“Am I Unlovable?”

I’m 31 and have never had a guy say “I love you” to me. I’ve dated and been involved in mostly long-term, casual relationships throughout most of my 20s, but nothing really amounted to anything to warrant a Facebook status change. My last relationship ended almost a year ago when he dumped me for a chick who looks like me, but makes about three times as much as I do in year.

I’m educated, employed, decent looking and I don’t suffer from mental illness — and I don’t have any cats. The guys I’ve been involved with have been pretty much my equals — I really wasn’t dating up or down. Am I unlovable for some reason? Am I destined to be the crazy old aunt who has only my siblings’ kids to fawn over? — Emerging Spinster

Hey, what do you have against cats? Seriously. Maybe you should get one. Over my 25 years as a cat mom – RIP Miles and Simone – I had three serious boyfriends and a husband. Just sayin’. I’m actually not kidding about getting a cat — or some sort of pet. A dog would be great, because it would increase your chances of meeting someone what with all the dog parkin’, and neighborhood walks and doggie parties dog people are always having. But the real benefit or being a pet owner is that it helps you cultivate love in your life.

Love sort of feeds on itself. When you get a little bit, it tends to grow and grow until you feel abundant in love. Do you think that’s just a coincidence? It’s not. Love makes people lovely, and lovely people attract more love. And maybe you can’t just go out and get a boyfriend, but you can go out and get a pet and trust me here, pets can bring as much — and often, much, much more — love to your life than some dude can. So, go to the humane society and get a cat or a dog or some other fuzzy, lovely animal and watch your heart grow.

If you can’t get a pet right now or you don’t believe a four-legged friend is going to solve your relationship problems, I have some other suggestions for you. The first one is to relax. You’re 31, not 81. You still have plenty of time to find a meaningful, long-term relationship. My second suggestion, and this goes along with the idea of getting a pet and cultivating more love in your life: start being the kind of person you want to attract. You describe yourself as educated, employed, decent looking, and free from having a mental illness (or a cat). Is that the best you can do? Really? Because if I were single and someone said he had a friend for me to meet who was “employed and didn’t have a mental illness,” I’d say, “Eh” and I doubt I’m alone, which means you either need help selling yourself, or you need to become more interesting and appealing.

How do you become more interesting and appealing? Take some classes (improv, photography, and music classes are some good examples of classes that will broaden your horizon, change your perspective and attract new people to your life), travel, be a good friend, read a lot, see art, go to good movies, be kind to your family, be kind to strangers, volunteer … do things to better the world, or at least better other people’s lives. That way, when people describe you to their friends — friends who may very well be single, awesome and looking for someone special — you’ll sound like a catch. Because, seriously, “She doesn’t have a cat,” doesn’t sell you. Neither does, “She has a job.” That’s something you say about someone who … well, who kind of sucks in almost every other way.

Don’t be someone who sucks. Be awesome. Be so awesome that you actually start believing your own awesomeness and quit settling for these long-term casual relationships with guys who don’t mean that much to you simply because you don’t think you deserve — or can attract — better. BE BETTER. Be better at being you so you can attract the kind of person you want. It really is that simple. If you’re so concerned with dating your equal, be better so you’ll date better, because the problem here is not that you’re “unlovable.” The problem is you selling yourself short and settling for less that what you really want because you’re afraid of pursuing more and getting rejected and hurt. And until you pursue what you really want, you’re going to continue having a string of casual, meaningless relationships at best.

So, work on yourself. Work on yourself and mingle. Go places where you’ll meet a lot of people. Join groups, take classes, and get a dog. Make yourself interesting and available. Put the word out with your friends that you’re looking for someone special. Peruse dating apps. Make an effort. Quit dating people who don’t excite you. Be a nice person. Don’t rule out potential boyfriends for stupid, superficial reasons. Send out good energy into the world. Do all these things, and it will happen.

And if it doesn’t? Well, there’s nothing wrong with being a crazy cat lady.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. atraditionalist says:

    Don’t waste your time with long term casual relationships. What’s the point if you are interested in moving forward with someone? And don’t be afraid to tell someone you are seeing after a certain amount of time that you are looking for more. Men respect women who know what they want and don’t just drift around according to their man’s desires.

    1. sweetleaf says:

      Totally agree. Great advice. And lol at ‘looks like she ate me’. You seem like you know what you want AND you’ve got a sense of humor. What’s not to love?

    2. i agree 100%, i think this is exactly the problem.

  2. callmehobo says:

    LW, the one thing that really stuck out to me was the fact that your ex is now dating someone who looks like “they ate” you, and then imply that the fact she makes a lot of money is how she snagged him.

    What a horrible thing to say! Maybe your boyfriend left because of the negative way you choose to express yourself. It just always grates me when people imply that because someone is overweight, they automatically have no redeeming qualities. Maybe she has an awesome personality, or they have similar life goals. Hell, maybe your ex just realized he likes big ladies.

    I don’t think it’s that you’re unlovable, but let’s face it- YOU are the common denominator in all of these relationships. Maybe it’s time to take a real hard look at how you put yourself out to other people. I think Wendy is spot on about the “selling points”, but also take a look at how you treat others, because if your statement about your ex’s new girl is any indicator- you can come off as pretty harsh.

    You seem to be a pragmatic, analytical person-which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, analytical people can have the tendency to baldly state what they feel are facts, which can potentially offend others.

    So, like Wendy said- Don’t be sucky. And for goodness sakes, be a little nicer. It never killed anybody.

    1. Wow, I was all prepared to be sympathetic. At first when I read Wendy’s response I thought it was a little harsh. I guess I didn’t catch the “looks like she ate me.” Thanks for the catch, callmehobo. Because I think that one phrase changes the whole tone of the letter.

      And now I’m so angry at the LW that I can’t form a coherent response.

      1. Yeah, no sympathy here. I dont think anyone is really unloveable, but damn, this LW comes off as unlikeable.

    2. bingo

      1. TheOtherMe says:

        I also had to go back & re-read the “looks like “they ate” you” part because it just seems to justify the title of the letter.

        LW maybe you’re not “un-lovable” but the overall tone your letter sure wouldn’t make me want to be your friend. ( cat lover here )

    3. Yeah, it sounds like the LW needs to work on her communication. That remark was very cruel and offensive.

    4. sweetleaf says:

      I thought the ‘ate me’ comment was really funny. But, eh, I guess I’m immature 😛

      1. me too.

      2. There’s just no need to be so hurtful about someone because of their weight. Lots of people are still sensitive about their size.

        Are you skinny? Because that might affect it. I’m overweight (and I can say that because I lost 40 lbs to no longer be obese) so I think I “get” it pretty easily.

      3. sweetleaf says:

        I AM overweight. I too look like I ate the letter writer and I don’t like it and sometimes I get down on myself, but I make fun of myself for it too.

      4. I don’t think you meant anything by this, but please just be aware that skinny people can “get” size sensitivity and body insecurity. Comments like the LW’s can hurt regardless of size, gender, race, socioeconomic background, religious creed or lack thereof, sexual orientation, preference for coffee or tea, favorite color, and yes, even both cat and dog people. I’m sure your own struggles with your weight have made you more sensitive to the damaging power of comments like the LW’s (and congrats on getting to a healthier size, it’s not easy), but please be aware that “skinny” girls can be just as hurt.

      5. No I know, it was more of a matter of curiousity than anything else.

      6. 6napkinburger says:

        Um, I think you undermined your point more than you strengthened it with your list. Sure, people CAN get offended by/about anything, but you only really have to care or feel bad for offending them for certain things. I’m sure skinnny girls get offended if people ask them if they ever eat, and rightly so. But if someone gets indignant because I say that purple is a stupid color or tea is so 2005…ok. Sorry man, but I’m not sorry you’re offended I think Tea is passe. If they are “hurt” by this, they have serious issues. I think you overplayed your hand a little there.

      7. I think you mis-read my list. What I said was that someone can get offended by comments about size regardless of anything (size, gender, orientation…), based of the common misperception that things like eating disorders and the pressure to fit a certain image are a “vain straight white girl problem.” There are a lot of issues in the among men, and among minorities,and studies are also starting to look at the gay community because there is a perception that they “shouldn’t” have body image problems, and so are less likely to seek help or admit they have a problem. I was saying that anyone can be hurt by a comment about size, regardless of anything.

        I was only ever talking about body image and size insecurity. I’m not sure where you read it as people getting offended by anything I listed. I was just saying body insecurity can apply among any “category” of people, and I through in couple of ridiculous categories, because frankly “categories” of people can be pretty ridiculous.

      8. *threw in
        *among men (rewording fail)

        Clearly I’m super coherent and super productive after lunch

      9. 6napkinburger says:

        Ah I see. Fair enough.

        Because I think we can all agree that purple is a very stupid color. 🙂

      10. Purple’s my favorite. We can’t be friends. 🙂

      11. Haha I was gonna be like, have you seen how lesbians can all end up looking the same? There’s definitely body issues there. And the gay male community is even worse.

