Random Asides

Ask Surly Amy: Lookin’ For Love

Ask Surly Amy

Dear Surly Amy,

I find myself in my early 40s and still single. I have had relationships, but they didn’t work out. Recently the women I’ve been seeing just want to be friends. It seems like they either don’t want to date any more or they want to date someone else. It’s also a bit disappoointing to know that there are adult women out that are too young for me. Either I’m the “old dude.” or I believe that if we did date, we’d eventually grow apart. Still, I’d like to think there is still someone out there for me. Do you have any advice?

~Hopeful Fortysomething

My response after the jump.

Dear Hopeful Fortysomething,

My advice is to stop worrying about it altogether. Also, you totally need to get over yourself. That, and broaden your horizons.

Ultimately, you need to be happy with just yourself. Stop worrying about finding a relationship and instead focus on things that make you happy. It’s a funny thing but when you really stop caring about hooking up, you are more likely to hook up. People are more interesting and appealing when they are happy, self-assured and have interesting things going on in their life. So get some new things going on in your life and you might find people are interested in you.

As for being disappointed about the fact that there are adult women that are too young for you, well that you just need to get over. Some women will be too old for you too and some women will be too young and some won’t give a shit how old you are at all. You need to accept yourself for who you are and learn to be ok with it regardless of what is going on in the minds of the women (young and old) around you. We all grow old. Seriously, get over it. People will either like you or they won’t for your entire life.

By broaden your horizons I mean go new places and find new faces. If you have indeed consistently run into people that are either too young or not interested in you or interesting to you, then go places you wouldn’t normally go. Perhaps you are spending too much time in an environment that attracts a much younger-than-you group of people or you are just hanging in the same crowd. There are approximately 6,829,991,253 people in the world. I’m sure that a lot of them would love to date you. You just haven’t met them yet.

Got a question you would like some Surly-Skepchick advice on? Send it in! We won’t publish your real name, unless you want us to and creative pseudonyms get bonus points! Just use the contact link on the top left of the page.

*Ask Surly Amy is meant for entertainment purposes only. All advice should be taken with as much skepticism as anything else, really.

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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  1. I’d have to agree with that advice. As soon as I stopped looking, an old friend from college who I never had a chance with at the time showed up in my life again. Two years on, and I think that she’s about the most compatible person I can imagine being with. It’s wonderful!

    So, yeah. Stop worrying about it, and relax. It’ll happen once you’re not thinking about it. :)

  2. I’m 28, single, and quite happy about it. I know it’s mostly social pressure that makes one feel like they NEED to pair up to be happy, but really: You don’t.

    Enjoy being single, have fun dating, enjoy your friends, and if you find someone, then you do! If not, it’s not a big deal. Trust. There is SO much more to this world than finding your “one true love”.

  3. Absolutely! Though I never cease to be annoyed by those individuals (usually happy couples) who assume that, since I’m single, I MUST be miserable (and seem to think I’m not being completely honest with myself when I say otherwise). Or worse, the assumption that any relationship is better than being alone. (So your brother’s coworker’s aunt’s son’s friend is single? Gee, we already have so much in common! Hook me up!)

    I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been at any point in my life. I finally know who I am and what I want out of life. I spend my time pursuing things that I find fulfilling. I have great family and friends. If a relationship happens, it happens. If not … I’m already happy. And I mean that.

  4. I agree with this advice. Especially the part about broadening your horizons. I had a friend once upon a time who was having trouble deciding on her major. She’d majored in professional writing, publishing, education, and something else (the particulars evade me) and was wanting to find something new, but she didn’t know what. So she asked me.

    I asked her if she’d ever majored in Egyptology. She looked at me as if I had three heads. I then explained that she had looked at the careers she saw around her and hadn’t found anything that grabbed her, so she had to start looking in other directions. I told her to go to the public library and take out three books on topics she’d never heard of .

    Naturally she didn’t, and is now miserable in a job she doesn’t like with a degree she doesn’t care about. I guess you really can’t force someone to see things clearly.

    The same is true of the dating thing. I am a punk rock kid, and most of the places I go are punk rock bars populated primarily by women half my age that I honestly have no interest in dating. I knew that I wasn’t finding what I was looking for in those areas, so I expanded my reach and took various courses that appealed to me.

    In my case, it didn’t work. I wound up reconnecting with an old friend from the music scene who is a couple of years younger than me and who makes me smile like a goon way too much. That’s the other part of the equation. I wasn’t looking for her, she wasn’t looking for me, but we wound up finding each other.

  5. If you don’t want younger women to think you’re “too old” there’s a few easy solutions:

    1) Learn some killer breakdancing moves.

    2) Familiarize yourself with some hip slang. Practice in a mirror, and do your best to immitate an “urban” accent.

    3) Wear your hat sideways. Don’t have a hat? Just hit up Lidz at your local mall (pro tip: also a great place to try out your slang wordz, though maybe not the breakdancing)!

