Ask Aunt Fattie: How can a fat woman find love?

Dear Aunt Fattie,

I’m in a quandary. I’m a thirty-something woman, intelligent, fun, fat-accepting, and I have lots of good friends. However, I’ve never been on a date (I’ve only been asked a couple of times in my life, by weird strangers, and that was when I weighed less, as a result of illness). I’m pretty particular about potential loves, not in terms of looks, but rather with respect to faith, values, and certain moral considerations that are important to me (chastity, vegetarianism, etc.) — so no bar-scene for me. I’ve had my fair share of crushes on respectable gentlemen-friends, but the few times that I’ve made modest, indirect advances (e.g., dropping hints via mutual friends), guys have suddenly begun to avoid me. Now, I’m not really conventionally beautiful, even by fat-positive beauty standards, but I no longer believe (as my childhood peers often told me) that I’m actually some hideous monster. I try to be well-groomed and suitably dressed, and to carry myself with self-confidence. Despite some limitations as a result of (largely invisible) health issues, I try to take part in physical activities with my friends to the extent that I’m able. I devote a lot of effort to conscientiously managing my chronic health problems, I’ve spent a fortune on orthodontics, and I’ve learned ways of minimizing/disguising other physical flaws (facial and body hair, acne, etc.) as well as my financial means permit. I always try to be friendly and considerate, and I seem to be well-liked by most of the people whom I know.

At my age, despite my wonderful friendships, I’m beginning to acutely feel the absence of a significant other in my life. It’s also difficult when talk among causal friends turns to love and relationships, and I struggle with the social marginalization that often results if I choose to disclose my utter inexperience. I’m involved with my faith group, community activism, volunteer work, my professional community — but no real romantic opportunities have come of those connections. The men I think to be suitable suitors never regard me in that fashion, and if I ‘make a move’, no matter how small, it seems to only result in broken friendships.

I’m pretty much out of ideas here.

Signed,
Agonizingly Alone

Agonizingly Alone, Aunt Fattie is terribly sorry to have to tell you what she’s about to tell you. It is going to be discouraging, it is going to seem glib, and it probably isn’t going to make you feel better. It may make you curse Aunt Fattie’s name.

It is this: You are doing everything right.

You are living an active, engaged life, pursuing your passions and interests, refusing to put anything on hold just because you’re single. You are realistic and positive about your strengths, your limitations, your desires, and your boundaries. You are hoping to meet kindred spirits through the activities and communities that you participate in for your personal fulfillment, rather than steeping yourself in the often frustrating and demoralizing dating scene. You are, in short, following an advice columnist’s standard how-to-meet-a-good-partner formula to the letter.

So why isn’t it working? Part of the reason is that meeting a compatible partner takes more than a fulfilling life and a rational outlook; it also takes a heaping helping of pure dumb luck. You’ve made yourself into a mature, engaged, self-sufficient prospective partner, but frustratingly, that’s all you can do besides wait. The most important part of the equation — someone happening to come along who interests you, recognizes your value, is single, shares your goals, doesn’t have too much baggage, etc. — is the part you can’t control. It must be left to luck.

And truthfully, some of us need a little more luck than others. We fatties can’t wait for just any attractive interested prospect; we need an attractive, interested prospect who’s confident enough to see beyond societal ideals and shrug off potential judgment. Those with health problems may need to wait for an attractive, interested prospect who has no hangups about medical issues, in some cases even one who’s willing to be a caregiver if necessary. Your choice of chastity may narrow your field as well. In short, you’re using a grade-A reel and lure to fish in a smallish pond. This is not to say that you should relax your standards — far from it. Aunt Fattie is delighted that you are so discerning. But it means that patience must be your watchword.

This may mean that you wait a little longer before dropping hints that you’re interested (which Aunt Fattie would recommend doing in person, rather than through friends — the latter smacks of grade school). You want to give yourself time to fully suss out the gentleman’s suitability, and give him time to fully appreciate all you have to offer. Some otherwise decent fellows may have to leap a few hurdles when it comes to fat and health concerns, and you want to give them ample opportunity to get in touch with their better selves (and to realize how much they like you in the meantime). And of course, some otherwise decent fellows may turn out to have qualities that are dealbreakers for you, qualities that only come out over time. The much-advertised “friend zone” is largely a myth; there’s no rush to turn a friendship into a relationship. Spend time together, both with friends and just the two of you, and see how things progress.

And what will you do while you wait patiently for prospective partners with whom to be patient? Well, you will have to content yourself with your wonderful friends (too wonderful, surely, to judge you for your inexperience?), your activism, your volunteer work, your faith, your intelligence, your physical activities, your strong values, and the maintenance and safeguarding of your health. Not too shabby of a consolation prize, don’t you agree?

(Readers: Please share with us your experiences of romantic patience, and of finding love when or where you didn’t expect it!)

If you’ve got your own questions on fat, fatshion, fatiquette, self-esteem, or body image, send them to auntfattie@gmail.com.

108 thoughts on “Ask Aunt Fattie: How can a fat woman find love?

  1. And I will start: I was friends with my boyfriend for over a year before we got together, during which time neither of us was consciously interested in the other one at all. I had joked with friends about hooking up with him because we both had terminal crushes on terrible people, but I wasn’t serious — it would have felt like a booby prize, like the rejected suitors were getting together out of desperation. It wasn’t until some friends pointed out that we were into each other — and yes, even though they did it unsolicited it still smacked of grade school, or maybe high school because they were rolling at the time — that we gave the matter serious thought. At which point we were already pretty acutely aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which allowed us to avoid a whole lot of new-relationship pitfalls.