      12. Addie Pray says:

        I think it’s just cruel, and not funny at all. I tend to like self-deprecating humor better – or at least smart humor. But pointing out physical flaws? I don’t get it.

      13. I agree. Putting someone else down like that may seem witty but it’s easy and not clever at all.

      14. It made me giggle about it too, but I can be mean like that sometimes, and I’m a fatty too, just don’t have the money yet though. I think she is probably saying it, because it is something one of her friends said to comfort her, and it made her laugh she probably didn’t realize that those are suppose to be inside jokes though. I also can’t believe I just called my self a fatty, because I hate being called fat, and usually flip out on people who would say it to me!

    5. I was definitely thrown off by that comment as well.
      I am giving the LW the benefit of the doubt that that comment came from a place of hurt. To be dumped for someone else never feels good. So, I think she was just reacting to that feeling of rejection. But, what I never understand is… why not insult the guy who did this to you instead? ::Sigh:: And can us women stop insulting each other based on our weight?

      1. ForeverYoung says:

        THANK YOU! Why always hate the woman. She wasn’t in a relationship with you…the guy was! I know that I can make this comment because it has happened to me – if a guy mistreats you by cheating on you or whatever – hate him! He broke the monogamous promise – the other woman didn’t. She still might be a terrible person (and that’s where Karma comes in) but she could have been misled by him as well.

        Women need to stop hating eachother.

    6. Addie Pray says:

      Couldn’t agree more, callmehobo. The “looks like she ate me” comment was insulting, and it makes me think this LW may have a nasty attitude that is getting in the way of her relationships. To the extent she was just trying to be funny, well, it’s not funny. I’m sick of people making fun of fat people. It’s just heartless. This hits close to home because there are overweight people in my family, and I know how mean and judgmental people can be. So, stop it, LW. I hope you never get fat and end up on the other end of that crap. [Rant, over.]

      This LW reminds me a little bit of another girl who wrote in – she had a THE WORST ATTITUDE. Remember, the one with the handicap, who said or suggested something about how if anyone pays her any attention it’s only because they have a fetish? I don’t remember exactly, I just remember she had the worst attitude. LW, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that your’e not like that, or not as bad.

      1. TaraMonster says:

        I agree that the comment was nasty, but I also think it illustrates something about her personality. I have a few friends who are like this. They only see the surface level aspects of compatibility in a relationship, and are puzzled by why they can’t find a satisfying relationship. LW thinks success, being attractive, and not being mentally ill (wtf?) are qualifications for a good partner. Therefore the only way an overweight woman could only have snagged her ex is by looking like her and making a ton of money. I can just see her scratching her head and chewing on a pencil end trying to figure out how she lost in this equation. It sounds to me like her emotional intelligence is zero. She definitely needs to do some introspection. REAL introspection. Maybe she could look into mindfulness or inner child work because she’s got some really skewed ideas about what makes a person value another person. And she definitely needs to get a pet. Seriously.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        unrelated…I haven’t commented in a while, but I missed your Meet the Commenter. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed you aren’t in black and white and old fashioned clothes in real life 😉 Loved the article tho! We have a freaky amount of things in common.

      3. Addie Pray says:

        Haha – thanks! Yeah, why were you ignoring my feature debut?! I was missing the LBH love.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Hehe, your feature debut! I see the fame has already gone to your head.
        Just haven’t been on much lately. Really busy month or so. Apparently real life includes actually getting work done. BS if you ask me!

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Just saw the weekend thread about you considering quitting your job. I think everyone gave you a lot of ideas. One thing I would suggest, along the lines of ‘life’s never perfect no matter what,’ is keeping an “appreciation journal.” Jot down the good parts of your day/life. It helps at least remind you of all the good things. I too hate my job and would love to take a year and travel. Its out of the question though, since I have a young kid. Good luck.

      6. Addie Pray says:

        Thanks, lbh. That’s a wonderful thing to do. There are a lot of nice things about my job, like: I work with really smart, motivated people; I work with kind, caring people; I am constantly challenged; I work on exciting cases…. But I’m burnt out. I’ve talked it through – very very thoroughly — with my sister, a therapist, and Regina Rey, actually — and I’ve slept on it, I’ve let it sit, I’ve thought about it and then put it on the back burner and then revisited the issue — and I’m quitting. I’m going to wait and see how an inhouse counsel job plays out over the next couple of weeks, but either right before or right after Thanksgiving, I’m putting in my notice, and I’ll be done by mid December. And I have some very cool “work on me” plans for the next several months to a year.

      7. 6napkinburger says:

        If I can ask, why not wait until after bonuses?

      8. Addie Pray says:

        You’re a litigator, right lbh?

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        I work in a small firm. I focus mainly on estate planning, corporate work and civil lit, but occasionally some real estate. The litigation is exhausting which is why I love estate planning. I applaude your decision and bravery and since it sounds like you may have a chance at inhouse, good for you for going for it. As long as you’re smart about it, this can hopefully end up being a really amazing time for you that when you’re old, you can look back on happily.

      10. TheOtherMe says:


      11. lets_be_honest says:

        I was missed!
        Real life has been taking over. Can we all give a collective BOOOOO to that?

      12. TheOtherMe says:

        Boooooooooooooooooo real life !!! Boooooo
        ( i was also away )

      13. I think that one comment, along with the comment about the cats, signifies the real problem here. It’s like she seems to think that if you look a certain way and have all the requirements met (job, education, etc), then you are worthy of love. I mean, it’s a pretty ubiquitous message in our society (but oh so wrong obviously). So that would explain being embittered about being left for someone who’s overweight (oh my God, she might even have cats).

        What it comes down to is being a nice, interesting person, a person other people would want to spend their time with! And the pity party attitude isn’t going to attract anybody.

    7. Thank you! I was about to comment on that line, and now I don’t have to anymore. 🙂

    8. atraditionalist says:

      I don’t know if you portray that attitude to others LW but just remember you catch more flies with honey. A sour attitude gets you nowhere. No man wants a miserable woman-even if she is significantly skinnier than another

  3. This LW seems obsessed with symbols.

    Her problem, as she presents it, is that she’s over 30, she wants a guy to say “i love you” to her and she wants a FB status change (because that’s all that relationships are, right?).

    Then all she has to say about the new girl is she’s fat and rich (because beauty and money are the only two measures for girls, right?) .

    And about herself that she is employed, educated, not ugly, not crazy (the fact that she doesn’t have any cats is supposed to prove that, even if she meant it as a joke).

    Nowhere in this letter she talked about who she is besides obvious symbols that she’s a catch. Or about what kind of guy she wants. I wonder if she even knows that.

    It seems to me that her problem might be that she’s shallow. Or that she’s so clueless about reading reality that all she has to go by are things that are easy to identify and that are supposed to mean something.

    People can tell if you want them or you just want things from them (like, you want them to say “i love you” so you feel lovable, and you want them to talk about it in FB so other people know you’re lovable too). I don’t think you’ll get what you want if all you want is someone employed, educated, not ugly and not crazy to tell the world that you deserve love. What’s in it for them?

    1. I agree with you up until shallow or clueless.

      But LW – why do you want a relationship? Think of all the things a good man can bring to you & but give equal focus to the things you can share with a good man: love of poetry? obsession with cat stevens? really good at mixing cereals to make a custom breakfast blend?

      Love yourself, love everyone else, the men will show up.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      “And about herself that she is employed, educated, not ugly, not crazy (the fact that she doesn’t have any cats is supposed to prove that, even if she meant it as a joke).”

      We always ask for more details. She’s describing herself generally. If I were writing in, I’d of course provide those basics. Sure, they aren’t the end all, be all of you and I’d assume she has some hobbies and other interesting things about her, but imagine if she wrote in like this…’I don’t know why I can’t get a date. I love Gossip Girl and spicy tacos.’ We’d all be baffled and left wondering if she has a job or something ‘wrong’ with her, etc.
      Joking about saying she’s not a crazy cat lady is just that-a joke.

      1. rangerchic says:

        This made me laugh out loud at work! “

      2. Yeah… I think she was just trying to convey that there is nothing obviously “wrong” with her, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way.

  4. Wow. Maybe you aren’t unlovable but right now you sound like a jackass. If your take on your ex’s girlfriend is that she looks like she ate you then your problem getting a boyfriend has to do with your personality. Normally I’d be kinder like callmehobo but screw it. If you dish it out in life be prepared to take it. In two small paragraphs you managed to convey bitchiness, biterness, and a misplaced sense of entitlement. Employed and not hideous are not the traits anyone aspires to in a partner. And while wit is great – wit that disparages others for no reason is cruel and a sign of weak character. And when men see signs of this type of bitchibess – they run. As they should because who would want to be saddled with that type of personality day in and out? I don’t have any advice to catch a man for you – my advice is to volunteer somewhere where you can start doing some good for others, where you will learn a little humility and become a better person over time. Maybe then you will have developed some traits to make you lovable.

