When to Give Up on Dating: 9 Signs You Need to Take a Relationship Hiatus

young woman sitting near the beach watching the sunset

You’ve had enough.

You’ve loved. You’ve lost.

You have no desire to go through it again.

You are ready to go on permanent guy-atus.

Then you read this letter by Emily Bracken posted on Medium and reposted on HuffPo. It’s astonishingly self-aware, and is the kind of letter I wish I received more, instead of the one blaming men for all the ills of the world.

Dear Future Love of My Life:

I know. I should have written before. Forgive me. But I got the feeling that you were beginning to think I didn’t exist. But I do. And I wanted to let you know that while I might be as elusive as a unicorn grazing in a field of four-leaf clovers, I’m close. I’m around the corner, down the street, on Facebook, in your office, at our local coffee shop, a complete stranger. I made eyes at you once on the subway. I saw you across the room at a party. I swiped you right on Tinder. But it’s not our time yet. And I know you’re wondering why.

It’s really not fair that you’ve had to wait this long, or go on blind dates, endure bad sex, settle for ‘meh’ relationships, feel misunderstood, cry from loneliness, wrap your arms around a pillow as you fall asleep at night. I’m so sorry, my love. You deserve an explanation. So, here it goes. It’s taken me a long time to even admit this to myself much less to you, so please know that everything I’ve written here is true.

The reasons we haven’t met yet, in no particular order:

1. I haven’t thrown out the list of things I think you should be.
2. I’m with the wrong person right now.
3. I’m not ready to be loved unconditionally.
4. Since my life isn’t together, I think you’ll reject me.
5. I still believe that drama is a show of love.
6. I’ve been intentionally keeping my head too busy to think with my heart.
7. I need to date more to understand what I do and don’t like.
8. I won’t be able to appreciate you until life has kicked my ass.
9. I’m too focused on my own needs.
10. I don’t know how to create the feeling of home that lives in my heart.

Clearly, I’m not my best self yet. Or even myself — I’m still figuring out who that is. I’m pretty sure even if we did meet, you wouldn’t like me all that much right now. It’s entirely possible that we did hit it off once, and I left without getting your information; or maybe I did get your number and never called because of any one of the above reasons.

This is a call for humility — stop blaming the opposite sex for the downfall of your relationships and take responsibility for the things you can control.

Be patient with me, darling heart. Know that I’m working my way toward you. So don’t spend any more time thinking about where I am or am not. Just keep making your life exciting and full, so when we do finally come together, we can bring each other joy, because we are already happy.

I know it’s taking longer than you’d like. It’s a hell of a lot slower than I could have ever imagined. But I’m here. This is me talking to you. And I’m not going anywhere.

Don’t give up on me.

Yours, in perpetuity,

The Love You Haven’t Met Yet

Flip the genders and it’s just as potent. I could have written the same thing ten years ago, if only I were more self-aware. When I was 31, I hadn’t thrown out the list, my life wasn’t together, I was dating the wrong person, I needed to date more to understand what I like, I wasn’t able to appreciate the right woman until life kicked my ass, and I was too focused on what I was getting instead of what I was giving.

This letter is a call for humility — to stop blaming the opposite sex for the downfall of your relationships and to take responsibility for the things you can control.

My program, Believe in Love, builds on this concept and gives you a step-by-step blueprint to flipping the script from negative to positive, and turning the glass from half-empty to half-full.

But the fact is, finding love can be exhausting. It can be tempting to give up, especially if all your recent attempts ended up in failure.

If you’re thinking of going on “guyatus”, here are nine signs that you may want to take a breather from the dating scene – or at least shift your mindset so dating doesn’t cause so much pain.

1. You’re experiencing what feels like “dating fatigue.”

If you’re a voracious online dater, you may find yourself meeting 1-2 people per week. 

Statistically speaking, you’re not going to like 50% of them and 50% of them aren’t going to like you.

Which means that you have about a 25% chance of having a good first date that leads to a second date.

Which means that the majority of dates you go on are going to underwhelm or disappoint. 

The answer isn’t to quit dating. 

The answer is to learn to screen men better so dating doesn’t feel so soul-sucking. 

In Week 7 of Love U, I mention the 2/2/2 rule, which is a way of screening guys for quality instead of swiping for quantity. Like an HR department that doesn’t allow every person with a resume to meet the CEO, having a mechanism to screen men for effort and intelligence will not only save you from dating fatigue, but it will minimize the number of bad dates you have by meeting total strangers. 

2. You keep dating the wrong people.

Whether you try to meet someone in real life or online, your tendency might be to have a type.

Chances are: your type is the male version of you.

If you’re a skier, you want a skier. If you’re a Christian, you want a Christian. If you like salsa dancing, you want a guy who likes salsa dancing. If you’re college educated, you want a man who’s college educated. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being attracted to people who share things in common.

But if you’ve spent a lifetime choose men who are a lot like you…only to discover that it’s never led to a lasting, healthy relationship, perhaps there’s an opportunity for growth. 

You may want to re-evaluate your choices. Are you choosing men for height, looks, money, education, or a witty profile? That’s normal. But just because a guy is tall, hot, rich, educated or funny doesn’t mean he’s compatible nor does it mean he wants to commit to you. 

Judging men not just on their profiles but on how they follow up and treat you is a much more effective way of attracting “better” men that I teach in the Dating module in Month 3 of Love U. 

3. You’re dating desperately.

Nobody wants to be alone. Nobody wants to hear her biological clock ticking. Nobody wants to operate from a place of fear, scarcity and desperation. Yet, it’s all too common.

When you’re feeling sad, lonely, needy or unloveable, it’s easy to look for love from a place of sheer panic. Instead of integrating dating into your life in an organic way – maybe a half-hour of online dating per day – you start to relentlessly pursue a husband. It makes sense in theory to take your love life seriously, but it rarely produces the kind of result that makes you happy.

Confident, secure men will pull away from your urgency and fear. And who signs up to date the needy woman? Men who are fine with insecure partners. They know that women with few boundaries will put up with anything just to avoid being alone. 

So if you’re feeling really sad, lonely, and desperate right now, take a deep breath.

Putting yourself out there in the right way and being selective in your search is the key to your success – not dating as many men as possible to find a husband as quickly as possible. 

4. You drop everything when you meet a guy you like.

Do you give up on your plans whenever a cute guy calls you to meet up? Do you ever ditch your best friends just because someone you had a crush on circled back looking to hook up? 

While dating with frequency is important, finding a guy should not override everything else. 

If you prioritize men over everything, it’s time to take a step back. 

Maybe take a break to consider why cute guys have such a hold on you. 

Maybe consider budgeting time for dating  – without going over budget. Giving a half-hour a day to online flirting and one or two nights a week to talking and meeting is all the time you need. 

Any worthwhile man who asks you out and discovers you’re busy will still be interested if you tell him you don’t have time until next Thursday. 

5. Your self-esteem is suffering.

Going out with various guys on dating apps can be fun at first, but it eventually takes a toll on your self-esteem. 

You gradually start questioning yourself, “Is there something wrong with me?” 

You may be attractive, educated, and hold a good job, but being a catch is not enough to sustain a relationship with an unwilling man. 

Because everybody has so many options, it’s hard to focus on one person. Especially if your primary way of meeting and communicating is swiping and texting.

Instead of taking things personally when you know that every decent guy has matched with 50 other women as well, the best thing you can do is detach yourself from the outcome.

Expect that most men will flake. Expect that most men aren’t serious. Expect that most men don’t have the desire or follow through to earn the right to meet you for drinks, much less be your boyfriend.

Once you understand that most men are NOT your husband, you can hopefully relax and have fun.

If you take every flaky inconsistent guy personally, it’ll make you feel sad and insecure – two traits that are counterproductive to attracting a happy, confident man. 

You are a catch. But that doesn’t mean that all men want to catch you, y’know?

6. You have trust issues.

If you have a history of being dumped, it’s hard not to expect that to happen with each new guy. 