  2. I met my husband on match.com. Highly recommended! At least they’ve seen a picture of you before you go on a date (make sure your pictures are accurate and show what you really look like) and you know they’re interested in finding a romantic attachment, or they wouldn’t be there.

    The other nice thing about Match is that you can specify a lot of what you want in a partner – with your particulars about chastity and vegetarianism, for example, that might be helpful to you. Good luck! We were both 34 when we met – sometimes love takes its sweet time to come around.

  3. Meeting my husband was a total setup. A friend sent me example after example of why this dude I didn’t know was awesome and when I finally admitted he was a pretty cute and funny dude, the set up really swung into gear. It worked out well. Without mutual friends who truly wanted the best for both me and my partner, I’d be stuck, still, in a never-ending series of bad relationships.

    And so I say to let your friends know you are looking. They know your values and, if they are good friends, will respect that when considering matches. Catherine suggested match.com and I think sites like that and eharmony.com are great. Because they really DO try to match you with someone who shares your value systems. You might even try listing a personal ad on craigslist.

    I’d avoid notorious hookup sites like OKCupid and myspace, though.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with actively seeking out a partner. Just remember to keep living your life and making yourself happy in the meantime. Aunt Fattie is dead-on – there is a large amount of luck involved, even when you are searching other people out. I wish there were an easier answer than that.

  4. I was lucky – I met my husband in my first year of college. I was actually dating someone else at the time, and met him via a common friend as a friend.

    Even though I wasn’t exactly thin at the time, I remember thinking (or possibly saying to the mutual friend? It’s been awhile), “He’s really funny; too bad he’s so heavy.” But I started spending more and more time with him (and in the meanwhile broke up with my boyfriend, though not specifically because of Phill; I just wasn’t really into him). And by a few months later, I was well into actually-hurts-in-my-chest-when-we’re-not-together territory.

    I made the first move – a spontanious kiss while he was playing a video game. My timing left a lot to be desired, as I was on my way home for the weekend. My understanding is that he did a lot of freaking out that weekend. :) But when I got back, he reciprocated (and a lot of cuddling followed that night :) ). And we’ve been together ever since.

  5. I met my husband in my living room, because he was friends with my housemates. Then he just kept coming over a lot because of his friends. And to be honest, I was completely clueless that he was interested in me until he asked me out, and I wasn’t hugely attracted to him at the time either. He was just a nice guy I quite liked and who was around a lot. But I was pretty much in your boat at the time, and I figured it was worth a shot, and you know, it totally was. We were living together within three months, and we got married ten months ago.

    One thing you haven’t mentioned is if anyone has indicated an interest in you, or if it’s only been people you haven’t been interested in. Because sometimes, those people that you haven’t thought anything much of, they can surprise you as much as you might surprise them.

  6. I don’t know if this will make AA feel better or worse, but I’d bet that her struggles to find a partner might have as much to do with her religious restrictions as her appearance. I’ve watched a conservative Christian friend and a conservative Muslim friend struggle for decades looking for love, until they got involved with very targeted online dating sites; both were happily married within 3 years, and still going strong.

  7. I was friends with my lovely partner for a full five years before we hooked up and I wouldn’t wish away a minute of this time. I agree wholeheartedly with Aunt Fattie’s advice about not rushing things – it could be good to take your time and really, really get to know someone before deciding if they are right for you. As regards not having physical experience, I honest believe that if you meet the right person for you this will not matter. My partner was in his early thirties and had not been in a relationship before he met me and we had great fun gaining experience together! In the same way that he couldn’t have cared less about my weight (250llb) I couldn’t have cared less about his lack of experience. When you find a good person who shares your values, and you both like each other, these things are pretty irrelevant.

  8. I’m a little leery of suggesting things like match.com — even though some of my favorite couples met through similar sites — just because for many people, internet dating consists of a string of rejections before or instead of success. One must go into it when one is feeling emotionally strong.

    If nothing else, though, it’s valuable for racking up some experience in “dating,” so if that’s a tender subject, go to it. Overall, being involved in activities you’re passionate about and that bring you into contact with other people is the Advice Column Seal of Approval TM way of meeting compatible partners, but the internet can be a great way of collecting some date stories to dish about (and perhaps hitting the jackpot while you’re at it).

  9. Because sometimes, those people that you haven’t thought anything much of, they can surprise you as much as you might surprise them.

    Excellent, excellent point.

  10. I was the stereotypical “met my mate just when I stopped looking for him.” I was a late twenty-something who had been “on the hunt” for years and a month or two after I got really ok with the idea of being single for good, I met my husband. I was REALLY happy on my own and was really appreciating my life as it was. But I met him and I was pretty sure pretty soon that he was long-term partner material.

    He, on the other hand, was DEFINITELY still “on the hunt” and still had dates planned with other women when we met. He was looking HARD for someone to be with. The funny thing is that I was NOT what he was looking for…not jewish, living in another state, etc., etc. Thank goodness for the modern miracles of email and cheap long-distance phone plans or we might not be together today. Married 4 years this June.

  11. Admittedly, I am very lucky in that I met my soon-to-be husband at a young age (18), but it felt like a long time to me!

    I’d recently come out of my first sexual relationship, and it was a total disaster. My boyfriend at the time had been a long-time friend who knew exactly how to manipulate me, and by the time I had the good sense to escape from that relationship, I was a total mess. I don’t think my long history of EDs and mental health problems helped things any.

