Sunday, 1 February 2009

Unavailability

As I was driving to the barn to visit my horse this afternoon, and to pay his board so he doesn't get kicked outside to fend for himself, I was thinking back on the men I have dated or tried to date over the past year and a half.

And a recurring theme seems to have popped into the fore.

That of Unavailability.... which seems strange to me, because each and every one of them has listed themselves as single and available on those online dating sites.

Now, to be fair, there were a couple who were available but it just didn't work between us... neither of them was the right kind of guy for me. Mostly because, although the age difference was only five years, they seemed like my father's generation, and that was just too weird for me.

And there have been a few that, upon meeting face to face, I knew there were too many psychological issues for anything to go anywhere further than that one coffee date. The OCD guy or the 47-going-on-18 I love RC cars and stereos guy or the hangin' out with the boys, drinkin', fishin', and skidooin' guy... none of them would have been a good match at all, so one meet and greet what all that happened.

But what about the guys who keep in contact, you date often and things seem to go well, until it implodes in your face one day and then it's gone, leaving you to pick up the pieces and shake off the dust and try to figure out WTF just happened?

Or the guy who chats often online, lives close by but is so commitment phobic that he can't even do more than meet at Tim's for a coffee once a month.... maybe. And that has to be spur of the moment because he can't make plans ahead of time. And yet, when you do meet, and sit and talk, it is so comfortable, so natural, it's like you have known each other for decades. Then months will pass and no contact. Out of the blue, a 'hi - how are ya?' on the computer and things warm up with chatting again. So when you broach the subject of 'there must be some kind of an attraction if you keep contacting me', he tells you he is scared of what would change if you got together and tried a relationship for real. After all, we are 'friends' aren't we? Uh... well, I am not sure you can call this a friendship, if all it is is the occasional chat online and nothing else. What would change if it didn't work out? Nothing. But he is too scared to take a chance.... whatever.

Then there is the guy you meet, go for coffee, go out for dinner, have over for dinner, talk lots and seem to be soooo on the same page on life in general. And then you get the 'let's be friends' talk. Granted, there was lots going on in his life at that moment, but the inevitable lack of contact after that speaks volumes for what he was thinking.

And what of the one who lives too freakin' far away to be anything other than friends? You chat, you email, and that is it. The attraction is there, the commonality is there. No chance of meeting for a long time, if ever, due to logistics on both sides. Money issues, job issues, kid issues, blah, blah, blah.

The longer I do this the more I realize that the state of the modern middle aged single male is that of being Out There but Unavailable. Seems to be so common these days, it just isn't funny. Whether it is unavailable because of emotional distance, or just because of physical distance, they are still all unavailable.

I don't know if it is just me.... because I am the one common denominator here... but are most of the guys out there supposedly looking in this state of being as well? If you are not available, for whatever reason, then get off the dating sites until you are serious about trying to start something.

I am sick and tired of getting strung along by men who seem interesting and interested in some fashion. Time to grow some balls, guys, and just DO IT!

25 comments:

  1. I wish I could think of something helpful to say to this . . . something positive to say hangon in there, there must be a decent bloke out there somewhere! I'm sure there is, but remember PG that what you'll end up with, at the end of the day, is another man!

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  2. I hear ya. It is kind of strange to be seeking relationships on line when one really isn't interested in starting one. Don't list single or act interested if you don't want a relationship. That's like people on a diet who go to a buffet and then complain! It's a buffet, people come to eat! Truth is, I think these people on line are just looking for a quick hook up--I bet a lot of them are married!

    That being said, if it happens, it happens. If not, well, you don't need another person to make your life any better. You've done great so far and you've experienced more life and travels in a few years than most people their whole lives.

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  3. Hmmm... I'll echo zIggI. But the older men get, the weirder they get... they seem to dislike taking emotional risks. I don't think they recover well from emotional knock-backs either.
    Dogs are more reliable.
    Sx

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  4. One of my dearest girlfriends has the same complaints. I don't know what's going on out there, but I do think you should be looking for younger men - not older. You are a very young and vibrant 50-year old. You need to be looking in the 35-45 year range. Give it a shot. What have you got to lose?