The natural reaction to a fear of abandonment is to not let anyone else in. Flirt mindlessly online. Sleep around. Fall for long-distance guys who never see you. Choose men who don’t know what they’re looking for. Low-risk. Low reward. By never getting truly intimate with someone, you avoid the pain of heartbreak, but you also avoid the possibility of true love.  

It’s human to want to avoid pain. 

But if pain avoidance becomes your M.O. in dating – treating every man warily because you have a history of choosing charismatic cheaters – you’re never going to get happy.

The solution isn’t to stop dating, nor to treat all men as high-risk criminals worthy of an interrogation.

It’s to stop choosing charismatic cheaters who aren’t looking for anything serious.

It’s actually not that hard.

If you’re with a guy and you think you need to check out the text messages on the phone, the problem isn’t him. The problem is that you’ve CHOSEN a man you can’t trust. And if you are dating a man you can’t trust, you shouldn’t be dating him at all. 

Men are innocent until proven guilty and if your trust issues make you treat a good man as if he has to prove his innocence, those good men are not going to stick around for long. 

7. You’re in deep pain. 

You may be hurting from a recent breakup. You may know that dating is the only way to get the love you deserve. But you also have to know that dating is not a panacea to make your life complete.

Sometimes, you need a few months to heal.

Sometimes, you need therapy. 

Sometimes, you’re still hurting but you need to get back out there again.

Don’t beat yourself up. SOMEONE has to be the first person you meet after your breakup – and while odds are, that person isn’t going to be your soulmate, that’s okay. Remember, you’re not husband-hunting; you’re trying on different pairs of shoes to see if one should happen to fit.

Time heals all and when you’re closer to healed, you’re more likely to attract and choose a great man. 

8. You don’t want to settle down.

Dating around can be fun. 

You flirt. You banter. You get some free dinner. You get some action. You get an ego boost. 

But sometimes you’re just doing it to keep busy because being home alone is the worst thing of all.

As long as you know your motivations, it’s okay.

It’s okay to take a long break.

It’s okay to date for fun.

It’s okay to not know what you’re looking for. 

What’s not okay is dating someone who develops feelings for you while you’re just using him to keep busy. The Golden Rule says to do unto others, so if you wouldn’t want a guy to date you casually when you develop feelings for him, it seems only fair that you should restrict yourself to “just for fun” guys until you figure out what you really want. 

9. You’re content being single.

Being single is not always that bad. 

While you may not have someone to come home to, you have more than just freedom –you have eliminated the biggest source of your misery – a partner who doesn’t fully love and appreciate you.

And if you feel good about being alone, then that’s the right answer for you.

It takes strength and courage to say that you feel complete even without a man beside you. 

Focus on your work. Your body. Your mental health. Your friendships. Your home. 

And keep in mind that, at a certain point, you’re probably going to want to invite someone else to share in the amazing life you’ve created for yourself.

Taking a break from dating can be a great idea, but try not to lose sight of the fact that just about everybody wants to be loved unconditionally by a romantic partner – and that the only way to make that happen is to start dating once again. 

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  1. 1

    I had been guilty of:
    “2. I’m with the wrong person right now.”
    From the age of 17.5 through 27.5 I managed to date three “wrong persons” for a total of 9 years. But honestly I was quite the wrong person too : )

    “5. I still believe that drama is a show of love.”
    It took me a while to let go of drama. It happened around age (*gasp*) 27. Yeah, I know…

    “7. I need to date more to understand what I do and don’t like.”
    More accurate: I needed to date more to understand what I do and don’t like in myself.

    9. I’m too focused on my own needs.
    Love is a commitment to give. Enough said.

  2. 2

    It’s a nice letter.   I do agree with most of the points, and with the sentiment of taking personal responsibility.   However, I think it might be useful to bring up 2 points that I do not agree with.   Particularly point #7 about needing to date more, and point #3 about being ready to be loved unconditionally.

    Evan, I just finished reading “the paradox of choice” since you spoke highly of it – great book, BTW.   But one thing in the book that rang true to me was that the more choices we perceive that we have, the less we ultimately value the choice that we do end up making (due to regret, adaptation, etc).   Based on this, I am not sure that dating more and having more relationships is ultimately to our benefit.   Yes, we may learn more about what we do and don’t like, but we may also become addicted to choice and end up being “pickers rather than choosers” as Barry Schwartz puts it.   Perhaps the solution might be fewer, deeper relationships rather than more, shallow relationships?   Just thinking out loud on this one…
    And, as far as unconditional love (*point #3), unfortunately there is no such thing in relationships.   The letter writer’s immaturity lies, IMHO, not in her inability to be loved unconditionally (nor her inability to love unconditionally, which she interestingly does not mention), but rather in her lack of understanding that love IS conditional in relationships.   That’s why relationships take compromise and work.   Perhaps, rather than state that the problem is an inability to accept unconditional love, perhaps the problem is an inability to compromise – and further, a failure to recognize that as the true goal?

    1. 2.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Interesting points, Jeremy.

      In my opinion, everything exists on a spectrum. That’s why I get so upset when readers see things as black and white or misinterpret something I say as if it applies to every person in every situation. So it goes with the Paradox of Choice. Yes, too many choices are paralyzing and don’t necessarily make us happier. No, I can’t think of anyone who wants to restrict his/her right to choose. To me, the answer lies in the middle. Your suggestion that people have fewer, deeper relationships sounds nice in theory, but should I stay in a relationship where I don’t feel it has a future…just because I want it to go “deeper”? I don’t think so. So I advocate something that worked for me – I went out with a LOT of people and broke things off relatively quickly when I didn’t see a future. That increased my numbers, but allowed me the freedom to learn about myself and women, and eventually find my wife, with whom I’m very happy. She was surprised that I was a good partner even though I’d never had a relationship longer than 8 months before. That’s just one person’s story, of course. Your results may vary.

      Unconditional love is an interesting concept. I would say that technically nothing is unconditional, and yet, in a marriage, we have to act as if it is. Marriage only works when both parties feel safe to let down their guards and be their authentic selves. You can’t walk on eggshells or be afraid of expressing your opinion because it may upset the apple cart. If I create “conditions” in my marriage: “I will only love you if…” it’s not going to be much of a marriage. And then life happens. People change – sometimes they grow together and sometimes they grow apart. I believe that marriages should fundamentally be happy safe havens and if one party is feeling really unhappy, then it’s best to move on – even if this breaks the pledge of “unconditional love”. We’re talking about the difference between ideal and practical. But we should practice as if things are ideal, if you catch my drift.

      1. 2.1.1

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
        I guess what I meant when I wrote that “love is not unconditional in relationships” is that a big part of who we are is wrapped up in what we do and how we behave.   Thus, if my wife married me and I am a successful doctor, and then somehow I become injured and can no longer practice/make a living, should she still love me (unconditionally)?   I would think she should, at least ideally.   But what if, rather than becoming injured, I simply become lazy and one day tell my wife that I no longer feel like working.   What if I then proceed to sit on the couch, eat potato chips, and let her support me?   Should she continue to love me unconditionally, even ideally?   Or am I no longer the person she fell in love with if I behave that way?   Would she view me, not as a person who “does” something, but rather as a person who “is” something.   Ie. Would she see me as a person who does not work, or would she see me as a person who IS lazy and selfish?   Should I be entitled to unconditional love?   I would argue that I shouldn’t, even in the ideal context of marriage.   And so, my argument, that love in relationships is never unconditional – we marry people based on who they are, which is, at least in part, based on what they do/how they act.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          It’s the same thing I acknowledged. I think it would be dutiful to stay if you’re sick or injured…at the same time, if you have become a shell of the person you were, and she feels unhappy and trapped and drained, I would think it’s fair for her to leave. People change. People grow apart. When you’re together, you should give unconditional love a shot – unless it proves untenable. Does that technically make it “conditional love”? Yes, I suppose it does.

