Can't I hope for the man of my dreams?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Can't I hope for the man of my dreams?
20
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 7:22pm
I think GoGo is right when he say below that most women are looking for the man of their dreams and won't settle for less...but really, why should anyone settle for less than their ultimate match?

Like Artie, I tend to go out with anyone who asks me out at least once to see if there's anything in common. Yet, like Artie, I don't want to end up with someone who **I'm** not attracted to on a physical and emotional level--and can often tell if that potential is going to develop after 2 or 3 dates max. In fact although it took me a long time to be convinced "W" (the subject of my first post below) was someone I could truly love, I knew even from the first time I saw him, that that special, indefinable something, was there--and that's what I require before attempting a LTR with anyone.

Now, trust me, I'm not looking for someone who is movie-star attractive, a rocket scientist and all that, but I do want someone who connects well with ME and who is attractive to ME--to end up with anything less seems unromantic, and well, like settling. After having that special connection with "W" the thought of living my life with someone I don't connect with as well, is well...depressing. You know that sudden burst of happiness and elation you feel on a cloudy day when the sun comes out? That's how I felt when I was with "W"--and so the thought of settling for life with someone who makes me feel any less, who never makes the sun come out and instead being destined to a lifetime of cloudy days seems downright horrific--yet those people who have the power to bring out the sun in my life seem few and far between.

So why does it so easy for some people to always find those people they are attracted to and have relationships and why for some others is it so much harder? I have certain friends who have never been without a LTR for more than 3 months in their whole life. But for me, I've never seen the point of having a LTR with anyone where I don't feel that undescribable vibe that there's something there that's right for me, and thus have only had one serious relationship in my entire life. And others hop from LTR to LTR without a blip. In fact, one of the things that makes me most crazy about my breakup with "W" is that he is in a year long relationship with the third girl he went on a date with after our break up--granted 6 months had passed, but she was only the third girl he'd met since then. Knowing the special connection we had, and how rare such connection is, I find it next to impossible to believe he was able to find that same connection with someone else so quickly--I've met literaly dozens of men since him and have not felt anything close to it with any of them.

So what does it all mean? Do some people just have a much wider range of people they can be attracted to? Or are some people willing to settle for less than the ultimate match and just look for someone who is "good enough"? Am I being too romantic about the idea of true love? Am I wrong to want to believe that while there is more than one person out there for you, true love with someone you connect with body and soul is a rare and special thing and something worth waiting for? IS this possibly a gender difference? Are men more practical than women and thus willing to end up in a relationship with someone they are attracted to and have fun with even if they don't feel that ultimate connection? Are women being too idealistic and romantic and constantly searching for that knight in shing armor? Or is this an individualized difference that has nothing to do with gender? And which approach outlook is better?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 10:01pm
I would say you are right on with your train of thought. There are far too many people who settle for less than what they want. There are a lot of people who truly have no idea who they really are, and thus make the wrong decisions for themselves. There are also a lot of people who have such poor self esteem that they are just happy someone is interested in them. They latch on out of desperation and fear that if they don't make it work with this person, they may never find someone.(I've been there)

The person who has experienced enough of life and love to be able to say they know for sure exactly what they are looking for and they would rather be alone than with someone who doesn't fit their ideal is truly a rare animal. I don't think it's gender related though, but rather in line with someone truly happy with themselves.

Curtis

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 10:11pm
Title...Wow...I don't know if this is CLASSIC...or if it is...man...I just don't know...

Since it is my post that you referred to, I thought I'd respond...and frankly, my thoughts are all over the place...

"...but really, why should anyone settle for less than their ultimate match?"

Because the "ultimate match" is an ideal, and like many ideals, there is a very good chance it won't be achieved. For example, as much as I love GG, she isn't "ideal". She doesn't look like Kellita Smith for one thing. More seriously, we have some differences in our personalities...she is a procrastinator, I am a classic Type "A" person...she is very sensitive to the needs and feelings of others (which is actually a good thing), but she also shares this concern in regards to how people view her. I, on the other hand, find life to be much simpler to NOT concern myself with what other people think, and if I had my way, she’d be the same way (which isn't to say that she is wrong or bad for being the way she is...but if she weren't it would often make things easier for us logistically). It would be nice if she was wealthy as well...ok...I'm kidding again.

