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Why can't guys be like grandpa?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 10, 2011 08:34 AM

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Q: I can't believe it has come to this (no offense Meredith, you're great) but at this point I need advice from someone who doesn't know me personally!

I'm a Boston girl, born and raised. I love the Red Sox, think the North End is the best Little Italy in the country, love Legal Sea Foods, and would never date any guy in a Yankees hat! Okay, okay, you get the idea. But recently, I've been wondering if I might have to leave Boston to find the right guy.

I'm 26 years old, single, never married, have a good job, and a great family! We're a big Italian family, and I have 7 brothers and sisters who are really supportive and loving. Basically, I love my life here. But, sometimes I feel like every bar I go to, every club, every boat show, every Sox game, I run into an ex or meet the same people all the time!

I've dated every type of guy you can imagine. Thin, chubby, athletic, tall, short, older than me, younger than me, smart, dumb, fun, boring ... you name it, I've dated him.

I've dated an abusive guy who I tried to change, a great guy who my family loved but who ended up boring me to death, a professional athlete who cheated on me and didn't seem interested in me all the time, and my perfect match but he couldn't hold down a job and I nearly went broke trying to make a relationship work with him. If there was a way to combine all these guys and make them better where they were lacking then everything would be great, but as every woman knows, we can't do that ... unfortunately!!!!!

The worst part is, I always compare them all. Every time a new guy disappointments me I think of the great guy who bored me death but loved me authentically. Every time a new guy starts to drain my patience and my wallet, I wonder about the professional athlete and how easy my life would have been with him financially. I end up sabotaging myself going into every relationship.

So here is my question, what are us women to do when every guy we meet ends up disappointing us in some major way? I'm sorry, but a guy has to have a stable job and his own life in order. He also has to stay in some sort of shape and care about himself. He has to be confident without being so in love with himself that he has no time for me. Is that really too much to ask? Decent looking, stable financially, and respects me enough to not put his hands on me. Is that really too much?

I'm losing faith that the types of guys like my grandfather, who worked hard his whole life, supported his family, and always respected my grandmother, just don't exist anymore. Why does it seem like today's guys are not only incapable of being a man, but the one's that are capable of doing it are either lost in their work and boring, or always jumping from girl to girl and living in clubs three nights a week?

I like to have fun, I like to have a drink or two when I go out, but I also can be a great girlfriend and want a good relationship. Are there any well balanced guys out there who are just ... normal? If they are, where are they Meredith???? Am I really asking for too much??

– Giving Up Hope, Revere


A: There are a lot of people in and around Boston, GUH. Many of those people are guys in their 20s. And here's an interesting fact: The gap between single women and men is significantly smaller here than it is in New York, at least according to 2006 stats. If you're running into the same people all of the time, you're going to too many of the same places. Grab a single friend and come up with a plan to introduce yourself to a new location or activity every week. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to meet someone every time you go out, but do pressure yourself to change your scenery.

Also, consider the possibility that your grandpa wasn't so great. I mean, he was fantastic, I'm sure. But we grandkids tend to assume that the marriages we grew up admiring were just as good before we were alive to see them. My grandparents had a fantastic marriage. Like, epic. When my grandma Lorraine died (surrounded by her grandchildren and buckets of Chinese food -- that's how we Goldsteins go), my grandfather wept in her lap and I thought, "This can never be matched." But then I remembered the very wise Lorraine telling me years ago that my grandpa was sort of an idiot when he was younger, and that when they got married at 20 and 25, they didn't know what they were in for. We're all unpolished when we're young. We evolve together.

You're probably not going to find an ideal suitor at your age, but that's OK. The point is to find someone who makes you laugh and is supportive. You might have to put up with a dude who doesn't have a job. Or a guy who needs to be told that he shouldn't try to make out with you before you're ready. Or a guy who spends too much time at work because he's just starting up his career. And maybe in 30 years, you'll still be with that guy and he'll look a bit more like your grandpa. Not your actual grandpa, because that would be creepy, but you know what I mean.

Readers? Are her expectations too high? What do you think about my grandpa principle? How is she running into the same people over and over? Who wants to move to Long Beach after looking at that map? Who wants to guess which professional athlete she dated? (I don't know, but I'm curious, too.) Get to it.

– 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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