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I'm lonely. Very lonely.

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 3, 2009 09:09 AM

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This letter writer didn't tell me where she lives. But she sent in a few drafts of her letter, so she obviously needs our help.

Q: Dearest Meredith,

I’m attractive, fit, outgoing, fun, and independent. I’ve had boyfriends since I was 14 – never in a needy way, but it was easy to meet & date. When I was 26, I met a guy & thought, finally – this is ‘THE ONE.’ In my eyes he/we were perfect (I was wrong). After 5 years he broke up with me – it was devastating. I remember thinking, this will take a few months to get over, it’s going to suck – but I can do it.

Fast forward 5 years. I bought a house, earned a masters degree. I put on a brave face, but my heart never healed. While I’m not (& never have been) suicidal – there were times I thought dying would be easier. I tried counseling. I remember the therapist said, “You will find love again.” I haven’t. I’ve dated, had one brief relationship, he was sweet, I got comfortable - but I didn’t love him so I ended it. I tried online dating w/ disastrous results, blind dates, I go to bars, sports/work events, I volunteer regularly – to keep busy & meet people. All while watching my friends get married, have babies, & buy big, beautiful homes in the ‘burbs. I’m happy for them, but it’s a grim reminder of how alone I am.

I’ve come a long way from the sad state I was in, but think of him often– it just happens. I’ve deleted emails/numbers, thrown away photos/gifts, but I can’t erase him from my memory. I feel like I won’t be 100% over him, till I find someone new – but won’t find someone new till I’m 100% over him. It’s a vicious cycle. I have more blessings than I can count – but I’m tired of being alone. Despite a tough few years – I’m in a better place & ready to meet someone – it seems nobody is left. during the 5 years I spent w/ the ex, 2 years in a funk, 3 years dating the wrong guys – BOOM, I’m 36 & I can’t find that spark, although I've met lots of nice guys. I’m NOT freaking out about marriage/babies, if it doesn't happen - ok. I don't think if give off that "desperate vibe" b/c I'm usually the one to end it. I’d just like to find a good guy, why is it so hard?

This is the advice I’ve gotten for 5 years: “Time heals,” “Good things happen to good people,” “Your turn will come”, “Stay positive”, “Focus on you”, “Living well is the best revenge,” “Hang out w/ your girlfriends / find a hobby / take a vacation”. If I get one more piece of crappy, cliché advice I’m gonna snap. I’ve heard it all – I’ve done it all. I’m still at ground zero – so now what?

– Miss M

A: Miss M, anyone who says “your turn will come” deserves a stubbed toe.

Your turn probably will come, but that’s beside the point. No one knows when, and no one knows for sure.

Your letter reminds me of this other letter. That letter writer was younger and in a different place, but the emotions are similar. I'll say it again -- sometimes getting over a real love takes years. Years and years and years and years and years.

One thing to watch out for in your case is whether you’ve developed an addiction to grief. Sometimes the body and mind get used to feeling miserable. That misery becomes like a drug – destructive and comforting at the same time. You may need to train your brain to feel other emotions. It will take more therapy -- and some discussion with said therapist about whether this is a depression. It’s time to consider all options. And please find a new therapist – someone who doesn’t spout affirmations for no good reason.

You should know (and explain this to your new therapist) that this isn’t just about your ex or your lack of a romantic partner. You’ve been through a lot – a degree, various moves, turning 35 (plus one) …and you’ve done it on your own. Don’t give your ex so much credit. You’re overwhelmed and a bit lonely, but he’s only a part of the reason why.

You ask, “Now what?” The answer is: you keep living. You do some more therapy and try to figure out some new ways to shake up your system. You make a list of the things that bring you pure joy and you seek those things out. You have a little faith that clichés get to be clichés because they’re often true.

You must also consider that you fell in love with your ex in your 20s, when it was easy to get to know someone without trying too hard. If you met your ex now -- at some singles event or by playing on a sports team -- I'm not so sure the spark would be instantaneous. In your 30s, you have to make more of an effort to get to know someone over time. It's a hassle and it feels forced, but it pays off.

Readers? Advice for the lonely? Therapy is key, for sure, but is this really about Miss M's ex? Is age a factor with this problem? Share some thoughts here. Twitter here. Read yesterday's chat transcript here.

– Meredith


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285 comments so far...
  1. Still pining for this guy 5 years later? Can't seem to find anyone worth dating? Sounds like the LW is deeply psychologically disturbed. I think she requires intensive Cognitive Therapy, and probably some significant medication. This Lady creeps me out, to point where I can even make usual jokes. No matter who that guy was, I can guarantee there is someone even "Better" out there; it is up to you to find him, get over your pity-party and work for it!

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 3, 09 09:43 AM
  1. Miss M: Your letter made me so sad. I hate that you are watching all your friends do the life in the burbs thing. You won't find comfort in knowing that they are all miserable wishing they had your life so I'll spare you that part. Meredith is right when she says to try more therapy and to shake up your life a little. An attractive woman with a master's degree, no kids, and single ought to make you THE most desirable woman in Boston. Please keep the faith and let us know where you are in 6 months. Also, may we please have a picture of the crappy ex so if we see him anywhere we can smack him. The readers would appreciate that.

    Posted by Harriet September 3, 09 09:49 AM
  1. Rico is sad reading your letter...He feels for you deeply and here is why:

    Rico has a friend that sounds a LOT like you. She has a good job, education, attractive, in good shape, etc...Yet she has a propensity for dating the wrong guys and finds herself still single and yes a little lonely. Her family lives away from here, her friends have married and moved and had children (Rico included) and to her it seems she has stood still.

    Rico's advice to you is simple. You said you dated the wrong guys for a few years, so Rico wants you to try and date outside the box that you seem to find the current guys. Rico suggests giving guys a chance that normally you would have looked the other way in the past. Rico thinks you are doing the right things and therapy or a good friend to talk to is always helpful (therapy is a paid friend). Rico prefers an unpaid friend to a therapist but to each his/her own. Rico thinks whatever "rut" you are in it is time fro you to get out of it. You are the only person that can do this for yourself. Your current circle of friends needs to change, your current routines need to change, your current gym, grocery store, etc...need to change. You need to upset your daily life and shake things up. Walk home from work and smell the air, see the people walking, riding, running, playing...

    Rico has a story for you: He was jogging home from work one day and came upon a mother/daughter walking the dog. What was funny about this was that the daughter was holding the leash with the dog being twice her size. Rico found this to be amusing and cute, enough so that he is telling you about it now after many years have passed. Rico is just saying that you need to really open your eyes, ears and mind to the possibilities around you. Rico has been there, and his friend is there too. You are not alone.

    Rico wants you to be better and is here to help, please write in and ask Rico more questions if you have them or just to let everyone know they are helping you out. Rico wants you to feel better and is willing to share as much as possible.

    Remember, it's a holiday weekend so be safe and enjoy...

    Love always,

    Rico

    Gears not Gas

    Posted by Rico September 3, 09 09:55 AM
  1. All my advice sounded like cliches in my head - so all can say to the LW is that I feel her pain and wish her the best.

    p.s. I also think its great that she kept moving forward with her life in terms of school, career, and home-ownership - congrats!

    Posted by Monty September 3, 09 09:56 AM
  1. I think you need to take this guy off the pedestal. He wasn't the perfect guy for you, so I don't know why you're preventing yourself from getting over him. He wasn't the guy you should be spending your life with. Once you understand that, you will realize that you probably have met all sorts of good guys and will continue to meet all sorts of good guys with whom you might have a better chance of lifelong compatibility.

    Posted by Not Rico September 3, 09 09:56 AM
  1. You may find my answers to be too simplistic. When something isn't working, try something different. The suggestion of a new therapist is interesting. Perhaps that means stretching a bit to consider men that you may not have considered previously. Perhaps it means approaching men that you find attractive and taking a chance (a woman did this to me two weeks ago and she'll have a date with me!). Perhaps it means simply truly surrendering and truly acknowledging in your soul that you do not NEED to have a partner or conquering your fear that you will always be single.

    Posted by sanity123 September 3, 09 09:56 AM
  1. I could have written that letter... Only I had a bought of severe depression that set me back in my career 5 years... Still alone and heart-broken.

    Posted by Aint Life Grand? September 3, 09 09:57 AM
  1. I'm similar to you - single, (40 though), fit, independent, etc. And I very rarely date - it is a more limited field as you get older. I had my heart absolutely shattered and it took me a long time to get over. But I think you need therapy. Serious therapy. You need to learn to be comfortable being alone. As I read your letter, you sound desperate - so it seems to me that people you will meet will pick up on that vibe, whether or not you think you are putting it out there. You have so much going for you, so much more than most people. You write: "If I get one more piece of crappy, cliché advice I’m gonna snap". I see it as you have caring people in your life. You should appreciate that, not be annoyed by their well meaning comments. My fear is from that statement, you won't react well to LL advice.

    You may or may not meet someone. In the meantime, though, enjoy life! It rocks. It really does.


    Posted by Patty September 3, 09 09:57 AM
  1. You are not alone, to a large extent I feel the same way. Wish I had some advice for you, but all I can offer is empathy.

    Posted by Unsure Tenant September 3, 09 09:58 AM
  1. Am i First?1

    Posted by Jmm September 3, 09 09:59 AM
  1. We are in control of our emotions and thoughts and beliefs. The LW is choosing to stay miserable, choosing to not get past her old love and is afraid of being hurt again. Its called baggage and we all have it one way or another.

    She's tired of hearing cliched advice, but isnt willing to understand the advice given to her. She needs to open her mind, force herself to change her way of thinking, and a healthy relationship will come along.

    One of the best things I have done for myself is to think positively about myself and my relationship. For years I waited for someone to magically appear. Finally I said screw this, put my baggage aside, swallowed my pride, and put all my effort into finding someone. Its been a great 6 months and I constantly battle my thoughts about my g/f and my relationship, but I know if i keep my mind focused on the relationship and away from my past the relationship will continue to grow and prosper,

    It sounds simple- change your thoughts to eliminate the bad and allow the good- but its difficult to do, takes a ton of effort, and you need to be willing to change. the LW doesnt sound like she's ready to change.

    Posted by SportsGuy September 3, 09 10:03 AM
  1. My advice is for Miss M to find a new counselor. The one who only told her that she'd find love again isn't the right counselor for her. She needs someone that she can talk to about her life and how down she feels overall.

    Posted by Mary September 3, 09 10:05 AM
  1. Hey Miss M
    Here’s my advice- cliché free. Often in LL, people will recommend therapy. I generally don’t agree with them. But in your case, you absolutely need it. Talk to your PCP for a few referrals, and don’t give up until you find a good one. Also, you should really consider taking an anti-depressant. A lot of people in our society (thanks Creepy-Cruise) are anti-meds, but they can really help. Again, you just have to find the right one. Finally, here’s the advice I got when I trapped myself in a cycle of suckiness- pick yourself up by your bootstraps and move on. You have to commit to changing your mindset and let go of this guy you once loved. It is easier said than done, but when you’re stuck as you are, it’s often easier to keep on being miserable. Good luck!

    Posted by Shorty September 3, 09 10:07 AM
  1. It isn't really about the ex; it's about what he represented. You got your hopes up for marriage, babies, the house in the burbs -- and when you grieve for the relationship, you are really grieving for the life you thought you would have. Watching all of your friends with their husbands, babies, and houses only opens up the wound.

    So what now? First, stop asking your friends for advice - they won't have anything to say except the cliches that drive you nuts. Second, stop looking for sparks when you first meet someone. The guys who aren't taken probably don't have that charismatic sparkiness or instant attractiveness. Third, now that you are 36, your "market" is the divorced men. They will be thrilled that you don't have kids and baggage. Enjoy it.

    Posted by jujube September 3, 09 10:09 AM
  1. Wow, this is tough. I'm abandoning all cynicism today. LW, I'm glad you specifically called out all the cliches so that we don't have to sit through 35 posters repeating "get a hobby!" God that's annoying.

    I agree with M that at this point, you need to look at this as not a "I never got over him" issue and as a "I'm a little lost" issue. Taking responsibility for your own situation, even if it's a painful situation, will help you let go a little bit more of The Guy. It's not him and that relationship that put you where you are, it's your life and your choices. I don't mean that as an indictment at all; I don't think you're shifting blame or refusing to take responsibility for anything. It just sounds here like owning your own pain here would help you frame your world in a way that has less to do with The Guy.

    I too went through an awful breakup and wound up on a therapist's couch. She also spewed crap about loving again and blamed my parents alot. Bah. Get another therapist - maybe someone younger, maybe even a male therapist. shake up the archetype.

    Are most of your friends married? If so, get some single friends. I actually used the internet not for dating, but to find a social group for single folks.

    Finally, think about what you really want. Do you want the big house and babies in the burbs? Are Carrie B. once asked, why are we shoulding all over ourselves? Don't feel badly about yourself because you "should" have a husband, big house and baby if that's not what you really want.

    I wish you luck in finding your true happiness, wherever it may be.

    Posted by Q September 3, 09 10:10 AM
  1. Miss M, I think your name is interesting....Miss M...miss him?

    Seriously, what made that guy so special? I think you should write back in and tell us about that relationship. Why did you think he was the One, what do you miss, and how did it end? Otherwise, I'm not coming up with anything to suggest here that is going to be any different from what you've heard already.

    Posted by Sasha September 3, 09 10:11 AM
  1. LW, definitely listen to Meredith and get yourself a new therapist. Frankly, I don't think this is about your ex anymore. I think its about you. Often when we get hurt as deeply as you have been, we start to put a wall up so that no one can hurt us that badly again. Some people do it without being aware of it, but it happens . It becomes harder to let people in to get to know you better. This may be why you've been the one to call it quits first in all the relationships since your ex broke your heart. You're doing all the right things by being out there. You just need to go a step further and get out of your comfort zone. Don't call it quits so fast, and get to know someone better and really let them get to know you too. Good luck!

    Posted by EM September 3, 09 10:12 AM
  1. I agree that more therapy is in order. But I recommend cognitive therapy. You need to learn how to change how you think so you can change how you feel. You may have fallen into some painful and destructive feed-back loops with your thinking that can be changed. It sounds simplistic, but it really does work.

    I do know how you feel, and I'm sorry.

    Posted by Susan September 3, 09 10:13 AM
  1. I think the hard, hard truth is that your time may or may not come -- nobody knows and no one can guarantee. Mostly, it's luck. Not everyone gets rich or even has enough money, not everyone who wants kids gets them, not everyone finds love. Life is not fair and deserving it has nothing to do with anything. It's. Just. Luck.

    I feel ya, being in a similar place, except divorced, and if I hear one more idiotic cliche ("love comes when you're not looking, focus on the rest of your life (as if I'm sitting in a cave), it just takes time, the universe will provide, there's someone for everyone") - I'm going to slice someone. I stopped talking to people about it because it's so infuriating. People want to help and so they just babble, because just being in silent support of someone is so hard.

    I hope it happens for you. But it might not. Make the best peace you can with that truth and go on.

    Posted by lucky September 3, 09 10:16 AM
  1. You sound like a nice person with a lot on the ball. That's why it is so easy for you to meet people and date. But for some reason you won't allow yourself to be happy and self sabotage through intrusive thoughts of your ex. The reason for this may go far deeper than "I can't get over him", but that is the face your challenge takes. Reconsider therapy, perhaps with a different person. So I think your question "I’d just like to find a good guy, why is it so hard?" is the wrong question for you.

    Posted by Greg Brady September 3, 09 10:30 AM
  1. "...there were times I thought dying would be easier." Oy vey, I was suddenly transported back to Miss Walsh's 10th grade Literary Classics class and the 'Sorrows of Young Werther'. Sorry M, but you sound like a drama queen who likes to wallow in self-pity, either that or you need to take meds. It seems that your friends have been successful meeting great guys and getting married - what was their strategy? Where did they meet these men?
    Please be aware if you feel negative and hopeless-you will project negativity and hopelessness-even if you think you are putting on a 'brave face'.

    I have a friend who sounds just like you. She has a grad degree, a great place in Boston, lots of friends, travels around the world, has a body to die for, etc. We have been friends for 25 years. We both lived through bad relationships in our 20s. The difference is that I didn't let it beat me down. I was confident that I would meet a great guy and I did when I was in my 30s. I got married had kids at age 38 and 43. Great life.
    At 28 she had convinced herself that nothing would change and she would never meet anyone. She internalized this and it affected every chance she had at forming a lasting relationship. It made her overly critical of every guy she dated.
    Well, her 30s and 40s flew by.
    My friend turned 50 two weeks ago-she's still single and bitter. She became self-fulfilling prophecy.
    The universe gives back what you put out there. Be positive and convinced that there a someone out there for you and he will appear.

    Posted by Little Miss Sunshine September 3, 09 10:32 AM
  1. Just give it up. Stop looking. Think about him all the time, write poetry about him, make that one great relationship the focal point of your thoughts and fantasies. Indulge yourself to the point of nausea. Really. I'm not kidding. You'll run out of gas for it. Empty, empty, empty. Then you can start over.

    Posted by Jim September 3, 09 10:34 AM
  1. Miss M, I relate to your letter on many levels. We differ in that I haven't help specific one-man baggage for as long as you have, but everything else is similar to my situation in many ways. Yes, it's been a long time and you have yet to meet another man that grabs you the way he did (and I am a HUGE believer in not settling without that "right" connection, so I completely support your quest.) This may or may not help, but I read an article a while back about a woman who broke up with her fiance because her doubts became immense, and she went for TEN years before she met the RIGHT guy and when she did, she knew it immediately. Until then, she felt much like you (and I) do now.

    I mean, you could meet him TOMORROW and never look back; there are no crystal balls (despite the many self-appointed supposed psychics who write in here.) You are allowed to own your sorrow for as long as it takes you, and you are strongly self-aware enough to not let it stop your life anyway. You sound like a wonderful person who loves deeply when the right love happens. That's something to look forward to again!

    I think your biggest problem here is you are getting discouraged. So, stop for a while. Just stop looking, and let that go. You may be surprised what you find when you stop looking.

    Posted by Bee Bee September 3, 09 10:35 AM
  1. 1. Stop imagining this ex as THE ONE. Stop thinking of him so highly

    2. Ask yourself: Am I happy? Are you? Are you happy but lonely? Or completely unhappy in life? Figure out how to make yourself happy WITHOUT a man.

    3. Get a puppy, make friends with your neighbors so you can have people around you frequently, go on vacations with friends, explore the world, mentor a local teen, tutor children, join a sports team, take a cooking class.

    In short, you don't need a SO to enjoy life. Make yourself happy and enjoy.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! September 3, 09 10:35 AM
  1. It took me a while after my divorce to find the right therapist. When I finally did, it was like a switch got turned on. Every day is brighter. I have don't have a girlfriend, but it's OK. I own my house, have a good job, and can do whatever I want. Enjoy your freedom while you have it.

    Posted by MoshPatrol September 3, 09 10:35 AM
  1. Miss M,

    I'm a guy, but there's no rule that says guys don't end up feeling the same way. I do think some of the suggestions though are the same whether it's a guy or lady. The best advice, as Meredith said, is to just 'Keep on living'. But there's a step further to take that, and it's to live positively. There's a recent movie on DVD with Jim Carrey called 'Yes'. Of course life doesn't work like a movie, but I believe the philosophy is true. Hang in there, be open, live your life today and don't worry about the future.

    Posted by Rich September 3, 09 10:36 AM
  1. #15-- totally agree with you.

    LW-- I think Mer is right in that you should make a list of things that make you happy, and focus on that. Have you ever watched/read The Secret? Not everyone believes in it, but I suggest you at least watch it once...maybe that way of thinking will help you.

    Everything else aside...maybe you just need to learn to love youself (as lame as that sounds)? Maybe all this heartache has given you low self-esteem. As you said (and i dont doubt)...you are attaractive, outgoing and fun...but do you truly believe that?

    As others have said, try finding a new therapist. I'm sure it will take a while for you to find a therapist who will be a right fit for you (as the same goes for finding a significant other). Do your research and maybe find someone who specializes in your type of situation?

    Lastly-- I don't know if this is an option, but have you ever thought about moving? In moving to a new city/town, you have the opportunity to meet new (possibly single) friends, co-workers, potential boyfriends, etc. Why not move and shake things up a bit....nothing has to be permanent-- maybe try it for a year, and if you aren't happy, then move back. Something to think about...

    I wish you all the best and please keep us posted!

    Posted by Kristen September 3, 09 10:38 AM
  1. Miss M,

    Meredith gave perfect advice.

    I wanted to add that you have an obsession with the ex. But "addiction to grief" is pretty close. An obsession is just an escape from the present because that present it too stressful, or boring, or unpleasant.

    I don't know if my words will help. I fear what I am saying is going to sound Stuart Smalley or cliche but here goes: the past is memory. The future is fantasy. The present is a gift.

    I know it's work but make every effort to stay in the present, look around and see what and who you are missing. One night I was on the T and the subway train was above ground and I was staring out the window and obsessing about some stupid problem I can't even remember now when I realized the sun was setting. I was missing that sunset! I remember that sunset to this day with every shade of purple plus a sliver of orange = gorgeous. I remember thinking I don't think I have ever seen two sunsets that had the same colors. Maybe they are as unique as snowflakes...

    Anyway, do get therapy and do try and stay in the present so you can enjoy your life NOW.


    Best of everything...

    Posted by Amazed September 3, 09 10:44 AM
  1. Miss M,

    Meredith gave perfect advice.

    I wanted to add that you have an obsession with the ex. But "addiction to grief" is pretty close. An obsession is just an escape from the present because that present it too stressful, or boring, or unpleasant.

    I don't know if my words will help. I fear what I am saying is going to sound Stuart Smalley or cliche but here goes: the past is memory. The future is fantasy. The present is a gift.

    I know it's work but make every effort to stay in the present, look around and see what and who you are missing. One night I was on the T and the subway train was above ground and I was staring out the window and obsessing about some stupid problem I can't even remember now when I realized the sun was setting. I was missing that sunset! I remember that sunset to this day with every shade of purple plus a sliver of orange = gorgeous. I remember thinking I don't think I have ever seen two sunsets that had the same colors. Maybe they are as unique as snowflakes...

    Anyway, do get therapy and do try and stay in the present so you can enjoy your life NOW.


    Best of everything...

    Posted by Amazed September 3, 09 10:45 AM
  1. I guess it all comes down to you. Do you want to be stuck in this rut or do you want to change? If you want to change, what's your new story (the one that doesn't include heart break and narrow definitions of success)?

    I'm not saying it is easy to be single, however, I found that when I held on to someone I lost in my heart, the loss increased in value far beyond it's actual worth.

    How I got out of my rut: I got to know myself and what I need from other people. I built a network of friends who give me what I need emotionally. I started to truly enjoy my life and relish that I have time and space to grow as a person. And I accepted responsibility for my own happiness.

    If I meet someone that adds to my life, great!. I do enough (singles events, etc.) so that I can relax and let the universe do some work. And I have faith that whatever my life becomes, it will be the best life I know how to live.

    Some time soon I will make a decision whether to adopt a child or continue to live this life and embrace the freedom I have to change careers if I want. Everyone should be this lucky.

    Posted by older and wiser September 3, 09 10:50 AM
  1. Try switching teams

    Posted by K September 3, 09 10:50 AM
  1. I agree that the first place to start is a new therapist. It concerns me that you say things like "I am not and have never been suicidal but I thought it would be better to die" -- that IS suicidal ideation, okay? I think your therapist has let you down. This is really not about the ex anymore -- YOU have lost the spark for life and you deserve to find happiness -- I hope things get better for you.

    Posted by move on September 3, 09 10:53 AM
  1. You seem like such a nice woman. I would love to talk to you and take you out.. No pressure just meet and see what happens....I'll send Mere my email address...

    Posted by Joe September 3, 09 10:54 AM
  1. Miss M,

    Is what you feel inadequacy more than loneliness? You said he broke up with you, and you think your friends are more successful than you are.

    Like you I'm single, attractive, fit, independent, bought my own house and have an advanced degree. In my early 30s I realized I had a good deal, and that most men would just mess it up if they were in the picture. I've always felt good about being single.

    So how do you get from where you are to where I am? Here's my advice:

    1. Be thrilled with what you have. Most women would kill to be in your shoes. You'll see it when they're unable to afford a house on their own, they're exhausted from cleaning kids' bottoms, and their husbands are hitting on you.

