Completely clueless (Sigh.)
April 30, 2013 1:44 PM   Subscribe

What does the process of finding a life partner look like?

How did you guys find a "right" person for romantic relationships and eventual (hopefully) life partnerships?

I have been "getting back on the dating horse" recently, trying to meet as many single men as I can, and am having a terrible time of it. For whatever reason(s), in 5 years of continuous effort I have not been able to meet a man...

a) my age (40s)
b) with whom mutual attraction exists
c) who wants more than just getting laid
d) is open to the possibility of a long-term relationship
e) is committed to personal, professional, and emotional growth
f) who has the desire for reciprocity
g) can see the awesome qualities I have and bring to the dating/relationship table
h) has a bunch of awesome stuff of his own to bring to said table

I just don't get it. How hard is this supposed to be? I apologize for being so morbid and pessimistic, but I am at the pinnacle of frustration.

Is it possible to meet a guy who meets the above description that I could love and who would love me back? Please be kind, folks. This stuff is kicking my ass bad. Thanks.
posted by strelitzia to Human Relations (45 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
You've gotta tell us what these five years of effort entail. Where/how are you meeting these men?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:45 PM on April 30, 2013

I think you have to kiss a ton of frogs/go out with tons and tons of guys, and be resilient while enduring a lot of disappointment. So go online and also let all your friends know you are single.
posted by discopolo at 1:50 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Asking friends if they know any single men, meeting single men from friends, online dating, attending meetup events, taking classes, participating in activity clubs, and even considering male friends I already have.
posted by strelitzia at 1:53 PM on April 30, 2013

Also, plan a fulfilling single life in case finding a life partner doesn't work out. Because there are a lot of single men and women over 40, and some of the former are embittered and not partnership material.

So learn to be cool with never finding someone. You can raise your odds but it doesn't mean it will definitely end up the way you want it.
posted by discopolo at 1:53 PM on April 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

Lol...and: *sigh*
Every time I have found love has generally been about 5 minutes after swearing off of it altogether.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:55 PM on April 30, 2013 [11 favorites]

This is totally cliche, but I'm going to tell you to get involved in a hobby that interests you. That's how I found my true love! The thing is, I wasn't looking to meet a partner, I just wanted to [do fun thing that I like]. So, yes it's cliched, but it really does work. It seems you have a better chance of meeting someone who shares the same interests and has similar qualities at group gatherings of something that you truly enjoy.

Also, the other part of my story- the part where I wasn't doing it to meet someone romantically? I think that's important too. Desperation turns people off. I'm not saying you are acting that way, but trying too hard and focusing too much on "meeting that perfect someone" might be part of the problem.
posted by Eicats at 1:55 PM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

Such a guy does exist. But maybe he doesn't exist where you've looked - maybe you're using the wrong dating site, meetup group, or social context to meet people in your desired demographic. Or maybe these guys don't exist in your neck of the woods?

Also, YMMV, but I found such a guy after years of searching only once I gave up on actively looking for him.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:58 PM on April 30, 2013

I found Husbunny in, no shit, a Daria Chat-room. Who knew?

I was 38 when we met and a couple months shy of 40 when we got married.

I would say follow your interests and you'll find folks there who share something you're passionate about. You can meet a lot of nice people while volunteering. Habitat for Humanity is good.

If you're churchy, that's a place. If you're not, the UU Church can be a thing (I do warn you, the odds are good, but the goods are odd.)

It's such a cliche at this point but when I concentrated more on my awesome life, and wasn't looking for guys at every opportunity, I found that I had romantic prospects that were real and lasting.

Husbunny and I celebrate our 11th anniversary this year. Much to the consternation of Daria fandom.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

There is no "find a life partner". That's Herculean and, anyway, who needs that kind of set-up? Start with "meet men whom I like, and whose company I enjoy." Just start there. That is my sincere advice. Find people whom you like. Do you like them? Ask yourself that, and see with whom you really feel you can connect.

