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Carolyn Hax: Should he just give up on dating?

Dear Carolyn: I’m a millennial guy nearing 40 with about 10 years of dating experience before covid hit. I found dating to be very difficult: time consuming, fairly expensive, etc. After talking to friends and seeing others struggle with dating and relationships, I found many other people agreed. The divorce rate is 40 percent, so I know many, if not most, married people struggle, too.

One part of dating I never liked was finding someone perfectly nice who liked me but whom I didn’t like in return. I am not a cold monster and hate hurting other people’s feelings. I managed to find a girlfriend, but she dumped me for another guy then dumped him for another guy. I don’t want to have kids or pets either, so that’s not a priority. Since covid hit, I haven’t dated and have found life to be much easier in a way.

My question is: At what point should I just quit dating and embrace a monastic life?

Anonymous: Your Q: Should I be myself?

Here is what I peeled off to get to that:

· What your friends experienced and feel or what society expects. Not relevant. You don’t need them to justify you.

· The divorce rate. Married people struggle right along with the single ones, but we knew that. Generalizations, again, don’t speak to your specific needs.

· The hurt potential. You can run across this even when you’re not technically “dating.” Which I’ll get to.

· The ex. People who come and go from your life and do things you don’t like/don’t understand/wouldn’t do are also part of the package of human existence, dating or not.

What we have left is that you made a change and are happier for it. That’s what matters. That’s all that matters. Issue closed. Until you find you are not happy where you are and start making changes again. It’s good stuff to know how to do, to listen to yourself and respond productively to what you hear.

I mentioned the potential to hurt “perfectly nice” people is there even when you’re not dating. Similarly, you can meet people when you’re not dating. You can fall in love when you’re not dating. You can live happily ever after when you’re not dating, alone or paired.

Dating is not the first step of a marital cause-and-effect. It is one option, period, which you can always opt against. Without explanation, without community affirmation, and without sealing your fate.

Dear Carolyn: My son and his wife are expecting a child in the fall — second one together, fifth one total — and are kicking names around. They both have a history of coming up with unusual, hard to spell names, in addition to having a last name that has to be spelled for everyone.

Well, I’ve heard that they’re thinking of using the name of a mythological figure for the next one. The problem? I had a boss who named his kid the same thing. I can’t stand this former boss and the idea of having to associate the new grandchild with this person is really upsetting. Say something or butt out?

Upset: Certainly it’s fine to mention a tough association, just like that: “I have a tough association with that name, but I will manage if that’s what you choose.” Because you will manage if that’s what they choose.

In general, though, our job is to butt out of other people’s naming processes unless their pick is an objective disaster like Ivana Tinkle, because one’s judgment is another’s judgmental. Plus, cute babies can fix a lot of ugly associations.

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