    1. *bitchiness … Sigh unless anyone wants to believe bitchibess is the best at being bitchy.

    2. I completely agree FireStar. This is spot-on advice and I know that the LW can benefit from it.

    3. ReginaRey says:

      Ok, this might cause a bit of controversy, but if my boyfriend were to leave me for ANY other girl I’d be pissed. Maybe her comment was inappropriate, but I can understand her desire to be snarky. BUT…that doesn’t excuse her attitude. She seems to be focused on surface-level things – particularly money and looks – and that’s probably one of the reasons she’s been unable to find love.

      1. callmehobo says:

        I think the fact that she included this detail in her letter is what is so telling, though. I don’t think she’s angry- I think she is genuinely bewildered as to why her ex would “choose” someone who was fat, and then can only justify his choice by saying that the girl makes a lot of money.

        She just strikes me as someone who is somewhat shallow, or either so analytical that they can only process a relationship like a math problem (skinny+economical stable+mental health= ideal mate)

      2. ReginaRey says:

        Yeah, I think you’ve made a good point. I think any person has the right to be angry if your significant other leaves you for another person. And, no matter how noble you think you are, it would offend most people if your S.O. left you for someone you perceived to be far less attractive than you. BUT, I think you’re right that she’s bewildered, and had to justify it “well, she makes more money than me.” That kind of reasoning is so, so off, and goes a long way in proving how little this LW knows about deep, lasting relationships.

      3. I think she is approaching the whole situation as a really hard math problem – LW, it’s not math! You don’t have to think about it! You just have to have feelings : ) Positive feelings about yourself, positive feelings about other women & men…..It’s magic : ))))

      4. TaraMonster says:

        I should really read the comments before I post. Sheesh. Obviously I agree because I basically reiterated what you said! I think there’s really something to her emotional cluelessness bc several people got the image of LW scratching out an equation to figure out her love life.

      5. Thing is – it wasn’t her boyfriend. It was a guy she had a casual relationship with. Making fun of the other girl he actualy wants a relationship with just makes her look bitter – which she is since she seems to feel that since she has ‘everything’ going for on paper and therefore she should qualify as girlfriend material. I don’t think she is choosing the wrong men necessarily – the men seem capable of commitment – just not to her.

  5. I know it’s cliche, but it’ true: if you stop looking for something, you’ll find it. Sometimes if you stop looking for love, you may find something that you wouldn’t normally notice. Do things you want to do and make you feel good, and you’re on your way to find someone.

  6. ReginaRey says:

    What strikes me most about this is that you said, “The guys I’ve been involved with have been pretty much my equals — I really wasn’t dating up or down.” This statement, coupled with the fact that you’ve been dating guys casually without the relationships ever progressing where you want them to, tells me that you THINK you know what you’re looking for, but you’re way off the mark.

    What makes someone your equal, LW? Their career? Their income (you referenced money in passing a few times in a very short letter, which is interesting)? What they look like? Do the guys you go for tend to look or behave like the kind of guys you THINK you should end up with?

    I’ll tell you this – your methods of discernment are way off. Something about the kind of person you go for is wrong, because you’ve landed yourself in a string of casual relationships that didn’t go anywhere. You need to ponder long and hard about what constitutes an “equal” for you. It should be about similar interests, goals, morals, values, sense of humor, integrity, etc. Sure, someone with a similar lever of education and career success is important, too. But there’s much more to making a deep connection than that.

    I think you’d be very well served to, as Wendy said, work on yourself first. You don’t know what you want, so of course you aren’t attracting a long-term partner. Figure out what’s important to you, and stop dating guys casually who aren’t anywhere close to what you want in a deep, meaningful relationship. The more you date guys who you don’t have a solid connection with, the more you make yourself unavailable to meet someone who DOES have that potential.

    1. This. Glad I bothered to read down so I didn’t waste time typing out a well-thought comment.

      Sounds like mediocrity has been the theme of your love life – think about what you want in a partner and how to attract it.

    2. I totally agree with you and Wendy that LW should work on herself first (see my comment re: therapy below)- because that’s what she can control, and everyone could stand to do that, coupled or not! However, I don’t think the fact that she’s never gotten an I Love You from a guy is enough to say that her “discernment methods are way off.”

      I’m not saying you’re totally wrong in your assessment, you could be right. But I don’t see how you got that from the five sentences that the LW gave us.

      And I have to say, in addition to the good general advice that you, Wendy, and other commenters gave, there is some element of luck in finding a good long term partner that is not only compatible with you, but wants what you want when you want it. Even very balanced and happy people are single for periods in their life… in fact if you’re never single, that’s just as much a red flag as always being single.

      It’s not popular to talk about luck in the context of finding love, but I think it’s true. In *addition* to making sure you are at your best in order to find love, you also need a dousing of luck. This LW is 31, the party’s not over! Control what you can LW, do what you can to bring balance and peace to your life as a single gal. But also remember that not finding the right one yet is not necessarily some huge black mark on you. Not everyone who is coupled up is as happy as they seem.

  7. I agree with everyone’s response regarding the “she ate me” comment in the letter. But I think what the LW was trying to say in her letter is that she doesn’t have any “red flags.” Because the first thing you think of when you hear of someone who’s 30 and hasn’t had a serious relationship is “well, there might be something wrong with them-they’re bad with money, they’re into some weird sex stuff, they are mentally ill, etc…”. Along with Wendy’s advice of working on herself, I think the LW should consider that she’s not picking the right guys. Yes, maybe you are picking someone who makes relatively the same amount of money as you and has similar interests. But clearly you aren’t picking guys who are interested in a long term relationship, and if they are, it’s not with you. You need to figure out how to determine whether a guy is crazy over you (in the good way), figure it out early, and if he’s not get out. Don’t settle. Sometimes you have to go through a LOT of crap before you get to a good guy. Best of luck in the dating world.

  8. Can I just say I loved the twist in Wendy’s advice of latching onto the cat comment. I think it’s a very valid point. If you don’t know how to express you feels of love towards your boyfriend (or anything fuzzy for that matter), why would he open himself up to reject by saying “I love you” when he doesn’t think you love him back?

    1. ReginaRey says:

      I think this is giving the LW a bit too much credit. I don’t think she has a “my boyfriends are afraid of rejection so they don’t say I love you” problem. I think she has more of a “I pick the wrong men and have no idea what qualities are important in a lifelong partner” problem.

      1. I agree that this isn’t a fear of rejection issue – since she says she hasn’t had a boyfriend just long term casual relationships – I wouldn’t expect someone that is just casual to declare any feelings of love. It feels to me that she expects the casual relationships to progress into fully committed ones and they don’t.

      2. I agree. What stood out to me in this letter is that the LW never says she’s ever loved any of the men she’s had relationships with. If you don’t choose men that you could fall in love with, why would you expect them to love you?

    2. I agree with you RR, but how do you expect her to pick someone who is right for her if she doesn’t know how to love in the first place? From what we know from her letter, she’s either picking the wrong guys and doesn’t let it become more serious because they are the wrong guys or these are the right type of guy and she doesn’t let it advance for some internal reasons. And from some of the statements in her letter and the other commentors, I kind of belief it’s the latter and she needs to get herself together BEFORE she can ever expect any guy to be the right guy.

      Either way, a fuzzy little personal therapist may be the best option for her.

  9. Great advice Wendy… LW I recommend this book:

    Ps. I have two cats and my man loves them just as much as I do. And, they’ve been there for me through 2 breakups. My cats are my soul mates. Just sayin… 🙂

  10. Uhh, cut her some slack. I thought the LW was funny, maybe not PC, but still funny. To me, it just sounded like she was trying to point out that there only a few things that are really obviously different between her and the new GF. I dated a guy who started dating someone else who was almost exactly like me (personality and looks) except her hair color and the fact that she’s ridiculously religious (even though he dislikes religious people). Ironically, I’d dumped him because he acted like he didn’t like me the way I was and wanted me to change. Anyway, I could see myself writing a similar letter, though I read enough advice columns to know that if you say something wrong, everyone will jump on you and turn you into the column leper.

    Here’s a slightly unrelated, but hopefully related story, when I was little, I used to see movies and TV shows about high-schoolers and how most of the girls had boyfriends. I assumed that when you get to that age, you get a boyfriend. It didn’t occur to me that one is not just handed to you when you turn 15. I think I also believed that babies were made when married couples slept in beds together and wanted a baby, and that’s it.

    Anyway, at our age, we assume that we should have had a long-term boyfriend, because most people do. But it doesn’t work like that. Say you go to one bar and meet a guy that you date for three months, and then you break up. Maybe if you had happened to go to an equally good bar, you would have met someone who’d date for two years, or maybe no one at all. I’m not saying it’s all luck, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen, and you can’t change that.

