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To me dating and relationships are a numbers game, the more people you meet and interact with the more likely you are to find Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now (someone fun to hang out with but not for serious relationship).

When I was "dating", in my early 30s, I was super busy with work and charity/community activities and found that the guys I met at bars were fun but most were scared of me, tall, blonde, successful, earned more than them, etc. So I did the on-line thing, that's where I met my husband, the speed dating thing, the single activity group thing, etc. For me, I wanted to meet a wide group of guys that had been somewhat prescreened, they knew what I did for a living, what I looked like, basic personality, etc. and they were not scared off. In my dating days, I went on two or three dates a week, they were generally 15 minute - half hour dates in the first round and I met a lot of guys, more than half I was not interested in, the other half were guys that I liked right away or guys I was interested in getting to know better. So I'd have the quick date at Starbucks, if I liked the guy we'd meet up for a drink, and then dinner, etc. I ended up dating six-seven guys past the first couple of rounds, ended up dating three or four guys past a couple of months and eventually went exclusive with Mr. Sam, we dated for three years, moved in together, got married two years later and we've been married now for three years.

So my point is, and I encourage my single friends who want to stop being single to date and to date a lot.

I had to comment because I liked the actuarial terms comparison. I'm relating it to my own attempts at IVF because I, too, hear the "it will work out" comment over and over, even from my therapist. After 3 years of trying with 2 failed IVF attempts, one with donor eggs from a 26 year old, I want to scream when I hear this.

I don't think it's negative to realize that NO, it may not work out like I want. I may be the one out of X-number women in their late 30s who don't conceive.

Anyway, I don't want to bring anyone down. Despite knowing that it may not work out, I was optimistic for the first 2 cycles and I will be optimistic about the 3rd attempt. And Sarah, I hope you'll be optimistic about finding someone special. And if it doesn't work out for you or I, I hope we can find true contentment and happiness.

I made the actuarial comment, so from now on I am changing my name here to "actuary."

The "it will work out" comment also makes me scream, because, realistically, there is no predicting the future. Basically, time marches on. Maybe you will get what you want as a life goal (spouse, child, etc.) or maybe you won't. It's not a goal you work toward, like buying a house or learning a skill, in which success is practically guaranteed if you do the right things. Finding a suitable mate requires someone else's participation; having a child requires successful biological steps.

To Sam, I am surprised you had such a high hit rate online. More than half you were not interested in? I think I met nearly 500 guys, and there were maybe two I was interested in, who were not interested in me. One said I was too smart. He was a professor. I think he meant I talked too much. The other was impossible to figure out. Maybe it was that he was shorter than me. I didn't care, but maybe he did. I agree that it is largely a numbers game, but I also think that the online pool is particularly low-yield. Sure, there is some overlap, but I don't think that meeting people and dating are the same thing at all.

I had to come back and read this post (and all of the fantastic comments) again today because at the gym while exercising this morning a woman said to me "My mother and I discussed you last night. We can't figure out why you are still single. You have a great job, you're smart and you're beautiful. So what's your issue?" I was speechless for so many reasons (starting with the fact that who wants to discuss this at 5:30 am!). I wish I had a witty comment.

Seriously though, this woman's comment imlies that I am responsible for not meeting someone. I am 33, a lawyer, dated someone for 3 years in my late 20's. He broke up with me and I just haven't found the right man yet. I feel very fulfilled, if not lonely at times but when people like this woman at the gym this morning question me about my singledom status I am totally speechless. It also really affects my happiness (see happiness project) because I start thinking.

I feel better though after reading these comments and this post because I know I'm not alone.

So not cool. Women who are lucky enough to have found the right man should know that its really just that: luck. Do you have issues? Probably. I certainly do. So does the woman you talked to at the gym, and so does her mom. Theres not a person alive without issues. But having issues and being single are two totally different things. Next time she walks by you at the gym, I suggest accidentally dropping a weight on her foot.

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My Books (with Elizabeth Craft)

  • 'Bass Ackwards and Belly Up' and 'Footfree and Fancyloose' tell the story of four best friends who commit the ultimate suburban sin: putting off college to pursue their dreams.

    Publisher's Weekly said: "Full of romance and adventure, laughter and tears, the story is a reminder that veering from the straight and narrow road doesn't always lead to a dead end."

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    What is Starfish Envy??

    • L.A. 2009. I’m stuck in traffic on the 101 freeway, listening to Isabella Rosselini on NPR. Isabella, for some reason, mentions that starfish are one of those rare species that can reproduce asexually, and I realize that if I could do that, I wouldn't have to worry about finding a boyfriend/husband. I wouldn’t have to internet date! I wouldn't have to figure out if I want to/can/should have a baby/adopt a baby/child on my own. I wouldn't have to stress about things like FSH levels, or weigh my feelings on in vitro versus adoption. I would just have a baby. Thus began my starfish envy.
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