Help me with my single women friends-long

mary11February 3, 2005

I am not single, have been married with a child for 15 years and I am happy. But I do have two single girlfriends that I've been best friends with for 20 years or more (we are in our mid-forties). Both of these women are very attractive, college degreed professionals who both own their own homes and have excess income to travel on, etc. For the last 10 years, I've heard the war-stories of their dating adventures, but I am now thinking that they are single because they want to be. Both have these incredible expectations (guy must have lots of money, well-educated, ivy league preferred, with many "interesting" friends, own a pricey house in CA, no divorce or kids etc.) They look for this and find it, yet something is wrong with every single one of these "no baggage" men who are available. Instead, they hook up with guys who are recently divorced or going through it, lots of younger men (at least 10 years), guys from europe or the middle east, who of course want a relationship with them but don't want to marry them, and guys who have steady girlfriends and want something on the side. I have been a good friend to them in listening and whatnot, but it's just hard anymore to see them them throw away a really great guy for little or nothing at all, and then complain that they can't sleep at night and are fearful for their futures, alone. For instance, one of these women told me recently that a guy she was dating took her to a very expensive dinner in San Fran at a 5-star pan-asian restaurant, then drinks at a nice jazz bar after that. But then, the guy was still hungry (who wouldn't be if you're a big guy and get the $$ scenic platter), so he stopped by an In and Out Burger at the end of the evening for a shake and a couple of burgers, then went to her house and ate them (she didn't want anything). Yet, it really turned her off, and he is history. Still, this woman (and the other one) constantly complain that they want to get married, etc. endlessly to me, can't find the right guy. I am at my wits end because I think if I tell them the truth, this is going to really end our friendship. Any advice?

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i may be opening up a can of worms by replying
but looking at it from a mans point of veiw
if your freinds throw a guy over for one little thing
then maybe they arent as serious about looking for a mate/spouse as they think they are ??

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 8:45PM
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Maybe they're a bit on the shallow side? I would think after that length of time one might look "inside" and see who they find.

If I had a list none of their pre-qualifications would be included. I'd take a gentle, kind type of guy with empathy, integrity and honesty. Qualities one can't acquire with a big bank account.

Just not a material type of person here.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 1:27AM
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I had a co-worker, twice divorced, slim, blond - and pretty... but she had her "criteria"...

He had to have a good job, well off, no kids under age 18, no shorter than 5'11" and she was 5'3", no facial hair, couldn't be balding or thinning hair, etc. etc. etc.

I do think everyone has their own "preferences" and there are some things that are definite turn ons and turn offs for me and others too. But you do have to go beneath the layers to see what lies beneath. There are some wonderful men out there.

Me personally - I'm 41 and always single. People always ask me why I've never married. No good reason I suppose except that only one guy asked me and then he changed his mind. I've dated since but nothing too serious until now.

This guy is nothing like my ideal guy. I usually prefer taller men, because I'm 5'8". Physically I love blond men.
So, Rich is my height and Asian - originally from Hong Kong. And I couldn't ask for a nicer more caring guy. He's got two children - daughters who live with him as he believes he can raise them right and he thinks I'm the best thing since sliced bread. He's caring and concerned and loving all rolled into one. It's true that it happens when you least expect it.

I'm not suggesting that your friends lower their standards, but why not be friends with these men instead of just ruling them out after a first date? It takes time to get to know someone.

Just my two cents.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 11:52AM
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Well, the friend who blew off the In-and-Out burger guy was previously "in love" with a guy from India, educated at Harvard, CFO of a successful company who was also 15 years younger than her. He would never introduce her to any of his family members in the 5 months they dated (his mother visited every other month and he didn't phone her during those times), yet he took her to Paris and so forth. She was devastated when she finally pushed for more, and he blew her off, pronto. It just gets harder and harder to listen these kinds of stories and pretend to be sympathetic. PS The In and Out guy is an ivy investment banker, so he wasn't exactly a loser, her age (44)and never married, no kids. Her other complaint about him was that he had a small gut, and she couldn't get past that, he did not seem athletic. Both of these girlfriends have never been married nor had a relationship that lasted longer than 6 months in the entire time we've known each other. Yet, I love them both dearly, they are the best women friends you would ever want., favorite "aunties" of my nine year old son. I do feel badly when they are lonely, shed tears to me over growing old and being alone. I wish I could just bang their heads on the wall and tell them the truth without alienating them, or pontificating.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 5:21PM
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If the guy was hungry why didn't she offer to cook? They were going back to her place anyway? Sounds like somebody got rejected prior to his being hungry. In your girlfriends defense the guy's inablility to control his appatite is a flaw of consideration. That may have been only a final straw or a bad omen of a possible future.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 1:46PM
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My guess is that your friends are looking for know, from "Kate & Leopold"? Mr Perfect. The man who will justify why they never married before...because they never met anyone like *him* before. The "In & Out" guy was ruled out long before he got the burger. He was too "ordinary" in her estimate...even though he may be extraordinary thru objective eyes.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 2:05PM
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I also have friends like that, except they keep marrying the guys and getting divorced ... probably another reason I stay single.

