I recently celebrated my 40th birthday with a large group of friends. It was a surprise party. We had a really good time, but at the end of the evening I went home alone, as I usually do. Most of my friends are in relationships. Many are married or have been married, some have kids. A lot of these people I’ve known since high school. It’s been a long time since they stopped trying to set me up with dates.
That’s not to say I’m always alone. I’ve had a few relationships, though I have friends who have had more spouses than I’ve had girlfriends. The longest lasted three years before we broke up. We met on the internet. It’s usually years before I find someone who interests me.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve been told I’m fairly good looking, though I am shy. I take care of myself. I make good money. For a long time it really bothered me that I couldn’t connect with anyone. I was desperate to find that special person in my life. I had a list of what I was looking for in a mate and I targeted my searches to places where I was most likely to meet someone who was interested in the same things.
Then I sort of grew contented. You might even say I gave up and focused on myself. I learned to be happy living alone, to not depend on others for my happiness. I didn’t feel like I had to be part of a crowd anymore. A few close friends was all I needed — and my cats. My cats have helped me through some tough times.
But now that I’m 40, something has changed. I’m no longer content. I wonder what I’ve missed out on. I see my friends and their families and I want to be a part of that, to share in that, but I don’t know how. I still have my list and I’ve started searching again. I feel desperate to meet someone who shares my interests, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there who does. The odds are, she’s out there somewhere, but she’s already in a relationship with someone else. The odds are, we’ll never find each other, and even if we did, I’d never be able to pry her away.
I don’t know what to do. How did you meet your wife?
Desperately Seeking Someone
It’s lonely out there riding those fences, ain’t it, partner?
How did I meet my wife? Which one? The question is, how am I going to meet the next one?
The same way I met the first four (or is it five?) — it just happens. The best ones just happen. You never find what you’re looking for, but what you’re looking for sometimes finds you. It’s a Zen thing. The more desperately you reach for it, the quicker it slips from your grasp.
You need to let go. Throw away that list and just live your life. Be open to any possibility. Don’t look for someone with the same interests. Where’s the fun in that? If you go around trying to find someone just like you, you might as well date your hand.
Surfer Dude says, the sea of life is bigger and stronger than you, and all you can hope to do is pick your wave and ride it. But just like a wave, you’ve only got a moment to decide if it’s the gnarliest. You have to seize the moment — carpe diem, baby. You have to be willing to take a chance, the make the best of the wave while it lasts. There have probably been a dozen women in your life over the years that you let slip by while you weighed the pros and cons and looked around to see if there was a better one on the horizon.
You’ve been trying to control every aspect of finding the perfect mate, but I’ve got news for you: There are no perfect mates, and you can’t control anything except yourself. So allow yourself the freedom to make an emotional train wreck of your life. You sound like the kind of guy who has never taken a chance in his life. And that is why you’re still alone.
Got a problem? Jack Waggon can set you straight: email@example.com