Help help guide this damsel to her peeps, Mefites.
January 21, 2011 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Mefites, I need some social (possibly geographic) guidance on this one. Can you help me find "my people"?

As a late bloomer, I'm in my fourth decade and just now settling into comfort with who I am. I'm happy -- I'm blooming in lots of ways. But, I'm about at the end of my rope of hope on realizing my personal relational/family hopes, dreams, goals. I'm consulting the experts now.

A wee bit of background: After a long journey stumbling through years of corporate round holes, this square peg made a no-turning-back career decision to pursue artistry/musicianship, and pursue what I love. Just in time for the economic downturn. No matter how much I love it, it's not been practical now to sustain me.

A new, meaningful profession came to me out of nowhere, and I'm now about to graduate and start a practice in a sustainable career that very much complements my lifestyle as an artist/musician.

After a four-plus-year relationship, I'm single again. I have not yet married, and have not had the privilege of having children yet, either. I finally feel stable on my personal/professional path. I'd like my next relationship to be a happy, healthy, lasting relationship.

I enjoy life and who I am more than ever; I've put many of my life's agonizing "issues" to rest and am finding peace of mind/heart; I am a loving person with self-respect, intelligence, keen interest in many things and people; I'm in better shape than ever (even with the aches and "conditions" that come with four decades)...and the word from friends is that I look younger and "much hotter" than in previous decades. ha!

So, I'm meeting people now, doing the on-line dating thing again, but I don't think I'm locating "my people." Down here in the Bible belt, the choices are either lovely conservative suburbanites (with whom I cannot much relate) or....lovely twenty-something musician potheads (working at bars to support their dreams of being bluegrass rock stars) who think it's "cool" to try to hook up with a "cougar" but want to marry a hot twenty-something who will bear their children without complaints of arthritis.

I'm tired of all this and I need your help. I've read posts on "how to meet people" and I've been living the advice posted for years. I've developed my hobbies...even into professions... and been very involved in the community. I used to get set up by friends all the time....when I was conservative and fit in with those folks down here. But now, though I'm deeply spiritual, I'm NOT conservative. I'm a complex, introverted but socially comfortable, friendly, intelligent, good-humored, young-looking but NOT that young(45) woman still interested in a meaningful, substantive relationship.

I'm striking out on finding men who have the same core values as me...at least the ones who are available, capable of, and up for investing in a relationship with a dynamic woman.

If you're wondering, Yes. People have said to me a million times, "I can't believe someone hasn't snatched you up yet." and "Why haven't YOU married yet?" Short answer: either I'm a freak, or I just haven't found my match...or maybe a little of both.

When I read Mefites posts, I think, "now these people -- they seem to share my values more than my peeps down here." So many intelligent, complex, engaged, kind, thoughtful, good-humored people with depth and insight on here... people who seem to be using their minds and engaging their resources in meaningful pursuits....

You all have great ideas for connecting people to resources and answers.....any creative ideas for one such as me? Are there "places" in the USA or world where I can reside with more of "my people" and find datable, available men?

Yes, I'm willing to travel, willing to do long-distance relationships IF I find an equally willing partner. Yes, I'm open to relocating to where "my new people" (or person) might be.

If it's all about networking, here I am connecting. Bring it on, Mefites! thank you.
posted by sleeping beauty to Human Relations (26 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you have close friends in your current area? (Who are the people saying they can't believe you haven't been snatched up yet?)

I definitely suggest travel of the seeking-out-a-new-home variety. Your post leads me to think you might be happy in a lot a lot a lot of places, but my instinct is for you to check out Asheville (NC), Austin, Santa Fe/Taos, Vermont, Portland (OR), maybe San Francisco, the Florida Keys, maybe Vancouver. When you visit these places, maybe attend some meetups or club meetings where your people might congregate.

I also suggest you go on some retreats or take a class at a place like Hollyhock, Omega, or Kripalu -- somewhere that seems like it would draw the kind of people you're looking to meet -- to meet some like-minded people and make friends in other parts of the country/world that you can go visit.
posted by hansbrough at 8:19 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a lovely post and I hope you find your people. Your limiting variable is probably going to be the relationship between what your job pays in an area (if you can find that work) and the cost of living there.

