Stuck in a rut

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  • #798625 Reply


    Hi everyone ,
    Sorry in advance for this rant post.
    I’m in a huge rut lately . I assure you, I’m not always this way. But I’m really getting so frustrated with all of the dating that ends up going nowhere .
    I’m mid 30s, never married , no kids. I have a career that I love, I have built a nice network of friends, I have hobbies, I work on myself all the time , etc etc.
    But this one issue that I’ve been so unlucky in love sometimes really gets to me . It’s become this elusive thing that is just so hard to obtain yet everyone around me seems to have had luck (yes it’s a generalization , I’m aware that many people are in bad relationships).
    I don’t mean to throw myself a pity party but I’m getting so fed up.
    I would like kids (I think) but I guess I’ve never had that huge inkling / desire to have them . I’d like to meet someone who feels the same way so we can figure out a plan together . I never really dated with a goal of “serious” until maybe a few years ago.
    Men will approach me, flirt with me, ask me out . The ones I am attracted to seem to want to play the field. The ones I don’t like “that way” seem to want something serious.
    It’s just honestly so frustrating . I do my best to weed out the time wasters without being too harsh. I never ask a man out , and have let men pursue me . Many times it ends up with me ending it because either I am not attracted, or I discover an incompatibility , or they aren’t consistent enough after a few dates and It shows . Sometimes it’s HARD cutting off a guy I like knowing he isn’t stepping up . But I’ve done it many times . I don’t regret it either, as later on I realize I did the right thing .
    I have never actually had a relationship longer than 6 months . I think it’s Because I try to be pragmatic and I like to cut things off when I realize there is an incompatibility .

    What am I doing wrong ?!! Is it really just luck? I don’t give my heart too easily (I don’t even think I’ve fallen in love with anyone) but I am a loving person and my heart is open as long as I’m being treated well.

    Sorry for the rant . Bad day / week . I’m sure many of you have read some of my posts over the past year. Always a new guy I’m dating , always something that smells rotten that reveals itself over the first 3/4 dates causing me to cut things off. I just want something that sticks !

    Really any advice or words would be helpful.

    #798627 Reply


    You’re not doing anything wrong, sadly timing is everything and sometimes timing takes forever.

    Don’t settle, like ever. All your friends who are in relationships, well 50% of them might have settled because they don’t want to be alone and will eventually end up single because when you settle it never works out for the long run.

    I know it’s tough to be on your own, single, seeing others in relationships. Trust me though, when you meet the right one you will feel it’s all worth the while to be alone.

    It only takes ONE to make it work. You’re just a late bloomer in this thing called timing and that’s not in your control.

    Don’t force it, he will come alone eventually. Know that.

    #798631 Reply


    I am sorry that you have not yet had a solid, promising relationship. I advise you to stop comparing yourself to others and instead focus on accomplishing your own goal of marrying and having children. That is just what I do. If I were to compare myself with all my friends and family members, I would be a very miserable person.

    The same goes for your claim that you have been unlucky in love. I actually find that you have been rather fortunate to have guys woo you and also to have the good sense to grasp when a relationship is not going anywhere.

    I am certain that if you persevere with dating, you will end-up with your goal of marriage and children. I wish you the very best of luck!

    #798633 Reply

    Liz Lemon

    For starters, I totally agree you shouldn’t settle. No one should settle. But seriously, after 3-4 dates something rotten ALWAYS reveals itself about the guy, and you cut things off? Are you sure you’re not being too harsh, or overly “pragmatic”?

    And it’s really striking to me you’re in your mid-30s, have never been in love, and never had a relationship last longer than 6 months. I just wonder if you aren’t being too harsh, or judgmental, with the guys you date. Yes, you have to have standards of course, but on the other hand, you can’t be too rigid or unforgiving. No guy will meet 100% of your standards.

