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I have dating leprosy

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 16, 2010 09:28 AM

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This letter inspired me to read about leprosy on Wikipedia for about 20 minutes.

Q: I'm 32 years old, successful, lots of friends, active in the community in a lot of ways, very social, and what my male friends call a "head turner."

I have also been divorced for just over a year (two-year marriage -- he had an emotional affair and was seriously mentally ill).

I can't get a boyfriend. I've met plenty of men in the year since my divorce and they seem interested in two things -- my friendship or getting me into bed. And that's it. I've heard every excuse under the sun why NOT me -- "I'm not ready for a relationship." "I already met someone." "The timing is off." "Just not interested." I'll go on one date, but they get so turned off by me that there's never a second date. But none will ever tell me why.

Am I too intimidating? What do I need to change about myself to get a man to look at me as girlfriend material?

I've lived a pretty interesting and full life at 32 years -- won some major awards for my work, lived some interesting places, and met some cool people. I've been lucky and blessed. I love my friends, I (generally) love my job, I am responsible financially (occasionally shoe purchase not withstanding), and I don't beat my dog.

I just don't get it.

I watch guys I'm interested in pick other girls and I keep asking, “Why not me?"

As the same time all of this is happening, my ex-husband wants to reconcile and I don't know what to do. He loved me, he was great to me until the emotional affair/his illness spiraled out of control. Plus, while he's claiming celibacy the last year, I certainly have not (he left me - not the other way around).

In short, I'd kill for a boyfriend -- someone to talk to and spend time with. But it's like all those positives work against me. Men don't seem to want confident, pretty, smart, outgoing women.

I have plenty of male friends, but that's all they see me as - a "little sister." Not "girlfriend material."

While I'm not sure I want to get married again, a part of me is so painfully lonely that I'm tempted to reconcile with my ex just to be with SOMEONE.

What's it gonna take? I'm at my breaking point. I come home and cry almost daily over this because I feel so deficient and like a failure. I go to the therapy and she tells me there's nothing wrong with me. While mentally I believe that, my heart thinks I have leprosy of some sort.

– Leper of Dating, Waltham

A: You're not a leper, LOD. And please don't kill for a boyfriend.

My guess is that you're going to hear from a lot of 32-year-old readers today who have never been married and have survived for longer than a year without a significant other. They're probably going to tell you that you need to be patient. And they'll be right.

I agree with your therapist. There's nothing wrong with you. You just have to take your time. Relax. Adjust to your new life. Some of that crying is about coping with change, not about being single. Work through it.

And remember -- this is an exciting journey (don't roll your eyes). Usually, in books and movies about love, we follow a single heroine until she meets someone fantastic. That's the fun part -- watching her as a single person. You're back to being that single heroine. That means you're movie-worthy. You could be played in some annoying romantic comedy by some annoying hot actress. Congrats.

You're lonely, and there's no quick fix for that, but loneliness is a part of life. If you can learn to cope with solitude -- and love yourself as a single person (as opposed to diagnosing yourself with leprosy) -- you'll be much better off when you find another partner.

And don't reconcile with your ex. It's a bad idea. You've made it clear that you're excited to be with someone new.

Readers? Who would play her in the annoying romantic comedy of her life? Is she asking for too much after a year? Does it get easier to be single over time? Should she consider the ex? Is it possible she has dating leprosy? Is her resume the problem? 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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