Name: One American Girl | | Location: Boston , MA |Question: My biggest frustration is dating at the ripe old age of 36. I found through online dating that men my own age and even in their early 40s are not interested in woman my age. They are looking for younger. And I’m not interested in the over 50 bracket. What’s a mid-30 year old single to do with this problem of ageism in America? |Age: 36
I’m going to call a little bit of Bravo Sierra here. If, at 42, I can find men ages 38-50 to date, I find it hard to believe that you can’t find a man at 36. So is it that you can’t find someone, or is it that you can find anyone that you feel is “good enough?”
Here’s a great quote that my friend B. wrote to me today.
Women chase after and obsess over these “glam” guys for some reason and then, when it goes badly for them, they declare themselves and the whole internet dead for dating. That’s fine, but not if they’d like to eventually find something substantive. There’s a real-life “trade-off” there that I’m just not sure most women are willing to make. They want what they want. (I do too, but I don’t care when/if it ends badly.) The men they declare sad and undateable will probably find a girlfriend who adores them. Women will overlook a lot especially if he says a lot of bullshit.
You’re right in that, as we get older, the men tend to look for younger women. I don’t disagree. But I look at profiles all the time and the men here in NYC, one of THE toughest markets in which to date, and many of the men in my age range (38-50) seem to date women well in to their early forties. Yeah, there are some men in their mid to late 40’s who don’t want to date anyone over 37, but who cares as long as there are men out there that DO want to date us. There are. You just have to be willing to find and meet them. At 36, you should definitely be widening that net to men in their late 40’s. You shouldn’t be focusing on men a couple years older or younger.
I choose not to buy in to this idea of “ageism.” I’m sure it exists. I’m sure I’ve been a victim of it at one time or another. But I refuse to brainwash myself in to believing that there’s huge conspiracy out there being waged against women over 35 or single women in general. I know that there are pockets of people who dismiss us. I’m not denying that they exist. I’m just not going to sit and stew about it. It’s not worth it. The important thing for you is to not focus on the people who don’t want you, and turn your eyes towards those who do.
Bottom line…if something isn’t working, you have to check under the hood. That’s it. That’s the key. I wish there was some oogity boogity woo woo ya ya sisterhood spell I could pass along, but there isn’t. It all starts with you and your thoughts and your choices.
That, OP, is your challenge. It’s not ageism. It’s that you want what you want, and unfortunately those men – or at least the ones you pursue – don’t want you. The more you go after them, and the more they reject you, the stronger that belief system becomes. That doesn’t mean you’re not attractive or worthy of love or anything like that. It means your “picker” (TM Evan Marc Katz) is off. Now you have to fine tune your picker. But you have to begin by determining why other tactics and approaches have not worked and where you play a role in the outcome.
The only one conspiring against you is you. Forget the list of shoulds and the “I don’t wannas.” Listen, I don’t blame you for not wanting to date men in their 50’s. That’s a big age gap. But the reality is that once a man turns 34 or so, he’s not as willing to date women his own age. Look at what you said…you have your own preferred age range. Are you ageist? You don’t even see how your behavior and thoughts contradict your own beliefs. You have convinced yourself that you are right, and nobody is going to change your mind.
You have to turn off all that noise that’s buzzing around you out there. You have to clean out the filters. Yeah, some guys aren’t going to be interested. Yep, you will be “too old” for other men. But you can not buy in to all the negative crap you hear and read and see and make some sweeping generalization. That’s what gets us stuck. Do that long enough and pretty soon you’ll be going after men you know don’t really want you just so they can reject you so you can turn around and say, “See? I knew it.” You don’t want to become one of those people who would rather be right than be happy.
There are men out there that want you. You just have to get all that other stuff out of your head and out of your path so you can find them or be open to them. I read so many articles every day, and the stuff that some women say about men just baffles me. Believe it or not, there are many men out there that want what we want…they want a partner, someone to come home to, someone with whom they can be intimate and vulnerable and lean on. They, like us, are feeling somewhat battered around, too. They’re unsure of their choices, too. Know why? Because they’re out there looking for a great girl and, just like us, meeting a lot of walking wounded. That problem is not exclusive to women. Both genders are baffled about what the opposite sex wants. But you know what? They’re too afraid to be vulnerable because they don’t want to be perceived as weak or too available. So they internalize everything and, like us, they create this false belief system and they, again like us, shut down. So what we have now is a collective of people completely closed off and emotionally ambivalent.
My theory on the success of the PUA blogs is that they provide a place for a lot of men to vent. Because anger and aggression is acceptable. Vulnerability and fear is not. Imagine if we females took the lead and encouraged men to let down their guard. Imagine what that could do and how that could turn the whole game around. This is where we have an advantage, but we’re not using it. Use it. Let down the wall a bit and get rid of all the negative thoughts you have based on the handful of bad experiences you’ve had. We’ve all had them. You can’t assume that these experiences are exclusive to you. They’re not. It’s all part of the overall dating experience. You’re going to meet some douchebags. That’s inevitable. But after each one you should be adjusting your approach until you finally meet someone that makes you feel how you want to feel.
Hey, I get it. I understand how sometimes you feel a little bruised and pushed around. I do. But you have to keep getting back in to the game. This is why I think dating breaks are a double edged sword. Yeah, it’s good to take a step back and re-group. As long as you don’t spend all your time telling yourself or listening to others say how hard it is and how men are this or that. You can’t let the fear get to you, and that’s all it is…fear. Remember when you were a kid and you thought there were monsters under the bed? What helped you to get over that? That’s right. You looked under the bed. You faced it.
Face it. You have the power to change the game completely. You just have to want to do it. If you’re not really interested in having a relationship, you’re going to keep encountering unavailable guys, or the “wrong” guys. But when you’re truly ready and open, you’ll start meeting men that restore your faith.