He’s been single for 14 years. If he hadn’t told me, I never would have guessed. He’s a perfectly acceptable prospect in every way. In point of fact, he is unusually charming, and that’s part of his problem. He thinks he’s going to meet Miss Right in some extraordinary way. As an older married woman, I am certain he won’t be alone forever. There’s a woman out there for him. They’ve probably already met.
The guy I have in mind here is an extrovert. Beyond that, he’s one of the major neighborhood gossip hubs. There are a lot of people like him who serve as nodes in their social network. They know everyone and their grandma’s neighbor’s dog walker. Due to their fascination with people, they remember details. Who knows whom? Whose kids and cats are whose? Who works where, what do they do, do they like it or are they thinking of changing jobs? This particular guy knows everyone in our apartment complex and who lives in which unit. Also, everyone knows him. In a dating context, that’s important.
This guy could absolutely get introduced to eligible women and have people vouch for him.
Most people meet by word of mouth, being introduced through mutual acquaintances. That’s true on the job as well as in a romantic context. This is how we know that people are who they say they are. We know that people work and lives in certain places, and we might also know other people in their families. Vouching for someone means you have a good sense that this person is probably not a petty criminal or psychopath. Good to know!
I don’t know this man’s last name or where he went to school, but I can vouch for his personal hygiene, sense of humor, and lack of scary or creepy tendencies. If he’s ever done anything seriously objectionable, then it wasn’t around me and nobody was concerned enough to tell me about it. That’s actually a pretty big deal. People don’t always go around promoting the positive qualities of their acquaintances and colleagues, but the negative news spreads like wildfire.
That’s partly because of the gossip hubs on the social network such as my friend.
There are different types of social connectors. One is the active networker, trying to play matchmaker for friends, roommates, rehoming pets, or getting internships for people. My husband and I enjoy this quite a bit. Another type of social connector is the “bartender,” the type of person in whom everyone confides their plans, problems, and feelings. Our friend is this type, and that’s why I think he has probably already met at least one woman who would be a great girlfriend for him.
If she knows him, she’s talking to him, because everyone who knows him does. If she’s talking to him, then she trusts him and likes his company. If they feel like friends, and they also find each other somewhat attractive, then what’s stopping them?
Happily married people see things that way. Why don’t you two go out? It’s that ability to look at people with rose-colored glasses and emphasize their best qualities that leads to a happy marriage in the first place. People who are a little more cynical are going to have to get over that attitudinal hurdle. It’s harder to click with someone who distrusts you, is skeptical about your motives, or isn’t all that enthused by what you’re about.
I met my first husband at a party. I met my second husband at work. There wasn’t really a “meet-cute” story in either case. Looking back, how did I meet other boyfriends? At school, at a social gathering, or introduced by mutual friends who thought we’d make a good match. I went on a couple of blind dates that were terrible. I can’t think of a time when I met someone and felt that romantic click that would make a decent scene in a rom-com. No movie moments.
(That’s because romantic comedies are very unlike life. In fact I think they are one of the all-time greatest obstacles to real romance, because they give people a completely delusional idea about how people meet and what makes a fun and satisfying relationship).
That’s where my friend’s problem comes in!
I asked this guy, in one of our long conversations out by the pool, why he thinks he’s single. Is it choice? No. Is he picky? Well, kinda... It’s not that he hasn’t been on any dates, because of course a good-looking, charming, friendly, funny young guy like him will have been on dates.
He has very particular expectations of what a date should be like and the kind of lady that he thinks will make an ideal mate.
Those expectations, in the opinion of a happily married older lady, are way off base and won’t make him happy in the way that he thinks.
The happiest long-term couples have the “best friend” type of marriage. We make each other laugh, we have fun together, and we are good at sharing a living space together. We also tend to share friends. This isn’t just me talking, it’s backed up by research. It’s sociology. I realized my husband was a viable option for me after reading the book Calling in “The One.” I had known him for nearly two years and, according to the book, the kind of friendship I had with him made him a good candidate. I considered him in a way that I hadn’t before, and I realized I wouldn’t rule him out.
It was the first time we hugged that I knew it could happen, that I felt a physical chemistry I hadn’t thought to look for. Surprise!
This guy who has been single for 14 long and lonely years? He could have been married most of that time. He could be laughing himself sideways with his wife and best friend, maybe even surrounded by cute little kids and a dog at his feet. Instead, he’s waiting for some sort of princess, an elegant and aloof woman who knows how to behave in some strangely ceremonial way, perhaps tangoing through a five-star restaurant with a rose clamped between her teeth? He doesn’t know exactly what he wants, but he’s pretty sure it’s out there and he’ll know it when he sees it.
I feel for her, the perfect friend and mate of this charming, fun fellow. They probably already know each other. She probably likes him just fine, but it hasn’t occurred to her to ask him out or wonder if he’s into her. That’s because the friendly feeling that works so well for long-term domestic contentment doesn’t usually come across as a romantic tingle. Maybe one night, under a full moon, they’ll bump into one another, and the thought will cross their minds: “I wonder what would happen if...” They’ve probably already met, and that’s why it will feel like they’ve known each other forever.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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