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Do Good Guys and Relationships Exist Anymore? 

Dear Athena,

I am writing because my friends and I are lost when it comes to dating. We are all in our thirties, independent, attractive, outgoing and caring. We have great jobs, money in the bank and retirement plans. All of us love to cook. Our similar problem is that we can't seem to find a guy who will stick around to date. We have given up. It starts great, then guys bail. I personally have been single for three years (went through a divorce, got back on my feet). Started early this year to see what's out there (online dated), and found nothing good. Do good guys and relationships exist anymore?


Losing Hope

Dear Losing Hope,

I get it. Finding Mr. Right ain't easy. And right up until you do find him, it seems like there's nobody out there for you. I wish I had a magic wand to make your dreams come true — but I don't. What I do have are a few things to consider as you navigate the dating world.

First, where are you looking for men? If you're hoping to find a guy worthy of introducing to your parents at a bar at 2 a.m., it's not going to happen. Rarely do late-night hookups lead to anything substantial. Instead, try asking out the cute dude who rides his bike past your office every day. It requires a little more gumption sans the alcohol, but you're more likely to develop a serious connection with someone this way.

You mentioned that you tried online dating. Awesome. Keep trying. Sign up for another site, too, to cast a wider net. But don't obsess about it: Staring at the screen won't birth the perfect guy. If he's there, you'll find him.

Envision your dream man. Is he someone who makes a lot of money, owns his home, travels, speaks several languages, rescues lost dogs and volunteers with homeless youth? The odds of finding him aren't impossible — but they're pretty damn close. Perhaps you need to readjust your definition of the perfect guy. There are plenty of great men out there who don't meet all the criteria on your list. How can you edit that list and still get what you want?

Keep this in mind: Sometimes we set ridiculously high standards for others as a personal safety net. If a guy can't measure up to your expectations to begin with, he'll never be able to reject you. But if you never let someone get close to you, you'll never get any closer to what you want, either.

Or maybe you always end up with guys who need "fixing." This happens all the time. We date people who are "almost right" for us and try so hard to change them. Don't fall into this pattern. Sure, you can probably get your guy to stop wearing baseball hats, but that's about it. You can't change someone else, and you'll go crazy trying. People show you who they are right away. Believe them.

Be yourself, and be open to changing your expectations. That's it. Often, the love we're looking for shows up when we stop looking.



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