Basically, I have never had a boyfriend. I'm 33 years old, not Tom Cruise but not awful looking, I have a large group of friends and socialise a lot.
But whenever I try to take things further, nothing happens. I've tried bars and personal ads, both placing and responding. When I placed an ad no one replied and when I went on a couple of dates neither of them showed any interest in getting back in touch. As for chatrooms, everyone there is only out for a quick shag.
I feel that there is no point to life as I can't enjoy any of the things that make it worth living - no one to share things with, go on holiday with, meet me after work, all those little things which friends can do in your 20s but who all drift away into their own couples in their 30s.
Please don't tell me that I've got the wrong mentality to find a boyfriend. I have tried hard to find one. What I really want to know is how to live with this condition that seems to be a part of me. How I can be permanently single and still feel that there is a point to getting up in the morning?
Dear Bridget James,
You instruct me not to “tell me that I’ve got the wrong mentality.”
OK, I won’t, not to start with. You don’t have to feel you’re some kind of failure for not being cocooned in suburban bliss with husband, two pugs and the Conran catalogue. Instead you can carry on being man-about-town and relegate the sexual urges to one-off shags.
Some guys I know seem quite content with that. It’s possible to get your needs for friendship and sex met by different people. Are you seriously telling me all your gay mates are hitched? Or do you just regard the single ones as sad cases like you?
And yet content you are not. So what option do I have other than to suggest you change your mentality?
That “large group of friends” suggests to me you might just be the kind of compulsive extrovert who runs screaming when anyone tries to get more intimate.
If that’s you, you have to realise you’ve got to give up getting attention from the many to get adoration from the one. That’s what is known as commitment. Aaarghh!
But yes, it’s interesting that no one’s ever even wanted a second date. This does suggest you are doing something actively repellent.
Maybe by now you’re so sunk in gloom about the whole business of dating that you come across all Morrissey, a self-absorbed miseryguts no-one’s good enough for. “All men are bastards,” you radiate when you walk in the bar. As a result, of course, they are.
Another possibility is that you are working so hard at being charming you actually don’t notice what’s going on for the other guy, including any positive signals he’s giving you.
A story against myself. “You don’t remember me, do you?” said this hunk in a bar to me last night, to my complete surprise. “We met 20 years ago. Mind you I always thought I was more impressed by you, than you by me.”
What had actually happened is that I’d had a quick shag with this guy – and then assumed that was all he wanted. Why? Because he was too good for me.
And that, my dear, is the worm I that I think lies gnawing at your roots. The maggot of low self-esteem. Deep down, lots of social butterflies still feel like caterpillars. That’s why everyone is their friend and no one their soulmate. (It may also make them crap shags, which of course may be another factor here.)
My advice? RELAX. I suspect you have everything you need to attract someone, and that if you stop trying so damn hard, you might notice they are already about. That is, if you’re prepared to clear your diary for them…