I feel like there are too many social pressures to meet most of the expectations driven by popular culture... besides, my lousy job and other factors make it nearly impossible to find, much less maintain, any meaningful relationships.

Anybody else find themselves in the same situation, or am I the only ape here left grooming themselves in the corner?

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Yeah I'm pretty much with you but my problem is a little different. My mother raised me to have a very profound respect for women, but over the years I have found that they only like being treated with respect for a short time then they're going back to men who treat them like dirt. Now that I've pretty much lost all respect for women, I'm too old and ugly.
they only like being treated with respect for a short time then they're going back to men who treat them like dirt.

Hmm, I could say the same thing about men. The majority of men I see around me seem to be interested in petite, younger women with an attitude and no brains.

But in reality (if there is such a thing), I think we're all (on this list) in the same boat--basically decent people who haven't found the right partner yet. I say this as a 50 year old woman who has been divorced for 30 years and hasn't been on a date in 10 years, until last weekend when I spent an anxiety-ridden two hours with a really nice guy, all the while wishing I was back in the comfort of my own home with my dogs. I'm very happy on my own, but am now ready to meet someone to share my happiness with. I just don't relish going through the "will he like me?" stage of dating.
Hmm, I could say the same thing about men. The majority of men I see around me seem to be interested in petite, younger women with an attitude and no brains.

Probably the media's fault. They keep selling us movies, like ... oh, I dunno, Twilight? All of the characters are very pretty and utterly superficial ... not very nice people, either, in most cases. Even in the books, the characters are paper thin, which is always a bad sign of what will happen to them in the movie version, when you have actual visuals.

Then you get the influence of 'reality' TV, which I loathe. They tend to glorify the nasty, childish types. I caught a piece of 'A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila' once, much to my horror. All of the people on the show were complete assholes. I can only hope Tila picked none-of-the-above.
I think we should say that we lose respect for "people" since it is on both sides. There is intense pressure on both sides to be a certain way.

However some financial stability is good on both ends. You can say women are greedy but men are too. Twice in my life I have gone out with men who were less financially stable than I (as I was not trying to be shallow and go out only with rich men) and they both ended up using me the same way women use wealthier men. It is not really a gender issue. It's a people issue.
This is about where I am. At home I have my dogs, my books, my computer, and my bicycles. The last relationship I had was amazing at the beginning but very depressing for a long time afterward. The women I've been with don't seem to want to be treated like dirt--although that last one, I gradually realized, could be a professional victim. But there does seem to be a trend toward the passive-aggressive--or at least the "why can't you read my mind?" controlling behavior. Not all women are like that, but that seems to be the type I attract. I haven't exactly thrown in the towel, but I doubt I will ever find the right partner.
Speaking only for myself, I do find average to slender women more attractive, and physical attraction is the first thing that interests men in general. I have noticed that most people on dating sites, such as Match.com, are looking for someone younger--or at least the specified age ranges seldom go above the poster's own age. I don't like anyone with an attitude and no brain. I never watch so-called "reality" TV for that reason; it's populated with stupid, ignorant jackasses. For drama you need conflict. I guess the producers think more conflict equals more drama, but stupid conflict equals boring TV. I like to be treated with respect all the time. It's probably difficult for atheists to find partners because we are, generally speaking, intelligent, thoughtful, and self aware, which makes us a tiny minority.
???

You find women who aren't interested in anyone above their own age? I always see the exact opposite. Most women's profiles I've seen specify maybe a year or two younger than them, tops, and then up to 10 years older than them, usually. What sort of weird segment of the dating pool are you searching in? Heh.
Women my own age or thereabouts.
Ah, yeah, 50's and 60's could be a bit different. I never scan very far above 40.
Ouch. Personally I like being treated like a human being. I don't like being yelled at, but I also don't like being talked down to.

I'd guess the tendency to go back to men who are asshats is probably just... well, asshats try harder sometimes. A lot of girls take a lot of bad lessons before learning to say no, so if a man throws a lot of drama at us, we don't always know what to do. Not that it's a real justification for stupidity, but I don't think women enjoy being treated like crap. I don't.

I don't think women like being treated like crap; I just know that my last girlfriend, whom I loved dearly and still think of nearly every day, let people take advantage of her to an extreme degree.  I could fix a lot of things, and I did, but sometimes you need a lawyer or a plumber, and English professors are poor substitutes.  Then there's also the communication problem.  A friend (female) sent me this yesterday:

 

His and her diary entries:

 

Her Diary:

 

Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a bar to have a drink. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn’t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn’t say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, ‘Nothing.’ I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can’t explain his behavior I don’t know why he didn’t say, ‘I love you, too.’ When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore.

 

He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. To my surprise, he responded to my caress, and we made love. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep – I cried. I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.



His Diary:

 

Vette wouldn’t start today.... can’t figure it out, but at least I got laid.

i gave up on grooming too.

seriously, i haven't thrown in the towel, but I have given up on the pursuit.
at this point I will have to trip and fall into it.....

of course, once I get that twinge of attraction, the sign of interest, i'm sure i will revert back to pursuit.....

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