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6 years of singleness - will it ever end?

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I have just had a dating experience come to an end.
Without getting into the specific details, I was dating her for about a month, slightly long distance and we texted every day, quite a few lengthy phone calls and we spent two entire weekends together after a short initial meeting. Although that doesn't seem very long, we really did connect or so I thought at least, found each other attractive and so on. Last weekend which was my birthday infact I decided to spend it with her. I now realise that was a mistake as for most people your birthday can be an emotional day and spending it with someone who you don't know that well is a risk. And in this case it's a risk that didn't pay off. In brief, although there were some nice moments, I made some silly comments which did not go down well with her and as a result it led to probably ******* the attraction. I do think they were inappropriate despite the fact that I was joking and I apologised profusely. Regardless, she didn't feel they were right and the day after I got back from seeing her we spoke on the phone and she said she wasn't at peace and couldn't get over the comments I made and she would take some time to think it over and decide whether we could continue dating. A few days later, she texted me to say she hadn't changed her mind and wished me the best. I reiterated those comments were out of character and I hated that she was hurting from them. I wished her the best as well and that was it.

This was the closest I've come now to a relationship in more than 6 years. I finally meet someone I am genuinely interested in (because that has been really difficult), have an attraction and a good connection with, only for it to end so abruptly. I genuinely thought that this could work out and I would finally have a gf after all these years, and in a way that's why I went up to see her for my birthday. I was feeling positive about the whole situation.

A t38 now, I do wonder whether a relationship/marriage is even going to happen for me, no matter how much I want it. I know dating isn't easy and for many of you on here you will be feeling the same. After 6 years, what hope is there of a breakthrough? The two previous relationships I did have at 32 (3 months) and then at 29 (1 year) were both psychologically abusive as I didn't have boundaries and I let these women take advantage of my patience and tolerance by constantly testing me, gaslighting and disrespecting me. So yeah I'm approaching the end of my 30s and I've had one pathetic relationship of 3 months. I have dated alot though in this time, we're taking tons of first dates, a few second and third dates but it doesn't generally get past that stage. Why? Because I can never find someone who I want to pursue and have a connection and vice versa. All the women that are interested in me, I'm not into and the few ones I'm into, aren't into me. This last girl who I spent the last month dating was the first girl in 6 years that I genuinely felt attracted to, connected to and wanted to pursue, hence the disappointment and sadness.

There are some great women out there but I don't know how many more bad experiences and setbacks with dating I can take. I'm not perfect and I will continue to make mistakes. I just want to meet my equal. That can't be too much to ask for but it seems, as a man I sense perhaps I don't have what it takes. I'm 6"2, sporty, have my own flat, a job that is nothing special but a comfortable salary, well travelled, fairly knowledgeable but none of this appears to be enough. I can get dates, matches or whatever but not progression to a relationship, someone actually wanting to be with me for me. There have been women in the past who have really liked me though but I didn't feel the same. For example, a few years ago I went out with a girl for a few months who I found attractive but there was no real connection and I knew that from early on but I carried on thinking that might develop. It never did. Then more recently 2 years ago I was very close with another lady who I had an amazing connection with, many similar interests but no physical attraction. Again I gave that a go for many months because I thought the physical attraction would develop but of course it never did. Deep down I knew in both cases, it was going nowhere but I wanted to try as people kept saying give this a go, you have to do things differently, well this is why you've been single for so long, you never know etc etc.

I have had many years in therapy and counselling when I was younger and most recently a few years ago. I'm not sure any of it has really helped in terms of my overall progress but it helped that I had someone to talk to. Perhaps I need that again. I don't know what else to do. I continue to go on dating apps, websites, try to meet women at church and other social events but it seems super hard to have what I see as the three essential aspects - a physical attraction, an emotional connection/compatibility and enough similar interests and for me as a Christian, a fellow believer. I have gone on dates with many women who have had 2 or 3 of those key areas. This last girl I felt ticked every one hence why I'm struggling right now. I messed up an opportunity but maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

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The best advice I could offer is to try not to put pressure on yourself to make it happen. I understand that as you are a Christian, you place a higher level of importance of attaining such a relationship than someone like myself. But in doing so you may miss out on enjoying the day to day of it. I know what it's like to be hard on myself for making an awkward comment, but all you can do is learn from that and avoid it in the future.

I've been single for a long time and I'm generally not bothered by it. But the best I've done in relationships is when I'm indifferent to the outcome of things, if that makes sense. Better luck on the next one, and remember, there's worse things than being single.

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One quote from you is very interesting "All the women that are interested in me, I'm not into and the few ones I'm into, aren't into me."

It sounds like you do have options so if you are really desperste you could always date down if you just really wanted a relationship.

There is a saying that goes "One in the hand is worth two in the bush"

Maybe if a women seems interested in you and is nice try giving them a chance. In a way it is kind of like treating people the way you want to be treated, you feel the women you like should give you a chance, it is a difficult situation because dating can just turn into a big meat market and women are always naturally more selective than men are because they are the ones who get pregnant so biologically they have more to lose and more reason to protect themselves.

As a result this tends to hurt males mental health because males have less friends in general and also guys tend to put in a whole lot of effort so it is discouraging when even though you put in all this great effort and check the boxes you still do not get what you desire so it is frustrating.

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I'm sorry you're hurt and frustrated.  Meeting a potential mate is so much harder these days. 

I started dating in the years before the smartphone, so proximity to dating sites was sporadic and really limited.  When I finally did meet someone via a dating site (which was not the only way I met men), the result was SO. HORRIBLE. BECAUSE: I thought I could "settle," and in doing so, damaged myself nearly beyond repair (so I thought) and hurt the person whom I thought would be a "long term project."  (Who am I? Henry Higgens?  Bad, bad, bad decision!)  It took this last lesson in a relationship to finally make me learn that you can't change someone--only yourself.  I know this isn't your issue, and I'm glad you're still saying "no" to what you know is not right for you! Whatever you do, keep that standard in place.  

As for disappointment, I too, have had many in romantic entanglements, and though I'm not consciously pursuing anyone right now, and am content to be single, there's that little part of my brain that thinks I might feel better if I shared the love I have to give with a significant other.

I did, however, discover the true "love of my life," which is music.  It has always been so, even though I wasn't consciously aware of it until recent years, and I'm grateful beyond measure to have had a childhood where music was introduced to me in vitro.  It's infinite variety surprises me every day. It comforts me, stirs my creativity and helps me see things from other perspectives.

Keep at it.  It takes courage to know one's self and keep to the path you know is right.  I have every confidence in your finding what you're looking for.  It may just require patience.  There are so many great women in the world, and you have the advantage of there being so many more women to choose from than men!

My best wishes to you.

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