        2. jln

          I believe   you can love someone unconditionally, i.e., you’re not trying to change them.  You can  love and accept that person just as they are, and also recognize that sometimes it means you aren’t supposed to be together. It’s far better to recognize that before you marry than after, and that’s why I like Evan’s approach: take your time and make sure you know who you’re marrying.

        3. Noquay

          There’s a huge difference in being unable to work and unwilling to work. The latter demonstrates that your core values have changed and you are no longer the person your wife married. Love is to a point conditional; when we see that our partner is
          psychologically no longer the person he/she was, we fall out of love. My former husband became incapacitated due to cancer, there were things he could no longer do yet we still loved one another deeply, I had to take over more of the work and did so gladly. Contrast this with a dude that hit on me a year ago; he was a former business owner, sold it, and talked about how he is supported by his brother while he plays ski bum. He got mad at me, called me an “uppity [email protected]#$%” because I kinda thought he should get a job, any job, support himself.

        4. Jeremy

          Noquay, I agree with you to a point.   What I have alluded to above is that, in fact, love in marriage is HIGHLY conditional.  

          Think about it – we spend all this time searching for that special person who fulfills so many of our requirements (“conditions”) for love.   They must be attractive, kind, make enough money, intelligent, etc – all the special qualities without which we would not love them or want to be with them long-term.
          When we marry, we tell ourselves that we have found a person who satisfies MOST of our conditions for long-term love, and by marrying that person we are effectively saying that whatever conditions they do not have, we will forgive.   Of course, the caveat to this is that the more that person changes from the conditions they showed during courtship (or the more that we, ourselves change from what we were), the greater the chances that the marriage will end due to those “conditions” no longer being present.   Hence the idea of compromise and “work” to maintain relationships (though the more the “conditions” that were fulfilled by our partners, the less compromise should be necessary).
          This, again, leads me to my original point about this list.   The letter writer lists the reasons why she has not yet found Mr Right.   Among these reasons she lists the various conditions that she has for the ONE she wants to marry.   Then she bemoans the fact that she is not ready for unconditional love.   Irony, anyone?  
          We love our children unconditionally, and our parents and perhaps our siblings.   NOT our spouses.   The very conditionality that lets us CHOOSE whom to love (as opposed to our family, which we can not choose), makes that bond simultaneously stronger yet more fragile.   When the letter writer realizes that there is no such thing as unconditional love in marriage, she will have a more realistic view of what she is looking for, IMHO.

        5. Frimmel

          Anyone asking for unconditional love doesn’t meet the conditions.
          In the case of the letter writer she doesn’t have her life together and thinks drama is an expression of love to pick the ones that jumped out at me. Of course she wants loved unconditionally because she can’t meet even the fairly basic conditions of being just acceptable company.  
          I read this letter in April via: http://judgybitch.com/2014/04/22/okay-mgotw-i-get-it-now-if-this-is-the-option-id-pass-too/

        6. shannon

          You can love someone unconditionally and not put up with bad behaviors both at the same time.   My ex-husband was unfaithful to me during my second pregnancy and I left him.   I love him, he’s family to me and I will always love him, but I would never live with him again.   We are very open and honest with each other, we co-parent and our relationship is drama-free.   He would do anything for me and in my own way, I’ll always be there for him.   He calls me on occassion (once or twice a year) when he needs someone to talk to.   I’ll always accept that call and listen – which is all he ever really ever asks of me.   My point is – unconditional love does not mean accepting bad behior 🙂

        7. JannaG

          I believe that there is no such thing as “unconditional” love among human beings. Instead, there is simply great love with a few very reasonable conditions. When you hear of a long-lasting marriage, both people probably did have a few easy enough to keep conditions. What makes a relationship tough is when you don’t know the other person’s conditions…or your own. Some people have A LOT of conditions.

        8. Matt

          I did pursue a relationship with a guy that had no future just because I wanted to go ‘deeper’ and I did in fact learn much about myself in the process. It’s not as ridiculous as it might sound. It may have been the only way to have such experiences since I’ve never had a meaningful relationship since.

      2. 2.1.2

        I like this reply a lot, Evan. It articulates the point about unconditional love within marriage beautifully.
        I noticed that some recent letter writers/posters on this site have been sharing their difficulties in finding love and joy in their dating life. My   view is that the subject of unconditional love is crucial to understanding that.
        We must first nurture and care and have unlimited compassion for ourselves if we want it to overflow into our relationships – and this takes work, and often a good deal of time, too.
        If we are searching for ‘another’ to heal a gap inside ourselves, the love that we have for that other won’t be unconditional (as we will be looking to get filled up.)
        Dr Margaret Paul (U.S psychotherapist) is a good writer on this subject.

      3. 2.1.3

        I’ll do that one better.

        What if she marries a guy who is highly successful, but he has to work so many hours a week to be successful that he feels like he is simply working himself into a grave. He no longer finds joy in his work, maybe never really did. He only did it as a means to and end. He wanted to find a woman who was ‘top shelf” and wanted other good things in life. Let’s say he works for AIG in information security, but literally has very little time to actually live. He makes $250,000 a year. But again, he has no life. He remembers what it was like to have one, when he was in the Navy. So one day he quits, and takes a job as a trolly operator making $19 an hour. That is significantly less money. That is going to result in a very drastic lifestyle change. This is also my friend I met in the Navy, who did this very thing. But now, he is actually happy. He has time to do things with his kids, and wife even if the lifestyle that his wife and kids had become accustomed to is now significantly less.

    2. 2.2

      Hi Jeremy,

      I am loving this discussion.

      I agree that in your context, love isn’t unconditional. We do choose our partners based on our checklists, our careers, education, looks included. I think the unconditional love bit is what happens after you are in a relationship. I find that just because someone checks off many boxes doesn’t mean you can achieve the state of unconditional love together. That is something you will not know until you go into it and requires constant effort.

      I think unconditional love is very much in an emotional sense, that far exceeds worldly practicalities such looks, careers, educational level, etc. It doesn’t mean having a whatever- goes mentality either, it is going about it with the intention of bringing out the best in each other while not putting up with unreasonable or hurtful behaviour like cheating for example. Unconditional as in seeing it as a partnership and giving freely without expectation of returns while keeping in mind the spirit of mutuality. Working towards a future together, taking care of each other’s needs, etc. A mutual feeling of authenticity and deep connection that transcends the conditions  set forth in the beginning.

      I see  conditions we have for each other in the beginning act as a way to hopefully choose more compatible partners and filter through the masses within a reasonable timeframe. That’s all.

  3. 3

    all of the above
    that’s why I’m not dating
    but I’m taking the time to learn about what I have to do once I’m ready 🙂
    guess that means I haven’t given up

  4. 4

    No. Just no. I am sick of women being told, and telling themselves that there is a laundry list of things they must do to find someone worthwhile. I am sick of women constantly being blamed for being single. I am sick of women internalizing the fact that love is pretty much random, and isn’t attached to “being too focused on my own needs.”  

    No. I reject.

    It’s hard to meet anyone worthwhile, male or female, friend or lover.   

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Keep rejecting, Teresa. But I wouldn’t take much life advice from anyone who finds it hard to meet anyone worthwhile, male or female, friend or lover.

      Almost EVERYONE I meet is worthwhile, male or female, friend or lover.

      1. 4.1.1

        Almost EVERYONE I meet is worthwhile, male or female, friend or lover.

        I wish more people thought like you Evan. It would make not only dating better but society as a whole better.

