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Old 12-17-2015, 11:45 PM   #1
JSLigon
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Trying to try

So I'm lazy. I've come across two distinct schools of thought on dealing with this issue. The first one is basically just, if you know you're lazy, quit being lazy. Do what you know you should be doing and stop wasting time. Still thinking about it? Quit thinking about it. Start doing stuff.

Being a lazy guy currently engaged in writing a blog post about the nature of laziness, I obviously don't see it that way. I think lazy is not a useful descriptor on its own, and that to make any progress we need to deal with the underlying causes. If we're lazy, we lack sufficient motivation to bring ourselves to do what we believe we should be doing. Why do we lack motivation?

In my case I think it comes down to an underlying sense of hopelessness. I would more energetically pursue my stated goals if I believed I could succeed in attaining them, but I lack confidence that I ever can. There's a fear that if I somehow develop a work ethic and start really doing my best, that I'll come up short, and then I'll have no more illusions about what my life could be like if only I'd try. What if I'm doing my best and life still sucks? Nowhere to go from there. Or it could also be: I'm not pursuing my stated goals because they aren't really my goals at all. My self-analysis is inconclusive and this post is starting to look to me like a word salad of abstract gibberish I make up as I go along with some minimal connective tissue of ad hoc logic, or maybe not I just made that up too. Anyway time to get more immediate and I'm drinking while I edit so blame the alcohol but it's just one beer I don't really have a drinking problem at all.

I've been trying to meet women. One of my stated goals (to myself and now here) is to be "in a relationship", whatever that means, since I have no experience with such a thing, despite being middle-aged now. I'm on Tinder. That's going really well. Lol, of course not.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:08 AM   #2
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Re: Trying to try

To give an idea where I stand with regard to dating and relationships, here's something I recently posted elsewhere:

Quote:
Over the past several years I've been cycling between two unsatisfactory modes with regard to dating (and really life in general).

1. Trying to meet women, while realizing that because I'm unhappy in my personal life, I either won't attract anyone or the women I do manage to attract are going to have significant issues such that I'd be better off without them. Kind of the Groucho Marx thing about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have me.

2. Temporarily giving up on meeting women as (I think) a very reasonable response to the experience of failure state 1, of course with the idea of working on myself, cultivating positive habits, "doing something with my life", etc, so that when I re-enter the dating arena I'll be able to do so with positive expectations. The problem is (or at least this is how I see it), a significant component of my unhappiness is the lack of a relationship in my life, without which I tend to be depressed and unmotivated to do much of anything. So I fritter away my time on one pointless thing or another (most recently playing lots of chess) and don't make any significant changes in my life, and eventually because I can't stand being lonely anymore I cycle back to state 1.

I bring this up now because I just got back on Tinder, and I have a few matches, and one of them I've been texting with seems promising. But in the bigger picture this is all part of the same cycle of doom. I haven't done the work on myself necessary to achieve a positive result in my personal life, dating or otherwise. Ok so after that wall of text, here's my question.

Is it necessary to work on oneself first before even attempting to date? Or might there be value in trying to meet someone while still having major unresolved issues (in my case depression and a lack of motivation to do anything with my life), in the hope that breaking out of isolation could improve one's outlook at least temporarily, and it might be easier to initiate positive changes from there?
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:12 PM   #3
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Re: Trying to try

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Originally Posted by JSLigon View Post
There's a fear that if I somehow develop a work ethic and start really doing my best, that I'll come up short, and then I'll have no more illusions about what my life could be like if only I'd try. What if I'm doing my best and life still sucks? Nowhere to go from there. Or it could also be: I'm not pursuing my stated goals because they aren't really my goals at all.


Like that. Took me quite a lot of years, to understand, that it is possible to be successful in conventional sense and have a miserable life.

So you won't get a guarantee from anyone, that if you do your best, then life will become soooooo good. And the second one .... Again you have to answer for yourself, if that are your goals, and what are actually your goals.

