Hi Meredith and Readers,
I read the column every day and appreciate the varied perspectives -- the ones that make me laugh, the ones that make me cringe, and the ones that make me stop and think. They have really helped.
Here's my background: late '50s, divorced five years (involuntarily; he met someone else), no children. Therapy and the passage of time have helped me move past that trauma. I'm attractive, well-educated, make friends easily, have meaningful work and a nice place to live around Boston. Sounds great, right?
Here's the problem -- I am trying to accept being alone romantically. See, I am a minister. The "usual" places to meet people, like church and work, are unavailable to me, as are dating websites. I've tried things like Meetup and have met some nice people, but others shut down as soon as they hear what I do professionally. (I don't bring it up proactively, but of course it comes up in conversation.)
So, this less about "love" and more about how do you make peace with the reality that having a romantic partner is probably not going to happen? I am hoping that at least a few of your readers may have some first-hand advice on how they have reached acceptance and filled the emotional void when they find the years passing by.
– The Rev
A: You don't have to accept that you're going to be alone. You just have to accept that finding someone won't be easy. It's not impossible, just tough. Many people will tell you that they've failed to make romantic connections at Meetup events.
It's time to tell people in your community that you're open to dating. You may not be able to hit on people at church, but your close friends can set you up. And maybe you can online date, perhaps with your profile hidden, and simply reach out to people who look interesting.
Accept that you don't know what’s going to happen. Accept that many people write to Love Letters about how difficult it can be to find a partner. But don't accept that you'll be alone forever because you don't know that to be true.
Readers? Should the letter writer assume that dating is over? Thoughts about filling the void? Thoughts about explaining this line of work to people who seem intimidated by it?