My point is that I could have waited for this person with whom I had an "ultimate connection"...and denied myself the positive experience of my previous relationships. More critically, I would be delaying my OWN happiness (sort of what I was alluding to before when I said it is ok to take a shot again with your old BF if he were willing, but you really should move on)...there are life experiences that I want to enjoy...and I need a mate to enjoy them. If I waited until I found the "ultimate connection"...I might meet this person...then I might not. Or...it might not matter...how much would my happiness be eroded if I were trying to be a parent...one of my life goals...at age 57, when I met this "ultimate connection", versus now, at 37?

So...you can think of it as "settling"...or you can think of it as being realistic...I guess it all depends on how grounded you are in reality...how experienced you are in life and in relationships. Besides...my ideal of my "ultimate connection" MIGHT not feel the same way about me. I'm gonna get to both of these points in a second...

"Yet, like Artie, I don't want to end up with someone who **I'm** not attracted to on a physical and emotional level--and can often tell if that potential is going to develop after 2 or 3 dates max."

This in and of itself is not unreasonable...I think this is the way most of us operate.

"I knew even from the first time I saw him, that that special, indefinable something, was there"

Now this, on the other hand...IMHO...is a symptom of a mindset and behaviour that the rest of the post speaks to as well...how could you have known this JUST on sight, or after a few hundred words? What if it turned out later he was a child molester, or had a drug addiction? To me...you make life decisions based on empirical data...things you can observe, document, describe. Me...I'm not going to make a life decision based on an "indefinable something"...because that isn't enough. And the stuff I would need to know to make that life decision can't be learned in a "first time I saw him" period of time.

"Now, trust me, I'm not looking for someone who is movie-star attractive, a rocket scientist and all that, but I do want someone who connects well with ME and who is attractive to ME--to end up with anything less seems unromantic, and well, like settling. "

Again, this sounds pretty reasonable. But this notion of "connects"...like I said below, I think it is grossly overrated. A real "connection" develops over time in my book. That "romantic" stuff that happens on TV to me, just as I stated below, is just coincidence...that could be based on tons of things (similar childhood, etc.) that actually has nothing to do with how much someone cares for you, or what sort of person they are (I don't care how well I "connect" with someone...I don't want to be married to someone with a gambling problem...they would be an unsuitable mate for marriage, even if they made a good and dear friend).

"Now, trust me, I'm not looking for someone who is movie-star attractive, a rocket scientist and all that, but I do want someone who connects well with ME and who is attractive to ME--to end up with anything less seems unromantic, and well, like settling. "

Well, of course, some people DO settle...I am sure you know women who simply cannot live without having a man in their life, so ANY man will do. But...in terms of the real answer to your question...some people know that A) every relationship...even long term ones...don't have to culminate in marriage. Certainly this is the case in young adulthood...the guy you meet and date for a couple years at 19 isn't necessarily going to be your future husband. As you grow and evolve as a person, you might find that what you required in a life mate differs at 23...25...27...from what it was at 19. That doesn't mean that relationship at 19 was a "waste"...which is what you seem to be implying. Lots can be learned from relationships...about relationships...about people...about yourself. And I am still getting to those points from above...and this ties into those.

"...and thus have only had one serious relationship in my entire life."

Ahhh...see...surely you've noticed that this makes you, at age 30...somewhat different than most other women, right? Had you considered that perhaps those other women understood something you didn't? I don't mean those that "have to have a man"...those lonely pathetic types with no self-esteem or self-indentity. I mean women who you feel are happy and emotionally healthy. Have you ever wondered about the value they saw in having met and loved multiple men in their lives, before finally deciding "this is the one"?

"You know that sudden burst of happiness and elation you feel on a cloudy day when the sun comes out? That's how I felt when I was with "W" "

Well...I suspect one of the things those ladies have learned...after having loved multiple men...is that this sort of happiness has to come from within. It shouldn't come from another person...and you shouldn't LOOK for another person to give it to you. I mean...without trying to sound harsh...does that REALLY read like the sentiment of your other female friends of similar age? Or does it read like the thoughts of a young woman...18...19..."in love" for the first time? I love my wife...and yes our relationship brings me joy. But I would describe it as a "sudden burst of happiness"...I would say it is much more like a calm...steady warm glow. It is GOOD...to have someone to love...to have someone who loves me. And sometimes we share elation. But I've shared elation with others...ELATION isn't the basis of a healthy long-term relationship, IMHO.