I would say, that if you have a diagnosed depression, then dealing with it should be priority number one. I mean about which dating are you talking with depression? And laziness could be also depression induced lack of drive.
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Old 12-18-2015, 04:45 PM   #4
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Re: Trying to try

I don't see laziness as a thing in itself. I think it's a manifestation of depression and/or anxiety. Depression causes lack of energy and motivation to do anything. Anxiety causes a fear of failure. Both causes have the same effect: inaction.

I've had severe depression and anxiety on and off for almost my entire life, but in the past year I've had significant improvement in both. The first step for me towards better mental health was to realize that it has to be the priority in my life. If I'm extremely depressed and having panic attacks all the time, I can't do anything. My mental health has to be the most important thing in my life because nothing else has the ability to make me feel as ****ty as my own mind does.

There's a lot of things that can help with depression. Find a good therapist, try some meds, get as much exercise as you can, eat as healthy as you can, meditate, talk to people (this is the one that's hardest for me, but I know that socializing is helpful). Do stuff you like. If you like chess, play chess and don't beat yourself up about it by telling yourself you're wasting time doing something pointless. Things that bring you joy or make you the slightest bit less depressed in the moment, no matter how temporary or insignificant, are not pointless.
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:16 PM   #5
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Re: Trying to try

In short: it will be hard for you to love others or earn the love of a new acquaintance until you start loving yourself.

It seems to me that you're looking for a relationship mainly because you're seeking external validation. Been there, done that. Validate yourself, and you'll stop looking for codependency.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:40 PM   #6
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Re: Trying to try

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I would say, that if you have a diagnosed depression, then dealing with it should be priority number one. I mean about which dating are you talking with depression? And laziness could be also depression induced lack of drive.
There's no diagnosis of anything, I'm calling it depression based on the common usage of the term. I could probably pay a psychiatrist to tell me I'm depressed though. I'd be surprised if that wasn't the diagnosis. Dr. Wikipedia says:

"Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. People with depressed mood can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, ashamed or restless."

I'm checking a lot of those boxes. So how is dating going to work out for someone in that state of mind? Not well, obviously. I'm seeing that (yet again), and my latest stint on Tinder appears to be winding down now (no new matches and no desire to look for more, three existing matches where we've stopped texting). I did manage to meet someone this time around, and as one might predict (ie what kind of person would I attract?), she seemed kind of depressed, negative, beaten down by life. We didn't really hit it off, and still I briefly considered trying to contact her again, even though I wasn't particularly attracted to her and didn't enjoy her company, simply because I'm tired of being lonely. A few days later she unmatched me, and while this was for the best, it pissed me off a little bit that she unmatched me first instead of the other way around.

I will say one thing about getting out there and trying to date though. It gave me some temporary motivation in the days leading up to the date, so I started working out again. That's a nice side effect and I intend to keep it going.

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Originally Posted by krunic View Post
I don't see laziness as a thing in itself. I think it's a manifestation of depression and/or anxiety. Depression causes lack of energy and motivation to do anything. Anxiety causes a fear of failure. Both causes have the same effect: inaction.

I've had severe depression and anxiety on and off for almost my entire life, but in the past year I've had significant improvement in both. The first step for me towards better mental health was to realize that it has to be the priority in my life. If I'm extremely depressed and having panic attacks all the time, I can't do anything. My mental health has to be the most important thing in my life because nothing else has the ability to make me feel as ****ty as my own mind does.
I relate to some of that. It might not be as debilitating for me as it is for you, but I think there's some commonality.

Quote:
There's a lot of things that can help with depression. Find a good therapist, try some meds, get as much exercise as you can, eat as healthy as you can, meditate, talk to people (this is the one that's hardest for me, but I know that socializing is helpful).
I've considered therapy but I don't have a lot of confidence that it would be helpful. It would depend on finding a good therapist, which would require my being able to identify one in the first place. A large percentage of the stuff people get licensed in is complete nonsense in my opinion. If there was someone I knew and trusted who recommended a particular therapist or type of therapy for me, I might be willing to do that. I'd only turn to meds as an absolute last resort.