    Maybe some of the “incompatibilities” you’re finding in the guys you date are things you could actually work with, if you took the time to develop a relationship with a guy? There was just a big landmark study released about relationships, I was reading about it in the news today. Basically what it found was that what makes relationships successful is not the individual qualities of each person in the relationship, but rather the dynamic that they create together. So it’s not about checking off boxes or finding a “type”. It’s about what you build together and how you engage with each other over time. And it takes time to do that with a person. It’s not something you figure out in 3-4 dates. I really recommend you search for info on this study online, it’s an interesting read.

    Anyway, that came to mind when I read your post. I hope this is somewhat helpful, I’m sorry it’s difficult for you! Remember you should take breaks from dating if it gets to be too much of a hassle, too. Feeling negative about dating never leads to anything good.

    #798634 Reply


    Thanks for the replies so far I really appreciate them.
    I do think my biggest question really is, am I being too harsh here ? Sometimes I think that’s the case .
    So , Liz Lemon- that is a great pickup .
    In fact , this is why I started going on this site- usually posting about an issue that arises a few dates in , asking others’ opinions if what I’m feeling . But – I must say, the overwhelming majority of people who comment seem to agree that my feelings are valid and they’d cut the person off too.
    So then I go with my feelings (supported by others opinions) and cut them off.
    I should also add that I have not always been this way – only a the last 2 years maybe . Before that I would not really make any decisions until a few months into dating sometimes , which I found to be maybe the other extreme .
    That being said I am TOTALLY being very careful about not being too harsh. When I cut the guys off it’s when they are treating me sub par – not for some other silly thing like oh he snores or I don’t like his sneakers lol.
    Example – guy I dated in the winter brought a female friend of his on our entire fourth date. I posted about this as it made me feel awful , and you guys agreed it wasnt good. So next time he asked me out I declined .

    #798635 Reply


    Also there are many lovely guys I do meet but don’t feel any physical attraction after 2 dates and I end things . So nothing rotten there . I do think attraction can grow but I’ve discovered that If I don’t want to kiss a guy on date 2 I probably won’t ever want to….

    #798636 Reply

    Liz Lemon

    Ok, that example you gave about the guy bringing his female friend on the date is a good one. That isn’t behavior you should tolerate. If a guy is making you feel bad and treating you subpar, there’s no reason to entertain his BS. I guess what I was referring to when I was talking about incompatibilities was the gray areas…like situations where maybe a guy has interests that don’t totally match yours, but it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t make a good boyfriend, you know? Like if you’re artistic it doesn’t mean a scientist couldn’t make you happy– that kind of thing.

    I assume you’re meeting guys online, how are you screening them? Are you picking guys with similar interests/hobbies/values? (seems like a dumb question, I know). Dating is really a numbers game. It really sucks that way. You just have to keep trying.

    #798638 Reply


    Yeah no , I don’t mind if a guy has different talents / ways of looking at things . As long as he seems open to getting to know me and potentially building with me .

    The last guy I dated said “I don’t want serious” on date 3.
    So rotten things like that. Though I am glad when they reveal things that early .
    Another guy last month wanted me to drive to his city 2 hours for second date . I agreed . But then he left me on read for a few days the week before the date so I cancelled .
    Another guy last fall took me to dinner on date 3 on a Friday night , quickly ended the date after at 8pm…. then next date came around and he said he would text me day before to confirm – didn’t text me until day of date – and I politely told him I made other plans as we did not confirm . Never heard from him again.

    I posted about most of these on this awesome helpful forum :)

    I do meet most online . I try to pick men who seem to have something in common with me and their picture is appealing (though I give some leeway for pictures as I know they don’t necessarily reflect real life)

    #798640 Reply


    The guy who brought his female friend is actually someone I met in real life a couple times (has some mutual friends). Also turned out to be a dud!

    #798643 Reply


    To put it bluntly…this is a YOU problem, not a he problem!

    Its sounds like your standards are so high that no guy will be able meet your ‘benchmark’ of what YOU presume will be a good partner. I’m not sure where or when this started, maybe a bad relationship but it appears as if FEAR is driving you into the abyss of becoming a spinster.

