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Philippa Courtney



Where are all the Good Men?


Dear Philippa,

I've been widowed almost five years. Every time I get into a relationship with a man he just doesn't stack up to my husband. He wasn't perfect but he was thoughtful and polite. It seems there are pretty "poor pickings" out there when you're middle-aged. Am I asking too much?

�Margy, Huntsville, AL


Dear Margy,

I hear your concerns from many men and women who are over forty. I don't believe the reason for this so-called shortage of compatible people is because all the good ones are married and what's left over isn't worth dating. By saying that, we are including ourselves in the leftover pile.

As we get older and have many experiences, we get a clearer picture of what we want out of life. Maturity like anything else has its pluses and minuses. It's good to know what you want and to be more discerning. But we also have to make sure that we don't become inflexible and less tolerant.

No, you are not asking too much�you deserve the company of a man who is polite and thoughtful. But comparisons can be dangerous. While my loss was not as great as yours, I am reminded of when we got a new family pet this year. I wanted a German Shepherd like Amy, the dog I lost. Amy was an amazing animal, patient, and very sensitive to others. So when we found our new dog, Molly, I wanted her to have Amy's temperament. But these were two different beings with their own unique personalities. Molly does not have the level of Amy's sensitivity, but she has other wonderful qualities that I never imagined finding in a pet.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you may meet a man who has some rough edges or a different style of politeness, but has other exceptional qualities. I worry, as you probably do, that by making comparisons you may be limiting your choices.

Let's wipe the slate clean and start out from scratch. Your husband had some wonderful traits. So incorporate those traits with the positive characteristics of your friends and other people you like into the kind of man you would like to meet. Think of it as pulling together pieces of clay from the different aspects of the people you like and then forming this into what you ultimately want. Focus on how you feel with these different people and use this to identify the way you want to feel with the right man. Go beyond wanting someone polite and thoughtful, to how YOU want to feel with someone�like special and treasured.

Eliminate seeing the negative possibilities. Don't waste your time grumbling with people who want to confirm your worst fears. Surround yourself with positive influences. You know that there has to be some great men out there in your age group; someone is meeting them, it could be you.

I used to think that being middle-aged, with my pathetic relationship record, I would never meet someone special. But I managed to turn my stinking thinking around. I started believing in myself and I took the positive actions that changed my life. You can too. You are a special woman with so much to share. Give some new guys a chance and be prepared to appreciate them. I promise you will meet some men who exceed your expectations. Just believe.




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