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Ask Ellie: Mid-30s a tricky age for single dad of two looking for love

Some women, also in their mid-30s or younger, might not want to share responsibilities of other peoples’ children
Advice columnist Ellie Tesher

Dear Ellie: I’m a nice, decent hard-working guy with a job that I like, and I have two kids from a previous relationship. I’m mid-30s, fit and active, not a big drinker. I’m a social person who enjoys music, going out to movies and travelling when possible. I also enjoy my home life, doing woodwork, learning to play guitar, and for exercise, going on adult group hikes or with my kids, when they’re available.

But I don’t seem to be able to attract someone who wants a longer, more serious relationship, and I don’t know why. My son, age nine, and my daughter, seven, are good kids who spend equal time and sleepovers with me, but on a different time schedule with their mother. She and I get along as needed, but we are not a couple.

I wonder if today’s women of a similar age to me just don’t want to commit. Is the reality of moving closer to 40 scaring them away from me as a responsible single guy or from themselves? Do you have any suggestions that can help me?

Looking for Love

Most importantly, don’t give up enjoying your socializing and home life, your commitment to your children, nor your healthy self-image while “looking for love.”

Since you have a good relationship with your ex, ask her about your dilemma finding a relationship. It could be illuminating.

Or, perhaps some women, similarly in their mid-30s or younger, don’t yet want to share the responsibilities of other peoples’ children. The doorway to age 40 may indeed be a factor.

But given your many interests from travel to music and woodwork, I’m certain there’s a woman whose stars will become aligned with yours, if you start a conversation focused on her. When you meet, just smile, say “hello,” and ask about her interests before listing yours.

FEEDBACK Regarding the lonely bride-to-be (Jan 31):

Reader — “This woman’s feeling stuck in a time-stealing rut as she approaches her wedding. The intensity of new careers for both her and her future husband, both working long hours, along with his new career plus her new job, causes the bride anxieties about their schedules and tension due to very limited time to be alone together, as a couple. No wonder she feels ‘I miss my guy and our relationship.’ ”

Ellie — Yes, it’s a very stressful time situation, while also establishing new work opportunities for their life together. Yet their future is leading to where they want to be: Married.

Since wedding preparations can also be stressful due to some of the important details that have to be decided and agreed by both bride and groom, accept this reality and compromise. Make a half-hour’s list of wedding details still to be planned and text the groom-to-be asking which ones he agrees on. Decide together.

What’s important? Different situations and available timing will produce different answers. NOW is the time to work out how to insure their private time together. Look at it as a “life challenge,” because other major decisions need to be discussed over the (hopefully) many years together.

So, learn to cope NOW, as the success of any marriage will depend on this. Life will be throwing many “curve balls” over the years, but you can learn to catch them and weigh their importance. But NEVER lose the deep feelings between you. As the original letter-writer wrote, “I miss my guy and our relationship.” So, keep that “spark” alive.

Dear Ellie: I just learned that the “flip phone” may be coming back to popular use, and if so, it may be a help to my marriage. Currently, whenever he’s home, my husband’s face is always in his smartphone. Once he sits down on the couch or a chair, he’s looking at what he calls “important stuff” … and he’s not seeing me.

When I walk by him and catch a glimpse of what’s on his phone, I see him and his work friends talking … though they’ve been together all day. So, I’m going to focus on our relationship being just as important to him. I’m buying my husband a flip phone for Valentine’s Day!

Good Choice?

Not if it’s a “control” move. Instead, buy the flip phone for yourself and let him see any differences in sharing conversations, and perhaps your relationship, too.

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