How can I appear to be a great catch when I haven’t had a relationship in such a long time? In my mid 20′s, I realized I was in a disruptive pattern of falling for very wrong men and wisely stopped dating and put the energy into finding myself and being a mum. Thing is that, although I’ve been on a few dates, it’s been years since I’ve had any kind of relationship! I can’t help but wonder what to say when a guy I like asks about my past relationships.
I’m so thankful to have that time to be single as I’ve truly grown as a person, but that’s too much to say to a guy in the early stages. I want him to see what a catch I am and not “Whoh! That seems like hard work ahead… Where’s the door!” So how can I come across as a fab lady and still be honest? Many thanks x Melissa
I’m in my early 40s and lately (since I hit about 38) a common question I get from guys goes something like this, “You’re pretty, smart, etc. – why aren’t you married/ in a relationship?” One guy actually even asked me what’s wrong with me. Well, frankly, I could tell you plenty of stuff that’s wrong with me and what was wrong with him and why other relationships didn’t work out. But it seems to me that there is no good answer to that question. And saying, “I hadn’t met you yet” doesn’t go very far either. How would you suggest I deal with this question? Joy
For the ten years I was single and dating online prolifically, I went on a LOT of dates. Some were uneventful. Some were uneventful but ended in hookups. Some were classically awful – great stories that I still tell to this day about psycho women who are presumably still lurking on JDate, Match and Nerve. And then there’s one category of dates that I rarely bring up – the dates where I acted like a complete ass.
And then there’s one category of dates that I rarely bring up – the dates where I acted like a complete ass.
I once wrote a newsletter about some of them. How I drunkenly threw an ice cube down some unsuspecting woman’s cleavage. How I showed up at a sushi date plastered after a full day of drinking by the beach. How I brought a second bottle of wine to her home to ensure that I’d lose my inhibitions if she turned out to not be as attractive as her photo. (Yes, most of my stories involve booze and sex. What do you want from me? My apologies to my mother-in-law who is no doubt reading this right now. Love you, Lani!)
Wait, where was I? Right. Booze. Sex. Bad dates. Yes. The worst date I remember was one that didn’t involve anything other than what Melissa and Joy mentioned above – it was a bright woman with devilish eyes, dark hair and a wicked wit. We had a lot of banter prior to going out on our date and I was unusually nervous for a guy who dispensed dating advice for a living. So I took her to my go-to bar, The Well (leather booths, mood lighting, candles, great vodka selection, amazing jukebox, cool atmosphere, not too pretentious.)
That’s when it all fell apart.
Suddenly, she said things like, “So, why are you single?” and “Do you bring all your dates here?”…and although she was actually just teasing me, like a guy friend would, I took it very, very seriously, and tried to answer earnestly: “Actually, I’m just a regular guy who gives advice, but is really looking for love,” blahblahblah. It was the real answer, all right, but it ground our electric chemistry to an immediate halt. Soon, conversation became stilted and awkward because I felt like she was attacking me (she wasn’t; she was flirting with me), and she thought I was being way too defensive (I was; it was awful). I saw the night spiral out of control and I couldn’t turn it around. When I dropped her off, I knew there was no way I’d ever see her again, and I beat myself up for 2 or 3 days afterwards for acting like a lame ass.
Essentially, if you BELIEVE you’re a great catch, you’re a great catch.
…In the end, it’s your confidence that the guy is buying
Why do I tell you this story, apart from the simple catharsis of admitting embarrassing things in a public forum? Well, because I realized that my main problem was taking myself so goddamn seriously! Of course, it’s funny that I was a single guy giving dating advice. Of course, I bring all my dates to this bar. In retrospect, it would have been far more effective to just laugh at myself and diffuse the situation entirely.
“Yes, I take all my dates here. I’m trying to set a record for the most dates by a guy who really wants to be married. Another 86 and I’ll be there. This is Kate, my regular bartender. She’ll be serving me the usual Vox on the rocks. Check out the jukebox. Make sure you go to the last page of CDs, otherwise you’ll miss out on the White Stripes album buried at the end.”
And if she laughed and said, “Seriously. Why are you still single?” I would probably give a politician-like non-answer, “Well, all the women that I loved broke up with me. And all the women who loved me, I broke up with. And I’ve gotta believe that if I keep getting out there, eventually I’m gonna get it right.” The end.
The real point, Joy and Melissa, is that if you don’t make this into a big deal, it’s not a big deal. If you sweat and stammer and get nervous, you’re only adding fuel to the fire.
Essentially, if you BELIEVE you’re a great catch, you’re a great catch. If you don’t believe you’re a great catch – and need validation of recent relationships to prove it – well, it’s going to be hard to convince yourself (and him) that it’s true.
In the end, it’s your confidence that the guy is buying. Nothing more. Nothing less.
But if you overreact to his innocent (or not so innocent) question, he’s going to wonder about your confidence, which is inherently going to make you less attractive to him.
What you also seem to be missing is that “Why are you still single?” is a compliment. That’s right. Here’s how I know that:
Imagine you met a fat, stupid guy with absolutely no manners. Do you think you would ever ask, “Why are you still single?”
The defense rests, your honor.
The REAL problem is not the question itself; it’s that the question is triggering GENUINE insecurities in you about being a great catch.
Someone only asks that because it seems incongruous that someone as amazing as you hasn’t yet been snapped up by somebody else. The REAL problem is not the question itself; it’s that the question is triggering GENUINE insecurities in you about being a great catch. If you believe you’re a great catch, then the question shouldn’t bother you at all.
Just take it as a compliment.
By the way, here’s how a 31-year-old Evan handled a very challenging question about his own dating credentials in early 2004.