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Baby boomer dating troubles

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 10, 2010 09:25 AM

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Morning.

Thing No. 1: Love Letters/Extra Bases party June 4. Details coming. Baseball and love. And eats. And mingling.

Thing No. 2: Miss Conduct and I are speaking at this Saturday's performance of the Nora Theatre Company's "The Lady With All the Answers," which is about Ann Landers. There's a pre-show talk and a post-show reception. It will be super fun. If you messed up Mother's Day, this is a good do-over. Come and say hello.

Q: Dear Meredith:

I'm a big LL fan although older (60) than most of your readers. I've wanted to write for some time but feared my issue wouldn't interest the LL community. But since I live with it daily, here goes.

Some background: although I never married, I've had long-term committed relationships including 19 years with my soul mate who died in '99 and 5 years with a man I hoped to "grow old with." When that didn't work out, I moved north for a fresh start near family and a city I've long loved for its culture. In early 2007, ready to date again, I joined Match, meeting 50 men thus far, including two who have become good friends, but alas, no lasting romantic connections.

As many singles agree, online dating is mixed bag of hope and disappointment. It's an uphill battle: if I like them, they don’t like me, and vice versa. From game-players and shrinking vines to serial e-mailers and the just plain weird, I've seen it all. Men my age can be picky and arrogant, especially if they’re really attractive. Ok, I get picky too with men 5+ years older, so out of shape and set in their ways, they seem -- I hate to say this -- old. With two guys, there were mutual sparks but both bolted without warning after six weeks, leaving me feeling like a leper. For awhile I thought something was really wrong with me. Fortunately, with time, I've developed thicker skin and realize chemistry is a matter of persistence, luck, and timing.

For the record, I'm bright, attractive, financially secure, fun, kind, and amazingly younger looking than my age. I'm active in several organizations, volunteer and mentor colleagues, and never hesitate to attend things I want to do with friends, or alone (usually packed with single women). My happily married family and friends keep telling me to forget men and just enjoy my "do whatever I please" single lifestyle -- advice I find insensitive when they've never had to live without love, intimacy, or someone special to spend weekends with. The fact I have a high libido doesn't help; so while I live a full, busy life with terrific friends and family, a huge part is missing.

Although I hate to give up, I can’t shake this awful feeling that time is running out -- because it is. Your LL readers tell people in bad situations to "go find one of the other six billion people out there." In my situation, they aren't out there -- and the older I get, the fewer my chances. When I hear stories of older women in other states who seem to easily find compatible partners, I go nuts.

So I ask: Is 50+ dating in Boston a done deal or in some way different from other cities? Where can a nice gal find motivated men who aren't worn out, angry, arrogant, or passive -- despite what they write about finding "the woman of their dreams"? Lastly have any readers heard stories from family or friends that might help me better handle the frustrations of searching for boomer love in Boston?

– Loveless in Lexington


A: LIL, your letter is proof that so many of these problems are universal, regardless of age. If you were 35, this letter would read the same. The stresses would be different (finding a life partner or beating a biological clock by 40), but the urgency and frustration would be similar. And I bet the 35-year-olds out there would tell you that it doesn't feel like there. At 35, most of those six billion people just got married. Everyone who's single and looking feels like they're running out of time.

Your letter also hints at one of my favorite myths, the idea that Massachusetts has something to do with your single status. These women who found love in other states … do you really think they got lucky because they live outside of Massachusetts? Doubt it.

I know many people who decided that geography was what was holding them back from finding a partner. Some of those people moved to New York City, Atlanta, and Baltimore because they thought dating would be easier in another place. So far, most of those friends (who are in their 20s and 30s, by the way) are still single. The ones who did couple off got lucky. It was a new job or a cute neighbor. Something that could have happened here but didn't.

My advice, which you're not going to love, is to continue doing what you're doing. Join new activities and tell your friends you like set-ups. And, yes, continue the online dating. It's an easy way to get out there and you never know what you'll find. As I mentioned in a letter last week, sometimes people just wind up single for a while. Yes, you're in your 60s and it feels like there's less time, but there's also less time for nonsense. Presumably, when you do meet someone you like, there will be more motivation on both sides to figure out how to make it work.

And as for your friends -- they do mean well. Really. Keep in mind that movies and books about love are pretty much all about single people. Pop culture makes being "single-and-looking" seem pretty exciting. In the eyes of your friends, you're the one with the unfinished, romantic narrative. These friends actually do think you have something they don't. I know it's tough, but give them a break.

Readers? Couldn't this letter have been written by a 30-year-old? Is it more difficult at 60? Is it worse in Massachusetts? How do you deal with coupled friends who don't get it? Once again, it's pep talk time. 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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