May 232011
 

How hard is it to find someone worthwhile when living in a resort town, especially as a 40+ single woman?  Here are the pros and cons of dating (from a female perspective).

If you ask most middle-aged women how they feel about the dating scene in their resort town, more times than not you’ll get an answer along the lines of: “It pretty much sucks.”

Although the ratio of men to women is considered to be ideal with more men than women in mountainous resort towns, it usually boils down to the issue of quality over quantity.

Many local women find themselves dating the Peter Pan types — you know, the perpetual  “man-boy” who keeps getting away with acting like they’re still in their 20’s when they’re really 40+.

“Peter” shucks responsibility, dodges commitment and is more concerned about having fun than growing up.

They don’t recognize that grownups can have a lot of fun too.  Having said that, most locals end up in resort towns for fun’s sake, so you can’t knock that approach to life completely.

What Women Want

It’s just that when it comes to forming a serious relationship at mid-life, women desire a maturer grown-up because the Peters of the world will wear you down sooner or later.  Dating this aloof type usually begins with a blast-off, moving full steam ahead.  The romance of falling head-over-heels with a fun-lovin’, rugged mountain man certainly has its appeal.  But after a few months of intense passion and endless possibilities, reality usually kicks in.

Overlooking the flaws gets old. You know, those minor inconveniences like not picking up the tab because they’re broke (again) or enduring yet another 4 wheelin’ or fishin’ date just so you can spend more time together.  Those dates aren’t necessarily bad — they’re just bad when they become the norm vs. the exception.

Instead of expecting that their guy hold down a job, have an education or at least a savings account with more than two figures in it, many women tend to be happy if their guy can just avoid punctuating every other sentence with ‘dude’, ‘sick’ or ‘gnarly.’  Not to mention being a complete stoner or town drunk. Most of the local women I know have their act together, more so than the men I meet.

Relationships Take Work

Most of my single girlfriends looking to settle down with someone special realize that relationships take a lot of work — work they’re prepared to do.  And I think that’s where the gender difference kicks in. Take the TV Show: The Bachelorette, for example.  I don’t really believe in the show’s approach to finding love, but I still watch, probably because I want to believe in love at first sight and all that gushy stuff (even at my ripe old age).

Most of the men vying for a rose sure do seem sincere and good-looking.  They’re certainly saying all the right things to get a rose in order to move to Round 2.  But as most Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons reveal in time, Prince Charming is an illusion (unless, of course, you’re Trista who married long-time Vail local Ryan Sutter).

Maybe I’m just jaded.  I hope not.

I’ve certainly dated my fair share of loser, testosterone-filled mountain men, but I am happy to report that I haven’t given up.  Yet, I certainly have given more than I’ve received over the years.  I overlooked a lot to maintain peace and happiness.  I have been extremely supportive and encouraging even when my mind raced with doubt.

I also know that at the end of those relationships, I felt completely depleted, requiring a good 9-12 month period of recuperation just to get my groove back.  Most of the women I know have done and felt the same.

And therein lies the problem: good relationships should fill you up and leave you energized, not the other way around.

I am so far from perfect it’s not even funny.  Like most women I know (and as my dating history will attest), I am not looking for perfection by any means.

I just would like to find someone whose attributes outweigh their flaws.  It doesn’t have to be 90/10.  Or even 70/30 for that matter.  But is a 55/45 positive-to-negative ratio too much to ask?

These last few months have been spent post-mortem-ing my last relationship.  This honest assessment was long overdue since I firmly intend to make different choices going forward.

So, what did I learn during this time of reflection?  I learned that it’s time I redraw my boundaries and redefine what attractive is.  As a grown-up 40-something woman, I now realize my vision of the ideal mate stayed stuck in high-school instead of growing up with me.

Lowering Your Standards

I used to say to the Peters of my world, “Why do I have to keep lowering my standards so that you can finally meet them?”  And with that statement, the beginning of the end would naturally appear.

I guess I’ve always known deep down inside that I could never build a life with someone without mutual-respect on all fronts.  Sometimes that realization took a few years (in the case of my marriage: nine) before I’d do something about it, but it always and eventually boils down to respect.

So shame on me for lowering my standards in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong: good times and lots of laughter are an important necessity to a healthy partnership.  But, in my newly-formed opinion, “having fun” can never fill the shoes of “mutual respect” where a long-term relationship is concerned.

I believe there are many, many men out there — yes, even handsome, rugged mountain men — who are more than worth my while.  I may be depleted and in recovery mode, but I’ll keep looking for that special someone (after I’m fully recharged, of course).

Next time around though, you can rest assured I’m raising my standards.

 

Book Recommendation 

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life

Share Your Perspective

Do you feel you have to lower your standards when it comes to dating men in your resort town?  Or have you found the ideal mate who really is a dream come true?  Are you a man who’d like to offer your perspective?  Please add a comment below.

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