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The Sex Column: ‘I’m single and lonely – why can’t I settle down?’

‘The women I’m attracted to aren’t interested in me and the ones I don’t feel attracted to want more’ (Picture: Neil Webb/Metro.co.uk)

I’m a single guy whose 40th birthday is in sight. I’m lonely.

Most of my friends are married and, although I’m dating, the women I’m attracted to aren’t interested in me and the ones I don’t feel attracted to want more.

I went on dates with a woman I liked and, after we kissed, I messaged her loads and scared her off.

I have plenty to offer and never have trouble getting dates but am I placing too much on chemistry? Should I persevere with women I don’t feel attracted to?

Oh, the mysteries of sexual and romantic attraction.

‘You’re caught on the horns of the oldest dilemma in the world,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘The ones you fancy don’t fancy you, and you don’t fancy the ones who do fancy you.’

But you know what you want. So what do you find attractive in these women?

‘I always used to go for handsome, intellectual but emotionally unavailable men until I had the horrible realisation I was pursuing people who reminded me of my father,’ says Smith. ‘After that, my tastes and my chemistry changed. Are you looking for partners who might reiterate relationships, good or bad, from your early life? Or are you hung up on rigid ideas of beauty?’

When we are attracted to another, we are evaluating them on emotional, intellectual and instinctive levels.

‘So don’t dismiss chemistry,’ says James McConnachie. ‘It isn’t a lower thing, it’s a deeper one — it’s the scent and feel. We’re mammals and chemistry describes our deep mammalian instinct for who we fit best with. So trust those instincts. If you’re placing too much emphasis on anything, it’s probably dating.’

Because chasing someone too hard suggests desperation.

‘“Here’s someone”, it says, “who hasn’t got anything better to do than fiddle with their phone.” The richer your life outside of dating, the more interesting you will seem — and the more interesting you will be,’ McConnachie adds.

Looking back, were you aware and sensitive to her needs or were you so distracted with how you felt that you ploughed on with your messages regardless?

‘Reading the situation and being able to tune into other people’s feelings is such an important part of moving dating into something deeper and more meaningful,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin.

When we reject those who like us, it is related to low self-esteem.

‘We rubbish those who find something likeable in us so if you do struggle with your self-esteem, take a break from dating and work on your confidence,’ says Rudkin.

Focus on aligning with your authentic desires. Appreciate yourself and everything else will fall into place.

The experts

Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

Got a sex and dating dilemma?

To get expert advice, send your problem to lisa.scott@metro.co.uk


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