What’s your love and relationship problem?
Ask Meredith at Love Letters. Yes, it’s anonymous.
What’s your love/dating/marriage/crush problem these days? Send a letter here, please.
I recently found your podcast. I live just outside a small city – and a few hours from other cities. I was married to my best friend for 15 years (no kids because he didn’t want them), and while we adored each other, the marriage had its issues. One was his shame around sexuality. We tried to work on it together, but after many years I was really at the end of my tether. I gave him what was basically an ultimatum, divorce (which neither of us wanted) go back to therapy (which he didn’t want), or open our marriage. He chose the last option, and after a lot of conversation, we started down that path. Turns out it was fantastic.
I rekindled a relationship with my first love, and he and my husband became good friends. But while it was wonderful, the marriage still had issues. It ended but we preserved the friendship. Basically, I went right into a decade-plus relationship with my first love, who has a child. It was also a complex relationship and ultimately we ended it on a good note about two years ago.
Since then I have dated some and had another four-year relationship. But I just ended that, and now at age 50 I find myself single and without children for the first time since I was 23. I lead self-love trainings and work with people around trauma. So I really need to do my own work. I really want to be in a partnership, but only if it’s expansive and with someone who is also working on themselves.
Here comes the question. How do I find that? It really seems that everyone is either married or there is a reason they are not. There are so many more amazing women in the world than men. I know that’s a bit overgeneralization. I don’t want to be on the dating sites; they depress me. Also, I live a very alternative lifestyle and I just don’t find people on those sites (I have tried them all) who are very interesting. I try to get out into the world to do fun things. All the people I meet are already partnered. I have this sense that my person is looking for me, but we just can’t find each other. Any words of wisdom? Thank you for listening.
You’re saying you can’t find your person, but you have found three people who made you pretty happy for many years. It hasn’t been that difficult for you to find partners. You just couldn’t time you next one for right now.
Some of your inner work should focus on partnering with yourself. That sounds very self-help, but … that’s the goal right? There is a great freedom in being alone without feeling much loneliness. When you’re good on your own, it’s also easier to have fun. You can go on dates, have experiences, sex, whatever, without feeling pressure that the night should lead to something deep and meaningful.
Yes, you want meaning and connection. But there are many ways to share important moments with someone. A short relationship that’s uplifting and pleasurable can change your outlook on everything. It doesn’t mean the person is “your person” who has been looking for you. But it can be a good time.
I do a lot of talking with my therapist these days about discomfort, and why I (and others) are so quick to want to pass through the feeling as quickly as possible. No one aims to be uncomfortable, so it’s natural to want to make the feeling go away. But sometimes sitting with it is the thing that gets you to the next step. You’re uncomfortable being single, right? Being alone makes you feel frustrated. Maybe scared. I’m guessing here; you’ll make a better list of what crosses your mind.
Accept those feelings without trying to make them go away. Then consider that even without partnership, you’re cool. Come up with reasons why. Eventually, start looking again. Maybe expand the geography of your search. Try to discover one interesting thing about everyone you talk to. Most people do have something good to say if you ask the right questions.
Accept that this takes time. We’ve been saying this a lot lately, but believe this: dating involves patience. A ton of it. You can’t skip this part, and there’s a lot to learn from it.
Readers? Advice for dating? Or not dating?
If you regard men generally in such low esteem, you may be feeling burnout and need to take a break from dating. Especially so if you feel like you’ve had to walk a tightrope to accommodate your past partners. Focus for a while on enjoying parts of life that don’t involve romance.Terminater5
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