"In fact, one of the things that makes me most crazy about my break up with "W" is that he is in a year long relationship with the third girl he went on a date with after our break up--granted 6 months had passed, but she was only the third girl he'd met since then. Knowing the special connection we had, and how rare such connection is, I find it next to impossible to believe he was able to find that same connection with someone else so quickly--I've met literaly dozens of men since him and have not felt anything close to it with any of them."

My guess is that he both understands the things I am trying convey insofar as having a grounding in reality...that there isn't just ONE person in this world of 6 billion that he can have a relationship with...and that perhaps he didn't share this "connection" that you describe, as you describe it. It doesn't mean he didn't care for you...perhaps even loved you. It does mean he won't allow himself to be RULED by a pervious relationship with a previous person...that this thing you felt that prevents you from moving on...he didn't feel THAT. Indeed...horror of horrors...given both these points...perhaps he actually finds his current GF to be MORE compatible than the two of you were. For one, I suspect he learned from the relationship between the two of you to avoid women going forward who are unable to express how they feel, or who push him away.

"Do some people just have a much wider range of people they can be attracted to? "

Of course, but that isn't really the issue here.

"Or are some people willing to settle for less than the ultimate match and just look for someone who is "good enough"?"

This is also true, and I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this or belittle it. Look at how many of those people who "settled" are happy...have moved on with their lives...who are accomplishing their life goals...who no longer are longing for someone from their past because they understand this fundamental fact...if that person doesn't want to be with you...they aren't meant to be with you. Your "ultimate connection" should at minimum WANT to be with you.

"Am I being too romantic about the idea of true love?"

I think having only had one "serious relationship in (your) entire life" you might have different ideas of what "true love" is than women who have more relationship experience than you do. I talked in my post that you referenced about how young women hold onto the notion of "movie love", even while their rational minds deny as much. If you have had enough relationships to make comparisons insofar as what worked and what didn't...what you need to have and what you can live without...what will develop over time versus what you can identify in short order...I believe what happens is that you realize that "true love" can come in multiple forms...that it doesn't fit a single template...and that as you evolve as a woman your ideal of "true love" can change. And...that the most important aspect of true love is how this person treats you (that is my point regarding it not possibly being the "ultimate connection" if this person doesn't even want to be with you) and that attracting true love requires that you love yourself first...that you be a whole, healthy and complete person independent of an outside relationship.

Your posts remind me of a relationship from my past. I dated someone right after my divorce who...at age 34, with two kids, having lived with two different men...claimed that **I** was the first man she ever loved. I never loved her, and never told her I did. Still, she claims to have strongly felt that ***we*** were meant for each other. For literally years after I last saw her, she was claiming still...via IMs...that **I** had caused her harm...emotional damage...that she as still suffering from. She simply REFUSED to move on...right up until she married her current husband (yes...her harassment continued while she was dating him...then living with him).

She has deep, deep, deep self esteem problems...my off the cuff analysis is that she had never had someone in a relationship treat her with any respect whatsoever (she was / is classic "trailer trash"...and the guys she lived with were classic losers...the sort who never had jobs...moved from living with one woman to another when they weren't living with their mothers...etc.), nor had she ever been in a relationship with someone SHE respected (she isn't a stupid woman...just one with deep self esteem and emotional issues...so she frequently commented how pleasant it was to be with someone she could actually "talk to"...I can only presume her previous loser BF also weren't very bright or deep conversationalist). I also believe that she thought that being with me would change her circumstances...she had problems keeping a job herself, so hooking up with me would mean a standard of living she was unaccustomed to...and probably dreamed about.

**I** believe that all these things together in her mind equalled "true love" in her mind...despite the fact that I never professed love for her...despite the fact that I didn't treat her all that well either (as far as I was concerned she was just a fun, friendly and particularly freaky FWB). Now, I'm not suggesting that your relationship with your ex was like this one...according to you, he professed to care about you, and I believe you.

But I think your inability to move on...while he has clearly done so (my gawd...I was MARRIED and she was still sending me IMs...) might be rooted in the same cause. My ex from this story can't afford therapy (she doesn't believe she needs it either...she just self medicates with sex...with lots of men...different men...sometimes at once...even though she is now married...it makes her feel wanted...told ya she had self esteem issues...) but you said that you are getting some (therapy that is). This is a good thing.

A failure to move on doesn't make you "noble" for having held out for "true love"...it only denies you the happiness you could be having.