Find people you like. Don't start with "must find life partner". That's like asking a toddler to start with a 5K. And, in relationships, there is no finish line. We're always growing: you are, other people (hopefully) are, nothing is static.

Step your foot in. Maybe the water will be warm. Maybe it will be murky. Maybe it will be cold and you will want to get your toe the heck out of that water. But, always start with: "Do I like this person?" Start with people you like. You have time.
posted by simulacra at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2013 [35 favorites]

It looks like a pingpong ball tossed into a tile bathroom. There's no rhyme or reason, so if you're not finding either of those, that's not a surprise.

And yes, definitely, not looking is often the key to finding. Focus on building a happy, fulfilled, and self-amused you, because that's all that you can control. You can't control who's out there, what they're like, what they like, or any of that. You can control who you are, what you do, where you go, what amuses you.

You've no doubt heard this before. It's because it's true. And don't feel awful about this, at all, because sometimes the pingpong ball ends up in the jetted tub, and sometimes it ends up in the toilet, and it's never the pingpong ball's fault.
posted by Capri at 2:04 PM on April 30, 2013 [15 favorites]

I have BEEN there. I'd like to suggest that there's nothing you can do. Realizing this has been very freeing to me.

I used to long for my soul mate with all of my heart in this incredibly painful, deep way. I tried to be such a good person so that I would be good enough for him when I found him. I did all the standard meet-people-online-dating-make-friends-take-time-off-focus-on-yourself-blah-blah stuff. Where was he?

Then I met this guy a while back who was the ex of a friend and we've had our ups and downs but I really don't want anyone else and I adore him and he adores me. Looking back at my old posts here and in my journal, he's everything I've ever wanted... and more.

What did I do to make this happen? Absolutely nothing. I grew as a person and I did all kinds of things for myself and blah blah, but that really didn't make him come into my life. I'm not as evolved as I will be next year or a year later, so why now?

The simple answer is that I met him when I met him. There's nothing more complicated to it than that.

Chances are good that you will meet this person, but it is not certain. They will come into your life when the time is right. If you're open to finding someone and you take reasonably good care of yourself and enjoy your life and get out of the house, you will find someone who is a match... over the long run.

In the meantime, concentrate on things that you can do by yourself that are harder to do when you're with a partner. Travel, do weird hobbies, spend time alone in the woods, commit yourself to a period of intense work and creation, etc. Once you have met your soul mate, they will take up a lot of your time!

Letting go of the myth that you can bring about your soul mate by doing something in particular is really relaxing and mentally healthy. Find intimacy with people you like -- friends, romantic partners, older people, children. Be open spiritually to learning new things.

These things will happen to you when the time is right. Let go.
posted by 3491again at 2:07 PM on April 30, 2013 [33 favorites]

If you're not, the UU Church can be a thing (I do warn you, the odds are good, but the goods are odd.)

Ruthless Bunny, I love you. I agree wholeheartedly (met Mr. dlugoczaj at a UU church when I was 29 and he was 35 and just getting a divorce; we've been married for nine years) and I've never heard it described quite so well before.
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:08 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Speaking with the powers of relationship perception that come only to the perpetually single: there is no process. (Well, this woman turned it into a process, and wrote a book about it, but I have my doubts about how reproducible that experiment would be.) If I think about all the couples I know, a few met through work or school. A few met online, through quite specific/targeted dating sites. (Though I did know of one couple who met on Match.) The vast majority just happened to meet, a surprisingly large percentage of them in bars. I wish there was a proper way to do this, or even a set of different ways, but it as far as I can tell there almost never is. Sadly, it's random.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do the things you like, and where there are other people who like those kinds of things. I didn't date for years, but I did community theater, and on one show, I saw a handsome Greek man who writes plays (as do I), loves amusement parks (as do I) and loves his kitty (as do I).