I'd do an economic analysis of the places hamsbrough suggested, plus
- Eugene
- Fort Bragg / Mendocino
- Tucson (hot)
- Venice / Santa Monica ($$)
- Boulder maybe? ($)
- Moab (hot)
posted by salvia at 8:48 PM on January 21, 2011


When you consider these places, it might help if you stack the odds in your favor a bit by looking at the map of the geographical distribution of single men vs single women.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:02 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


My friend, your people are the Pacific Northwest, and at 45 you're in your fifth decade.
posted by milk white peacock at 10:51 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


As much as I want to claim you for Canada, I think MWP has the correct answer: get thee to Portland! They'll love you there, and the feeling will be mutual.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 11:00 PM on January 21, 2011


Milk white peacock, you know, when I wrote that, a nagging voice said "fifth decade" but I shook off the notion...."surely not!" Thanks for the correction. I'm still in denial about my age thanks to someone guessing it at 27 last night.
posted by sleeping beauty at 3:12 AM on January 22, 2011


If you don't want to move as far as Portland, you can try parts of North Carolina. Specifically, Asheville (small, but very trendy/artsy) and on the other side of the state there is Raleigh-Durham.
But Portland or San Francisco (expensive!) would be very good for you.
posted by Yunani at 5:03 AM on January 22, 2011


There were no belt loops in Austin, Texas for the Bible belt to weave its way through. It is a great place to find like-minded, intelligent friends, plenty of activities to be involved in as well as people to date in your 40's.

I know they exist here, but I do not meet or see the conservative suburbans or pothead bartenders.
posted by murrey at 5:46 AM on January 22, 2011


Come to Madison, Wisconsin! Your people await you!
posted by carmicha at 7:06 AM on January 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm about your age and probably not unlike you and yes, Asheville, where I live, is full of lots of women like us. Women. Lots and lots of wonderful, interesting, single women. Maybe you could find a male counterpart here but I am not having any luck and neither are any of my friends, so before you move here take this into consideration. I am deeply blessed in my community of close women friends but as a single 40 something in Asheville? Yeah, I've kind of come to the conclusion that my odds of finding a partner are approximately the same as my odds of winning the lottery.

That said, I wish I had something positive to add but all I can say is I will be watching this question with interest. A good friend of mine just met someone on Match.com and that is working out well for them. I have never had any luck with computer dating myself but after seeing this, I have thought about maybe going back. Perhaps you could try that? Particularly if you are open to relocating (I am not) that might be your answer.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:35 AM on January 22, 2011


Seconding the internet dating suggestion. It's gone quite mainstream. My experience has been that for people in the prime marriageable ages, particularly those who are busy with hobbies or demanding careers, internet dating has become a common means of meeting dates. You can "try out" different parts of the country by browsing an internet dating site to see what kind of guys are available there.
posted by klao at 8:14 AM on January 22, 2011


see above....already been doing the online dating thing again. maybe i need help with my profile. (next mefi post??? : ) I've begun meeting some men, but honestly, no one with whom I connect/have mutual attraction who is interested in/has time for/is confident-happy about-ready for pursuing a relationship. The good news is, this time around, I'm more discriminating and am drawing more emotionally/psychologically/mentally/spiritually grounded men. (Last time around it was men with various addictions and that ended in betrayal and heartache, so this is good.) I suppose when I'm ready, a ready man will cross my path...I would, however, like to have fun, a bit of adventure, in the meantime -- and some sustained intelligent conversation, please. ; )
posted by sleeping beauty at 10:37 AM on January 22, 2011


DO NOT COME TO SAN FRANCISCO. It is a fabulous city but a terrible place to meet straight men at 45. It's also a very expensive city. What mygothlaundry said about Asheville goes double for SF and will cost a lot more money.
posted by shoesietart at 10:45 AM on January 22, 2011


Your peeps are teaching the arts, social sciences and humanities at nearby universities. Really, they are. Mature, quite often late blooming (single into their 40s), intellectual, artsy types with stable but limited incomes await you at State U, even Bible Belt State U.
posted by Pineapplicious at 12:16 PM on January 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Go North and West. Try smaller towns and suburbs right on the outskirts of big cities. Don't stop dating online. Oregon, Washington, Colorado, or even Alaska, possibly Canada, would be my recs. Austin would be okay, but not 100% what you want. California would be okay, but would involve a lot of other hassles and may not be a perfect fit either. Santa Fe/Taos is nice if you can swing it.