I wish you well...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 10:53pm
I don't think you're correctly interpreting the meaning of "connection" at least not in the way that I mean it. And it happens in more aspects than just romantic relationships. I've met girls and known very early on that there was something there that was going to make us great friends. I'm looking for a very similar thing in relationship terms. I'm not looking to fall in love in the first week, but if I don't believe that opportunity is there, then it's not. Connection implies something happening both ways, not just one.

I don't have a laundry list of characteristics I'm looking for in a man the way I do when I'm creating a new male character. And incidentally, the men I create in fiction are always flawed too. Perfection is boring. I know myself and I know the kind of people I do well with. I've had 27 years of personal relationships. I don't do well with clingy people and self-defeatists. I don't do well with people who don't respect my time or who don't have any ambitions for themselves. I don't do well with people who are content to let their minds rot after school and who don't care about the world outside their door. I'm not applying any special standards to my love life that don't apply to the other people I surround myself with, with the exception of sexual attractiveness. Even if in your mind GG doesn't look like Kellita Smith, you still think she's hot.

To the original poster, I don't think you should settle. So long as your expectations are reasonable, and they sound like they are, you should be just fine. And I understand that sometimes, the man of your dreams, is just that guy at the end of the day who asks how your day was and means it. The one who forgets to call because there's a game on and sniffs his t-shirts before he puts them on even after they've just come out of the dryer. He's not prince charming, and sometimes he's not even charming at all. But he's real, and he's kind, and he's out there.

~Artie...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 6:47am
Title: So...without disagreeing with any particular part of your post (because I don't know that I can)...


...let deal with the observable facts. The orginal question, as I understood it, was "why is that other people seem to have no problem finding a mate for long term relationships, while I find it so difficult?".

I don't see where your post begins to answer that question. I don't mean that as an attack, just to peel the onion to my point.

If one is 30 years old, and has had ONE LTR...in a world (ok, in a culture? Thinking about North America here I suppose...maybe Europe as well) where I would guess most women have...oh who knows...one every 3 years since age 21? Suffice to say more than one...aren't you compelled to ask WHY this is?

Isn't awfully convienent to be able to say "oh I am just not settling", implying that everyone else is?

Or...if you aren't implying that...if you do recognize that these other people could be perfectly happy (at least some of them)..that they have what it is you are looking for (at least some of them), then aren't you compelled to ask WHY can't I seem to find it?

When does the self examination start? When do you begin to say "Well, maybe I am doing something wrong here?".

I don't think I have misinterpeted "connection" at all. I just don't think it is as hard to find as you ladies imply. Millions of others do it...

Knowing yourself and the people you do well with is a very, very good thing. And your expectations sound reasonable. But...given those two points...when does the third shoe (snicker) fall? When do you finally ask "if I know what I want...and what I want isn't crazy...then whay can't I find it?".

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 8:18am
To Artie and GoGo: I think you two are talking about slightly different things and situations. Artemis is thinking "Wow, this sounds just like what I'm complaining about" and taking GoGo's advice personally, while GoGo is directing his comments more specifically at the original poster.

To the Original poster: I agree with GoGo. More specifically, I agree that having non-perfect relationships are not a waste of time. They teach you a *ton* about yourself, about others about how to interact. For example, you started posting by listing your problems and that you never could tell or show the guy you loved that you loved him. This problem didn't creep up on you until you were 29, because you never had a relationship until you were 29. If you had many non-perfect relationships for the priod decade, you would have evolved your capacity to feel and express yourself to your lovers. By the time you met your "ultimate match", you would have been ready for it. As it was, you weren't and it destroyed it.

There is the matter of timing when it comes to relationships. How old are you, how old is your "ultimate connection"?? (keep in mind, I'm using your basic term for someone with whom there is a distinct connection, but it is based on nothing specific about them) When you meet your next connection, you could be 60, or they could be 60. There could be 30 years age difference between you.

If I wanted the "perfect car" and I wait for 20 years to save up for it... Then that's 20 years with no car to drive and all the hassles that go with it. Also, when I finally buy it, I'm much more likely to crash it, because I have no experience driving it.

Ask anyone what their first relationships were like. Filled with difficulties and misunderstandings. Heck, that part of "Understanding the Opposite Sex". It's not intuitive.

Should you settle? Hell, yes!!!

I don't think you should settle for a "bad relationship". I don't think you should settle in who you marry. However, I think you need experience at having relationships in order to ever figure out how to make one work. Do you really want to "work out the bugs" with your ultimate connection? Where screwing up means a big time loss of your "true love"?