We've now been together for a year. I don't know if my way will work for anyone else, but that's how it happened to in-my-40s me.
posted by xingcat at 2:14 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is it possible to meet a guy who meets the above description that I could love and who would love me back?

Honestly, I tend to think that once there is a numbered/lettered list involved, it is time to take a LONG, LONG break from anything remotely resembling "dating." It's the sign of burnout and desperation, both of which are miserable to experience, and (more critical to your query) total utter death to forming a happy fun romantic relationship.

It's okay to know what you want (long term relationship, attraction) and what you don't. But try, if you can, to forget about those things until they actually apply.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:22 PM on April 30, 2013 [7 favorites]

The usual things people trot out about finding someone when you're not actively looking, etc... That stuff is just a complete pack of lies, I'm afraid.

Also the stuff about getting to the point when you're living the perfect life, and Prince Charming will automatically manifest.

Combine "he'll turn up when you're not actively looking" and "you have to be leading a fulfilling life of your own and setting all your ducks in a row [corollary: if your life isn't together you are fucked in the head and don't deserve a partner and will repel guys like iron filings from the wrong end of a magnet[1][2][3]]" and do you know what that got me?

A fulfilling life of my own.

Which obviously is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

I can, however, testify from personal experience that Prince Charming has not manifested as a reward from the universe for living a fulfilling life.

To be honest, I think I just need to get out more. Everything else in my life that's succeeded has been a numbers game, there's no reason to think that finding a partner would be any different.

If only I hadn't listened to the advice "stop wanting a partner, resolve to not want a partner with all your might and main" and put more elbow grease into it, I might not be writing this now.

But yeah, the only answer is "keep looking", I think.

[1] Actually this is true.
[2] Though I have noticed a pattern that the guys who have been attracted to *me* have consistently been fucked in the head and not had their lives together. They seemed to admire me for my achievements, and how do I know this? Because when I didn't reciprocate, they either played one-upmanship games or outright accused me of thinking I was too good for them.
[3] Wait... the crafty bitches! While I was building my perfect life like they told me to, they stole all the men while my back was turned!!! You'd think they could have left one for me.
posted by tel3path at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2013 [20 favorites]

Can you be a little more concrete about the online dating? Are you being clear about your goals in your profile? Are you dealing with any specific challenges like size or disability or location? If you can be more concrete, people may be more concretely helpful.

Otherwise my suggestions are: read Data: A Love Story, and consider a personal introduction service (ie a matchmaker) who makes personal matches (instead of using software.) I know it's not that popular an idea but I met great men and the guys at personal introductions are usually well screened and almost universally looking for long term relationships.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

When I was 44, with no intentions of ever having a relationship again, I met a man in the chatroom of an online casual game site. I was in a wheelchair, obese, with a disabled son, and just figured no one could ever care about me. I was wrong. We've been married for 9 years in May. We both say that we are the best thing that ever happened to each other.

IMO the key is forming a satisfying, happy, whole and fulfilled life on your own, and honestly not going around looking for "the one", but rather just making friends. If you meet the man you are looking for, awesome! If not, you will still be content and fulfilled and doing what you want to do.
posted by batikrose at 2:30 PM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

How did you guys find a "right" person for romantic relationships and eventual (hopefully) life partnerships?

I went to a friend's commitment ceremony and met a friend of hers who also turned out to be the best friend of my first girlfriend from college. I thought for about five minutes that it would be a weekend fling, and then I moved across the country six months later. Still here, coming up on 13 years after meeting her.

When we met, I was very much in a "I'm gonna be single for a while" mindset, as I'd just gone through a breakup (of a long-distance relationship, no less) a few months earlier. (On preview: sorry, tel3path, no lie here! really wasn't looking!)

tl;dr: I wasn't looking to date, I had never really had criteria beyond "don't be too nuts", and I've never in my life set out specifically to find a life partner.

