Dear Leather and Lace Advice: I have plenty of people to hang out with, and I do go on actual dates, but aside from my parents, no one has ever said “I Love You” to me. Most of my friends are already in couples and I’m beginning to think I’ll never find love of my own. I feel like a loser, like there’s just no hope. I work out and look good, I have a job I like, and a lovely little apartment, so what’s my problem? I’m in my late 20’s so why can’t I move a relationship forward to the point where it turns into love? Should I stop my search for love and just get a dog and aaccept the fact that no one will ever love me? Advice, please!
As the drag queen, Ru Paul often says: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Think about this as you work to find love.
It’s obvious that you are discouraged and depressed. I know it is hard to find love when you’re feeling down. But people naturally gravitate to upbeat, positive others who make them feel good. If you’re not excited about who you are, about life, and about love, how can you expect to attract it? When you’re already feeling rejected, it’s hard to be upbeat. I know that.
Consider that some people find connecting but for many people, it’s awkward. Meeting new people can be challenging, and some people are late bloomers who don’t find real love until much later in life. Even if that turns out to be you, that doesn’t mean you have to be alone, or lonely.
My first suggestion is not about finding love, but to stop focusing so much on your perceived failures. Instead, do something that makes you feel better and that is also social. Volunteering as a great way to meet like-minded others. If you don’t meet someone special, at least you’re doing something good for others. This will make you feel better as well. The focus is on what you’re doing instead of stilted small talk or trying to impress someone. You’ll relax, and the people volunteering with you might think you’re great and want to hook you up with someone they know.
Meeting someone is a process of elimination, not of selection. Dating really isn’t fun (for most people, anyway). It’s only really fun after you’ve met the right person. To be sure, there is a lot of rejection involved, There are people judging you. They may reject you because you are not what they want. They may point out what you have that they don’t want (and vice-versa for you). Both of you may feel an attraction, but it’s just not quite right. This dance back and forth can cause burn out and disappointment. But you have to continue doing it until you finally find the one person who has what you want and wants what you have just as much.
For every rejection who won’t say “I love you” there is someone who can and will….you just can’t take the rejections to heart. You have to know that you are not a loser, that they may have had lots of good qualities but they weren’t the right one for you…and you just haven’t found the right one…yet.
To find love, you have to have some faith. You can’t completely control it, but you can lessen the frustration and optimize the results. If you’re not getting what you want, the first thing to do is reassess your approach. Perhaps you’re not getting the result you want because you really don’t know what you want, or you can’t recognize it when you see it, or when you do see it, you are the one finding fault. I’d guess you also radiate negativity. There are many reasons why you’re not out of the friend zone to something more intimate. The obvious thing to do is find out what you’re doing that isn’t working, and change it.
Consider the story of a man I know who only dated a couple of times until he was well into his 30’s because he was shy and didn’t connect well, but at age 35 he met a woman and married her within just a few months. They’ve been blissfully happy for decades. Like you, this man had to stand on the sidelines and watch his friends pair off, attend their weddings, and the birth of their children, but he didn’t despair. He knew he was a good person and worthy of love and that eventually, he’d find the right one. While he didn’t date a lot but he did know what he wanted. It took a while, but he found the right one. He did, and you can, too.
Although a dog is a fabulous way to meet new people as you walk it or take it to a dog park, you have to examine what factors in your life are preventing you from having a successful relationship. Why can’t you find love?
One major issue for you is you are transitioning between two types of men and two types of relationships.
In your 20’s it is all about dating and being casual and going out as a group. As you hit 30 the focus is more on lifetime companionship and this is the pressure you are feeling. You are looking for and expecting a more serious and more mature guy than you were in your 20’s.
The key to life is in having someone you want to hold and who wants to hold you. You want to find someone that you want to please and who wants to please you. Love is about shared intimacy and shares desires. You look good and show that you are attracted to him and he should be the same towards you. This is how you get the desire and love you need.
We know you go on dates but why have they not progressed to something more serious?
The first and overriding factor is unrealistic expectations. Many women have an image in their mind of who it is they want and either actively or passively ignore or discourage anyone who does not match their expectations. There is no one who will ever fulfill 100% of what you want because in many ways your wants are self-contradictory. For example, if you think you want an assertive personality then you may not get someone who can just listen and commiserate with you.
(alison interjects): Most people really haven’t taken the time to discover what their non-negotiables and must-haves are in a relationship. have you? We don’t mean externals so much as what has staying power within that person. His character. beliefs, interests and values. To find someone compatible, you need to examine these things carefully.
You must examine how it is you present yourself to the world. The key thing is accessibility. Are you approachable by the opposite sex? You must be interested in people and smile so you look approachable. This seems like a simple thing but most women do not smile and therefore look discouraging. You have to flirt. I’m saying to throw yourself at someone, although if he is a geek that would often work better than anything (they don’t take clues well).
You have to show that you like the person you are with. In order to find love, you must love them and show them, even if they don’t love you back. Because you care enough about them so that it won’t matter if they don’t love you immediately.
The key to love is companionship. Do you like being with this person and going places with this person? You need to have interests that are shared even if it means you’re extending yourself to be interested in what the other person is interested in.
I suggest you re-examine your behavior with your dating behavior and what it is you really want and need from a potential partner. If something is not working, this is the time to make changes.