    2. Know this: The field of appropriate men for you doesn't get smaller as you get older. It stays the same - small. There are lots of unattached men in every age group nowadays. But in every age group, there are very few that are likely candidates for you, Miss M. Here's why:

    - You're smart and well-educated. That narrows the field to smart, well-educated men.
    - You're attractive. Shy guys will assume you're out of their league.
    - You're fit. Don't get me started on men's fitness...
    - You own a house. Let me guess - guys don't rush over to shovel your snow to prove their manhood? No, they back off, seeing that you're self-sufficient.
    - You're independent. Again, they back off because you don't seem to "need" them.

    I doubt if you seem needy. You probably seem the opposite of needy.

    That narrows the field to a few smart, well-educated, fit, independent, emotionally secure guys. But you may never run across them - luck is a big factor.

    Keep looking. But your strengths, not your inadequacies, may cause you to remain alone. As Meredith said, work with a therapist to understand why that doesn't have to be lonely.

    Posted by TallGirl September 3, 09 11:01 AM
  1. I don’t know if anyone can really help you. In fact, there are millions of people out here in the same situation that you are in and maybe knowing that will be some comfort. I am in a similar situation but I have the added bonus of being a single father. The real problem is that there is no magical answer anyone can give you. Finding that special person is just hard. It can happen anywhere at anytime. There is no formula or trick. Yes, online dating is great but it isn’t guaranteed. Going out with friends and meeting people in bars is fun but difficult at the same time. My friends and family tell me talk to women at the mall, the gym, or while shopping for groceries. Do I really want to walk up to a woman in the frozen food section or while she is in the middle of a work out? Unfortunately, all anyone can tell you to do is hang in there, keep doing what you are doing and hopefully one day it will happen. That is what I do. Good luck and just keep living your life.

    Posted by Niceguy September 3, 09 11:02 AM
  1. I can be in a room filled with people, and still be lonely. If you are of age, there's still hangouts that you could go to, meet people, and not be lonely. I'm disabled and stranded, can't get out and about and that does take a toll on one. I actually, love being by myself; but I too, still get lonely from time to time. It's like, sometimes you need face to face relations; and not just the kind you get at stores and things either.

    Hency, if you're too shy, then seek help. There's counceling.

    Posted by Dee September 3, 09 11:13 AM
  1. So, I'm a man in your dating demographic; mid-30s, professional, intelligent, all that stuff. I'll give you a glimpse of the questions and thoughts men like me would have about women like you. In no particular order...

    1) Is this woman sexually uptight? I don't mean you have to sleep with me on the first date, or every night of the week-- but some women don't seem to enjoy sex, or are saving themselves for marriage, or have strict religious views, or whatever. We're adults; if you're not into adult fun, that's a huge red flag for most men.

    2) What do you do for fun? You said you're not looking for trite cliches like 'get a hobby'-- well, at the risk of sounding trite, that's what worked for me. I swore off online dating, founded a travel group online the next day, and the second person I met through that group was a woman I dated for a year. Our grandmothers' trite advice-- don't look for people to date; look for people to do things with and then date them-- is right. You weren't really clear on what you do for fun in your letter, so I wonder.

    3) You really do need to get over your ex. Men can sniff that out as well as women, and it's just the biggest buzzkill you can imagine. A woman who is still hung-up on her ex five years after break-up isn't someone a good man wants to date.

    4) Are you too 'I am woman, hear me roar'? You say you have a master's, own a house, volunteer, are confident in life, yadah yadah yadah. Newsflash: *All single women in their 30s are like that.* I'm not saying it's bad, but we on the Y chromosome meet women like you every week, and hearing you all toot your own horns gets really tired. Sexist or not, men are raised to strive for independence from birth. Women aren't-- so when you talk about it to each other, it's an achievement to be admired. When you talk about it to us, we've heard it a million times, don't think it's anything special because we do it too, and wonder if there's a good Law & Order re-run on cable.

    I'll let Meredith's advice speak for itself except for one point-- where she mentions that it takes much more effort to get to know someone in your 30s. That's very perceptive. At our age, a relationship is much less about 'what do I need' and 'what can this person do for me'-- because we're successful as solo adults, and don't need much. It's more about 'what do I want' and 'what can I do with this person'-- because it's about building a partnership, not finding someone to complete you. You're already functionally complete.

    Posted by joey September 3, 09 11:15 AM
  1. This letter has turned me to mush, I swear, but I just wanted to thank M and Miss M for giving all the usuals a chance to show that given a thoughtful letter from a sad person, we can drop the snark and be nice. I'm really moved by all the comments. ok, sentimentality over.

    Posted by Q September 3, 09 11:18 AM
  1. Miss M, In the past, I have found it helpful to keep a few things in mind as I have suffered from bouts of loneliness. The first is that when we are alone, we naturally think about and pine for our previous relationships even if we know that they weren't right for us. It is important to recognize how natural this is because it you can't put too much stock in those feelings - they are more like a reflex than an indication that you lost something that was right for you. Second, I have found it really helpful when I am experiencing these thoughts and feelings to think realistically about the relationship - what about it was fulfiling and what parts of it made me crazy and sad. It really helped me to understand what I wanted out of a long-term relationship. When I finally saw in front of me what I was looking for, I was able to appreciate it. Finally, the hurt that comes from a break-up, the fear about not understanding what went wrong, the emotional drain can all add up to make your mind and body shut off to long-term relationships. You know how much you have to lose if it doesn't work out. You need to decide whether you are really emotionally ready to take the risk again. For me, it helped to know why it was worth it - going to the funeral of a friend showed me that having a life-partner who could be beside me through the really difficult times in life was important enough that I was willing to put myself out there again. I worked through my issues through a combination of self-reflection and therapy. I do think that to some extent it is a game of timing and patience. Meeting the right person at the right time for both of you - I am sometimes amazed that so many people have relationships at all. Good luck.

    Posted by hopeful September 3, 09 11:20 AM
  1. This was Michael Jackson’s reply to his friend who asked him if he’s lonely. You would never think that in spite of the fame, riches, and success that a man in his calibre would say those words!

    Isn’t that a comforting thought? Atleast this is your START unless you want to make it your END!

    Pour out your heart, if you can! Seek out people who are likely to relate to you! Often people around us are also lonely and looking for companionship

    is there an eary bird special?

    Posted by Maria September 3, 09 11:22 AM
  1. This was Michael Jackson’s reply to his friend who asked him if he’s lonely. You would never think that in spite of the fame, riches, and success that a man in his calibre would say those words!

    Isn’t that a comforting thought? Atleast this is your START unless you want to make it your END!

    Pour out your heart, if you can! Seek out people who are likely to relate to you! Often people around us are also lonely and looking for companionship

    is there an eary bird special?

    Posted by Maria September 3, 09 11:22 AM

  1. Can people stop writing 'first' / 'am I first?'

    This isn't Perez Hilton - go get some speedy fingers action over there if you so crave it.

    Now to the LW,
    Heartbreak is hard. We've all experienced it at varying degrees. It sounds like you are on the right path. I think it would be the best idea to make yourself get out there and date different guys. Experience different personalities, hobbies, interests, etc. Date. Date. Date. Keep an open mind, and most of all - MAKE IT FUN FOR YOU!

    Love often happens at the most unexpected moment, and maybe with an unexpected person.


    Posted by EastCoastGirl September 3, 09 11:23 AM

  1. ALSO,
    You in the Boston area? I have a guy friend who is in his 30's - never married, no kids. Same situation. Perhaps a match made in heaven?

    Posted by EastCoastGirl September 3, 09 11:25 AM
  1. Maria&Maria,
    first comment here.don't like blogs in general.can I leave?
    it is not Q - questions , it is L for Letter !
    can the Q and A slim down a size or something ?
    M&M's are ymmmmmmmm!

    Posted by Mario September 3, 09 11:26 AM
  1. Stop worrying about it...Lower your standards...start sleeping around and you will find a great guy...Worked for my girlfriend.

    Posted by Spencer Pratt from the hills September 3, 09 11:28 AM
  1. "I'm lonely, but I'm -- I'm very busy and, actually, I'm all right." "No. Too busy. Sorry," she said when asked on CNN's Larry King Live Tuesday night. Kate Gosselin insists she won't be dating anytime soon.

    Posted by Kate September 3, 09 11:29 AM
  1. If you first try to get over the illusion that your ex was the *only* perfect partner/spouse for you, only then you can move ahead. The past relationship looks great now -- your mind is glorifying it beyond reality. I have done this too, so I do write by experience. In fact, I am still friends with my ex - which made it harder to move on - but I realized a long time ago that he was not the perfect match for me in the long term. Yes it was great while it lasted... but you need to forgive yourself and forgive him for the failure of the relationship and decide in your head that you want to move on. Only then you can invest in another relationship.

    Posted by chins September 3, 09 11:31 AM
  1. Advise everyone not to waste their time giving this LW advice. She doesn't want advice. She is simply playing the game "Yes, but..." at our expense.

    And I sense she is an absolute master at this game, having fine-tuned it over the past 10 years. A big clue is the fact she sent Meredith several drafts of her letter, as she thought through every possible angle we might come up with, and cut it off at the pass. She must've had to resort to LL because all her friends have gotten wise to her game.

    If you don't know what this game is, it goes like this:

    "I am never going to find love."
    "Why don't you try online dating?"
    "Yes, I did, but it was disastrous."
    "Why don't you try counseling?"
    "Yes, but it didn't work."
    "Why don't you focus on yourself?"
    "Yes, but while I'm comfortable being alone, I'm lonely."

    Etc, etc, etc.

    The payoff for her is not only that she gets lots of attention, but that she gets a kick out of stumping everyone. And she gets to think she is unique, the ultimate tragic romantic hero.

    LW, here is my "yes, but" back to you:
    Yes, you talk a good game but you have come to love the game's payoff, more than actually solving your problem.

    Posted by anecdotal evidence September 3, 09 11:31 AM
  1. know you posted this question a while ago, but I just had to post a message because I could feel my heart breaking when I read your story.
    Like the last person said, if ever you want someone to open up to, you can send me a message. I really hope that things are improving for you. Please don't give up. People do care about you, just look at all of us who have left you a message here!

    Posted by Samantha September 3, 09 11:32 AM
  1. What I think you need to do is stop comparing (either consciously or unconsciously) the men you meet to your old BF. No one is going to be measure up to him, because not only is no one else him, but you aren't who you were, either. You aren't going to be able to recreate what you had with him, because time as marched on. Sorry, I wish I could be in my 20's again, too.

    The 20's are great. We have our most attractive, strongest bodies. We have the freedom of adults, but no responsibilities to anyone but ourselves. Our futures are wide open, and we can still be anything we imagine. And when we date, it can be amazing, as we think about the possibilities, and naively imagine our lover is perfect.

    I'm not saying you should settle, if you don't find sparks with anyone. Just have realistic expectations, and don't be too hard on yourself. I could give you a whole bunch of cliche's at this point, but I'll just wish the best for you. Good luck.

    Posted by two sheds September 3, 09 11:34 AM
  1. Stop wallowing in your own self pity! Get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN even if it means starting somewhere else, it's possible and feasible! As long as you have the want, a tongue in your head and clothes on your back you can do it! Instead of your passive attitude you need to adopt a positive one or you're already defeated. (I don't mean to offend, just giving you the verbal kick up the backside you sorely need!)

    Posted by Defeat September 3, 09 11:34 AM
  1. Men your age are considered the clearance rack. Date younger men. Problem solved.

    Posted by Bee September 3, 09 11:34 AM
  1. You need to give yourself a kick up the backside! You are feeling so sorry for yourself. Of course if this is how you're feeling and you're convinced that things will never get better they won't!
    you won't CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE!!! go ahead let this beat you. it is your defeatest attitude that has been keeping people from approaching you.

    Posted by Liehate8adm September 3, 09 11:36 AM
  1. sometimes the wheel just falls off. get over yourself

    Posted by chowdah September 3, 09 11:44 AM
  1. Wow. Can I relate. My relationship ended 6 yrs ago and somedays it feel like it just happend on Tuesday. The best advice came from a friend of mine who told me "greif has no time line. It takes as long as it takes."
    I really would love to be in love again but in the meanwhile I live my life to the fullest. I have come to accept the fact that no everyone gets to fall in love and live happily ever after. Some of us will be single for long periods of time. That's life, so to speak. I am very fortunate to have loving friends and family and they are a tremendous support to me.
    Life is to be lived, not endured. Keep the faith.

    Posted by cupcake September 3, 09 11:44 AM
  1. LW quote: “I feel like I won’t be 100% over him, till I find someone new”

    That is the root cause of your current situation. The here and now. You are subconsciously blocking yourself from finding someone new. In reality, you will not find someone new (more accurately, connect with someone new) UNTIL you have put your relationship with him and the way it ended, in a box. Doesn’t mean that you pretend it didn’t happen, just means that like all of our experiences, there is a well defined finality / conclusion to it. He broke up with you. There is no going back. Only going forward.

    I apologize for anything here that may come across as something you’ve heard before or a cliché, but I truly think this qualifies as at least something you should consider even if you’ve heard it before. It seems to me that you are angry with people who are trying to help you feel better, cope, etc. One should never waste anger on someone acting with good intentions.

    Some more points to ponder:

    You are doing yourself and your potential dates no favors by taking the attitude that “it seems there’s nobody left”.

    If you keep doing the same things, you should expect the same results. You need to get out of your comfort zone. Think about it. Don't be defensive or dismissive because you feel like you've "heard it all and done it all".

    FWIW, I applaud you for sending in the letter and sharing these feelings with others. That is a significant step for you to have taken.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss September 3, 09 11:49 AM
  1. Hmm.. seems like you got your life together.

    I am a 19 year old male and would love to meet you.

    Perhaps I could move in, we could have kids? But you would of course need to help support me through college/graduate school. I am not saying I wouldn't look elsewhere for love, but the sex i do have with you will be great.

    You can also dress me up and show me off to your friends. I am funny, smart, and goal oriented. Only thing i am missing is stability (money). But you have got that under control. But yeah, ill keep watching the comments, let me know.

    Posted by Could be your pool boy September 3, 09 11:49 AM
  1. Invite this woman to the LL movie screening. Then let our crew get a first-hand read on the situation and provide real-time advice.

    Posted by Alvin's Not Coming September 3, 09 11:52 AM
  1. I am finding this love letter difficult to respond to because all the advice people can think of she made clear she does NOT want to hear. Maybe it will make you feel better to know other people have lived with a broken heart, rejection,disappointment ect ect and I am sure they have! What would make you feel better? What are u expecting people to say? U had ur heart broken, so have I...u had terrible dating experiences, me too...I stopped looking and when I stopped looking, my husband found me....it can happen, just change your attitude from a negative to POSITIVE for god sakes......please!

    Posted by Judgenot September 3, 09 11:52 AM
  1. I'm still way upset about having been dumped 20 years ago. I was SO totally nuts about her. Still gets to me and I expect it'll never really completely go away. But I moved on anyway and just live with it. I find that you can still be happy without having to deny what you're feeling.

    Posted by AguaCaliente September 3, 09 11:53 AM
  1. You need introspection, Miss M.

    First, you need to analyze what qualities you loved about your ex that made you feel he was the one. Then, you need to figure out whether these same qualities are really right for you. I mean, REALLY right for you long term.

    Second, everyone changes. What makes you think you would still be in love with this guy? How do you know he hasn't gotten dumpy looking and squandered his future? My point is, you are wasting your time looking backward for something that might not be what you made it out to be. Also, are your expectations about life too high?

    Last, I ask, why is it that you feel you are attractive and a beacon for dating, but why haven't you attracted someone that is compatable? There is something deeply wrong in this equation.

    Posted by big h September 3, 09 11:54 AM
  1. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the issue isn't that you haven't found love, or that you're not over your ex, it's that you're depressed. You're doing everything you "should" do outwardly--you're moving on, you're volunteering, hanging with your friends, etc. All good, healthy, happy things. And kudos to you for taking those steps! So many men and women wallow and refuse to do anything, and blame members of the opposite sex for their problems. So I wouldn't call you disturbed--you're doing everything you should be doing, you're acting positive (even if you're not feeling it), you're not whining about the evil that is the opposite sex, etc.

    I think you are depressed. I don't know if it's because you got into a funk after your ex broke up with you and you ended up in that well-worn pathway--sometimes we get into bad places and wear grooves so deeply in those paths that we have no idea how to get out. We literally get used to being that way. I think the ideas that you're not over the ex and haven't found love yet are easy things to see as causes, and I think a lot of folks here will boil this down to love, dating, whatever. But I'm not convinced that these things much to do with your depression at this point.

    Maybe a new therapist would be in order. Don't focus so much on the love stuff--I'm wondering if something else is fueling this, or if it's like what I said before--you're chemically 'used' to feeling bad and need a nudge to get into a different place.

    Posted by PM September 3, 09 11:54 AM
  1. WOW....There are a bunch of responses here...You know what, there is no right answer here. I will say this, it should get better and I think the only way to get over the man is to fall in love with someone else. At that point he will be a distant memory. But, how do you find someone else...That is the difficult question...As we get older( I am 35 myself), we start to shelter ourselves, but we also start to streamline our beliefs. You must find someone within your belief system, that way you will feel comfort in the common factors. You can't find people in clubs or bars...

    Posted by bc September 3, 09 11:55 AM
  1. MM....yeah its hard to get over. Make a list of the things that make you happy. Material things, trips, movies, even little things, for example..I like to go to a funky non-starbucks coffee shop, read the paper/listen to my ipod and people watch. The point is make a list. work on it for a while. then afterward, go DO those things. everyday do at least one or more. take time for yourself. focus on doing the things that make you happy. after a while, you'd be surprised how you stop dwelling on the other stuff. and you never know, love may just find you along the way.

    oh yes, by all means write back in specifically to that Rico guy. write specifically to him. ask him specific question so he can give you advice. yeah THAT'S the whole point of this column. getting advice from that 3rd person idiot. NOT !

    BAN the 3rd person moron. Hope that his children have a sane mother that can undo all the deep seated damage.

    Posted by byubba September 3, 09 11:56 AM
  1. Haiku:

    I am so lonely
    He was the one man I loved
    I must be here now

    ~~~
    Tip o' the hat to Ramdass...


    Posted by Amazed September 3, 09 12:01 PM
  1. get a dog..it will fulfill some of the void.

    Posted by Jello September 3, 09 12:06 PM
  1. You tell us that if you " get one more piece of crappy, cliché advice I’m gonna snap", yet you toss us the crappiest whine of all....

    ""Despite a tough few years – I’m in a better place & ready to meet someone – it seems NOBODY IS LEFT." (caps my emphasis)

    Please, do us a favor and stop telling us that nobody is left. We aren't going to buy it.

    I think Meredith alluded to the fact that you've created a world for yourself where it's more comfortable to moan and be sad than to get out there and meet someone nice.

    There are tons of available, straight, nice, handsome, stable, worthy men out there. But as long as you are calling Morose-ville your home they will not come visiting.

    I'll leave what kind of therapy you need to the experts. But whatever therapy is best, you sure better get a damn good therapist!

    Posted by Sigh September 3, 09 12:06 PM
  1. Dear Miss M -
    I think I understand a little, what you're feeling.
    I also think that some of it has to do more with not being able to get over the memories of the addictive, hazy, swoony memories of your days with the ex, vs. the ex himself.
    I have one of those "man who got away" ex's, and I was the one who broke it off after 4 years (and that's a long story). We both moved on, and eventually he got married (to someone I introduced him to, no less), had a bunch of kids, and now lives happily ever after with someone other than me.
    Sometimes I feel this overwhelming sense of regret, of sadness, that I should be with him instead of the (very troubled human being that I am currently involved with) but then the reality gods smack me and say "Hey! idiot! it's not the GUY you miss, but the giddy, giggly, over the moon happy feeling you had when things were good!" I think it's messed up in my head because I've spent the last decade with inappropriate people, doing stupid things, and missing out on the settling down and having kids thing. Your 30's are tough, but if you can't shake this by the time you hit 40 you're headed for cat lady land. Trust me. I know this.
    I do think many people have this weird disconnect in their head.
    We sometimes forget the bad stuff about past relationships, especially when we were the one who was dumped. Time doesn't help, either. Just ask the legions of folks reconnecting via Facebook with freshly divorced former high school classmates.
    In closing, here's some food for thought:
    Would you rather be with someone who stayed with you for years and years and years out of obligation, a sense of duty, or just out of habit, only to have them bolt after 20 years, a few kids, and a big mortgage later?
    It's painful, yes, but perhaps this guy did you a favor by ending things when he did.
    There was something about your relationship that wasn't right for him.
    There are few things worse than being in a long term relationship with someone who doesn't love you as much as you love them.
    I agree that you should find a better therapist, someone who is going to help you pull all the little bandaids off the scars and scabs of your psyche and help you get on with the rest of the healing process.
    Good luck to you!

    Posted by electriccatladyland September 3, 09 12:06 PM
  1. LW - this worked for me, please try this out:
    Write a letter to the 'first love', tell him how you feel, your anger, disappointment, frustrations - everything. A real rip roaring letter that tells it all. Pour your heart and soul into this letter. Then......
    Go out to the back yard, pour a nice glass of wine, put on some of your favorite music. Then burn the letter with all those pent up feelings. As the letter burns, LET GO of those feelings, as the smoke rises - in it is all of your anger, frustrations etc leaving your body and mind - like deleting emails and throwing away ticket stubs, you need to clear your mind of him as well. He is ancient history, this was 10+ years ago and you need to move on . If he wasn't 'Mr Right' than you need to open your heart and mind to the real Mr. Right - but this is in your mind that he was 'the one'. Maybe picture him being fat, bald, rude whatever it takes.
    Then you can move on and be open to a new relationship with a man who will appreciate you for you and develop a mature loving relationship.
    I know because 2 years later - I met the most wonderful man in the world and married him!
    I wish the same for your LW - love and a loving relationship - remember YOU DESERVE IT.
    Please let us know what happens!

    Posted by Linda September 3, 09 12:07 PM
  1. Long time reader of LL, but this is my first post...what can I say-I felt compelled by Miss M's story.

    I have to disagree with some posts on her indicating that Miss M is in control of her thoughts and should simply shake herself out of this "funk" she is in.

    Depression is as real a disability as any. Miss M, I think you probably already know this, but you seem to be clinically depressed. As someone who has seen people she loves battle depression (and dealt with a few bouts herself) I completely empathize with your inability to completely get over this "LOYL," but I think Meredith is right here, this isn't necessarily all about him. The feeling of depression is like a drug- even though it makes you feel terrible it is also something you keep coming back to. It's like when you "accidentally" drink an entire bottle of wine and then you begin to think of every sad thing that's happened to you, every sad movie, every boy/man/true love that broke your heart and can't stop crying and/or thinking sad thoughts. OK, that is completely trivializing the disease of depression but I wanted to give other people out there a relatable circumstance.

    Miss M I know you said you tried therapy in the past and it seems the therapist dismissed your problem pretty quickly. As a terminally (it seems) single girl, I know hearing any variation of the phrase "You will find love again" or "He's out there somewhere" are NOT helpful and can be a bit patronizing. My advice- put as much thought into finding a new therapist as much (or more so!) than you do in finding a person to spend your life with. Finding the right therapist for you can and should take just as much time and/or soul searching as it does to find someone you would like to date. If you can't relate to your therapist or (even worse) they can't relate to you (as a person, a woman, a single woman, whatever) then the relationship won't work.

    Now, for my last point: Miss M, you are no failure. As a young professional woman 10 years your junior I can tell you that myself and most -if not all- of my female friends are setting goals for our future that reflect your reality now. You are a successful, fun, independent woman in her mid-30s and in 2009 I think that is a fabulous role model for any woman- or man!

    I can't pretend to know how feelings of loneliness can change or intensify as you get a little (emphasis on LITTLE) older but know that thanks to modern medicine (and that fit self of yours) you have plenty of time to meet a wonderful man who will love you forever.

    For now, take care of yourself- you are a good person and you deserve to be happy :)

    Posted by sportsgal83 September 3, 09 12:07 PM
  1. All you need in life is a bicycle and a dog. The rest will happen!

