Q: Hi Meredith,
I've never had a problem meeting women. My problem has always been maintaining a long-term relationship. I dated the same girl from the age of 19 until 25. Things unfortunately didn't work out, and that led to my current predicament. Since the breakup, most of my relationships have only lasted between three and four months, and they usually end with the fun "you're a great guy, but ..." cliche. Obviously I'm doing something wrong. How do I figure out what it is? I will add that I have ended some relationships, but the majority of them have been ended by the girl.
I've asked my female friends for advice and they've told me to keep doing what I'm doing and eventually someone will realize what they have in me. Not terrible advice, but it hasn't solved my problem. I've also tried using Google -- and that brought me to various advice sites for men (AskMen.com and the like). The only things I've gathered from them is that I should be confident, aloof, and act like the last thing on Earth I would want to do is spend time with a girl. Is that stuff true? And how would I know when to stop acting that way?
Is it possible to meet a girl and build a relationship while being myself? Do I follow the advice men's sites provide? I know I have a lot to offer. I'm not needy, clingy, or jealous. I have a job I love, a great group of friends, a house that keeps me way too busy, and plenty of my own hobbies and interests. How do I find someone to share that with? Trying to figure this out has been driving me crazy. It feels like I'm looking for the answer to a riddle I'll never figure out.
– Frustrated & Confused, Keller, Texas
A: I just spent about an hour on AskMen.com to see what you've been reading, F&C.
Some of it is ridiculous. The advice section of the site seems to be one big advertisement for a book written by an advice columnist named "Doc Love." And then there's a guide to faking a male orgasm. (As if that kind of lie is going to help anyone.) There are also a number of photo galleries of lovely ladies in tight dresses. (I don't know who Lucy Pinder is, but whoa. Good for her.)
My assessment of your situation is that you are capable of a long-term relationship. In fact, you had one that lasted for half of your 20s. Now you're just dating. You're ending mediocre relationships or having them ended for you. That sounds pretty normal to me. Remember that most people were doing the unsuccessful dating thing in their early 20s while you had a girlfriend. Most of us have to date around at some point.
I'm with your female friends -- keep doing what you're doing. Finding the right partner isn't always easy. It's even more difficult if you use weird tips from men's dating sites to manipulate women. I mean, if you can't be yourself, what’s the point?
All I can advise you to do is to make sure that your busy life doesn't isolate you. Keep meeting new people. Relax.
And my final piece of advice: only trust advice columnists who tell you their real names. (Yes, that includes Margo Howard, Dan Savage, and, of course, Miss Conduct, who we know is Robin Abrahams.)
Readers? Is there a problem here? Anything worthwhile from men's sites? Discuss.
– Meredith (thinking I should buy the rights to AskMere.com)
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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 new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.