congrats on your stable, happy relationship!

…if you have one. Me, I’m baffled, to the point where it’s starting to seem funny. In the past year or so, after a really long run of mostly stable, happy LTRs, including a marriage that lasted decades and several other relationships with women lasting for years on end, I’ve had nothing but volatile things that never get far off the ground, and for two reasons only:

  1. I really like a woman, but she finds zero chemistry with me, and either breaks up with me after a few dates, to my surprise, or she just never really engages with me at all, just declares herself available, looking, horny, eager, etc. but just not with me OR

  2. the exact opposite happens: some woman expresses a heartfelt interest in me, but usually after a few dates, it just isn’t happening for me, I find the woman (usually) too conventional, too boring, too bland, even though these women are categorically not much different from the first group of women, whom I find exciting, engaging, charming, sexy—both groups are pretty much the same: same age group, same socio-economic background, same educational levels, even the same looks and the same smarts.

I don’t mean to complain, some people have it much worse than I do and I’m going through this comically bad patch now, but MAN it’s so weird it’s just funny. it’s gotten to the point where I’m starting to think as I ask women out, “Listen, can we cut straight to it: do you like me a LOT, right now, or do you feel totally cold to me? I’m just curious.” I’ve almost forgotten what it feels to be in a comfortable solid relationship. I don’t know how you people do it anymore, but congrats if you do.

Hard to know what to say, apart from the only rule to all this stuff is that there are no rules.

Just keen your sense of humour well up, and your cynicism button on mute, and keep plugging away.

Thank you! I was right where you are a few years ago, so don’t feel bad. I deduced some time ago that, as we grow older and/or more experienced, the playing field narrows down a bit. Either we’ve already gone this route with someone in the past and it wasn’t good, or someone reminds us of someone else that WAS good and it takes a bit to realize that no, no, it’s not as good, AND we get pickier for the same reasons. Makes us a little less willing to put ourselves out there than we might have been in the past, so opportunities get missed. When we say “Fark it, let’s just give it a shot!” on something we suspect isn’t great, often the result is ‘meh’.
It’s a craps shoot, but, as in any other time of life, one of the best ways to find someone to be happy with is just go work on yourself being happy, first. AND, as a bonus, when you’re not in your 20’s anymore, it’s a lot easier to know what makes you happy outside of a relationship, so…

Go get busy with something other than a relationship, and stuff will happen.

/my 2c

This can be a self-reinforcing cycle. Your feelings are raw and on the surface just now, and you’re probably giving off kind of a needy vibe. That means you’re attracting women who love the idea of a project, and turning others off. Not sure how best to deal with it, but it’s something you can at least try to be conscious of.

I think people going through this sort of bad patch maybe need to stop and do a little self-assessment about what it is you’re actually looking for. Maybe it’s not quite what you think you’re looking for, and maybe some of these bad matches can actually be eliminated at the outset. I know you started a number of threads bemoaning women with cats, but you kept dating women with cats when cats were pretty much a dealbreaker for you. Maybe there are other things that really are dealbreakers and you’re just not quite figuring that out (or admitting it for some reason). Maybe your conscious mind is open to the idea of dating X but your inner mind thinks X is just awful.

That’s my best guess. Good luck.

This is very good advice. Looking for happiness can be a frustrating waste of time. People can smell ‘needy’ a mile away.

Try being happy with yourself and someone will sneak up on you when you aren’t looking. If you are looking for your next bad relationship you are going to find it.

When you are a complete person, alone, without a partner, then someone may find you interesting enough to try to get to know you. Vary your interests, go out, expose yourself to new people (not with a raincoat!), just get involved in activities that the sort of person you want to meet might be interested in.