Will any of this be helpful to you specifically? No idea. Probably not.
posted by rtha at 2:31 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't have an answer for you, because like most folks who met their love later in life, it just kind of happened (kind of when I was trying not to look). But I can warn you that every time I made a plea like yours I was Deeply unhappy with all of the answers and reassurances. It's one of those things that is quietly excruciating until it isn't, and I'm afraid there isn't much we can say that will make it better. Therapy did help me come to better understand my needs and boundaries and all that, though, so if you haven't discussed your frustrations with a professional, you might try that.
posted by ldthomps at 2:31 PM on April 30, 2013 [11 favorites]

Here's the thing -- partners aren't like houses, cars, refrigerators, or other large purchases. You cannot successfully shop for them, and you don't find more because you shop more.

It is good to do what interests you, and orient your social life around your passions and interests. That is because these things make life more worthwhile and keep you engaged, not because it is a good technique for finding a lifelong partner.

For real, though you may date along the way, you are going to meet your partner -- if you do -- when you don't expect it, because you are okay with yourself and you are able to see the person as the wonderful human being they are, not as someone meeting 9 out of 10 of a pre-set features list. (Said wonderful human being will be wonderful because they likewise see you for the person you are, not a features list.)

I think women in particular get sucked into this mythology that finding a partner depends on the amount of work and effort and shopping you put in. Not a bit of it.
posted by bearwife at 2:33 PM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

Try expanding your age range to men in their fifties - many men in their forties are having no problem dating women all the way down to age 30. I'd say you should think about dating men up to 15 years older.
posted by amaire at 2:35 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, what amaire said ... my hubby is 13 years my senior... but I've always preferred older men anyway.
posted by batikrose at 2:37 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's not like I want to "shop" around for a mate. I would much rather have it happen organically for me. But it's not unfolding that way. And I know that if I don't put myself "out there", I'm SOL.
posted by strelitzia at 2:40 PM on April 30, 2013

Where do you live, strelitzia?
posted by cairdeas at 2:42 PM on April 30, 2013

United States, desert southwest.
posted by strelitzia at 2:44 PM on April 30, 2013

Rural or city? Lots of retirees or mostly working age people? Is it a place where people normally get married and start on kids right out of high school or college, or one where they are more career oriented? What kind of widely-held jobs are there for men? Because, for example, if it's a lot of ranchers, you might not find many of these dudes: is committed to personal, professional, and emotional growth as you might find somewhere else.

You might just have better luck somewhere else, that just has sheer higher numbers of the kind of men you are looking for.
posted by cairdeas at 2:50 PM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

cairdeas, you raise a valid point. However, due to the poor economy, I have not been able to secure a job in a better geographic location yet.
posted by strelitzia at 2:58 PM on April 30, 2013

The point, strelitizia, is that you're SOL either way. Whether you "shop" or search actively or have it happen organically (and why is searching is not "organic"?), this is out of your hands.

It was very hard for me to accept this also, and I think that, especially as women, we are socialized to believe that it is OUR responsibility to make a man want us. That we need men more than they need us, and that we need to change ourselves and find a man and all of that. That we need to change ourselves to be attractive to them inside and out, at any cost. I think this approach causes a lot of unnecessary suffering. I know that it did in my life.

There are a lot of things you can control, but when you meet someone who is compatible with you and wants the same things as you and feels the same way... that is not one of them. And I'm not someone who takes a passive approach to life. I'm very proactive in my career and active in life... I just don't think this is the type of thing that is amenable to that approach. I'm sure you've done the obvious things that everyone always suggests -- online dating, asking friends to fix you up, getting your hair cut. I'm sure that kind of advice is not news to you.

The big problem, imo, is the set of beliefs about how having this person will make your life complete. You might say, "Well, easy for you to say, you have someone already!"... but, sister, I KNOW what this is like. I know how hard it is, and how hard it is to want this and not have it. Like ldthomps said above, it's quietly excruciating until it isn't.

