Now I’m dating a 39-year-old guy; he was married in his twenties for one year, things didn’t work out for them, and he got divorced. I like his way of thinking/the way he sees the world, and I have a great respect for him. The two problems are: I think he is not a good looking guy — he has an attractive body but not a pretty face. The other thing that I find myself thinking about is that he is just finishing graduate school and works a temporary, part-time student’s job. When I told my friend about that, she told me that she thinks it’s not a good sign and that he should’ve been in a better place by now because he is not that young anymore.
I am really confused because I can feel that he is a good man, has a strong character, is very committed, and is not shallow. However, I can’t avoid thinking about the things I just wrote. I feel that a serious relationship can really do me good now. I badly need someone in my life. I would appreciate your advice on this! — Looking for a Pretty Face
You don’t “badly need someone in your life” right now. You’re just lonely, bored, and unfulfilled, and I know that because two years after breaking up with someone you didn’t share values or beliefs with, you think you aren’t over him and always end up thinking about him after ending things with other guys who aren’t right with you. That is classic behavior of someone who feels empty and bored and lonely and unfulfilled. You’ve convinced yourself that the answer to these problems is finding Mr. Right, and that couldn’t be more wrong.
As long as you are unhappy with yourself and your life, you will be a bad partner for someone else and you will fail at finding a fulfilling and satisfying relationship. You have to create the kind of life you’re happy in before you can invite someone else to share and expand it. If YOU’RE bored with yourself and your life, how is anyone else going to be excited? You’d be doing yourself, and especially this new guy who isn’t pretty, a real solid by moving on and focusing instead on bettering yourself. Because, honestly, a guy who almost has a graduate degree and has solid relationship experience, strong character, a good sense of commitment, AND an attractive body sounds like a great catch, and he is probably too good for some young woman with almost zero relationship experience who can’t get over some boyfriend from two years ago and who seems to have so little going for her that she’s obsessed with finding a boyfriend just to have SOMETHING to call her own.
Get some hobbies, take some classes, do some volunteer work, invest in yourself, invest in your community, invest in the environment — focus your energy really on anything other than finding a boyfriend, which is a pretty boring pursuit, and I think you’ll not only meet more people with whom you share common interests, but also you’ll attract higher quality men with whom you might eventually be able to build friendships and real relationships.
I have a small apartment that will work for now, but long-term my goal has been to build. Before I met my wife, I bought a piece of undeveloped water- front land where I have always wanted to live. We met with a builder and she doesn’t think we can afford it, even though I have showed her we can.
My wife wants to buy a much cheaper older house and renovate it. She has all but said that’s her plan no matter what. I don’t want to sell the land and lose money, I don’t want to live anywhere else, and even if we bought a small house to renovate, I still have a small mortgage on the land to cover each month.
So sadly, it looks like someone is going to end up unhappy and perhaps we also live separately or split up over this. Thoughts? — Of House and Home
What’s the rush to answer this question? Your apartment works for now, and you said your goal to build a place is “long-term” anyway. Focus on your marriage and new parenthood right now, not on building a house you’ve been told you can’t afford. If you feel you’re outgrowing your small apartment, rent a bigger one. If you’re worried about paying mortgage on land you aren’t using, sell it since, even at a loss, you’ll still be saving the money you’d be spending on a mortgage, or look into renting the land somehow (maybe for camping? farming? I don’t really know…). Home ownership can be a real nightmare, even when the home is already built and both spouses are happy to be there. I can’t imagine the stress and strain of building a place from scratch when money is tight, a marriage is new, and two people are still adjusting to sudden and unplanned parenthood. Slow your roll, dude.
Wait, you’re a therapist and you didn’t think to discuss the idea of children and your expectations about co-parenting before you got married?! Look, you can’t give in on this. Tell your husband you aren’t quitting your career to be a stay-at-home mom and that’s it. If you can financially swing it, HE can stay home, or you can do what millions of families do and outsource daytime childcare. If he’s not ok with that, you should probably divorce because this is one of those issues you really, really have to be on the same page about (because, yes, not being on the same page absolutely WILL have a negative effect on your relationship — DUH — which is why these kinds of things need to be discussed BEFORE you get married).
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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.