    Posted by S September 3, 09 12:08 PM
  1. Dudeguy should be banned from this forum and stuffed under a rock. You would get better advice from a brick wall. I was in a similiar situation such as yours. The one that got away left me pretty devasted for a long, long time. Therapy was useless but the real problem was that it started to affect everything else in life- work, social life, motivation in general. Everything that I had worked for and dreamed of having was crumbling beneath me. M is right, you tend to grow accustomed to the loneliness and actually take comfort in it. Never give up hope though, and never do what a friend of mine did and actually take his life. It haunts me to this day that I was unaware of his pain and not there for him when he needed me most. It will happen though. You just need to not try so hard and let time run it's course. I did meet mine, and I'll be honest with you, it was when I wasn't even looking. They say that's when it happens if it's going to happen. Now we have a wonderful little boy together. I wish I could offer some little secret but there isn't any. One thing that I can tell you is if you still have feelings for that ex, you will always be doomed in a relationship. No new potential will ever be able to live up to the pedestal that you put that ex on. So let go of that person and lower those standards a bit.

    Posted by work-n-surf September 3, 09 12:10 PM
  1. Take people's advice about dating "outside the box." My daughter had many rules: never date anyone younger, never date anyone without a college degree, never date...you get the picture. Well, a friend fixed her up with a friend who was 3 years younger and was a high school graduate. BUT, he was a wonderful guy who treated her so well. End result: They are married and just had a little boy -- and are totally in love. So, change your criteria and let yourself love.

    Posted by Carol September 3, 09 12:11 PM
  1. #36, joey - I'm the opposite. If a man doesn't want to have sex right away, or almost right away, I ditch him.

    And K - Try being on both teams. The more, as they say, the merrier. I have the best of both worlds ;)

    Posted by reindeergirl September 3, 09 12:11 PM
  1. Some commenters are putting a lot of blame on the LW for her feelings of lonliness, as if she can snap out of it. Perhaps they've never been in that dark spot, that seems to have no way out. There's no snapping happening in that abyss. When you're there, you do see all the positive wonderful things you've done in your life, as all your friends have done, but they have found someone and you haven't, and it makes you wonder, What's wrong with me? In this couples-centric world, that leads to lonliness no matter how occupied you make yourself. When the kayak gets put in the garage, the popcorn eaten from the last film of the festival, the gardening tools put away for the day and your friends go home...there you are dragging out the trash, or fill in the blank of some other tedious chore that would be nice to have someone else do for once. At the end of a hard day, hell, even a good day, it's nice to have someone there. Someone special to share it with. Of course you can go to your macrame club and spout your happiness at your promotion or vent about that crazy person at work, but it's the special someone that really counts. Your married/taken friends already have their own SO and people are busy. It's your own SO that you get to share the deep stuff with...so what to do when there is no SO? How much deep stuff can your family and friends really handle? Those of you who already have that in your lives aren't in a position to empathize. Flip comments are easily proffered...hey, if it were that easy to snap out of it, the LW and others would have already.

    As for M's advice, there was an article in the Globe the other day about how depression really does change your brain and reinforces negative behavior. It really does take action, changing your daily life in various ways, to change the synapses of your brain, and point yourself in a positive direction again.

    Write that list of what makes you happy and go seek it. You may not find "the man" but at least you can give your own mind and body a good time. You deserve it!

    Posted by Been there...am there? September 3, 09 12:14 PM
  1. You are addicted to unhappiness and unable to kick yourself out of this "comfort" zone. You need a (better) therapist who will help you stop listening to all the bad stuff in your head, which you are too willing to believe right now. An anti-depressent might help too - sometimes we just can't do it on our own.

    By the way, most reputable therapists will classify "I think dying would be easier" as having suicidal thoughts. Happy, optimistic people do not have such thoughts.

    You sound sad, confused and directionless. You thought this guy was your life, and he's not, and 5 years later you still do not know where you are headed or even how to think about what you want. Please get help and take meds if you have to. I've been there - in my 40's, not 30's but same thing. I had a great house in Boston, a house on the cape, an MBA, a great job, friends, etc. - and I was unhappy and drifting, wondering what was the point of my life and if I really wanted to spend the next 45 years or so the same way. I wanted to be "macho" and tough it out, just MAKE myself feel better and be happy, but sometimes that just doesn't work (any more than we can cure a cancer by deciding we don't want to have it any more). So I swallowed my pride, got talking to a great therapist (who pushed back on me and made me THINK, and make decisions - no cliches!) and took some anti-d's - and now I am happy and enjoying life and living to the fullest (and oh yeah, in a great relationship!). It does work.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Another Miss M September 3, 09 12:15 PM
  1. Just adding another "yup, I feel this way too" comment. (I'm 40.) If another person says "don't worry, you'll find someone" or "why don't you try volunteering?" I'll scream.

    Please let us know how you're doing.

    Posted by dottie September 3, 09 12:16 PM
  1. So Lonely was a very underrated Police song.

    Posted by Dave September 3, 09 12:17 PM
  1. What's all the talk about therapy? Doesn't anyone know how to deal with their problems anymore? You people today are getting all soft. Therapy seems to be the answer for everything to you. Rico, even you. I am surprised that "Joe the gung-ho cyclist man" would suggest such a thing for this LW. I would personally suggest this LW get out on a bicycle and just ride! That helped me in my times of depression more than paying some dink to listen to my problems. PA-LEEESE! If you don't think I "understand" let me tell you a thing or two.

    First, I was lonely like this once too. Falling out of a relationship can be super hard, depending on how deep it was. I was in an LTR with my first love (from age 19 - 26) and when it ended it was the most painful thing I could have never imagined... that's right never imagined. I never imagined it could hurt like that. But it did, and it took both of us YEARS to get over it. Things happen, people change, it's hard. It's LIFE. And I totally feel for the LW here. If she wants to pine, let her pine!

    Fast forward 14 years (38 now) I am happily married, have a great job and a beautiful house in the suburbs. Did I mention I grew up dirt poor and I have NEVER been to therapy, NEVER been on drugs and NEVER needed counseling? I guess I am lucky. Although perhaps some anger management might do me some good after reading some of these comments....

    Posted by Marios Rant September 3, 09 12:21 PM
  1. No "good man" wants a 36 year-old with emotional baggage. You missed your opportunity. Women older than 30 are undesirable to attractive and successful men. Maybe a pet can help fill the void.

    Posted by billy tepper September 3, 09 12:21 PM
  1. byubba - Get over it. LW's do not care about your opinion of Rico. No one here cares about your opinion of Rico. You go on and on about this every day....and still, no one cares. No one will be banning Rico, so cut it out. Actually, most of us like him. If your goal was to become the most annoying person on here by trying to come up with clever new ways every day to let us all know you're talking about Rico, without saying his name, well done. Mission accomplished.

    Miss M - I'm so sorry. I am not going to put in my 2 cents, because it's no different than anything everyone else has already said. But I do wish you the best of luck. You sound like you have everything going for you.

    Posted by SM1231 September 3, 09 12:22 PM
  1. If you are at all politically inclined, pick a candidate and volunteer to work on his/her campaign. You'll find many smart, funny, dedicated people of all varieties who share common values working for a common goal. Many are single. I can't tell you how many couples I know who met while working for a candidate or for a political cause. Also, skip the online dating thing and join a singles group in your geographical area. At least you can get a look at the prospects before you agree to a date. How about a personals ad in a quality publication? I know a guy who met his wife through an ad he posted in Boston magazine. The point is, take a chance. Talk to people. If you meet someone who says, “I know a guy I think would be perfect for you," don’t say, “I don't think so.” Say, “Good, tell me more." And, finally, don't end your next "brief" relationship with a “sweet" man because you don't love him... yet. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that “the" one is right under your nose, if only you'd look down instead of around. [Ending a sentence in a preposition, I know, I know. You can break the rules if you know them.]

    Posted by Kate's Nonna September 3, 09 12:23 PM
  1. But seriously, I think the break-up triggerd depression (maybe it was there before him, simmering under the surface), and turned into a full-blown depression over the years. I do agree that you need a new therapist, one who can prescribe meds or work with someone who does. Once you get the depression stablized by meds, you can work on getting it out of your life. // I know this loss, suffered it a year and half ago; left him; went crawling back to him after two months (because I wanted to give him time to think about us, to get rid of his justified anger); we were to be married; too late. I wrote it all out - beautiful journal entries dripping with sadness. // Still not over him, but now seeing a lovely man who deserved my full attention. // Please, PLEASE find a new therapist, you are suffering.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 3, 09 12:23 PM
  1. This makes me so sad because I've been there. Took me years to get over my ex-fiance, but I finally did. I'm 27, but would imagine that as you get older, it DOES take more work to try and meet someone. Just keep doing what you're doing and then some...try new things all the time. You'll get happier and you might meet the love of your life.

    Also, I'm sure you've already considered this, but some people tend to stick to one "type" of mate when it comes to dating. Go out of your comfort zone a little if you haven't already. If you've never considered dating a guy with kids, try it (especially since a lot of guys in their 30s are probably divorced with children). If you've never considered dating a man of a different ethnicity/race, try it. Don't force yourself to meet someone you're not even remotely attracted to, but I'm just saying that attraction might develop with someone who you normally never would have considered dating before.

    Also, keep trying counseling. You honestly sound very depressed to me. Maybe the psychiatrist can give you some advice or prescribe some meds that would help you snap out of the funk. Good luck!

    Posted by K the Great September 3, 09 12:24 PM
  1. This may you may not be pertinent. I was left heart broken at 28 and was really hit very hard, he was "perfect" and thought we would have a "perfect" life in the burbs big house the whole dream picture. I got lonely and desperate and then more lonely. Then at 32 I had some mental breakdown and went on a date with a real "loser" that I met at a party. My friends from the suburbs made rushed visits to the city to tell me I could do better and not to settle or give up on myself but it was all to late I had fallen in Love this guy for better or worse, richer or poorer. We have been happy together for 7 years, married with a child that is as wild as her father and learnt her alphabet off tattoos. It is pure joy and happiness. I do not have a big house and life is a big mess of working, playing and paying bills. What am I saying. Maybe take a chance. Falling in love was easier in your 20’s because everyone had potential, you weren’t asked to fall in love with who someone was but what someone could become. Was he a drunk or and aspiring writer, a clerk or future CEO. Meet someone mid-30’s or later the lens is harsher and the judgment quicker.

    Posted by betty September 3, 09 12:26 PM
  1. I can't even respond to the LW because in the course of reading the comments I came across Rico's. I'm a regular LL reader and occasional poster, and I've never been a Rico lover or hater, until today. A therapist is NOT a paid friend. You sound like an ignorant tool. A therapist is a trained professional (with extensively more education than you, I'd venture to guess), and just like with doctors, lawyers, plumbers, etc., some are better than others. As a therapist, it always frustrates me when people post negatively about therapy on here just because they had a bad experience with it, or have no experience at all with it. So Rico, please do us all a favor, and when you have no idea what you're talking about, once in a great while, you should keep your opinion to yourself.

    Posted by annoyed social worker September 3, 09 12:27 PM
  1. Billy Tepper thinks he's an attractive successful man...because he only dates bimbos under 30! Ha! Good grief get a life.

    Posted by BewareOfDarwin September 3, 09 12:28 PM
  1. I agree with the poster of answer 60. I think you're depressed as well. I can say this with some authority because I could've written your letter at one point in my life. Long story short, it took finding the right therapist, adding anti-depressant to the mix for period of time, and accepting myself for who I was. I wasn't one of those women who found their man, got married, and had children in my 20s or 30s. Don't know why, but I wasn't. I had much success in my career and a degree from one of the top Ivy league schools, but I was single.

    I worked with therapists - you need to look to find the right ones for you. I did things that I loved - even if I did them alone at times(including traveling around Europe). I started planning for retirement alone, bought two houses, went out with friends and kept trying different methods of dating. Met all sorts of guys, some quite wonderful - quite a few who weren't. I kept laughing off the disasters. My life was full and pretty good, and I figured I'd just be alone.

    I was wrong. There is a HUGE pool of available people age 40+. All those people you watched getting married - well now they're divorced because their children are older. They're back on the market. I met a fabulous man, am engaged and planning my first wedding at age 52.

    Don't give up on yourself. Meredith's answer was right on I think. Keep trying different things, living your life, and shaking things up. Keep an open mind and don't compromise when it comes to relationships. Good luck and take care.

    Posted by writergeek September 3, 09 12:29 PM
  1. Meh. I'm almost 60 and have been alone for the last 10 years after a few mostly pleasant long-term relationships in my life including one marraige that ended in divorce. I've heard all the plattitudes and tried all the suggestions. The older you get the harder it is to meet anyone. If you're not a Facebook addict or a social butterfly you may as well forget about it. Even when I meet a woman my age they more often than not are single for a reason. You don't get far comparing quirks to another person who's even quirkier than you. I haven't completely ruled out meeting someone some day, but I'm shy and a loner so I'm handicapped to begin with. The work involved eventually wears you out and you give up after meeting one unstable individual after another. I concentrate on enjoying the freedom of being single and doing what I want when I want. My connected friends are a continual source of reinforcement with their trials and tribulations. I own a home, my bills are paid, I'm in good health and have good friends and interests. While I'm sure there's a Jill for every Jack like me most of my efforts have been unrewarded and I'm getting used to the idea that I may never meet anyone. I doubt I'm alone thinking that way, but most people who haven't been in that situation just think it's abnormal. So I just accept the good things I have and don't worry much about what's lacking. I'm not going to jump through hoops to settle for a so-so relationship and I'm not going to cry about it either. That's life. Some people are lucky at love, outgoing and have ample opportunities to meet people and some don't. If it bothers you, you do something about it or you just play the cards you're dealt and stop worrying and complaining about it and live and enjoy what you have.

    Posted by TrueFaith September 3, 09 12:29 PM
  1. I'm stuck somewhere between #36 and #46 on this one. Obviously there is a self-fullfilling prophecy of sorts going on here. On paper you sound great and I would love to date you because I live/work in the Baltimore burbs and I'm tired of dating the latest divorced-with-two-kids-MILF with more baggage than a 747. That being said, I will give you the only advice I think you need and that's a better hunting ground in Boston. Personally I prefer the charity crowd, they like to go out, dress well and are social. I've met the greatest women at black tie events and there is nothing hotter than an attractive woman in a her little black dress.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Darwin September 3, 09 12:30 PM
  1. Miss M,

    why don't you try writing the PRO's and CON's and see which one out weigh the other. If the CON seems to more, then maybe it's best if you forget the guy and move on. If if it's the latter, then, maybe therapy (lots of therapy) would be the best way to go! Good luck and keep us posted. :)

    Posted by lynda September 3, 09 12:33 PM
  1. To all those women who are in the same boat,

    She can't find anyone means "She can't find anything good enough to meet her long list of criteria"

    Its a fact that as you get older, you'll get less attractive. You need to loosen your criteria and think outside the box. Because, it is going to get increasingly difficult to find someone.

    There are a lot of single women in their 30 and 40s who will never find someone again because they continue to be picky without realizing that they cannot afford to be picky, due to their declining beauty.

    Posted by sami September 3, 09 12:34 PM
  1. Maybe just accept it..He was "The One''..and it didnt happen.

    Life is not perfect.

    Get a set. Move on.

    Posted by Agentfostergrant September 3, 09 12:35 PM
  1. LW-It always seems like you will never find someone new-I was heart broken for 3 years then all of a sudden when I had accepted I would be an old maid...I met someone from my past and voila! It may not happen and you could be miserable but at least try. Find cute and quirky things about other people. It probably wont happen right away but in time...

    Posted by Kbizzle September 3, 09 12:37 PM
  1. This is really sad... the only thing I can think of is that you need to stop looking. Just "keep doing the do" so to speak. When you least expect it, somebody will come along. Ditch the dating web sites, don't go hitting bars that are full of 20 somethings as that's going to do you no good. Keep voulenteering, keep working hard, eventually you will find the right one.

    You also sound quite desperate. I truly hoep that does not come across when you meet someone.

    Posted by anon in cambridge September 3, 09 12:38 PM
  1. Miss M - not going to cliche ya, your letter was very sad. find thee a good therapist - see a few if needed until you click with whomever it is. There are plenty in Bost/Brkline - get a recommendation from a friend or a PCP. Cycle in in 3 or 6 months and let us LL'ers know how you are feeling/doing.

    Posted by Maryro September 3, 09 12:38 PM
  1. I never used to subscribe to this sort of advice, but I do now: if you don't love yourself, you cannot love somone else or find anyone who will love you back. You can go on and on about your life, your accomplishments, your looks, your lifestyle, but if you're not happy with yourself, it means absolutely nothing. This explains how people who appear to be completely average end up the happiest and have good marriages: they accept life on life's terms and appreciate what they have, and accept themselves. You absolutely do not love yourself, Miss M, and you need help with that. This is not about "getting over" a long lost love. For whatever reason, you look for love outside of yourself, when you need to find it inside first. How can you present yourself to other people when you have a self-defeating attitude? I agree with the poster who said it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy for you now to be alone. You don't have to be, but figure out how to love yourself, accept yourself and then see how nice theworld looks to you. You'll be surprised.

    Posted by yogafriend September 3, 09 12:39 PM
  1. Wow! I'm very interested in reading all the responses because your story is almost identical to mine. I don't think I have any good advice, but I hope it's comforting to know that you are not the only person in the world going through this. Miss M -- I hope you are able to find happiness.

    Posted by Same Boat September 3, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Perhaps you have met the right guy but you are too busy seeing the ex in your mind to realize what you have. The ex wasn't perfect and obviously not THE one. You have this vision of the perfect guy (your ex) in your head and all guys you meet have to meet that vision. If not then they aren't THE one. One of those guys or perhaps one you have yet to meet might be a better definition of the perfect guy, but if you don't shake yourself of the vision you have of this perfect guy then you limit yourself to the field of guys who meet that image. There probably will be so few out there that meet that criteria and I bet the competition for that guy will be fierce. Don't limit yourself like that. And don't try to force it to happen. Don't put every guy you meet under a microscope which is what I suspect that you do even if you don't realize it or want to admit it. Stop wanting to have a boyfriend and just live your life. Take that pressure off yourself and he may just fall into your lap one day. Love happens, you can't make it happen.

    Posted by i'm no rico September 3, 09 12:48 PM
  1. Perhaps you have met the right guy but you are too busy seeing the ex in your mind to realize what you have. The ex wasn't perfect and obviously not THE one. You have this vision of the perfect guy (your ex) in your head and all guys you meet have to meet that vision. If not then they aren't THE one. One of those guys or perhaps one you have yet to meet might be a better definition of the perfect guy, but if you don't shake yourself of the vision you have of this perfect guy then you limit yourself to the field of guys who meet that image. There probably will be so few out there that meet that criteria and I bet the competition for that guy will be fierce. Don't limit yourself like that. And don't try to force it to happen. Don't put every guy you meet under a microscope which is what I suspect that you do even if you don't realize it or want to admit it. Stop wanting to have a boyfriend and just live your life. Take that pressure off yourself and he may just fall into your lap one day. Love happens, you can't make it happen.

    Posted by i'm no rico September 3, 09 12:48 PM
  1. Well, I wish I had positive things to say, but I'm right there with you except that I know it's not that I can't find anyone good - it's that I'm not letting myself find anyone.

    If I figure out how to let go and become emotionally available again, I'll let you know.

    Posted by Knotdefined September 3, 09 12:49 PM
  1. Rico has this to add:

    Rico saw the other reader posts and wants to add that he did not condone therapists. That being said there are some people that just need a therapist because they are unable to share with their friends. FRIENDS ARE THERAPISTS FOR FREE...or maybe a drink. Rico is proud of those who have used and gotten better through traditional therapy and proud of those that got better without it, to each his/her own.

    Rico liked the idea of a dog, get one from the MSPCA please. Make sure you have time for it, otherwise you will be lonely with a dog. Rico thought about a dog at one time but after careful consideration he got on his bike, went for a jog, walked around the city etc...Rico is happy.

    Rico wants to thank byubba for his comments. Rico loves you too...enjoy the long weekend, don't drink too much and please don't drive if you are drinking. Rico will be busy with other things and unable to ride this weekend but hopes everyone else is able to enjoy it in his place.


    Rico thanks everyone for a nice week, see you tomorrow...

    Love always,

    Rico

    Posted by Rico September 3, 09 12:49 PM
  1. Well, I wish I had positive things to say, but I'm right there with you except that I know it's not that I can't find anyone good - it's that I'm not letting myself find anyone.

    If I figure out how to let go and become emotionally available again, I'll let you know.

    Posted by Knotdefined September 3, 09 12:49 PM
  1. #46 anecdotal,

    I think Miss M sent in several versions of her letter to increase the odds that one of them (any one) would be published and she'd get some advice.

    Posted by TallGirl September 3, 09 12:50 PM
  1. I dated a guy for 6 years that I thought was the one. He wasn't. Then I was single for four years, dating crappy guys and being convinced that there was not one great guy still available. When I got lonely, I'd think I might have totally messed up the one chance I had at a relationship with a decent guy who was alright for the most part. Then I opened myself up to giving a chance to any and all guys. I recently met the greatest guy ever. There are still amazing guys out there, and you will meet yours! Don't settle- it's so sad to think that I might've ended up with the alright guy.

    Posted by SoHappy September 3, 09 12:51 PM
  1. Also, when I said date a younger man, I didn't mean a 19 year-old college student. I mean someone already out of school and starting his career. A lot of women make the mistake of saying to themselves "I would never date a man 3,4,5 years younger than me". I'm finally dating (yay) and my guy is four years younger than me, and so far so good.

    You may also want to include to your list: guys with kids, guys without college degrees, fat guys, etc. You can see why going younger is the best alternative, for me anyway.

    Posted by Bee September 3, 09 12:51 PM
  1. Hey lady,

    I'm in my mid-20s, and I can see me being in your situation at some point...have you asked your friends for an honest opinion as to why they think you're single? Mine told me that I needed to expand my criteria a little bit (not settle, just open my eyes to different possibilities), and it was a valid point.

    Try your best to ignore the woman-over-30 bashing on here. Some people are jerks.

    Posted by emmj September 3, 09 12:51 PM
  1. Didn't have time to read all there responses. The great thing about this website is that people really do care and try to help you. Pls don't pay any attention to sarcastic snotty people. My heart goes out to you because you have done all the right things (Congratulations on your education and your home)! If you are able to do it, get a dog. You don't need a puppy, there are so many older dogs who are perfect. You can take the dog to the dog park....and the dog will be jumping around every time you return home. I guarantee you, having a dog love you is the next best thing (and in some cases, better than, having a boyfriend or husband. I wish ou peace....

    Posted by Anonymous September 3, 09 12:52 PM
  1. The good news is that you’re in a place professionally and physically that many would envy. You are mourning the loss of the relationship in such a way as to eliminate the possibility of welcoming new love into your heart. Sometimes we project the possibilities of what ‘could have been’, but are left with an unrequited existence. You have two choices: 1) wait until you get over the guy to accept anything new, or 2) take the leap with a really good guy and allow new love to wash over you. I expect you compare and contrast ad nauseum, but you’re holding the present up to a different era. Those rose colored glasses never had a chance to dim over time…They remain as they were: In peak form. Initial sparks are fine, but love is not a sprint…it’s a marathon. Don’t confuse drama and angst with solid and abiding love. Let the love come to you, baby. Besides, the baby-maker is ticking prettay, prettay, prettay…good. Relax. I have found that mature love and experience is most fulfilling because it’s not dealing with as much change as you were in your 20s. I predict intense love for you within the year. Everything’s in place except ‘trust’. Let it ride.

    “Why You Should Marry a Jew” Haiku

    The shegetz you loved
    Pupik pierced and tush tattooed
    Botched circumcision

    Posted by valentino September 3, 09 12:52 PM
  1. Didn't have time to read all there responses. The great thing about this website is that people really do care and try to help you. Pls don't pay any attention to sarcastic snotty people. My heart goes out to you because you have done all the right things (Congratulations on your education and your home)! If you are able to do it, get a dog. You don't need a puppy, there are so many older dogs who are perfect. You can take the dog to the dog park....and the dog will be jumping around every time you return home. I guarantee you, having a dog love you is the next best thing (and in some cases, better than, having a boyfriend or husband. I wish ou peace....

