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Help! I’m a 40-year-old woman who’s never been in a relationship longer than a year and a half. I feel like I have trouble connecting with people in general (I don’t have a lot of friends), and so I haven’t met a lot of guys I connect with to date (hence, no long-term boyfriends).
When I have clicked with a guy, he has often been emotionally unavailable so it never goes anywhere.
I myself am open to an emotional connection, but it’s only happened in dating a couple of times, short-term.
What can I do to make a relationship go beyond a year and a half?
I just want to take a moment to say that I know I mention friends a lot here. I talk about community and how important it is to have people in your life who aren’t romantic partners. That is how I feel, and I depend on that kind of network, but I hope I never imply that a support system has to be about quantity. You don’t need “a lot of friends.” Depending on your personality, one might work. Yes, it would be nice if you could call on a few people for quality time, but if you can connect with anyone – even if it’s someone you met when you were a kid – that means something.
Also, a year and a half is not two months. It’s not a week. I’d call a someone who sticks around for a year and a half a long-term boyfriend, assuming they showed up for you regularly during that time. If you spent most of those years and a halves feeling disconnected and alone in a relationship, that means you stuck around too long. The lesson is about bailing when you’re not getting what you need so you can give yourself space to notice someone who can be emotionally available.
My last note here is that a lot of people are coming out of their homes right now and making themselves vulnerable. They’re getting on apps and asking for what they want. People are also feeling a little insecure about how they socialize, and they’re forgiving the awkwardness of others. We’re all adjusting. Use this time to experiment, to get on an app and swipe on a bunch of people to see what they have to say. You don’t need a massive network to meet a possible partner. There are many strangers out there who are using apps to find someone, too. Talk to them.
Readers? What happens at a year and a half? What’s it been like to date right now?
Stop looking for a connection, emotional or otherwise. Stop looking for The One. Look for groups of people who enjoy activities you enjoy, so you can find people with similar interests and then branch out from that point. Also: Do something new. Take an adult-ed class in basket-weaving or axe-throwing.harrisbstone
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