Quote:
Do stuff you like. If you like chess, play chess and don't beat yourself up about it by telling yourself you're wasting time doing something pointless. Things that bring you joy or make you the slightest bit less depressed in the moment, no matter how temporary or insignificant, are not pointless.
Chess and other forms of idle amusement aren't the problem. I still play chess, it can be enjoyable when kept in its proper place. But I have various rabbit holes (chess being one of them) that I go down sometimes to avoid dealing with real life, compulsively, and this ceases to be fun pretty quickly and I'll still keep doing it as an escape from dealing with anything real, much like I'd imagine an alcoholic does. It's more about disengaging from life than engaging in any particular activity for enjoyment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coon74 View Post
In short: it will be hard for you to love others or earn the love of a new acquaintance until you start loving yourself.

It seems to me that you're looking for a relationship mainly because you're seeking external validation. Been there, done that. Validate yourself, and you'll stop looking for codependency.
I'm not even getting to the codependency stage. I might be vulnerable to it if any relationship would get that far. But of course I need to work on myself and be ok with where I'm at before healthy relationships are possible.
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:23 PM   #7
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Re: Trying to try

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I've considered therapy but I don't have a lot of confidence that it would be helpful. It would depend on finding a good therapist, which would require my being able to identify one in the first place. A large percentage of the stuff people get licensed in is complete nonsense in my opinion. If there was someone I knew and trusted who recommended a particular therapist or type of therapy for me, I might be willing to do that. I'd only turn to meds as an absolute last resort.
I was quite lucky in that the first therapist I went to was great and I've been seeing her once a week for over a year. I was referred to her by an integrative medicine doc. Most people have to shop around a bit to find a therapist they can really connect with and get help from. If someone refers you to a therapist they like, that doesn't mean they'll be right for you. Talk therapy is a complex skill for the practitioner, and it's crucial that their personality and therapy style is suited for you and your issues.

There are also specialist therapists who work only with people who have certain issues like PTSD, physical abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorders, etc.

A lot of people say they only want to take psychiatric medication "as a last resort." I don't blame anyone for having that feeling. But what I'd like you to realize is that successful treatment for depression isn't about trying one thing then ditching it if it doesn't cure you, then trying the next thing, and so on. It's about attacking the depression relentlessly from all angles of your life, and starting all of them as soon as possible. If you do only one thing at a time, it's probably not going to cure you, because it will only help one aspect of your life, and may not affect your depression much on its own, leading you to believe it doesn't work.

I've tried a few different meds, and Lexapro seems to be the one that works best for me. However if I don't exercise, or eat too much sugar, or don't go outside, or don't meditate for a few days in a row, the anxiety and depression start to creep back up. This doesn't mean the medication stopped working, it means I need to do ALL those things nearly every day to maintain good mental health. None of those things on their own will be enough.
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:53 PM   #8
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Re: Trying to try

Aren't Lexapro and other SSRIs detrimental to poker playing ability? They take away focus and so it's advised not to drive or operate machinery while taking them; it must be dangerous to play poker professionally on them too.

I tried weak Russian sedative pills that are thought not to impair focus, but they have a nasty side effect which I'm still suffering from, months after I stopped taking them
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:57 PM   #9
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Re: Trying to try

I haven't noticed any reduction in focus, but I don't play poker anymore. On a related note, I've noticed a significant improvement in cognitive functioning since I eliminated refined sugar and grains from my diet.
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:11 AM   #10
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Re: Trying to try

trying is the first step to failure...
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:20 PM   #11
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Re: Trying to try

Casting about for answers, or just something to give me a new perspective, I came across a book by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame called "How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big". I won't say there's anything great or revolutionary to be found in it (or maybe there is I don't know), but some stuff resonated with me. Actually I might be misremembering it now. Doesn't matter, I seem to be putting together something of value for myself even if it isn't what the author intended.

