Not too long ago I ended an 11-year relationship which left me exhausted, depressed, and with low-self esteem. I’ve been enjoying my new single life, going on dates with hot (and sometimes younger) men. It’s been a much needed ego boost to know I’m still wanted, but I’m not the kind to live free and single forever. I have a serious “suitor”, an old acquaintance who flew into town after he heard about my divorce. He confessed that he has been in love with me since we met three years ago. I took a trip with him (we shared a hotel room but drew the line at snuggling) and now I’m torn. This guy is my intellectual soul mate — everything about him appeals to me on a mental level. But I’m in my mid-thirties and he’s in his mid-fifties and I just don’t feel physically attracted to him. What should I do? At my age is it wise to put vanity aside and settle down with a good guy before the good ones are all taken?
Congratulations on starting a new life! Right now you’re a kid in a candy shop with a pocket full of allowance money. You’re excited seeing all the colorful lollipops, sour candies, and jelly beans, knowing they’re now within your reach. But you’re also afraid to blow all your pennies on the wrong sweets. What if that boring looking candy bar turns out to be great? In fact, you know it’s great because your friend Sue was eating one last week, but today you really want to try the candied apple. What to do?
I say, “You’re not ready to do the right thing until you’re ready to do the right thing.” Even though you know Older Guy is “good for you”, you want to enjoy your selfishly irresponsible rebound life for a while. And you should. Better to get it out of your system now than to jump into a serious relationship prematurely, only to mess it up later on a moment’s temptation. It sounds like Older Guy is the patient type, so he’s not going to disappear any time soon. Take time to find yourself first — figure out what the “right” balance between mental and physical attraction is for you. Maybe after some more rampant dating you will discover that you’d gladly trade in six pack abs for a coffee chat with an intellectual equal. Or, you may find out that physical attraction is paramount to keeping your interest alive and no amount of stimulating discussion can make up for lack thereof. These questions will be all be answered in due time. For now, no harm in trying that candied apple.