    The thing is, though I haven’t had a long-term relationship, I don’t usually jump to the idea that I’m unlovable. I just curse my luck or the fact that my friends know flaky guys. So, the advice about working on yourself first is good, just as insurance, because we all (even people with boyfriends of five years) could probably improve upon ourselves. Smile. Be warm and friendly. And if you do, in fact, talk about yourself badly or about other girls looking like they ate you, out in public (which I don’t assume you do), maybe stop.

    1. Thanks for a different perspective. I think it is important to remember that 1) People writing in are writing in usually because they have a problem and are hurting. When I am in pain, I am not always super eloquent. 2) The LWs are probably not professional writers. They may not know the best way to explain what’s going on.

      That all being said, I think the truth lies somewhere in between “she’s a poor thing that has just had bad luck” and “she’s a superficial jackass”. The LW is certainly not “unlovable”. But, she could probably use a little better attitude going into things. Putting out kindness and a positive view of things will probably get her a lot further than being bitter. And she may want to focus on the deeper things about a person than job status and weight.

      1. Thanks. I completely agree with you. Kindness and positivity do go a long way. It could be that the girl who “looks like she ate her” is a super sweet, cheerful girl, which is much more important than what you look like. Patience helps, too. Not getting what you want when you want it is a fact of life.

    2. I read the letter the same way. I think the LW is just trying to be funny and a bit sarcastic. Sometime that does not come out right when you type it. And sometimes people don’t think you are as funny as you think you are…which sucks.

      1. I dunno. I think it shows how materialistic the LW is. she could have just said ‘he left me for some bitch’, which is still not nice, but I could understand that flash of anger rather than an underhanded body-focussed insult, which reveals a lot about her character. I’m not the most forgiving person, and I do sometimes say mean things about people who dont deserve them, but I never body-snark.

  11. What is this about “dating up or down”? You don’t choose the people you love just because they’re educated, employed, decent looking, don’t suffer from a mental illness — and don’t have any cats. That seems awfully shallow. Is that how you want someone who is supposed to be a life partner to see you? Doubt it.

    So stop focussing on the surface traits that men SHOULD find attractive, and start focussing on the traits they WILL find attractive – charisma, vibrant and fun-loving personality, passions, fearlessness of just putting yourself out there… your warm smile – things like that will attract people to you. Certainly, you don’t need all of those qualities, but you definitely need to have that type of self-worth and self-esteem. Money, good-looks, employment can come and go, but if you have decent personality and can love someone for who there are instead of ‘what they have vs. what I have’, you won’t have trouble finding a partner.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I’ll echo Allison’s comments above as to the overall letter, however, everyone wants to jump down her throat bc she’s shallow for wanting someone educated, employed, decent looking and without mental illness. That’s shallow?!?!?! To me, that’s normal! I would venture to guess everyone on here would prefer a mate who is all those things.
      Let’s imagine an LW writing in about their current SO and described him as a high school dropout, no job or ambition to get one, unhealthily overweight and suffers from mental illness. Would you really all be saying he’s a catch?! NO.

      1. Very true, obviously most people would like to find somebody with a good job and good looks, but I think the point people are trying to make is that the LW needs to look for more than just surface qualities. Things like, he makes you laugh, he’s good with children, he’s close with his family, he’s romantic, he’s empathetic, he’s thoughtful, he wants the same thing out of a relationship as you…

        Just an example, there’s a guy I tried to date, known him for years, I think he looks amazing (everything I’d want in a guy, physically), he’s well dressed, succesful, smart, a really nice guy, we have things in common, great in bed, good to talk with… but our sense of humor didn’t match and what we wanted out of a relationship didn’t match so it never went anywhere. We just stuck with being friends.

        My current boyfriend is pretty much the opposite of what I used to want. Way different style, way different career path, if I’d seen him on the street I would have kept on walking but as I got to know him, I realized that his values matched mine perfectly and I couldn’t be more in love!

      2. moonflowers says:

        I don’t think they meant “shallow” in the sense of “materialistic,” more like “not very well thought out.” To me, those are minimum requirements – necessary but not sufficient.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Of course, like MissDre said just above, you would need more than those basics, but its ridiculous for someone to say those aren’t very, very important basics. I do think that they meant it they way I took it. I could be wrong, but…

      4. Yeah, I meant it as she’s shallow because it SEEMS like that all she wants. And where it may be necessary for some people, that can’t be the ‘be-all-end-all’ for having a significant relationship for everyone… at least in my mind. Who knows, maybe she does see people for more than money and etc, but it doesn’t come across in the letter, which is what I’m responding to.

      5. bittergaymark says:

        Clearly you have been gone a lot lately, lets_be_honest. After finding out pretty much everybody on here has a certifiably insane psychopath of an ex or two (see the recent running into exes column to see what I mean) it seems very few on here do (or at least haven’t in the past) want anybody who is mentally stable, sober, educated, or even employed. Looks didn’t come up much, but all those others seemed surprising unimportant to people on her in their past relationships… 😉

  12. silver_dragon_girl says:

    Your letter reeks of low self-esteem. The best you can say about yourself is, as Wendy noted, that you’re employed and decent-looking, and you don’t have any cats (WTF, by the way…I love my cat). Then you cut down the woman your last boyfriend dated after you by saying she looks like “she ate you” and makes three times as much money, as if that’s her only redeeming quality, and as if those totally shallow/physical things are the only things that are important in a relationship.

    I think that’s your problem. You’re so focused on the superficial you’re not letting yourself experience anything deeper. No wonder you’ve only had casual relationships, and nothing has grown into love! You have to open yourself up to people in order to be loved, LW. That means being vulnerable. That requires you have a little more self-awareness than “I have a job and I’m ok-looking.”

    What do you feel? What do you think? What do you want? What are your dreams? WHY do you want a serious boyfriend? Why do you want to be loved? Who are you? Who do you want to be? Where do you want your life to go? What role do you see this bf playing in your life? What qualities do you want him to have? Don’t list anything physical here- I want to know what personality you are looking for. Do you want someone fun-loving, or more serious? Is a sense of humor important? How about kindness? Compassion? Ambition? A strong work ethic?

    I have found, in life, that we tend to attract people like ourselves. So if you want certain traits in a boyfriend, work on cultivating them in yourself. That means start thinking about what you’re GOOD at, what you WANT to be good at, and what you can do without.

  13. Just curious… How do you know that your exes didn’t love you? Have you ever told any of them that you love him? Just because they didn’t run to the Facebook and didn’t immediately changed their status, does not mean that they had no deep feelings for you.
    How is your relationship with your friends? Are you a generally affectionate person, or do you never share your feelings with people that are close to you? You simply may have a type of personality that does not inspire people to share their feelings with you. That is not meant as a disparaging remark, but some people do come across that way.
    As for the “she looks like she ate me” remark, I would think that this only proves the point that looks are only skin deep. Your BFs may have sensed your shallowness in that regard. If you only value people by their more obvious attributes (education, job, looks), you end up missing out on what actually makes them individuals. Also, if your exes knew about this attitude, they may have thought about what would happen to your relationship once one of those “must haves” of yours is no longer there. What would you do if the guy you’re with lost his job? Or gained 20lb? When you are in a relationship, you want to be sure that the person will stick with you through thick and thin. So if you make comments, like the one above, on a regular basis I can definitely see the guy saying to himself that you may not have the tolerance level needed to sustain a relationship.
    So, yeah, like everyone else said, try to sincerely see people as individuals, with their personalities and quirks, and not perfect looks. And if they do have the other things, like an equal job and education, that is a plus, and not an absolute requirement for a good partner.


    I have a date tonight with someone I met online. I’m actually really excited about meeting her, but I don’t really know online dating etiquette. We’ve only exchanged a few messages but they’ve been really long. We’re meeting for dinner, and there’s a definite ending time because she has a martial arts lesson and I have a train to catch. I’m excited because we’re essentially meeting because typing out all that we had to say to each other was starting to take forever because the messages were so long.

    Advice? I guess I’m just not 100% on dating etiquette. It’s been a while. (Also, we’re lesbians, which doesn’t really affect much but I figured I should mention for those who don’t know.)

    1. I think the definite ending time is actually a good thing. You will be able to get a short, but (hopefully) sweet first impression of each other. And I think it sort of takes the pressure off of figuring out a second activity after dinner.
      It’s great that you are meeting now, and not relying on the e-mail thing for too long. When I was doing the online dating thing, there was this one guy who I e-mailed for a good month. All of our e-mails were basically novel-length. It was fantastic! However, it turned out he made a better pen pal. There was zero in-person connection.
      I am not sure if I have any actual advice because dating is… weird and confusing. Wear something that makes you feel confident. Try to pick out topics of conversation that will keep you both talking (I am sure you have a few that you’ve e-mailed about). But, I am sure you already know these things : ) Good luck and have fun!

