I’m 27 years old and single. At times, I have no problem with this; I’d rather be alone than with the wrong person. Plus, only having to consider myself when making decisions is kind of a huge perk. But, obviously, at other times, it really bums me out and I think I’ll be alone and unloved forever, which is one of my biggest fears. It doesn’t help that I don’t have the greatest track record with maintaining relationships with friends and family.
Honestly, I’ve only had one relationship, not counting the boyfriend in preschool who gave me A Little Mermaid necklace and a bloody nose. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I got my first boyfriend, which in some ways felt like a failure because it took so long. I dumped him after less than a year. For many reasons, he was the wrong guy and I waited far too long to dump him.
It seems, more often than not, I’m the girl who’s good enough to sleep with, but not to date. When I meet guys (online or, say, at a bar), it seems like our texts get really sexual really fast, and I don’t know how to get myself out of this pattern. If a guy makes a sexy comment too soon, what’s a good way to shut it down while still keeping the lines of communication open? Do you have any advice on how I can change this behavior and move forward? I want to be able to date and maybe find the right guy for a relationship. — Tired of the Sexts
First of all, being single at 27 is not a definite precursor to spinsterhood. It doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat, or that you’re destined to a life of solitude, or that you’re unlovable, or that you’ve failed at life. Lots of people are single at 27 and go on to find lasting and fulfilling love at 28 or 38 or 40 or whenever. I was single at 27. I was single at 27 and I’d only had two real relationships under my belt. And I still managed to find someone to spend my life with. And even if I hadn’t — even if I were still single — that certainly wouldn’t mean that you don’t stand a great chance of finding true love sooner rather than later. And anyway, there’s no cut-off age for happiness. And there’s not just one way or one chance to get there.
That said, you do have a better shot at finding a satisfying relationship if you start setting some boundaries and quit wasting your time on guys who aren’t looking for the same thing you are. You want a boyfriend not a booty call, so stop acting like a booty call and start acting like a woman who’s “good enough to date.” How do you do that? Quit with the sexty texts, for one thing. Don’t even give a guy a chance to make the sexting a pattern. If there’s a pattern — and you say there is — it’s only because you’re participating in it, so stop. If a guy sends a sexty comment to you before you’ve had a chance to get to know each other and establish an emotional connection first, either ignore it, or say, “I’m sorry but I think you got the wrong impression of me.” Then, one of two things will happen: the guy will realize that he did, indeed, get the wrong impression and will change tactics; or, he will realize he got the wrong impression and will MOA. I know you think you want to keep the lines of communication open so as to cast a wider net and keep your options open, but sometimes you gotta throw your catch back in. Especially when it wants to get all sexty with you before even taking you out for dinner first.
Finally, I can’t help but think that if you focused more of your attention on maintaining better connections with your family and friends, you wouldn’t feel so alone (and desperate for attention). There’s much more value in established relationships with people who have known you a long time than in guys who just want to see pictures of your boobs.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.