    Around the time I was breaking things off, I went to university and discovered that I just didn’t fit in. I’d done all my wild drinking at age 15-17, and wasn’t interested in that any more. I was surrounded by people who wanted to ditch class, get pissed, gossip about their sex lives, and generally do all the things that I just can’t relate to. A loner by nature, I turned more and more to my online friends for comfort, and it was through one of those friends that I met my fiance.

    I’d seen him around on a few forums we both frequented (religious and science forums, mainly) and I hadn’t liked him at all. When a close friend started telling me how wonderful he was in person, I was intrigued, and we started a correspondence. Soon I was spending every free minute chatting to him online, and spending £10 at a time calling him in the US.

    Honestly, we’d both fallen in love by the time I arranged an exchange year in California and met him for the first time. Since then we’ve been managing the long distance thing as best we can, and this summer we’re finally going to be married. :)

    I actually don’t really advocate the internet as a way to meet potential partners, but I think if it happens naturally through friendship that that’s something else. My best friend is a girl I just clicked with on Belief Net, and we’ve been very close for the past 6 or so years. When she gets a chance to visit, it’s like we’ve never been apart. The same is true of my fiance.

    I suppose it’s a bit of a cliche for two geeks to meet online, but there ya have it!

  12. Ah, well, my boyfriend and I met in college . . . six-plus years before we started dating. It would be a stretch to say we were *friends*, though, for those years. Two reasons: he had crazy jealous girlfriends who thought I was a major threat (I was!), and because we were both so ridiculously attracted to each other that sometimes we wouldn’t have much to say. Or too much to say.

    I didn’t exactly wait around for him, but I did pounce the moment he got out of the rebound period from his last relationship . . . after I figured out that he wasn’t going to make any moves. (He thought/still thinks I’m totally out of his league. I’m not, but don’t tell him that.)

  13. Oof. Well, I haven’t much experience in the love department for a variety of reasons, so I do understand where Agonizingly Alone is coming from. However, I have stumbled into an absurdly wonderful friendship with a man (it’s funny calling him that, as I am 8 years his senior and he just graduated from college) who thinks I am beautiful and wonderful and hot, which is like, so weird to me. It’s one of those weird friendships where you like, crazy mad about one another in the most platonic way ever. Which is maddening, to some degree. But also so, so nice. I have a lot of issues re: men, so it’s great to have someone in my life who a) genuinely cares about ME and b) isn’t trying to sex me up every two seconds.

    As far as the online dating game…when I met my one and only ex, it was online, long before dating sites existed. Or popular, at least. It was disaster — not because of the internet but because he turned out to be an abusive jackhole. I’m not a fan of dating sites because I think by and large, people lie their asses off, but I also know quite a few people who met their spouses online and are incredibly happy. I think it just depends on your dumb luck. Don’t despair and don’t give up; you never know, there could be a guy out there that you intimidate with your badassness! :)

  14. Sara, that is a really good point about the religious restrictions. It narrows the pool but there ARE very targeted sites out there.

    Also, I totally second Maddie – if there are guys in whom you are not necessarily interested and they meet your standards otherwise, it might be a good idea to give them a chance (not, you know, if you can’t stand them or they make you think that even really bland things are super flavorful by comparison) because you just never know. Love at first sight is, I think, largely a myth. It works for some few people, but expecting to instantly know makes us overlook good relationships.

  15. I actually met my current boyfriend on OKCupid.com. But I’ll be honest and say that chastity is not in my virtue vocabulary and that until I met him I was using OKCupid for random hookups.

    I would recommend e-harmony or chemistry.com (they allow the gays to participate there, so it is better than e-harmony.)

    I would also recommend a little open mindedness as well. Sometimes qualities that seem important “on paper” are less of a priority than one might think. And unfortunately every time you add a quality to the list of things you want in a boyfriend you narrow your potential dating pool.

    That is not to say that you should not continue to hold those things in high regard and value those qualities in yourself. But you may actually find value in having a mate who is different from you in some ways. As long as they respect you and love you for who you are, and you respect them and love them for who they are, well then you don’t need to be the same. You can compliment each other with your values.

    I’m not saying you should lower your standards. I’m just saying, don’t apply your “a, b, c,” list to people until you get to know them. My roommate from college who is an atheist just married a very devout Christian girl and they are very happy together. They got to know each other through a shared love of running, and it eventually evolved into a relationship. I’m pretty sure “atheist” wasn’t on her list of qualities she wanted in a man.

  16. I met my husband, Michael, at a frat party. Sigh.

    He hit on me for most of that night, and I was not so much into him. It turned out we had mutual friends, though, and somehow we started hanging out a lot. After college, our circle of friends dwindled down to a core of four people, and we were together pretty much every day. Over the course of a year or two, he pretty much became my best friend — it was commonly accepted that he was in love with me (and he’d told me this himself), but I was still pretty insistent that I didn’t have those kinds of feelings for him. (Despite my habit of making out with him frequently, and the fact that there was nobody else in the world that I liked to be around so much.) Then I moved to California (also on a whim), and while I was there I was pretty cripplingly homesick. The whole time I was there, I was also pretty cripplingly lonely… specifically for Michael. As in, everywhere I went — Denny’s, Golden Gate Park, to the damn grocery store — I wished he was there.

    When I threw in the towel and came home, I tried hooking up with someone else to prove to myself/the world that I really! Didn’t! Love! Michael! That lasted about two days, then I gave up and jumped Michael’s bones… and four years, a kid, and a wedding later, we haven’t looked back once.