    Good luck!

  6. There’s nothing worse than a guy who throws himself a pity party and tries to convince women to date him by making them feel pity. My friend and I just encountered a guy like that who said “I guess I shouldn’t bother asking for your number because you probably don’t like me”. Well, he was actually somewhat likable but I did not want to deal with constantly reassuring him. Some advice toe everyone: Don’t be that man (or woman).

    And I certainly agree with the advice about broadening horizons. If one method just isn’t working, then don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. I’ve met people in all kinds of strange, unexpected places. Did you know that D&D games are a great way to meet someone you really get along with? And if you don’t meet anyone, at least you’ll have fun doing something you like.

  7. @Jo: Definitely, people who are happy with themselves are often the most attractive to others, whether as potential friends or interests beyond that. I’m a firm believer that making friends is the only way to meet someone who could possibly become closer than a friend. But the agenda cannot be finding friends as potential partners or romantic interests (narcissism never pays), ya just gotta be a good friend, enjoy folks company and let the rest sort itself out.

  8. @catgirl: Agreed.

    I knew a guy in high school who was really nerdy but kind of nice and I was trying to decide if he was attractive enough to give a chance, and before I could contemplate it, he decided he had a crush on me and went all Mr. AngstySelfPityPants.

    He got so irritating that I started avoiding him and when he noticed one time when a bunch of us were down at the lake, he threw his glasses into the lake. I think I was supposed to feel sorry for him but all I felt was disgust at such stupidity on the part of someone otherwise pretty smart. Then he sat on the beach and cried while the other guys tried to find his glasses. So. Not. Hot.

    But that other friend who was carefree and casual and laughed all the time without ever making anything heavy…wow. He could have had my heart with one grin my way. And he was one of the ones looking for the glasses. Awesome.

    Be that easy going, pleasant, helpful, friendly guy, not the “omg why doesn’t anybody luv meeeeeeee” guy.

  9. Either I’m the “old dude.” or I believe that if we did date, we’d eventually grow apart. Still, I’d like to think there is still someone out there for me. Do you have any advice?

    Dude, don’t you see what you’re doing here? You’re setting up a false dichotomy. EITHER I’m too old OR we’ll eventually grow apart. A skeptical approach would say:
    1. EITHER you’re too old OR you’re not. and
    2. EITHER you’ll eventually grow apart OR you’ll die before that happens.

    Frankly, being old INCREASES your chance of not living long enough to grow apart.

    As far as wanting to think there is someone out there for you, you already do. If you didn’t, then, as an old dude, you’d resign yourself to this an get on with your life.

    I wonder if your real problem is that you’re tired of putting in love and work into a relationship only to have it end for reasons that you don’t clearly understand. Tired of the flings of youth, but don’t know how to transition into something more substantial WITH someone else.


    P.S. There is no “just” to a woman wanting to be friends with you. There is also no “just” to dating or any other relationship a person shares with you.

  10. I agree that broadening your horizons and filling up free time with new adventures are definite musts.

    But I’m surprised no one has mentioned online dating yet. It’s been around for a while and has been losing its stigma. There are many types – from the general matchmaking like eharmony to things like MeetUp where you could find a group of people who like to do activities you find interesting.

    If you do something like a regular MeetUp, you can’t go in with an agenda, but you’ll meet new people…who know people…and expanding your network of friends/acquaintances can’t hurt.

  11. @Elizabeth:

    If you do something like a regular MeetUp, you can’t go in with an agenda, but you’ll meet new people…who know people…and expanding your network of friends/acquaintances can’t hurt.

    But don’t be that guy who goes to all the MeetUps to meet women.

  12. @slxpluvs:

    P.S. There is no “just” to a woman wanting to be friends with you. There is also no “just” to dating or any other relationship a person shares with you.

    Thank you!

    Getting a year’s supply of Fleet Suppositories for appearing on Wheel of Fortune is a consolation prize. Friendship is not… even when that friend has a vagina.

  13. I’m the same age as your guy.

    Had a one-year relationship off a dating site, which was nice and helped resolve a lot of ex-marriage issues. This was after a barren year in Amsterdam!

    Within days of that one ending, I’d met my girlfriend of a year at a metal concert in Taipei. Oh, and she’s 17 years younger than me.

    So advice you $guy is get out there, pursue your passion and you’ll fall over the someone.

    Wait, isn’t that what everyone else said?

    Oh, as for the friends thing: they want to be friends with *you*.

  14. That whole pity party/whiny shit is part of the reason why I never really bothered to get out much for a number of years, I just knew I’d be like that, and all the research I had done on the subject suggested that it wasn’t worthwhile. Unlike the original question guy, I have yet to have a girlfriend let alone a steady relationship, the first/last time I had anything close was about 3 years ago. I was not enjoying my existence very much, until recently when I decided to get out of the house and join a running group. I’m still single, still haven’t really done any dating, and currently, could care less, I’m just having fun and enjoying my time with a group of interesting people. I have also started going to the local atheist group, and will be joining some of them for a day at a shooting range in a couple of weeks (I need practice!), and I’m starting to actually meet interesting people and make more friends. I am a lot happier now, and if something happens relationship-wise, then gravy, until then, I’ll be content with what I have.