    2. 4.2

      Teresa, I can understand your frustration.   I think that there are plenty of us, male and female that have experienced it at sometime or another.   Since I have mentioned I am not involved in the dating scene, I have been asked a couple of times “why am I on this blog”?   I would say that Evan is a wealth of knowledge, whether one agrees with him to the exact letter or does not.   I think some of what he says not only applies to romantic relationships, but to all sorts of relationships.   I also find this blog to be very insightful as to where the culture at large is at.   I think there is a pretty good cross section of people commenting and it’s a good cultural bellweather.    I kind of feel like I’m done too.   Some of it has been frustration, but some of it is just where I’m at in life.   I don’t think that one necessarily has to reject what Evan says, however.   We can’t always see what life holds down the road and Evan may have offered you that one little nugget of insight that will make all the difference should you need it. 🙂

      1. 4.2.1

        @ST68 – I was one of the posters who asked why you were on this site, simply because I was genuinely curious why someone who had given up on dating would be here.     And at the time I asked, I was still trying to date but felt like throwing in the towel so was especially interested in other women who’d taken that decision.
        And now, I’m on a break for at least 2 years.   I have felt battered and bruised as I’ve attempted to create a romantic life and I truly believe that in my age group every semi-decent man has his choice from literally dozens of attractive, bright, interesting women.   I remain active on this site because I hope that one day I will feel optimistic enough to once again enter the fray.     I hope that what I read here will help prepare me for that event: give me skills that might increase my chances at success.

        1. starthrower68

          You know Henrietta, life is funny.   Sometimes we’ll see a fairly old thread pop up due to a new comment and I cringe when I see a comment I made where I wasn’t putting my best foot forward. I have not by any means arrived, but I’d like to think I’ve experienced some appreciable growth since I first started reading.   Sometimes I’ve been very discouraged, sometimes I’ve been very optimistic.   But one thing Evan has done with this site, at least for me, is serve as a sort of life line through those times.   I may never have another romantic relationship during my life, but I could always come here and know I was not alone in what I was going through.   For me, that’s big. 🙂

    3. 4.3

      “It’s hard to meet anyone worthwhile, male or female, friend or lover. ”

      When I was in the Navy, and we visited Cannes, France, I had the most incredible dessert for dinner one evening at a really nice restaurant. I haven’t been able to find anything close here. Now, had I insisted that I would never eat another dessert but that one, I would have missed out on some really good desserts. It’s a matter of perspective. That one black comedian, can’t remember his name, once during a standup routine asked if women thought it was hard to find a good man. Of course they indicated this was true. So he asked men to stand up if they were a good man. Most of the men stood up. He then said, “Women, it seems you have a problem recognizing what a good man looks like.” Or something to that effect.
      I think most men feel that way. If they are a good man it never seems to be good enough, so they give up and go find a woman who appreciates who they are not what some woman wants him to be. Gee, didn’t women on this board say that a woman wants to be loved for who she is, not who a man can make her into, when I suggested that a short man might open himself up to an overweight woman and help her get in shape? In short I was suggesting that if a short man felt that he was being rejected for being short, he might find an overweight woman, also being rejected, that would accept him, but he could also help her get into shape, if he didn’t care for overweight women. That idea was rejected because he wouldn’t be loving her for who she is.

      1. 4.3.1
        lorena haro

        I agree, nice, happily single atb 41

      2. 4.3.2

        “Gee, didn’t women on this board say that a woman wants to be loved for who she is…”
        Women will claim from here to the Catskills about what they really want: respect, loyalty, sense of humor, humility, dependability, the list goes on.
        The ugly truth? Not one, NOT ONE of these qualities translates into an OUNCE of pussy.

    4. 4.4

      Hey, Teresa.   I dunno if this will make any sense to you, but what if, instead of reading that list as things that are wrong with single people that they must work on before getting into a committed relationship; what if you think of it as a list of things that are within your control?   There is stuff that gets in the way of your having the relationship you want – I dunno what it is in your case (I’m not always sure what it is in my own), but I know that some of it is outside of your sphere of influence, so there’s no point of stressing over that.   And then there is stuff you have the power to work on.   Why not work on those things?

  5. 5

    The way I look at is this: I didn’t realize I had conditional love towards my then husband, until he met them! Then it became obvious. Intent should be unconditional love until proven otherwise. It is almost impossible to create hypothetical conditions and know your reactions, as you really don’t know how you’ll feel until you are there. If and when you do get there, you’ll know–usually that spells divorce.

  6. 6

    That is a lovely letter it almost makes me want to cry imagining that someone is writing that to me.   On the other hand it also frustrates the heck out of me, being at the point where I’ve dealt with my issues.   I”m ready to settle down and so darn tired of waiting.   Reading lists, like the one in the letter, makes me feel like the reason I haven’t found love is that I’m not ‘perfect’ enough or ‘deserving’ enough to be loved.   Logically I know this is not true, but the irrational lonely part of me askes ‘What more do I have to do?’ If only it were as simple as getting all your ducks in order and having Mr. Right show up.

    1. 6.1

      Jennifer, I feel you that’s why you need to just keep on dating and meeting new men. I cried when I read this then I sent it to my boyfriend and he said he cried. We both took awhile finding each other but we did. Even though we were both single and in the same city and on the same dating site 2 years before we me each other, we might not have worked out because we both hadn’t finished our path to emotional health. The waiting sucks but once the wait is over it feels like it never even mattered. Good luck.  

    2. 6.2

      I’ve been reading this page often as it pops up with a lot of my questions as a newly single person. Husband cheated for months within days of our marriage beginning, so I had to leave. Marriage absolutely is conditional but the conditions were laid out before the wedding day, not in front of everyone you know.   Sadly, there really has to be a cut off age. I hit 30, the fact I am dating rather than in a happy family is just pathetic. I know it. I don’t think this letter pertains to most of us due to this. There are too many specifics. 5,7, and 8 shouldn’t be players by my age. They certainly didn’t speak to me, as much of the other reasoning did not. It’s also yet again selfish for the writer to expect someone else to be miserable while they work on themselves and the other person twiddles their thumbs. I opened this hoping for a magical cut off age. Not more blather about hope that dwindled off long ago. Let’s talk reality. Is it 30? 40? Many people wind up alone. Why drink the kool aid, especially as a woman?

  7. 7

    That was a beautifully written letter to be sure. BUT, if I have to hear “be patient” one more time, I’m going to puke. You can die of old age being patient!

    1. 7.1

      THANK YOU!!!

  8. 8

    4, 6, and 9.   Damn! That letter really resonated with me.m Although I’ve never put it in writing, I have had similar conversations in my head to the future love of my life. I am looking forward to reading your new book Evan 🙂

  9. 9

    I love that letter, it is sooo true, I wonder if many people even realize how they block themselves from love by their own behaviors??

    off topic how do I get to post an avatar of myself on this site or a pic like  Julia has?

  10. 10

    I read this letter with an open mind I did enjoy it, my problem is #5 I don’t like no forms of drama, NONE!! I can do without it, I don’t like it, and I don’t care if’s coming from family, friend, foe. I don’t want it or need it those people for me are just again… DRAMA!! when I see it coming I move out of the way..

  11. 11

    Yep, I do have a list but I feel the things on it are things that are part of the job description of Adulthood 101. Be financially responsible; have good hygiene; take responsibility for your own health and fitness; have a strong work ethic; be free of addictions; do not have a criminal record; do not be married or otherwise
    attached; care about the environment and social justice. These are all points that I live up to myself. It’s probably a Western redneck state thing, but I meet
    lots of men, very few live up to these expectations.   I
    have given these dudes a chance at times and it was a disaster; the last instance resulted in my being stalked. Contrast this to my former husband who worked his
    way to a doctorate (as have I) a Deanship,   and to this day is a stellar humanitarian and activist.
    Apart from trying to meet guys at the local race series (generally better educated and fit), I have given up and am seeing what other realistic options are. This includes putting serious money into up-classing my house in the hopes that the housing market will
    improve and checking out the feasibility of leaving at 55, either going back home (rural but with a small progressive community) or finding a rural, progressive town elsewhere. I will have to throw away my career as older senior level academics have few
    new options. Maybe larger-scale organic farming as I do run a small farm here as well and that’s in keeping with my core values.   I do not feel that I should settle
    for someone marginally/unemployed by choice that I have to support,   have no attraction for, and who is
    not willing to pull his weight. BTW, most higher earning, educated women here of all ages have also either left, given up, or settled for “bad guys” for a temporary fix, we all have a lot to offer
    so tis not just me, some regions are just not amenable to finding someone.

