Dear Neil: I am 32 years-old and I have never been married—and I haven’t had a real long-term relationship in nine years. Guys I date tell me I’m like one of the guys because I like watching sports and don’t mind just hanging out with friends. They tell me that any man would be lucky to have me. They even tell me I’m not the marrying type—even though I really want to get married and have a family. I let a guy know he is important and do all the ego stroking stuff I think they want to hear. I do like a man that opens doors and pays for the date. I just don’t know what I am doing wrong.
Still Single in Texas
Dear Still Single: It’s great to be one of the guys sometimes, but it sounds as if you’re attempting to be one of the guys a bit too often—and therefore perhaps you’re not coming across feminine and ladylike. How about telling a guy that, in addition to watching sports, you also want to be invited to romantic candlelit dinners, dancing, the ballet and other such romantic places?
Try dressing and looking attractive and feminine, wearing make-up, skirts and/or dresses—that sort of thing. Adopt the attitude that you expect to be treated like a woman—not one of the guys.
Dear Neil: I am an attractive, petite French blond, age forty-one, who is dating a man of thirty-six still living with his ex-girlfriend. They share a mortgage and there are financial difficulties, which is the reason they’re still in the same house together. But when I attempt to address the issue, he backs off. We share common interests, we are clearly in love and are well suited for each other. He spends his weekends with me, and we have gone on a few trips together. He has met my family and friends, but I haven’t met his family, and his friends aren’t local, so I’ve not met many of them either. I also haven’t met his ex-girlfriend, although supposedly she knows about me. I can only stay at his home when she isn’t there, and when she is due back, I have to leave. He and I have been dating for a year, about the same time they split up.
I am going nuts just addressing this issue with him time and time again. Nothing has changed. What would you recommend I do?
Frustrated in the U.K.
Dear Frustrated: I don’t trust you are being told the whole truth regarding your boyfriend’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend, if indeed she is an “ex” girlfriend. At the very best, he is catering to her, not to you. At the worst, he is in a relationship with both women, and you’re the one who’s expendable and is most likely to get hurt and rejected.
Even if he and his ex-girlfriend can’t afford to live in different residences, he could tell her that he is in love with you, that he wants to sell the house in order to be with you, that he wants to have you over and that he wants to make a clean break with her. He is clearly not doing this.
This situation is unlikely to change unless you force a change. Give your boyfriend a specific time frame to make the changes you need, or at least to set the wheels in clear, irreversible motion—say one month from now. You’ll then learn how much he wants you, and how attached he is to you.
I read your response to Single in Texas. You said she should try to be more womanly and feminine if she wants romance. Maybe this is why men are never interested in me as well. I wear dresses and skirts sometimes, but I always wear tennis shoes with them for comfort and I never wear make up. I’m 54 years old and I don’t even know how to put on make up. I am not masculine, but I am not really feminine either. I would like to have a relationship with a man; but at the same time I am not going to be something that I’m not just to get a guy interested. It is not THAT important to me. I am not going to play games. If a guy likes me, great. If not, oh well.