I think there should be minimum criteria for who you date and get involved with. However, I think holding out for your "ultimate", should not be the starting point.

Think about it...

Brokk...

Avatar for squinty25
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 9:12am
I didn't read through everyone's responses, so I apologize in advance if I'm being redundant. But this is my two cents on your question:

Yes, of course, a woman has every right to want the "man of her dreams." But for some women, this may be difficult (in their mind) to find because they are setting the expectations too high. They are not being realistic, and therefore, result in keeping practically every man at arm's length. They naively believe in this notion of "soul mates"...okay, I may get a LOT of backlash for that one, but I honestly do not believe in the term "soul mates" because it distorts the fact that two people cannot be exactly the same. I do believe two people can CONNECT, meaning their differences in personality can complement one another.

Having said that, in my opinion, no man can ever be ANY woman's "man of her dreams." And what I mean by that is, no one is perfect and each person is his own individual. There are going to be several, if not many, things that are not going to "match up" to a woman's expectations of a dream man. Examples you hear about everyday...He doesn't put the toilet seat down, he doesn't always open the car door for her, he is infatuated with WWF wrestling, he eats too much, etc., etc. Sure, on the surface, maybe these types of things are infantile and annoying to a woman because it totally deviates from their "ideal". But, relatively speaking, let's look at the bigger picture. How does he treat you as a whole? Does he respect you and your opinions? Does he suitably fit you into his life? Do you share the same basic values? These are a few questions to ask yourself concerning the larger and more important aspects of what a good man is.

Yes, I won't deny there should be physical attraction. But as we all know, we get older and looks fade. What do you have left then if all you're concerned about is the ideal physique. Again, my point of unrealistic expectations.

So while you may consider it "settling", another woman would consider as accepting and loving the man for who he is and for all his trivial flaws. And the reason they accept and love him for that is because he does the same for her in return...because EVERYONE is infallible and NO ONE can "Mr. or Ms. Right".

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 9:34am
This is not really advice, just a related story of an extreme farther than yours.

Rozi (my wife) and I used to have a roomate called "C". She was a quite girl, around 27 yo. She never dated and never spoke of an "ex" or any previous relationship. She would look wistfully at Rozi and I. One day we asked her about it.

She's waiting for "Mr Right". One day, he'll wander into the room, their eyes will meet, and they'll "just know". Until then, she's turned down everyone who's asked her on a date (some quite harshly).

As it stands, she's pushing closer to 30, and has yet to have a single relationship. Although I suspect she may have gone on a couple dates when she was younger.

Rozi and I weren't quite sure what to say. It seems cruel to let someone walk through life with such rose colored glasses on. When we tried to talk to her about reality, she responded with "I know, it sounds foolish, but that is my belief and I'm sticking to it". Thus ended the conversation.

Just thought I would describe someone else who's looking for love, but never seems to find it.

Brokk...

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 9:38am
My general response would be - who cares and why compare yourself. There are infinite number of reasons people choose to commit - yesterday a newlywed told me he knows his wife isn't his ideal and he is not hers but they were ready to be married; I know people who married because they were madly in love, wanted to marry their best friend, married to get married, married to have a child or for financial stability or some combo of most or all of those things. With a 50% divorce rate, who's to say which motivations work - other than you have to find the ones that will keep you satisfied in an LTR and either not compromise on those or reevaluate whether they still make sense in your life, at this stage. Yes I agree - it seems like some people have it easier - a friend of mine just got engaged to a man she met on Match.com after 4 months of dating - they are 35 and 37. Several people have said to me "well, this is good as she really was anxious to be married" as if finding someone to marry is like choosing a college or a new job - never been that way for me. I would focus on what works for you - what your priorities are - whether they are that close connection, or something else, and what that close connection means to you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 9:59am
I don't know what her story is, but I'll tell you mine if you think it might help you to understand something from a different perspective.

I grew up in a small town. A town where I knew the lineage and the number of livestock in the family of every guy I knew. I dated, but I'd made up my mind by, oh I don't know, age four that I wasn't staying in that place. The cycle I'd observed to that point was that if you met a guy, you did something stupid like drop out of college to get married and then got a job as a checkout girl at Market Basket. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that path. It wasn't one I wanted to take.

So, I went to college, met a guy there. Most of the people I knew were in my very small department. We dated for a few months and then he broke up with me to date another girl in the department. It wasn't a rough breakup. I was just loathe to date anyone else in my department, and I was a little too shy despite the theatre background to just strike up a conversation with people in class.