  12. 12
    Dina Strange

    Noquay, coming from another country, and a different culture, i can honestly tell you that “american men” are spoiled by american women. Thats why (I think) they have no desire to change or become better. As one american guy told me…why should i try and work hard to get a woman, when i get sex at any bar. He also told me that american females are desperate for relationships, and will have sex with you, just so you stay (his words, not mine).

    If women had higher standards, men would  probably have an incentive to change…otherwise, it’s probably not going to change, but i admire you for not settling down. Because even if you, u will be unhappy.  

    1. 12.1

      Thanks, Dina. Yep, most of this towns problem children are that way because there has been no incentive to change. Alcoholism and drug use were very much a part of the culture here in the 70s and that never changed. They can hit up a down and out chick at a bar with little effort. Again, I am not saying folks are superior/inferior but what person in this day and age, regardless of culture, would go about smelling bad, in dirty clothing, high on drugs, have a criminal record and think they are relationship material? Bizarre. As someone whose real home is darned near Canada, I too kinda come from a different culture plus I am traditional Native. Back home, there of course was poverty, drugs, alcoholism, despair but there was also the understanding that you, man or woman, fix your issues, lift yourself up, have a work ethic and hold yourself in dignity. If you didn’t, you were to a point shunned and certainly were not going to seek relationships as word gets around. A bizarre situation; I am only here in the west because my life was threatened because I did very controversial research back home and had to take a job elsewhere. That’s what led to the end of my wonderful marriage to a wonderful man. Now I find myself in a place where I am not even allowed to speak the truth of why I am here and am, like our other posters have made clear, am despised for doing what was right, lifting myself up beyond my origins. It is bizarre that it is thought that I should settle for someone whose values do not mesh or worse and that one would be happy under such a situation. Yep, it sucks to be so alone, to be judged unfairly because of where one lives. Apart from my dying dad (dying due to the combined effects of alcoholism and obesity; know where that path leads) I have no family and a few work/community friends, that’s all. I have tried very hard to make things better here for all but I am finding that the problem is far bigger and the town really needs to take a realistic look at their issues because yep, not only is the town suffering a major brain drain, we are also loosing students/staff/faculty due to the damaged culture here. Tis not just me and my snobbery. I have actually stuck it out far longer than most women do. Trying to find do able options; the next few years are gonna prove interesting. BTW, I apologize for all the weird spacing errors; there’s something about whatever runs this site that doesn’t allow a smartphone user to scroll up/down.  

  13. 13

    As a single male, I want nothing to do with this letter writer.   It sounds like she is conceding that she cannot  marry one of the elusive, higher value males that have been rejecting her. Therefore, she now wants to date the fawning “nice guys” she’s been rejecting for the last 10 years.

    To me it is insulting, and I want no part of her. She also is presuming that the men that she has been rejecting the last 10 years still want her now that she is 10 years older. Many times women in her position do not realize that they are much less desirable to the men that pursued them years before.


    1. 13.1

      Meh.   Plenty of men – young and old, poor and rich, handsome and not – over estimate their value to women, as well.   Just because you think you’re entitled to a hot 20 year old, doesn’t make it so.

    2. 13.2

      I totally agree. I think karma catches up even to the prettiest ones. I know this hot girl that kept friendzoning me everytime I asked her out 8-10 years ago. Last time I crossed her she was not as graceful. I barely talked and cut the conversation short, she gazed at me with surprize before going my way. I felt free as I walked away because I stopped the nonsense, and felt sad that she chose that path for us. I know I could have loved her for ever but she gave  her best years to some cool dude a  friend told me he gave her up, why would I want to put up with the left overs and broken pieces? Moreover she could have still rejected me for the sake of old times and I would have felt even worse than 10 years ago; rejected by someone  I don’t even find that cute anymore? No way. It is a bitter sweet. I know that I would love to love but don’t want to bother with their game anymore. The only reason I would be willing to put up with inlaws, the ex, female nagging etc it’s because she would be awesome to me and full of life.

  14. 14


    You and women in your same or similar position have lists that make it impossible to find love, or near impossible. Less men get post graduate degrees. Requiring that in a man puts you on the wrong side of equal chances at finding love. Then the fact is, while you want a man to meet your level of expectations, many if not most of those men do not require women to meet those standards to enter into a relationship with them. The truth is, I believe that in some ways men are less judgmental. Oh sure they are more judgmental on some things, but not as much as people try to say. you yourself want the man to be fit and healthy. But with looks, like it or not, we all go for the best we can get, and will slide up or down the scale a bit depending on other factors. A man will not marry a perfect 10 who has a horrible personality when he has a 8 or 9 with a beautiful personality. Most men won’t anyway. Men are looking for a combination of things also, just like women…they are just different than what women are looking for.

    But I think this is key, and if you want to find love, I think you are going to be more like men in this one key area. A man who is your mirror image can marry a woman who isn’t even close to your level, and yet he can respect her just as much as he would respect you. Oh sure, he would understand that she doesn’t have the same amount of education, and or may not be as intelligent, but he can see other qualities worth respecting.

    And you let slip something that is forever going to be an anchor, keeping you from finding love. It is almost very likely that your perfect match, a man that can make you feel like getting out of bed every day and facing it with energy, is going to be making significantly less than you..is going to be less driven than you, etc…

    I think women in your position have an attitude about people that makes it impossible for you to respect men that have not met or exceeded your expectations. If you can’t fix that, you are doomed to be single, or miserable in a relationship.

    I think you should keep in mind that when you are dieing, you aren’t going to think, “Boy, I wish I had added one more degree to my resume.” or, “I wish I had started one more activist organization,” or, “I wish I had made 1 million more dollars.” You are going to wish you spent more time living, loving and laughing.

    You don’t need a man that mirrors you. You need a man that compliments you, and if he does, he deserves your utmost respect, because in areas that you are weak, he is strong.

    See, while you are looking for your mirror image, men are looking for somebody that compliments them. Completes them, if you will.

    Try this…have a friend put her hands together like a person prays. Palms together and fingers against each other in a mirror like fashion. Now, you grab her wrists and try to pull her hands apart while she tries to resist. Unless you are very weak and she is very strong, you should be able to do this easily. The idea is t make the hands completely separate, but not necessarily keep them permanently apart.

    Next, have her interlace her fingers so that the palms are together and the fingers are clasping the back of the opposite hand. Like a child would do when they clasp their hands together and plea to have their way at something. Some people also put their hands together like this to pray. OK, not try to repeat what you did by pulling on her wrists. Unless you are very strong and she is extremely weak, you should not be able to pull her hands apart. The palms might separate just a bit, but you won’t be able to completely separate her hands. It’s a stronger bond. The ties are stronger. That’s how you need a man to be with you. But first, you have to learn to be less of a snob, and learn to appreciate those who are different than you, and learn to see them as different, not inferior. The first step is going to be to admit that you are a snob. Try this..change the word redneck with African-American in your post above. See how it sounds to you after you do that.

    1. 14.1

      Rusty – You really think a woman is a snob because she wants a man who is (to quote her)
      “financially responsible; have good hygiene; take responsibility for your own health and fitness; have a strong work ethic; be free of addictions; do not have a criminal record; do not be married or otherwise ”             ????????
      It seems to me she had a good husband at one time,   and I don’t really fully understand the reason her marriage ended.   (seems linked to some controversial research she did requiring her to move ???????,     don’t really get it, but I wasn’t there)
      I think financially responsible, hygienic, and healthy, non criminal, not married or in a relationship, strong work ethic and non-addicted are reasonable.   In fact,   some of those things aren’t really on “my list” because I think they go without saying.   I usually don’t qualify what I want in a man with   “non-violent” or “unmarried” because SHEESH, I think those things would be implied.   To say otherwise, I might as well say, “I want a man who is alive, because I don’t date corpses”.  
      Which item on the list should she give up ?     Should she date criminals, drug addicts, men with poor hygiene or married men ?
      I am not picking on you Rusty, really I’m not, but I don’t understand AT ALL what it is in “her list” that makes her a snob.   I would never advise a man to date a woman with poor hygiene, addictions or a criminal past.   (felonies, violence, etc)  

      1. 14.1.1

        My marriage ended because I have to take a job out west in order to support myself. Like I stated in an earlier comment, my life (and that of my spouse by extension, was being threatened), my research findings cost folks in power in the area serious money.   Neither of us wanted it to happen and we remain friends to this day. As an accomplished man, it was easy for him to find someone, not so for me, his female counterpart. A lot of the reason I really do feel like giving up is I do know what a good rship is thus it is very difficult if not impossible to accept one that is not. To try and force oneself to be with someone whom you cannot have conversation with, be attracted to, who has serious personal issues is horribly unfair to both parties.