    So what does all that have to do with anything? I suppose like everyone else has said, stop panicking, relax, go out and have fun, and eventually it’ll happen or at the very least, you’ll meet some new and interesting people you can hang out with and run marathons with, or something.

    @tiberious: I actually plan on doing that except not really to meet people. More as part of my Marathon training regiment and just as overall balance training, and such.

  15. To me the “friends” thing sounds like an innuendo for being dumped or turned down. Not that he is going out there and building good friendships.

  16. @Elizabeth:

    I didn’t mention online anything because it’s so pervasive I just assumed that it was implied. I moved to a new area after college and I found most of my activities and friends online.

  17. @eean: No, it sounds like he is meeting women, and they like him … as friends. And then he gets whiny and feels entitled to something more, so they drift apart — because he doesn’t want to be friends with these women. He’s only friendly to them because he wants in their pants. As soon as he realizes that won’t happen, he becomes whiny. And self-entitled. And acts like the women should be thankful for his attention.

    Or, aka, The Nice Guy:


  18. I just want to echo a variation of what a couple of people have already said. I had a couple of very disappointing relationships in a row, so I ended up taking about 2+ years off dating of any sort. I really focused on figuring out who I am outside of a relationship, and became a lot more secure in myself, and comfortable in my independence. Then, after all that, I moved to a new city for grad school, and decided that I was ready to start dating again. I went on a few dead end first dates, but eventually met the man of my dreams at work and we’ve been together for almost 9 months now. I know I was able to find this wonderful relationship because I was confident enough to say ‘this is who I am, take it or leave it’ and keep trying until I found someone who I really clicked with.

  19. Just adding to the chorus of annoyance about the “just friends” thing. There should be no such thing as a person you wouldn’t want to be friends with but somehow would like a romantic relationship with. Just whining about it reveals something ugly about your intentions.

  20. Any guy “friend” of mine who displays this sort of attitude(wanting to be more then friends and being persistent and whiny about it) gets quickly cut out of my life, as a coworker of mine recently found out. Such a shame. I really valued our friendship until it wasn’t quite so friendly anymore, with all the uncomfortable innuendos(told him to stop -he persists every chance he gets) and other hints… and the whines about being lonely and wanting to cuddle and use me as a pillow(etc, etc, urgh!) Being called a “heartless bitch” by a guy who wanted more then friendship still fresh in my memory.

    The fact that he asked me if it would really be that terrible to wake up in his bed with no knowledge of how I got there also didn’t help his cause. None!

    So yeah… he got to be just another guy on my “ignore” list.

  21. @Izzy: With class like that…

    Random aside – I really like that pic of your cat, it’s got super cool eyes like it’s asking for an explanation, and a damn good one, thank you very much.

    Isn’t “just friends” a euphemism for “I don’t want anything to do with you”? I assume it’s kinda awkward being good friends with someone you know is thinking of you differently.

  22. @Shadow Of A Doubt: Why can’t “friends” just mean “friends”?

    Do you know how god damned annoying and hurtful it is to tell a guy, “I want to be friends” and then they get all pouty and whiny, like it’s the end of the world?

    Fine, don’t be friends with me. You certainly don’t have to and I won’t force you. But I can still think you’re an asshole who was only trying to get in my pants, under the guise of being “nice”.

    Women have to deal with this crap all the time. It’s unacceptable.

  23. Well I’ll be the first to admit that whiny behavior is not a good thing in a guy, and will ruin the attraction women have for him.

    However, I doubt that someone who’s in his 40s and still has fundamental problems dating is going to get much better with advice like “get over yourself.” This guy’s probably lost, clueless, and very shy, and could probably be helped with some forgiveness from the women he’s pursuing. I doubt he was whiny with all the women who turned him down.

    @ marilove (and others): Think about the crushing pain of being turned down a lot and going through decades of loneliness. I don’t know the specifics of the situation…I mean, obviously, some of the women would want to be genuine friends, but it sounds more like a good portion of them just want him off their back.

    In my experience it’s something only people who’ve been rejected a lot (or 100% of the time) fully understand. It must be damn “annoying and hurtful” to go through your entire life without any affection from the opposite sex at all, not even the puppy love basics. I know several guys like this, and they’re not whiny losers, they’re just people who happen to be stuck in the wrong situation.

    All I’m saying is attitudes like this scare shy guys off and make them commit all the gaffes you people here outline. Guys who as you yourselves describe are otherwise pretty good.

    I think it’s a good thing to be a little less judgemental, and more flexible when it comes to these things. After all, isn’t being judgemental one of the things you guys stand against?

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