Too picky, not really sure of what they want. With my one friend, she doesn't really know herself so she has no idea what she wants in a guy ... except for all the wrong things. Has real issues with her own self-confidence and self-worth ....

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 12:43PM
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I have to agree with Barbara, your friends need to be more open minded.....I have met some wonderful people in my trials and tribulations and some have been overweight, some not so pretty and many not so rich....I'll take any one of those to be a part of my life before I start setting standards as your friends have. As far as advice, they have it set in their hearts their criterion...let them be lonely if they choose to be.....just keep telling them that "maybe next time will be the one" and don't let it be your problem

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 8:57PM
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Id encourage your girlfriends to stop their search for awhile and get comfortable with themselves  heck, even get comfortable with being on their own. I believe that if youÂre happy with yourself, you are much more accepting of others. It sounds like your girlfriends are looking for INNER fulfillment and believe a guy (& his extroidinary attributes) will be the key. Though your girlfriends donÂt seem to be lacking externally, they could be very insecure with their *person*. Self-contentment has a way of opening doors and expanding the playing field in more ways than one!

Other thoughts are a) they arenÂt really all that worried about settling down  subconsciously believing that they have plenty of time to find *husband material*, b) they have over-inflated self-esteem, c) they have no idea how unlikely it is to find Mr.Perfect. If any of these are true, thereÂs probably not much you can do in assistance Â

I have a couple single friends who also share their war stories with me. Unlike your friends though, these girls seem to have NO standards at all. TheyÂre open to date anyone  even married guys. WhatÂs so sad it how obvious their pursuit is --- being described as the "stamp of desperation". They have all the qualities that you mention of your single girlfriends, and seem to be such *catches*, but thereÂs something wrong inside Â