      1. Also… sorry for my (possibly) ignorant question… but do you generally go dutch on first dates as lesbians? I am slightly old-fashioned, so if I am on the 1st date, I am perfectly okay with a man paying. But, of course, come prepared to pay if need be.
        I would say if you aren’t totally strapped for cash and generally have a great time, offer to foot the whole bill. It would be a sweet gesture, right? She might refuse, but I think it might go a long way just to know you offered.

      2. I don’t think it’s an ignorant question. Actually, I’m curious too. Who does pay when on a same sex date? Do you both offer? Go dutch? How does this work.

        I’m with you SweetPea. I think it’s great when a guy pays on a first date. I don’t expect it, I offer, but I prefer it. With that being said, after a couple of dates, I start to insist on contributing, or paying. I like things to end up on more equal footing, but I also think a guy picking up the bill on the first date speaks to his character.

        Anyway, I haven’t been in Christy’s situation, so I’m curious to know how it works. Sorry if I’m ignorant too.

      3. Lord, I don’t know either. In my limited experience, it’s been going dutch. Sometimes she’ll offer to pay and I’ll insist on paying my half. (But I don’t play that back and forth game. She offers, I counteroffer, she accepts, or else she offers, I counteroffer, she insists, I accept. That’s as far as I’ll go with the back and forth.)

      4. silver_dragon_girl says:

        Oooh, exciting! Just try to relax, and be natural. If you’ve been getting along in messages, you should have plenty to talk about in person. If you’re super nervous, think of some questions to ask before hand…don’t rattle them off interrogation-style, but just have them in the back of your mind. When you meet each other, have an idea beforehand whether you’ll go for a handshake, hug, or peck on the check (is there different lesbian etiquette for this? I’m not sure…), but if you sense any resistance from her just stick with a handshake.

      5. I wasn’t even aware there was etiquette surrounding this.

      6. silver_dragon_girl says:

        Well, it’s not etiquette so much as, “don’t walk up and hug someone and kiss her on the cheek if she’s not into you.” I guess in almost every serious online date/meeting I’ve had, there’s been some issue about how to say hi. At least the ones I talked to significantly beforehand?

        But then, I overthink things quite a bit 🙂

    2. The only thing I have to say that applies to online dating is: keep in touch while you’re waiting to meet. Like, pick a restaurant you both know how to get to, and then take each other’s phone numbers and text until you find each other. Seriously. On my first date with my boyfriend (who I met online) we somehow got signals crossed and would have ended up standing each other up if it weren’t for texts saying “I’m here, where are you?” We ended up in coffee shops across the street from each other. Neither of us has realized there were two when we gave directions. 😛

  15. I agree with other commenters that you seem to be too concerned with the superficial aspects of yourself and the guys you are looking at as potential partners. The thing that makes it a little more complicated, in my eyes, is its a little bit of a chicken-or-egg scenario. It could be that you’ve never had a meaningful relationship because you have always sized up guys based solely on their looks and status, not true compatibility. It could also be that you haven’t met someone you are truly compatible with yet, so a lack of a true, deep connection has caused you to focus on the superficial, because that’s all you really know. I mean, if you’ve never really gotten very close to someone, you might not know enough about how they tick to know what the real, underlying issue was, so on the surface its a mystery.

    That said, there’s obviously something about the way you are conducting yourself that is not attracting a serious relationship. One thing that stood out to me about your letter is that you never said how you feel about these guys. They may not love you, but do you love them? Did you want a serious relationship with any of them in particular, or just someone in general, and you thought they might be an okay match? If you felt only a lukewarm attraction and connection with them as well, you might have just been keeping yourself off the market and wasting your time with guys who you will never have a deep connection with, so you haven’t had the chance to meet the right guy for you. On the other hand, if you did feel really strongly about them, why did you allow yourself to be strung along in a “long-term casual relationship” with them when you really wanted more? I think a big issue here is you settling for less than you truly want. In the future, I wouldn’t enter into anything long-term, casual or otherwise, with someone you are not extremely excited about, in the type of relationship that you really want. If you want to find love, you have to be open to it, which will not be the case if you’re in a long-term thing with a dude who will never amount to more than a casual thing.

    1. Your last point is great. She has been in “committed” and “casual” relationships for the better part of 10 years….how would she expect to find love when she has been in barebone physical relationships with a dash of monogamy for almost a decade when that is what would prevent any guy interested in more from taking a shot at getting to know her?

  16. fast eddie says:

    Lots of comments seemed to jump on the LW as being unworthy of being loved. I didn’t see that at all. In fact if I were single and a lot younger I’d like to meet her because I’m attracted to successful people in the business world. If it comes down to having only a cat to come home to the local shelters have lots of wonderful companions that would love to be adopted and will love you unconditionally because that’s what they do.

  17. “Don’t be someone who sucks.” Made me laugh out loud. On a wednesday morning!

    New mantra!

    1. Addie Pray says:

      Haha, I agree. This is my new mantra too!

    2. rrrainbow says:

      tough one!

  18. It seems that LW is a serial FWB thinking she is in a relationship, however casual. I also agree that, whether she thinks that way or not, she expresses herself in writing as being very superficial. The problem could be that LW needs to follow Wendy’s advice to basically add more depth to her personality and self, but she could also simply be too desperate for a relationship. Dating is supposed to be about enjoying the experience as you sort the wheat from the chaff and find someone who truly works for you and will perceive you as wonderful and truly loveable. If you latch onto the first piece of chaff that asks you for a date or casual sex and try to turn that into a relationship, because that is all you’ve got at the moment and you despair of finding better, then you’ll never find the wheat grain with your name on him.

    LW might be the ideal person for an on-line site like eHarmony. A forced consideration of who you are and what you want, coupled with a forced initial slowness in establishing or not establishing a relationship may be necessary. However LW is meeting and choosing men isn’t working for you. Even if she is as shallow as some responders claim, there are a lot of happily married shallow people out there. It need not be an absolute bar to a deep relationship.

  19. GatorGirl says:

    What’s wrong with a cat or two?? Some days I think my BF likes my cat more than me…

    1. LoL me too!

    2. My boyfriend would totally love my cat more than me if she weren’t a man hating sociopath.

      But she is, god bless her neurotic little head.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Is your cat my sister?

  20. MellaJade says:

    Geez LW, what the heck do you have against cats? and people who are heavier than you? Does having a cat (or 2) and being overweight make me unworthy of finding love? Thanks a lot.
    Its your attitude and the fact that you look down on other people that prevents you from finding love. Try being a nicer person.

  21. ele4phant says:

    About the cat thing, I so agree with you Wendy. I’m not sure how the crazy cat lady sterotype got started, but having a cat is just as likely to be a plus then a minus when it comes to dating. There are just as many diehard cat lovers that are men as there are women. When I first got my cat, most of my guy friends went ape shit and wanted to come over and play with him all the time.

    Plus, while the cat wasn’t the final selling point, I know that he was a HUGE plus for my boyfriend when he first met me. If I recall correctly, he said “Dooder (cat name), you are the cutest thing I’ve seen all day!” when he first saw the cat. They now have a platonic, but passionate love for one another.

    So don’t get seven cats and sequester yourself in your apartment with them, that’s creepy, but having a cat will definitely appeal to the cat-people crowd. Same with a dog (except, you’ll attract the dog people). Pets are great.

    1. Lol at “platonic, but passionate love”

    2. 6napkinburger says:

      But here’s the problem with getting a dog: she won’t be able to do all the other things that were recommended. I want(ed) to get a dog and after asking around, it has been made clear to me that having a dog in NYC would be incredibly detrimental to my burgeoning social life. I’d always have to go home after work to walk it; I couldn’t just go straight to a class or dinner or drinks. I’d have to hire dog walkers, which add up. It would limit where I could live (which buildings) if I wanted to move to a more fun section of town to increase my social traffic. I couldn’t just go away for the weekend without either paying for a kennel, or getting a friend to help. I understand lots of people have and love dogs, but if this LW tries to branch out to do all the things we suggested, she might have a really hard time doing that with a dog, ESPECIALLY a puppy.

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        Burgeoning because of my recent breakup and my desire to get my social life back on track (I became a little bit of a couple-hermit). So I’m going through the exact same type of “regenesis” that we are suggesting to the LW and I’ve been told by those with pets that a dog, while amazing to make me feel loved and not lonely, would really hinder that.

        (For the record, while NOT cat bashing, I have also been told by everyone I work with that I should not get a cat because “that’s just too sad.” (actual quote). I can’t get a cat anyway because my whole fam is allergic, but there is that anti-cat bias out there, so the LW isn’t entirely wrong to have perceived it.)

      2. bittergaymark says:

        Also, a lot of people simply CAN’T get dogs. For one, my building wouldn’t allow it. But conveniently (since I’d really hate to move and abandon rent control) neither would my lifestyle. I am simply gone too much when I work. On a film set, it’s literally 14 hour days and I am simply NOT paid well enough to have somebody come in to my place and let out little Licorice (the fantasy name of my sadly as of yet non-existant Boston Terrier.) And even if I could afford it, how cruel. To leave a cute little dog alone pretty much all the time? Seriously, it would be just beyond mean. So, yes, sadly, pets are wonderful. But they simply aren’t for everyone.