When I graduated, I moved to Austin, met J, and immediately started dating. I met a ton of guys during that time, but I wasn't looking. I was happy. At one point I worked at a dotcom with over two hundred people. I met people all the time. I was still with J. We broke up and I got laid off during the same week. My source of interesting new people was sort of cut off as everyone sort of scattered to the winds. I did the depression thing for a couple of months and then decided to go back to school. Sure I've met a ton of people in school. People between the ages of 18 and 22. I'm 27. Age is just a number, and I'll agree with that, and when I meet a 22 year old who doesn't act like one, then I'm sure I'll consider it.

The one thing I know that I've done is that I've insulated myself with the group of friends that I have, and we've recently discussed being less exclusive because we're most of us in the same boat. But here's where I think the real nugget lies. We're reaching the age where it's not ok to "just have fun" anymore. And I'm not looking for anything in a guy that I don't have to offer. Out of all of my friends in couples, I know one who is actually in a good, healthy relationship. The others are miserable, so yeah, I see a lot of settling. My sister married her first boyfriend and they fight so much I sometimes have to just take a walk when I'm at my mom's. So yeah, if that's your definition of happiness, I'd just assume you keep it. Everyone is an individual, and just because people are in couples doesn't neccessitate that they're happy anymore than it would suggest that they aren't. I still maintain that riskitgirl knows better than any of us what it's going to take for her. I think it's ridiculous to assume something's wrong with her because she has standards.

When first love happens later in life, it takes a while to soften up so that you're willing to take that chance again. I understand that.

As for not answering the question, it was Can't I hope for the man of my dreams? My answer was absolutely, just be prepared to spend some time alone first.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 11:27am
Title: I believe I understand...and here are my thoughts in response....

"I grew up in a small town. A town where I knew the lineage and the number of livestock in the family of every guy I knew. I dated, but I'd made up my mind by, oh I don't know, age four that I wasn't staying in that place. The cycle I'd observed to that point was that if you met a guy, you did something stupid like drop out of college to get married and then got a job as a checkout girl at Market Basket. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that path. It wasn't one I wanted to take. "

Sounds fairly typical to me for the circumstances. I don't have any experience with growing up or living in a rural community, but this reads like what I'd expect. Somewhere on this board I did say that my views made two assumptions...1) a reasonable level of attractiveness, and 2) being in a reasonably large town.

"So, I went to college, met a guy there. Most of the people I knew were in my very small department. We dated for a few months and then he broke up with me to date another girl in the department. It wasn't a rough breakup. I was just loathe to date anyone else in my department, and I was a little too shy despite the theatre background to just strike up a conversation with people in class. "

Works for me...I was actually married for YEARS before I had ever asked a woman to dance. It was only the fact that I knew I really didn't care if she accepted my invitation that gave me the confidence. I don't know how single guys do it. All that is to say that I understand and can empathize...and I didn't grow up in a small town.

"Sure I've met a ton of people in school. People between the ages of 18 and 22. I'm 27. Age is just a number, and I'll agree with that, and when I meet a 22 year old who doesn't act like one, then I'm sure I'll consider it."

I don't think age is just a number. You're a better person than me for even being willing to "consider it". I would have NOTHING to do with a 22yo female, except collect a lap dance. And if she managed to not open her mouth during the whole thing, we'd both be better off.

"And I'm not looking for anything in a guy that I don't have to offer. "

That is a good thing, and I never said you were, though I am not sure that we are the best judges of what we have to offer. But I get your point.

"Out of all of my friends in couples, I know one who is actually in a good, healthy relationship. The others are miserable, so yeah, I see a lot of settling."

I guess perspective is everything. Most of the people I know who are coupled together are happy. Of course...most of the couples I know are married...not just dating or in LTR...so they (presumably) long ago qualified their mate as someone they can be happy with.

It also occures to me that "happy" is a relative thing. A few Sundays ago my pastor gave a sermon on the difference between "Happiness" and "Joy". "Happiness", which of course is a form of the word "Happy", is derived from "Happenings", which means it is tied to what is happening around you. Circumstances. Joy, on the otehr hand, comes from within. Once you truly have it, you can't easily lose it, because it can't get "lost"...it is inside of you. And, because it isn't dependent on "happenings"...circumstances...it is less likely to ebb and flow with the world around us. This is why I say that you can't look for a person to make you "happy"...what I REALLY mean is that a person can't bring you JOY. The converse of that is when you say these people are miserable...I don't know that their misery is because of their relationship (you might...I don't know them). If a person can't bring you Joy...then it follows that, extremes such as abuse notwithstanding, they also can't make you miserable. You alone are responsible for your state of mind...not anyone else.