      2. 14.1.2


        Her list goes far beyond what you list. But let me touch on one that is on the list and show how while it sounds reasonable, it is not. Criminal history.

        I have a friend who was married to a very selfish woman. They also had a daughter together which is the only real reason he stayed with her. Long story short, she ran into one of her old boyfriends and started a facebook/texting/phone call, relationship with him. In many ways, she had more in common with the ex-boyfriend but those details don’t really matter, just that she chose to throw away a decade long marriage to be with her boyfriend.

        To do this however, she had to have certain things happen. Here in Florida you can’t just move away when you have kids. So she had to get a reason to get the court to authorize it. So here in Florida you get a lot of false accusations being made.

        OK, so what she did was ask for a separation, and the filed for a restraining order. Here’s the catch. She told him that if he didn’t fight it, they could talk and try to work things out. If he fought it, it would be over. So of course he didn’t fight it. Then she starts meeting him on the sly. She calls him and lets him call her. There is a food court near where she works, so she would tell him to stop in where she works and let her know he was there and then wait in the food court.

        Long story short, she was building a case against him of violating the restraining order. It went to court and he got 6 months in jail. Long story.

        OK, now, thanks to the internet, this guy will likely never find a quality woman willing to date him, let alone marry him. This guy is a great guy. Actually a very gentle guy. His ex, when I asked her admitted to me that he had never laid a hand on her, that she was not an abused woman. You think any woman who does a back ground check will believe that he is a gentle guy? He’s had his life destroyed and is slowly piecing it back together.

        He is not financially stable…not in the way woman like Noquay want. He is rebuilding. Having to live alone doesn’t make that easier. He is going in a totally different direction. On my advice, he is back in school. Will he ever get a post graduate degree? Not likely. Once he can make reasonable money with a Bachelor’s he will likely stop at that.

        I get the strong feeling that Noquay is a strong Liberal. Most men are not. Most men are conservative, even most accomplished men. I know a man who is a Ph.D and votes straight GOP but hides that fact in his job. He is a humanitarian, and believes strongly in charity and doing for others…but he’s not Liberal.

        Then there are guys who simply work in very dirty jobs. They do take good care of their hygiene when they get home, though they don’t get manicures or pedicures. Some might if their wives took them to get one..but some might resist thinking that only women do that.

        Drugs…absolutely. I would not date a woman who is an alcoholic or drug addict. However, if I found out that 20 years ago, she had been, but she walked away from that life without regret, then I could overlook that.

        Strong work ethic. Define that. See, what is a strong work ethic for one person may be workaholic for another. I know some women who can’t stand to see a guy is down for more than a few minutes. However, I met a guy once who started his own insurance business. He is very driven. While he worked in another office, he saved as much money as he could, and also bought all of the furniture he would need for an office and stored it in his apartment, stacked in their boxes. He also bought all of the supplies he would need. Once he had enough money saved for two years worth of bills, gas and food, he opened his own office.

        This was a very good looking guy. He wore nice suits, drove a BMW, had a “real” Rolex, nice home, etc… He said his problem was not attracting women, it was keeping them. He was a workaholic, which got him to where he wanted to be. But these women wanted more time with him. Time he could not give.

        I read Noquay’s response, and I agree. She should not settle. I liken it to a man who married a woman with the looks of a playboy playmate of the year, cooked like Martha Stewart, is very kind, patient, loving, affectionate, etc… If he loses her, he should hold out for another just like her. I would actually feel sorry for the woman he married who is not up to the standards of the previous one.

        I do not wish ill will on anyone, and I wish everyone could find their perfect match. If I could wave a magic wand and make that happen for everybody, tomorrow when we wake up, every woman would look like a playboy playmate and ever man would be a Ph.D making 6 figures.

        But the reality of the situation is that her “needs” make her search more like a needle in a haystack. It is extremely likely that she will end up alone for the rest of her life. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Again, I agree that we should not settle for things that would make us unhappy. I don’t even think Evan would say to do that. What he and most coaches seem to do is two things…help you identify where you are doing things that cause others to see you as a not so good catch, and then also teach you to expand your available choices by identify areas where you are being too picky about things that should not matter so much. For instance, the guy in my example above might learn to appreciate women who are not playboy playmate good looking. Of course, women would think that is totally reasonable, and so do I, but for this man, he’s had that. He wants it again. He isn’t likely to be as happy without it. Certainly not with woman who’s not even close.

        So it is what it is. Noquay has an idea of what would make a good fit for her. The problem for her is that these guys are extremely rare. So already he has his pick of women like her. Add to that the fact that men like her ex husband likely don’t even require a woman to be like her. These men are often more than willing to marry a woman who only has a high school education. I understand that many women like Noquay absolutely hate that and can’t understand it. They feel that those men should be sticking to women like her…women who have earned their place with him. But men have always seen it differently, and always will.

        So the obvious is that Noquay has stacked the odds against herself. I do applaud that she is here seeking to improve her odds. But then, I wouldn’t expect anything less.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Rusty – You are taking a very reasonable list, and trying to make it sound unreasonable, with some anecdote about a man being falsely accused of a crime, and saying that since there is no precise definition of “work ethic” that it shouldn’t be on the list.     Just because you don’t know her PRECISE definition of work ethic, doesn’t make her a snob.   I don’t think we could come up with a precise definition of someone being “in good physical shape” either, but are people snobs for wanting to be with someone who is in good physical shape ?   (whatever their definition is ? )
          Wanting a man who practices good hygiene, is financially stable, not addicted, isn’t married etc. are all reasonable.     If a man has a dirty job, he should go home and clean up before a date.   I used to have a job in a print shop, and that’s what I would do.   Clean up before going out.  
          As for your liberal/conservative jazz, I have NO IDEA what you are going on about, or how that is even relevant to a woman wanting a man to be hygenic, have a good work ethic, non-addicted, not married, and should be willing to accept any criminal history, because after all some people are falsely accused of crimes.
          I did think her “must be into social justice” would eliminate a lot of people, but I don’t see how that is much different than people who have religious requirements.    

