It's Not You, It's Me . . . No. Maybe it was Really You

In response to my 'Someone please explain' sob story post, I got two insightful emails. I didn't want to be greedy and keep the wisdom all to myself. Both emailers gave me permission to post their thoughts. So I have included them here.  This is somewhat of a mish-mashed guest post. (With some edits to their words, I hope they don't mind.)

I.  A long-time reader and blog friend, Ethesis (Stephen Marsh) has since posted this on his own blog.   He discusses reasons why someone can be over the age 30 or even 40, single, and not necessarily a hopeless human being.

Bottom line: It is very, very possible for someone to never find a match without it being their fault and without anything being wrong with them.

Finding a match.

I knew a guy, I’ll call him Jammin (Jam for short). He was strong and tall, but not quick (so he could not play basketball or football – not quick enough, trouble with powerlifting, too tall). He wasn’t as good looking as he thought, and not as smart as he needed to be. He had a thing about really pretty girls. Of course the only really pretty girls that would date him were ones with problems that off-set their being pretty. He couldn’t figure out why he was always dating girls with serious problems, how come he always ran into the ones that turned out to be scary.

It was simple. He wasn’t good looking enough to be a good match or fit for that group and did not have off-setting qualities (dating sites show that you can exchange money, education and other things for good looks if you are a guy).

I knew another guy, I’ll call him Loser (Lou for short). Lou liked really pretty girls. He liked pretty girls who could think. He invariably picked them up on the rebound after a bad break-up, he wasn’t pushy. They would drift away as they recovered. Mostly they remained friends, and interestingly enough, formed a group of ex-girlfriends of Lou’s that enjoyed each other, just not him. Lou couldn’t understand why he couldn’t hold on to the kind of girls he was dating. Now he is old enough that he is kind of skeevy vis a vis the girls he would like to date and has burned some bridges as well.

His problem is pretty simple. He has little to offer (less now that he is older) other than a non-threatening supportive ear and friend-style dating. But no one in their right emotional mind sees him as dating material for romantic dates.

Both of these guys were not matching what they were to what they were chasing. Both of them had long histories of failed relationships. Jam succeeded by breaking free of his blinders. Lou is, well, there is a reason I called him Loser.

We probably all know a Lou and a Jam.  This is kind of a harsh introduction. I knew a guy who told the same story, more or less, except it was about a girl who chased football players and another who chased drummers.

Too many people think that the moral of the stories is that you have to “settle” for less than you “deserve” or “want.” That’s wrong. What you have to do is find who you match.

Some things make it easier. If you are a guy, go to New York City. There is a surplus of single women in New York City. If you are a woman, go places where there is a surplus of men.

Next, go places where people are looking for people like you. I had a friend, Martha Muriel who was gorgeous and a dancer. She went to a ward full of short professional men and tall models. The men all wanted a short model (which, of course, wasn’t going to happen, there is a minimum height for models after all). The women were all looking for tall professionals (which group, it turns out, is mostly already married). None of them were looking for Hispanics, more their loss. Martha left after a couple visits, she was much too smart to waste more time there.

There are things that look like problems, but that are not. They are matters of fit. 

It is similar for both men and women. In some areas there are too many men, in others there are too many women. This is true of physical locations as it is of areas of interest (you trying to become a doctor’s spouse or snag an unmarried professional athlete? There are a lot of people in those areas). Some areas have huge pools (so the chance of someone in your sub-pool goes up) some have very tiny pools (if there are only three guys and three women in an area, the chance of a close match has probably gone way down).

Finally, what do you use as a filter? What things do you use to exclude? Every “hard” barrier will limit you. For example, my wife is taller than I am. If I had insisted on someone shorter than I was, I would not have married her (and vice versa – luckily we fell in love before we realized the height issue).

All of these matters taken together means that it is very, very possible for someone to never find a match without it being their fault and without anything being wrong with them.

Possible issues:

1. Geography. Sometimes it is just bad luck where you live or where your education goals take you.

2. Relationships. Not all relationships succeed. However, each time you invest time and effort in a relationship it puts you a few more years down the road.

3. Looking for the wrong solutions in seeking a match. Mostly that is idiot guys looking for physical attractiveness in women, but there are other things that come up.

4. Filter issues – excluding on the wrong things. Which does not mean you should ever, ever give way when you are filtering for the right things.

5. Other gap creators (there are things that make a match more difficult. Age, personal interests, political tastes, etc.).

Note that the most common issues do not require anything to be wrong with someone. Being “squirrely beyond belief” and is not something that keeps people from being married (would that it were so – I know lots of people in that category, some who have been married multiple times).


First, know what real things you want and what the real deal killers are? Then, list why they are what you want and why they are deal killers. Then re-think a focus.

II.  Another reader and friend, Notes from the Glass Ceiling, wrote the following. He has the benefit of knowing more details of my specific situations.

I believe that we pretty much are who we are. We can improve on what we are, but we cannot be who we are not. In other words, whether you are intense or not really doesn't matter. If you are not intense, you probably will not be. If  you are now, you probably will be.

And as far as intense goes, it is no sin. Artists and writers often are. If you find your intensity is hard on yourself, then that is a sign that you can improve it for yourself.

More importantly, I believe that people grow into love based on their personality. I think that people who are basically simple-minded do really well marrying young, because there is a good chance that they will meet someone just like themselves. However, for people who are very smart, very observant, very witty...this is a whole different game.  For someone such as this, it is harder for them to find a good match when they are in their 20s. They need someone who matches their personality and intellect. That can take time and luck.  I believe that you will find someone before long, but he may be 5-7 years older than you are, (or he may be your age or younger, but he will be very emotionally mature.)

As far as the sex thing, I disagree with the other bloggers who said that it does not play a part. It absolutely plays a part! People want to test drive a relationship before they marry. Anyone who says different is clueless or lying. You need more men to date who will appreciate your standards,and you are living in a very bad part of the country to do that.

Time to stop guessing. Men are not that complicated. We are sexually and emotionally driven, and we get scared when our ego is challenged. Then we grow up. Maybe.

This is not the time for you to give up on love. But maybe it is time that you look at other types of men that you did in the past.

Thank you both for this. 


Fei said...

I love the height example. I maintain that you can tell if you're too picky if you have a height requirement. :)

Kevin Barney said...

For me the process of falling in love is pretty simple. First, there has to be mutual physical attraction. Second, there has to be a friendship. There needs to be enough that you have in common that you genuinely enjoy spending time together. And then you need shared experience; you need to actually spend time together, doing the things you each love to do.

Put that brew together, and the odds are excellent that such a situation will flower into love. At least that's how I see it, but I admit to being rather simple-minded on this subject.

City JL said...

You are right, that's how people fall in love. I've managed to accomplish that part a few times so far. And I know some of the men were in love with me. Where things get complicated is after the falling in love. What next? In my case, the men get scared and break up with me. How do you prevent that from happening? Other than not being a psycho?

Kim said...

One of my friends once gave another (very psycho) friend of mine who was having relationship trouble this: "Don't let all your crazy out right away, catch him first and then let your crazy out little by little but try to keep it a little less than your awesome qualities (in her case she's a great cook)"... Amazingly enough, it has worked brilliantly -- she's been with the same guy for 5 years now and I'm pretty sure all of her crazies have come out but he doesn't care because he can see past them =].