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Breakup Girl » dating
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January 21, 2013

Dating over 35

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:07 am

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Looking for some fun on November 30, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’m a 37-year-old graduate student who’s having the usual dating difficulties common among those of us who are old and grey and cankered. I know (since you mentioned it) that there’s a book entitled “How to Get Married Over 35″ and I’ve had a look at that; the problem is that I don’t want to get married, I just want a date or three, and so the advice is just a trifle off the mark (I mean, I don’t want to meet a nice church going man who wants a mother for his three sons, as much as this would doubtless be another woman’s dream).

Therefore, I’m wondering if you (equipped as you are with superhearing, supersight and super-connection-to-this-particular-aspect-of-the-Publishing-world) happen to know of any other titles, websites, mailing-lists, what have you, that are focused on this particular segment of the dateless population (old farts).

There are tons of on-line personals ads, of course — but I’m not interested in sending erotic e-mail to a phantom on the other side of the globe. My fantasy life works just fine all by itself (after all, as you pointed out, fantasies are just that, and that’s why they’re fun). I’m looking for more concrete suggestions.

Do you have any? Suggestions, that is…

– Jo

BG’s answer after the jump!

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November 9, 2011

I’m horribly shy

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:01 am

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Why Not Me?Underachieving on August 31, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Well, here you have yet another of those “I haven’t had a boyfriend in __ years, am I pathetic?” letters. Except combined with one of those “I am __ years old and haven’t ____ yet, am I pathetic?” letters. I’m 19 years old and I have never had a relationship of any kind, unless you count a disposable camp/vacation fling several years ago (which, while fun, was very brief, decidedly casual and ended badly). I am constantly surrounded by dating/engaged/even married friends, teen romance movies and TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and Buffy etc. where these decidedly younger people are far beyond my experience (I know it’s just TV but it’s still depressing) and letters in your column from an army of young lovers. Well, I haven’t had a hint of romance or even lust thus far, and I don’t understand why!

Well, OK, I do. I was one of those driven, Straight-A Activity Girl Overachievers in high school, and while that was handy in the scholarship department it did not exactly work wonders for my love life. It didn’t bother me (much…) at the time, because I figured there was plenty of time for that Later. WELL it’s Later, and still no luck! I’ve seen my college friends hook up while I stay horribly single. Now I’m feeling lonely and wondering where I went wrong. It’s not like I’m ugly (decidedly average looking to tell the truth). I get along well with people, I’m reasonably funny and interesting (so I’ve been told). But, you guessed it, I’m horribly shy. I don’t know what to do. I know things will be easier once I’ve jumped into the dating pool, but I have no idea how to do that. Please help.

– Lonely

P.S. Am I pathetic???

BG’s suggestions to be less Lonely after the jump!

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November 7, 2011

Why don’t I have a boy/girlfriend?

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:42 am

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Why Not Me?A lot of us singletons make the mistake of thinking that finding someone is the hard part. And that once you do, you’re set. We tend to forget that there is — ideally — a whole life-time of Relationship Maintenance that follows. And if you believe that that’s easy, I’ve got a ticket to “Your Friends and Neighbors” to sell you. Basically, it’s the story of two couples in/from hell. How brutal is it? Makes “Private Ryan” look like “Air Bud.” For further evidence that the relationship is the hard part, see … all of my columns.

To put it another way (and to quote myself): having a boy/girlfriend is like having a car with air conditioning. It may be more comfortable at times, but there’s a whole lot more stuff that can go wrong.

That is just one of several things I would like to point out to the many fine folks who write me to ask,

Dear Breakup Girl,
Why Don’t I Have a Boy/Girlfriend?

(Hi, Breakup Mom, I know you just sat up a little straighter in your seat.)

And here’s the problem: the folks who ask me that are fine folks. I mean, if they were saying: “Dear Breakup Girl, I have a second head in the shape of Boba Fett, my gums bleed when I’m nervous, and Kenneth Starr is my hero…why am I alone?” well, then we’d have a clear place to start (eg “online dating”). So I can’t necessarily tell each of you precisely why. But I can give you some perspective. Which is something everyone should have beforethey have a boy/girlfriend, anyway.