        2. RustyLH

          SE you miss the point.
          I said, that list was not her entire list.   The fact is that she had it all.   She had the guy with the Ph.D, Deanship, identical political views, etc…   She’s not going to be happy with any other guy because he will never measure up to her husband, a husband she would still be with if life hadn’t interfered.
          You also seem to be twisting things.   I never said everything on that list is unreasonable.   I too want the woman to have good hygiene (you would be surprised how many don’t), be in reasonably good physical shape, not be an addict (alcohol or drugs), not married.    Financially stable?   I guess it would be nice if she’s not 50,000 in debt.   I don’t need her to be making a lot of money, however.   I understand that women are much much more materialistic so this is more important to them.
          However, I am in school.   I do not make a lot of money right now.   I have more than enough to meet my needs.   I am not homeless.   But I also understand that a lot of women won’t want to date me because I don’t have the money to wine and dine them at the fancy restaurants.   My attitude?   Good riddance.
          My thoughts on the criminal record thing is valid.   there are many good men who made a mistake in their life, or were falsely accused and got sent away for a short time.   That one anecdote is one of many, and I am sure my experience with people is not unique.
          My uncle was the get-away drive in a failed bank robbery.   He is the 2nd youngest in my dad’s large family.   He crashed in the attempted getaway and spent time in a hospital, and then some prison time.   That was a long time ago.   But the point is that after that, he woke up.   Stopped thinking like an idiot kid and had a totally different outlook.   He built a very very nice home with his own hands out in the country where he lives with his wife of 40 years, and where he raised four kids, and where he now spends time with his grand kids.   In short, he is a good man.   A good man my aunt would have missed out on had she put any emphasis at all on what he did before he met her.
          Now, I can agree that not all criminal records should be overlooked.   It is information to take on board an assess, but just having a record should not be a deal breaker.
          If I met a woman, and started a relationship, and then found out she had a record, I wouldn’t totally discount it.   I would want to examine what was on the record, and compare that to what I saw in her.   In short, I would be trying to figure out if her experience changed her for the better, or did she learn nothing.   Also, how long is the record?   Is it a long record or just a couple of incidents from her past, or one recent incident?   A long record with many infractions would signal to me that she likely has core value problems, which is different than making a mistake…it’s who she is.  
          And what is social justice?   I am a major player in m y church’s outreach charity for the homeless.   We’ve had two pieces of expensive equipment stolen from this charity.   Imagine that…you try to help people and they steal from you.
          Also, we’ve helped get people off the streets, and get jobs.   But they screw it up.   One guy we got him a job at a fast food place but being new he wasn’t getting enough hours.   Just 2 to 3 days a week.   Not enough to support him, his wife and daughter.   However, we tried to get him to go to the labor pool, a place called “labor ready,” but he actually refused to do this.   Just 2 to 3 days a week would have given him enough along with his fast food job.   But he refused.   Wanted us to keep helping him make the rent payment on the place we helped him get into.
          Another guy walked in and did have good job skills.   He was a tree surgeon.   Big business here in Florida.   We got him a job.   He showed up two hours late and drunk.
          Another guy we got a job working driving a cab.   He liked it at first but then when he found out how this was going to affect his rent, he stopped.   See, he was living in a place that rents rooms to single men and is based on income.   He was only having to pay $25 per month.   Yes, twenty five dollars a month.   But with the money he would start making driving a cab, that was going to go up significantly.   He had to pay $90 a day for his cab.   In short to make money you have to work, and work somewhat long hours on days where the business is good.   Then you have to be smart with your money and put most of it away.   Some days you won’t get many calls.   You might not even make enough to pay your $90.   But if you work at it, you make money over the whole month.   He just couldn’t deal with the fact that he wouldn’t clear a lot of money ever day, and it bothered him that he would lose his free ride on the rent now that he was working.
          This whole idea of social justice is way off.   I can agree with some things, but most of the people I’ve talked to who espouse social justice seemed to be very intolerant of anyone who had different views.   Plus, they seemed to think they had all the answers and would refuse to listen to reasonable statements that did not align with what they believed.

  15. 15

    I think after reading some of the responses in this thread, that there are many good ideas being put forth. In order to be successful in dating,   a person needs a combination of things, looks, personality, being around another person who wants a relationship etc. So there does need to be a level of self-awareness, a reality check to what is out there (who, actually) , some level of EFFORT to be expended on one’s appearance & social activities, etc. 10 years ago VS today,   a person can change, we shouldn’t refer to eachother like we r stock or real estate whose value has gone up or down…

    I am 55 & my value has gone UP! Way up, you know why? I am more well-formed as a person, I have good boundaries, my looks have IMPROVED & in my age category. I do stand out…when I was 25 I was a pretty face in a sea of youthful pretty 25 year olds…But as   55 year old I am more unique. My income while not high, is stabile, I have no debt, my children are adults, I know who I am…People go thru PHASES in their lives, & some hit their stride at an older age. I put an ad in a pay site 10 days ago, & was able to weed thru the players, the crazies, etc pretty damn quick. I whittled it down to maybe 10 out of 500 & focused on contact w/ them. The best looking man in the group, after 2 phone calls & observing his behavior online in 2 sites, was eliminated for very valid reasons. I met one for tea who looked at every woman who walked by our booth, no thank you! I spoke to a few more (ones who I was able to get on the phone) & one sounded so hateful & miserable, done! I am now down to a few more, one seems to drink more than I’d like, he is crossed off the list. Actually one does stand out alot & I hope we will meet soon, we found out we have a few mutual acquaintances, etc. BUT if it doesn’t pan out, I still have learned a valuable lesson for my one-month subscription fee: a whole gaggle of men do not amount to a hill of beans if he isn’t into you specifically. I am older, for an older man to connect, he needs to be motivated. To be motivated, there has to be a connection. If it is just based on loneliness, or wanting arm candy, a roomate to pay 1/2 the bills, etc. it won’t last.   Maybe focussing on yourself & self-improvement is the way to go? To make yourself READY for love? I think reading the info in this site sure can’t hurt!

  16. 16

    Rusty and despattor
    Yep, to a point I am a snob, I admit it fully. I have tried to have relationships with guys who were very working class and/or uneducated and it never worked. Yep, I am someone who worked her own way out of poverty, escaping a very abusive, alcoholic family,
    worked my way thru school, raised a brother at the same time. Yep, I have high standards and do not want to be dragged into   the very subculture that I worked
    so hard to escape from. I don’t have TV, read books,
    am a professor, environmental activist, and organic

    farmer. This is who I am and I don’t feel that’s evil though I understand that dudes like you or people that like to live redneck culture (and nope, they are
    certainly not inferior, just have different values/
    lifestyle). I am mixed race myself and would never
    look down upon anyone considered “different”, been
    on the receiving end of that lots. All people need to understand themselves, what works for them and
    what does not, what may be potentially harmful.
    Yep, my marriage and the two long term relationships I
    had prior were with fellow highly educated guys who had strong social/ environmental values. Look again at my list: no financially irresponsibles, unhealthy by

    choice, no addicted, poor hygeine, these are things are indicative of attributes that all people should avoid, regardless of their education level (BTW, I have avoided educated dudes with these very problems),
    my latest wannabe stalker does have a college degree, that doesn’t mean I should support the dude if I am not attracted to him, see lots of red flags, so he can continue to play ski bum while I work full time and run a small farm, do home repairs etc.
    Would either of you date a female parallel of what’s on my list? My point was that due to past history, demographics, cultural values, not all places are amenable to finding someone. I also think trying to be something one is not, trying to espouse values not
    your own, willingly taking up with someone solely to avoid being alone at all costs, is a recipe for disaster. Another BTW; a friend here was shot by her stalker a few years back, avoiding some of these guys may save ones life. Since a couple of disasters dating locals ,
    I do not look for men here, my market is retired academics and similar folk that come here for races or to train. I fully understand that. The real problem is that this town has such a bad reputation in this state that folks assume we all are uneducated drug users
    and we are all tarred with the same brush. I own a home here whose resale value is not high enough these days, do long distance care of my remaining parent, and leaving would mean a huge financial hit and I’d have to abandon my dad.
    Tell me how to figure that one out, eh? And nope, I have not been rejected except by dudes in the big cities down the hill because of the long distance/dangerous drive. I get hit on by many guys when I was on line and IRL. It actually has been me choosing
    not to engage with guys that do not share my values and seem to be in search of a meal ticket, or approach me and I find they are already attached.   I understand that as an overedumacated, brown, highly active older chick I am an odd duck in the eyes of many. However, neither of you would take kindly to being told to be alone or settle for someone totally wrong for you. Again , if I said that you should just stick with a woman who refuses to support herself, who is unhealthy and uses drugs, who loves off road vehicles, guns, will turn your well maintained home into a junkyard, when all these things are anathema to you, I am thinking you’d be pretty pissed, eh?