I had standards like your girlfriends previously... married a guy that seemed to fit those requirements - divorced 6 yrs later after realizing that I needed something (emotionally) more. I spent several years just concentrating on me, my home, family and pets. After awhile I realized that I was happy as a bird by myself. A few years ago, I became involved with a guy who didnÂt fit my (old) model: much younger than I, no career, no money, limited time, no travel, limited education, etc. (Not that these are bad things  they just accompany a young college student.) What he did have was most of the right qualities: honesty, loyalty, compassion, optimism, attentiveness, etc. I donÂt think I could have entered this relationship if I hadnÂt been comfortable and happy with myself. He came at a very good time  when I was able & willing to look beneath the surface. Unfortunately, there were just TOO many differences and we parted ways. What I learned is that to be more open, but set some standards  things that you recognize as important and that you want/need in a partner (whether theyÂre things others agree on or not)  otherwise, someone is going to be hurt. IÂm sorry I couldnÂt get past some things, but am determined that next chance I get, IÂll work harder!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2005 at 11:27AM
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I'm going to add a note of dissent here. First of all, if a woman is single after a certain age, it just might be fate, or that she has never met someone she is compatible with, or that other life dramas have taken time and energy away from the "husband hunt." These things happen. I strongly believe that the idea that someone is single because they want to be or because it is their choice is over-rated. Yes, if you're desparate, you can find a mail-order bride or get pregnant or any number of strategies that will just "get you someone." But that doesn't mean you will be happily married. And also, many sucessful, seemingly "eligible" single women are sucessful precisely because they put career ahead of social life, and giving up all their time and energy to dating isn't the way a woman moves up the career ladder. And yes, some women are picky, but what's wrong with that?! We often don't get the whole story. I mean if I say I didn't like someone because they ate too much, that might be more polite than saying, "I wasn't attracted to their baldness, beer gut and overall boorish personality." I mean that might be the truth, but it is cold and critical and nobody wants to own up to that kind of thing. You don't even like thinking it, at least I don't!!! Anyway, I think this whole, "You're too picky" arguement is an oversimplification. Think of it this way, if your girlfriends weren't so picky they might be complaining about how their husbands run around on them and abuse them. You say picky, but perhaps they are perceptive and discerning. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you! :-) Also, if they seem to choose "bad boys," rather than it being their "choice," it may be the other way around, the bad boys choose them. Someone who goes out with a "bad boy" and then ends up breaking up with them is exercising common sense. If a woman stays with a man who treats her badly, then she has a problem. Just another way to think of these things.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 8:21PM
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Since I have posted this, the one particular girlfriend (who is my best friend) has talked to me about her situation. She did pass on some very good men in her youth with many regrets. However, now she is in her forties and it's much tougher to connect. She is trying to be flexible, but after having lived so many years alone it is hard for her. I do love her and I think we will be old friends together, traveling and whatnot when we are both "free", as we do occasionally now. I think that she will either settle down or not, but I don't think it's an issue for her at this point, I don't want to judge her anymore. I think she's at this age where biological and peer pressure is really pressing on her, but basically she's OK where she's at, if a few more years go by, maybe she won't be so uptight about getting a mate, who he is and all that, she'll get with who she really likes or not and be done with it, no regrets.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 10:13PM
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Well, from my 45 years of experience being single, there are several "marriage waves" that a person can ride. One is the high school one. Virtually everyone in high school is single and so lots of people meet and pair up then. After that comes the college wave, ditto. Then comes the first years out of college/career establishment phase. A lot of people who meet during this time meet as they are both starting out work. This phase is a little more difficult, because some careers are going to take a lot of time and energy to establish. There are issues that can arise in a woman's life at each of those stages that makes it hard for her to ride the wave to matrimony. After that, the pickings get slim, because a large proportion of the people in your age/social marriage class have gotten married. I think there is a fourth wave, the divorce wave starting in the 40's, and then finally a widowed wave. I'm not sure which wave you rode Mary, but after 35, things get really difficult on the dating scene, no way to sugar coat it. Men who want and are able to accomodate committed relationships tend to get into them by the time they reach 35 or so. Notice I said TEND, this is just a generalization and there are exceptions. And therein lies the challenge, you are looking for the exception in the haystack. They are there, but you have to root around, which is an emotionally trying and time consuming process. If your friends are really serious about the hunt for a good relationship, they will have to do some rather "unpleasant" marketing of themselves, and they will need all the support they can get from you. You are the perfect one to give it, since you're not the "competition." My best friends have been absolute gems this year supporting me trying to find someone decent to date and have a relationship with. It is just unbelievably hard but I won't go on and on about it here because that isn't the subject of this post. I just wanted to tell you Mary that your friends are lucky that they have you. I would have curled up and died long ago had it not been for my wonderful friends.

BTW, a book that I have been using to assist me is called "How to Find a Husband After 35, Using What I Learned in Harvard Business School." It is one of the most "out there" books you will ever find on the subject of dating, but I don't mind it so much, you don't have to agree with everything the author writes about. Basically the author's premise is that you can use the same guerilla marketing techniques someone might use to get a new project or business going to get a marriage going. Having worked in a situation where I reviewed lots of resumes, interviewed and hired lots of people, I can say that I do believe that the two processes are similar. I've had to market myself in order to get a job, and I've used my techniques to help friends get jobs. So tell your friends if they can get a job, they can get a man, and if they can make a good "hire" they can choose the right partner. That approach sounds cold and calculating, and to some exent it is, but the book also has lots of suggestions on how to reach out to your friends and neighbors to assist them in your "quest" which for me has actually been kind of spiritually uplifting. My friends now all know I am looking to get married and they are being very supportive.