  17. Good point, shinobi… obviously one shouldn’t relax standards like “must respect my faith and values,” but actually sharing them can — for some people — be a surprisingly dispensable quality.

  18. I, too, met my fiancé on match.com. Fillyjonk’s right, you do have to be prepared for a LOT of rejection. I just tried to keep in mind that it’s the equivalent of going up to random strangers asking if they’re interested. You’re going to get a lot of “no” answers for each “yes”. (You do get the nicely detailed profiles so it’s not entirely like random strangers, but still not like being in person where you can pick up on subtle cues and save yourself the actual asking most of the time.) As long as you have the right mentality and don’t let the lack of interest so far stop you, it can be a GREAT way to widen the pool. Given your strong religious and personal convictions, Agonizingly Alone, I agree that a religiously-based site might be best to weed out the obviously unsuitable and save yourself some aggravation.

    Being single when you want a partner is absolutely, utterly heart-wrenching. I so feel ya, sister. Before meeting my fiancé, I’d had one very brief and obnoxious relationship in college, a string of online romances that never successfully converted to “real life” romances, and one honest-to-goodness boyfriend that I’d met through work and dated for a few months. Oh, and one date via a speed-dating event, and one other through match.com. (eHarmony was a HUGE waste for me and very hard on my self-esteem. All my matches were jocks. I am SO not jock-girlfriend material.) In other words, I was still very much in the “not so experienced” category right up until I found The One.

    Since I mentioned it, speed-dating can be good, too, if you’re comfortable talking about yourself to a complete stranger right off the bat. It lets people see you from the start but also means there’s a chance for a connection before they have to decide if they’re interested. On the other hand, doing this regularly is much more expensive than dating sites – but also potentially more fun, especially if you can go with someone.

    And I wholeheartedly agree that luck has a LOT to do with it. Even after all the above, I am a tad embarassed to relate that my fiancé and I only got in touch because his subscription to match.com was about to expire so he went around winking (a way to quickly indicate interest without writing a personal message) at a bunch of people who looked remotely interesting. It wasn’t love at first sight for me but he didn’t seem totally unsuitable, so I gave him a try, and am so very glad I did.

  19. AA, my brother is pretty much in the same boat as you. He’s about to turn 30 and has never had a long term relationship. I feel it’s impossible to give him advice anymore, he’s tried friends, he’s tried collegues, he’s tried online dating website and as of yet, nothing.

    Though I don’t exactly quiz him on what it is he is looking for, I don’t think his standards are out of the ballpark. As for him, he’s average in height, chubby and attractive in his own right. I tend to think his biggest obstacle is as time goes on is that you lose confidence in the opposite sex and in yourself.

    I agree with the luck aspect of it all. When I met my husband I was coming out of two terrible encounters with men I worked with. One I genuinely liked and the other I just sort of used to get over the one who just wouldn’t move further along with me in the relationship game. Then I met my husband through a chance encounter with mutual friends. Neither one of us really knew one another, we just got lucky to discover similar values and goals. Once we began our relationship it still was a tough road to walk on. It’s a lot of work to find that person and keep the relationship moving along.

    So basically, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. That there are many many excellent people out there who are still looking unsuccessfully for a partner. It takes a lot of emotional work and a lot of luck to pin them down….and then it still takes work every single day you’re together.

  20. Aunt Fatty’s advice is good, but I’d add one thing: do things that require you to meet a lot of new people. The more people you meet, the more likely it is that you’ll find new friends and new more-than-friends. And, be brave. I met my husband less than a month after moving to a new city by myself. I showed up at a meeting (organized online) of people who were new in town. It was at a coffee shop. When I arrived and didn’t see anyone with a group sign, I made one out of a scrap of paper from my purse. I felt silly, but I figured that no one there knew me, anyway. Eventually, ten people joined the group, and I ended up sitting across from my future husband. We chatted for hours that night, ended up as good friends, and eventually developed crushes on each other. We’ve been married for 3 years now.

    Oh, and as other people have said, examine your criteria for a partner. Is any of it disposable? Age and height (or other appearance-based) requirements, in particular, can make your pond smaller for no good reason. My husband is both younger and smaller than I am. That would have been a problem in my twenties, when I was less secure, but I found it didn’t matter to me at all.

  21. I met my husband through a personal ad in our college newspaper; his sister put it in. It was a semi-blind date on my side, totally blind on his side. He was a skinny little thing, and though I was thinner then than I am now, I wasn’t thin. I was actually afraid I’d break him if I hugged him. But he didn’t seem to mind. We’ve been together over 17 years, celebrating our 14 wedding anniversary this month. And while he has stood by and held my hand through all my weight angst, he has never contributed to it.

  22. I would echo The Rotund’s point: Tell your friends you’re looking. They may not know you’re interested, they may not know which gender you prefer, they may think you’re happy with things as they are. It doesn’t need to be a big conversation, just “Hey, do you know any nice single guys?”

    Do you have a caring friend who can absolutely be trusted to be honest with you? You might sit down with him or her and ask if this person sees something you can adjust to make it more clear that you’re available. Maybe your haircut screams “lesbian” or you talk too much about vegetarianism or you have a facial expression that is inadvertently offputting or you really need to lose those orange pants.

    Also, as someone who got married at 35, I will say it is NOT too late. Enjoy your life and know that it probably won’t always be like this.

  23. Oh, dang, I’m at work and can’t read through all the thoughtful comments just now. But I’m really pleased to see all the discussion about life as a single fat woman around the fatosphere lately. When I first started reading, there wasn’t much out there – that’s why I started fatgirlonadate.wordpress.com. Anyone who wants to write a guest post is more than welcome: I’d love to hear more stories!