    Posted by Rose September 3, 09 12:52 PM
  1. Dad's not feeling well today. I'm going to step in. First - a big hello to Sally (I heard you were looking for me yesterday - just wanted to say HI!!!!)...

    OK. Now to the letter - Miss M: Geesh. I'm really sorry about what has been going on in your life but I believe even more than anything that this is your motivation - you aren't living life as you should, your sole objective is to find a boyfriend and then take it to the next level. Surely, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. My worry for you is that you're going to end up settling for the first guy that comes along - he might have that bright, sexy smile and great lips and nice big shoulders but you know what? He's going to end up treating you poorly. You do indeed deserve better. But above all else, be sure to maintain your high moral standard (as my Dad would say) because you are worth it! Just keep trying. Another thing my Dad would say - the reason why you went to the well is to pull a bucket of water. If you didn't believe that there was water in the well, would you go? Of course not.

    Faith, Hope and Love. You need to have all of this - if you don't, you will be eaten up by even the smallest of the plagues. Resist! Stand up for yourself and fight! Be resilient against the naysayers and prove them all wrong! I hope I have encouraged you in some way. Just don't give up. Ever. No matter how bleak the picture appears to be.

    About your ex - leave him be. Bury him in your mind, never to get out of his tomb again. It's important to do this because if you don't, you'll subconsciously compare him to all of your future men. Clearly, there isn't any one man alike. You must free yourself of your emotional baggage. And lose the therapist too. Dust yourself off, get back up, pull up your jeans and tug on your shirt. You've fallen, but get back up and face the light!

    Good luck. We're all rooting for you.


    Joey #36 - Great comment. You definitely hit the nail on the head. I totally agree with you that she is "functionally complete". Nothing 'wrong' with her whatsoever.
    Defeat #49 - Totally agree with you too. She does need a verbal smack across the backside, but not before giving her the empathy and consolation she needs first. I've tried to build her up (see above) but now she needs to take the first steps in her journey to getting back to who she is. Life's journey is long enough, but it goes faster if there's someone alongside of you.
    #72 - Reindeergirl, I know you're one of the popular people on here, but I have to disagree. I'm sure you have your reasons, and I'd love to hear about them, but if a girl sleeps with me on the first date, I'm probably not going to see her again. I find modesty to be very attactive. I'm sure it's just me though.

    Have a great Thursday. Dad passes on his regards.

    Posted by Son of Admiral Antgro September 3, 09 12:54 PM
  1. I'm the guy on the pedestal that she broke up with. Less than a year later I married a gorgeous blonde former cheerleader and ballet dancer. A couple of years later we started a family and now we have two beautiful kids. We're very much in love and I couldn't be happier. Breaking up with Miss M worked out really well for me. I have no regrets whatsoever and I never looked back.

    Just thought you'd all want to know.

    Posted by Bradley J. Studmuffin September 3, 09 12:56 PM
  1. There were many times in my single years that I looked at myself after meeting only jerks and wondered when in the world was I going to meet someone decent (I finally did). Before that happened, though, I was convinced I was rotting on the vine.

    40 is not far away - do you still want to be in this position at that point? Getting lonelier/sadder/bitter-er by the day?

    Once and for all, let go of the ex. All these years later, do you think he's as miserable as you are making yourself? I know it's hard, but nothing will happen if you don't.

    Posted by qb qt September 3, 09 12:57 PM
  1. I'm still convinced you're content to play "Yes, but... " however I want to offer a challenge to you.

    I challenge you to go on three dates a week for the next year. I'll give you two weeks off. Needs to be three different men, so total of 150 men in one year. Yes you can go on second and third dates but just keep filling the pipeline with first dates until you find your One.

    If you want to prove me wrong about my assessment of you, you'll take me up on it. And join chat every Wednesday and let everyone know how it goes.

    The method to my madness: meeting the One is purely a numbers game. With this plan, you will have no reason to feel dejected if one date works out poorly, because you'll have two more that week to look forward to. Also, you will force yourself to do something, rather than wallow. You may even find its fun. And, it will fill your lonely hours.

    You had the drive to get a masters degree. I think you can attack this just the same dedication and determination. If you can't find 3 men out of the thousands of profiles, you're being too picky. No need to put up your own profile - just scroll through the men's profiles and pick the ones that interest you. Be active, not passive. You did not get your degree by passively waiting for it to be handed to you, did you?

    P.s. this is exactly how I met my husband. I challenged myself to do this for a year. It didn't take a year. I started in September and met my husband in mid-January. We were exclusive a month later. After dating so many men, I just knew, within the first two dates. That was 7 years ago, when I was 37. I met a lot of very nice and interesting men along the way, divorced, older, younger. I am still friends with several of them. It was intimidating at first, but soon became quite fun.

    Posted by anecdotal evidence September 3, 09 12:57 PM
  1. It sounds like you feel that you need to be in a relationship to be complete. The hard truth is you may never find that "special someone", however, this doesn't mean you can't live a fulfilling life. I think your trying hard to "get over" the ex so you can move on to the next relationship. You need to get over the ex so you can move on with your life. When you start living again maybe the relationship with come, maybe it won't, but you'll be alive. Remember married people are lonely too. The cliche's aren't about finding another relationship, they are about a fulfilling life and I don't know that you understand that.

    Posted by JAD September 3, 09 12:58 PM
  1. I can relate to this letter, only I was in my late 40's when it happened to me. I did find a great therapist, and I've worked hard to learn how to love and trust myself. And I'm happy to say that, although it did take about five years, but I met a wonderful man in January, and we're building a lovely relationship. My advice to the letter writer is this: You are not alone, you are worthy of love, and keep your heart and mind open. I loved Rico's advice - look, but really SEE. The man I met is nothing like what I thought was my "type" - but he sure IS!

    Posted by MaineGirl September 3, 09 01:01 PM
  1. I have been happily married for five years and have one child. But, there is still a very special place in my heart for an old boyfriend who I was with for five years. I don't long for him or wonder what could have been, however I do recognize that he was a special love and that he will always remain a special memory. And that's okay. I can still be married and happy and honest, and still hold special places in my hearts for past loves. I think that is natural and real.

    Posted by Jen September 3, 09 01:02 PM
  1. I feel for this woman. I'm a guy in his early 30s, single but dating here and there. About 3 years ago I had my heart broken by the girl I though I'd end up with. We'd both made mistakes but nothing that true love couldn't outlast. I had a very hard time with it for a long time, particularly because she wound up with the guy she left me for. But one of the replies here hit the nail on the head - it wasn't so much about the girl, but the opportunities and the future she represented. I was romanticizing that past relationship because I'd yet to find anything better - or convince myself that the first person that came along was in fact the right one for me (like she did). 3 years later I haven't met "The One", but I'm happy with my independence and I know I'll look back fondly at these years once I've found someone I want to be with.

    Posted by frankfurter September 3, 09 01:02 PM
  1. GET A PUPPY! You will never be lonely.

    Posted by Rebecca September 3, 09 01:03 PM
  1. I have some advice for the LW, on how to “Get her Mojo back”: Get married to the most financially secure guy you can find (the ones who drive luxury cars are a good sign). Do the ticking clock thing, and pump out 2-3 ASAP. Inevitably, within 2-5 years he will trade you in. Once single again, like magic you will begin shamelessly hitting on all of the local STILL-married Dad’s, whenever you run into them at Target or Whole Foods; I know this is true, because whenever I go out shopping, they chat me up like I am some stud (which I am not, plus they know I am married…skanks!).

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 3, 09 01:04 PM
  1. Another long time reader - first time poster...
    Miss M. - Love is a gift which you are clearly capable of giving and receiving. Maybe you can find a way to reconnect with the vulnerability that makes you scared because it is also going to allow you to work through the stuff you cannot yet let go of.
    Lonely is HARD; it can feel endless and depressing. Without minimizing that very real sadness, life does not travel the route we map. We make things more complicated by comparing our really wonderful, valuable lives to others living equally wonderful and valuable but different lives from ours. You say dying seems easier - of course dying is easier. So is cheating and lying and stealing, but it doesn't make them good choices.
    It sounds as though you contribute to this world and you probably have no idea how you have touched others and made the planet a little better than when you arrived. You say you have more blessings than you can count but the one thing you want is still missing. Yet, you also say that at your age no one is left. So, then why bother looking at all? You can just wallow in your self-created sadness and lament the fact that you are single and do not want to be. I am older than you and single and it is harder to meet folks, and as Meredith says, the process is different. But, if you think there is no one out there for you or you think there is, you're probably right.

    Posted by Aries September 3, 09 01:07 PM
  1. Hoss- beautiful advice today, as every day.
    Miss M- I first want to repeat something that Hoss and some others have said...The friends that have given you all of those "cliche" answers really are trying to help. They are. They just don't know how. I know this because I have a friend in almost your exact situation (she is 34, divorced, successful,gorgeous...but still single) and it has been So extremely hard to give her any constructive advice, just because I know that she has heard the cliche's so many times. But sometimes thats all I have to offer,and honestly, I'm just trying to help. As for your situation, all I can advise is to stop looking for people to date, and instead just look for new single people to do things with. If all of your friends are married, you need to make some new single friends that will in turn help you to meet Other singles in the area. Find friends first--new friends, new experiences--and maybe one of these new friendships will lead to love. Maybe not, there are no guarantees afterall, but maybe.

    Posted by bluedaisy September 3, 09 01:09 PM
  1. Perhaps you have met the right guy but you are too busy seeing the ex in your mind to realize what you have. The ex wasn't perfect and obviously not THE one. You have this vision of the perfect guy (your ex) in your head and all guys you meet have to meet that vision. If not then they aren't THE one. One of those guys or perhaps one you have yet to meet might be a better definition of the perfect guy, but if you don't shake yourself of the vision you have of this perfect guy then you limit yourself to the field of guys who meet that image. There probably will be so few out there that meet that criteria and I bet the competition for that guy will be fierce. Don't limit yourself like that. And don't try to force it to happen. Don't put every guy you meet under a microscope which is what I suspect that you do even if you don't realize it or want to admit it. Stop wanting to have a boyfriend and just live your life. Take that pressure off yourself and he may just fall into your lap one day. Love happens, you can't make it happen.

    Posted by i'm no rico September 3, 09 01:09 PM
  1. Diagnosis
    1) You are unhappy because you are not enjoying what you have. You are single. So don't compare yourself to married people (many of them wish they had your single life). Enjoy the life of a single woman.
    2) You think people should like you. You think you have it all. Wrong: you are not as "attractive and fit" as you think. Or at least people don't see you like that. Are you taking good care of your hair, make-up, nails? What are you wearing? (many good looking women in their 30s are still wearing the clothes from the 1990s, please).

    Self test
    1) Assume the letter you wrote was written by me.
    2) Would you date me? (My guess is your answer will be no.)
    3) Think about why you wouldn't date somebody who writes this kind of letter, that will give you a sense of what to do.

    Specific Advice
    In general, it's simple advice. You are not married and have enough financial resources. Then, do what married people wish they could do:
    1) Move to the city (you say you own a house, meaning you probably don't live in the city). Sell your house and rent an expensive studio or one-bedroom in the South End or Beacon Hill. You are single, you don't need much space. Do it now. It's worth it. (And it'll be the envy of your married friends).
    2) I am sure you need a makeover: Update your wardrobe, hairdresser appointment every two weeks; mani and pedi every week. Urgently. You might be attractive, but you are not looking good.
    3) Go to bars and restaurants by yourself (please don't hang out with married people.) If you are really "attractive and fit" (and after #2 you look good) many men will talk to you.
    4) Talk to people. Random people. The guy sitting next to you in the bar of a good restaurant is probably as lonely as you.
    5) Go out on casual dates. Yes, have meaningless sex. Stop saving it for somebody special. You are already 36, there's nothing to save. And remember casual means casual. Don't daydream they are going to marry you right away.
    6) Go out on a date with me. I'm 34, single, and in similar situation. But please, do it only after doing 1)-5) above.

    Posted by MS September 3, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Wow... I could have written this myself at one point in my life...
    I feel for you--truly.
    It's tough--we're all strong women of the world today, but it doesn't change our need for love, companionship. Our traditional aspects are still there.
    And it definitely gets tougher to date as we get older b/c the field narrows.
    I had an engagement end at 33 and was certain life was over (I was very wrong).

    I know the advice is cliche... but it DID work for me:

    -keep staying busy
    -journal
    -use this time as a free pass to do WHATEVER YOU WANT! You may never have this time again... start a business, new career, write a book, new sport... your married w/ kid friends cannot do this readily...
    -get really good at something--yoga? golf? tennis?
    -stay connected w/ friends--mingle w/ singles and marrieds.
    Last, but not least:
    DO NOT MAKE THIS YOUR IDENTITY!!
    You are much more than your relationship status.

    And when you've found happiness alone and have stopped looking... you'll be amazed what will happen:)

    Best wishes--

    Posted by nm September 3, 09 01:17 PM
  1. fake boobs - really
    by increasing our happiness
    you will increase your available choices
    resulting in an increase in your happiness

    dont knock the logic, it is almost ironclad not to fail

    we'll need before and afters

    Posted by BlameMe September 3, 09 01:17 PM
  1. I'll go out on a limb here and I'm guessing you're not quite as "fit" at 36 as you were at 26...get to the gym fatty. All that "alone" time equals gallons of Ben and Jerry's. Quit fooling yourself.

    Posted by Michael September 3, 09 01:18 PM
  1. Dear LW, ignore any rude and/or misogynistic comments here. I am in my 50s and have been where you are. I have a colleague going through it now, at 36, in another big northeastern city. A few thots:
    1. I had a lot of family abuse in my background, and I kept gravitating to that in my relationships. Particularly, it took me ages to get over the first one, for some reason. I suggest keeping up with therapy (although change therapists if you feel you are stuck or hearing the same stuff over and over and nothing's changing). If you are clinically depressed try medication, there are lots of choices. Groups can help, too. Cognitive-behavioral helped me the most; 12-step groups, not as much, I felt they were heavier on negativity and bitterness.
    2. Don't overromanticize the nuclear families in the burgs. I'm old enough to have begun to see the divorces, affairs, "living separate lives," staying together just for the kids, alcoholism, kids' drug problems, you name it. It ain't always what it looks like.
    3. I agree with Rico (Rico fan here). Shake things up. Take on a few new things to make your life more interesting, and that will make you feel happier. Invest in YOU--some new wardrobe items, new hairdo/color, new makeup. Try a little online dating. Think friends first, and be willing to venture outside your home area. Frankly, I always had trouble meeting guys in inner cities per se. I had better luck in the burbs (YES, single guys and women do live there, sometimes so they don't have to commute as far to a suburban job) and neighboring cities. Also, Boston has a rep as a relatively standoffish place. I live in another part of the country now that I feel is somewhat better in that respect.
    All that said, grieving mistakes made or losses from your youth is a lifelong journey that may be stronger at some times than others. There really is no other solution than to try to get great support from other people, including friends, and to believe and make good on a resolution that "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

    Posted by Tuneful September 3, 09 01:20 PM
  1. Ugh. Boston is tough for women over 30. I can't tell you how common this scenario is - beautiful, smart, fit, interesting women - alone. One of the things that helped me was to write down the qualities of the person I wanted in my life. It helped me in many ways - not the least of which was to recognize that the men I had been dating really did not have those qualities. I had been dating the same type of guy because that is what I was attracted to, but in reality those guys drained me and did not make me happy. And while I did not think there was anything wrong with me, in hindsight, there was - I had never stopped to analyze why these relationships were not working, or what I could do to improve the situation, and honestly, I think the pain of all of the failures really prevented me from investing in my own best interests. It is not easy to change your vision of what you think you want - but it worked for me, and at least 3 of my friends who got married in their late 30s/early 40s. This is not settling, this is taking a look at your real, deep down priorities for yourself, and the qualities you need in a partner, not just those you want in a partner.

    I bet, if you look at some of your work colleagues, friends, or your friends friends, there is probably a guy who has been pining for you, and you have not yet noticed him or taken him seriously as a partner. If he's asked you out, and you declined, ask him out. That's the kind of guy you want - a good guy, a vetted guy, a devoted guy. He doesn't meet your vision of the guy you thought you'd end up with, but trust me - deep down, he is.

    Posted by vamanos September 3, 09 01:22 PM
  1. Many suggestions here sound like good ones. To follow up on the idea that you need to change how you think about things (your ex, your life, your kind of guy) maybe you also need to be open to a different kind of chemistry with someone. When I was much younger I was madly in love with someone whom I considered a soulmate, but as time passed I realized that while we had great connection, we were going in different directions and wanted different things out of life. Flash forward a few years and I met someone else I am now deeply in love with. We have great chemistry and really see eye-to-eye with regards to what we want out of life. However, the chemistry and connection is completely different. I don't use the term soulmate for him (partly because I know longer believe in the term). We don't think about things in the same way like I did with my ex, our spark is there, but it's a different kind of passion. You can't expect a new relationship to make you feel like your old relationship did, because it's with a different person, and you are a different person now too. But you might exactly what you need in someone you can build a life with.

    Posted by Miss Mandy September 3, 09 01:22 PM
  1. So Miss M, here's what I did when the love of my life ditched me: I spent three years sucking him back him, dated him for five, lived with him for two, and by the time we broke up again, I was sufficiently over him.

    So there's no question -- this is not advice. If I had it to do over again, I would just have kept on keeping on. I would have done what you did, actually. You should be the one doling out advice, not us. You, sweet pea, have figured it out. For real.

    Posted by Sally September 3, 09 01:22 PM
  1. When I discovered the difference between being alone verse being lonely, I found sense of peace within that helped me understand that another would never define my happiness. No one will ever argue the fact that being without a significant other, especially for a significant amount of time, is depressing but the truth in knowing who you truly are and the belief in deserving love limit those moments of sadness and despair.
    You've had so much success thus far, yet you have far more to experience. I'm twenty-two and you might therefore discount whatever I have to say, but I look at my Mother who's forty-three and about to marry a man because she imagines at this point she won't find many other options; now she'll never know. I take that and realize that there will forever be options for those that seek fulfillment. No matter what age, your journey to obtain your ultimate level of happiness and possibilities to find truth in love never cease to exist. Time does heal all wounds. You do not get to choose how long that time shall be. A woman with as much sense of self and with as many accomplishments as you have had, will always be cherished; for whom your meant to be with has simple not found you yet.

    Posted by Rossia September 3, 09 01:23 PM
  1. #80, TrueFaith - "Even when I meet a woman my age they more often than not are single for a reason." I suppose a husband who beat the cr*p out of you for two straight years is an unacceptable reason for singlehood to you.

    Get real. People have all kinds of valid reasons for being single. I had to leave to save two lives.

    Bleako - Get real. Most friends can't prescribe meds, and if they can, they will make a referral, to a therapist.

    Posted by Zipporah September 3, 09 01:24 PM
  1. # 81 Darwin,

    And why would Miss M. find Balmer appealing? Because it has you - a guy who refers to women as MILFs and screens them by their little black dresses?

    Darwin, your advice-giving skills need more evolution. Miss M.'s a woman, not a dopey dude on askmen.com. Jeez...

    Posted by TallGirl September 3, 09 01:25 PM
  1. LW- Lots of good advice today so I won't repeat any of it. If none of the above bits of wisdom work for you, try any one of the following:

    Get yourself on a reality show like The Bachelorette. While it won't likely find you a husband, it may make you glad you're single.
    Adopt an African child (preferably an orphan)
    Join the Peace Corps and help orphaned African children
    Join the Army - Afghantistan is a happening place with lots of single men
    Join a convent. Remember, Jesus loves you.

    Posted by Neil September 3, 09 01:27 PM
  1. I think you should leave your surrounding and visit a third world country. This person I knew did this after his mother died and it changed his life. After her death he was self destructive partying and drinking. After returning form his missionary trip to Ecuador, he became a different man. I think if people realized that there is life outside of our own then they can appreciate what life has to offer.
    It seems to me that the LW feels as if her life has no purpose and it is their her depression lies. It took me a while to realize that I am at my most happiest when I am helping others. I now see how blessed I am even though I am alone. I do at times wish for companionship but i am constantly reminded of the horrible conditions that people live in and how blessed I am. After visiting Haiti and seeing those children it just made me want to truly help. Maybe even adopt.
    I think we all get depressed at times and wonder what our purpose is. We wonder why are we even still alive but death is final and life is opportunity. Sorry for the cliche. I think you should volunteer on an ameri-corp or peace corp mission even if it is only for a short time and change your therapist Your perspective will change.

    Posted by CP September 3, 09 01:28 PM
  1. No guy is going to date a 36 yr old miserable person. You sound so sad in the letter that you're probably projecting it all around you in person. Good luck. Maybe have you're therapist prescribe some happy pills.

    Posted by lifesux September 3, 09 01:29 PM
  1. Sometimes you just have to forget it all, and go for the schlong. Be happy for a night or ten. Get it out of your system, then follow val's advice and find a nice [fill in your ethnic choice here, but with a Jewish father myself I do have that preference] man.

    BTW, I picture val looking like the handsome and talented Mick Taylor. Probably a younger version of Mick. Or maybe a younger Alan Bates.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 3, 09 01:29 PM
  1. I think you should read the book "Solemate mastering the Art of Being Alone" by Lauren Mackler. You may find it helpful. Best Wishes

    Posted by Kate September 3, 09 01:32 PM
  1. Miss M,

    I don’t know that I have any advice to offer you, but I did want to say that, as a guy, your situation really resonated with me. There are a few things I’d ask you to keep in mind:

    1. Guys go through it also, for what that’s worth;
    2. Do not compare yourself to your friends that have settled down. That is a game you absolutely cannot win at this stage in your life. And I would be willing to bet ANYTHING a surprising number of your friends envy you for what they see as your freedom (you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and not run it by a spouse or find a baby sitter). I know this because a sizable percentage of my married, settled down friends have said exactly this to me. Go figure.

    When I feel down, or lonely, or whatever, I remind myself of an exchange between Batmanuel and Captain Liberty on the live action version of The Tick, and it always makes me feel a little better:

    Captain Liberty: I’m tired of being alone!
    Batmanuel: You aren’t alone. You’re “lone”.
    CL: What’s the difference?
    B: “Alone” is an unfortunate circumstance. “Lone” is an aesthetic choice!

    Posted by eireanch September 3, 09 01:33 PM
  1. Miss M, If your free this weekend have Meredith send you my email. I'm a nice guy, back in the dating pool, and am interested in meeting new people. I would be glad to take you a nice date, we both deserve it.

    Posted by Dave September 3, 09 01:34 PM
  1. you need to, you need to, you need to, ..... disregard any advice that begins with "you need to"
    Hope you figure it out eventually

    Posted by mdh September 3, 09 01:36 PM
  1. though i'm a little younger than the lw and am dealing with a more recent (and likely less serious) loss, her feelings resonate with me.

    a lot of the self-help jargon and advice can come off as trite, even indifferent, but to realize that these proceed from an essentially good place in humanity, and that the reason they are sometimes deliberately vague/terse/generalized is that our paths out of suffering are necessarily personal, is a victory in and of itself.

    that said, i think i can speak a little bit to the point regarding frustration fostered by seeing everyone else coupled off while you yourself haven't found sparks with someone else lately. my advice is this: do everything you can not to take such disappointments, amplify their most superficially painful elements and assemble them into some abstract, soul-destroying juggernaut ("i'm fated to be alone", "i'm incapable of being loved," etc.). it's not so much that it's self-fulfilling prophecy -- life is too chaotic for that -- but in the here and now, in terms of mere quality of life, you don't need that kind of crap. i've noticed myself starting down that line of thought from time to time, and though it's taken a lot of effort, i've found that the more i've trained myself to seek distractions until the moment's passed, the easier it becomes. becoming acquainted with my capacity to do this is something that has taken me pleasantly by surprise.

    ignore the weird and ultimately superfluous poison in some of these remarks absolutely insisting that you get therapy/observing that there's something deeply wrong with you based merely on a handful of sentences you've written at single point in time. yeah, maybe a new therapist would give you some useful new perspectives, but really, it's your own capacity for self-preservation that is right now encouraging you to DO things/ask questions/seek others' advice that will ultimately be responsible for pulling you out of the doldrums.