Another book I found helpful that I picked up in the bargin book bin was "The Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments" and it is written by a rabbi who used the spiritual guides of the Ten Commandments as starting points for a series of essays on male/female relationships. See, that book really isn't about "dating" as much as relationships, but which would sell better, "The DATING Secrets of the Ten Commandments" or "The RELATIONSHIP Secrets of the Ten Commandments." One is a racy anomaly, one sounds preachy. It's all about marketing! :-) Anyway, the rabbi doesn't take himself too seriously, there are a lot of funny bits in the book with some of the serious ideas. It is a little on the schmaltzy side, a little overdone, but there are a few pearls in there.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 1:59PM
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Ms. Rose, thanks so much for your wonderful post! You are very insightful. I am so happy to have my single girlfriends too, because they are so much easier to discuss personal problems with, they really care. No matter where my DH and I have moved through corporate shuffles, they keep in touch steadily, have visited me whenever they could, most unlike my later, married w/children suburban female counterparts. I move, they're MIA. Xerox newletter once a year. Anyway, I married at age 35, had my first and only son at age 37, so I do understand somewhat the difficulties of dating after a "certain age". It's funny, but my single girlfriends swear they have a harder time with the older guys than the younger ones, especially if the guy has never been married, never lived with somebody in a committed relationship (which is what they seem to want). A few complaints I've heard are these:
1. Many of these older men put ZERO effort into the relationship. They expect my friends to call THEM, especially if she is their age.
2. They get lazy and don't plan dates with proper notice, It's like "day of..." This is totally unacceptable (and I agree) to a woman with a heavy corporate schedule. It is also just plain rude to anybody else.
3. Some of these older men decide to get married and then they want the whole sandwich, including kids. That may or may never be an option if you're a woman over 40. It's weird, but my friends never ask outright the guy's age. If he looks about 50, he probably is. That's fine with them. However, these older guys are pretty upfront about JUST how old my friends are. It usually comes up 1st or second date, then they never get a callback, no matter how good they look. And they do look good, both naturally and through modern science. It becomes a game, my friends demurring, the men asking "exactly what year did you graduate from blah, blah".

On the flip side, as I've stated in my above posts, I do think my girlfriends can be just as inflexible. Especially regarding income. The reason for this (they say) is that they have worked hard at their careers all their lives and they don't want to be in the "starter house" at this age, doing all the stuff young marrieds went through in their twenties. They want to start where many of us who have been married awhile are at, or better. They don't want to be the main breadwinner, although they still want their careers. In essence, they want at the very least, their equal, economically and socially. That's fair. But that's also the "needle in the haystack" as you say. They also don't want previous wives and children, for mostly financial reasons, and some simply don't want to deal with being a "stepmom" or with the angry ex for the next 18 years. The Harvard Book, they've told me about, as well as "The Rules". They've also done Match.Com, 6-minute dating, It's just lunch, etc. But I've not heard of the Rabbi's book, it could be a great read and I will pass it on. A little humor, a little boot-camp. I like it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 5:14PM
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Yes well I understand what you are saying because I have a friend who has what I call the "Prince Charming" disease. Unless a guy lives up to her ideal, she doesn't want anything to do with him. She married young, and her ex husband really put her through the emotional mill, so she is extremely gun shy. In that 10 Commandments book I was telling you about, the rabbi calls this the "aristocrat" phenomenon. He says most people today are living like "aristocrats" of old, and when they marry they want someone of the same high class as themselves, etc. As opposed to what he calls a dating "peasant" who has nothing but love to offer. I've been involved with an online dating service, and I've corresponded and gone out with several "older" men and have found them to be very nice and warm and polite. But then I am trying hard to keep an open mind and not judge on superficial things. I'm willing to go out with a guy that doesn't immediately make me want to fall madly in love with him. There's no reason to go that fast if you're in it for the long haul. In contrast, my friend believes true love is like a train wreck, it just comes at you head on. She's a gorgeous, classy woman. Maybe she'll find someone good enough for her someday, but she's searching in a very limited pool, no doubt about it. I think if my friend were a little more flexible she could find true love with a better class of guys than she currently pines after. But you can't change a person's taste at that level. I've talked to her about it in a friendly way, and she is set on what her tastes are and set on the idea that they must meet her strict religious standard, so I respect that. She's a wonderful warm person who is very kind and loving, so I'm not sure why she is so particular about dating, except as I started out by saying, the scars from the terrible pain of her first marriage, she is bound and determined to get a better deal the nexty time around. If she ever does find Prince Charming they will be one heck of a couple!! :-) She really is a classy woman and she probably doesn't realize how much she intimidates someone who might be a nice, decent guy but shy or a little insecure. That kind of person could make a fine hubby, but would probably never imagine himself with my lovely friend. And perhaps rightly so. And therein lies the irony! Opening yourself up to the possibility of real love after you've been in the trenches for an extended period is a difficult challenge. Perhaps that's where you can be the greatest help to your friends, help them to understand the compromises of a good marriage, maybe let them in on your imperfections as a couple, the "settling" you've both done over the years.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 10:57PM
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