Oct 052015
About a year after my estranged wife left I decided I’d had enough being miserable by myself.  I wanted to share.

Well, more so stuff like joy, but a sympathetic hug now and then would be nice.

Unfortunately here I am another year later with only a single coffee-shop encounter behind me… and the only thing I’ll say about that one is that you never want to see a 53-year-old man regress to 15.  And I never want to do it again.

According to family and friends I shouldn’t be having trouble.  In theory I should be able to slide right into another relationship.   I’ve tried and failed to verbally explain to friends and family why it’s been so difficult, so let’s see if blogging can get the points across.  And they are legion.

The best way to do this, I think, is describe the unicorn– er, woman I would seek if I were still trying:

She’d have to accept me physically.  I’m admittedly not the best-looking guy, I have hair in unnecessary places, and am shorter than average.  I once reached 5′ 8″ but time, gravity and job hazards cheerfully conspired to whittle an inch off of that.  Women’s online dating profiles commonly set the Man Bar at 5′ 10″… even for women of 5′ 2″.

No, I’m not going to wear 3-inch lifts.

Height has been one of the biggest deal-breakers for me.  I can’t get any taller.  I am getting thinner, though, so I look taller at a distance.  A great distance.

She’d have to deal with my age.  Speaking of deal-breakers.  I’m nowhere near death, but the way people act towards those of us surviving to 50 you’d think I should have already been fitted for a (small) coffin.  I’ve noticed a fall-off in interest from women for men hitting 52, and it grows exponentially steeper year after year.  Don’t they know that 50’s the new 30?

She’d have to be active.  We wouldn’t need to enjoy the exact same pursuits, but I’m definitely not looking for a couch warmer.  I like running and bowling, and I’m working on getting back into cycling.  I want to keep moving though!  Crazy shit hits old folks if it catches them.

She’d have to be interested in eating well.  I don’t mean fanaticism, either.  Heck I still stumble into pizza and barbecue joints on occasion.  But I’d have to be with someone who put some emphasis on healthy eating.

If nothing else, to keep me from backsliding.

She’d have to be curious.  By that I mean interested in constantly learning.  Skepticism is fine, just couple it with reason and benefit-of-the-doubt.  Be amazed at the world.  Be pissed off that we haven’t gotten any deeper into space.

She’d have to tolerate my interests.  This is a big order to fill, because I’m into a lot of things, most of them geeky.  Some examples:

  • Science Fiction (I’m a writer as well as reader)
  • Superhero movies (mostly Marvel)
  • Fixing stuff (and yes, I can, so there)
  • Football
  • Travel
  • Beaches
  • Margaritas

And the older I get, the more I’m drawn to those last three.

She’d have to have a great sense of humor.  One of the most annoying things about online dating is encountering one generic “love to laugh” profile after another.  But still, laughter is important.  This pathetic article notwithstanding, I say a lot of funny shit, and I hate to see it wasted.

And on a very serious note… she’d have to agree that a God of Everything can’t be insecure.  Religion has been the biggest deal-breaker of all for me.  So, so many women demanding a man of god, who puts god first, yadda yadda yadda.

Ladies, if I’m with you, then YOU’RE first.

I’m assuming a god who created the universe has their shit together and doesn’t need me constantly fretting over her/him/it.  I imagine god saying, “Go, do your thing, don’t worry about me.  I’ll be fine, over here enveloping all creation.  Doing my own thing, making stuff happen.  Don’t concern yourself with me!”

And meaning it.


…so, by now you get the drift.  I’m told I’m just too picky.  Well, if wanting someone to enjoy what’s left of Life with is too picky, guilty as charged.

Just don’t try to fix me up with anyone.

I’m not really broken, I just squeak a lot.

  • Man of God

    Do you think an omnipotent, almighty God would need any of us for anything? Yet the Bible says (James 4:5): Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? We can choose to have our own way or to live as His children. By choosing our own way, we can never discover the purpose and meaning of our life.