    Posted by jlb September 3, 09 01:39 PM
  1. If you are still in love with your ex, than you need to go to knock on his door and tell him. Go ring his doorbell, look him in the eye and let the love pour out of your heart. You have unresolved issues with him and if you want him back, than you need to commit to the decision and put some effort into getting him back. If he doesnt welcome you inside with open arms or you realize what a big mistake you made, than you finally know for sure it wasn't meant to be. Be appreciative for the good things you have going for you in life. Every night before you go to bed, say (in your head) "I'm thankful for..." and list 10 things. They can be small such as "the kind advice I received from Meredith," etc. By doing this ritual, over time you become a more grateful and appreciative person. You realize it's the small things in life that matter and that a positive attitude brings good things into your world. Also you realize that your problems could be considered other peoples blessings. Just be thankful you are not a parapeligic living in a third world country. Life could be a helluva lot worse. Keep your head up

    \


    Posted by trueluv4eva September 3, 09 01:40 PM
  1. Re: #36 from Joey Spot on!

    I

    Posted by Dan September 3, 09 01:43 PM
  1. I find it interesting that she says online dating was a disaster. I think it is an important vehicle for the 35+ crowd, because opportunities for meeting people dwindle as one gets older. My friends that have been successful at it say that it takes time, perseverance, and learning how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Miss M should try it again. I have directed many of my unmarried girl friends to read an excellent article by Lori Gottlieb in the March 2008 Atlantic Monthly "The Case for Mr. Good Enough" - it is a fallacy to hold out for the perfect mate, as we ourselves are not perfect.

    Posted by remist September 3, 09 01:44 PM
  1. Move to Alsaka or take up pole dancing.

    Posted by mrimright September 3, 09 01:49 PM
  1. Until you are happy with yourself, you cannot expect to find someone who you can be happy with. Stop concerning yourself with whether you'll ever find that "one" and focus on whether you could be truly happy if that person never came along. It's not that you have to resign yourself to being alone, but being "alone" and being "lonely" are two different things. Once you stop feeling lonely, it may not be so bad being alone.

    And this is coming from someone who went through something not far from what you describe. It sounds like you've filled your time with a lot of things, but never found yourself fulfilled.

    Posted by Andrew September 3, 09 01:55 PM
  1. Miss M,

    I feel for you as I am in the same situation but 6 years younger. I know that awful feeling of being alone and seeing your close circle of friends/family do all the things that you are supposed to do at that age and not even remotely understanding your feelings. I, too have fixated on an ex who has made it very clear that he couldn't care less, and have dated a lot of guys since then that I in turn chose to stop dating.

    All of us ladies who feel this way should hang out sometime so that we do not feel like we are in this alone :)

    Posted by MAP September 3, 09 01:57 PM
  1. Forget about it... go to Vegas and let loose!! Let your hair down and live a little!! You've been waaaaaay too serious for waaaaaaaay too long! People will definately pick up on that. Laugh a lot! Smile! You have no idea how contagious it is! Trust me... been where you are... probably heading back in that direction because I would rather be alone with myself than be miserable with someone else!!

    Posted by LifeIsTooShort September 3, 09 01:57 PM
  1. MM I agree with a number of these other comments as well as with Meredith. I think that you need to stop the dating web sites stop going on blind dates and stop LOOKING for love and let it find you. I also think that making a list of what was wrong with your ex would be really helpful too. It seems to me like you've lost sight of what is wrong with him and why your relationship didn't work out and can only see the things that are/were really great about him.
    I'm in a crappy situation at the moment as well and find myself very recently single. One of the things that I am doing is reading The Secret. Do I think that the book has all of the right answers? No. But I do think that the principles of what it teaches are good and I actually do believe in the law of attraction. What you put out into the universe is what will come back to you. I think that what you're putting out there right now is "My ex was so perfect and no one else will measure up to that relationship". Well look at what you're getting back...your still infatuated with your ex and no one else is measuring up.
    It seems to me that you have spent so much time telling yourself that you ex was so perfect how could anyone hold a candle to him?
    I think that a new therapist is in order as well.
    Best of luck to both you and me!

    Posted by HK24 September 3, 09 01:59 PM
  1. Ok-I may be able to help. I have started a business as a matchmaker...well more like a personal headhunter. If you want more information just email me at connectboston@yahoo. I was not planning to put this on LL today-but I had to say something. I wish I had more time to write and explain(was also going to keep it low key but so much for that). Please know
    you are not alone. I speak with people about this daily. Remember, nothing is permanent. Life is good like that.
    If you do email me, I may not be able to get in touch until next week.

    Posted by Pb September 3, 09 02:00 PM
  1. Dudeguykid (#1) - you are an idiot.

    Not Rico (#5) - you should change your name to Not Helpful

    Patty (#8) - the LW is NOT desperate. She is frustrated and tired of feeling the way she feels. Don't pin an emotion on someone just because she is honest about how she is feeling, unlike many of us who just hide it.

    Jujube (#14) - another idiot. the LW specifically says it's not the marriage and the babies she wants, but the companionship.

    Little Miss Sunshien (#21) - you've never thought "dying would be easier"? Lucky you - you either have had an extremely sheltered life or are lying.

    Joey (#36) - did you even read the letter? what the hell about her sexuality - what does that have to do with anything in her letter? also, she lists her hobbies, yet you ask her what they are? and it sounds like plenty of men are interested in her - it's just that she's not as interested back. you are way off base.

    Billy Tepper (#78) - you are hate embodied.

    The rest of you... about 50% idiotic and 50% brilliant. Pick a side.

    I agree with Summa, S and Jello - get a puppy. Happiness embodied. Good luck, Miss M.


    Posted by ferrick September 3, 09 02:01 PM
  1. Gee - thanks sami (#83), for that little nugget of wisdom!!!

    Now I can go back to my apartment and hang myself because of my complete lack of ability to attract a mate.

    As for the LW - may as well give up since you're 36 - if there's a bell-curve for beauty, you must be on the latter end.

    Posted by Sami must be bald and bitter September 3, 09 02:02 PM
  1. From reading your post, it sounds like you have a wonderful life. Many people would envy all of the accomplishments you have made already, myself included. It will come to you. The suggestion to get a dog is great advice, both for companionship and getting out and meeting other people. Also-join a yoga studio. You may have to try a few different ones to find one you really "click" with, but this can change your life and how you look at the world. Positive things happen to positive people.

    Posted by Red September 3, 09 02:03 PM
  1. I was crushed and broken hearted in my early thirties. I thought i would never find that kind of love again. Well I never did.

    But I did find someone that I got along with and who wanted to get married and have a family. I fell into a different love. It was never the heated crazy love I had before. It was with a NICE guy. But I did find him kinda hot and he was really kind to me so I married him. There are times when I am in crazy in love with him and weeks when I would rather be far far away. Neither of us are ideal people. But we talk and laugh together. We help each other work on ourselves. Although nothing will take the place of my girlfriends for the ultimate talk time. Our sparks happen and I am looking forward to growing old with this man. And I am so happy I was open to it and that I was okay with not feeling passionate heat ALL the time.

    You never mentioned what you ultimately want out of life? All you talked about was your pining for an ex boyfriend. The idea of wallowing in the murkiness of a lost love is dank. You could become a modern day Ms Havisham. And if you are looking for the next big spark then you might as well hang it up. Marriage is tough and having a family is tough. It can be twice as tough as all the stuff you did on your own. Your better off finding a kind but imperfect man who wants the same things in life.

    Posted by j September 3, 09 02:04 PM
  1. Take care of yourself first and worry about meeting someone else later. You appear to blame your unhappiness on not being able to meet someone when it may be the reverse. You need to be happy first and then do the work to find someone. It worked for me

    Posted by fatherof2 September 3, 09 02:09 PM
  1. I think you are doing the right thing by going to therapy, but that will only take you so far. I really don't have any advice except that I was in the same boat you are (although I can't say I was grievinig for 5 years) and everyone told me to put myself out there (but not try too hard) and just be open. For years I was in the If I Liked Him He Didn't Like Me or He Liked Me and I Didn't Like HIm mode. Finally, the "right" person came along. There wasn't a lot of thunder, fireworks, etc., just a calm knowing that he was it. We didn't even date until about two months after we met, but I wasn't stressed, just eager to go out with him. We married after a brief courtship and several years we are very happy with two children (BTW, I was 38 when we met).

    If you are depressed and unhappy, it is probably coming across in your interactions with potential dates. Keep going to therapy and do things that make you happy (besides dating!).

    Good luck!

    Posted by ljm396 September 3, 09 02:14 PM
  1. You're still thinking that it's a relationship that's going to make you happy, and whoever told you that you'd find love again is buying into that, too. It's wrong, so you need to stop now. With the help of a good therapist (i.e., not the one you've got), you're going to have to reset your expectations and learn to seek happiness apart from a relationship. I'm not talking about the bide-your-time type of happiness (oh, I'll join the bowling league/book club/charity to fill my days until Mr Right comes along), nope, I'm talking about finding something other than a guy that makes you happy. Because even if you never have another BF again, you are still going to have to live your life.

    And I know I'm stomping all over netiquette by recommending a book here, but you really should read "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Josh Harris. Yes, it's written for 20-something Christians, but some of the advice is useful to people of any faith and any age.

    Posted by Good luck September 3, 09 02:17 PM
  1. "Its a fact that as you get older, you'll get less attractive. You need to loosen your criteria and think outside the box. Because, it is going to get increasingly difficult to find someone.

    There are a lot of single women in their 30 and 40s who will never find someone again because they continue to be picky without realizing that they cannot afford to be picky, due to their declining beauty."

    And it goes for men too. There are plenty of men in their 40's and 50's (and older) who are only interested in dating young, hot women, not having any luck, and whining about the evil that is woman. Men who are not young or all that hot themselves. Guess what? A guy at 45 isn't as hot as a guy at 25. Duh. But they get into the Nice Guy rant about how women don't like nice guys blah blah blah, and complain that women should look outside the box. These idiots should take their own advice--when you're in your 40's and 50's with a receeding hairline and an increasing paunch, you can't afford to be picky.

    Posted by PM September 3, 09 02:18 PM
  1. This advice won't help you Miss M, but for other readers age twenty-five and older, if your goal is marriage and children do not stay in a relationship longer that two or three years without a commitment. After that length of time you should be engaged and planning a wedding or else breaking up. Five years of dating is way too long! Women have biological clocks that do not realistically allow for such behavior and any man who would string a woman along for that many years is selfish.

    Posted by Purrrfic1 September 3, 09 02:25 PM
  1. Girlfriend- your trying WAY too hard. I did the same thing for years and years - try this and try that - advice here and there, dates, blah blah and blah. However, one day I took a deep breath and stopped letting being single be THE thing on my mind all the time. I "forgot" about trying to find someone.... then on a weird chance, I was laid off from work and went out on a Monday night and met someone... we have been together for 6.5 years so far. I realized I was trying and trying and trying to find someone and it warped my sense of myself. RELAX. Take a break and go have fun with friends.... stop TRYING to find someone and you might be surprised at what finds you.....

    Posted by zingdate September 3, 09 02:27 PM
  1. You sound rather neurotic. I hope your therapist has put you on some kind of medication...if not, go see an MD psychiatrist.

    You also sound very whiny. And why must you have a man to fulfill you? You may be educated and professional, but you're still an idiot. Snap out of it.

    BAN RICO!!!!! If you're tired of hearing his psychotic drivel, please let Meredith know...

    Posted by Chloe-OBrien September 3, 09 02:28 PM
  1. Anectodal Evidence,
    You are a genius!! That is so right on the money!! Wow!

    Posted by Confucious September 3, 09 02:28 PM
  1. Ok, there are too many enablers here making it sound like LW is a victim, so I need to chime in again. LW needs to take ownership of the situation. Take responsibility. Make changes.

    My recommendation:

    Buy a pair of running shoes.

    Sign up for a charity road race / walk. My preference is for Ovarian Cancer (there's one in near by RI this month), but any charity will suffice.

    Train for the race.

    Enter the race.

    Soak in the raw emotion of those who have lost loved ones to disease or are in the midst of losing loved ones too soon. Look for me. I will be running for my Mom. Gone way too soon before I became an adult and could grasp the magnitude of her sacrifices, unconditional love, and selflessness.

    Ask yourself if you are being selfish with your thoughts, your pity party.

    Count your blessings.

    Emit gratitude for them.

    Recognize your misfortunes and / or saddnesses as legitimate.

    Vow not to let them continue to beat you down.

    Repeat all of the above (or similar variations) on a regular basis as a means of gaining perspective and inner peace.

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss September 3, 09 02:31 PM
  1. "If I get one more piece of crappy, cliché advice I’m gonna snap. I’ve heard it all – I’ve done it all. "

    Not to be mean, but what did you come here for, then? If you think you've gotten all the advice you can, I find it hilarious that you would come to an advice board for more advice! You need a new therapist -- STAT.

    Posted by arlene September 3, 09 02:32 PM
  1. As with many other people, I could have written this letter a few years ago. I did just as you did, advanced my career, bought a house and traveled as much as I could. I was not miserable, but I wished I had that special someone. I met my husband online, and there was not the "instant spark" but I enjoyed the time we spent together so I kept seeing him. I ended up falling head over heels for him and could not imagine my life without him. I was in my mid-30's when I met him, and now we're married with 2 beautiful children. Bottom line: I agree with the posters who say date out of your "box" and give some guys a chance you normally wouldn't. Not so you can find someone to "settle" with, but you may end up finding the love of your life. In the meantime remember all the wonderful things you do have and how lucky you are to be a strong person. A lot of people in your situation would not be doing so well.

    Posted by Just be... September 3, 09 02:35 PM
  1. "I tried online dating w/ disastrous results" - how is this any different from all the other disastrous results of non-online dating?
    I think it's unfortunate, but you really have no idea what love is. Love to you is some feeling kept in stasis all these years for whatever you had with Mr. "The One."
    But all the advice you've been seeking and receiving has been to treat the symptoms, as it were. The root cause is your understanding of what love really is.
    I suggest that you do some research on love in the next several months, and you might begin to see the world and potential life mates/partners/loves in a new light.

    Posted by Bob September 3, 09 02:39 PM
  1. Go mountain biking and skiing. Make a routine out of it. What you learn from the physical challenges will teach you everything you need to know about the emotional ones. This has been my experience. My life is not what I expected or planned but is beautiful and rich just the same. (I too am single, 36, female.)

    I realized one day that no one ever promised me the biggest things in life that I wanted (a husband, children, a long life.) I realized that the only thing I could count on was the today and that I was going to make it as much fun as possible. This was a conscious choice. I'm not where I expected, but life feels good to me. Challenges come all the time, but it's ok. I also realize that if I had had kids earlier, I never would have started my own nonprofit, learned how much I love mountain biking, traveled so much. Of course I still want a partner, but I realized that I was going to have to make myself happy/ content first. Mastery of my emotions is my job, not some boy's. Get yourself on a bike or skis.

    Posted by z September 3, 09 02:42 PM
  1. OK, I've actually read through to comment #135 (these moderated boards, god knows which number this will actually end up being).

    To go out on a limb- LW mentions desiring children. Whle some posters have been saying "get a dog" .. maybe she should give consideration of being a foster mom for a while. We know that the foster child system is in dire need to parents -- why not take a few years of your life and love a kid.

    It will (1) attend to your motherly instincts (2) fill your life with something meaningful (3) and help close the missing "gap" that you have in your life.

    I know it's not ideal -- but there are a lot of single moms out there -- join the club- you might actually meet some single dad's in your journeys- and will have something in common.

    Posted by GayGuyOfferingAdviceToStraightWomen September 3, 09 02:44 PM
  1. Maybe she can date Kim Jong iL? I saw on that Team America movie that he was lonely too, except he pronounced it "Ronrey". Since they are both very demanding & career driven folks, I think it could work out. But what will be their combined celebrity couple nickname? It can't be Brangelina, that one is already taken...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 September 3, 09 02:48 PM
  1. Okay, regarding Rico's rather typically ignorant "friends are therapists for free," comment, he clearly has no clue of what a skilled therapist actually does. Granted, there are some lousy ones. But the good ones will do one, or a combination, of many things, including, but not limited to:

    --Truly diagnose mental illnesses with actual MEDICAL training to do so
    --Skillfully help you work around your own thought processeses/tendencies, particularly if they are affected by mental illnesses, to create healthy thinking patterns (friends just listen and make suggestions; usually they aren't adept at the actual cognitive workings, both functional and dysfunctional, of the individual human brain.) They also have advanced training in observation of all types of human behavior and tendencies. The average lay person (and the average lay-person friend) does not.
    --Provide a NEUTRAL environment to nurture your TRUE feelings and thoughts (friends typically interject their own opinions/pressures into their "counseling" of their friends.) I mean, if someone like Rico were in front of me offering "therapy" all I'd be thinking is "wow, I'd love to belt this guy in the jaw."

    Again, not all therapists are good and there is a definite stigma to admitting a need for one. But the good, professional ones are priceless in resetting long-standing dysfunctional thinking. Not too many friends possess that vital skill. A good therapist session is NOT a jab session. It's work, it's medical, it's clinical, and it goes FAR beyond "let's go shoe shopping and vent!"

    I'm just saying.

    Posted by Open Minded September 3, 09 02:48 PM
  1. The script of our lives does not always follow the "usual" sequence of events: dating, college degrees, engagement, marriage, children, house. You are in the process of re-writing you life script now. Maybe you are mourning the fact that your life didn't turn out the way you thought it would and you are mistaking this sorrow for the loss of your old boyfriend.
    Is your glass half empty or half full? Can you wake up and hear the song of the cardinal at your window? If so, you are not depressed. Make a gratitude list every day for a month. It takes practice to focus on the PLUSES instead of "what I don't have" in my life.
    I know, I've been there and am there now. The girls I babysat back in the 1970's are married and have kids. I made a choice to feel joy for them instead of filling the space with bitterness, jealousy, resentment and anger. I make a choice to feel the joy I have in my life, single, no kids and not dating. Somewhere inside yourself, you have to accept that you are ok the way you are right now. When you no longer feel that you are lacking something, your energy will shift externally. Catch that wave!

    Posted by exvermonter September 3, 09 02:48 PM
  1. Miss M, here's what you do:

    Just have a series of meaningless sexual flings. You choose the men, so you are in control. Discard them if they do not please you. Learn to have fun and loosen up! Try a menage. Live a little.

    Soon enough you'll be married with kids living in boring suburbia. And then you'll long for some adventures for sure.

    Posted by Lance Romance September 3, 09 02:49 PM
  1. Unfortuantely, there is no one easy solution. Try them all out. The point is not to give up. Live your life, do what makes you happy. Keep putting yourself out there. Life is about the journey not the destination. I know that is cliche.. but marriage/family/house doesn't equal happiness. Its just one of the many paths a person can take and we are socialized to believe that is the only path to happiness. I am in the same boat as you and when I removed the pressure/embarrassment that I felt about not having these things, I really did start enjoying life and the people around me. I am still single, but I have met some wonderful people along the way. I embrace the cliche that good things come to those who wait. Don't give up.

    Posted by tx September 3, 09 02:52 PM
  1. I like anecdotal's "challenge". Something with a real action plan & solution instead of a lot of self-serving babble.

    Posted by Alvin Says Make it Happen September 3, 09 02:53 PM
  1. My first thought is that, like many singles, you are investing far too much of your happiness in the idea that finding someone else will magically make everything better, "complete you" or that you will "finally start living your real life" as soon as that person comes along. Right now the reality is that you are not in a relationship, and no one can promise you if or when one will happen for you - and not only that, but once you are in a relationship, remember that no one can promise you it will be happy ever after from that point on, either. There are people out there who find the loves of their lives .. then life continues to happen. A spouse gets sick, etc. ... being with someone and putting your heart in someone else's hands can be exciting and wonderful ... there are some very rough roads out there.

    I have had single friends who thought they would find "someone" and never did ... many of them went on to have or adopt kids on their own, because being a parent was important to them. (You don't need a spouse for the house in the burbs and a family.) I've got other friends who have been through two or more marriages, and they all felt like they found "the right one" in the beginning.

    What do you want to do with your life? If you are not content with your life by yourself, finding someone else will not make it happier, and I would venture that you will have less to offer someone else as a partner. You are looking for someone to "fix you" when the only one who can fix you ... is you. Focus less on what you do not have and more on what you have. As Rico said, start noticing the little girls walking the dogs twice their size! No one can guarantee you that you will "find someone when you aren't looking" but at least you will enjoy yourself a great deal more.

    Hinging your personal happiness on someone else, particularly when that someone else doesn't even exist in your life yet, is a sure recipe for a lot of wasted time.

    You sound like you have a lot going for you. I wish you lots of thoughtful time as you reflect on the positive things in your life.

    Posted by SarahJane September 3, 09 02:59 PM
  1. please find a new therapist. I think you are suffering from depression. 5 years is a very long time to mourn for a relationship. you sound like a nice person, albeit sad. good luck

    Posted by linda p September 3, 09 03:00 PM
  1. Meredith, Rico, Hoss and 110, you are all spot on.

    MM - I understand where you are right now. I suddenly found myself alone and back home in Boston after receiving an email from my now ex-husband stating he didn't want to me with me anymore. (Bygones...)
    I was lonely, sad, and completely depressed. So depressed that I was terrifying myself with thoughts of suicide...What got me out of this was a few things:

    1. A great therapist and primary care physician. They made a great team, and even referred me to psychiatry for a short time.
    2. Supportive friends and family. And I'm not talking about the ones that give "empty advice". The ones that really make you stop, think, wonder, and re-access. One wonderful friend even gave me his book - "How to survive the loss of a love".
    3. Giving up. And I mean giving up. I decided I was going to just enjoy life and be a Cat Lady. Well, that worked until I met my dearest one at Doyle's in Jamaica Plain over St. Patricks Day weekend a year and a half ago...

    I hope this helps in some way, shape and form. You will get through this, you really will. It's just that sometimes those steps can be daunting...

    Good luck and I am thinking of you!!

    Posted by BeenThereDoneThatAGAIN September 3, 09 03:00 PM
  1. Miss M,

    Even though you say you're not suicidal, the fact that you mention it and say that you sometimes feeling dying might be easier is a concern. So I'll add to the chorus of advice on making sure you have a good therapist. Also, it's worth examining whether you are turning to self-aversion. I know from personal experience how painful loneliness can be, and it can be an easy trap to fall into thinking that there is something inherently wrong with you for still being single at a certain age. I'm 38 and have similar struggles with meeting people I feel that "spark" for.

    One approach that I find helpful at times is to simply accept that I'm feeling lonely in a given moment. I try to think of it as a state of feeling that will move along when it's had its say. The more I struggle against loneliness or feel compelled to respond to it, the stronger it gets (ironically) and/or the more anxious I feel *about* feeling lonely. Sometimes we simply have to accept that some degree of loneliness is part of our experience.

    Now, that said, I echo much of the advice that's already been given about putting yourself out there, keeping social, seeking out people who share your interests (and it sounds like you're already doing that). I'd also add that it's important to seek out people who seem outwardly compassionate, for friendship or other connections. Try not to think of every social interaction as a chance to meet a potential boyfriend. Sure, it's probably in the back of your mind, but try to focus on just having fun and enjoying the experience for what it offers. It may, in fact, lead to a romantic connection. Or it may not.

    You have my empathy and I wish you the best of luck!

    Posted by Mike Massenberg September 3, 09 03:02 PM
  1. Well I guess we all see why "Miss M' is alone. She's bitter and angry with no sense of humor..if she did have one she would have ripped me too...oh well.
    I'm alone and happy, she can't relate to that.

    Posted by Michael September 3, 09 03:06 PM
  1. The answers can be found in pop music:

    "Sail on, honey...good times never felt so good." - Commodores, Sail On

    "I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin' " - BJ Thomas, Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

    "There's a light in the depths of your darkness. Let it shine." - Dan Fogelberg, There's A Place In The World For A Gambler

    Posted by BobL-FF September 3, 09 03:06 PM
  1. I'll be brief - I am a divorced professional woman in my 50's and was in a long-term relationship for 7 years that ended 4 years ago. I met a few people online off and on, but no one really appealed to me for a real relationship. So, I just assumed that I would be the family "spinster" until I entered Shady Pines. I canceled my profile on the personals and spent my time with family and friends. Decided to put my profile back on last June and in August was contacted by a wonderful man. We met and have been together ever since - he is younger, by the way - only by a few years. So HANG IN THERE! It will happen when you least expect it!