  24. I met my fiancee on Match.com (where my little sister-who is also fat- met her fat husband after I encouraged her to try it). I was very much like Agonizingly Alone (I was 25, never had a first kiss, never a boyfriend, never a date, not in high school, not in college, and I while I wasn’t necessarily saving myself for marriage, I wasn’t into casual encounters). For many years I literally prayed for God to send me a boyfriend. After many years of nothing I tried to accept my fate and prayed, instead, for the strength to accept being alone.

    However, during that time I wanted to be proactive. I was involved with school and other things, but wasn’t meeting anyone that way. I felt like internet dating was a relatively low-rejection-risk way of putting myself out there. For a while I tried eHarmony, but the types of guys I was matched with there were not working out (generally shy, conservative- not like me!).

    So, I tried Match.com. While there were a lot of people that were just looking for casual encounters, there were more people to choose from than eHarmony. I had to weed through A LOT of guys that weren’t right for me (for a variety of reasons). There were many men I would send my picture to, and when they saw I was fat would either stop contacting me or just write back with an excuse. Those were hard, but not nearly as hard as face-to-face rejection, or doing nothing at all and worrying I was missing out.

    Even when I did find a guy who seemed into me, he randomly stopped contacting me. I really liked him (as much as I could from a profile and some e-mails) so I reached out to him again. He was receptive, and now 2.5 years later we’re planning our wedding.

    My advice would be to try internet dating (either Match.com, or one that caters towards people with your religious affiliation). Just think of it as being proactive in your search for Mr. Right. You may not find him online, but you will at least be trying and gaining the interpersonal experience to join in with your friends’ dating horror story gabfests.

    However, you need to know that it’s a time commitment. My sister married the first man she met on Match.com, I was the first person my fiancee met. I however invested almost 2 years in online dating before meeting a guy I wanted a 2nd date with! Go into it happy to be taking part in the process, not expecting immediate results.

    Even though it took me almost 2 years before finding someone I wanted to date seriously, I felt much better about myself just being proactive. Also, it was a boost to my self-esteem to have dates with nice guys- even if they didn’t work out.

  25. My first serious relationship was a result of being set up by friends. They knew I was looking, and knew a guy they thought would be perfect for me. We were all a little young and immature, so they were totally not smooth about it, but it still worked out quite well. He didn’t end up being the one, but I do still think set ups are a good way to go.

    I met my fiance on okcupid. I didn’t encounter anyone looking for just a hookup – I had “looking for a long term relationship” on my profile, so maybe that scared the hook-up people off. More frustratingly than rejections, I got straight out ignored by most of the people I sent messages to. But I eventually got a message from a guy who basically thought I was perfect for him based on my profile. We went out, and a year later we were engaged. So if you think you can handle the rejection that comes along with online dating, I would definately recommend it. I’ve heard eharmony is a good place to meet people of faith. I also have a friend who met her boyfriend on a dating site specifically for vegetarians (unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the site).

  26. My husband is my third. (And last, I sincerely hope!)

    Numbers one and two were both for very wrong reasons. There was a long time (20 years) between #2 and #3.

    I met some people through a local Pagan community who were involved in Mensa, and they encouraged me to take the test, or at least come to some gatherings. I joined an email list, and met the future Mr. Buttercup on that list. We started noticing that we seemed to have a lot in common, started corresponding off-list, and both (independently) checked with friends to make sure the other wasn’t a raving lunatic axe-murderer. We planned to meet at a local gathering. It went so well that he moved from his city to my city in two months, we moved in together in 2002 and married in 2005.

    So, to AA, I would agree with Aunt Fattie that you’re doing everything right. Maybe join a club that will attract people that you’re bound to have common ground with. Keep an open mind, and don’t ever stop enjoying yourself!

  27. I can relate to AA. I’m 25, and I’ve never been kissed or had a boyfriend or anything like that. I’m always the girl-friend, never the girlfriend. Growing up with younger brothers in a mostly male environment, I never really learned how to be feminine or girly or flirty or anything like that. I’ve also been overweight my entire life.

    I’ve been told that I’m attractive/cute/beautiful/gorgeous, and people tell me they can’t believe I’m still single, but I just haven’t had any luck with guys. I’m also a bit shy with men, and my inexperience is resulting in less and less confidence in finding someone.

    Like one person mentioned, I’ve prayed for God to send me a boyfriend. Now, I just pray for the strength to handle being alone until the right man comes along. I got a second job with a local AAA baseball team, where I meet lots of people on a daily basis and I work with people my age (compared to my full-time job, where I work with pretty much all middle-aged women, and any men in here that I’ve been attracted to are married).

    There’s nothing wrong with you for still being single, as I’ve come to realize there’s nothing wrong with me. The right man will love each of us just as we are, fat and all, but we just have to be patient and wait for him to come along. Perhaps he has to grow up into a man who deserves to have a woman like us.

    Keep hanging in there, and I’ll try to do the same. :)

  28. I’ve read all the posts so far… and they all start with some variation of: “I met MY husband/boyfriend….” and then how that happened.

    I’m here to say… Sometimes it doesn’t happen.

    I’m a 48 year old fat woman who has never been asked out on a date. And I am quite sure that even this crowd of very open minded folks are somewhere in the back of their minds thinking “well, there has to be some good reason… what’s wrong with her”. Honestly… nothing.

