Dear Aunt Becky,

So, I’ve been single for over three years.  I’ve dated a couple of guys here and there, but haven’t found any that I “click” with or even enjoy after being around them a handful of times.  It’s been over seven years since I met someone that made me feel all squishy inside and that relationship ended horribly after only four years.

I’m nearing thirty (very, very nearing), which isn’t old, but it feels like as I get older, I just don’t find many men attractive anymore.  If I meet one that likes me (which happens decently often it seems), I’m usually not interested or become disinterested incredibly fast.

Is this normal?  I’m not looking to jump into a relationship, marriage, or have kids.  I’m just looking for someone that I actually *feel* something for and want to spend time with every so often.  It’d be a breath of fresh air, because I’m starting to feel like it just isn’t going to happen anymore.

I know these seem like crazy thoughts, but I was wondering if anyone else experienced the same thing?  I feel like throwing my hands up in the air and becoming the crazy cat lady who never leaves her home.

Some background: I’m attractive, work out, have an excellent job and am well-educated, I don’t have high standards (I will give almost any man a first date just because he had the balls to ask me) or expectations.  I do a decent amount of varying social activities, so I’m not limited in where I would meet men. I just don’t seem to connect with anyone, even when they’re great guys.

Am I not giving them enough time to grow on me?  Am I expecting a connection in the beginning when there doesn’t always have to be?  In my experience, no connection in the beginning means no connection later on.  Am I wrong?

Signed,

Frustrated, confused, and missing that loving feeling.

Well, Prankster, I’ve enlisted The Daver AND my homie The Next Martha to help me with this question because Your Aunt Becky isn’t the best at answering dating advice, and we all have some advice for you. Hopefully, my Pranksters will also be able to fill in the gaps.

First, I’d offer up my own words of wisdom (which, frankly, is worth cat shit in a bag): the times when you’re LEAST looking for a relationship is always when they manage to find you. There’s something about when you’re alone and really comfortable in your aloneness that really seems to attract that one special person. So I’d say that perhaps getting nice and comfortable with yourself is the way to be.

The Daver pointed out that perhaps you’re dismissing the people you’re going out on dates with too soon to decide if you have a real connection with them. He also thinks that maybe you need to be more choosy about the people you go on dates with (so that you value the dates more).

The Next Martha thinks that maybe you have some unresolved issues with your ex-boyfriend that you may have to work through before you can move on to successfully date again.

So there you have it: three different people with three different sets of advice for you. Ignore what you hate, take what you like, and hopefully my very brilliant Pranksters will fill in where we left off.

Good luck, Prankster.

Dear Aunt Becky,

I come seeking advise from thee, oh wise and great one.

Basically my family does DRAMA. Most of the time in a good, snarky, crack you up laughing at something really twisted sort of way. But lately… its gotten a bit complicated and every time I come to town it gets WORSE.

Long story short: Me, my Hub, and the wee one live 1000 miles from my folks, my sister, bro in law and nieces.

Base conflict: One of my nieces is special needs, as part of my sister’s reaction to this she has become ULTRA SCHEDULED. She is all about the plans and the control. Things do not go well when the plans get dissed. Understandable but frustrating b/c my sister is a very intense, relentless type person, which is good in some ways and tiring in others.

My parents have both survived multiple rounds of cancer. They now refuse to get worked up when plans fall through. They just roll with it. This makes them a bit flakey but lowers their stress. I tend to be more like my folks and try to roll with things.

Needless to say my sister does NOT handle the flake well. Most of the time they just deal with it. When it becomes a MAJOR problem is when I come to town.

Because apparently I am a hotter commodity than chocolate in a PMS convention and so lots and lots of plans are formed when I come to town. Some times one group does not even inform the other groups that plans have been formed.

But either way the melt down that will ensue regardless of whether the dissage was informed or not is a sight mighty to behold.

And honestly its getting REALLY old. Its almost never personal when the plans get dissed. I do love my sister and want to see her. I also wouldn’t mind getting some one on one time with my Mom. But the sis seems to take this personal.

Any suggestions on how to defuse the situation? B/c the repeated melt downs almost make me wanna NOT go home and they rob so much of the joy from my trip.

I don’t wanna cause drama. I just wanna see my family. I’ve even said this and it hasn’t made a dent apparently.