The ideas have to do with energy, positive mental outlook, and reversing the way most of us think about causality. So the basic problem of where I was at (depression) was a lack of energy. I was doing very little on a day to day basis, and yet found myself frequently exhausted both mentally and physically. Whatever process gets me out of that hole is going to have to produce a substantial increase in my energy level.

Here's where the reversal of causality comes in. Normally I would think that to have more energy, I need to focus on the specific things I need to get done and conserve energy elsewhere. Given that my energy level was low, this means a contraction of activity, shutting down whatever isn't essential so I can focus on what is. But from where I was at, doing almost nothing, there wasn't anything to shut down. With this mindset I was stuck in a low energy state (depressed) and seeing no way out.

The causal connection would normally be: "Having energy allows me to get things done." But the idea I'm trying out now is: "Pushing myself to do more will eventually give me more energy." That might sound nonsensical, but it's completely standard in certain domains. Think about physical exercise, or really practice of any kind. We start out not being able to do much, we push ourselves to do more, and eventually (as if by magic) we have the energy or the ability to do it. Capacity is added where it is required. So from this perspective, the key to having energy and thus getting out of depression is to habitually do things that require energy.

There have been a few things I've wanted to do for a while, and I've gotten used to never having the energy to do any of them well. I'm thinking now that the solution is not to continue narrowing my focus to accommodate my low energy level. In fact it is the opposite. I should get used to demanding more of myself, not less, with the expectation that the energy will follow. The first application of this is that I have started exercising more, and as a predictable result, I already feel that I have more physical energy.

Last night I got a promotional email about a language learning program that was on sale, which normally I would ignore. "I don't have the time or energy for that. I'm depressed, this is just going to suck away what little energy I still have." But this time I made the purchase and this morning I went through my first French lesson. I have no need to learn French, I just think it would be something cool to learn. And if I keep with it, just an hour or two each day at most, I think making this demand of myself (along with others) will help push me into a higher energy state.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:56 PM   #12
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Re: Trying to try

I want to build a workable routine for myself and get used to following it. (Parenthetically I note that my perspective is quite solipsistic. It is all me, myself, and this is how it is, no self-criticism here, this is just my present reality. So noted.) I don't want every hour accounted for. I'd like some room for spontaneity. Just a bare bones skeleton of a typical day plan, little landmarks to check off along the way, as a substitute for a genuinely purposeful existence. I will do such and such because such and such is what I do. At some point I may start to believe or even feel that this has meaning. Doing whatever it is I had previously decided I would do inherently feels good. It feels like success.

The French language program I have purchased and started (Fluenz French) has five levels, and each level is comprised of 30 lessons. If I do one lesson a day as planned it will take me five months to complete it. If I slack off (or simply find it too difficult at some point to proceed) it will take longer. I did lesson 2 this morning and it wasn't very hard, but I felt like I was dragging myself through it and kept finding ways to distract myself, so it took a lot longer than it should have. Opening the web browser because it's been 5 minutes since the last time I checked youtube, 2p2, etc, on a loop. I have to train myself out of this mindless compulsive passive consumption of content. It's understandable though. This is the kind of thing a person who is depressed, isolated, and rudderless will do to pass the time. When I stop fitting that description I imagine this type of disengaged time suck will lose its appeal.

Getting on the elliptical for 20 minutes before dinner, and doing jump rope and pullups at various points throughout the day, is starting to become a habit. I don't push myself too hard. A reasonable level of fitness and increased baseline energy level is the goal and I seem to be making some progress. I didn't leave the condo today though. Had no reason to, but still, that's not good. I need to either give myself reasons to (ie plan activities where I interface non-virtually with the outside world), or even just go for walks, which I do sometimes. This is a very exciting blog.