    Posted by alexandra47 September 3, 09 03:13 PM
  1. Meredith, I propose you get all the lonley people on this "response" thread and let's all meet. I'm male and had a similar circumstance happen only I was married and everything I wanted in life was there, and then suddenly gone one Christmas Eve. I'm 41 and in a better place now but it took a lot to get there. If you want to pass on my email to your writer then we can share some stories. If not then, I think a party would be great. ;0
    Cheers..

    Posted by KT September 3, 09 03:14 PM
  1. You say you're fit...well have you thought about joining a coed sports league through Boston Ski and Sports or Boston Social Sports? I met my husband that way, as did a lot of other people who joined one of those sports leagues... just something to consider.

    Posted by Take My Advice September 3, 09 03:27 PM
  1. One more thought: meet up with the guy who dumped you for a one nighter. I am 100% sure he will not "measure up" to your selective memories of him, if you get my drift.

    Problem solved!

    Posted by Lance Romance September 3, 09 03:28 PM
  1. Miss M,

    It would really depress you to think that your biological clock is ticking and the days of your life are slipping through your fingers like the grains of sand in an hourglass, and all too soon your ovaries are going to shrivel up like raisins.

    So, try not to think about that.

    Posted by Dr. Feelbad September 3, 09 03:31 PM
  1. The only person who can make you happy is you. You do not need another person to be happy or fulfilled.

    I recommend finding a new therapist. You clearly need someone to give you some perspective b/c you can't accomplish it on your own. Until you are happy with yourself and with your life as it currently is, you are never going to meet someone worth meeting. Men can smell desperation a mile away.

    I'd be interested to know where you plan on meeting people. Online dating is where 99% of people meet these days. If you had a 'disastrous' experience, you approached it w/ the wrong perspective. Try again after you have been seeing your new therapist for a while. It sounds like you are looking for the wrong type of man. It takes months to get to know somone, so expecting 'sparks', especially over the age of 25, is just silly. You may also want to try dating different types of men. And by dating, I mean dating the old fashioned way - date a bunch of men rather than trying to find one boyfriend right off the bat. You are not 'stuck' w/ divorced men, as someone suggested, but it sounds like you really need to broaden your idea of whom you think is an acceptable date. Good luck.

    Posted by ALF72 September 3, 09 03:35 PM
  1. j - Can I just say: Right on! Passion is combustible and feeds on itself until it dies. But the slow burn wins every time...

    It seems that there are many whose criteria for Mr./Mrs. Right has never waned...that would be defined the difference between idealistic and realistic.

    Also, if you're not completely over who you were with, how often do you compare people you meet today against that "ideal"? An image which, in your mind, sounds like he should be canonized for sainthood! What was - WAS. Time to take off the rose colored glasses, open up your eyes and be thankful you have all that you need. Getting what you want is so much easier.

    Posted by big dummy September 3, 09 03:35 PM
  1. Miss M... I have been where you are. Except it was a 10 yr relationship. My advice to you is; see a therapist - even if you are against it. You need to talk to someone who is able to decide if you are depressed or maybe just needs to listen to you. That is the only thing that really helped me. Hang out with your single girlfriends, go on vacation with them; remember what it feels like to be an independant woman. It's all inside you, you just aren't letting it out.
    You sound like an accomplished woman, and I am sure if you step back from the situation, and the expectations of meeting someone... you actually will. Lots of luck on your journey!

    Posted by Melanie September 3, 09 03:46 PM
  1. Anectdotal,

    I'm sorry, but challenging an admittedly depressed and needy person to go on 150 dates in the next year is just not very useful advice for a whole host of reasons.

    Posted by Bob Dwyer September 3, 09 03:49 PM
  1. #171 Kim Jong iL as a potential mate for the LW? On the positive side, he does have/had a great job and some college education. As for the negatives (other than being an evil and crazy despot), he's not exactly fit or attractive. Plus he has a fear of flying, so she'd have to visit North Korea in order to start up a relationship. The possibility of being mistaken for a spy and thrown in prison may put her off a bit.

    Posted by Jesse Lee September 3, 09 03:52 PM
  1. I have sound advice for you because I been through almost the exact same experience, and eventually came out of my misery. I am in my mid-30s and dated a guy for 6 years in my 20s who I thought was the one. I was completely in love with him. Needless to say, it didn't work out, I moved out, and got my own place in the city. For about a year, I was beyond miserable. Obsessively thinking about him, unable to date others, etc. Then, slowly, I started coming out of my funk by doing three things:

    1) Go to everything. Go to every event, party, etc., that you are invited to and seek out events that you think look fun. Yes, it can be exhausting, but it's the only way to meet people, especially if you aren't into online dating, which I wasn't either.

    2) Not sure where you live, but there are LOTS of single people in their 30s in the city. They are harder to find in the suburbs. Get out in Boston and try going to events that are more likely to draw single men in their 30s and 40s.... like charity events, sports events, etc. Trust me, they are out there and they are looking too.

    3) Open your mind about the type of guy you want to date. I am dating a guy right now who is completely wrong for me on paper. I didn't take it seriously at first, but it's turning out to be a really fun relationship. Is he "the one" -- not sure yet. But it's fun and makes me feel good. I never ever expected it and I'm so glad that I gave him a chance.

    Finally, this isn't really advice but rather a comment. You know your friends that are married and living in the 'burbs? They are all jealous of you. They wish they were single and dating and looking forward to whatever unexpected thing might happen each day. Enjoy this time of your life -- just like you said, you have everything going for you! Someday you will look back and wonder why you allowed yourself to be so miserable.

    Best of luck.

    Posted by Sully567 September 3, 09 03:53 PM
  1. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't listen to all the negative criticism on this blog - there are some really angry people who take out their aggressions here for some unknown reason, and they clearly haven't walked in your shoes.

    I could have written your letter - I'm confident, beautiful, popular, successful, have always had great and fulfilling relationships that ended naturally without rancor (including a ten year marriage), and went through typical break-up symptoms when those things happened - but nothing that was ever like I'm going through now.

    it's been six months since I broke up with my boyfriend and I feel like I've been leveled and I'm dying inside. I thought he was everything I had ever dreamed of...I never knew I could be so happy or so loved. but almost as quickly as I fell for him things turned ugly and verbally abusive, and I found out that he was pretending to be social, loving, and happy. he was actually a psychopath with no friends, a history of abusive relationships, very dark, and had lied to me about pretty much everything. I had to break up with him because he was dragging me down and making my happy life into complete misery.

    but even though I know he was awful, I simply can't recover. I miss him every time I hear most music, watch our shows on tv, hear his town mentioned on a traffic report, wear certain clothes - anything and everything reminds me of him and it's killing me a little bit every day. it doesn't make it any easier that I broke up with him, and while I know that believing in his love was a fantasy (since he just wanted to abuse me once he had me), it still hurts like hell.

    yes, I'm in therapy and it's only been six months for me, but I am terrified of how long it will take me to get past this. I'm trying, but I fear it's simply going to take TIME. which sucks, I know. since trying to stay focused on all the bad things about him didn't help (because the good memories keep flooding back no matter what), I've learned to just try every day to take a baby step away from the memory of my life with him. I try to not cry when something reminds me of him, I try not to look at the folder of photos I have of us, I try not to look him up online to see what he's doing. it doesn't always work, but these are baby steps and that's all I can do now.

    I highly recommend the literature of any 12-step program (I'm using the Al-Anon daily blue book that someone gave me), just because the "one day at a time" philosophy is so appropriate here. for me it's sometimes "one second at a time" - but whatever works. and I'm trying to also keep a gratitude journal so every day I'm forced to write down three things I'm grateful for so I can see the positive things in my life. I have lots of friends and lots to keep me busy, but I still need to keep reminding myself of the fact that I was happy for many years before this guy came into my life and someday I will be happy again. whenever that is.

    get a good therapist. you have to keep trying with different ones sometimes, which also sucks. call your friends when you feel suicidal and can't be alone and tell them what you are thinking because that is the only way they can help. it took a long time before I gave my friends that chance, and I wish I'd admitted how I was feeling sooner. sometimes I just move in with a friend for a few days when I can't be alone, and it helps shift my attitude a little.

    oh, and I got a puppy which forced me to focus on something in my condo besides me - in a healthy way - because I have to walk him and take care of him even when I just want to stay in bed and cry : )

    please take care of yourself. you are still alive and that is something. some days that's the only thing I can cling to as well, but it is an accomplishment.

    xoxo

    Posted by feeling your pain September 3, 09 03:57 PM
  1. wow - this letter got a lot of responses!!! i can't imagine being 36 again - how wonderful that would be! I am alone and do not have the advantage of being that young. It is difficult for older people to meet people yet I still go on with my life, never imagining ending it would be easier. That is a serious suicidal thought and should be dealt with immediately. Ending (or thoughts of ending) one's life over a failed relationship is abnormal. Nevermind the therapist, check yourself in to a mental health facility right away. No one is worth sacrificing your own life over - I don't care who the man is (was)...I have been through more pain than just a 5 year relationship being over and am still making a life for myself. People do it. People do it every day. If everyone wanted to kill themselves just because a relationship ended, no one would be left in this world so my advice to you is to get some real help and stop feeling sorry for yourself! There are young children dying of cancer who will never have the chance to have a life/love...be grateful for every moment of every day. Stop being so selfish and self absorbed. Reach out to others in need - maybe then you will see how fortunate you are to have a degree, health, youth (yes, 36 is NOT OLD) and the opportunity to have a wonderful future. This letter actually made me sick - (sorry, but I don't have too much empathy for someone like this when there is other sadness and tragedy in the world)...

    Posted by daizy September 3, 09 04:00 PM
  1. maybe just date casually lots of people for right now- look at Cameron Diaz and Jen Aniston..they're over 35 and look great...and play the field. I wouldn't describe JA as lonely or without love despite what the media says. You try on a bunch of hats and when you find one you like, you buy it.
    Hang in there.

    Posted by Becca September 3, 09 04:01 PM
  1. I agree in large part with Joey's comments posted at 11:15AM. Although I might not own up to them in public, they are honest and forthcoming regarding the true perspectives of men such as myself.

    I would go one step further to strongly and seriously suggest that Miss M immediately cease dating men who are not at least 10 years older than her, if she is truly serious about settling into a stable, long-term relationship. I am sure that Miss M is a wonderful person, but let's be realistic here. She is 36 years old and not getting any younger. A man closer to her age will most likely not be serious about keeping her around for too long when younger, just as wonderful options are plentifully available.

    Posted by Brent September 3, 09 04:05 PM
  1. Getting a roommate might help - then even when you are home doing nothing it's not so lonely. Plus, they have a whole circle of friends too. One of them could be cute!

    Posted by ihavemanyfriendsjustlikeyou September 3, 09 04:11 PM
  1. I've been where you are. I was in a relationship in my late twenties and early 30's. I lived with the guy, thought we'd get married, etc. Even though I was active with friends, dated, etc, I was still hung up on him for years (even after he got married). Best advice I ever got was to make a list. You can use your ex (and others you've dated) as inspiration. Make a list of all the things you want from a partner and relationship, just write whatever comes to mind. They can be big. They can be trivial. They can be things about your ex you loved. They can be things that drove you crazy about him. They can be things you've liked about others you've dated. Or things that were missing. Keep the list out for a few weeks and continue to add to it as things come to you. Then re-read it -- it will likely point out what things were right about the ex, but also what things weren't right. Put the list away and continue to date and to live your life. I believe alot in people being able to read your energy. Just making this list changes it. It seems so simple, but the 4 other women I know who've done this have met, and married, the person that fits their list not too long after writing it.

    Good luck.

    Posted by ItsJustHard September 3, 09 04:12 PM
  1. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "I feel your pain." I too experienced the same exact feelings you have (and if I'm completely honest, I must admit that they haven't subsided nearly as much as I would have liked and hoped at this juncture in my life).

    Although I have married, live in a beautiful home, have a lucrative profession, and two Masters Degrees, I STILL long for and miss (terribly at times) my ex-boyfriend. Because of this never ending cycle, there have been many nights that I wished I could just go to sleep and never wake up. However, as cliche as it may sound, every day is TRULY a gift that should not be taken for granted.

    I can't and won't tell you that you'll ever fully get over this man. Like my situation, you may never completely overcome these emotions. However, I can attest that the more you live life (enjoying your friends and family; traveling; pursuing goals; thanking God for all He has given you), the sorrow you feel will diminish.

    I wish you the very best with grappling with this pain.

    Posted by AKA1908 September 3, 09 04:21 PM
  1. Kristine is that you?

    Posted by Chad September 3, 09 04:22 PM
  1. I agree with Susan, who recommended 'cognitive therapy', if M even wants any more therapy. Even better, check out the book "Fire Your Shrink" - it's solution-focused therapy, much of it do-it-yourself. Mostly, do less of what isn't working, and keep trying new solutions until something works.

    Have oyu ever noticed that a lot of men (esp older) marry women they met at work? Think about where you might work, or volunteer, or do any continuing after-work activities (fun, etc.) My point is: who gets to know you well, over time??

    I also agree with Meredith, when she said the brain get fall into a rut (she calls it addiction, but more accurately, one's brain adapts, good or bad, to depression - which is why it's so important to keep trying ANYTHING to break the depression/heartbreak cycle.)

    Are you aware that women's higher levels of oxytocin make it easier for them to fall in love (quicker and more deeply) and harder to heal from heartbreak (years)? It is important to know this, and to give yourself a break.

    Another good book: "The Technique of the Love Affair." Totally demystifies dating for anyone - and written in the 1920's! (Updated in the 1990's).

    So, rent some comedy videos, stay in shape, stay stylish, smile, and stay involved in whatever group opportunities resonate for you.

    I'm even older than you are, and that's what I'm doing. There's no guarantee, but it raises your chances.

    And be thankful you've also avoided a messy divorce or cheating husband!

    Take care xo

    Posted by JulieD September 3, 09 04:26 PM
  1. I'm a guy who hears the same thing. I've started telling my friends where to put their "positive" comments.

    Posted by Chris September 3, 09 04:26 PM
  1. I think you need to really think about why you date the wrong men, and review your criteria on the men you will date -- dealbreakers, must haves and all.

    I got divorced more than 10 years ago and spent most of the time since then alone. Lots and lots of first dates, very few second dates. But of course, it was because of them, not me (please note sarcasm). Like you I'm educated, attractive, own my home, etc. Last fall I started re-evaluating why I find myself attracted to the men I do, and trying to figure out what will really make me happy and decided to make some changes in my outlook.

    Soon I started dating someone I have known since I was a teenager (I'm 40), not someone I ever thought I'd have a relationship with. On paper we don't match at all -- I'm college educated, he only went to high school; I'm a Dem., he's Republican; I make more than double his salary (not that mine is huge, rather his is small); we don't like the same music; he is fanatical about things I don't care about ... but you know what? I gave it a shot and he is sweet, makes me laugh, cooks for me, treats me well and while it's still new (only 3 months), I'm happier than I've been in a long time and I have learned to open up again. In fact, I trust him more than I've ever trusted anyone -- friend, family, boyfriend -- he's the only person who's ever known everything there is to know about me.

    Again, on paper we are a disaster :), but in real life, it's really nice. So sometimes we really do need to rethink our ideas and ideals. When we've been sad and lonely for a long time, wishing that we could be in a happy romantic relationship, we have to recognize that there is a chance that when we get that opportunity to be happy that it just might be scary as hell, but we have to be open to the way it will change our lives for the better. If not, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

    Posted by at last September 3, 09 04:28 PM
  1. Rico again and he's thinking about how he really hit a nerve with some people today.

    Rico's thoughts on Therapy are not that he doesn't believe there are good therapists out there. There very well may be plenty of good ones but Rico just doesn't believe people need therapy. Therapy for many is a way to justify their actions or lack thereof. Rico is about to offend some more people...Chiropractors are NOT REAL DOCTORS, they make Rico feel great when they crack his back and neck but Rico's wife can jump on his back and do the same. A good hot tub and massage chair is better and more enjoyable than sitting in an office talking to a dope while he/she looks over your shoulder to see how long is left on the session clock. And the extra enjoyment from the tub is you can make new friends to come and join you after a long work day or workout at the gym.

    Rico also suggests if you are having trouble sleeping or anxiety is getting the best of you that you contact yoru MD not a therapist for meds. Meds are NOT THE ANSWER but a few sleeping pills can't hurt. Rico thinks there are far too many people medicated out there. Take the woman just a few months back that KILLED a father putting his child in a seat and had clonopin bottles in the car. Ask Stevie Nicks about Clonapin and what it did to her...THERAPISTS ARE NOT THE ANSWER and yes a nice day of shopping with her friends could very well be what she needs however that is not what Rico said.

    Rico still suggests you do things outside your routine and be open minded. Find new friends with other interests. Join a tennis club? Running club? Biking club? Book club? etc... Rico is happy to see many suggesting as he has a good bike ride or run. Rico loves the critics as much if not more than the fans, they make Rico work harder at his advice giving. Keep up the great chatter, Rico loves you all...

    Love always,

    Rico

    Please write an update for Rico and his friends/foes...

    take the 2 mile challenge...Rico has also run multiple marathons, he loves a good challenge and it helped him keep a clear head.

    Posted by Rico September 3, 09 04:29 PM
  1. There was an article in the Times recently about the pheonomenon that some people seem to tend to cycle "endlessly" in feelings of bereavement or loss. It's as if their system never resets to the new reality and even gets "hooked" on the remembrances of the past almost like a drug.

    i don't have the answer for LW's problems, but I think she could start there, with a more accurate description of the problem, and trying to find a therapeutic method or other method to help her break the cycle.

    Personally, what I did when I had this problem is I took a picture of my ex and put it on my bureau where I had to see it every day.

    Within a week I was sick at the pointlessless of staring at pictures and dwelling endlessly in feelings that were from a relationship that, not only was not going to come back, but that in fact I in all likelihood would not actually want back.

    Then I put the picture away and moved on.

    Posted by Steve in W MA September 3, 09 04:30 PM
  1. I only read the first few sentences of your Posting.

    You need to stop comparing your new relationships to the past...

    The Future is in The Past.

    Move on. And only then will you find new love.

    Posted by Sammy September 3, 09 04:41 PM
  1. Begging you Rico, please give it a rest. You're sounding less and less credible with every paranoid post. Great advice - don't get therapy to deal with your mental health issues, just go right to your MD and med-seek. Meds are not the answer? Therapy is not the answer? Sounds like you might need a healthy dose of both. With "friends" like you for wanna-be therapists, who needs enemies?

    Posted by annoyed therapist September 3, 09 04:46 PM
  1. wonderful submission, #204 "at last" - a great story that gives us all hope!!!

    Posted by feeling your pain September 3, 09 04:53 PM
  1. Uh, Brent, very few twenty-somethings want a middle-aged guy when they can get a hot guy their own age. Even if a middle-aged guy is fit, he's no twenty-something. Get over yourself and drop the double-standard.

    Posted by PM September 3, 09 04:58 PM
  1. I say shake up your life, you should move to another state. Start over.

    Posted by dt September 3, 09 05:18 PM
  1. OK. Let me tell you what I know.

    Guys are easy. Here are some tips.

    1. Look for one without a wedding ring (or else you will write again with another issue).
    2. Talk about your love of golf (and tennis - skirts are a great visual).
    3. Make the first move.
    4. Don't cuss too much - it can be off putting with a lady swears.
    5. Don't have a brunch date - single guys don't do brunch.
    6. Offer to make breakfast.
    7. A good line to hear from a lady, "I'm up for anything."
    8. Innocently drop a double entendre (NOT a single one!)
    9. Have a leaky faucet (an excuse to get a guy over AND allow him to show his prowess).
    10. Like Star Wars. (Trust me, Han Solo is the hero of most 30 - 37 year old guys).

    Now, you can find a guy that will satisfy. Feel free to post this next to your calendar.

    Posted by Tom the Guru of Love September 3, 09 05:20 PM
  1. PM, don't bother - in real life Brent is a pimply teenager. He's just spouting male fantasy.

    Posted by TallGirl September 3, 09 05:20 PM
  1. Hey TallGirl and PM,

    Time to face the reality, ladies! Don't be such a hater...

    Men pick their spouses based on beauty and women pick theirs based on wealth. As both age, men's wealth increases, while women's beauty declines.
    It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone why it is a whole lot harder for women in their 30s and 40s to get married, compared to men in the same age group.

    Hate me if you want but that's the reality

    Posted by Sami September 3, 09 05:32 PM
  1. I would like to try my hand at a haiku, valentino please advise gently.

    the house is quiet
    still pining for ex-lover
    vibrator cuming

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! September 3, 09 05:32 PM
  1. Gee; this is a sweet woman with a very common problem, sorry to say. Sounds like she’s tried lots of good things. I don’t know if you need more therapy – I say no.

    Here’s what I think you should do:

    1. If you like nurturing, caring men, then go out and get a small doggie – no kidding! I have the sweetest, cutest doggie in the world, and wherever I go, she’s just a rock star. Everyone wants to pet her, ask her name, how much she weighs, how old she is, yada. She’s so adorable and friendly, and she loves most people and lots and lots of attention. I can’t count how many people I’ve met that I know for certain I would never have met if it hadn’t been for my angel. So take your puppito to local parks and you’ll start meeting like-minded nurturing and caring men for sure! Some may be married, but some won’t, and you sure wouldn’t have met them had you not been at the park. Even if they are married, chances are they have someone you might like to meet! Lots of men in the same boat too, you know.

    I take my puppito (she’s 6) everywhere: I always have a beach towel in the car, so I go to Home Depot, CVS, BofA (yes, I carry her), the post-office, etc. The only place I don’t go with her is basically the grocery store (oh, Walmart and Target won’t let her in). If I go to Home Depot or CVS, I put the beach towel in the front where the kids go, with her water Tupperware, and we attract attention without really trying from all sorts of people. Meanwhile, since she’s such a rock star, I’ve met so many of my neighbors and others I never would have met – all ages, races, etc. I can (rather she can) get smiles out of the meanest looking people or someone having a really bad day.

    Of course, the fact that it snows, rains, etc. means I have to put her t-shirt, or sweater, or coat or raincoat on her, and that attracts even more attention. I know there are people out there that are a little nutty (ok some are really nutty) and appear to dress their dogs up for their owner’s own attention – I’m not one of them. She’s just a delicate angel and needs protection from the elements.

    2. Lots of people have made valid comments about you putting your ex on a pedestal and #14, JuJube, made a target-on observation – it wasn’t so much your ex that you miss so much as the lifestyle and happiness that he represented that you’re really missing. Now that all of your friends are in the baby/burbs mode, that just heightens your anxiety. You say that if you never have kids and get married, then you really can be okay with that, but, of course, you’re not ready to extinguish that dream. And you don’t have to.

    3. Meanwhile, your puppito will allow you to develop your nurturing side, give you lots and lots of love and attention, and will absolutely soften your sweet heart (everyone agrees that you sound like a really nice lady with a lot on the ball so there’s no need for you to do much more to develop yourself). When walking around the park or your neighborhood with your little Tupperware and puppito, everyone will fall in love with your baby, stop and ask you questions and meet you, and your circle will really expand.

    4. I’ve always thought there’s nothing more beautiful than a beautiful woman with a beautiful child or vice-versa: a man who’s so devoted to his child, whether he’s divorced or not.

    5. So there – that’s my two cents for the day. You don’t need a shrink; you just need a viable outlet for your sweet heart.


    Posted by JeffreyInMalibu September 3, 09 05:38 PM
  1. Accomplishments are great and you should be proud of what you’ve done. If they were a way to distract yourself and avoid the pain of your loss, did they get in the way of feeling the pain necessary to begin the healing process?

    The old “fake it til you make it” may work for some – for others I’m not sure it will ever bring one beyond a “getting by” level of happiness.

    Nothing wrong with a good let it out cry – alone or with a friend to acknowledge how cruddy you feel - followed by reminding yourself of what you’ve been able to accomplish and why – and why that strength is going to allow you to move past this dark place.

    There’s a risk this will be a bit on the cliché side but….