    Not trying to be harsh but it sounds like your looking for a unicorn that doesn’t exist and find or look for a reason, or to drop him before you get butt hurt. Sorry but life isn’t tied up with a pretty bow on top. Real life is imperfect and once you can break out of your *perfect bubble* you may find a guy you can at least, at a minimum be OK with.

    Why OK? Because OK isn’t all that bad actually. If you can at least get along on the bigger stuff and not worry about the smaller stuff, you have a good chance of finding a someone you could very well end up swinging on the porch with in your retirement days watching the grandkids play, whether its with their actual grandpa or a step-grandpa is OK too.

    #798644 Reply


    I don’t think you are the problem at all. I like that article Liz Lemon mentioned as well because the reality is what you do in terms of your interactions with the guy is the most important thing to look at. This is influenced by personality and other character traits. An example is a guy with a great job, a lot of personality- but every time he interacts with a server in a restaurant- he’s rude. Those interactions indicate a ton over what he may look like on paper.

    Don’t ever settle, it’s not worth it. Possibly give guys a little more time. I believe in attraction and the idea that you just know when something is special about someone- trust your gut- it’s almost always right.

    #798679 Reply

    Liz Lemon

    I remember your posts about these guys! I didn’t remember it was you specifically who made them, but I remember reading and even replying to some of them.

    About the “I’m not looking for serious” on the 3rd date guy– I remember from your post that you basically forced a DTR conversation on the 3rd date. I replied to that post and told you if I had done that to my bf on our 3rd date, things would have ended then and there. You can go re-read my reply to that post if you’d like, I won’t go over it again here.

    OK, so let me share a story. I met my bf online, he asked me out, and we agreed to meet for coffee. Our first date was a Sunday. We clicked well, had a great time, talked for a couple of hours nonstop, & were clearly attracted to each other. During the date he asked if I’d like to go out again, and I said yes, but we didn’t set a date or time. Like I said, that was Sunday. I didn’t hear a peep out of him until Friday that week. I didn’t reach out to him at all, I waited for him to contact me. On Friday he texted me warmly, I responded warmly, and we wound up going out the next night, Saturday. And things went from there. That was over 2 years ago & we’re still together.

    Now, some women would say I should not have accepted the date with him. If he didn’t text within 3 days, he wasn’t that interested. That a “high-quality” woman wouldn’t accept a date for the weekend after Wednesday. Et cetera. I didn’t know this at the time, because he didn’t mention it on our first date, but my bf’s mom was very sick with cancer and was scheduled to have surgery the following week. And my bf was the family member who had taken responsibility for his mom’s surgery, taking her to doctor appointments, etc. He was bearing a really heavy emotional load at the time. I had no idea, of course. And after knowing him for 2 years now, I know he’s not super suave, doesn’t have a lot of “game” with women LOL, and can be a bit of a space cadet– he’s one of those people who forgets what day it is, and time gets away from him, he’ll forget to eat dinner because he’s working on something and concentrating and before he knows it, it’s 8 pm– that kind of thing. He was legit VERY interested in me, very attracted to me, and was not seeing other women– but due to the circumstances, he didn’t text for 5 days.

    And knowing him now, I’m sure he was thinking of me during the week. I’m sure his mindset was, “It was so great to meet her, I know she has a really busy week (because I had told him about what I had going on during our first date, I had a lot of things happening that week), I’ll text her Friday and see how her week went”. He was NOT thinking “I better ask her out by Wednesday because she’s clearly a high-quality woman” LOL.

    If I had rebuffed him or been cold to him when he texted Friday, I probably I would not have seen him again. Because he also felt I was a bit out of his league (I found this out later as well) and was a little nervous about asking me out. He was encouraged by my enthusiasm when he finally texted. And I was genuinely enthused because I really liked him a lot when I met him, I thought he was really attractive, I DID have a busy week and had been thinking of him but not obsessing over him, so when he finally texted I was quite happy to hear from him and go out the next day. I didn’t give it a ton of thought about the way things “should” be, I went with my gut.

