Very eligible bachelor seeking right woman

Dear Toni-

I am a 31 year old single (never married) guy who has achieved great business success in the past couple of years. I co-own two very hot restaurants/bars and am opening up another one soon. Because I am the face of these establishments, it has given me a very high profile in my community and among my peers I am somewhat of a celebrity. The success, recognition and attention were a pretty big high at first but now that I've lived this for awhile, I'm finding it's especially hard to not only know who my true friends are, but to meet women who don't know who I am already and then actively pursue me because of it.

I can only imagine how what I am telling you must sound, but I'm trying to be completely candid about my situation and why I am writing to you. Though I do have a network of friends from college, a very good relationship with my family and a challenging and successful career- my love life basically consists of going out with a woman a few times, then continuing a FWB or occasional hook-up relationship. More often than I'd like to admit, I have been confronted with tears and accusations by a woman I have gone out with a couple of times yet was always honest with and never led on. Still there seems to be some expectation or sense that I have done them wrong, but when I address this directly with them, they can't point to anything specific I did, just that I'm not interested in going forward.

The truth is that I never meet anyone that I have those feelings for. I have been in love twice in my life and one was a very significant relationship in college that ended badly. It took me a long time to get over it- but I have no feelings left for her except to wish her good things. When I think about what it is I look for in a woman or what qualities are attractive to me, I realize it's something quite different than I find in the girls I meet. Yes, looks matter a lot to me, so do smarts and someone with a strong sense of herself, who is capable and independent- and I do meet women with many of these qualities. What I think is missing is that sense of innocence- someone who is not that experienced sexually and if she has been involved, it meant something to her. She's not a big party girl, doesn't spend every night out in clubs- and has very different interests than girls who do.

I'm not saying women who like to party are bad- I am just not seriously attracted to them. It's especially challenging to me because so much of my time is spent at work and in that environment. It's also too easy to end up being with a woman who is physically beautiful, interested and available. I do treat women with a lot of respect- and I have a number of women friends. So, I don't want to give you the impression that maybe this is just about me being a jerk. My question comes down to how do I meet the kind of women that have this quality and do they really exist in my age group anymore? If a woman like this comes into my club, how will I know? Honestly I can't go many places without being recognized and this just adds to the problem of being able to meet someone and start from scratch, the old-fashioned way. Any thoughts, direction or tips would be greatly appreciated. -Born Too Late

Dear Born Too Late-
I can only imagine that your male peers look at your circumstances with envy and say things like; "I wish I had your problem." However as you have found out, even minor celebrity can be lonely and not what those on the outside believe it to be. You are right that some women (and men) will express an interest in knowing you and spending time with you because of your status and success, not because they want to know the person inside the package.
Everyone who achieves fame, fortune and celebrity goes through an experience like this- and those who keep their heads and don't get caught up in it can maintain healthy friendships and find happy love. You have taken a first step by recognizing the downsides and by asking some good questions about how to handle dating and relationships in this new life.

The kind of woman you seek is out there- however she won't be spending much time in your bar. She could happen in after work with friends or on a weekend night- but she's not likely to be a regular. If my visualization of your type is accurate, she is the person who will be pursuing her passions and taking life changing steps during her leisure time- sports and hobbies, community or political causes, volunteer work and/or furthering her education, to name some possibilities. She wants to grow and learn which is part of what attracts you to her. She is sensitive, yet strong- independent, yet able to be vulnerable when in the appropriate situation and relationship. She is not someone who would look to you to make her happy or complete her- she would be busy doing that for herself.

No one is perfect. She will have her flaws and there will be things about her that give you pause. However, it's those few specific qualities that match up well with you that will create the chemistry you are looking for, she will turn you on physically and intellectually- and you will have the basis for a strong friendship.

To meet her you have to think outside the box. Tune into your passions, and then go out in search of them. Do you love water sports, competitive team sports, extreme physical challenges, art, history, or perhaps ghost hunting? If so, explore the places in your area where you can participate in/appreciate or explore some of these. Meeting a woman who shares one of these is a great start. It will also open you up to new friends and social networks that don't revolve around the club scene or friends from college. In these new places and with these new people, you can just be you- not the local celebrity, bad boy, successful club owner that others seek out and attempt to befriend in order to bask in the glamorous glow, or (with women) perhaps view as a great portal into a comfortable future life.

You will recognize your type wherever you meet her if you pay close attention. She will be the woman who is not trying to impress you, the one who shows more interest in others than in promoting herself, the woman who brings something new and interesting into the conversation, who knows her own mind, holds her convictions strongly- but doesn't lay them out for the world to see or try to impose them on others. She will be attracted to you, but able to set limits and communicate her need to move slowly, to get to know you and if she likes what she sees will be open to the next step. She will be her own person, be true to herself but always respectful of the fact the others are entitled to their own truths.

You will like what you see, find what she has to say to be interesting and relevant, feel challenged by her sharp mind, warmed by her personality- and suddenly think- "I really like this woman."

Want to read other articles on this subject?

" Best relationship resolutions for singles"
List of more "Help With Dating" articles

"Workplace dating-- Fishing off the company pier"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.

Distribution Rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site.

Reprint permission will be granted, upon request, to student newspapers, universities, and other nonprofit organizations. Advance written permission must be obtained for any reprinting of this material in altered or modified form.