      3. callmehobo says:

        I wish I could million thumbs up your sentiment about leaving a dog alone all the time.

      4. This is correct. I adore my dog but he has actively contributed to the death of my social life in such a fundamental way, I cannot even tell you. I am 26 but effectively middle-aged.

    3. fast eddie says:

      I dated a number women that had cats and/or dogs and always missed the fur balls when I didn’t see them again.

    4. ele4phant says:

      Whoa, this went on on what I thought was pretty innocuous. Here’s what I meant: lots people like animals (cats, dogs, both, lizards, birds, ect), so having one isn’t going to be a deal breaker across the board.

      If she wants a pet but is holding back because she thinks it might be a check in the minus column, she shouldn’t worry about. For as many people who would find it a turn-off, just as many will find it a plus.

      If she doesn’t want a pet because SHE doesn’t want one, or can’t, that’s fine too.

  22. Love is not a one-way street. Asking “why haven’t any of these guys loved me?” is meaningless if you haven’t loved them either. Wendy’s right, you need to give love to get it back. Stop dating men you don’t (and don’t expect to) love.

  23. Seriously. I’m a proud catlady. The name of my blog is The Ugly Cat, for crying out loud. And I’ve been with an amazing man for seven years. I’ve had my share of ups and downs in the dating world, but ownership of a cat never mattered. I also don’t understand how she wrote into Wendy all “Obviously I’m a catch bc I don’t have a cat” when Wendy is a known cat lover. C’mon!

    1. GingerLaine says:

      Tara! WTF?! You have a blog? Annnnnnd if I ever clicked on anyone’s name, I would know that. Dur. You’re one of my favorite DearWendy posters, so I’ll definitely check it out! 🙂

      1. Yes. I have a blog I haven’t updated in MONTHS. Haha. But, aww jeez, you’re makin’ me blush!

      2. Yes, your blog is great! Keep writing 🙂

  24. Chilosa161 says:

    You cannot be truly loved until you truly love yourself.

    Spend time getting to know yourself and finding people who match your interests. Someone will poke out and be as awesome as you are!

  25. I haven’t read ALL of the comments yet, but… has the LW ever been in love? Why does she want someone to love her if she doesn’t love them back? I feel like she’s focusing on how she wants someone else to feel about her, rather than how she feels about someone else. Is she looking for some type of validation, or does she really want to have a meaningful relationship?

    1. Oh, AND – Thanks, Wendy, for defending cats. 🙂

  26. “Don’t be someone who sucks.”

    Ha! So true. So many people seem to bemoan their lack of love by blaming others, or the world, or luck, when it really does start with yourself.

    LW, I’d also recommend some therapy, if that’s at all possible. Now, I’m not really one of those people that believe that therapy is a cure-all. I think for it to work, you have to be open to it and have realistic expectations. And I recommend it to you, not because you’re crazy or even seem to have serious issues, but because I think it might just help to talk out your feelings with someone objective. Maybe you are doing little things to push guys away, or maybe your defeatist attitude is translating into your actions without you realizing it. Anyway, I really think it couldn’t hurt. Maybe just feeling that you are investing in your own well-being will be the jump start you need to start working more actively at improving yourself and your outlook, and ultimately, finding love if that is what you want.

    Otherwise, great suggestions from Wendy on how to take your life by the balls (lady balls?)! Steer your own ship LW!

  27. 6napkinburger says:

    Way harsh, Thai, way harsh.

    Come on guys. Putting aside the “looks like she ate me” comment, everything else the LW is saying is in response to hypothetical questions. Someone would say “maybe you’re trying to date out of your league” so she pre-emptively told us that she doesn’t, that they are “equals”. I could imagine trying to underscore that. (When I mean equals, I usually mean about my own age, about my same education/socioeconomic status, running in the same sort of social circles, same level of drive/ambition, have similar ideas about the future. I don’t mean that we like the same music or both like to ski.) I don’t think the “facebook” reference was as literal as some others seem to think; I think she meant it to underscore the fact that they were never “official” relationships, not that she needed to be validated on facebook. (I could imagine defining my past relationships the same way, even though i’ve never changed my facebook status at all, some where “facebook worthy” and others were not.)

    And for the record, while I have an aversion to cats brought on by an entire childhood of having to run away from them when I saw them, lest they touch me, and I go home to my incredibly allergic sister, brother and father who start sneezing immediately, a friend I just re-met and started hanging out with actually pointed at her 2 cats as a reason why she thinks guys have balked in the past. (As in, they were interested until they learned about the cats and then weren’t.) I had never heard of it, but perhaps its a legitimate concern where the LW lives and dates.

    I don’t think the LW is as shallow as everyone else seems to; I think she tried to convey things through her writing that people are interpreting very literally.

    1. Addie Pray says:

      It looks like there was a harsh comment that got deleted… Wendy, out of curiosity, how many comments per post do you end up having to delete? I feel like commenters on DW are so nice. Is that because all the nasty ones get deleted? Or because we’re all just so wonderful?

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        No no, I was responding to all the negativity in general about the LW being shallow and meanspirited; not a specific one. I just think if we look with “benefit of the doubt” glasses at this letter, we’d give more useful advice.

      2. Addie Pray says:

        That’s a good point. I think she just rubbed people the wrong way with the comment about the new girlfriend’s weight. But if she’s unintentionally rubbing people the wrong way, she needs to recognize that so she can see what she needs to work on fine-tuning.

      3. I think it reasonable to assume that LWs, in general, at least try to cast themselves in the best possible light. This LW basically says the ex had no reason to break up with her, except perhaps he likes rich, fat girls. Nary a hint of anything in the relationship that caused discord, things she did that he complained about, mistakes she thinks she made that might have given him pause. Saying ‘am I completely unloveable’, when you’ve had multiple lovers, is sort of a self-pitying avoidance of any specific personal responsibility for the relationship woes. A little introspection might be warranted. We don’t even see as much I’m-innocent introspection as ‘I just seem to have a knack for finding douchebags.’ If the LW had actually said more, the advise might be more germane. It is like going to a career counselor and announcing “I just can’t seem to find a job, probably because I just can’t do anything”, but “I’m a smart, diligent person, who always treats people well.”

    2. I agree! I think people are making a lot of assumptions in their comments and I’m not really picking up the same vibe…

    3. ReginaRey says:

      Is that a Clueless reference I detect?

    4. sobriquet says:

      A guy I dated in the past absolutely hated cats and it was kind of a deal breaker (not for him, but for me!). On the other hand, my most serious, long-term relationships involved men who were cat owners themselves. It’s an easy thing to bond over!

    5. I think you are right, everyone is being harsh. However, this brings up a point that many times people don’t know how they sound to others. I know alot of people who say, “i don’t know why…” and most of the time everyone else in the conversation does know why.

      Also, I have friends who lied about the number of cats they had on dating profiles and got better results. Wendy does have a point about pets being good for the soul but I thought the cat thing was interesting.

  28. bittergaymark says:

    Ugh, wow so much unnecessary hate on here for the LW. And so much pie in the sky bullshit from everybody who so gleefully slings it. I mean you all just KNOW that the LW has a bad attitude when she implies her BF dumped her because he’s a gold-digger… Yeah, right, like THAT never happens. Nobody ever opts for the excess coin and nobody ever obviously dates down to get some nice access to money and all the fancy things it buys you… Oh, and then we have everybody acting all high and mighty about the genuinely amusing line “when he dumped me for a chick who looks like me, but looks like she ate me…” because we ALL know none of you would ever say anything catty or mean after a bitter break up. No, you are all saints on here who love your exes and never leap to conclusions—-oh, wait.

    LW, I feel your pain. And I don’t think you suffer from low self esteem, you are just frustrated. When you rattled off that list… “I’m educated, employed, decent looking and I don’t suffer from mental illness — and I don’t have any cats” … you weren’t saying that is all there is to you. No, instead, you were simply pointing out that you don’t exhibit some of the more obvious guy offs.

    And yes this means that not everybody likes cats. Many guys don’t like cats. I know, I don’t. Sure, I think they can be cute, but they tend to wreck your stuff — furniture especially — this lst bit is true of every one I know who has cats. (Seriously, I can visualize eleven ruined couches by memory…) Litter boxes NEVER smell good. I’m sorry, they just don’t. All those commercials on TV simply lie, lie, lie… Oh, and Your Little Kitty often hates anybody who dares to date you…

    So yes, LW. I feel your pain. And don’t be talked into a cat if you don’t want one. A dog would probably be more effective — as you do have to go to dog parks and that does force you to be social. But getting a pet won’t solve your all your problems. It’s tough. It’s tough meeting people in big cities. I am in a million improv classes, people find me hilarious, I am decent looking, I, uh, used to be employed, and I’ve had a horrible time finding love in LA. So have many of my other friends, too. Not all, but some. Then there are the few that are ABJECT psychopaths that somehow never seem to NOT have nine or ten quality guys vying for their attention… It’s all very confusing.