    I’ve always had many friends of both genders. I still have friends male and female from elementary school. I have a great career that is in an insanely competitive business. I have godchildren and family that are wonderful. But I’ve always been fat and smart. And I think the analogy of fishing in the small pond is accurate.

    I had to find someone who wasn’t intimidated by brains and an XXXXL body. The only thing this bait attracted was men who wanted to fetish-ize my weight. Not fun.

    And really agonizing for years. But I also always subscribed to the idea that I would create the best life for myself I could, and if no one joined me in that life, well… then at least I had the best life I could.

    Interestingly enough I have four women friends (“normal” sized) who I’ve known from 20 – 40 years, who have also never married. They however have had long term relationships. The reason I mention how long I’ve known them is to point out that I didn’t gravitate toward friends who were single later in life. We met in grade school and in our 20′s when we all assumed we’d some day walk down the aisle. So it’s not just the weight. Though I think for me that does explain the datelessness.

    I guess what I need to say is that not everyone finds someone. But that doesn’t condemn you to a life of loneliness. Many people who marry are in lonely lives. Your life is your journey. Enjoy it.

  29. One thing I’ve seen one of my friends do that really hurts to watch is to look for ‘the One’ all the time. You can’t expect every guy you meet to be ‘the One.’ That puts so much unnecessary pressure on every guy you meet, and the fact that you might want to get too serious too soon with a guy could scare him away. You might need to relax around guys you like because they won’t feel the pressure you’re projecting upon them. It freaks my guy friends out when a girl assumes too much. For example, my curent boyfriend was friends with this girl before we were going out, and our mutual friend would always joke to me about how he was spending so much time with this girl (he knew he liked me more than I realized). This ticked me off, but then we went out, and I forgot about this girl. Then, later, my boyfriend told me that she had thought they were going out because they hung out so much, so he put an end to their friendship.

  30. I guess I would echo what others have said and also say this – I would try to just date period, without attempting or focusing on finding “the one”. Going on a date to see a movie is not the same as jumping into bed with someone. Non-sexual casual dating can be fun. Not all guys are just about the hookups.

    I definitely second the online dating approach. Its really hard to meet people and online gets you access to a wide variety of people in your area that you would probably never meet in the course of your daily life.

  31. I was chubby from high school on, and never got as much attention as my friends. I didn’t have my first kiss until 17. I married my first husband in my early twenties in part because I didn’t think anyone else would ever want me. That didn’t end well, duh.

    I was friends with my 2nd husband for a few years before we even got interested in each other. I always thought he was cute, but he was a few years younger than me, and I thought that would be weird so I never even considered him. Which in a way was nice because I never tried to be anything other than myself. We became best friends.

    We were drinking heavily one night and he confessed he had a crush on me. Yada yada yada, we’ve been happily married for seven years. We got together when I was 30.

    I tell my girlfriends to stop looking, make a lot of friends and a full life. You should find a way to be happy with or without a mate, and who knows? Maybe one of your friends will turn out to be a soul mate. Sounds like you are on the right track AA.

  32. Since we’re sharing stories…

    I met my husband in high school (we’re both 38 now). I immediately thought he was cute (in a geeky sort of way). I would talk to him in class, and we had fun disagreeing about Billy Joel records, but I didn’t think he would be interested in me romantically. He had already gone out on dates with my two closest friends (both of whom were short and thin, while I was 5’7″ and a size 16/18). But after a few months of hanging out together as friends (with me sort of mooning over him quietly but enjoying just being friends), he made his move at a New Year’s party, offering me his arm when we were walking on the ice outside.

    I have to admit that I felt very self-conscious and insecure, at first. He’d gone out with my thin, tiny friends, and I wondered if I could really be his type. And he was (and is) very slender himself (6′ tall and about 150lbs).

    But after awhile, I realized that he didn’t have a fixed type anymore than I did. And of course it occurred to me later that, while my friends very physically very different, we were emotionally and intellectually very similar.

    At any rate, we got along so well that we’ve been together 20 years now and have 3 kids.

    And, over the years, what with the 3 kids, there’ve been periods of near celibacy, where our relationship has seemed (for better or worse) almost platonic–almost like the friends we were at the outset. And that’s the thing I think matters–the foundation of relationships that *causes* the physical attraction, at least for a lot of us. Physical chemistry can and does often grow out of friendship.

  33. I don’t know about anyone else, Jen, but I definitely didn’t wonder what was wrong with you when I read your post. You brought up a really great point: Yeah, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I know lots and lots of people in their 30s and 40s (and one in her 50s) who are just… single. It just never happened. They are fabulous people, but there was just never a click.

    And yeah, it sucks and you get lonely… but you get through it, and being awesome and active and well-rounded on your own is better than trying to force romance or sparks that just don’t exist. Seriously. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you; it just means that, you know, you’re single.

  34. I’ve read all the posts so far… and they all start with some variation of: “I met MY husband/boyfriend….” and then how that happened.

    Well, to be fair the post did ask for stories of finding love where it wasn’t expected. :) I think that’s why they’ve all started that way.

    But your story is also wonderful and inspiring (and I do hope more currently-single people will share their tales as well). And you’re so right — when the luck doesn’t kick in, when for whatever reason you end up unpartnered, that doesn’t mean being lonely or incomplete. Of course, 48 is hardly too late for luck to strike! But that’s a great way to live even if it doesn’t.

  35. agonizing aloneness is the human condition. for some small number of people it’s relieved by domestic comfort or even bliss, for a greater number it is made more agonizing by a spouse in the same house. you could follow any number of methods to meet more men and/or seduce them, and maybe that will work, but my own happiness has been deepened by giving up on all of that. vivian gornick has written wonderful essays on the subject in approaching eye level.

