By Ellen Seidman
It's 8 a.m., and I'm caught up in the get-the-kids-to-school shuffle: shoes, breakfast, knapsacks, and no, you can't bring the vacuum cleaner for show-and-tell. Suddenly, I catch my husband giving me a funny look. "What?" I say, wondering if I have toothpaste on my cheek. "Do you know what today is?" Dave says with a wistful smile.
Um. Wait. Oops. Today is our ninth wedding anniversary. I knew it was coming up, but kid stuff had taken over my brain — signing up for swimming lessons,...
I'm a 36-year-old straight woman, reasonably successful in my career, with lots of friends of both genders. My love life, however, has been an unbroken series of disasters. I meet a lot of guys and date a lot, but after a while interest flags on either his side or mine. In the past two months, I've been through both experiences. One was a great guy with whom I seemed to have everything in common, but who just stopped calling; later I heard he'd found a new, younger girlfriend. The other started out as a wonderful romantic, cooking me candlelight dinners and sending me sweet notes, but then told me he "didn't want a romance, just a sexual friendship," which didn't interest me.
I haven't had a serious relationship in five years now, and I'm starting to think there must be something on my end to create such a constant pattern of disappointment. I went to a therapist, who said I seemed pretty emotionally healthy to her. I've asked my friends to tell me straight on if there's something I'm doing wrong, and they say no, that I'm a kind and warm and likeable person and that I've just had bad luck, that the guys I've met have just been turkeys.
Still, the only constant in this long, long string of losses is me -- the guys are from all different backgrounds, age groups and professions, and all of them seemed like reasonable people when I met them. And I've met them in all different ways -- everything from eyes across a crowded room to trying to turn an old friend into a lover, from work colleagues to the Internet. Nothing has worked out.
What the hell is wrong with me, Dan? I'm so tired of being single. I just want a guy to call my own.
Here is Dan's response:
I'm not sure what's wrong with you, nor can I offer much advice beyond the conventional wisdom that floats around out there for single people who want partners: Keep your spirits up, don't wallow in self-pity, there's a guy out there for you, do things and go places you're interested in and you're bound to meet him. That's the advice Ann and Abby have been giving both men and women suffering from your particular problem for, well, for ages and ages. And, as is often the case, conventional wisdom became conventional for one very good reason, i.e., it's true.