This kinda leads to another point. I once read, right here on iVillage, a piece of wisdom from one of the so called experts that stuck with me. She talked about how single people "always" think married people are unhappy...and that married people feel the same way about single people. The reality is that the corresponding parties simple are saying that they wouldn't chose those set of circumstances as best they know them, even while sometimes admitting they have envy of them (I am sure I will begin to envy single guys a bit once this kid is born and my life is changed forever). Which is ok. However, it is important to note that perhaps the people being judged aren't as unhappy as they "appear". That, contray to what married people think...single people aren't all "lost". And, without knowing what your friends have shared with you, or knowing them at all, perhaps your friends aren't "miserable".

To me, the only relevant litmus test, assuming no abuse, is if two people remain together in fidelity or not. If they do, then they are "happy" regardless of their protests. They have consciously elected that what they have is better than what they had, or what they think is "out there"...so, yeah, it annoys the hell out of me that GG doesn't work an action item / task list with the fevor that I do. Procrastination is something that is just beyond my grasp to comprehend. And if you caught me on the right day, at the right time, I'd bitch a blue streak about it. But that doesn't mean I'm "miserable".

All that to say, maybe those friends aren't as "miserable" as you think.

"My sister married her first boyfriend and they fight so much I sometimes have to just take a walk when I'm at my mom's. So yeah, if that's your definition of happiness, I'd just assume you keep it. "

No, that isn't my definition. And I think her marrying her first BF was probably the same mistake as having had only one BF by age 30...just from a different angle. I would say that both deny you an oppotunity to explore yourself and the human species in the relationship dynamic...and more than likely will lead to unhappiness. Of course, if SHE doesn't think she is unhappy, then using her as an example doesn't hold relevance. All you can say is that you wouldn't chose her life. She probably wouldn't chose yours. This has nothing at all to do with our poster, or how healthy it is to delay relationships in life waiting for the perfect one.

"Everyone is an individual, and just because people are in couples doesn't neccessitate that they're happy anymore than it would suggest that they aren't."

Of course not. I don't think I ever said that, if you are insinuating that I did. What I am saying is that if a woman comes to this board lamenting about dream guys and where to find them, my guess is that she would prefer to NOT be single. You can't have it both ways...you can't claim total, absolute contentment with being single AND express frustration about not being able to secure a meaningful relationship. This whole discussion (from my point of view) centers around what is required so that one can find what one desires. I am assuming said woman beleives she would be happIER (though I hate using the word "happy" for reasons previously explained) in a relationship, else she wouldn't be here on this board wondering about them and how they are formed. That said, my feedback, in summary, is "what are you doing to FIND that relationship, because if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten, and no, just thinking 'well everyone else has settled, so that is my reason for not being in a relationship, becasue I won't settle' is just a cop out for not being willing to do what it REALLY takes to find what you want". But that only IMHO...

" I still maintain that riskitgirl knows better than any of us what it's going to take for her."

I dont' know that. I would say having had one relationship in your adult life doesn't give a person a lot of experience to make a decision. I assume that was the reason for her post in the first place...because she wanted to tap the experience of others. I'd also guess that is why she is in threapy...so that she can do the self discovery, with assitance...needed to be able to understand what it is going to take to make the life changes she seeks.

"I think it's ridiculous to assume something's wrong with her because she has standards."

I don't think something is wrong with her because she has standards. I think something is "wrong with her" because she pushed away and ultimately dumped the one guy who she has felt was right for her...I think soemthing is "wrong with her" because she lived to be 29 years old before she met someone who she even thought was suitable to be in a relationship with...I think something is "wrong with her" because a year later she is still holding on to that guy and that relationship, even though he has moved on. None of this has anything to do with "standards"...even the 29 yo thing...because if you have spent 10 to 12 years as an adult finding only one person suitable for even consdiering a relationship with, then, YAAAA, something is "wrong with" you. You don't meet enough people, you judge people too harshly, you are a commitment phobe, who knows what it is? But no, this isn't just a "we are all individuals" thing. And, from reading her previous posts, it would seem she understands that...hence her going into therapy. Good for her...


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