Time for another “Ask Trish” post. This week’s topic is close to my heart so let’s get right to it!
Hey Trish- I have a question for your bloggity. What the hell can I do about my lack of a love life? I’m really reluctant to try online dating- I’m more comfortable meeting someone through another person. I went looking on match & saw 2 guys I went to high school with. One is a real asshole (former “I’m awesome quarterback”) who now has herpes, and the other one was this real slimy kid who always reminded me of a shifty eyed cartoon villain. So that scared me off. I’m in a rut where most of my friends are married & have kids already, so when I do go out with them it’s more to enjoy my friends than meet guys. I don’t have a job where I meet single guys, and I have a lot of “extracurriculars” that keep me busy but they’re not really teeming with eligible men. I love my life & I’m mostly happy, but I want kids and a family. I guess I’m getting impatient & a little bored. Also annoyed that I’m basically the last woman standing among my close friends. (but being the cool aunt is pretty awesome).
I got out of a really bad relationship over a year ago, and it took me a while to process & recover. So… What now?
TRISH’S IFW (Infinite Fucking Wisdom):
Girl, I feel this question so hard. I’m going through something similar myself right now, so I’m going to answer this question for both of us. Of course, my personal baby factory has ceased production, so that’s not an issue for me but it’s HUGE for you at this moment. The biological clock is a real thing.
So let’s face facts here: What you’re doing isn’t working. While you may want to meet someone via introduction, your crappy friends don’t seem to be ponying up a whole bunch of eligible dudes for you. Why? They already married all the single guys they knew. And in any case, setups are often horrible. Friends will throw anyone at you just because he’s single and so are you.
I hate to break it to you sweetie, but you have to take this bull by the horns. It’s up to you.
I’m going to prescribe a three-part plan for you. You’re not going to like all of it. (Sorry!) But I ask you to try it.
1. Please, take this bitch slap but know that’s delivered with love.
I say this with love: Stop being the bridesmaid in your own life.
You sound like an awesome friend and family member. But you know what’s happening? You’re getting put into the Reliable Single Friend box. You’re the one people call on when they need stuff. You show up to everything. You babysit. You structure your life around other people’s expectations. (I’m just guessing all this based on what you wrote, but I’ll bet I’m not far off.)
You need to start being the main character in your own story, rather than the best supporting actress in someone else’s.
If you really want to find love, you have to stop being passive and waiting for it to come to you. Your soulmate — yes, I use that word unapologetically — can’t find you if you’re in your living room watching Mad Men on Netflix every night. (That last line was directed to me.)
2. Set yourself up for success.
We can’t pretend that men aren’t visual. That’s just how their brains work so there’s no use bitching about it. No one is going to get to know the Amazing Inner You if the outer you looks like you don’t give a crap. (Check out this video for proof.)
Do whatever you need to do to feel great about yourself if you don’t already feel that way. I’m not talking about losing a bunch of weight or getting a total makeover (unless you want to do those things). Just let your outward appearance reflect your inner awesomeness. This is your excuse to introduce your best self to the world. Go for it.
When I first got back into the dating world, I decided that I was going to work toward being my most beautiful self. If some guy rejected me, I wanted to know that it was because of my rotten personality rather than the way I looked. And you know what? It turns out that putting more effort into my appearance not only made me more dateable, but it also boosted my self esteem. No downside to that.
But while you’re at it, let’s not forget that we have to do a little marketing here since we’re talking about dating. Here’s your watchword: Cleavage. It’s more powerful than you think.
3. For the next 12 weeks, dating is your job.
If you wanted cookies, would you just sit there hoping for them? No, you’d get up and go to the store and buy some. You’d go where the cookies are.
I know. Dating is so hard. And meeting people is so hard. You have to put in all that effort and then maybe nothing comes of it. Or maybe you even get your heart broken. But pumpkin, that’s the price of admission if you want love.
So take it in manageable doses. Decide that for the next three months, you’re going to try. You’re going to take your punches and deal with whatever comes up, but you’re going make a whole-hearted effort instead of a half-assed one.
What does trying look like? It means doing your very best to be hopeful despite past disappointments. It means meeting people and having an open mind and an open heart while doing so.
In practical terms, it’s means interacting with some fellas. If you’re really into this idea of meeting people in person, I suggest joining meetup.com and going to some things. There are groups for everything and it will get you interacting with people who have common interests. Yes, it will be scary the first time or two. Do it anyway. With great risk comes great reward, yes?
Also, I really think you should reconsider online dating.
When I read your question, you know what I heard? Fear and excuses. It’s too easy to assume that everyone on online dating sites has herpes or likes to sculpt things out of lint. You gave up before you started. As an online dating veteran, I can tell you that yes, there are weird guys out there but there are also plenty of perfectly nice, perfectly normal guys. Not everyone will be your cuppa tea and vice versa. That’s OK.
But online dating sites are where the cookies are these days.
Plus, there’s a side benefit to making an online profile: It can help you get clear about you’re looking for and what’s important to you. That’s powerful information to have in your pocket as you move through the dating world.
Commit to just three months of giving it a shot. Join whichever site looks good to you. I’ve done Match.com myself, as well as OKCupid. The quality of people is similar. OKCupid is free, so it may have more tire kickers than Match, but I’ve had plenty of quality dates from both sites. Yes, I even found love for a while there (on Match).
Email people. Know that some of them won’t email back and some will. Know that you’ll sometimes get disappointed or even a little hurt, but remember that it happens to everyone. Again, it’s the price of admission.
Best of luck, my darling! Keep me posted!
Hey! Do you need some advice? Have a burning question you need answered? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Ask Trish in the subject line. I’ll answer a new question every Thursday.