And so in my extremely verbose fashion I seek wisdom from the great and glorious Aunt Becky (bytheway – have you lost weight? Cuz dang girl!!).

Sincerely,
Gonna Beat ‘Em ALL Down and Be Done With It

Prankster, you’re making MY head spin with this, so I can only imagine how this would be for you to deal with. Your Aunt Becky needs a drink (or thirty) right now just to type this response.

So, it sounds as though your sister needs concrete plans for the days that you’ll see her. I understand that. I have kids on a rigid schedule, too, and that makes sense. Flakiness is hard to handle for us, because our time-table is fairly, well, rigid. You should make sure that you make the plans with her ahead of time and stick with them first and foremost. If everyone else is more laid back, then plans with her will be the ones that are most important to be on time.

As for the rest of the time, maybe it’s wise to schedule it out BEFORE you leave for the trip with the people who will want to see you if you’re interested in avoiding The Dramaz. This way, you’ll know on X Day this is the plan-ish. If they fall through, okay, but that’s the plan for the day. Then there’s not so much up-in-the-air-ness about the whole situation and if your sister can make it to the events that are planned–great–if not, okay.

Sometimes plans change. It’s hard for those of us with special needs kids to accept that the rest of the world doesn’t live like we do. It just is.

But maybe if you can do a lot to get it planned out ahead of time, it might save you some grief during the vacation.

I hope it helps.

Pranksters, I’d love your take on it.

——————

As always, please fill in where I left off in the comments. And feel free to submit your burningest questions to Go Ask Aunt Becky button at the top of the screen.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

25 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

  • Maria says:

    Ah, poor dating girl. It ain’t easy, huh? When I was just divorced, it was quite different, but I remember once at the therapist, saying “How I wish that I wanted sex”. Because the Sex, was at the way back burner. I don’t remember what she said about it, but I let it sit. Of course I hadn’t anyone to have the Sex with – well, yeah, myself, but even that was not.interesting. So after a while, I thought, screw it, Imma gonna be a single mom rest of my life. Started to plan my life around me. And then this dude asks me to the movies! But I was still kind of sore, and said so. Half a year later, he asked again! And we’re great together! And I do want the Sex again! Who’d have thunk?

    So, I say, take your time. Don’t date for a couple of months maybe, but take yourself to nice things. Just for you.

    Love.

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  • ScienceGeek says:

    Dateless, I think you need to think about how you define this ‘connection’, because by the sound of it, it’s not you, or the men you’re dating. Sometimes, how we define love can be the barrier to finding it.

    Your letter reminds me of one of my friends. She’s about your age and longs to fall in love at first sight. I remember her saying basically everything you’ve told Aunt Becky, and I offered a couple of explanations.
    – Love at first sight really only happens when you’re a teenager. Hormones and inexperience are great for instant, powerful emotional bonds. By the time you’ve gotten past 25, you’re wiser, stronger and more assured. Which is a wonderful thing, but the price is that the rose-coloured glasses become only vaguely tinted. The trick is to match your expectations to your maturity (that’s not to say you should lower those expectations, just be a little more realistic).
    – Suddenly losing interest is a subconscious defence mechanism. You’re afraid they’ll dump you, so you get in first. Take a risk.
    -Finally, it’s become a self-perpetuating habit – you expect to lose interest in the guy, so of course, you lose interest. The trick here is not to let your brain sabotage you. If you always lose interest at a certain time point, force yourself to give the guy an extra two weeks.

    I’m not sure if any of that advice resonates with you the way it did with my friend, but I hope it helps in some way.

  • megan says:

    Dateless, I have been through EXACTLY what you’re going through. I had two 3-year stretches where I just wasn’t meeting guys I was interested in. I would go on dates here and there but it never went more than that first date. I tried online dating, blind dates, dates with friends, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

    What I learned through all of that is that if it’s not there, you CAN’T force it. If you’re not feeling it for these guys, even after only one date, that’s ok. Don’t talk yourself into a relationship with one of these guys because he’s a nice guy and you SHOULD like him, and hey, you’re lonely so why not. In the end it won’t work out if you’re honestly not feeling it, and you’ll only end up hurting him. Your standards do get higher as you get older, but that’s a good thing. It means you’ve learned from your past experiences what does and does not make you happy, and sometimes, it turns out that what makes you happy is not at all what you were looking for. After my last 3-year stretch, I met a guy who is nothing at all like any guy I’d ever dated. He’s *gasp* NOT a musician! He’s a computer/comic book/video game geek. If something needs to get fixed around the house, either I do it or we hire someone. But he’s super nice and I trust him completely and he makes me laugh constantly. If I’d met him a few years earlier, I’m not sure I would have been interested because he just wasn’t the type of guy I had in my head that I wanted. But it turns out that he’s exactly what I needed.