The least successful item on my daily action plan is the ill-defined "do some computer programming stuff". Currently I'm going through "The Swift Programming Language" and working through some of the examples, but I'm pretty bored with it and not feeling motivated. I'm about halfway through it but my knowledge retention has probably not been great, and reading a language guide cover to cover is just dull. I'm not up to speed sufficiently to start a project of my own with confidence, but that might be the way forward anyway (consulting specific sections of the language guide when necessary).

I feel like I'm posting a grocery list or something. You can just write anything at all and call it a blog post.
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Old 12-25-2015, 01:04 PM   #13
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Re: Trying to try

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Opening the web browser because it's been 5 minutes since the last time I checked youtube, 2p2, etc, on a loop. I have to train myself out of this mindless compulsive passive consumption of content. It's understandable though. This is the kind of thing a person who is depressed, isolated, and rudderless will do to pass the time. When I stop fitting that description I imagine this type of disengaged time suck will lose its appeal.
That's so true. I hang out on 2+2 just to avoid grinding online poker whenever I don't feel myself in the A+ shape and am not offered an extraordinarily lucrative challenge by any room.

Setting up artificial challenges for myself feels senseless... why should I punish myself for not achieving them while life remains OK regardless of the outcome?
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Old 01-03-2016, 05:55 PM   #14
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Re: Trying to try

I've been doing the French lessons every day and working out on the elliptical for 20 minutes most days, so that's good. I can handle checking simple items off a list, which is a level above where I was at when I started this blog. I have a programming project I keep meaning to work on (actually a few but one at a time), but I keep not doing it. That's not as simple an item to check off the list. It doesn't come prepackaged in discrete daily increments that are easy to complete in an hour or less. It takes initiative and creativity, comes with the frequent risk of getting stuck, and I have to find my own way forward, so that's a higher level of difficulty. I need to make myself do it though. Initial resistance is strong because my programming skills are rusty. Like a lot of things it will become easier to do on a daily basis once I get into the habit of doing it.

I've given up on Tinder at least for now. I signed up for some groups on meetup.com at least partly in an attempt to meet women, but as I already knew, desirable women are not so easy to locate in this way but it's still a new frustrating experience every time. Sometimes I go to a chess meetup, obviously nothing but guys there (but at least with the chess meetup I knew that very well going in). There's a group that does trivia / karaoke / game nights and while that group has women, the majority of them are extremely overweight. I figured a singles hiking group wouldn't have that problem, and it didn't, but most of those women are older than me and I'd prefer younger. So this is just going to be difficult and the only part of the process I can control is to work on myself. Being in my 40s and trying to meet women, I'm left to pick up the scraps and I should have found someone when I was younger. But it seemed impossible then too.

If I could flip a switch and no longer care about meeting women, I'd do it. But not only does this seem vitally important to me, I also want her to be attractive, intelligent, and ideally under 35. No track record of success whatsoever, and I'm still picky. Really wish I could rewire my brain to be happy with settling for less, but whatever part of me is responsible for setting the standards has a lot of confidence in me, empirical evidence be damned.

I'm frequently conscious of the effort to try to stay positive or at least to avoid negativity as much as possible. There's a negativity vortex that once it sucks me in becomes difficult to escape. Right now I'm resisting it through mostly mindless routines, just trying to do things for the sake of doing things. It's like I'm at level 1 and struggling not to go back down to level 0. Purposeful action instead of mindless routine following starts at level 2.
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Old 01-03-2016, 06:27 PM   #15
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Re: Trying to try

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I've given up on Tinder at least for now. I signed up for some groups on meetup.com at least partly in an attempt to meet women, but as I already knew, desirable women are not so easy to locate in this way but it's still a new frustrating experience every time. Sometimes I go to a chess meetup, obviously nothing but guys there (but at least with the chess meetup I knew that very well going in). There's a group that does trivia / karaoke / game nights and while that group has women, the majority of them are extremely overweight. I figured a singles hiking group wouldn't have that problem, and it didn't, but most of those women are older than me and I'd prefer younger. So this is just going to be difficult and the only part of the process I can control is to work on myself. Being in my 40s and trying to meet women, I'm left to pick up the scraps and I should have found someone when I was younger. But it seemed impossible then too.

