Free Advice is a periodic feature. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity is assured.
My qualifications: 57 years of open eyes and ears but no stalking charges. One dear wife Karen, one terrific daughter Elisabeth and her wonderful boyfriend George, one sensational stepson Daryl, one pet Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle and various other family members of scattered location and adjectives. Four decades of writing in public about people, places and things.
Satisfaction is the goal, but is by no means guaranteed.
Today’s query …
Here is my question/dilemma:
I think I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will be single the rest of my life. And on some level I may even be OK with that. Having said that, I’m very interested in hearing how you would advise me.
My issue is not finding men to date (although, I haven’t even looked or pursued dating in almost 2 years – it feels too much like work!)
My issue is holding onto, or even wanting to hold onto to a long-term relationship. Maybe I’m a loner? Here are some of the issues I’ve encountered.
• Men say that they like strong, decisive women. And it does seem they are initially drawn to it, but it ends up making them feel useless. I think men actually like being Knights in Shining armour and rescuing the damsel in distress. One ex told me years after our relationship ended that he felt I didn’t need him or anyone else for that matter. What do you think? What the hell do men want??
• Also, I need alone time and time with my friends and this seems to make men question my level of commitment. Should I date deployed soldiers or traveling salesmen or something??
• And last but not least. When in a relationship, I am loyal. I am however, outgoing and often my outgoing-ness is interpreted as flirtatious. I think flirting has sexual undertones/ innuendos – I’m just very relational and comfortable talking with people and being with people and honestly, I don’t want to change that about myself. I like spending time with my significant other in social settings. I don’t want to drop off the face of the earth just because I’m in a relationship. Do I have to?
I am very interested in your male perspective on this.
OK, have fun with this one!
Eagerly waiting for your reply…
Put the rocks back in the junkyard, wash your hands at last of these past wormy dudes who crawled out from underneath them, and get back out there in some fresh dating gardens!
OK, maybe I’m not being completely fair to your past roster of boyfriends, but still …
Don’t lose that confidence that makes you a strong, independent woman. You betcha there are plenty of single men that will look at that quality and say, sign me up, let’s go through this crazy thing both being able to navigate the crap that comes at you singly and as part of a duo.
There’s your part of the equation snuck in at the end. You never have to pretend you’re a Damsel in Distress. That would be just plain dumb. There are plenty of times when the problems are real, and talking it out with somebody you trust helps. I think men want a partner they can trust to figure it out on their own when that’s what the time and place call for, but who’s willing and eager to sit down and talk it out when it seems appropriate that two heads are indeed better than one. Needy Knights, aren’t we?
Moving on to alone/friend time, I don’t see how that’s a problem, as long as it’s not 99 percent of your schedule — wait a second, that’s pretty silly — as long as it doesn’t make him feel as if you really, really like spending your time with your friends or alone way more than you like spending time with him. Now that vibe indeed could be a problem. If when you’re at the dinner date, you’re 100 percent into talking about your life and his life and not wistfully dreaming about the next group meal with the friends you had before he came around, then it’s his issue, not your’s. And do you mean to tell me that you’ve actually been with a guy who doesn’t literally jump up and sprint to play golf, or bowl, or hang out at the bar with his friends while you’re out with your friends or doing your own thing?
Finally, this flirty-wirty thing. One, don’t be using the word flirty-wirty in a social situation, ever. It leap frogs innuendo and goes straight to baby talk role playing … Sorry, I digress. My bad. Hey, if you are outgoing, I say, be yourself. Basically, all of my points of suggestion are tweaks, not changes. Because changing yourself to fit somebody else’s idea of what they want in a relationship is never going to work in the end game, anyway. So if you get the vibe from a date early on that he thinks you’re social manner with other males in a group social setting is making him uncomfortable, once you are alone, bring that up directly, ask him what’s up, tell him that’s not your intention, and see if he’s OK with you being yourself. If this little talk comforts his fears, win-win. If not, he’s not the right one, and on to another try for somebody who’s a better fit for who you are. Win-win.
Don’t give up, Confused. It’s not you. It’s been them.1as1
This and all questions that will be used for this Free Advice feature are and will be as received by email at email@example.com.
Ask about anything. Please sign the letter with the name you’d like used in the post.
This writer reserves the right to choose the questions for publication depending upon the appropriateness of the subject matter.