    • don’t bother preaching at me.

  • stevebarker66

    Hi Randy – and thanks for sharing.

    I’ve been separated for around three years now and its only in the last few months that someone has come into my life. Its early days yet, so who knows!

    I am by no means an expert on dating, but I have put quite a bit of effort into studying the art of attraction. Its all out there on YouTube and after two years of dating I can tell you there is a lot of good knowledge out there.

    The trouble is, a lot of it is poorly packaged and presented by guys who come across as sleazy. I’m not going to recommend any particular links as this should be a path of personal enlightenment. You probably won’t like much of what you learn; I rejected a lot of it before I realised that the science behind the sleaze is as old as mankind and actually WORKS.

    I can certainly recommend following some of the female dating coaches for men – they know what women want, how to approach them and how to talk to them effectively.

    And I thought that after 15 years living with a woman I knew all that…

    As I say, I am no expert, but I can tell you with conviction and certainty that:

    1) Your age does not matter; I’m 49 and the girl I’m close to now is 41. I’ve dated girls far younger (wouldn’t do it again, mind!)

    2) Looks do not matter. I’m not Brad Pitt and I do OK. A buddy of mine is… let’s just say that he’s aesthetically challenged(!) and he now has a stunningly beautiful and totally lovely girlfriend living with him. Size, body type, colour, bald or hirsute – NONE of these matter.

    3) Women are not concerned about wealth or career success (gold-diggers aside!) BUT: Women do look for confidence and many successful guys are confident; we tend to draw the wrong conclusions from that.

    4) Most women want romance, but they don’t want to be targeted as a wife or girlfriend. From my observations, an air of slightly rogue-ish indifference seems to strike the right note with most of them.

    5) Women demand fidelity, but only once we’ve won them over. When dating, women seem to be most impressed by a guy who can attract virtually any woman he wants. They will also want to date lots of guys. This, of course is all an illusion to be maintained by both parties…

    When I started dating (and although I had disavowed the remotest idea of marrying again) I realise now that I was subconsciously looking to replace my wife. BIG mistake – nothing scares ’em off more!

    Athough I’m a kind, loving and considerate guy I was more interested in what THEY could bring to MY table. It took a while to learn that what really attracts women is what we guys can do for THEM.

    But the paradox of women in the 30-50 yr age range is that they usually don’t want or need our money. They are invariably strong and independent (hey – they WON that divorce settlement) yet they are still programmed to seek a Life Partner.

    They don’t need a man biologically anymore (they’ve done their bit for the continuance of mankind) and they’ll probably have a house, car and income of their own.

    But they ARE human females. Having a partner to share the load, make them feel wanted, desired and loved is pretty much where its at for them.

    The biggest lesson I learnt is that things are very different second time round. When we’re young, we meet, fall in love, rent an apartment together, buy a dog, marry (each other, not the dog – although that’s probably legal in California) buy a house, have kids who grow up, leave home and then…

    We run out of things to talk about with our spouse and get divorced!

    Second time round we’re smarter (or should be!) but its far more complicated. Now we have kids, ex-spouses, divorce agreements, little idea of what we want now and no idea of what we can contribute to the life of another.

    But that’s where I’d begin if I could go back two years and start dating again: begin with the end in mind. If I had only focussed on how I could make someone else’s life better by being what they really need rather than what I THOUGHT they wanted, I could’ve saved myself a fortune at Starbucks!

    As in all things, Randy – never give up! Every master was once a disaster, and a year is far too short a time to be anything other than than crap at dating.

    The Chinese say ‘only when the pupil is ready will the master appear.’ Go find out who’s most successful at dating, take what you can use from them, try it out, fail a few times, learn from it, and try again.

    And again!

    We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with, so if all your family & buddies are happily married you’d maybe benefit from the company of other single men.

    I’d go for a beer with you but Texas is not on my bus route!

    • Thanks Steve.