    Hang in there, LW. Hang in there. I hear it usually comes when you least expect it.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Mark, you sure do know how to surprise me. You defend this LW because most of the commenters, to some extent, think she needs an attitude adjustment, and yet when the commenters decide to defend a LW…you accuse everyone of being too easy on them and of being man haters. We can’t win!!

      I mean, I can’t recall how many times you’ve sneered at us for saying “poor, poor LW,” and yet here you are feeling her pain and patting her on the back! Sigh. I wish I could figure you out.

      Ultimately, I find it interesting that you told this LW to “hang in there,” while mentioning that you’ve also had a “horrible time finding love.” Could you and the LW have something in common? Perhaps the need for a bit of an attitude adjustment? Not trying to jab you, Mark, just trying to widen the perspective a bit.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        I could be that, RR. That said, I simply thought that the MOB MENTALITY that this LW has a bad LW simply isn’t based on anything in the letter. I really don’t. You are all blaming this LW for things I simply don’t see any signs of. (And reading through the comments again, I see I am NOT alone in this thinking.) To be perfectly frank, yes, many times, far too many of you are routinely bashing the men and going poor, poor LW on here far too much.

        Oh, and of course, RR, I most definitely ONLY have this viewpoint because I, too, am alone solely because of me, myself and I. It’s all because I am a horrible person I am. Just like the LW. Everybody who is single is deeply flawed. We all bring it on ourselves. The rest of you have great relationships because you are all so perfect and wonderful. Really, poor us. The best we can do it hope for cats… Okay, now that WAS snarky. But I hope you see my point.

      2. ReginaRey says:

        Well, I’m single too, and I know I’m not “deeply flawed.” Of course being single isn’t usually SOLELY your (or anyone else’s) fault, but being single is a great time to take inventory of yourself, and see what adjustments you might make to your life for the better – including attitude adjustments.

        And, for the record, I originally laughed at the whole “looks like she ate me” thing. I don’t think this LW was trying to come across as quite so shallow and clueless as she did to most commenters on here, but I still got the impression that she could be a bit more aware of what she’s looking for in a partner, and work toward that.

        I guess I get a little riled up when you say “wow, so much unnecessary hate.” Isn’t that basically pot/kettle? Meh. I really don’t mean to pick on you, I like you! You’re true to you and you stick to your guns, which I respect.

      3. bittergaymark says:

        RR, the hate comment wasn’t directed at you… But seriously. Go reread some of the other comments… I don’t know it it was simply the fact that pretty much everybody on here is trying to lose weight (or perhaps, maybe refusing to) and so the mildly snide remark about her replacement struck a nerve or what. But clearly something did. Something seems to have really set everybody off. A lot of the comments were ten times as rude as the comment they were criticizes as being rude. That struck me as hilarious… ;

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        “being single is a great time to take inventory of yourself, and see what adjustments you might make to your life for the better – including attitude adjustments.”

        THIS. I think you are spot on. Sure, sometimes love is found by fluke, but imagine all the missed opportunities because you walk around in a bitchy mood, never smile, act nasty, whatever. If you are single and want a relationship (I was single for a long time very happily so thats why I add ‘and want a relationship’), take inventory, change your attitude maybe and keep putting yourself out there.

      5. bittergaymark says:

        Also, it IS decidedly curious that whenever anybody is single and alone and feeling frustrated — the masses are ready to sing out in unison that it’s always all the LW’s fault. They are a superficial person, they unable to love. They have a bad attitude… But the moment somebody on here is dumped, no matter what the reason, the entire greek chorus is all “Oh, why or why would this ever happen to you? You are so wonderful. You deserve better…” It’s a very interesting pattern on here.

        So, yeah. Seriously. Think about that. It’s all very curious. The reactions to both this letter and the one about searching for love with a physical deformity seriously made me realize that many of the commentators on here have decidedly curious points of view…

      6. Addie Pray says:

        That’s a really good point, BGM. That is curious. One guess I have is, the reason why we’re quicker to say “it’s you” (or maybe you should take a look at yourself and “take inventory” as RR said below) when someone write in that they are, in short, lonely, is because it’s constructive – it’s something everyone should do, really. And to the extent the LW can make a positive change that will make her a better person, well I think we all agree that can only help her relationship woes. It’s just not constructive to say “everyone around you sucks” or “you’re great, a guy will come along and recognize that.”

      7. bittergaymark says:

        Is it really though? Somebody writes in feeling lonely, lost, and unworthy of love and everybody jumping all over them — gleefully pointing out that, “Hey LW, it’s really all YOUR fault!” — that is somehow constructive? Yikes. Gee, I’d sure hate to see what destructive would be…

        Now I get your thinking about being introspective and making positive changes. And I think truly Wendy nailed that aspect in spades here… No, I have no problem with that… It’s all other comments I am talking about here. Many of them seem very out of line.

      8. ReginaRey says:

        I agree. If you’re single and unhappy, then it’s your responsibility to take inventory and do something constructive about it. That’s why there’s always a chorus of “it’s you” comments – because there’s nothing constructive about sitting around and blaming everyone else for your singledom.

        I think the difference between that and a breakup is that EVERYONE feels shitty during a breakup, and we’ve all been there. Their emotions are even more strung out, so hearing that it’s all your fault and “it’s you” isn’t going to get them to listen. I think, since most of us have been there, we tend to buoy people up after breakups because we all know how difficult a time in your life it can be. It’s compassionate.

        Whereas, compassion for a single person, in my opinion, isn’t the same thing. Telling someone it isn’t their fault, after they’ve recovered from the breakup, isn’t helpful. Being compassionate after the breakup is over and singledom has set in, to me, means helping them realize what they could do differently in the future, so they don’t continue to repeat past mistakes.

      9. bittergaymark says:

        That said, I would say the irony here is that there usually generally IS more deserved blame to be placed at those who have gone through a break up. People often are dumped because of something THEY did. They Said. Or even just the Way They Are. (Hey, I know all three have a applied to me at some point.)

        But often, the fact that you haven’t found someone yet is simply due to dumb luck. So many of my friends in great relationships seemingly met their significant others through random twists of fate. Not whining here, it’s actually very romantic. And hey, my own grandparents met simply because they both stupidly and carelessly missed a cross country train had either of them been on time, I wouldn’t even be here… EDIT: the reason I use stupidly and carelessly here is that the silly reasons they each missed the train were very much out of character for them… Again, fate?

        But I digress. But the outright disdain many on here seem to have for disillusioned single people remains curious. Very curious.

      10. ReginaRey says:

        My philosophy is, the only thing you have control over is yourself. Twists of fate happen, and we can’t predict when or where they might happen. The only thing we can do is work on ourselves and, like Wendy said, be the kind of person you’d want to be in a serious relationship with. That really applies at any time – right after a breakup or during your singledom. I just think it makes more sense than grumbling about dumb luck being the reason you’re still single.

      11. Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com says:

        One of the biggest “secrets” about finding love, in my (not that humble!) opinion is that its BOTH.

        You have to be ready, self-aware, generous, and all those many traits we mention that make a person a good partner.


        You have to have extraordinary luck.

        If love were easy to come by, it wouldn’t be so valuable.

        I always put it like this (and I warn you, it’s cheesy)…. Think of love as a very rare bird. You have no idea if or when you will see it. You can’t predict it, schedule it, or summon it. But what you can do is build a really awesome nest so that if and when it flies by, it might choose yours as a landing place.

      12. The same holds true for both situations – if you go around kicking puppies and are confused as to why no one loves you or wants to date you – the answer might not be it’s just dumb luck and your time will come – the answer might be it’s because you kick puppies. Same is true for when you kick puppies when in a relationship and the guy leaves you. Both instances need awareness of your own behaviour.

      13. bittergaymark says:

        Right. Because everybody who is single just naturally goes around kicking puppies. (Please excuse me while I go drown my daily kittens, too.) Okay, I am back. Man, do those little cuties ever hate the water… What was I saying? Oh, right… Yes, there are plenty of nice, kicked-puppy-free singles out there and you know what? Sometimes, it really truly IS frustrating…

        If a LW choses to write in to express her frustrations, maybe what she REALLY needs to hear is simply that. Yes, we get it. We’ve been frustrated, too! Don’t let it get to you! Keep busy and cheerful and just hang in there… (Ironically, jike that little cat on all those dumb greeting cards and Hallmark posters.)

        Really, that’s all I am trying to say here. Frankly, I had NO idea that of all the the points I’ve made on here, this concept would prove so controversial…

      14. lets_be_honest says:

        I think her point was if you act like a snarky a-hole, no one will want to be in a relationship with you and that its not just because you haven’t been lucky enough for it to fall in your lap. And to be aware of how you are, because, yes, sometimes there IS a reason you are not in a relationship or finding love and that reason can be YOU (not you, specifically!).
        I don’t think “this concept” is what’s controversial, its that its coming from you. As RR said, its the polar opposite of what you usually say. I guess you’re more compassionate now because in this case, you are in LW’s shoes.

