I am a 33 year old woman and I work as a Clinical Manager for a TMJ doctor. I have a 10 year old daughter who lives with me, and a 13 year old son who lives with his father. I travel twice a month to meet him half way to drop off/pick up one of our children.
I haven’t met a man in over 3 years, unless I am late up one night chatting on MySpace. And even then, I am not so inclined to go and actually meet them.
I don’t like the club scene, and I do not trust my family’s judgment when it comes to setting me up.
I began to date one of my friends around October of ’06, and well, he has TOO MUCH BAGGAGE! And he won’t let it go.
And it’s true, I did want to be with him because it was much more simple to be with him than looking for someone new. Also, I have to admit the sex was okay, until he went all religious on me and “SEX IS A SIN” came out of his mouth. (I thought it was the woman’s role to say that).
I thought I wanted to be with this man, but his negative outlook on love and life brought me down. I was more depressed than when my ex-husband left me for someone else. (That is a HUGE story…look for my book) (Just kidding about the book)
But how does someone (ME) look for a good man? I have heard to just wait and it will happen. I have been divorced 8 years. I haven’t lived with a man since I was married. I have only dated men, and well, as far as relationships go, I guess you can say I haven’t really had one.
I know there are good men out there, but with my schedule, how do I start?
I’ve written about this very issue before, but not on this blog. So I’m reprinting that material (originally found on Yahoo! Personals) below, with a little post-script for you afterwards. The statistics in this article come from Harlequin Books’ Romance Report, for which I was the spokesperson in 2006.
Meeting new people, especially those who actually pique our interest, is a challenge for most of us. We may all hope to stumble upon our perfect match in a serendipitous twist of fate, but as an online dating coach my work has led me to agree that it doesn’t always work that way. In fact, finding that combination of best friend, lover and partner-in-crime is about the hardest thing in the world.
So, how should you go about it?
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
An impressive 85 percent of men and women said they do not have trouble meeting people. Yet, two thirds (61 percent) admit to not following their instincts when first encountering someone to whom they are attracted.
When you’re unemployed, you do everything in your power to find a job. Why? Because finding a job is vital. Yet, when you’re single you…wait for the right person to trip over you on the street? Your love life should be just as important as your professional life. The same energy and effort you put into finding work should be put into finding love.
Making an effort to create more encounters, whether they are online or in person, doesn’t mean you’re desperate and it doesn’t diminish your vibrant single life. It’s simply about creating time to search for love — and it is a search. So many people want to cut to the chase and just find someone, like turning over a rock and finding a golden nugget. In fact, the quest for love is far more like panning and prospecting — a lot of effort, not as much immediate reward. The point is, there’s always the potential to hit it big.
When asked what’s preventing them from meeting the right person, men and women agree that: “no time” (38 percent) ranks highest, followed by “no good places to meet” (28 percent) and then “all the good ones are taken” (20 percent).
Spending 60 hours a week at the office may pad the bank account, but it also creates a few problems. You have less time at night to go out. You spend your weekends running errands. You barely have any spare time to catch up with your friends and family. While you can’t change your lifestyle cold-turkey, you do need to create space for the encounters that may change your life.
If you work in a big office, social opportunities abound, and if they don’t, you can create them. Your colleagues probably feel isolated as well and would jump at the chance to blow off some steam at a happy hour or a softball game. Putting out the vibe that you want to be social will attract similarly social colleagues. Plus, making new friends at the office opens up worlds that you couldn’t possibly foresee: card games, pick-up basketball, dinner parties — all just by being proactive about your social life at work.
The one that got away
Nearly 40 percent (38 percent) of both men and women say that they’ve turned someone down and regretted it later.
For those who protest that they literally have no time for anything beyond working, eating and sleeping, all is not lost. Needless to say, “The One” is not going to bust down your office door, knock on your bedroom window, or show up on your doorstep out of the blue. You must be open about the fact that you are single and looking, even when you’re not actively looking. Tell everyone that you trust — your friends, your coworkers, your hairdresser — that you’d like to be fixed up. Contact a matchmaker in your area. Or, easiest of all, post a profile on an online dating site.
Whether you spend an hour a day or an hour a month browsing the personals, at least you’re making an effort. The kind of chance encounters we see in the movies are amazing, but they’re rare and certainly not the only way to meet someone.
Put yourself out there and see what happens. Look for opportunities to meet new people. A successful encounter can lead to The Coffee Date, The Fling, The Torrid Affair and yes, even, The One. But nothing will ever happen if you don’t take that first step.
To sum up, Cheeky, judging from your email, “just waiting ‘til it happens” isn’t a successful strategy. If love is truly a priority for you, you’re going to have to be more proactive, and probably less judgmental as well. That doesn’t mean you have to date a relentlessly negative man who thinks sex is a sin. It does mean a reality check, however….
The fact is, any person that you’re going to date will come with a certain amount of baggage. Expecting a man in his mid 30’s to not have baggage is like expecting a woman in her mid-30’s to be a virgin. Not gonna happen. And although nobody’s baggage is attractive, it’s a part of the overall package.
Last year, I did a book signing for “Why You’re Still Single” at a Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica. When I finished reading a chapter called “Tip Your Baggage Handler”, a Russian woman in her mid-50’s got up and challenged me. Her contention: baggage sucks.
“You are the author. And here you are, telling me that I have to accept a man with baggage. I am an intelligent, successful, beautiful woman. I have lived and I have loved. I know what I want. And I know I don’t want a man with baggage. You tell me: why do I have to accept a man with baggage?”
Usually people ask me questions I’ve been asked a million times. This time, I was momentarily speechless. Why WOULD anyone want to accept a man with baggage? Then, it clicked.
“The reason to accept a man with baggage,” I told her, softly, “is because you want a man who is willing to accept your baggage.”
The whole crowd went “Ahhhhhhhh”. It was one of the few times in my life that I knew I’d said the right thing. The woman sat back down, satisfied.
Sadly, most of us are dating hypocrites and we don’t even see it. We get annoyed when people don’t call us back in a timely fashion, but we do the same to others. We get surprised when someone breaks up with us with no warning, but we do the slow fade to others to avoid confrontation. And, of course, we give up on people with insecurities and anxieties, although we’re all toting the weight of our own broken relationships everywhere we go.
I don’t know you, Cheeky, but the best thing I can say to anyone, man or woman, who wants to be part of a couple?
Start getting out there and stop being judgmental.
That’s when love will walk through your door.