In a relationship or life jam? Lemme unstuck your life — send your questions to:
[email protected] or reach out to me on Facebook.com/AskMindaHoney
Minda, I haven’t ever written one of these types of letters. Until now.
I’ve had two marriages, totaling well over 20 years and a girlfriend for between four and five years (until recently). So, for just a few more years than half my life, I’ve been part of a couple. For that, I am truly grateful.
While I do have a lot going for me (intelligent, creative, open-minded, wicked sense of humor, passionate, well-organized, honest and dependable), there seems to be things about me that are not attractive to most women. I’m not exactly your typical male. We can start there. I’m far, far smaller than the average American man. I’m not the most masculine male on Earth, and, in fact, have a rather feminine soul. I lack many of the traditional/typical male interests and characteristics. And anything approaching macho? Forget it. I also don’t have much money (In fact, I am currently looking for work, but, thankfully not without any funds).
Then, there are my dating skills. For starters, I don’t seem to know any (or hardly any) single women, and my ability to identify single women seems nonexistent. While I don’t know if anyone actually uses them, I have no pickup lines (they seem kinda cliché and stupid, anyway), and I feel clueless as to how to approach women with the express purpose of introducing myself for dating. I have no idea how to dance, unless I take lessons for some specific style. Social media? Well, a friend set up my Facebook page for me several years ago, because I didn’t know how to do it. It hasn’t changed since. I didn’t grow up with this stuff, and it’s not intuitive to me. I have often read about the thousands of signals and hints women emit that men have to somehow just know or figure out. (And I suppose I can assume that men do it, too). It all seems terribly complex and unnecessary. I don’t feel inclined, at my age, to spend an inordinate amount of time — or any, for that matter — trying to decipher all that nonsense. Just say what you mean and mean what you say. Is it really that difficult?
My marriages occurred from situations in which I didn’t have to do any chasing or pursuing. For that, I am grateful. I met my aforementioned girlfriend through a mutual friend. I wasn’t good at dating in high school or college and, during the times I was single as an adult, hadn’t enjoyed any real success, either. The online dating system/scene — as it is today — is often too expensive (matchmaking services costs are astronomical!), sometimes too technologically challenging and sometimes doesn’t do a good job with geographical matching. The one thing it does, however, which is a huge factor in my case, is to take the problem of identifying single women off the table. They wouldn’t be on these websites if they weren’t available, right? So, there is that, at least. I don’t care to admit it, but it seems to be my best, maybe only, option. (Have tried it a bit in the past without any real success.)
So… would you like to chime in here and offer creative criticism? A well-thought-out (and deserved?) lecture? Some encouragement and support, maybe? Helpful hints of practical use?
— Clueless Senior in the ‘Ville
Hey Clueless Senior,
Here’s the thing, you’ve had a good run! You’ve mostly, and effortlessly, enjoyed companionship much of your adult life. It seems like your letter could be summed up as, “Why can’t it be as easy as it’s been in the past?” And you feel like the dating odds are not in your favor. Maybe it would be helpful to remember the Alcoholics Anonymous serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
You’re going to have to accept that finding a partner this time around is more challenging than it was in the past. You’re going to have to accept that your body and your temperament are just who you are (And, might I point out, that you’ve had at least three long-term partners who seemed to value both your body and your feminine soul? Haven’t you heard, toxic masculinity is so passé!).
But you can change your unemployment status and your digital literacy. There are many community-based programs (Check out the Louisville Free Public Library) to get folks like you up to speed. And yeah, no one’s jazzed about online dating except for your obnoxious friend who’s been booed up since before dating went digital and feels like they “missed something.”
And you’ll have to decide whether or not you have to accept your relationship status is the most significant driver in your life satisfaction or whether you’re going to see this as a time for change and evolution and find what else in life might fulfill while you search for that next perfect person to be with. Good luck, Senior.