I hope you don’t find me to sound conceited or picky, but anyway I am hoping you can help me here. I am a 34-year-old single mom with a beautiful one year old daughter from a previous relationship that didn’t work out because my ex BF didn’t want the baby. I have never been married.
I am bothered by the fact that I’ve never been married. I SO desire to get married within the next couple of years or so, but I want it to be with the right person. I wish I was married about 5 years ago or so. Like virtually all women, I would like to have my “princess day” of getting married before I go completely gray and I look too old. I am also very worried that if I don’t get married soon enough while my baby is young, she will never have a father figure in the picture whom she can comfortably bond with.
I believe I am reasonably attractive and on the “cute” side. I am five feet tall, a little over 100 pounds, and have very long dark hair. But, to this day I have a hard time finding the right guy. I don’t feel any chemistry when I’m not with a guy I find equally attractive. Sure, of course personality counts, but I just don’t feel comfortable with kissing a guy whom I don’t find attractive.
To sum things up, over the years I’ve found that the guys who are interested in dating me are either too “geeky” looking and unattractive, too old, or, if they ARE my age and I find them attractive– they don’t seem stable in life and don’t have a good job OR they’re just plain conceited jerks (like my baby’s father). I’m not kidding. I’ve been trying online dating with several different sites, but that hasn’t worked out for me.
Why am I having such a hard time in finding someone who is mutually interested in me whom I find attractive, who holds a steady decent job AND has a decent personality? I don’t think I’m asking for too much here, or am I? Should I force myself to be in a relationship with someone whom I don’t find terribly attractive and I don’t feel any chemistry with (whom I just don’t want to be “intimate” with?).
First of all, I want to validate all of the women who feel just like Paula does. I know it’s not always easy to hear the other side of things — or even consider that there IS another side of things — but we’re here to try to get down to a core truth. This isn’t about right and wrong; this is about effective and ineffective. If your goal is to get married and find a father for your baby, you always have to keep that in mind.
If you want someone stable and kind and attractive and tall and personable and age-appropriate and financially well-off, and you can’t seem to find him? Maybe you need to compromise on SOMETHING.
And I think that’s where the Lori Gottlieb critics went a bit astray. See, if your primary desire is to lead an exciting, passionate life, then, well, you go, girl. But if you want someone stable and kind and attractive and tall and personable and age-appropriate and financially well-off, and you can’t seem to find him? Maybe you need to compromise on SOMETHING. You can transpose the world “settle” for compromise, if you like, but we’re talking about the same thing here: giving up one thing to get something else…
My girlfriend is compromising by dating an opinionated, Jewish atheist who spends way too much time working, talking about ex’s, and complaining about all the things wrong in his life. What she gets in return is a guy who is pretty self-aware, always trying to get better, has a good work ethic and excellent family values. She could spend her time lamenting that I’m not athletic enough, cheery enough, or free enough to take vacations at the drop of a hat, but she doesn’t. She has compromised — and, some might say, settled. After all, there are probably some tall, attractive, wealthy, Catholic men looking for a super-cool woman. And yet she chooses me.
I know, Paula, that you feel that you’re talking about something else. You’re talking about men who are old, unattractive, boring, unstable — dealbreakers all. But as I tell my clients, you can be as choosy as you like, as long as you don’t choose yourself out of all your options.
An example from the other side of the aisle:
I once had a wealthy 56-year-old client who wanted a woman 20 years younger who not only didn’t want kids but could pick up and travel on a dime on his private jet. This means she can’t have a serious job, or be too tethered to her friends, and must be willing to move to his area. Oh yeah, and he’s not looking for a trophy — intelligence, class and poise are a must. There’s nothing wrong with what this man wants, but when he factors in:
How few 35-year-olds truly want 56-year-olds
How few 35-year-olds don’t want kids/don’t have kids
How few intelligent women don’t have careers or deep roots in their hometowns
Guess what? There’s virtually NO one left for this guy to choose from. So what do you tell this successful, intelligent, youthful man to do? Say it with me, ladies: COMPROMISE! Go out with an older woman. Give a little on the kids thing. Accept the fact that an intelligent woman might have a career and can’t travel spontaneously. This seems REALLY obvious from the outside, but hey, this guy REFUSES to settle. The heart wants what the heart wants. It just seems pretty clear that starting with such a narrow dating pool makes it next to impossible to find someone compatible.
So ask yourself — are you being reasonable with your desires/demands? It’s not my place to say. But play with the percentages and you’ll see. You might think you’re really open until you realize that 99% of the men in the world DON’T QUALIFY for a first date with you. The charismatic cute guys are emotionally vacant players with money issues, the geeky guys are too bland to be kissable. This is YOUR observation. These are YOUR judgments.
Thus, you have two choices — lower the bar — or steadfastly hold out for that 1% – and hope that coincidentally, that 1% feels that you’re in HIS 1%.
We want everything — and want to give up nothing to get it.
As always, there’s not a right and wrong. But if you really want to be married and find a father figure for your baby, you might have to give up something to get it.
It just seems that no one wants to compromise. We want everything — and want to give up nothing to get it. If you’re a lawyer, refusal to compromise is a terrible negotiating technique. If you’re looking for lasting companionship, it’s probably even worse.