You need to have more patience. You need to remember that Year 1 of this was about figuring out a new routine. Use this mandated break (the one we're in right now) to breathe and slow down. A romantic comedy is two hours, but the path to love isn't as tightly edited.
Readers? More time? What's happening here?