    Happiness is the ability to focus on, and be grateful for what we have in our lives.

    Human nature tends to leave us focused on what we don’t have – resist. And remember that your worst day is without a question someone else’s dream of their best.

    In sharing this there is a risk you will think “how can I feel this crappy with everything I have” and beat yourself up some more. If that is your reaction, I don’t think you have allowed yourself to truly appreciate what you do have – not the material things but your friends, your ability to get the material things, and your ability to get out there and meet people who like you, etc. – those things that make you a winner.

    Posted by 123 September 3, 09 05:39 PM
  1. here's the way I see it. This man was your "it man" and he broke your heart and shattered your dreams. I get it I had one for 13years. It ended in my 30's and now at 35 I've never been happier. I waisted too much money on a therapist who's words of wisdom were 'a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle' come on... It hurts, the pain dulls after awhile but never goes away. Instead of on-line dating and doing hobbies and such... take care of you. Take yourself out on a date. Love yourself and be okay with being with just you! It is a lot easier said than done but from one mid-30 girl who has watched all her friend's get married and have kids, you won't be truly happy with anyone unless you are happy with yourself. That doesn't necessiarly mean fit and beautiful but happy with who you are and what you offer this world. Just remember you are important to many people and getting a puppy is just a band-aid that will pee on your carpet. Unless you can be truly happy with you you will never find someone to live your life with!
    Good Luck it is a hard road!

    Posted by been in your shoes September 3, 09 05:40 PM
  1. I admire your honesty and bravery. I know that your letter struck a chord with many single thirty and fortysomethings in Boston. The hard truth is that there isn't always a fix. Life is tough. Keep truckin.

    Posted by jmuck September 3, 09 05:44 PM
  1. @ 212 / Guys are easy:

    Very bad idea for the lady to make the first move. This just lets in the lazy guys, and the guys who are just looking to get laid.

    Regular conversations, smiling, flirting, Yes. Asking the guy out - No.
    if he digs you, he will ask you out.

    Also - let him pay. This also weeds out lazy guys, and guys who are just looking to hook up. After a few dates, you can pay once in awhile, leave the tip, etc.

    Ditto - do NOT cook for him. This just makes oyu look like his mom, and again caters to lazy gys.

    If you don't believe me, ask men out for awhile (etc), and watch what happens.

    Posted by JulieD September 3, 09 05:44 PM
  1. reindeer girl...

    We get it. You like sex. No need to remind us every other day.

    Posted by Tired of your shtick September 3, 09 06:09 PM
  1. There is lots of good advice here in the comments, but many are buried under 150 posts. Users should be able to vote - and the comments with the most votes go towards the top.

    Posted by jay September 3, 09 06:11 PM
  1. You don't sound desperate. You sound honest about your feelings, which is brave. (Also so rare these days, when most people just cover up with a gloss of snark.)

    I really don't think it's about the guy, though -- he just happens to be the last person you cared about, so your memory returns to him. I think it's more about what Meredith said: it's easier to fall in love when you're younger. As you get older, you know yourself better and your standards change, right at the same time that the selection gets more limited.

    You have a full and fabulous life. You clearly don't *need* a guy for anything, neither entertainment nor financial support. You just *want* one. Be proud of yourself for building a fabulous life for yourself, by yourself. Figure out a way to enjoy your accomplishments on your own. But don't resign yourself to being alone. There's still plenty of time.

    Posted by nutella14 September 3, 09 06:19 PM
  1. Miss M, I'm sorry you haven't written back with an update or even just a "yes, but" to all of the posters' suggestions.

    Take seriously the notion of a change of scenery. Does your job offer short-term relocations? Training elsewhere? Even just pretending you're a visitor in Boston or wherever you live can lead to interesting encounters with people when you ask directions or just behave in a more relaxed and open visitor mode.

    Kate's Nonna made a good suggestion about working on a political campaign, and there's one about to heat up!


    x

    Posted by Sasha September 3, 09 06:20 PM
  1. 1) believe me, the grass is NOT greener on this side (married, kids, big old house in the burbs). If you're not happy now (alone with yourself) you will only be more unhappy once you're in the burbs. It's a nightmare....

    2) you need to move out of Boston... Boston is for 20 somethings, not mature single men and women in their late 30's - 40's. I've been telling my two remaining single friends this for YEARS (both beautiful, successful, etc., etc.). Guess what... one finally did it and now she's married w/ a little baby and loving life. The other? Still in Boston stuck in the same space....

    Posted by do dreams come true? September 3, 09 06:34 PM
  1. Miss M, of course you need to look for a guy who will meet your present needs, not your past ones, but I also wonder if you've looked at what YOU offer. Not the house, the graduate degree, or even looks - what do you offer in terms of personality? I say this b/c I have a half dozen friends (both men and women) who have a lot going for them - all the "on paper" stuff plus attractive, and they can start relationships but not maintain them. Why? Because they are control freaks. Often this tendency increases with age (all those independent decisions, etc.) and it is a huge turn-off. Confidence is not the same, BTW. A control freak is not fun to be around, and it's really hard to tell someone that that's what s/he is. Just a thought.

    Posted by Fresi September 3, 09 06:42 PM
  1. This is easy to do. Every single time you think of him, do something else, think of something else, go someplace else. At this point, you need to retrain your head. Once you stop dwelling on the idiot, you'll be fine.

    How do I know this? That's how I got over my first love way back when I was in my early twenties. I'm now happily married to the most wonderful man.

    Retrain your brain, chickadee.

    Posted by Been there. Done that. September 3, 09 06:43 PM
  1. I'd like to second what Hoss advised in #165. I am no athlete and I'm training for a marathon to raise money for a great charity. There is no better feeling lately than going out for a long walk/run - it clears my head, improves my health, and I feel tired but awesome later. And through this charity I have met amazing people. No SO yet, but that's not my goal. I meet fabulous, interesting people. Many of them are facing physical challenges (some from the war) so that also helps me put my own life, and issues, in perspective. But I also enjoy the "alone" time when I'm out on the road listening to my Ipod. Exercise has done amazing things lifting my mood and volunteering has done great things for my soul.

    I am where you are in many ways. I feel your pain, through your entire letter. So many people here are able to relate. Hang in there. And try exercise :)

    Posted by A new fan of exercise September 3, 09 06:47 PM
  1. You may want to consider filling that vacant space in your heart with the love of the Devine. There is no man on earth who would/could give up his life to give you everlasting life. There is no greater love. You would be in a good place if you found comfort in that.

    Posted by Carrie September 3, 09 08:01 PM
  1. Sammi, cupcake, keep telling yourself that if it gets you through the night. If it was such an etched-in-stone fact, you and men like you wouldn't have to try and convince us to look for older, not-so-attractive men.

    I don't care how rich you are, if I'm not attracted to you, it's not happening. Most women aren't attracted to money, especially in this day and age when we can make our own money and don't have to depend on an entitled nitwit. Sorry if that bothers you--that's just reality.

    I find that men who buy into that myth that women love money and men love beauty have little else to offer than their cash and thus try to buy their way into relationships.

    Posted by PM September 3, 09 08:16 PM
  1. To Miss M.
    I'm your age. I've been in your situation and I'm still single. It took me 6 years to get over the girl. If you need someone to talk to, ask Meredith for my e-mail address. I'm always looking to meet new people/make new friends and you seem very nice. The worst thing to do it sit alone and let it your sadness stew inside you.

    Posted by Lebron23 September 3, 09 08:26 PM
  1. One person's advice is another's nonsense, so I won't tell you what to do. But I went through something similar to this, and I only started to get over it when I decided that I preferred being happier to being unhappy. This was key, because for a long time, I just didn't want to give up hope that he'd reconsider or that circumstances would change. My rational self knew this wasn't true, but I felt unable to control my desire that reality be different.

    But when I set overcoming my grief as a goal, I started to notice that I didn't always feel bad - that there were times when I was rational about this - and I then chose to do things that helped me think clearly and minimize the grief. If I started wishing for him, I'd remember why it wouldn't have worked. If I started thinking that I never loved anyone like I loved him, I reminded myself that he didn't feel the same and so I wouldn't have been happy with him. If I secretly hoped that he'd one day tell me I'd been right all along and he couldn't live without me, I'd remind myself that I was fantasizing, and that this wasn't true.

    I was surprised that I was able to override those feelings with my own good judgment, whenever I wanted to, and that when I was indulging in a fantasy, that was my choice too. Once I learned to turn the feelings off, I preferred that to feeling morose, and while it happened in stages, I am far, far happier.

    I also thought quite a bit about why his affection meant so much to me that I couldn't bear the thought of not having it. (This is not in my nature at all.) I realized that I thought more of his judgment than of my own, i.e., "If he thinks I'm smart, lovable, attractive, etc., then it must be true," the corollary unfortunately being, "If he doesn't love me, there's something wrong with me." It turned out that my own judgments about myself were pretty poor, and starting to evaluate my own life rationally and fairly made me less needy. I began to recognize things I wanted to do differently; I noticed other things that I love about myself.

    None of this happened overnight. There is progress, and then there is faltering, but on balance, it's a happier life. Good luck!

    Posted by MeToo September 3, 09 08:27 PM
  1. It took me 7 years to get over the guy who broke my heart. And all that time, the right guy, who was a work friend, was right under my nose and I had no idea. I wasn't really looking, so I couldn't see him in that light. I tried fixing him up with all my single friends, and I knew he was terrific, but either I wasn't ready or I was blind, or I just didn't feel the spark until one day...

    I honestly don't know what finally did the trick for me, but once I got over my heartbreak, I was fine. So it's possible for you, too. And now I am very happily married to that friend I looked right through for 7 years (from 28 to 34). I wish I could tell you how to get over your guy, but I can't. What I can tell you is that he wasn't the right guy. Trust me, you two did not belong together, it would have been a life of pain.

    I can't tell you for sure, either, whether a guy you can fall happily in love with is right under you nose. But I hope he's there. Look around. It's easier to love a friend than a guy you meet online or in a bar.

    Posted by Elle September 3, 09 09:14 PM
  1. Date an Engineer. Some can be quite attractive, funny, smart and great in the sack! The salesman type of guys are always looking for the next best thing. Engineers can be quite indepth conversationally and when you go out with your girlfriends they are home building something like a computer or fiddling with motors and electric wires. They are not suave but that is what makes them adorable they are real.

    ok, so I am being facetious but open yourself up to different guys and do an inventory on yourself. Somewhere you are closed off. You also may have had a bout of depression - most people have had situational depression and I like the idea of dating 3 guys a week. You want to meet someone then you make it happen. Be open and kind and be proactive in dating. Stats wise you will hit it off. You are not going to find the guy you use to have, your going to be with someone that makes you feel different but better. Don't give up!

    Posted by lisa September 3, 09 09:16 PM
  1. I'm a little late posting. I read the letter and some of the comments earlier today and it's been on my mind all day. I agree with Meredith and Rico (except for the part about therapy) and #39 and #225. There is some very good advice here. I hope it helps you.
    I could have wriiten this letter at one time. I am now married an have a beautiful child. I was your age when I decided to move to a new city alone no family or friends but it was the best thing I ever did. It was so scary and exciting exploring a new city but I met some great friends and just people in general: people are so much nicer and more receptive than in Boston. Therapy will help with your past.

    Posted by Anonymous September 3, 09 09:21 PM
  1. LW, I hear you. I was there not so long ago myself. But eventually Mr Right showed up and I am happily married. A few thoughts for you...
    1) Cultivate friendships with single women, even if they are several years younger. They can support you and provide companionship in a way that your married friends just can't.
    2) You say you aren't looking for marriage/kids, but I think you may be saying that because it's not socially acceptable to admit this. Think about whether you want kids enough to go it alone and if you do, think about doing it soon. I recommend reading Choosing Single Motherhood by Morrissette. Or check out her website.
    3) Let go of the idea that you have to be completely over guy#1 to meet Mr Right. You don’t. When you meet Mr Right, you’ll get over guy#1 for good. (Yes, this actually happens.)
    4) If you don’t already have a cat or dog, get one. They are a lot of work but will add much needed love and laughter to your life.
    5) Don’t give up. And don’t let anyone convince you that your dream is unrealistic or your sadness is pathological.
    BeenThere

    Posted by Anonymous September 3, 09 09:34 PM
  1. You need to get banged hard a few times and you will forget about him

    Posted by redmos September 3, 09 09:49 PM
  1. New therepist, perhaps some antidepressants. Might consider relocating to Denver, which the locals call "Menver" - tons of single guys out there. Best of luck.

    Posted by Vanessa September 3, 09 10:01 PM
  1. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

    I fell hard in love and got dumped for another guy who had the degree, bank account and house. Me, I was just a poor college student trying to save a few bucks to get back to school to wrap up my degree.

    I moved on, finished my school, dealt with good stuff and horrible stuff, and finally got a Harvard business degree, married, kid, house, pool, etc.

    I still think about my old lover every day. Sometimes kind thoughts, more often not. It's a sick obsession, but I've put ground rules in place to keep from going nuts.

    I've been writing journal entries this past year to figure out why I'm still obsessed. It has to do with a damaged childhood with abusive parents and a need to feel control over my life.

    I understand the thoughts and remind myself constantly to keep my life straight and behavior in check, but I know it affects my thinking and relationships. The journal entries have convinced me that I did all I could to keep things going, but she was too messed up to sustain a healthy relationship.

    I'm good with my life today and have no interest in going backward. Just keep living your life successfully, as you have. Work on putting the past in perspective and keep moving forward.

    Be open to new partners and don't sabotage your relationships. You hit it off with someone, but it didn't compare to the five years of sex and drama you had with your ex. Duh!

    Get it together girl. You shouldn't burn men because they aren't as manipulative as your ex. You need more and better therapy.

    Posted by raoul September 3, 09 10:07 PM
  1. Cherish what you have, health, happiness, friendship in other areas. I feel for you since marriage and life long romantic love is our ultimate goals. And as you get older, it is harder to work at it, to stay positive. What we can be, and what we want to be, may seem distant. You can't look too deep into the past, or to far into the future otherwise those 2 things keep you from moving forward. There has to be that balance of cherishing what you have now. We have to take things in perspective and realize how fortunate we are compare to so many people. True, or own problems are OURs, but we should never lose site of how much we already have. Be positive and be patient 36 is still young, don't be consumed by what others have and what you don't have. Stay positive and keep searching...never get into that mode where you start feeling sorry for yourself. I wish you all the luck in the world, cliche, Sorry.

    Posted by JohnTheReviewer September 3, 09 10:25 PM
  1. Oh, Jules...poor misguided and treated, Jules.

    It's the 00's, ladies should be empowered to walk up to a guy at a bar and do what us men do...approach and sheepishly ask for the time. (note - take off your watch). Not only can this lead to good knowledge (the time) but it can also lead to a great discussion about time - whether it exists, who is father time and why is it named after him, and doesn't Grenwich Mean Time just sound angry. Now, anyone involved in any type of conversation that stems from a simple question is not lazy.

    Yes, regular conversations...sure. The reason why I brought up golf and tennis is the visual. Men like to picture things. Can I picture playing a round of golf with her? Does she grunt when hitting the tennis ball? Aren't skirts great? All of this happens while we are nodding our heads and listening to the words that come out of the lady's mouth. Now, that does not sound lazy to me at all.

    I agree that the man should pay. But the lady should, at that point, mention that she cooks a great quiche. This will entice the man to say, "well, real men don't like quiche, but I really love it. I am also a real man." This is an easy way for the lady to mention a second date without being upfront...AND she does not have to pay for the meal.

    Now I believe that you are off base on your anti-cooking. Eating out for every meal can get expensive. Maybe while eating your quiche, you can ask what meals he is proud of. He will probably offer to cook it for you. Now, not only did you create an opportunity to shine in front of you, but you established equality in the relationship.

    While you are correct that I have never dated a guy, I have been one for as long as I can remember. Ladies, feel free to take my advice. It is good.

    Jules, I wish you the best of luck in your quest to find an industrious fellow. Home Depot or Loews may be a good place to start.


    212 / Guys are easy:

    Very bad idea for the lady to make the first move. This just lets in the lazy guys, and the guys who are just looking to get laid.

    Regular conversations, smiling, flirting, Yes. Asking the guy out - No.
    if he digs you, he will ask you out.

    Also - let him pay. This also weeds out lazy guys, and guys who are just looking to hook up. After a few dates, you can pay once in awhile, leave the tip, etc.

    Ditto - do NOT cook for him. This just makes oyu look like his mom, and again caters to lazy gys.

    If you don't believe me, ask men out for awhile (etc), and watch what happens.

    Posted by Tom September 3, 09 10:26 PM
  1. Right now you are visualizing that you are in a vicious cycle. So that is where you will stay until you are ready to change your beliefs. Think about it. What good is a belief that does not serve you except to help you feel more lonely? Once you move past this belief and create a new positive belief then you will see you have a lot of options!

    Secondly, be open. This does not mean lower your standards. However, you might find an amazing guy who happens to be divorced. Or you might find someone who is perfect for you and they happen to live in New Hampshire. You just need to keep focused on what you want not what you don't want.

    Posted by Mimi September 3, 09 10:33 PM
  1. I really don't appreciate a lot of these comments. I've been through a similar experience to Miss M and I also suffer from depression like I believe that Miss M also does. It is so easy for someone who does not suffer from mental illness to say: "change your attitude"; "snap out of it"; "stop wallowing".

    We can't just do those things. If we could, we wouldn't have depression and we wouldn't need medication. I find those comments so insensitive and glib, frankly. People who are depressed are stuck in their own minds. We are sad and see life through those sad eyes. We don't want to go out and do something new or meet new people because the depression doesn't want you to leave the hosue or convinces us that we will just have a bad time. Depression is not something one accepts, it is something one has to deal with as well as possible. It is very difficult.

    When Miss M talks about death being easier, I know what she means. I feel that way on most days. It's not because I'm weak or I want people to pitty me, it's because depression has its hold on me. Could someone deal better with the thoughts in my head, probably. But others may do worse. I try to do the best I can to put forth a positive attitude, as I suspect Miss M does, but it is simply not that easy.

    Miss M, I do think therapy will help you. I also think that finding someone new who is right for you will be the best thing, but of course, therein lies the problem. If you can, be more willing to accept dates that are offered to you or get on match.com or a similar site. Let a nice man take you out and see what happens. I think that if you can take your mind off of your sorrows, things will start to turn. Slowly you will stop dwelling on the negative and you may wake up one day and realize, "wow, I haven't felt down for weeks now."

    Dealing with depression and a break up is not easy. Don't let these fools on here tell you otherwise. It's really east to cast aspersions from one's couch without knowing a thing about you.

    If need to talk, I suppose Meredith can supply my email. I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

    Posted by john September 3, 09 11:00 PM
  1. Go, Sally! What she said!

    Posted by Sally Rocks September 3, 09 11:04 PM
  1. To #235 "do dreams come true" -

    curious where your friend moved; I moved from Salem to Cambridge to find more single men in their 40s - North Shore was awful to meet people.

    Posted by SueW September 3, 09 11:05 PM
  1. #229, Carrie, when you mention the love of the Devine, were you speaking of Ned Devine, from the movie? Just wondering.

    Posted by Frico September 3, 09 11:20 PM
  1. I don't know if you are religious at all but if so, going to church and getting involved with church activities might be helpful. Know too that you do NOT need someone to complete you, you are fine by yourself. Oh sure, it is great to find a SO but you don't NEED one to live your life. Try to derrive small pleasures from the world around you, and keep smiling. From your letter I can tell that you are a wonderful and caring person. Good luck.

    Posted by wishingyouwell September 3, 09 11:25 PM
  1. Miss M,

    It might be worth exploring with your (hopeful new and more helpful therapist) being afraid. You were very hurt from this guy so it is not surprising that you are not willing to risk the hurt again. Until you are willing to risk the pain you won't gain the rewards of love.

    I am not a therapist and can only speak from my own experience. I have learned 15 years later that relationships I have had that got to a level of love (100% trust, The One) have a life long effect. When a relationship falls apart and you are still in love with the person you feel that 100% trust has been violated. Don't be so hard on yourself. Not finding anyone in the last 5 years is not surprising if you are not capable of trusting anyone 100% because of the fear of being hurt again.

    Good luck. I hope you are able to learn how to work with some of your fears and worries. That you find someone who wants to be with you as much as you with them. That you can learn to take the risk of love again.

    Posted by my2cents September 3, 09 11:30 PM
  1. seek God and he will find you. Has been my comfort and redeemer in heart ache.

    Posted by swfoutsida September 4, 09 12:13 AM
  1. I feel for you. It sucks being lonely. It took me 5 years to get over the guy who I thought was "the one." Therapy helped. Stick with it (get a new therapist if necessary, like suggested). My therapist, though, never quite got that I was totally secure with myself, fine being single, blah blah blah, but I just wanted a special connection that I hadn't had in a long time. Nothing wrong with that.

    But here's the thing. If you're going to ask for advice, you're going to get clichés. Consider that as tired you are of hearing the same old stuff, your friends are probably tired of hearing the same old stuff from you. If you're not going to change your tune, don't expect others to either.

    I'm not saying you don't have a right to feel the way you do. And occasionally letting those feelings out is totally valid. But as futile as you feel about your situation, there is no magical new advice that will fix it either. I suspect you've HEARD the serenity prayer (it's a good mantra, whether you are religious or not) - but it sounds like you haven't DONE it, like you claim. Like I said, still fine to crave that companionship, but you really doesn't sound like you've accepted the things you cannot change.

    Posted by sometimes September 4, 09 12:47 AM
  1. this made me feel so sad. darling, if you are not in a relationship that you think is "perfect", you will still feel lonely...we start out life thinking that we'll "be in love" or "find love" and life goes tra la la after that. It just doesn't. I think only a very small number of people have an amazing love match. Many people are together because they had "oops" pregnancies, or because they needed a partner in life cuz that was what they were supposed to do for family or career, or because they wanted/needed financial stability. If you want lifelong companionship, and possibly lifelong attachment that comes with children, then you may need to enter into and create a relationship that isn't based on romantic love. I've found that an old saying is really true -- "it is better to be alone than to wish you were." It really is up to you.

    Posted by ally33 September 4, 09 01:25 AM
  1. Miss M - I know where you are. I had my heart broken by "the one" and spent 5 years wondering "why?" instead of "what's next?" I wouldn't say this was time wasted as I learned so much about myself but I do regret spending so much time perseverating on something that wasn't in my control. Once I gave myself permission to say, "It wasn't my fault" and accept it for what it was - a break-up, no more, no less - I felt ready to start thinking about myself and my future rather than the past. All the introspection and therapy during that time also revealed to me that I had been experiencing a bout of depression for a long time (runs in the family), probably even before the break-up. The break-up just triggered all the negative thoughts and internal messages, creating a nasty cycle. A lot of time, CBT, a patient and supportive therapist, and a little medication helped a lot. I am not suggesting you need medication - that is only for a dr. to say - I am just sharing my path in hopes it may help in some small way. Once I opened myself up to the good things I deserved, I started to let go. I met someone and married him three years ago, and now that I have him, I see everything he is that "the one" was not and could never be. I do sometimes think of the ex and wonder "what if" but I think that is just the fantasy talking, not reality. If I met the ex tomorrow, I am sure I wouldn't even know him and vice versa. Hang on and focus on the things that give you happiness and contentment. Spoil yourself - you deserve it. It wasn't your fault and all good things are in store. Blessings to you...

    Posted by Amy September 4, 09 01:28 AM
  1. How about "stop and breathe".

    Stop searching, take a deep breath, and let go of your expectations.

    Stop evaluating and judging everyone and everything through the lens of unrealized expectations.

    You'll be surprised how differently you experience day-to-day life, how much more fun you are to be around, and how differently people appear to you - and you to them.

    Or, you can keep following the same old tired advice, persist with your relentless search, and continue to be miserable.

    Posted by George September 4, 09 02:42 AM
  1. TallGirl doesn't feel hot in her little black dress so she gets pissy. Read the comment, I told her where to seek in Boston. Yoiu hate Balto, so does Balto, move on... A girl has no business telling an adult how to give advice.