  36. I was “just friends” with my partner for 3 years before we realized that we were mutually interested in each other. We’ve been together for five years now.

    Before he and I became a couple, I had never been in a serious relationship. I had had 2 boyfriends, neither of whom lasted more than a few months. I spent years and years single. I began to enjoy being single and stop worrying about finding a mate – which, of course, is when I fell for my partner. It always happens that way.

  37. I can completely identify with AA…I’m 38 and have been single for going on 10 years, and never been in a long-term relationship…I have great friends, I play music, enjoy various hobbies/interests and generally have a fine life, but it’s really hard/frustrating not to express the romantic side of oneself for so long…

    I’ve gone the casual sex route occasionally, with no regrets, but as casual encounters go, there’s no commitment/true romance, just a temporary band-aid…

    Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything anyone could say to console the loneliness I have sometimes…I know a lot of it is dumb luck, but how dumb does one have to be?? (joke…)

    I know friends mean well, but saying “it’ll happen when you least expect it” doesn’t work- since you notice that piece of your life missing, it’s hard not to think about, even while hanging out with friends, or engaging in things you enjoy.
    I’m not saying it’s impossible for it to happen that way, but in all the bajillion relationships, it’s silly to think they all happened when folks weren’t looking…

    I’ve tried websites and approached men to no avail…Not sure what it’ll take, and part of me can’t even imagine what it’ll be like when I eventually DO meet someone…(sigh).

    AA, I hear you and just know you’re not alone…I hope you meet someone great some day…

    All the best to you and everyone…
    xoxox

  38. Mr. Twistie and I were friends for more than five years before we went on our first date. In that time, we’d shared jokes, had fun, and seen one another through some really crappy relationships. I don’t know what took us so long, but once we realized how good we could be together, we’ve never looked back.

    And as Jen said, some people never find the one. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. The most important thing is one you’re already doing: you’re not putting your entire life on hold while you wait for a fairy tale knight to whisk you off to a perfect world of endless bliss.

    I will also reiterate something I’ve seen several other people bring up: even if two people don’t share precisely the same priorities, things can still work out if there’s true mutual respect at bottom.

    My brother spent seven years with a lady who was vegetarian. He wasn’t and isn’t vegetarian. He did, however, respect her choice and make some accomodations to it, as she did to him. When they went out to dinner, my brother was free to order whatever he liked – including meat. At home, he mostly shared vegetarian meals with her, but kept one special pan for cooking meat in and gave her fair warning when he was planning to use it. It might not be an absolute necessity that Mr. Right be vegetarian, for instance, if you’re willing to acccept a man who is respectful but doesn’t share that value.

    But never, ever settle for someone who doesn’t respect the values he doesn’t share. I cannot emphasize that enough. It’s possible to make it as a bit of an odd couple, but only if there’s mutual respect and willingness to accept differences.

  39. Funny that this post came up today- six years ago today, my now-husband leaned over and kissed me, surprising the holy crap out of me- we’d been friends for a couple years and I thought he was so great, no way someone that sweet and cute and funny would be into me.

    But he was, and he had been, and had waited patiently through a stupid other relationship I was in (SO unhealthy). At the point we got together, I had really tried to get my shit together (this included dieting, though it had nothing to do with his attraction or our chemistry… have certainly gained all that back by now of course). New place, new hobbies, new outlook on life… I was going to be Single Woman and it was gonna be GREAT!

    We also met originally on an online community, which was how we got to be friends to begin with. We just immediately hit it off, but The Obstacles (boyfriend, my crippling insecurity) held us back for a couple years.

  40. What I found useful about internet dating is that although I was frequently engaged in lots of fun activities that I really enjoyed, they didn’t tend to attract single men. My closest friends were gay men who didn’t have a lot of single straight men in their circles, and both work and school were in very female-dominated fields. So the advice of doing things I loved and hoping that I would meet people that way didn’t work so well for me. When I met the man who became my husband, he was in the same boat – his circle of friends and activities didn’t lend themselves to meeting single straight women either. So we both turned to internet dating to open the field of eligibility.

    And my experience is a lot different than that of the people who met their partners more organically, but something that I really appreciated about internet dating is that the possibility of romantic interest was right on the table from the very beginning.

    Something else that really helped me with internet dating was being really upfront about my size and that dating someone fat-positive was non-negotiable. I wasn’t nasty or defensive about it, but I definitely made it clear that I was looking for someone who wanted me exactly as I was, and I was honest about my weight and posted full-body shots. I got very few responses, but it really weeded out the wrong people immediately.

    Of course, internet dating does often require a lot of false starts, but again, for me, it definitely opened up my pool of potential partners in a way that my social circle didn’t.

  41. The only story I can share is the time I went on my one blind date–a fellow I found from the personal ads of the Chicago Reader (back in ’94 — waaaay before the internet). He kind of looked like Yanni, and at some point he said to me, “let’s cut the small talk and get to the sex”. Later, he showed me photographs a friend had taken of him, where he was wearing a red and white striped Speedo and posing on a rug with a cigarette in hand like he had just thrown his beret in the air Mary Richards-style.

    I couldn’t run out of that coffee joint fast enough.