      15. bittergaymark says:

        Or maybe I just call a spade a spade. I genuinely think that (perhaps being better at snark) I am simply much more adept at knowing when and when not to use it…

      16. I’m guessing you don’t embrace the concept of metaphor? And I never said everyone – I said if. If someone is doing something to sabotage themselves in the dating world and they write in for advice – then the kindest thing you can do for them is to tell them how they behaviour is being perceived. Otherwise what is the point? To just there there them into continued unsuccessful behaviour? That does them no favours. If you just want to hear how great you are no matter what – I’m sure there is an app for that.

      17. Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com says:

        Agree and disagree.

        1. Mark, I absolutely agree that there is a general trend that points to single people as being flawed. Why? Because there still prevails a notion that being single is undesirable and therefore, we are desperate to find a reason, a FAULT, in the person who’s in that condition –ya know, so we can rationalize that would never happen to US. It couldn’t possibly be luck. I am in a relationship because I am valuable —and all that. So yes, some of us are quick to find fault in singletons because it conveniently eases any sense of guilt or fear we might have.

        2. I don’t want to be tacky and plug myself but for anyone interested, I wrote something that relates to this (and an earlier Dear Wendy post) about how we too quick to lump single women into the “fantasy dater” bucket (if you want to read, you can click on my name and I think it should go there). Basically if you’re single and dating a lot, then you must be flawed, chasing bad boys, going for the wrong guys, etc. It couldn’t possibly be that love is just hard to find or that those of us who are single are actually holding out for something good and genuine (not settling).

        Well I plugged myself anyway 😉

        3. I do agree with RR that you like to take the opposing viewpoint wherever possible! That’s not necessarily a bad thing because there absolutely IS a bandwagon effect in place at DW (a side effect of a close knit readership). I think it’s well meaning but it can be a bit myopic at times. So you bring balance where balance is needed. But I had the exact same thought that RR did when I read your post. Usually you chastise us for defending the female reader but this time we’ve proved that we don’t always do so and now you think we’re being cruel.

        4. As for the content in todays letter, I actually don’t have a strong opinion. I honestly felt it was too short on content and detail for me to feel either pity OR disdain.

        (as always, good debate)

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        I think some commenters love to be the devil’s advocate. Sometimes helpful, often times, well, not. I think you make some really legitimate points RR, as always.

      19. bittergaymark says:

        Actually, I think some of do look to express a viewpoint on here that is often sorely lacking.

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        I think there are so many different viewpoints on here, but often only the ones that are unnecessarily nasty or obnoxious are noticed actually. Plus there’s a huge difference is playing devil’s advocate and being just hypocritical and/or vicious about playing the other side of the coin. For example, the “louder” commenters on here will say the same thing as a quieter, nicer one and only the louder one will have a ton of likes.

      21. I’m glad you’re commenting again. That is all.

    2. The thread this started seems to be getting a little crazy, but I just wanted to jump in & say you make a good point about abject psychopaths being able to have a circus of guys vying for their love. I think the commenters that preach on here to “have a good attitude, or else no one will want you!” forget that sometimes in the real world, it’s the exact opposite.

      1. (and that^ was directed at BGM’s original comment)

  29. sobriquet says:

    I didn’t plan on commenting because Wendy’s response is PERFECT (seriously, get a pet!). But then everyone was trashing the LW for the whole “looks like she ate me comment” and I think it’s a little silly, guys. Lighten up, maybe? Don’t we ALWAYS look for imperfections in the women our ex’s date after us? I remember examining a picture of my ex’s new girlfriend on Facebook a few years ago, staring at this beautiful woman and finding her extremely ugly. She had slightly larger thighs than me. Yes, that is what I came up with.

    The “looks like she ate me” comment made me laugh and completely reminded me of that. I don’t think any of you would be upset if she had said the new girl looks like an anorexic stick figure (which is just- if not more– offensive). Just sayin’!

  30. If your relationship was “casual”, why does it matter what the woman he left you for looks like? Or how much he makes? Unless he tells you those are the reasons he left you, of course. Did he tell you that he left you because she makes more money than you and he wants to sponge off of her instead? No? Then her money isn’t the issue. Did he tell you that he likes the fact that she is heavier and he couldn’t stand your bony ass? No? Then that’s not the issue either.
    Do I know if you have a bony ass? No, I was merely using that as a hypothetical. Hurts when I suggest that your rear isn’t perfect though, doesn’t it? Betcha that if you’re willing to cut this woman down on a public forum to strangers, you’re willing to say something to people you know, who will say something to your former “casual” guy. Or even his new girl. How do you think they will feel about your comments? You come off as a bitter woman, and you are too young for that.
    Did your guy KNOW that you wanted more than a casual relationship? If not, then maybe that’s why he left – to find a STEADY, committed and REAL relationship rather than a casual one.
    You know what you want. The problem seems to be your communication skills. Or, at least one problem. You also seem to be a bit petty/mean/harsh. It’s going to be hard to find a guy willing to stick it out for more than two intro dates with a woman who keeps insulting people and acts like she’s got a thorny vine wrapped around her body.

  31. I agree with Wendy that in reading your list I feel like maybe you are boring. And that’s unfair because it is just a letter and I don’t know anything about you, except what you’ve told us, which may be your problem in the dating world too. And even though I think your comment about the ex’s new gf can be offensive, I don’t think it necessarily means you’re a nasty, bitter person. I think that a lot of people find faults with their ex’s new SOs like this. it’s easier isn’t it? dealing with being broken up with and finding out that your ex is dating someone new when they’re ugly, fat, poor, have kankles, etc makes it easier for you. but, i think you need to spend less time on what your ex’s new SOs do or don’t have and more of what YOU have to offer someone new. It sounds corny but try and come up with three adjectives that you think your friends would use to describe you, heck ask them to do it for you! And focus on the good things you have to offer other people. Dating is hard but it’s even harder when you go in to thinking you’re going to fail. Calling yourself a soon to be spinster is doing just that. And like Wendy said focus on the other kinds of love you have in your life.

    1. Not sure why anyone would feel better thinking that their ex decided that the world’s biggest loser was a better catch than them. Wouldn’t it be easier on the ego to believe your ex was swept away by this almost perfect person, or better still, that your ex just wasn’t mature enough for any sort of relationship and is taking a breather from sex for the next year?

      1. It’s kind of a spite thing, I think. Like, HA! I knew he couldn’t do better than me and now he’s lost me for good!

  32. parton_doll says:

    I have no real opinion on today’s letter other, but I was suprised with all the offense taken to the LW talking about not having cats. Many times old spinster lady types are described as being the “old crazy cat lady”. Or at least in my area down here in the Deep South of central FL. I am surprised that everyone took her so literally. I know I married in my mid twenties to avoid the cat lady fate … although by my area’s standards, I only barely missed it 😉

    LW, I am sure if you just take a look at your priorities and really decide that you are ready for a real relationship not a casual one, you will start moving in that direction. Regardless of the past, you can make new choices right now to move your life in the direction that you want. Good luck with love and avoiding crazy cat lady status!

    Hey just trying to lighten the mood in what seems to be a surprisingly touchy little topic today. Happy hump day everyone!

  33. Will.i.am says:

    I think what is hard to swallow is the rejection in general. Feeling as you have never been told, “I love you” by the age of 30 is tough to swallow. No matter what we may say, the LW is still going to feel the way she does. For her best interest, it would be to analyze the comments and work on improving yourself. Instead of questioning why someone chose someone else over you, try focusing on improving yourself and a better mate may come to you.

    The only problem with that analogy and many others is the amount of time it may take to meet that person. You could lose weight for a year and never meet anyone, then gain 10 lbs back, and the guys can’t keep the hands off of you. You just can’t control when someone will come into your life and swoon you. The moment you start forcing the situation, is when the losers and jerks will come out in full force. They feed on women with low self esteem because they can get what they want with very little effort. Then you end up coming back to “Dear Wendy” and complaining about all men are jerks, when in reality, “your picker is broken.”

    I tell people time and time again, if you tend to date the same type of guy, step outside your comfort zone and date someone a little bit different. Maybe he’s a little overweight or not as smart as you, but he may stimulate you in ways that no other person ever has.

    Even if the date is bad, and the person is even worse, you have a wider spectrum of guys you care to avoid.

  34. And why is a facebook status stage important?!?!?!?! Since when a relationship is defined by what your facebook says about it? I really don’t get why people see this as important.

    A change in a facebook status does not make your relationship anymore or any-less official…

    If all you are worrying about in a relationship is when the guy will say I love you and then change his facebook status then you are doing it wrong.


    it really irritates me that people even mention facebook when they talk about their relationship

    /end rant

    1. stage? lol I meant change

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