Dear Annie: I am a 41-year-old single man who has pretty much given up on intimate relationships. I don’t know what it is about me. If you would ask the average person who doesn’t know me, I don’t think they would say I am hideous or anything. (Not that looks are what a relationship should be based on, but they usually are the starting point — let’s be honest.)
I am a hard worker. I have always had a job, and I earn decent money. Surely enough to be independent, because I am. I own a car and all the things most 41-year-old single men should own by this point in their lives, but I just cannot seem to find a relationship to settle down into. It’s not to say I haven’t had any. I have had some long-term relationships, but truth be known, I stayed in them longer than I should have because I just don’t like being single. I would venture as far as to say one of them that was over five years long was with someone I was no longer attracted to. And I wasn’t very attracted to her to begin with. I just didn’t want to be single.
It just seems that, no matter what I do, when I meet a woman who I do like, it goes nowhere. I am not a pushy person, but I am also not afraid to tell someone how I feel. I just always end up in the “friend zone” with women I actually have an interest in. Everyone always tells me to be patient, and that my time will come. But I am 41 and the clock is ticking.
I would like to have a small family someday, and I would also like to do it soon. I have no qualms about dating women with children, as I love kids and feel like, if that window closes in my life, I could at least help raise theirs in whatever capacity I am permitted to do so. I have tried all the typical dating sites and apps. I am a non-drinker so I don’t frequent bars or anything. So my options, especially now with COVID-19, are sort of limited. I am just lost. Is everyone right? Do I need to just keep being patient? And if that doesn’t work and I just never find my person, how do I deal with that? — Lost and Alone
Dear Lost and Alone: You sound like a great person who is dealing with some negative and excessive expectations. Before jumping into anything else, consider examining the five-year relationship you were in. Why did you stay so long when you were not attracted to her? Then, look at how the women you are attracted to always end up in the friend zone. It might be that you are only attracted to what you can’t have. And if someone is attracted to you and wants to be in a relationship with you, you lose interest. This is not unusual. As Groucho Marx said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
Seek the help of a trained therapist who can help you figure out what you are looking for and who you’d like to be in a relationship. My guess is that she is just around the corner, and it is up to you to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to let her in. Best of luck to you.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.
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