Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What does it feel like to think you’re physically attractive, yet have poor success with dating? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
This is an emotional topic for me, and my single status is something that has long embarrassed me, but I’m going to answer this question because I’m trying to practice vulnerability.
I’ve been dating for 7 years (age 25 to now 32), and have been entirely unsuccessful at finding a serious relationship. Meanwhile, many of my friends have fallen in love, gotten married, and started families in that same time frame. I never thought it would be so difficult.
Here is my working theory:
I did that in Paint. That sweet spot is SMALL. That right there narrows down the field considerably.
Now that you have the attraction piece figured out, what about the love piece?
Well, here’s a quote I came across a few years back: “Thousands of people will love us, but millions won’t”. Those odds are not great.
So to recap:
- First you need to find someone in that tiny sweet spot.
- Then you need to find the very few individuals in that sweet spot who will LOVE you for all that you are, and will STAY through good and bad times.
Sometimes I feel like that leaves maybe 5 people in the whole world, and they probably live in some random town in Arkansas or just took a ex-pat job in Hong Kong (I live in Boston).
In a word, I am frustrated. In another, I am lonely.
At this point, you may be thinking I’m just really picky and this is my own fault. But you’re wrong.
I meet great people all the time. That’s not my problem. I’ve gotten into numerous relationships with men over the years. Sure, I have rejected a few of them early on because the chemistry wasn’t there.
However, many more have rejected me. Literally every man I have wanted to get serious with has ultimately walked away from me, after months of lust and infatuation on their part. After months of daily phone calls and banging down my door at all hours to see me.
I never know why. There is never an explanation. Things are happy and blissful, and then they are not. I’m told I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m told that I’m amazing, but just not for them. They leave, and I never hear another word. They have all been highly ambitious and successful individuals (my type, I suppose). They don’t settle.
They do not fall in love. Not with me.
I consider myself attractive in many ways, not just looks. I am kind and considerate (most of the time). I’m supportive and deeply loyal. I have a great sense of humor and adventure. I make people laugh. I am active and athletic and have many hobbies. (I’m a good writer?!) I take care of myself and am fiercely independent. I am a decent cook. I have wonderful friends and family. I have a great job and earn a good wage. I have a sweet dog who I love dearly. I travel and keep myself open to new experiences.
But no one stays.
It’s hard to shake the feelings that I’m not good enough for anyone, even though I know that I am. My experiences have shown me that men walk away very easily. It’s hard for me to trust a new romantic interest. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t do the same. I just come to expect it now, and prepare myself for it – self-fulfilling prophecy?
So 7 years later I still have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to dating. Because everyone you meet is different. We all have different stories and experiences. You can’t necessarily apply the same principles you learned in one relationship to another. I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.
There is no formula.
You can read books and blogs and articles galore on this subject (as I have), but ultimately it just comes down to that special sauce between two people. It’s either there or it’s not. And a lot of it just comes down to luck. Being in the right place at the right time.
But what do I know? I’m still single.
But here’s one thing I do know: I’m not giving up. In fact, I think 2016 is my year. Here’s to believing that my 7 years of bad luck are over.