    So my advice is, like I said, don’t force it, and be open to what you need rather than what you think you might want. Don’t let your friends and family pressure you into thinking you have to date someone. Love being single, never having to answer to anyone, going away with your girlfriends (or guy friends) for a weekend on the spur of the moment. And when you meet a guy who makes you laugh, see if you think you might wanna jump his bones, too. Good luck!

  • As someone who has not lived within 1000 miles of her family my entire married life, I totally relate to the last prankster.

    My advice, which I only implemented after I was basically told that no one cared what I had planned and that I had to show up to EVERYTHING when I was invited, is this. Family knows WELL in advance of my visits. If they would like to see me, I will tell them when is a good time for me, and then we work something out that works. If they refuse to accept that I too have things to do, then they can suck it, and I don’t see them. This applies to friends AND family. I do my best to accommodate everyone, but not at risk of ignoring myself.

    I agree with Aunt Becky. Try to make solid plans with your sister, and let her know that you can’t have plans with her every single day of your visit, because it’s not fair to everyone else.

  • Halala Mama says:

    Dear Beat em down – I would make plans with your sister ahead of time and schedule them for the first day you are there. That way – she has a set time to see you, you get to see your sister on her terms, and last minute changes haven’t had a chance to take root. She obviously has a lot going on and you want to visit her, so this might be one good way to do it. We learned a long time ago that we didn’t have to see everyone every time we came. It’s impossible.

    Alternately, you could create a public google calendar and let everyone else schedule the shit out of you. :)

  • Moosilaneous says:

    Dateless – Yeah, though I never jump in on these things, I had to, this time.
    My first thought on reading this – before I read the other answers – was:
    IT’S OKAY TO BE NOT CONNECTING.
    Have fun, go out again with a guy if the activity and company seems interesting/fun, because it will be. Don’t go because you are searching down the perfect connection. Seriously, if what you need is time to process your ex, you’ll get it. When you’re ready, and there is a guy that will suit you, you’ll notice.
    In the meantime, I’m all about the Aunt Becky point – the universe notices when you have made other plans, and likes to fuck them up. Or, it notices what a cool, together chick you are and says, hey, you’re ready. Whatever. Point is, life first, dating second.

    Overly simplistic? Possibly.
    But with my limited attention span, I always need slogans/mantras 5 words or under if I’m changing an attitude.
    Good luck.

  • Julia says:

    I totally sympathise and relate with both of these writers.

    To writer 1 – getting back on the dating horse can be rough. I went a long time feeling no desire or interest in men. Then I became friends with a guy who shared some similar interests, but otherwise wasn’t really my type. When we first met, we both thought the other one was a little standoffish – he told me later that he thought I didn’t like him for some reason – but as we got to know each other, a connection grew. We started emailing a bit; talked on the phone a few times; went on a date; and the sparks started to shoot. It’s become one of the most amazing and enjoyably intense relationships I’ve ever had! I agree with the commenter who said that after 30, you don’t get that same instant connection with a guy. It’s something that happens more gradually, but can still be very intense later on. I also agree with Becky’s comment that things happen when you aren’t expecting it.

    Also, it may be unrelated, but are you on hormonal birth control? That can really affect your libido…

    To writer 2, I send my heartfelt sympathies. I, too, have been living far from home for many years, and my family has been fighting over slots in my packed visit calendar every time I make it home. In the past few years since my son was born it’s been even worse. What I have had to do is schedule out most of my trip in advance, mainly by clarifying when my sis-in-law (who sounds like your sister’s long lost twin – was she adopted?) would like to see me, and then reducing that by a third and fitting everyone else in around those times. If the other members of your family are more flexible, that can work. If you have two scheduling freaks in the family, that can be difficult. The key point to it all is communication and firmness. In the weeks/months leading up to a trip home, I clarify my priorities when talking to people back home (that I want to see my 95 year old grandmother at least every second day; that I promised to help out my friend with infant twins every few days) and then expectations are clear. Group emails to everyone can also help, unless people start replying only to you proposing contradictory ideas. I really wish you luck with this! Let me know how it goes!

