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Are You Single Because You're Shallow?

I have been on dating sites for years and, I find mostly the regular person with average interests and, I have had relationships with some. I find that it usually does not last.  I feel that we share very few interests once the sex has gotten underway. I know that opposites attract but, I have found that the best relationships occur when the couple shares a few interests. Also, a lot of men are just looking for weekend entertainment. I call it the Barbie syndrome. They take you out of the box to play and then put you back in it until the next time.

I am a classically trained musician and a jazz singer, ballroom dancer, etc. I find most people on the sites really have little interest in these things. I also enjoy history and art. I have lived in NYC and I have two art degrees and I studied at a conservatory for awhile, speak a few languages and like to travel abroad. My parents were opposites and I grew up hearing my mother complain incessantly about how my father never wanted to do anything with her. He was an intellectual who was very interesting and well read, and my mother was not.

I was married for 23 years to an intellectual, but he suffered from depression and cheated which caused me to divorce him.  So i have been on Match, Ourtime, Christian Mingle, Jdate, OKcupid, Fitness Singles, etc. I even tried a matchmaker who had no one even close to fitting the bill. I felt like she was using me as an escort for her rich clients. 

What do you recommend next??? I also seem to attract the fun boys because I am non judgmental, fun and they find me intriguing. That has gotten old and I don't want to change myself for a man. I appreciate any suggestions.

I'll start with a story. My father was highly educated with multiple degrees. My mother barely graduated high school. My step-mother dropped out to help raise her siblings. Both women had one very important thing in common: they prioritized their family. When I used to ask my father what my mother was like, that was always the first thing he mentioned, followed by what a good heart she had. As a result, I value criteria like honor and kindness in men.

I say this to point out how messages we absorb as kids and young adults often inform who we seek in a partner. You mention how your mother used to frequently complain that your father - an intellectual - never liked to go out. Now you, as an adult, wish to find a partner who shares some of your interests. Why? Likely because you were taught that a relationship between two people who don't have common interests will be rife with boredom and conflict. But that isn't necessarily true.

It could be that you're focusing too much on finding someone who shares certain intellectual pursuits and activities but not who shares any of your core values. If you focus on superficial attributes, it's no surprise you frequently attract people who lack substance, like those "fun boys" you mentioned. A passion for art, history, museums, etc is fantastic, but what does any of that stuff have to do with building a lasting relationship? Not much.

My first recommendation is to identify your personal belief system. What moral code do you live by? What traits in others do you admire and value? That's where you need to focus. Forget about trying to discern if you and whatever man you meet both like to hit up MOMA or have a passport full of stamps. Those things are indicative of nothing that truly matters in a relationship.

Next, I would urge you to re-examine your belief that altering your approach would constitute "changing for a man."That's one of those statements that, on its face, sounds reasonable, enough so few will challenge it. Since I refuse to take anything at face value, I'm going to call you out. Not wanting to change for a man is an excuse to avoid introspection.You've convinced yourself that adjusting your approach would be settling, and we can't have that.

Here's the reality: Online dating hasn't worked. Hiring a matchmaker hasn't worked. (Side note: Most are con artists and absolutely use women as glorified escorts to keep their rich clientele happy.) What you've been doing up to this point hasn't worked, and I think I know why.

Let's be honest: everything you mention - the classical training, the museums, the travel - are all items associated with a certain socioeconomic background. To me, it sounds like you're more concerned with a man's pedigree than personality. I suspect that's the real problem here.

You're having trouble finding someone who exists within your perceived station. That's because you're placing importance on criteria the men you actually want don't care much about, if at all. The ones who do are the men that enjoy you for a time but, due to their short attention span, move on quickly. They're not in it for the long-haul because they don't have the emotional maturity necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.

I'm sure you know where this is going. As the saying goes "nothing changes if nothing changes." Nobody is suggesting you do a complete one-hundred and eighty degree turn. You can still maintain your identity and shift your focus from the external to the internal. Instead of seeking someone who shares your hobbies, pursue someone that possesses the qualities of someone who could, if introduced, like them, too. Instead of intellect, hone in on their curiosity and passion for learning. In place of cultured and refined, look for a critical thinker with a sophisticated (read: inclusive) world view. That's where you're going to find the type of man who will join you on trips to The Met, even if he doesn't know the difference between Impressionism and Art Deco. He might not like the same things you do, but he'll probably show a willingness to try. That's what's important.

Don't think of it as changing for a man but rather adopting a new perspective.

Good luck.

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