When I visited Alaska (apparently there is a huge excess of single men in Alaska) my female tour guide joked that "the odds were good, but the goods were odd." Take that as you will.
posted by Nixy at 1:30 PM on January 22, 2011


i feel like i'm reading almost the same post i've been starting to write. i moved to a city in the midwest a couple years ago and am just not in love with the people.

portland just jumped on my radar - and i'm sort of excited to see so many votes for it. i've given myself until next year to either make it or break it.

i hope you'll keep us/me updated ... i'm genuinely interested to hear how it turns out. because, i think, i AM your people and don't really know where i'm supposed to be either.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 4:56 PM on January 22, 2011


Caution: if you are used to living in the South and the weather there, and you begin to think seriously about moving to the Pacific NW, make sure you make at least one extended trip there in winter, like for a week or so, and consider whether you could handle it for 4 or 5 months on end. Sometime between late October and the end of January is good.
posted by Ashley801 at 5:35 PM on January 22, 2011


Wherever you are, keep your eyes peeled for a meetup. It doesn't look like there's one planned for where-you-are-now, but sometimes they happen at the last minute. I agree that Portland would probably treat you pretty right... I'm not sure what the job market for you would be like — it could well be saturated — but I see several craigslist listings, so maybe OK. Today was beautiful, mind, so even in January, our weather can deceive.
posted by mumkin at 6:53 PM on January 22, 2011


Sounds like you'd be bringing a job with you, so in that case, sure, Portland. Otherwise, think twice. You'll certainly find kin in the music world here. The dating scene? Yikes. Let's just say that there are a LOT of people suffering from Peter Pan syndrome here. I've dated my share of 30- and 40-something man-children. Or, they've moved here to run away from something. Either way, doesn't make for great long term prospects.

Of course, YMMV.
posted by medeine at 7:42 PM on January 22, 2011


I can't thank y'all (I'm a midwestern gal transplanted to the South so I get to use it) enough for your good wisdom. I'm keeping this question open for more -- in search of some magical answer that will hit me....

Once I have some income from my new career, I'll be able to travel again and can't wait. I'm ITCHING to get out of here, although...I will say, winters here are VERY tolerable compared to 'norther' parts. We don't have meetups here. I'm traveling to where the meetups are!!! Medeine, yeah, Peter Pan syndrome abounds here, too. Lovely dates, but no substance or "staying power" long term. My mileage hasn't varied.

Also...re. Asheville -- although I have no real experiences to substantiate this, I have "intuited" this feeling about Asheville.....exactly what shoesietart and mygothlaundry said. I have considered Asheville because it's between my siblings' two homes, and beautiful....but got "that feeling" about it.
posted by sleeping beauty at 10:42 PM on January 22, 2011


Fort Bragg? Has it changed a whole lot in the last 15 years? Back when I grew up in Mendo Co it wasn't any place I'd recommend to anyone not running in fear from the city life. Plus, with the lumber and fishing having all but disappeared, there wasn't any work to speak of.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:18 PM on January 24, 2011


True, it might be hard to find paying work in Fort Bragg, but if the OP is bringing her career with her as someone suggested, then she's really in good shape. Fort Bragg seems to have a decent number of single guys, both permanent residents and ones who cycle through places like the woodworking school. The age demographic is spread out, with what seemed like a fair number of 40-somethings. The cost of living was low for renters, and it was an easy place for me to find friends as a newcomer. With art and tourism being main industries, the OP won't have to look far to find like-minded artist types. And it certainly meets the not-conservative criteria. :) :) The potential downside is that, as it's not a city, there aren't that many people, but if she didn't end up meeting someone, she could start spending more time in San Francisco (probably a better place to find an artsy liberal, than if she went to say, Flagstaff, with the closest big city being Phoenix). There is so much off-the-grid DIY ethic, across the political spectrum, that it struck me as a place with a lot of creative ethic. There are extremely few "lovely conservative suburbanites," and though there are some "lovely twenty-something musician potheads (working at bars to support their dreams of being bluegrass rock stars)," there are also "formerly twenty-something musician potheads who are now forty-something professional builders who make bluegrass CDS on the side." I'm probably overselling it. sleeping beauty, if you go visit, stop and see small_ruminant and I in the Bay Area on the way back and tell us if you liked it. ;)
posted by salvia at 6:40 PM on January 24, 2011


* stop and see... "me," not "I"
posted by salvia at 6:41 PM on January 24, 2011


Has it gotten less white? Holy cow, it was an undiverse place back in the day.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:09 AM on January 25, 2011


No it's still totally white afaik. And there's a sizeable latino population, but the communities aren't well-integrated.
posted by salvia at 2:28 PM on January 25, 2011


I just got an email I had to share because it sums up Asheville so frighteningly well. It's from Asheville Speed Dating - I joined them in a moment of madness a couple of years ago and of course am on their email list for eternity. Here's the telling excerpt:

We still have space for men to attend this event!! So guys make sure to sign up and reserve a space today.

At this time, we have a wait list for women to attend the Feb. 8th event. Encourage your male friends to attend so that we can include the ladies from our waiting list.


Yeah. What I said, above.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:46 AM on February 3, 2011


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