  • Fran says:

    Family Drama sucks AND blows! We live 4 hours away from our family triangle (my parents, hubby’s mom and step-dad and hubby’s step-mom). My folks live a few minutes from step-m-i-l and that is an hour away from m-i-l & step-f-i-l. When we go down to visit it feels like we are in the car the whole time which is how my hubby grew up so now we often go to one side of town or the other, but not both.
    I agree with the advice to PLAN with the sister and then hang loose the rest of the time and if she can join, cool and if not, you saw her on Xday. Her reaction to the “dissing” is more than likely due to her frustration at not being ABLE to fly by the seat of her pants. Just because you have a special needs child doesn’t mean you don’t have longings for normalcy. A good parent accepts that this is the way their life will be and rolls on. But not being able to see you and your family when you have come from so far away is hurtful to her so she lets you know that but adds some baggage to it. I am assuming that she has never been abe to come to where you live? If so, then it means even more to her when you come to town.

  • Becca says:

    I don’t have a child with special needs, but I do have a child with bipolar. He absolutely requires a schedule, because if we don’t have one, he can have a manic spike within minutes of our schedule falling to shit. So, I can understand the sis’s dilemma. I tend to get a little crazy myself if the schedule is not followed.

    I say all this to say, there should be respect on both sides. If you make plans with sis, then you should keep those plans. If you don’t want a schedule on a certain day, she needs to respect that.

  • Becca says:

    I don’t have a child with special needs, but I do have a child with bipolar. He absolutely requires a schedule, because if we don’t have one, he can have a manic spike within minutes of our schedule falling to shit. So, I can understand the sis’s dilemma. I tend to get a little crazy myself if the schedule is not followed.

    I say all this to say, there should be respect on both sides. If you make plans with sis, then you should keep those plans. If you don’t want a schedule on a certain day, she needs to respect that.

  • I feel for unhappy dater and quite frankly anybody young and single in this era. I blame Facebook and cyber chatting in general. You can be building a relationship with some guy whether it be in person or online and they can be chatting up a storm with 10 other women at the same time…of course I realize this holds true visa-versa as well.

    At the risk of sounding like my parents…or even my GRANDPARENTS…things just ain’t what they used to be!

  • Kyddryn says:

    Hmm…I wish I could help with the dating thing, but I was never very good at it and was precisely the opposite of a hot commodity anyway…so I had plenty of opportunity to sit alone and either bemoan my loneliness or get comfy with it. Given the rather plus nature of my pants size, it’s probably best to conclude that I got comfy with it. Now I’m divorced from the first person I ever dated (when I was in my late twenties, BTW) and am seeing the second person I’ve ever dated (now I’m in my late thirties). Not much help here.

    As for the over scheduled prankster…whew, honey… My first though was a question – who’s going to be around longer, Mom or sis?? Likely sis, so I think it’s fair to tell her “Listen, sugar, I love you to pieces and am always happy to spend time with you. I can even respect your need to have things scheduled to the n’th degree. However, from time to time I need to hang loose with mom…because there will come a time when I can’t make any more memories with her, but we’ll still be here, still be sisters.” Also, I think it’s fair to let her know if the hyper-scheduling bums you out. A vacation shouldn’t feel like a military maneuver.

    You could also, if you feel so inclined, let her know that one day is entirely hers, but the rest of your vacation (which is supposed to be relaxing and pleasant) is yours to do with as you please, on whatever timetable you like.

    I DO understand the need to time things out…because while we here at Casa de Crazy have gotten “-ish” time to an art form, we do have to interact with the rest of Mundania, and they seem really keen on timetables. Given my druthers, I’d never have to look at a timepiece.

    I hope you find some resolution…family drama so quickly turns into family tensions…and who needs that??

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

  • Jerseygirl89 says:

    Dateless – I’ve been where you are. And I think real connections (as opposed to just physical connections)are not always instant. But I also think it sounds like you need a break from dating. That’s what I did when I felt the way you did at around the same age. I through myself into hobbies I was passionate about and my friendships and my work for six months, then realized that I did have a connection with a new acquaintance, who is now my husband.

    Family Drama – I think Becky’s advice is great. I’ll be using it myself, actually.

