I’m in my late 40s and have only been in one committed relationship, which last lasted three years when I was in my early 30s. I have been single ever since. I have weight issues, which men hate, and I have mental conditions. I suffer from Fragile X and Autism. Fragile X is less severe in females but Autism is worse in females than it is in males. I just pursued a guy who flat-out told me that he’d never date a mental health patient. Then he ranted about how he scored models at singles bars. This kind of guy is not for me.
What can I do to find men who are right for me? I am musically inclined and looking for the same to date me, but I don’t want to have to contend with shallow men. At the same time, I don’t want to get stuck with men who have no common interests and beliefs whatsoever with me. Your advice is appreciated. — Fragile-Hearted
Honestly, your plight isn’t so different than that of most single people. We all have crosses we bear. A simple scan through this site’s archives proves that. There’s the guy who was something like $150 K in student loan debt and worried that he’d never find a woman who would want to settle down with someone with so much debt to pay off. There are single parents who are anxious about finding a mate who will accept and love their children. There are those who have been abused or raped and carry the baggage from that and are afraid to let someone get close. Some people just feel embarrassed about their lack of sexual or relationship experience. Others are embarrassed that they have too much experience.
We all have something we’re afraid makes us less desirable to others, and you know what? We’re right. We do all have something that makes us less desirable to others. But the thing you think makes you less desirable may or may not be what turns off one person. Maybe there’s something else about you that a particular person isn’t into. And maybe the thing you think turns most people off is no big deal to someone else. That’s because we’re all so different, with different tastes and different tolerances, and we’re all looking for different things. Sometimes, we don’t even know what we’re looking for until we find it. YOU could be exactly what someone is searching for, despite your mental conditions and your weight. But, I’m not going to lie to you: you probably need to cast a wider-than-average net to find that someone. You do have what a lot of people would consider checkmarks in the con column. But that’s OK. You don’t want a lot of people. You just want one (I’m assuming?). One right someone. Or a few potential someones you can choose from. And for that, you need to cast a wide net.
What does that mean? For one thing, it means opening your heart to men who may not be musically-inclined or share every interest you share. You’re right that someone may not have a musically-inclined nerve in his body, but that doesn’t mean he won’t appreciate your musical talent or won’t enjoy going to concerts with you or listening to your favorite albums on a cozy Friday night at home.
For another thing, if you want to find someone who has common interests and shares common beliefs, you should look for men in places where you express or practice those interests and beliefs — the aforementioned concerts, or music classes, or church, or wherever it is you go to find your joy. That’s the place where you’ll find men who share the same joys. But once you “find” them, the work doesn’t stop. Actually, it hasn’t even started yet. Once you find them, you have to initiate conversation, show some interest, be friendly and approachable.
And if you want to find men who will be more open to your mental conditions, why not try support groups, both online and offline, as well as dating sites that cater to people with similar issues? A simple Google search for “Dating sites for Autism” turned up lots of sites (I’m not personally familiar with them, so I will stop at recommending one over another). Searching for Fragile X dating sites didn’t prove to be as fruitful, but if it’s compassionate men who understand what it means to live with a mental condition or mental illness whom you’re looking for, there are still plenty of dating sites that cater to that sort of thing. As always, you need to be careful and smart and follow the typical online dating rules, of course, but if you open your heart and open your search to include spots your “ordinary” guy may not necessarily hang out, you’ll be more likely to find someone who will accept you and love you for who and how you are.
One more thing: you mention that men “hate” your weight issues, which may be true for many of them, but there are men out there who love heavier women (though not as many who love thinner women). What’s most important, though, is how you feel about your weight and your body. If you aren’t happy with yourself, then you need to do something about it.