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  5. Do I detect frustration? I think I do, you know. I mean I could be wrong, but I think, just a hint of frustration might be hidden between the lines...

    But I would like to say something in our (men's) defence... No, really I would... Just no idea what.

    Except possibly the women have been telling men that we are useless for centuries, so why is this a surprise to you? ;-)

    Anyway, all the best for finding a man that meets all your specifications...

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  6. zIggI: yes... I know... another man... *sighs*

    Eros: I don't need a man in my life, but I do want one. I miss a lot of things about being in a relationship...

    Scarlet: Ain't that the truth. Dogs don't take care of all my needs, though... ;-)

    Anna: I have, I have! The 'let's be friends' guy was younger; the 47-going-on-18 was younger; the one that is too far away is younger still. Age doesn't seem to make a difference. I don't know that I could go 35 though.... I think that is just a bit too younger for me.

    Fammy: Frustration? Hell, yeah! It really isn't a surprise, but if you do think of something to say in your (meaning all men's) defense, please let me know what it is, so I can have a good laugh.... But thanks anyway!

    to Shan, who deleted her comment: I know everything you told me, and then some. Don't bother coming back, because your situation and mine are very different.

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  7. You're talking about Canadian men, right? RIGHT!?!

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  8. Ugh, I hate dating. I wish you the best of luck, but I'm very glad it's over for me - hopefully for good!!! :)

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  9. MJ: Perhaps... but I am a bit leery of who I would get matched with.... ;-\

    Jonas: Yeah... they are Canadian.... but I was once married to an American.... anal, controlling bastard! Oops, sorry... did I say that out loud?

    Stace: Yes, it sucks. Be glad you aren't doing it... and trying it again at 50 sucks even more.

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  10. Thank you. I am so glad I'm not on the dating scene.

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  11. HoodChick: Wish I wasn't, either.... however, it is what it is, and I will try and make the best of it.

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  12. They really aren't all the same, though it may seem like it.

    I seem to be the unavailable one these days. With all the stuff I have going on, I don't even have time for lunch with a man, let alone a relationship with one.

    I wish you great luck Ponita. You are a beautiful woman with a huge heart and the right man will eventually show up on your doorstep.

    Big hugs,
    Laurie

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  13. Laurie: Yeah, I know they aren't all the same, but the result is.

    I hear you about your situation.... way too many things happening for you right now. That will change in time.

    Thanks... here's hoping!

    Hugs back.

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  14. I guess you just have to keep putting yourself out there , there will be a right one out there , its just sorting through the dross until you find them.
    Not a lot of fun but at least you will spot the goodun when you see him
    Best of luck :-)

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  15. Mr Beast: I am hoping that I will be able to spot him.... I am getting quite adept at spotting the totally unsuitable ones, that is for sure!

    Thank!

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  16. Our culture is gearing towards the individual now. It took 10,000 years but revolutions dismantled the clan, the next wave the extended family and we're in the middle of the traditional view of the nuclear family being eradicated...and now my kids generation who grew up with a 50% divorce rate are into new forms of dating too.

    They do Friends With Benefits. Now they hang around in big gangs and hook up for sex but all that coupling is seen as needy and old school. Forget all that pressure to have a boy/girlfriend and exclude yourself from the group. WhatEVER!

    So the women my age that I see stuck in the rut..and I know so many fabulous gals who cannot find a decent guy...are victims of a lot of dumbass guys who think that they are all that and a bag of chips? These 50 yr old guys think that 30 yr old gals would die to go out with them. I just shake my head.

    The problem is that after a very short time you get set in your ways and routines and at our age nobody is retrainable..nobody. They've been through a few relationships and they are never going to put themselves back in the position of having to please somebody else..EVER.

    I think that these guys realise that relationships are all about compromise and they're just not going to do it.