    Posted by Darwin September 4, 09 05:48 AM
  1. LW and the many other commentors in the same boat should get a mirror and some humility. Did it occur to you that you are not as great as you think? Frankly, someone spouting off about owning a big house in the suburbs as some sort of endearing characteristic that should be getting them dates or a successful relationship is as shallow as my 2 year olds plastic wading pool. Most guys do not date people for their houses, their jobs, their education level, etc., etc. Guys date real women who are fun and interesting AND open to getting to know someone else. Not someone who has a checklist of their accomplishments, super high standards, and strong feelings for an Ex that make them completely closed off to getting to know another well enough to advance a relationship beyond a date or two. If you were as great as you think you are and you are doing all the right things, then you wouldn't be lonely. Take ownership of your own situation. It's a bleepin' cop out to say there are "no good men" or "I've tried everything". That's the reality of the situation.

    Posted by Realist September 4, 09 07:31 AM
  1. I know some LWs get bashed for writing back, but some were looking for a response, so here it goes.... I read every single response & its slightly comforting to hear from the “same boats” & those “once in my shoes”.

    I’m floored that I came across as completely depressed, needy, & totally lonely. When I spoke on NOT being suicidal, that was years ago & I was trying to emphasize how sad I WAS. I’m actually a happy person on most days. I’m content & count my blessings. I don’t ‘need’ a husband, I’d like a companion, going to bed alone every night can be sad. I’m not fantasizing about the ex, I miss having someone - not necessarily him. he’s long gone, we haven’t spoken in years. I do think about him, when I remember happier times – he’s part of the memories. I think he’ll always have a special place & I’m ok with that, he was special. I’m just sad it’s taken so long to find someone new. I wrote because I feel like I’ve been positive, upbeat, witty, charming, doing the right things, yet find myself in the same spot. I never thought I was bitter, desperate, angry as some say, I mean – who would want to be with a person like that? Just frustrated. It’s a thin line between being alone & being lonely & you can cross back & fourth easily. I guarantee most people have a friend exactly like me – maybe you don’t know it. go home, call them & invite them out! I know everyone doesn’t get the happy ending, maybe I’m starting to realize I may not & that’s what’s most upsetting. So, thanks. I think there was some good advice – some people (I won’t call them out) really seemed to “get” exactly what I was talking about & that actually makes me feel better. I think I’ll get a bike too.

    Posted by miss m September 4, 09 08:19 AM
  1. Dear Miss M,

    I completely sympathize with your situation and think you sound like a wonderful person who is trying to do all the right things. The only thing I want to add to the mostly excellent advice that others have offered is to consider hypnotherapy. I had been to regular therapists for years with similar issues - they offer mostly useless discussion and drugs (which I never accepted, I personally don't think that my problem was chemically based and I have seen friends/family struggle with unpleasant side effects and not be helped)

    Then a friend got breast cancer and as part of her recovery tried hypnotherapy and had such a great experience that she became a hypnotherapist. I learned from her that it is not about party tricks, but about accessing the subconscious mind - the part of you that might be telling you that this ex was so great, that there's no one out there for you, etc - and re-training it. My hypnotherapist and I got into the reasons for my feelings and really addressed them. I went once a week for a couple of months and WOW my life was really changed. I can't say enough good things about the approach and I think it's worth a try for you. Look for a therapist who is certified and talk with them about whether they work with people with concerns like yours. Really - it's a crime that this is not a more mainstream approach - it works.

    Posted by notaflake September 4, 09 08:27 AM
  1. A Holocaust survivor made the case that the difference between pain and suffering is that pain without being given meaning becomes suffering. If you can't - by thought or by deed - make your pain go away, then continue to give it meaning, perhaps by writing even more about it and/or perhaps by devoting a part of your life to reduce the pain of other people. It's up to us to "find the blessing" (or make a blessing) in the unfortunate deeds that others do to us. Make the conscious choice that, if you truly love this other person, you will reduce his eventual punishment through limiting your suffering.

    Posted by Bernie September 4, 09 08:43 AM
  1. Rico has a news flash for everyone, especially those that suggest therapists...

    The people writing in to LL are not asking to get a therapist, they are looking for opinions from real people with real life examples. They are not seeking someone to sit and listen to them and prescribe medication. Rico knows as well as anyone that you can get meds anywhere anytime for just about anything without going to therapy. Most of the "medical conditions" are garbage anyway. Rico has seen parents say their kids are out of control and get Ridilin...Try cutting their sugar intake instead....GEE THAT COULD WORK??? Growing up Rico saw the change of eating habits in people. Check the charts and notice the increased sugary drink sales (soda, juice boxes etc...) and look at the charts for Diabetes, Psych meds etc...and notice the correlation??? Doesn't take a genius to see the trend, even a poor therapist can see this. Just read a newspaper or do a search on google and find articles about doctors prescribing meds and how they get paid by the drug companies.

    The letter writer here asked for help from readers, NOT THERAPISTS!!! She already tried therapy and wanted real advice from real people. She is getting it from Rico, Mer, hoss, etc...If you don't like what any of these people have to say then don't read it and don't bother commenting on it. Make your own opinion of the question.

    Therapy did not work for this person writing in, give her some real thoughts and ideas, not cliche' like go seek therapy, try meds, try online dating, your time will come etc...

    Rico gave his honest and caring advice and opinions and he sticks by them. This girl needs help and therapy is not the only way to fix it. Rico hopes the writer will check in and tell us her thoughts after reading the advice here. maybe ask us for other help as well? We are here for you, at least some of us anyway...Rico is definately here and wants to HELP.

    Love always and have a nice day,

    Rico

    DRUGS ARE BAD, use them sparingly your body is built to heal itself in most cases. Good food, exercise, sleep and good friends/family will take care of most ailments.

    Gears not Gas

    Posted by Rico September 4, 09 09:00 AM
  1. Maybe your ex is so high on a pedestal by now that you've forgotten that he is not/never was perfect. You compare everyone else to him. I would suggest that you find someone who you are at least friends with or comfortable. In your twenties you see sparks and firecrackers but I'm sorry to say, as we get older, it's more about friendship. I know that sounds dull and boring, but it's better than being alone and then when you find this friend and begin a physical relationship, fireworks might happen still! At this age, it is different and I think the sooner you ACCEPT this, the faster you'll find happiness. Perhaps, it could have worked with the last guy who was nice but you ended it because you didn't feel the same heat. You simply can't compare. I do think the "heat" is different at different ages. Sorry... you sound like a great catch! Don't give up yet!!!!

    Posted by BossMum September 4, 09 09:02 AM
  1. Miss M, you have accomplished so much on your own that it seems that you don't need a man in your life -- except emotionally. This is the most difficult level on which to connect with a stranger. It takes the most time and effort. You are so independent that perhaps you may have forgotten what it's like to share your life with someone else. It's not your fault -- many people struggle even with loved ones' help to achieve what you did. You needed to rebuild yourself, and now you are a completely different person, but you don't believe it. You're still attached to this ex because although you moved on academically and financially, you didn't move on emotionally. But that's normal. We can't take care of everything at the same time. I was crushed for years over someone, and then one day at work, I met a co-worker who was probably the most handsome guy I had seen in a long time. Smart, too. We never dated -- he was much younger and had a girlfriend, but he had a crush on me, and I was wise enough to know better than to start something with him. But it felt so GOOD to be liked by someone! And I realized that I was over the ex... he didn't seem so attractive anymore. I wanted someone better, and I was mature enough to weigh the good against the bad. The spark happens at unexpected times. I wish I could find Mr. Right for you, but please keep doing what you are doing and try to enjoy life. Have fun relationships. You deserve more than the guys you're meeting.

    Posted by been there September 4, 09 09:50 AM
  1. My brother forwarded me your letter because he thought I could maybe take something from it. I'm 24 years old and coming out of a very intense, verbally and emotionally abusive relationship of 2 years. I'm having the hardest time moving on when I really shouldn't be. Not trying to toot my own horn but I am a very attractive girl, entirely independent, intelligent, educated, and extremely outgoing. I have wonderful friends, many of whom are single, and I involve myself in many situations where meeting people is almost inevitable. More importantly, I know in my mind (and now in my heart) that he could have never made me happy. Even with all of this, I am still having the hardest time moving on and getting over this man. Something that stuck out the most in Meredith's response to you was that perhaps you are addicted to the grief. This makes a lot of sense. I'm not sure how youre relationship with your ex was but I know that in my case, we never got along. We were living in a constant state of battle and even when things appeared alright, it was alwasy just the calm before the storm. We alwasy lived with this big fat elephant of anger in the room and quickly, it became all that I knew. Now that we are no longer together, I am forced to be on my own, forced to confront my own emotion (that which isn't anger). I know that I am having a hard time letting go because I am holding on to the grief.... the same emotion I lived with, the ENTIRE time I was with him. In a big way, I am replacing the grief of being with him with the grief of getting over him. I find comfort in the grief.
    I don't know that is your case. If it is, I hope it helps you to hear this. At the very least, just know that your article and Meredith's response just added a notch to my path of recovery. It's been the best possible way that I could start my day, withe a little realization.
    I won't spit out a cliche because just like you, I can't stand them and they only seem to make things worse but I will say please find a way tomove on and let go. You sound like an extrordinary person and you don't deserve to live your life feeling this way. Not to mention, I am about your age when you met your ex-bf. I need strong women like you to move on from these things as it will give younger women like me hope for completing my own path to moving on. Thank you for sharing.

    -J

    Posted by Jess September 4, 09 09:57 AM
  1. This is an interesting case; which leads me to believe we do not have the full story. On what terms did your old relationship in that made this so devastating? Either way, the bar scene isn't going to help you, online dating is going to be difficult, and it's good that you have some perspective about what your expectations are in terms of a family. My best advice that I can give you is to do what you like to do. Play on those sports teams and continue to do your community service, and hopefully that's where you can meet someone. It's an easy, non-pressure packed situation. Another place, as poorly as this could turn out, is work. Remember that maybe your taste has changed in a few years and you just don't know it yet, date anyone/everyone you can. Just have fun and hope he falls into your life.

    Posted by Anonymous September 4, 09 10:08 AM
  1. Miss M-
    I watched this movie called "The Secret".
    As much as i love to complain about little things in life. Being positive about things makes a huge difference. If you are feeling envious of your friends, it's going to show.and that is sending off a negative energy. What you need to do it just be happy being with you. And when you least expect it, the positive energy you are giving off, WILL attract what you want.

    watch the movie. it is perfect for your situation.

    sometimes life gets rough and dying may seem easier. you dont have to deal with the pressures of love, and life in general. you dont have to watch everyone else be happy. BUT living is so much better. that challenge is worth it. and in the end after you have become happy, you get to look at your friends, and what they have wont seem so amazing anymore. because all that matters is you.

    And always remember,
    everyone has that one person in their lives that knocks them off their feet, and then breaks their hearts. You will get through it, everyone does. no matter how hard it is. let everything go and learn to love again.

    All the best, and please let us know how everything goes.

    Posted by MissHopeful September 4, 09 10:24 AM
  1. Okay,

    I've officially become a Rico-Hater.

    You're using double-speak to add more "street cred" to your arguement. Sometimes people need professional help, and sometimes people need medication. I would have died without it, so I don't wanna hear the arguements against it.

    Cats not Dogs

    Get 'em with the door.

    Posted by Rica September 4, 09 10:31 AM
  1. I agree with Jim, about fantasizing, writing poetry ad nauseam. No kidding. It may take a very long time, but you will eventually grow sick of thinking about him and move on. It really does work. I went through something similar and thought I would never get over him or the disappointment, didn't want to let him go because I thought that meant I didn't really love him. I will never forget him, it just has subsided. And I also remember when I was a kid and I loved chocolate chip cookies, I ate them every day for a long time. Then I grew sick of chocolate chip cookies and moved onto something else.

    Posted by A September 4, 09 10:39 AM
  1. Miss M, thanks for responding back. I absolutely do get it, as I was in the same boat at your age. Which is why I gave you the advice I gave you.

    There is nothing wrong with you for wanting companionship in your life. I know I am happiest when I have someone to share my life with, someone to keep my feet warm at night. I get that.

    Saying that there is nobody left out there is just plain WRONG. When I did my own 150-dates a year challenge, I learned that. I can't tell you how many attractive, decent, successful men in their 30s I met and dated during those months. They are all around. Yes, here in Boston! This is fertile hunting ground, with all these universities and industries.

    Men with masters and PhDs. Small business owners. Entrepeneurs. Men with fast-track careers in finance or biotech. Doctors, lawyers. Scientists. You name it, I met it during my dating challenge.

    And yes, even men who have never been married, and who want kids someday. That's mostly what I ran into, but I have children of my own already, so it wasn't what I was looking for. No matter how much chemistry we had, I would move along. They are out there, and they are the male equivalent of you, wishing they could find someone.

    You need to ask yourself why you keep throwing up objections in your own path. That is what you are doing - and I also did it myself - for years. Which is why I recognize it in you. You are playing "Yes, but" and it's giving you a payoff or else you wouldn't keep playing it. You can waste time in therapy exploring why you play that game, or just simply stop doing it. Because it's getting in the way of your goal.

    Good luck to you.

    Posted by anecdotal evidence September 4, 09 11:04 AM
  1. Too bad you live here....I know a guy in San Diego that would be good for you...although his X wife is a little crazy but he's pretty awesome and looking for his Ms. Right but is having a hard time finding her.

    Posted by iwonder September 4, 09 11:38 AM
  1. Rico, I don't know what your PERSONAL problem with therapy is exactly (because obviously you have one), but you are starting to sound like A Few Gray Hairs when she rants about cohabitation -- give it a rest already.

    Often you have good advice but you are totally off the mark here. Yes, LW said therapy didn't work, but therapy is an individual thing and who the therapist is DOES matter. Not every therapist will do a good job for every person. And not everyone who goes to therapy needs to go on medication. It is perfectly legitimate to advise the LW that if therapy didn't work before trying a new therapist might be the way to go. LW was asking for advice about what she hasn't thought of yet -- and this is one thing she hadn't thought of. Just because you have a bias against therapy doesn't mean that "get a therapist" isn't good advice.

    Posted by move on September 4, 09 11:46 AM
  1. Dear Miss M,

    Thanks for the update. I think I do really know how you feel, and I feel a little bad about my tough-love advice. I just remember that getting through that tough spot... being fine with yourself and being single but still craving that connection... I couldn't have done it without my friends. And when I complained a little too much, it drove them away.

    I'm not saying you're complaining too much, it's good that you've got a therapist (it's their job to hear you complain! yay) and of course, to an advice column, who you are supposed to complain to too. I just leapt to that conclusion because you'd sent the letter in a few times and seemed to be wanting new advice when the old advice was really all that was out there.

    There is a book called Quirkyalone that has a dumb name but a message I'm sure you'll relate to. I hope it helps you feel better about where you are. It helped me a lot. I know it sucks and I'm sorry.

    Posted by sometimes September 4, 09 11:51 AM
  1. Rico - I know this is not the topic of the letter, but I'd just like to ask you to be careful with your "no therapists" advice in general. For some, a therapist is what is keeping them alive. People who suffer from severely debilitating mental health issues need therapy - they may need MORE than just therapy, but they need therapy to help them function in the world. Hanging out with friends is not going to be enough.

    Rico, if you have children and one of them ends up with severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or any other type of significant mental health disorder, I would hope that you would not teach them that they must deal with their issues on their own or with the help of friends. If you do, you may, at best, alienate them; at worst, lose them completely.

    Posted by ferrick September 4, 09 11:57 AM
  1. Two things. One. Why wasn't the ex 100% perfect. The LW does not mention that. I'd focus on that. Two. If this was true love, you probably will never get over it. This guy will always be in your thoughts. This doesn't mean you can't fall in love again and when/if you do you won't fall out of love with the ex. Yes, you can be in love with two people at the same time and live a healthy life. Good luck. You sound like you have your act together much more than you think.

    Posted by thereallargejames September 4, 09 12:03 PM
  1. Ferrick (#271) - Although Bleako is a MOT, he also sounds a like a Scientologist. // Bernie (#258) - That would be "Man's Search for Meaning," by Victor Frankl.

    Posted by reindeergirl September 4, 09 12:33 PM
  1. Miss M,

    I think I get your frustration. Three years ago I was 34 and coming off yet another disappointing breakup; at the same time, more and more of my friends were disappearing into the marriage/burbs/babies vortex. I was happy for them, but it was a little lonely for me.

    I hope this won't sound like all the cliche advice you're sick of hearing, but here's what I decided to do. I was exhausted by the cycle of meeting guys and having it not work out, so I decided that I'd shift my focus for a while from trying to meet the right guy to thinking about what would make single life more fun (this included declaring a hiatus on dating for a while). For me, it was about picturing how I could be happier even if I gave up on dating entirely, but also about really appreciating the things that were available to me as a single person that I might not be able to do if/when I married/settled down/had kids, etc.

    For me, making myself happier boiled down to broadening my circle of single friends (not for dating, but just to be with people who understood me and were available to hang out) and traveling. I met people through an online forum I found that had lots of people with common interests. I joined a summer share house on Martha's Vineyard and met some really nice single people there (I became good friends with one of the women in the house). And I traveled to some of the more distant places on my travel wish-list, figuring that if I did have a family some day, it would be a lot harder to pack up and go to Australia than it was when I was single.

    I found this all helpful. It was a relief to focus on something other than dating for a while. And I admit it - it was kind of fun hearing a bit of envy in my married friends' voices when I told them what I was up to.

    Eventually, I met a really great guy through that online forum. It's not why I was there, but it worked out that way.

    Anyway, Miss M, not sure if that helps, but I hope so. You sound like a nice person, and I think things may work out very well for you. But in the meantime, be kind to yourself.

    Posted by HinB September 4, 09 12:34 PM
  1. Realist (#255) – wow, why the hate? The lw was merely giving the facts about her life, not bragging. Personally, I can relate to a lot of what the lw wrote, is it bragging to say that I also own my own place (condo not a house) and have a good job? Believe me, I am not making excuses for the lw or myself but it is not very easy meeting someone decent that you connect with. Yes, there a million ways to meet people and yes, there are a lot of decent guys out there, but that doesn’t mean that as a single woman you will connect with every one of them. It’s not that simple to say that if you go out there and do all the “right things” then you will meet someone. There are no guarantees in life. Yes, there are always things that people can do differently and yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but how about offering something constructive rather than just criticism? Would you talk this way to your 2 year old if he/she grows up and isn’t married in his/her 30's and not happy with it? Hope not.

    Posted by CC September 4, 09 12:54 PM
  1. This is smart advice from Meredith. I agree. You sound more bored than lonely. Have you tried something thrilling for yourself? Something that makes you feel uncomfortable? I would try to find out why being a couple with someone else is so important to you first. A lot of people never find that one person, and never want to. Are you uncomfortable with yourself, or being alone? Are you afraid of something? I understand you have the degree and all that, but why? Did you do that for yourself? Did you do that to make yourself more attractive to a man? What's up? You need answers to why you're doing the things and thinking the way you are. More therapy can help.

    Posted by hippydippy September 4, 09 01:06 PM
  1. "...watching my friends get married, have babies, & buy big, beautiful homes in the ‘burbs." Stop trying to compete with your friends.

    You can't love another until you love yourself.

    Posted by New England Expatriate September 4, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Rico did not say therapy can not help anyone, he said it is not what the LW was looking for, she had gone that route and was looking for real peoples real experiences to help her out.

    Medication is needed for some but there are more people taking meds than actually need it. Autmatically telling someone to get therapy and get a therapist able to prescribe is utter stupidity. She has NOT been diagnosed with a problem that can't be fixed without medication as far as anyone can tell.

    Rico has said in the past and will say it again...Therapy is good for some and not for others, to each his/her own. Rico has nothing personal against therapy or therapists and would use it if he needed it or for his child. Rico thinks people are too quick to make diagnoses for stuff to make a patient feel better about themselves: You have ADHD so that is why you get D's in school, take this pill and all will be well. Do you understand what Rico is saying?

    We are too heavily medicated in this nation and money spent on therapy because a person had a bad breakup 5 years ago is utterly stupid and a waste of health care dollars that should be spent on more important things such as cancer research, ALS, Strokes, etc...If you are not a REAL Dr, MD then you shouldn't even be allowed to give medical advice, go be a bartender. Nothing personal, it's jsut how Rico feels. If Rico needed or needs therapy at some point he will seek a medical doctor not for the meds but because they have more extensive training. Got it?

    Rico thanks the LW for writing in.

    Love Rico

    Posted by Rico September 4, 09 01:40 PM
  1. Ok this is a highly nerdy comment but here it goes.. upon watching the discovery channel last year, there was a show on how feelings of love manifest themselves largely in two ways - by sight - kinda like puppy love/love at first sight and also by the physical - after sex or affectionate interaction. These two are accompanied by various levels of dopamine and other mind drugs coursing through your head. Supposedly the love at first sight phenomena wears off after a time period - 3 years on average? Anyways, my nerdy theory is that you got yourself into some kind of endless loop with your mind drugs. Maybe a psychiatrist could somehow help you dismantle this?

    Posted by Anonymous September 4, 09 01:42 PM
  1. I'm sorry, but Rico you did say:

    "Rico just doesn't believe people need therapy."
    and
    "THERAPISTS ARE NOT THE ANSWER"

    I do understand what you're saying - there has been a lot of publicity about over-medicating children and using the excuse of certain disorders to explain irresponsible behavior when perhaps there is something else going on.

    It's just that you seem, through your posts, to be a person dedicated to his wife, very confident in his beliefs, and pretty open-minded, which is why this thing about therapists (and chiropractors, but I won't go there) was upsetting.

    Ok, I'm over it.

    Posted by ferrick September 4, 09 02:21 PM
  1. I really wish Rico would stop talking in 3rd person. It is making people not take you seriously. stop. you are bugging me.

    Miss M.- All the best :) You seem like a wonderful person. Keep your head up!

    Posted by GoAwayRico September 4, 09 02:42 PM
  1. Advice for Ms. Lonelyhearts: Read "Making Things Better", a novel by Anita Brookner.

    Posted by Christine September 4, 09 02:42 PM
  1. Rico, part of being a good conversationalist is being a good listener. Today, you are just repeating yourself, talking to hear yourself talk, and not listening to what others are actually saying. You must be tired, I know it's been a long week. Go home and practice being a good listener, then come back next week, refreshed.

    Posted by Dr. Phil September 4, 09 02:47 PM
  1. Miss M,
    I feel your pain, it's almost as if i wrote the letter you wrote. It's just that i have had my heart broken 2 times, and i am 33. i have gotten over the ex's, but it still stings to think about that pain they caused me, and I know that they are now married and moved on.
    i have been struggling the most i have ever struggled in this past year or so. i never thought i would have such lows in my life. i am definetly experiences the lows. I feel as if i have tried everything to meet new people and possible men... i have joined sports leagues, running clubs,
    dance classes, summer share homes, winter ski shares, volunteer groups, etc etc. i understand i am very lucky to have the opportunity and freedom to do these things, but i am growing bored with it, and i am still single and lonely.
    i am a very outgoing person, I take the opportunities that are given to me and put myself in situations where i will meet new people all of the time, through friends, friends of friends, networking parties, etc. etc. I meet men, i go on dates, but i rarely find a REAL strong connection. I have recently had a connection, but timing was off on his end...
    So... i am still alone. i never really cared that i was alone, until the past year or so, i feel like i could be spending time with someone special, or raising a family, etc. I have tried to fill that void and need to want to care and love someone with other things, i am still trying to find what it will take to fill that void, i don't think i will fill it unless it's with that special person.
    i never thought i would be the last to get married...i often think to myself, why am i not loved like this friend, or that friend? am i not good enough? I very well know that i am, but this negative force sometimes battles out my positive energy and wins, and when this happens, i break down.... i cry at least once per month and sometimes even more often.
    I could write more and more..... i just want to let you know i am in the same boat... i know how you feel... talking to my friends helps me most, i feel better after a good conversation. girlfriends are amazing. they truly are. other than that, the only thing i think we can do is wait, unfortunetly.
    best of luck.


    taken ca

    Posted by ladybug September 4, 09 11:06 PM
  1. Miss M,

    Drugs really are wonderful things.
    Have your therapist look into a good balance of anti-depressants.
    Or you could just get some cats.

    Good luck,
    DrK

    Posted by DrK September 8, 09 09:10 AM
 
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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