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Am I hard-wired to be alone?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 6, 2010 07:00 AM

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Let’s pretend it's Wednesday and chat at 1.

Q: Hi Meredith,

I find myself in need of some combination of wise counsel, kindness, and perhaps tough love. My question is: do you think some people are just not meant to be in relationships? Is it possible that some of us are hard-wired in ways that make it impossible to have love that sticks around?

Clearly, I fear I am one of these people. I am in my late 30s and recently single after the demise of a relationship that I thought could be for good (or at least for whatever future I can currently imagine). I am very tired of finding myself in this place. I have no trouble making and keeping wonderful friends, and the ones who've known me for 20-plus years assure me that I am lovely and kind and smart and the right woman will be lucky to have me. I'm attractive enough to occasionally get hit on in bars (usually by men, and I am a lesbian so this isn't super helpful in terms of finding a partner). I have a professional job, had therapy when I needed it, and have excellent table manners, so the more obvious obstacles to connecting with someone aren't an issue.

All of which leads me to wonder: is there just something inherent in some subset of people to which I belong that poses an insurmountable barrier to being in a relationship? Are some of us just doomed and would I be better served by giving up the ghost, accepting that I was meant to remain single, and trying to make peace with that?

I feel like I have totally lost perspective on the whole thing and would be grateful for any you can provide. Thank you.

– Ready to Hang it Up, Boston


A: RTHIU, I believe that all people are capable of participating in long-term, life-changing romantic relationships. Especially you. The fact that you're asking this question tells me that you're hard-wired for companionship.

I also believe that old saying about water seeking its own level. I believe that your match will probably be someone who could be on her own quite easily but has learned the value of partnership over time. I also believe that finding the right match isn't easy for anyone, and that sometimes, people just wind up single. It happens.

Keep in mind that there are people getting divorced right now after 20 and 30 years of companionship who are asking the same question about their hard-wiring. Any time a relationship fails, we're bound to wonder what's wrong with us. The truth is, we're all a bit off. Some of us just get luckier with love than others.

Straight men hit on you. Friends love you. You know which fork to use. You just haven't met the woman who's hard-wired to stick around. But there isn't anything inherently wrong or different about you based on what you've told us. It's just luck and timing and being open and all the annoying stuff that people write about in self-help books.

That's my long answer. My short answer is that I've yet to meet a person who doesn't want/isn't capable of love. In fact, I've found that the folks who renounce love and make grand statements about relationships being impossible are the ones who want companionship the most and turn out to be really good partners once they find the right person.

It sounds like you just had a bad breakup. Don't let it mess with your head too much. Keep hope alive.

Readers? Are some people just not capable of love that lasts? Why do some people seem to be better at finding partners than others? Which one of you can give this LW the best pep talk? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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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