The things that I found that helped most have been:

- Dropping slut shaming and worrying about what people think. Enjoy sleeping with whomever you like. The right person isn't going to care at all about what your "number" is. Enjoy connection.

- Define yourself using criteria that have nothing to do with a man. What do you do? What do you love? What do you learn about? How can you have more of it?

- Read books that are empowering for single people, like Eva Illouz or Bella DePaulo.

- Re-thinking what it means to be single. Your LIFE is not a consolation prize. It is not what you get when no man wants you.

- Separate actual loneliness from fear of social stigma, feeling like you haven't fulfilled your womanly role, and other baggage. Try to drop the baggage.
posted by 3491again at 3:07 PM on April 30, 2013 [20 favorites]

I worry that all these "get a hobby!" and "get out more!" suggestions will make your teeth grind, but at the risk of sounding patronising let me explain why they are such valid suggestions, because I had to explain this to my friend the other day.

Now this might not be you, but my friend was reaching Online Dating Saturation Point, and complaining that "all the men who seem nice online turn out to be boring or creeps or etc etc". My point to her was, you are an ODDITY. You are a WEIRDO and that is why I love you and why you should be loved, but you are just NOT going to meet the right guy doing online dating (not on mainstream sites anyway) because it tends to work better for people who are closer to the average of what the average person is looking for.

So, at the risk of sounding tacky, if you are looking to market yourself, find the right showroom. Say your interest is charity work - do a TON of volunteering because then you have narrowed down the majority of new people you meet to a sub-group who you already know share at least one major interest with you. Same with sports games, knitting, LARPing, life drawing. Join forums, go to events.

In other words, don't waste time on conventional dating avenues if you're a non-conventional person. Instead of being somewhere people will go, hmm that's weird, I'll skip that one, be somewhere people will think it's HAWT.
posted by greenish at 3:13 PM on April 30, 2013 [17 favorites]

All I can offer is an anecdote. I met and married a 38 year old. I came to his literary event, which involved him reading from his first novel and then all the participants quietly working on writing projects afterward. We both had a feeling we've never had about another person before when we met. At the time, I was mooning over my best friend (who didn't like me back) and getting over a series of bad breakups. The pleasant feelings I had for this new person were very welcome -- I'd sworn off love entirely, like many above. I asked my future husband out for a drink and he said no -- totally didn't catch on that I was interested.

I let that go and continued to come to his writing group. We kept having amazing chemistry and similar tastes, values and senses of humor (novels are better than television, cats are better than children). After six months, I finally told him how I felt. He felt the same way! We were married a year from the first day we met. The stupid advice everybody gives about hobbies and interests totally worked for me. I will admit that I was a little shameless in following up with my future husband, more than the average person I met at an event (friended him on facebook, myspace [still existed back then], emailed him when I got an interview at his company, tried to sit next to him), so I guess there was some pursuit.

I have known people over thirty who've found life partners on Plenty of Fish and Match -- Ok Cupid seems like its members get weirder and nastier after ~32.
posted by sweltering at 3:33 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

However, due to the poor economy, I have not been able to secure a job in a better geographic location yet.

For all this talk about the difficulties of finding love and you shouldn't look and blah blah blah - this is probably your biggest problem. Living in the rural (?) Southwest is not going to leave you with a ton of dating options.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:14 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

To add to the "get a hobby/ get out more" advice I think you should do so ALONE. Like take a class alone, not with a friend. I meet all kinds of people because I go out alone a lot and i guess that makes me look approachable to other loners or people looking to connect. I myself woud find it easier to spark up a conversation with someone who was clearly alone rather than someone who seemed to be in a large group or with one other close friend or something. (I met my boyfriend when i played hooky from work one day and went to teh ice rink...alone)
posted by WeekendJen at 5:11 PM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

In my personal experience, the way I've gotten out of these states is with recklessness. Fucking, crime, poverty, hatred, sloth, experiences that end up with my face on a bathroom floor... The checklist thing, not so much. Ymmv.
posted by htid at 5:15 PM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

If you're seriously looking for a guy who is into "professional growth", and there are not a lot of them around in your town, maybe try getting really involved with business networking events/groups and stuff like Toastmasters- both local and regional/national?
posted by steinwald at 6:13 PM on April 30, 2013

In answer to your question about how people find someone who's right for them, here's my anecdote.