      I tried not to give up but after over two years of disappointment and despair I can’t work up any optimism. I appreciate your points and the tremendous thought you put into them, but here’s my personal experience:
      1) Age has mattered for me. So much changed when I hit 50, including job opportunities. Maybe I was naïve to disbelieve what others told me about that number representing a cliff, but it really has. And every year gets worse in nonlinear fashion. 54 is a desert… at least, for the sort of women I’d be interested in. Too many people have given life up by this age, and settled into their couches. I’m highly active, and have more in common with 30 year olds mentally and spiritually, but no one that age wants an old man.
      2) Looks have also mattered for me. Women have made that abundantly clear. I’m rather goofy looking and I’ve received some rather cruel responses because of it. Height has been the biggest deal-breaker though. As I’ve said, women around here just flat will not accept a 5′ 7″ guy. Even very short ones. I’ve run into it over and over and over again. Not a thing I can do about it, either. Weird thing I’ve noticed, is the older single women around here get, the more unrealistic their expectations. I’m not the only single guy who’s encountered that, either.
      3) agreed. I’ve had no issues there
      4) agreed. Also no issues there.
      5) Nothing I can do there. I’m just not seen as desirable by women any more.
      I’m not trying to downplay what you say, especially since you went to so much trouble and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! Even many people around here don’t seem to care. But I’m depressed and discouraged by the reactions I’ve gotten and can’t put myself through any more. I try to joke but being alone really, really hurts. I just don’t enjoy it at all, but I no longer have the will to keep trying.

      • stevebarker66

        I’m not going to let you get away with this, Randy so here’s the tough love:

        Re-reading your piece, it is apparent to me that you are focussing on what a woman should be to you rather than what you can be to them.

        I’m not saying you’re self-centered – in fact the opposite; we tend to fall into the trap of forgetting what we have to offer and this naturally leads to focussing on what we desire.

        I first met you online back in 2009 on Maemo.org where it soon became obvious that you were kind, helpful and sharing.

        As a moderator you were firm but fair, diligent and gave a whole lot to that project and its enthusiasts. I believe you’ve run other community projects as well.

        So I think its fair to say that Texrat is a warm, social, and very giving human being, right?

        You have been married and IIRC you have a couple of sons? OK, the marriage fell apart, our kids always hate on us from time to time, and family life can be stressful. But you pulled that off for quite a few years, so again, I think its fair to say you are a giving and loving guy.

        You say your estranged wife left you (rather than you having an affair) so we can also agree that you are loyal, yes?

        Makes sense so far?

        Can we then agree that these are qualities a lot of women look for in a guy?

        So let’s get down to what’s holding you back; your age and your height.

        You’re right, you can’t do anything about these, so there’s no point wasting your time focussing on them.

        The trouble is our minds draw us to that which we are most focussed on, so if you’re overly concerned about these two factors you will subconsciously transmit those insecurities to every potential women you meet.

        In fact, if you’re dating online its probably coming across through your choice of Profile pictures and the words you write. As a wordsmith yourself I know that’s gonna sting, but lime I say, this is tough love, and love at its most true is not afraid to be hard.

        TIP: get a trusted female friend or family member to choose your Profile pics and edit your prose. You won’t like it, but THAT’S THE POINT! :-)

        Whatever self-limiting beliefs you have built up over time, you WILL meet women who WILL be open to a guy of your build and age, but they will reject you for more core reasons: lack of confidence in the main!

        So how do we get confident about things we have no confidence in?

        It starts by getting confident about other things. You are a man of faith (another plus for many women!) and I’m sure you’ll agree that whichever God walks with us, he accepts us for what we are, yes?

        All long-standing religions are built on the bedrock of gratitude first. We say Grace before we eat – and the food tastes better. We are thankful through our prayers and we sleep better and enjoy fuller, richer and more productive lives.

        Whatever religion, this shit works and has been doing so for millennia – clever chap, that God fella.

        Prayer itself is based on gratitude; being thankful for what we HAVE. Because its only when we are grateful for what we have that we are granted the God-given strength to carry on.