    So that was long, sorry, but I’m telling that story to illustrate that sometimes you have to cut guys some slack. You mentioned the guy who texted you the day of your date, rather than the day before. It’s totally OK to make other plans if you don’t hear from a guy, of course– his loss if he didn’t reach out to you in time. But if you didn’t actually have plans, and just told him that because he was late texting you, you might want to rethink your strategy.

    And as much as I appreciate this board because I’ve gotten really good insights from a lot of the posters here– I wouldn’t recommend running to an internet board to ask strangers for advice about every guy you date. Honestly. Listen to your gut– yes. Read general dating advice online and take what works for you– yes. Talk with a close friend who knows you well, and know the nuances of your circumstances– yes. [I do all of these things]. Listen to a bunch of strangers online who know nothing about you or your circumstances– not necessarily. I didn’t know about this board when I met my bf (I found it later, when we’d been dating awhile and were coming out of the honeymoon period and needed advice)– but I shudder to think what I would have been told if I had come here and asked for advice about this guy who didn’t text me for 5 days after our first date.

    I have been in love 3 times in my life and I’m in my 40s. My current bf is the 3rd time and he is honestly the best– the healthiest, the most compatible, the most fun — he is honestly my best friend, we enjoy each others’ company so much and the sex is fantastic. Is he perfect, no way. Does he drive me nuts sometimes, absolutely. Have we had to work through issues, yes. But it’s been worth it. And none of it would have happened if I had shut him down for not texting me for 5 days after our first date, or for asking me out for Saturday on Friday.

    So that’s what I mean about not being super rigid and cutting guys some slack. No one is perfect, guys will screw up, and not behave the ways we’d like them to behave. I just wonder if your overly “pragmatic” attitude means you’re too harsh with guys early on in the dating process. You shouldn’t tolerate poor treatment of course. And finding love isn’t easy, it really isn’t. It’s rare to find someone that you truly fall in love with. So I do sympathize in that respect! You just have to keep trying. And if what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else.

    #798682 Reply


    Thanks Liz.
    Re: the last guy, I didn’t mean to get into a DTR as that was not my intention. I usually say something to a guy if I’m making out with him and not going further – just something light like “oh this is fun I’m super attracted to you, ok if we keep it PG13 for now” like in a cute fun way… when I was younger I’d often not say anything and just end the makeout session or push their hands away and sometimes they’d get frustrated understandably, so more recent years I make a little comment and the vast majority of guys are like oh yeah cool no worries :) this way my thoughts are- I’m at least not confusing him and he knows I’m attracted and I’m not pushing him away to be manipulative or because I’m not attracted .
    This guy said oh I don’t want serious.

    Anyways – does anyone have a good way to navigate that part of dating where you’re a few dates in, want to make out , don’t want to confuse the guy and want to communicate you don’t want to take it further ? Without making him think it’s a DTR?

    #798692 Reply


    I didn’t scroll down far enough to read your responses but I do feel that you have put up a barrier so high that you aren’t allowing anyone to enter your heart, and its on lockdown. I’ve been there at different phases of my life, not always to protect me from hurt as that’s part and parcel of being alive (human). I just truly wasn’t interested in coupling up until I ran across that one guy who was able to slowly chip my wall down to the point I eventually fell in love with him only because it was obvious he had fallen in love with me first.

    I think you are wasting too much of your time online. Its impossible to get a good feel of a guy by looking at a picture or reading their profile and why you’re ending up with so many duds. Majority of profiles today are superficial or artificial by painting themselves in the best light while hiding their undesirable parts.

    ALL of my best and longest relationships evolved meeting them in person while out and about living my life like I normally do with no preconceptions of finding a guy. We just randomly met, talked for a bit and it evolved naturally, over time (1 – 3 months) from there. I honestly believe getting to know a man non-romantically first, without any rigid dating rules, other than allowing him to lead by making contact and spending time doing something fun, like a simple game of pool, going to the beach and walking down the pier, etc. allowed us to get to know each other by engaging not only in a light activity but talking about random stuff without all the angst that comes with formal dating out of the gate (first date) today.