I met my beloved when I was 44 and had been through a traumatic unwanted divorce that left me scarred for life. I had done some online dating since the divorce, but the process was just too frustrating and emotionally exhausting for me. I gave up and focused all my attention on my creative passions, my spiritual life, my love of books and music, and my joy in lifelong learning. I figured I'd probably end up single for life, so I just turned my attention to making peace with that reality.

One day I decided to write a fan letter to one of my favorite musicians within the gothic/industrial subculture. I had been appreciating and dancing to his music for six years. When I sent the letter, I'd had no idea he was single; I knew nothing at all about his personal life. I didn't even expect him to respond, let alone express interest in friendly correspondence and eventually a romantic relationship with me. All I knew was that his music moved me to the very core, and I wanted to express my appreciation. So I did. We discovered how compatible we are, and now we are planning to marry.

So yes, it can happen. But in my case, I didn't set out to make it happen.

Ultimately, I think finding a life partner is largely out of your hands - sure, you can do a number of things to increase the odds, but in the end it mostly comes down to luck and timing. Difficult to accept, perhaps, but true nonetheless. My wish for you is that you find fulfillment in life, with or without a life partner.
posted by velvet winter at 9:00 PM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]

I kind of made looking for a boyfriend my job, so I had to go to three or more events a week where I would meet single men. (So single volunteers, singles dinners, that kind of thing).
posted by bananafish at 9:00 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Echoing tel3path's and velvet winter's sentiments. Other than being persistent (with little to no expectations), it really is a matter of good timing. For me personally, I had no way of meeting anyone unless I used online dating. Around the end of last year, I grew so frustrated -- four years of unsuccessful online dating did a number on me and I was planning on closing my profile for good; however, I ended up meeting my partner on PlentyOfFish. Had I followed through with deleting, we would have never crossed paths otherwise. So, perhaps it was my last shred of hope that brought us together... as well as a high degree of luck.

Find new hobbies/keep yourself preoccupied with current ones while keeping an open mind and maintaining your search with no grandiose expectations would be my advice.
posted by HiphopAnonymous at 10:39 PM on April 30, 2013

I actually think you should have grandiose expectations. You won't find something unless you believe it is out there to be found.

But yeah, maybe you should try to move.
posted by tel3path at 1:48 AM on May 1, 2013

Start with "meet men whom I like, and whose company I enjoy." Just start there.

This is wise advice.

FWIW I felt like you do now. Never in my life did I ever feel that spark or connection. I had no idea what the hell people meant when they talked about chemistry and spark and love. Never in my life did I meet someone that I felt, even for a second, that they could be a good mate for me. I felt like I was a square peg in a world of round holes. I knew/know that I am a bit unique and odd and parts of my personality are the love or hate type, and I felt my physical appearance just complicated things even more, so to me finding someone to spend my life with that made me happy felt pretty impossible. Plus, I looked at the statistics on my city and the ratio of men to women was ~2 women for every man, plus we have a really big gay community here as well, which removed a big chunk of that as well. I felt totally hopeless. I dated but there was always a sense of "ugh, seriously? this is the best I can do?". I bought a cat because damn, she was better company than most of the dorks I went on dates with.

So I totally know what you're feeling. It seriously sucks.

Moving to a citywhere there is a better single scene would almost definitely help, and I get the sense you're open to that because you said you haven't been able to secure a job in another location YET. So it sounds like you'd be fine with moving. I keep working on that.

