I am an attractive and gainfully employed 42-year-old woman who moved toâ€¨Athens about a year ago. I have two daughtersâ€”both grown and out of myâ€¨houseâ€”and no weird drama to speak of. (I get along with their fatherâ€¨fine, and he has been happily remarried for 10 years. One of myâ€¨daughters is in the military, and the other is a student.)
â€¨I should be able to meet a guy, right? I just don’t know how! I’m tooâ€¨shy to go to bars by myself (much less start a conversation with aâ€¨stranger), not really into church, and I have had no luck with theâ€¨dating sites (three first dates with three married men). A co-worker hasâ€¨suggested volunteering on weekends or signing up for some sort ofâ€¨evening class (photography, yoga, etc). He is convinced that I just needâ€¨to make myself available and the rest will fall into place. â€¨Again, how? Where can I volunteer and find other volunteers over the ageâ€¨of 25? Forgive my ignorance, but how and where do I sign up for anâ€¨evening class? Which dating sites aren’t just married men trolling forâ€¨cheap thrills? Any suggestions?â€¨
The Lonely Lady
Classes of all kinds are available in Athens. The Georgia Center for Continuing Education at UGA is a great resource. So is the Lyndon House Arts Center. As for volunteering, there are lots of organizations that need help all the time: NuÃ§iâ€™s Space, The Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, the list goes on and on. Also see Flagpole‘s Bulletin Board for ideas. If you need a big list, or maybe some more specific information, you may want to talk to the folks over at Community Connection (http://handsonnortheastgeorgia.com/). They are a veritable clearinghouse for all of your charity and volunteer needs. I think rather than worrying about the potential age gap, you should just pick something youâ€™re really passionate about and go for it.
â€¨I have cut off contact with a friend at my boyfriend’s request. We had aâ€¨strange but meaningless make-out one night after work; everyone was veryâ€¨drunk, and he made out with my female co-worker as well. He does notâ€¨understand that I have no feelings other than platonic for my male workâ€¨friend even though he has clearly been interested in me romantically inâ€¨the past. I do not feel like I should have to stop emailing or textingâ€¨him as long as the two of us do not hang out. Also, we work in totallyâ€¨different departments and never see each other; we were friends before heâ€¨started working here.
My boyfriend can’t let this go, and it is causing us a lot of problems. I have agreed not to communicate with my friend, but my boyfriend doesn’t understand that I’ll be missing my friend and that I am sad about this. He thinks that I must beâ€¨attracted to him if I can’t let our great, albeit short, friendship go. My boyfriend would do anything for me, but I’ve always considered friends to be more important than relationships. I don’t want to break up. Is it possible for me to maintain my friendship and my relationship even if my friend hates my boyfriend and my boyfriend hates my friend? Also, my boyfriend keeps nagging me about this and can’t let it go. Iâ€¨just want everything to stop. How can I make all of us happy?
â€¨Drunk Work Make-Out Gone Wrong
No, itâ€™s not possible to maintain both relationships, and no you canâ€™t make everybody happy. First, I think you need to rethink the â€œfriendships are more important than relationshipsâ€ thing. I mean, I agree that you donâ€™t want every new flame to get between you and your friends, but isnâ€™t your significant other your friend, too? And ideally, arenâ€™t they really your best friend? There are two things that I think you need to consider about this situation. Your friend is not somebody who has been in your life for that long and is not somebody that you want to date. You like him a lot, but not in the way that you said he likes you. This means that you are probably leading him on (make-outs, no matter how drunk, do not happen out of the blue. You participated, meaningless though it may have been on your end) and definitely making him miserable. How great can this friendship be?
At the same time, you are pissing off your boyfriend, whom you supposedly love, who would do anything for you. Seriously, how do you think your boyfriend is supposed to feel? What would you do if he came home and told you he had made out with a new woman whom he works with and that, oh, by the way, they are buddies now and regularly exchange texts and messages? My guess is you wouldnâ€™t stand for it, and neither should he. You havenâ€™t said how long you have been with your boyfriend or what your long-term plans and goals are with him, but you might want to consider that if you canâ€™t even grant him this seemingly simple and definitely reasonable request, maybe the relationship isnâ€™t really that important to you after all. Either way you need to make a decision and cut at least one of these guys loose before they both get smart and beat you to it.
Confidential to PFM: I think yours is a kink that is best spelled right out. Trying to allude to it may be confusing, and this is not an arena in which you want mixed messages. This is not to say that you bring it up over dinner on your first date, mind you, but you may want to go ahead and spell it out once the going seems smooth enough but before youâ€™re inviting her to meet the parents. And believe me, it isnâ€™t as rare or as weird as you think. It just isnâ€™t something that comes up around the water cooler.
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