1. Why no ragazzo/a?* No rhyme or reason. Why, just think of all the excellent, admirable civilians (as opposed to superheroes) who are single. Like Winona Ry– no … Antonio Band– no, Barbra Strei– no, Will Smi– no. Okay, different tack. There’s no nice way to say this, but BG has made the acquaintance of plenty of people who were not conventionally “good-looking” or “socially adept” or, well, “interesting” — and they had B/GFs. Go figure. So quit wondering if you’re “normal.” A lot of people have girl/boyfriends … who are mean to them, or for reasons like “I’m afraid to drive on the highway.” How normal is that?

2. Dawson’s Creek is not reality. Your first tipoff should be the guy in a rowboat wearing a sport jacket. Your second tipoff should be that the guy in a rowboat wearing a sport jacket has no idea that Joey is in love with him. Look, you all know this, but I’ll say it anyway. Movies and songs and TV — even CNN, these days — fetishize love. Like, did you ever see the doctors on General Hospital actually doct? All you see and hear are people who yearn for it, who have it, who had it, who wear funny ties for it. All love, all the time. Which is kinda sorta how we feel deep down — and is what keeps BG in business — but maybe we’d be able to override it better and maybe get something freaking done around here if everything in our culture weren’t this big huge blinding yellow stickie in front of our face that says: LOVE! GOT ANY YET? HUH HUH HUH?

3. I know it’s fall, but B/GFs are not school supplies. (Hey, grownups, just because I’m making Dawson’s Creek references doesn’t mean I’m not talking to you. First of all, shut up, you totally watch it. Second, even if you haven’t been to school in years, I know you’ve been to Staples to look at the cute new notebooks and highlighters. Third, high school, is a metaphor for life, in a Lord of the Flies sort of way. So my analogies and advice should communicate loud and clear to everyone.) The point here being: there’s a lot of pressure — in culture and in “real life,” which, in a Truman Show sort of way, are not unrelated — to “get” (your verb, not mine) a boy/girlfriend. Having one “means” you are cool, attractive, popular, legit. But listen: if you get/have one just for those reasons, then you are NOT in the In Crowd at BG High, okay? I know this is really really easy — if not totally obvious — for me to say, but if you look on a boy/girlfriend as your own personal Self-Worth-o-Matic, well, let’s just say that’s one of those gadgets with planned obsolescence.

4. Approchable is better than “Stunning.” If you don’t believe me, see the clever article on this very topic in this month’s Marie Claire (I think). “Stunning” makes certain people’s knees weak, yes — that is, too weak to dare walk over and start a conversation. You get my drift; I’m not going to get into the whole looks thing again. (Note: “Approchable” — unlike “terrific” and “such a pretty face” — is totally a sincere, legit compliment; it really means pleasant, inviting, attractive.)

5. “Shy” is better than Loud. Just trust me.

6. Cheesy bottom line: it’s about chemistry. Barring certain non-negotiable matters of personal hygiene, manners, and taste in superheroes, your “appeal” does not occur in a vacuum. Granted, yes, there certain things (Society, Culture, Boobs, etc.) that mean that certain people get noticed first. But as far as anything longer than one awkward empty conversation is concerned, it’s the Reese’s effect: you could have perfectly good chocolate, but go figure, only certain people are going to trip over you with the peanut butter (see grownups, I’m talking to you too: teens will not remember those commercials). I am talking about that elusive “click.” (NOT, may I remind you, that exclusive clique that requires a boy/girlfriend for entry.) So what to do? Don’t shrink back, stung and defeated, into a spiny shell; step out and go places and do things where the odds are higher that the chemistry/peanut butter/click person will be there, too. And while you’re playing the odds, have a little trust in fate. If you don’t believe me, see “Next Stop, Wonderland.” Which, bless its heart — and yours, in the meantime — also makes a powerful, lovely case for being alone, all to a balmy bossa-nova beat. Rhyme/reason? No. Rhythm? Yes.

* Italian for boy/girl and boy/girlfriend. Empirically, appears to be synonymous with “hottie.”

This column was originally published August 31, 1998.

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July 11, 2011

This week at Happen: My dates are always on the rebound

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:45 am

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MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.

This week Lynn advises Second Best who seems to be the first woman that boys date after they’ve been dumped:

The past three men I’ve dated have all, unbeknownst to me, been on the rebound. The first one broke my heart, and I ran as fast as I could from the next two after the rebound signs showed up early.

Now that a fourth guy is following the same pattern, should she try again, or should Second Best be the first to jump ship? Read the full letter and Lynn’s response at Happen, then add your own thoughts below!

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May 25, 2011

Will dating Mr. Wrongs help me find another Mr. Right?