    By doing it this way you are able to keep an open mind and suss them out, and other men you’re still meeting and getting to know too because you are able to view them with a non-cloudy lens (non-infatuation) by just getting to each like you would with any person you met, male or female. Would you have a freak out if a female you just met left you on read? No, you probably wouldn’t even give it a thought because there is zero investment at this point, where there’s no loss or gain, so you really shouldn’t care. ow long does it take you to develop a friendship? If they don’t text you back or spend time with you in a pre-determined amount of time do you just drop them from your life? Start meeting and seeing guys like you would when developing a friendship and you might have better luck.

    FYI, the internet was never intended to replace human-to-human contact. Yes, it can be a useful tool to expand the opportunity to meet someone LOCAL that you wouldn’t have run into while out and about living your life but it should never be used as your primary form, or replacement to interacting with men om a daily basis. This why so many are failing because too many are hiding behind a screen instead of interacting with each other in real life, the way humans were designed and meant to do. Like they say “don’t mess with mother nature.” :o)

    #798699 Reply

    Liz Lemon

    I have to disagree with Lane’s last post. Online dating has very much taken over as the way to meet people. This was true before, but is especially true during a pandemic. Sure you can meet people in bars– but the bars are all closed due to COVID. It’s possible to meet guys out and about, in cafes, doing volunteer work, but again, I don’t think it’s that common, and with a pandemic going on we are seriously restricted with regards to socializing options (well, with regards to pretty much everything). Before meeting my bf, I did meet guys in person and date them, through friends and volunteer work, so I do know it’s possible. I just don’t think it’s the only way. And nowadays, it’s less likely than ever that you’ll actually run into a guy casually and start dating. So I wouldn’t shoot down online dating. Yes, of course you shouldn’t get overly invested in guy you haven’t met, and of course you shouldn’t be hung up on a guy you’ve only been on one or two dates with (that goes no matter how you met the guy).

    Online dating is just a tool to meet people. Of course it’s not a replacement for human-to-human contact; however it can definitely facilitate human-to-human contact, especially during a pandemic. It’s what you do after you meet the people in person that counts, not how you met them.

    I also don’t think you need to get to know a guy non-romantically before you start dating. I was not online looking for a male buddy. My bf was not online looking for a female buddy. It’s OK to be clear about wanting to date and not be just friends with a person. The key is just not getting overinvested in the guy before it’s clear that he’s invested in you.

    Sorry this does not answer the OP’s last question! OP, I really don’t know how to answer. I don’t think you need to be cute or fun about asserting physical boundaries. It’s better to be clear. “I really like you, I really think you’re attractive, but I’m not ready to sleep with you yet, is it OK if we just make out for a bit?” It doesn’t have to turn into a DTR conversation. From what I recall from your post about this guy, the conversation definitely took a turn it didn’t need to take.

    #798703 Reply


    I think guys can smell an agenda way before you even have a conversation about the relationship, or that you are looking for something serious. So, all I can say is to try to enjoy the relationship for what it is instead of what you may want it to eventually be. And I think I can safely say that many people on this site dated, were married during a time before online dating (that’s me too) and it is a whole new game now and more so for you get people who have never been married and are really looking to have a family. So I agree with Liz to continue to meet people online and talk with your friends when you are dating men and take a lot of this advice as just another perspective.

    #798758 Reply


    Thanks all.
    Upon some reflection – Yeah I do have high standards but , I am not able to change them. I simply can’t force myself to spend too much time dating someone who doesn’t make me feel amazing . I treat myself well and so I want a man who treats me just as well.

    I realize that what I am saying may sound hypocritical – yes I’m in a funk, and YES I want a relationship. But I want something amazing and magical and something that is just right . Not just with anyone .
    I actually find it quite funny that the men I date automatically assume I want a relationship WITH THEM. I don’t fall into relationships easily and in fact I would call myself a commitment phobe , and have been my whole life . So to whoever said I may have some fear of that, yes you are correct . It’s something I’ve been working on .

    So, to whoever said to not settle , thank you :) everyone else , also thank you – I will learn to follow my gut as you recommended.

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