Dancing lessons?
There is always a shortage of guys there. And if you learn to dance really well, it is absolutely attractive to majority of women.
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I also want her to be attractive, intelligent, and ideally under 35.
Are you all that?
Which percentage of women population does pass your picky-ness?

I have a good friend. He is in his 40ties and never had a GF. We tease him a little bit. And one evening he gave a list of qualities a woman has to have for him:
She has to be greek (he lives in Germany, but he is greek)
- super attractive (he is average)
- super intelligent (he is)
- rich (he is)
- OK with living under one roof with his mom (he is)
- perfect with cooking and housechores (he is)

How high is the probability of him to meet such girl? That even without thinking of her being interested in him.

I mean you sound not even like you don't have success with women, but like you have difficulties to find someone you are interested in.

Last edited by lapka; 01-03-2016 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:45 PM   #16
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Re: Trying to try

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Dancing lessons?
There is always a shortage of guys there. And if you learn to dance really well, it is absolutely attractive to majority of women.
My thought was yoga, same idea though. Yoga is very trendy these days, it's mostly women, and plenty of attractive women in the age range I'm interested in likely do yoga. I went to a yoga class with my sister a few weeks ago. Decent workout too, although I'm terrible at it and not flexible at all. So getting past the stage where I'm embarrassingly inept would be important. As long as I'm really bad at yoga I think I'd be viewed with suspicion, like I'm just there to meet women (true enough, but I don't want it to be so obvious).

Quote:
Are you all that?
Which percentage of women population does pass your picky-ness?
My idea of "attractive" isn't super selective, on a 1-10 scale probably 6+ is what I'm looking for. I'm more selective on intelligence, and was reminded of this at a party recently. It was a game night and we were playing Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit (I do well at these games so it was a good setting for me), and I was interested in one of the women in the group, until I started realizing that she wasn't all that bright. Not even stupid, just kind of average, but that made me lose interest. Then the age thing. I'm 42 and I'd prefer under 35 so I'm really restricting my options there. All this from a guy who almost never dates.

I think right now the answer is that I can't attract the kind of women I'm interested in, so something has to give. Either self-improvement which I feel like I need to do for myself anyway, or a lowering of my standards, or I could just give up on this part of life and try to be happy with being alone. As I get older, that final option seems more and more likely but I'm not there yet. But trying to meet women at my age feels increasingly ridiculous to me, like I should have gotten that squared away a long time ago, and wtf am I doing now? Especially since I'd specifically like to meet younger women. What I really want is a time machine.

Quote:
I have a good friend. He is in his 40ties and never had a GF. We tease him a little bit. And one evening he gave a list of qualities a woman has to have for him:
She has to be greek (he lives in Germany, but he is greek)
I don't care about nationality. Might be attracted to some race / nationality groups more than others, but it's not so specific as "she has to be greek".

Quote:
- super attractive (he is average)
I'm looking for reasonably attractive / slightly above average and I think that's about where I'm at too (I've been working out recently so that helps, though of course I'm getting older, and that doesn't).

Quote:
- super intelligent (he is)
She needs to be well above average in this department. I'd get bored or lose patience with anyone who wasn't, if I had to spend a lot of time with them.

Quote:
- rich (he is)
I couldn't care less about her financial status, and I think this is a big difference between men and women. Most guys don't care much about this imo, unless she has huge debt or a serious spending problem, stuff that's going to be an issue going forward. My financial situation is good and I can't imagine a woman taking issue with me for this reason.

Quote:
I mean you sound not even like you don't have success with women, but like you have difficulties to find someone you are interested in.
I've never been in a relationship so that, to me, is a complete lack of success.
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