  17. 17

    I find it really surprising that Noquay’s requirements for a bf are considered at all unreasonable. Those requirements are met by about 90% of the guys I know–except that some of them are v young and not yet impassioned about “the environment and social justice”. (Of course many of them are attached and some married, but my point is I assumed the dating pool in most areas was full of men who were financially responsible, didn’t have a criminal background etc.) Most, if not all, of her requirements sound pretty crucial to me.
    A big liability of mine is number 7: I need to date more to figure things out. I couldn’t date at all for 3-4 years in my early 20s, thanks to emotional and physical issues, so I still feel like such a newbie at this, especially when I read stories on this blog of pple who’ve dated Each bf for a few years, and dated a few of such guys!
    I have number 4 too–my life isn’t ‘together’ yet. But it’s ‘together’ enough that guys seem to like me, so I can’t let that stop me from dating. I’ll admit that men can be somewhat more forgiving of women than vice versa: if a woman dresses nicely and looks pleasant, and she’s polite and sweet, it seems to be enough to satisfy lots of guys. Whereas I would only be satisfied if the guy was very intelligent, had extremely good character, was financially okay, and had very good manners. I hope that’s not considered unreasonable, lol. Basically a very nice guy who’s brainy and a gentleman also. 🙂

    I myself am intelligent, have very good character (I think!), have good manners, and financially though I don’t earn a lot, but I spend well within my means. So I’m only asking that a man have the same good qualities that I have. I think that’s reasonable. 🙂

    1. 17.1

      In rural towns, especially those like this one are “post boom and bust”, most of the folks are in poverty, most here haven’t even made it thru high school, drugs/alcoholism/stalking/battering are prevalent. Why? The ambitious folk left long ago, this town is the only place where very marginalized folk can afford to live for many miles. A good deal of the population, particularly the older segment of such, is trapped. This town is an anomaly, true. It is notorious in the state. Our institution is one charged with serving “underserved” populations.   What I was trying to convey is that there are places where one really does need to give up on finding a rship until one can be in a position to get out.

      1. 17.1.1

        @Noquay: Wow, what u say is quite eye-opening to me.   I feel sad for the disadvantaged pple there. That said, u shouldn’t have to date them if their values are soo different from yours.
        But I’ve read of pple on this blog who dated someone who lived in a different, nearby town; that’s becoming more common with online dating. It takes some effort of course. But from your posts, I gather u don’t have many family members or friends in the area that u live, so it seems extra-lonely if u give up on dating while there. I’m so introverted that my friends tease me about it, but your life sounds a bit too quiet even for me. I’d really advise online dating 🙂 It has been helpful to many of us here. And there’s really nothing to lose.

        1. Noquay

          Yep, most western towns that exist because of past resource extraction are now very sad places. The last three years, I literally spent thousands on on line sites. I found maybe a handful of men I was attracted to. I literally blew up my car travelling to meet a guy who was nothing that he portrayed himself to be (I call this
          my 40k [email protected]#$ up, that was the cost of the new car) Drove 100 miles, most times to meet them. Most I met had been dishonest as to state of health (we’re talking heart attack in the near future), weight by a considerable margin, height, again by a considerable
          margin. I proactively trolled the sites to see if attractive men even existed; most of them aren’t willing to drive 100 miles when they have options a block away. The ones willing to consider coming to my poor town seem to do so as they think they’re gonna hook up (not so) or have few options back home. All the women here, regardless of age, ethnicity, income, education, have had the same experience. Because the cost of caring for my dad and the expense of upgrading my home to increase its resale value has gone waaay up, I cannot afford on line and the travel expenses this year. I learned a lot, got to discuss quantum physics with a dude from far away, have educated guys from all over the world on high altitude gardening and have become a staunch friend to a dude that was horribly wounded and will never be able to be in a relationship. Since I found that the one man whom I was attracted to here, could talk to, respected greatly, was cheating the entire two years he pursued me, I have considered on line or dudes I meet while racing, my only options. Unless there is an infusion of much higher functioning older guys, I will not be looking close to home. It well could be that somehow, I will have to find a way out without loosing my shirt before I can ever be in a rship again. Sad but true. In the meantime, I do my best and understand as to being confident, putting myself out there, truly being the person I want to attract, I have done everything I possibly could. Thanks, though.  

  18. 18

    Good morning Rusty!
    Yep, I am a Liberal and proud of it. Yep, I have dated and have many friends that are Conservatives. No problem except for the guy who told me “you have no right to believe in Climate Change”. No one tells me
    what to think or not think. Do you really think (pun
    intended here) that I should “act” conservative in order to”get” a guy? Should I be OK with drug use, DUIs, men having restraining orders against them,
    men like the one you described trying to find a job for (I do similar work, but more on the academic side)? How happy would we be then, eh? You call me selfish, why? Because I won’t support someone who refuses to
    pay his own way so he can ski all winter while I work? That’s most of the guys that approach me here; they don’t wanna work, be responsible; that’s on them. Most of the working-class dudes here ask me, a smallish academic, for help with stuff like carpentry
    instead of a guy. Why? I show up on time, tools and work gloves in hand, am sober and not high on weed, I learn quickly, work steadily till the job is done. That in my evil Liberal lil brain, is a work ethic. In academia, as you are a student, that means going to class, being prepared, fully engaged, rather than skipping class,
    hanging on the beach. I give huge amounts of time and money to charities here, am trying to get help for my mentally Ill neighbor, yep, a man who’d love to date me. In the past, I have literally risked my life on the front lines facing very nasty folks with serious
    firearms so that much less well off folks could have justice and be safe. This is not the mark of a selfish person. Sorry dude. I don’t expect to be supported by anyone. I own my own homes, grow most of my own food, do my own fixxit work, even cut/split my own
    wood. No one’s giving me anything for free, which is a standard that I feel all adults should be at in life. No one owes us squat. Yep, I was very fortunate to have a husband that suited me extremely well and to this day I wish the circumstances of what lead to the breakup
    had never happened. Yep, when one has a good relationship, settling for less is very difficult. Yep, educated men will marry high school dropouts. Why, they’re looking for someone who raises kids, runs the home. Their intellectual stimulation comes from
    outside the home and their role is provider. Its very different when the tables are turned, especially when no kids are involved. Women want men to be equal   partners in more respects; we want to do things with,
    have long conversations with our husbands, go places with them, be proud of them. We are security oriented; when an uppity chick like me pulls herself out of the gutter, there’s no way she will ever be pulled back down there. I grew up in poverty, worked my
    way thru school, lived in homes without running water, battled breast cancer totally alone, wondered if I could feed myself. At those times I didn’t date because I felt I wasn’t available in any way, for another. I understand I am a weird animal, I am not looking for a clone of myself or my ex but am looking for an equal. I don’t much like being alone, yep, I have considered suicide (many here do), or complete withdrawal from society when I retire. However, being with someone with whom you have no connection with is also being alone, albeit with serious legal consequences.

    1. 18.1

      Noquay-I am also a liberal. Some people said I should try dating conservative. No way, no thank you. I found a fellow liberal (in fact every man I went out with was also liberal.) Though I would encourage you to think outside of the confines of traditional higher ed. Many people do not graduate college, even less go on to get advanced degrees. I went from dating lawyers and Ph.D.s to my current boyfriend who dropped out after 2 years in college. He has a personal library of over 5000 books. He’s learned and very creative. I never think to myself he is less educated than me.

      So I am not advocating for dating addicts, controlling/abusive men/ex-cons but maybe someone who is less educated. Even a carpenter can be well read and be able to hold his own in a conversation with you.  

      1. 18.1.1

        True, in the old times, folk without access to education went to great lengths to self educate, self improve.   Many of the old people back home were of this ilk. Now, at least in this part of the country, it’s all TV and bar culture, and rabid anti intellectualism, even among many fellow   academics who think caring for
        their fellow man/woman and environment is a waste. Sad.   I am widely criticised for gardening, reading, listening to NPR. None of the kinds of dudes you describe exist here, at least in the older age ranges.

  19. 19

    Y’know, I look at my son and his fiance, how they just seem to honor, encourage, and support each other. They truly have joy in one another and there’s an in once there.   Then I see all the issues here and I wonder, wow, what are we doing? How did we get here?

  20. 20

    Innocence not “once”.   You’d think auto correct would have left that one alone.

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