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:25 am

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Staying in the game on July 6, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

Is it a good idea to date people who you don’t really like just to keep yourself socially involved and “out there”? My truest love so far broke my heart about six months ago, but I try to date most guys who ask me out even though I don’t feel particularly interested in them. I’m afraid if I stop dating I will feel worse. On the other hand, sometimes it’s really difficult to muster even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for any of the guys I meet. None of them lives up to the legacy of Mr. Right. What do you suggest?

– Lisa


Dear Lisa,

See “Flirtation Continuum,” below.

It is a good idea:
- to date just to keep yourself socially involved and out there.
- to accept at least one invitation, no matter what — you never know.
- NOT to fall — as you have not — for the next guy (or series thereof) who comes along, just because he’s there.

It is not a good idea:
(more…)

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April 25, 2011

Breadwinners and losers

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:11 am

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For richer and poorer on June 22, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

My boyfriend is a very talented musician (a real musician — he even plays with the symphony sometimes) but alas, very poor. I, on the other hand, work in computers and am quite successful. He feels bad when I pay for him so often, but otherwise, we wouldn’t go out sometimes when we want to. My family says dump the guy because he’ll never be a breadwinner. My friends say it is cool for the modern feminist chick to be the breadwinner. Neither viewpoint appeals to me. What do you think?

– Melanie

Read BG’s answer after the jump!

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March 23, 2011

Needing to be needed

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:30 am

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Blanket of insecurity on June 8, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I have been dating this guy for a year. Throughout our relationship, I learned a lot of family baggage that he was dealing with day to day. He would often talk and confide in me his hurt and anger (he also has been seeking professional help). Anyway, although it’s selfish to say, his neediness gave me security in our relationship. He was making real progress with his emotions. Then, family problems took a turn for the worse, financially and emotionally. He now has put so much of his energy into his mother and younger brothers that he barely has time for me. I have been having a rough time in my personal life and he’s just not there for me the way I was there for him. I’m taking it all so personally and am a little bitter. Am I being way too selfish? I love him so much and I know he loves me. I don’t know what to do. Help –?

– Amy

(more…)

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February 25, 2011

30-something dry spell

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:49 am

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Desperately single on May 25, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I need to whine, and I think this might be the best (most constructive) place for it. I’m having a really hard time being single at age 35! I feel so isolated lately. I live alone, in a town that’s very popular with 20-somethings. Most of my friends are married, engaged, living or completely involved with their significant others. Ditto for my co-workers, who are also much older than I am, so there’s no social action there. I do belong to a gym, but that’s yet to produce any dates. I join groups, I go to networking events, I get out, but I am BURNED OUT on the search! I even tried the personals. I haven’t had a date since December, and I don’t see any prospects on the horizon. Let me add that I am very attractive, spirited, smart, and warm. I wonder — is there anybody else out there suffering from the 30-something dry spell? What is a girl to do? I’m actually thinking of trying to find a bartending or waitressing job, just so I can meet and flirt with some men again! This situation is crazy! Any insight!?

– Ann

(more…)

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February 11, 2011

The Constitutional Convention

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:24 am

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What are the principles governing dating? How have the “rules” been amended? Two letters from people seeking to form more perfect unions.

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’m in the process of ending a four-year relationship (ten years together overall). Due to severe heartache, I’m not looking for a more serious relationship. However, should there be an occasion where I agree to date someone from time to time, I’d like to know the “rules” of the game. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the dating scene. What are the rules these days? Are women supposed to let men make the first move/call/email? Are women supposed to play hard to get? Dating was much different when I was 18!

– Joy

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’ve been divorced one year, and I’m totally confused about “dating in the 90s.” (I’m bald, average looks, late 40s, overweight.) I don’t know what is expected of men today. Do you have any advice on: meeting single women, asking them out, phone calls, dinner, movies, cards or flowers, kissing, sex, week-end trips, over-nighters, and looks?

– Lost in the Midwest


(more…)

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January 24, 2011

Ask Lynn at Happen: Still mourning after 3 years

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:20 am

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MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.

This week Lynn hears from Confused Christina, who suddenly and tragically lost her first true love at age 22 and is still struggling with the loss…

And ever since he died, I have tried rather excruciatingly to date and be happy with someone else. I’ve gone on dates over the past three years with at least 30 guys and none of them have ever had the spark or made that connection that I had with my deceased first boyfriend.

Is Christina truly ready to be back out there? Has she just not met the right guy? Read the full letter at Happen, then come back here to offer your own insight in the comments below.

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