        If you focus on all the positives, all the good things that you are and that embody who you are you will become more confident and above ALL else, women are attracted to confidence.

        It all begins with gratitude and like most of us I’ll bet you’re fooling yourself that you are already grateful for what you have.

        Trust me when I say that if that were the case we would not be debating this now!

        And please humour and indulge me; you have nothing to lose and can only gain from a couple of exercises many people use to build confidence

        They are based on the principles of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and you may find they will be hugely beneficial and help focus whatever gratitude you already have:

        1) Gratitude First:

        Every morning spend ten minutes in peace and quiet being thankful for what you have materially, spiritually and physically.

        Be grateful for the whatever good health you have rather than the aches and pains we all have at our age!

        Be grateful for the family and loved ones you have. You mentioned them above and again its clear that you are loved and cherished by your friends & family.

        Be grateful for every good thing that you have for just 10 minutes every day – its as simple as that.

        If you’re already doing this through prayer do this as a separate exercise; this is about building new muscles in your mind and a loving and confident God will understand.

        I do it with a cup of coffee and the smartphone turned off!

        Do this every day from now on. You have my full permission to stop when you die.

        2) Stop Bitching & Moaning!

        Look, I’m not saying you ARE, but the title is designed to focus attention, OK?

        Say to yourself: “Today, every time I think about my age or height in a negative way, I will offset that with one of my positive qualities”

        I was concerned about my lack of money and the fact that I was overweight; I thought no woman I would fancy could ever love a fat guy who had lost it all, lived in an old, rented cottage out in the boondocks, had little job security and none of the toys that denote financial success.

        Randy, I was where you are now. My inner mind saw me as fat, broke and therefore unworthy. Although I was trying to date I was doing my level best to be undateable. I transmitted that to the first women I met and every rejection validated my own limiting self-beliefs.

        “There – I told you so! There’s another one who threw you over because you’re a fat, broke, worthless bastard!”

        I hated myself all the more! Dating became a rapid path to self-destructive self-loathing.

        Truth is I’m still overweight. I’m still not rich or even successful. Only difference is I now understand that these things do not matter to women.

        I practiced my gratitude. I knew that I am a good friend. I’m loving, I’m understanding, loyal, steadfast and emotionally stable. I had a good marriage for many years and she left me for reasons to do with her, not me.

        So every time a negative thought or doubt came into my mind I would immediately counter it with one of my positive qualities.

        It was hard at first. I felt stupid, inadequate and the whole exercise felt a bit cheesy and ‘happy-clappy’

        But it bloody well worked!

        I restrained my mind. Over time virtually any negative thought would flower into a positive one and in the end I simply had fewer and fewer hang-ups.

        Start with a day at a time, be prepared to fail at first, but keep at it. Like compound interest on savings, its the small efforts we make every day that bring massive benefit over time.

        Keep a journal. Write down your gratitude in your diary; make it central to your life. The act of putting things down on paper makes them real and meaningful.

        Looking back to when I was first dating I was putting on a front or mask. I thought that I was coming over as confident because I could talk the talk and walk the walk. But the masks we wear only restrict our view outwards; others see through the mask and recognise us as lacking confidence.

        I have come to understand that women do not need a guy to be either successful or rich. They don’t need a guy to be slim.

        Nor do they need a guy to be taller or younger or less goofy looking than you (your words)

        They just need a guy to be confident in what he CAN bring home to them: love, understanding, companionship, laughter and loyalty.

        Randy, you have a lot to offer some lucky woman so take off that damn mask and learn to recognise the wonderful guy that you are!

        And the beers are definitely on YOU, my friend!

      • stevebarker66

        One more thought:

        “We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with” so have a good look at those around you.

        Most of my friends & family were married (many unhappily so) The divorced guys around me were jaded and disillusioned with women. My women friends were invariably disillusioned with men!

        How on eaeth have Homo Sapiens survived for over 400,00 years? ;-)

        The lesson is this: stop taking advice from broken, unhappy people!

