I’m an attractive, sexy, fit, and independent woman, 37, who wonders, “Why can’t I find lasting love?”
I divorced eight years ago, it was mutual. We learned after marrying that we both had growing up to do still.
I worked on my career and enjoyed being single, until I fell deeply in love.
He was smart, funny, business-minded, responsible, and very caring about me. And the sex was fantastic.
But even after spending every weekend together, travelling together, and texting or talking every night for almost a year, he admitted he “could not” say he loved me.
He said he’d been hurt too much in the past. He’d retreat when I was my most loving.
I understood and was patient until I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to be loved, too.
I worked hard at getting over him. I re-connected with my woman friends and started eating healthier, to feel better about myself and strong emotionally.
When I met a new guy months ago, I took it slow. Friends told me he was known to be distant to almost everyone, and he soon confided that he had personal “issues.” So we just talked and became closer friends.
He changed and became warm and affectionate and wanted to be my exclusive boyfriend, and we connected sexually.
It was wonderful for a couple of months, then suddenly he went cold with no explanation, wanting only to be alone.
So where does that leave me? Alone, confused, hurt. What am I doing wrong?
Need Love Too
You’re doing nothing unusual or “wrong,” but ending up in relationships where you’re wrong for each other.
By your mid-30s, you and the men you date have had adult experiences that strongly affect attitudes and reactions.
The first guy was so deeply hurt before he met you, that he couldn’t trust or accept that love could be lasting.
The other had issues which were so at the surface that his friends warned you. He warmed to you, but couldn’t stay so close.
You weren’t the problem for either man. They carried that baggage themselves.
Here’s what you need to know about seeking love at this stage:
You have baggage too. Everyone does. Get it out in the open early on – say upfront that you’re now interested in the long-term, not in casual dating only.
Watch for early signs that some potential dates hold deep-rooted bitterness towards past partners, or speak of very dysfunctional former relationships, or have hang-ups, fears, or anxieties that seem unusually strong.
Look to yourself, too. Women can be just as prone to bitterness, fears, and anxieties about past relationships and distrust of future ones.
Enjoy meeting new people and considering dating them, but don’t rush your judgment or your feelings.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who complained about having terrible sex with the boyfriend she loves (August 16):
Reader – “I was glad to see you included the option that they agree she have another partner.
“I’ve written before about the possibility of ethical non-monogamy as an alternative to cheating.
“It may be unlikely to work for a couple where one partner clearly has some insecurities and communication challenges, given his inability to take direction in the bedroom.
“But it is an option to be mentioned rather than ignored.”
Ellie – However, the first options mentioned were working on the problem together through reading sex manuals, seeing a sex therapist, a physician, etc.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man whose wife’s son owes her money, affecting her ability to contribute to their joint expenses (August 12):
Reader – “I think you were wrong in telling this gentleman to back off. This issue may eventually cause a fatal rift in their relationship.
“She's spoiled her children and they feel entitled.
“Instead of being grateful that their education was fully paid, they never repaid the loans to their mom.
“The son uses his money for extras and fun, racks up credit card debt, and will continue to sponge from her.
“It’s unfair for the writer to have to work longer to afford his lifestyle, to help out her son. He already contributes more.
“The moochers need to be cut off.”
Ellie – Yes, it’s a potential deal-breaker between them.
I did also suggest they work towards an agreed solution or “leave the shortfall up to her” (since she apparently spends a lot personally).
Tip of the day:
Looking for love? Check the baggage between you – your own and the other person’s - before you let your expectations and feelings surge.