    I don't have any answers other than to be as bewildered as you are.

    Why? Well it's the million dollar question. People are getting more independent and less

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  17. ...less willing to trust anyone else or their own instincts.

    Most people I know swore that they would never have a marriage like their parents had. They saw them as being STUCK! Trapped! Imprisoned.
    Growing up in the 60s there were only 2 kids in my entire elementary school whose parents were divorced. 2.

    Even now I only know a handful of couples that I think that they'll be together in 5 years.

    Maybe we should be a little more anthropological. Pair bonding is common in mammals but monogamy isn't...it's more common in birds! We know that our reproductive system is designed to combat cheating.

    Perhaps we forget that it's always been a competition, that's why it's called the Human Race.

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  18. Ponita,
    I read your comments on Ms. Robinson's blog and that led me here. I have stopped looking. I have had all the same situations you have described and it has all become predictable and boring. I think it comes down to age. Newly single or even attached middle-aged men think the web is a huge candy store. They just want to try all the sweets and they seem to think that even if they've found a really tasty candy, there may one who is just a little bit tastier around the corner. Guys that do not contact you for months or only want to meet for a coffee from time to time are inevitably attached. Guys that say life is busy or complex or challenging or whatever. All attached, in one way or another. My experience is that when a man wants to commit, he commits. Anything else is just wank. I have an active sex life with a portfolio of men, most of whom I've known for years. It's the only thing that seems to work for me at the moment. Everyone knows about everyone else and it allows me the freedom to hang out with my friends, family and do my work without having to invest any emotional energy or make any compromises.

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  19. Or is it that so many guys of my generation have played relationship Russian-roulette and had their brains blown out in the family courts? You meet them everywhere. Younger men seem to be sitting up and taking notice of this too, if my impressions are anything to go by.

    Women can bitch about men's emotional unintelligence all they like, but the truth is that some of us have just grown up and realised that it ain't worth the candle. We don't like it any more than you do, I assure you, but there it is: no woman, no cry (I've cried plenty enough...).

    Happy hunting anyway, Ponita. You seem like a great woman. Love the blog too (definitely a keeper). I chanced here via Mrs R's article on the same theme.

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  20. Donn: A huge candy store... and it seems it is really only for the men. I am sure that is because we women who want something more than just a few sweets don't view the internet singles scene the same way men do.

    Perhaps I am destined to be on my own, and that makes me sad, because I know I can offer a lot to the right man. I am not needy, I am intelligent, vivacious and playful. I am independent. But I feel I am languishing and that bothers me.

    I don't want a man in my life to have a man in my life... I want someone to share things with... thoughts, good times and not so good, sex, birthdays, travel, everyday things.

    I just don't get much of a chance to show anyone what I am really like, so it seems like such a waste.

    Suzanne: Welcome! I have read your comments on Ms R's.... and I am glad you have found an arrangement that works for you. Unfortunately, I have no sex life. I have not come across anyone I know who is willing to go the 'friends with benefits' route, even though it has been offered to the one who only wants to meet for coffee occasionally. It would be very handy, as he lives close by.

    The problem I have found with most of the men I have met is that, although they are not attached to anyone, they are unable TO attach to anyone.... That is the real crux of the matter.

    The ones that I would have considered a relationship with were not attached in a relationship... I know that for a fact.... having been where they live.... having dropped by unexpectedly... having their home phone numbers and cell phone numbers.... but, yes, they are attached to something.... I think it is fear... unwillingness... whatever you want to call it. Some of them are destined to be alone for the rest of their lives too, I am sure, because of that.

    Deadbeat Dad: Welcome to you too!

    You know, just as many women have had their brains blown out in relationships as men, but perhaps in a different way. Although I don't have any children, I have been through the demise of several relationships and the legal fallout that ensues.

    I have also been on the receiving end of psychological abuse, control and belittling, until I was finally able to grow strong enough to get out with my mind intact. So it goes both ways: no man = no cry...