Also, and I know it sounds trite and stupid, but being a very open, outward person who embodies all the traits YOU are looking for in a mate helps. Be your authentic, most comfortable self and really be the person you'd want to date. I used to act less intelligent so as not to intimidate my dates, and I pretended to find their jokes funny, and I pretended to be interested in ___________ to seem more agreeable. That doens't work because that isn't stuff you'd want to keep doing for the rest of your life. Just be a big open awesome confident "yes, I like j-pop and am extremely well read" self.

Or you can just do what I did and fall in love with a married co-worker/friend, spend four years upset and working incredibly hard at denying and hiding it until his wife divorces him and then pounce on him the week after she moved out. He is 8 years older than me and totally different from what I expected, but he is god damned perfect for me and I love him to pieces. (We're getting married in 4 months.)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:46 AM on May 1, 2013

I stumble across the most interesting men while participating in online forums geared toward a special interest (of the non-romantic, non-sexual sort). Examples: forums for snowboarding; cars; computers. (My interests conveniently tend to skew "male", but I've met good guys through more general-interest forums: hiking, travel, science.)

What I like about this scenario is, I get to observe the guy interacting with others, even if only in a virtual sense; this gives me more useful info than trying to read beneath the gloss of an online dating profile. Moreso, I'm just doing something I enjoy and am interested in for its own sake, without any expectation of it producing results (vs. online dating), so it never feels dispiriting or a waste of time.
posted by nacho fries at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks everybody for your input. I'm just gonna keep slogging along.
posted by strelitzia at 8:00 AM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Try not to consider it slogging. Seriously, you should be focusing on having FUN and doing things that make you happy and that interest you and that you enjoy. Don't do things because you may meet someone that way. Do things because you genuinely want to. Enjoy life. Don't let yourself fall in to a holding pattern while you wait for your life partner to arrive. Don't put your life on hold. This is the time to be selfish and do what you want! Do lots of things. Meet lots of people. Have lots of stories to tell. Live a life that you're proud of and that you'd find attractive in a mate. That way the "waiting" is way more fun and less tiresome.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:32 AM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think there are actually a lot of people out there, but the perpetually single have blinders on and only look for a certain "type" (whether consciously or subconsciously). I find a lot of people are into growing, it just looks different from the "outside" i.e. someone who is not them. So don't dismiss people because you don't see "growth" (how can you see growth in 1-2 dates!). Look for the basics: good conversation, consistent contact that doesn't leave you wondering, and gentle building of a back & forth relationship (not sudden sparks). And some of the healthiest people I know are just psychologically sound from the get-go (good parenting), so they don't have much insecurity to outgrow. The awesome thing they bring to the table is the uncanny way they know themselves, can read a situation and can calm others down. But you'd never know it because they don't talk about it, they just do it.

Now I'm gonna get a little woo-woo on you, but I have found that people start showing up out of nowhere as soon as I relax into my heart [chakra] and maintain a sense of curiosity and openness about the other person. I learned to dance with each person I was talking to, learned to allow them to lead their 50% of the [emotional] conversation, learned to respond to the energy they put out, rather than try to create or direct it. And oh bejezus did men start to come out of the woodwork at that point. My job was to simply "be" and keep moving through these encounters until I found someone to stay with. Watch some David Deida videos as well; if not helpful, they're at least not boring. (Forgive the production value.)

And I second 3491 again... slut it up. Keep dating and get the experience, date someone for a few weeks and change your mind, he doesn't have to be "the one", just get to know him and find out what you think. Surprising things can grow out if you let 'em.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:38 PM on May 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

one thing that's missing from your list of things you want is the degree to which you want them. are all of them a must-have? because it sounds like they are. think about what you need, and what is nice to have, but not necessary, and what you need to a degree. in a way, i'm saying lower your standards. because if you're dismissing every man because he's not the perfect man you could be missing out on ones who would be good enough after years of the long term relationship that you say you want. but, you'll never know if you regect him because you have some vauge feeling he is not "committed to personal, professional, and emotional growth."
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:57 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

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