        Instead, follow those who ARE successful at dating. If you don’t knkw anyone, go to YouTube and watch some videos – particularly the women coaching men in dating.

        I can almost certainly guarantee you’ll hate them at first. Like I did, you’ll see little relevance to where you are; these people are generally far younger than us.

        But that’s not the point.

        Immerse yourself in the culture of dating and what they can ‘game’

        Now, many of these young dudes use ‘game’ to procure easy sex. We all did at that age, but 20-30 years on we seek something more meaningful.

        However, many of these guys and girls are experts in the art of attraction and we can certainly learn from that because the mechanics of personal attraction and communication do not change over time.

        Some if them are highly controversial and I certainly don’t subscribe to some of their ethics, but I have taken much from them and put it to a more wholesome use when dating.

        Peace & love,


  • OGLark

    Textrat, I’very been following you for a while. I am 10 years younger so hopefully I will not get divorced so will never have to find out for myself what you are experiencing. However, I would like to point out a few things:

    1. You say women are not attracted to you mostly due to height, BUT you are not that short at 5’7″”. But you say you are “goofy”. Goofiness is not a look it’s a defensive mannerism. While it may be appear to you to be what you look like it is how you are acting/body language. In a way it’s expecting rejection BEFORE it happens. If you take your date seriously and expect her to take you seriously then the “goofiness will go away”. This is something you have to fix yourself.

    2. Typically women will not date anyone more than 3 inches shorter than her unless he is built like Adonis. But that leaves nearly 85 percentile of women still in your ballpark. How do you dress for a date? Do you put time into your appearance or do you wear out of style clothing and shaggy hair. If you don’t take care of your appearance well what do you expect? I mean she just DIVORCED that.

    3. Are you going always for someone who is super attractive? Because if so, after 40 that means she is putting time and probably money into maintenance. It is unlikely that she will settle on someone less than ideal physically because that is disproportionately more important to her. If you accept somewhat less on the active part (for example someone into gardening rather than running) then I think you will open up more possibilities.

    4. It really sounds like you are not comfortable in your own skin right now. If I were you I’d not try dating until you figure out to be happy in yourself.

    5. Find atleast one interest that isn’t antisocial and involves hanging out with people. And no, sci-fi conventions don’t count for our generation (might be different for people younger than us)

    Anyway I hope you eventually try again. You still have ~30 years left and that’s a long time to be alone.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment! My thoughts:

      1. 5′ 7″ is considered very short, at least in my area. I’m one of the shortest men anywhere I go. And as I noted above, the vast majority of women I encounter (on or offline), including VERY short ones, demand men be at least 5′ 9″ and prefer 6′ or more. I’m not imagining the discrimination: many, including female friends and family members, have confessed to demanding tall men. They’re all *with* taller men.

      As for my looks, I can be objective. I *am* odd looking. Women don’t find me attractive. Not much I can do about it.

      2. Friends say I dress and groom very nicely. As for dating, I haven’t had one in 25 years, but if I did go out you can be assured I would be appropriately dressed.

      3. I don’t pursue extremely attractive women and definitely not those who appear to be “high maintenance”. I’m attracted to cute geek or artistic ladies. I also can’t accept someone who isn’t very active… been there, not doing it again. It caused stress in my marriage. Gardening would be fine though– she wouldn’t have to be a runner. Just not a couch dweller.

      4. You’re right, I’m not. Don’t know how to be at this point.

      5. I’m involved in numerous social activities, tech and non tech. Have been for many years.

      I’m not going to try anymore even if I figure out how to be happy while lonely. I just don’t have any hope. But thanks.

      • OGLark

        Interesting. Have you considered moving geographically to an environment that is a little more forgiving of shorter men? I mean I have lived in places where very few people are over 6′ and it really isn’t that big a deal.

        • I’d be GLAD to leave here, for a multitude of reasons. Just can’t yet :(

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