  • andygirl says:

    I’ve SO felt that bored and out of love feeling, feeling like I didn’t even have a tiny crush on someone, like I’d never find a man attractive again. and the only thing I can say was that those times were just phases, part of the ebb and flow of life. when I wasn’t into dating anyone, I learned to take that time to concentrate on other things (I think it’s the brain’s way of getting my life in order) so that when I’m ready to date again, I’m in the right place for it. also, nothing takes the pressure off of finding Mr Right than taking some risks. I would date someone purely for the fun of it (make sure he’s super awesome and wanting the same thing. no hurt feelings!). it’ll relax you for the real thing. :D but that’s just what works for me. what the hail do I know; I’m just a single 30 year old with cats.

    and for the non-planner? I would enlist some planner friends and the sis to set the days out ahead of time. tell the ‘rents which days are theirs and then stick to the schedge.

  • Jack says:

    Dateless- I’d just give up on men and buy lots of toys to spend my time with. Everyone knows that life ends at 30.

  • The Sweetest says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the Aunt Becky and Dave. For me, I found true love when I wasn’t looking. In fact, I’d sort of sworn off dating altogether, as I had just ended a very long and negative relationship. It wasn’t long (like, a week) before Mr. Right came along. He wasn’t a supermodel, but he was athletic. And sweet. And patient. And never played any mind games. I actually approached it like a friendship instead of a potential mate, and it didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels. We have been married seven years.

  • Anne says:

    Regarding the family drama, I second the person who mentioned Google calendar. I live 3000 miles from my family and after several disastrous overscheduled visits and I finally put my foot down and said that any plans not scheduled through me don’t count. It sounds anal (ok, super anal), but it works. I’m visiting them at the end of September, and I already have notes written on 12 of the 14 days that I am going to be there. Some of the notes are specific (“spa day with sister at Spa “X”, leave at 10am, massage at 11am, parents take the kids to the amusement park for the day”), some days are general (“me, mom, dad, and kids hang out at Mom’s house for the day, maybe have a picnic”) and some days are partially filled (“?” during the day, dinner with everyone at 5:30pm at Restaurant “X”). My family can access the calendar and see which days are open and which aren’t, but only I can add things to the calendar itself. They also know by looking at the calendar which days I am both with and without them. Again, it sounds super anal and controlling, but it helps balance out the “You aren’t going to spend any time with me!!!” or the “You do nothing but spend time with your sister!!!” drama. Good luck!

    • Megan says:

      I think this sounds great. It’s always so hard to spend good time with everyone you want to when you go back home for a visit. It’s been a frustration of mine, too, that while everyone wants a piece of me when I’m in that area, very few actually bother to come out to my part of the world for a visit. I would suggest that you put that out there, and tell people that if they really want some good time with you, you’re more than happy to have them come visit you for a few days.

  • I really believe that timing is the key in matters of attraction. I was single for 13 years after my husband passed away, but I was buy raising my kids, taking care of animals and working and when I finally did meet someone who tripped my trigger, I was in a place where I actually had the time to spend to develop a relationship. I think the best thing to do is find out who you are and follow your passions until someone shows up who shares your passion and incites your passion!

  • Redshoes51 says:

    Hmmm… dating is a bitch… and it’s NOT for the weak of Heart!! I’ve dated some women that have fallen into the ‘What the Fuck Am I Doing Here’ category… and some that were nice and fun… but… Hell, a Dog is nice and fun… the last one, we had talked getting married, and all of a sudden, she told me she didn’t love me… W-T-F!?!?!?!

    But I dunno… I’m always game to try again…

    It’s more difficult once you are out of your teens…

    … and it gets more and more difficult as you get older…

    You are in waters that are well-traveled… don’t panic yet…

    ~shoes~

  • Al_Pal says:

    Some great advice I saw some years ago & have passed on a few times: don’t think about what your partner will be like, but rather how they will make you FEEL.
    (Cherished, joyful, etc.)

    Before I got together with my guy, I had a whole list of ‘attributes’ that I thought he should have…and he kinda does, in his own way, but not at all how I’d imagined. He elicits so much joy, smiles, and laughter from me, and makes me feel so well-loved and cared for. & he’s a fun cutiepie.

    So. I think there are plenty of people out there that can be great for each other…but yeah, there must be some spark. Even if it isn’t apparent from day one. ;p

    GL!

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