    I think Donn hit the nail on the head with the monogamy situation seemingly best left to the birds. It is rare to find any mammal that stays in a monogamous relationship... perhaps we humans are meant to wander from one to the other. Perhaps if we all took that in stride it would make the ending of one and the starting of another less heartbreaking.

    I have done enough wandering in my life to know that not everyone you hook up with has long term potential.

    And then I look at people like my youngest sister, who has been married for 25 years. I don't know what is supposed to work and what isn't.

    I do know that I grow weary of this...

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  21. I have also been on the receiving end of psychological abuse, control and belittling, until I was finally able to grow strong enough to get out with my mind intact.

    Have you checked out bpdcentral.com, Ponita? People who engage in these kind of abusive behaviours often have BPD or one of the other personality disorders. I was with one for two years, and that was traumatic enough (she was physically violent as well).

    As for our respective experiences, I don't want to get into a my-breakup-worse-than-yours standoff. All I will say is that they are completely different ball games. I've had my heart broken a couple of times, and I've broken a couple myself too. That's regular relationship shit. Yes, it can get nasty when it comes to a division of the spoils, and I understand that the betrayal of trust is more of an issue than the material assets involved, but men suffer that too. Where children are involved, it's largely a one-way street; and the ramifications for those affected -- the kids above all -- are vastly magnified.

    Newly single or even attached middle-aged men think the web is a huge candy store. They just want to try all the sweets and they seem to think that even if they've found a really tasty candy, there may one who is just a little bit tastier around the corner.

    The ones who go on the web looking for adventure, perhaps, Suzanne. And what proportion of the divorced middle-aged population do they represent? I know lots of men who are settled in stable second marriages with women of their own generation, but I rarely meet anyone who corresponds to this stereotype (or perhaps that's a function of the society I subconsciously elect).

    In any case, it's not only unsuitable men who go hunting in the personal ads. Back in the mid-90s (my mid-thirties), I went on a couple of dates through the The Guardian newspaper. On the telephone, they sounded promising; in person, they were both certifiably mad (and dangerous). Nevertheless, a buddy of mine did meet his soulmate through an online dating site and they both look set for the duration, so it's not all doom and gloom; and my mum met her second husband (a lovely man) through a personal ad too.

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  22. DB Dad: I totally agree with you.... men suffer just as women do in the demise of a relationship.

    The 'let's be friends' guy that I was seeing for a while was a dad of two small children who was fighting with a bipolar ex who had custody but was, in a lot of ways, not really suitable to do so. But because he was the guy, he had to jump through tons of legal hoops to try and get the kids what they needed.

    There are probably just as many nutcase women out there as there are men. I don't doubt that.

    I don't know how many of the men on the dating websites are of the candystore variety, I just know that the ones I have met, whom I thought were interesting enough to warrant meeting, turned out to be so unprepared for any kind of a relationship.

    That is really the jist of my post.... not being ready to put yourself out there, but doing it anyway, and then backpedalling from the prospects of a relationship.

    I guess I just wish people were more sensible and would take the time that they need to recover and recoop from their previous relationship.

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  23. WOW Ponita - this post struck a comment goldmine! Awesome! All expressed viewpoints (emphasis on expressed, vs. deleted) have validity of course. Depends entirely on the individual(s) and their situations of course.

    I can't help but wonder. If I were to drum up the courage (HIGHLY unlikely) to write honestly of my personal feelings on this subject - what the response would be? I'm thinking there would either be a similar flood of comments ... or (MUCH more likely) the shocked silence would be deafening! (^_^) Suffice it to say that my thoughts / feelings / needs around this subject are a bit unique. (Emphasis on unique - not perverted!!!!).

    Having said all that -- I honestly do hope you find one day what you are hoping for. You deserve it Ponita.

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  24. EC: It is true that one can only form opinions based on one's own experiences. These have been mine. It is very interesting to read everyone else's. I would love to read what yours are, if you are brave enough to post about it one day!

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