Too Busy But Wants to Date

Q: Pursuing my career has limited my dating life. Straight out of college, I moved out to live on my own and hold a full-time job working 11pm-7am. During the day, I am a graduate student going to class from 4-7pm from Mon. through Thurs., hoping to become a college professor and hold an upper-management position at a competitive business company.

I have a difficult time connecting with women. When I go out with my friends from high school, all of them are in long-term relationships and I feel left out. My friends introduce me to their friends, but I am so picky that it never works out. Talking to most women my age is like talking to my little sister. My colleagues tend to be around 25-35 years old and they are in a different life stage than I am, such as being married already or involved in a long-term relationship. Some older women I have met decided not to date me once they found out how old I am. I can't date the women my age whom I supervise. On weekends, I study with my colleagues and go to the gym. Saturday night is the only night that I can go out, and then I usually go with my friends to various clubs, parties, bars, pretty much anywhere there is a lot of people. My exes would tell me that I am too nice of a guy and that I am somebody who they can bring home to their parents. Couple of times in my life, I concentrated so much in school that I did not realize that certain women were interested in me until it was too late. What should I do or need to change? -- Jack,

Dr. Susan: There's nothing awful about being "nice," so that's not your problem. Being extremely picky about the wrong aspects of a person could be limiting you, but it sounds to me more as if you're not using your time as efficiently as you might. It's fine to seek out intelligent women who are your age or a bit older. But you're looking for a needle in a haystack if your only date-seeking time, on Saturday nights, is spent at clubs and bars and parties. Why not pursue women with the same tenacity you're pursuing your goals of being both a professor and holding an upper-management position? That is, try online dating, or join a real club, say an astronomy club or something like that, where women might be found who are into less superficial interests (you'd have to sleep less, I guess). You could also spend a couple fewer hours at the gym and go to museums, galleries, networking meetings of one kind or another, anyplace without a meat market atmosphere. It may be that until you finish grad school, you're not likely to have the time to devote to a serious search for a partner. You have to make some choices. A certain amount of leisure time is needed, even beyond meeting someone compatible, to allow a relationship to develop on its own terms.

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