    When I was younger, I had figured by this point (I’m 36) that my life would be so filled with stuff and work and things that I wouldn’t really care if I had a boyfriend. And now I find myself just…horrified in general that a) my life didn’t turn out how I would have liked and b) that I care as much as I do that I’m alone, surrounded by married friends who *aren’t* and never have been particularly interested in helping me out in the relationship arena. Even though I’m not spiritual/don’t believe in a god, I feel like I’m being punished for…who knows what. Oh well. La dee dah, as they say.

    Anyway. AA, you’re not alone. I hope you find what you’re looking for and it doesn’t require you sacrificing what you hold to be most important.

  42. I met my husband in high school (we’re both 38 now). I immediately thought he was cute (in a geeky sort of way). I would talk to him in class, and we had fun disagreeing about Billy Joel records, but I didn’t think he would be interested in me romantically.

    This actually made my heart skip a beat just because I love Billy Joel :-D

  43. I’m in my late 20s and spent the decade after high school getting into very long, very intense relationships with men who weren’t right for me. As an earlier commenter noted, it stemmed from thinking “no one else wants me, so I’d better hang on to this one!” and quieting my own doubts and ignoring what I desire in a partner. Though my boyfriends’ perspectives on my weight ranged from “you’d be gorgeous if you’d just lose weight” all the way to complete acceptance, I always assumed they were either lying about any measure of acceptance or fetishizing me. (You can imagine how happy and healthy I was during this period.)

    But 10 years later, and here I am– single, fat, and happy. I’m trying to live the kind of life AA is, full of activity and enjoying and celebrating my friendships, and while I’m not purposely avoiding romantic relationships I’m not seeking them either. And wouldn’t you know it, more men have asked for my number in the last 3 months than in the rest of my life combined.
    I’ve had some great makeouts and some TERRIBLE ones, and I’ve (finally) stopped disbelieving when someone expresses romantic interest in me. Yep, I’m fat. And when he puts his arm around my waist, he’s going to feel my chub rolls and– foolish me for not realizing it sooner– it won’t come as a surprise because he can see them there, right above my thunder thighs :)

    I’ve not dated anyone seriously since I broke off my long term relationships, but it’s because I’m finally listening to myself. No one I’ve met has been right for me, so once I figured that out I moved on. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet someone who makes me swoony, but I figure it’ll all work out in the end. I’m happier alone than I ever was in a relationship, and while I’d love to have a family someday, I’m not ready for it now anyway. Instead, I’m spending every day trying to make my little patch of Earth a better place and enjoying the job!

  44. Actually, as someone who met her SO of nearly 3 years on OK Cupid, and in fact has gotten most of her significant relationships through some sort of personal ad, I have a somewhat different view — and methodology — when it comes to using them.

    Most people who write personal ads try to draw in as many potential suitors as possible; I, on the other hand, wrote my ads in such a way that very few people were interested, but they were of the highest quality (i.e. rightness for me). I was not looking to go out on date after date after date; I wanted to put out a very finely tuned signal that the “right person” would be able to hear, but most “wrong people” would be turned off by. And that is exactly what happened; both my current SO and my ex-husband (who I met on Match.com) were the ONLY serious respondents to my ads, and the only ones I needed.

    As far as I’m concerned, a personal ad is the PERFECT place to talk about things that are important to you like chastity and vegetarianism; doing so will weed out lots of people who are not right for you. And don’t knock the idea of “practice dates” either. As long as you know that that’s what you’re doing, and you take proper precautions to protect yourself (like not giving out personal addresses, etc., too soon), there’s nothing wrong with taking a spin with a few people you know are not long-term prospects, either, just to get your feet wet (or re-wet).

    It is true that you can’t control the timing of when your “right person” shows up, though. I met C. within the first few weeks of signing up for OK Cupid; he had been on it for at least a year without meeting anyone who rang his chimes.

  45. I have been fat since I was a fetus.

    Since High School I haven’t been single but for a few weeks here and there. I didn’t date a lot in high school but went to every dance (except prom – I went to a party instead.)

    I attribute this to a few things (not necessarily in this order):
    a) My attitude.
    b) Luck.
    c) My penchant for adoring nerds with no self-esteem that thought I was a goddess for noticing them.

    I went through a “round heeled” phase, a serious dating phase, and now I’m married.

    The one thing, though, is that I never was able to score a date from an online dating site. I’d get emails saying awful things like, “I’d date you if you weren’t so damn fat.” But telnet served me VERY well back in the day, as did online bulletin boards and MUSHes and MUDs (oh my!)

    Ah…for the romance of Internet days gone by.

  46. Most people who write personal ads try to draw in as many potential suitors as possible; I, on the other hand, wrote my ads in such a way that very few people were interested, but they were of the highest quality (i.e. rightness for me). I was not looking to go out on date after date after date; I wanted to put out a very finely tuned signal that the “right person” would be able to hear, but most “wrong people” would be turned off by.

    I love this approach! Leave it to Meowser to hack internet dating. :)

  47. p.s. I don’t mean that everyone should be fat and dating/married/putting out. I was really pushing more the luck and picking the lonely boys angle. I reread it and I’m afraid it will come off as “my life is so easy yours should be too!” My life has not been easy, nor should anyone feel bad if theirs hasn’t been.

  48. I have two stories, I guess. I met my partner through his housemate when we lived across the street from each other. We were friends for a year or so before we went out after friends suggested to each of us that we should. I kissed him because it was clear that he wasn’t going to and then we dated for a few months. It did not go well. I moved out of town for a few years, but he was waiting for me when I came home and we’ve been together since the day I got back. I was 32 and he was 25. Now we’ve been married for four years and have a 3 yr old son. So mutual friends worked well for us but my sister…

    has been together for 12 years with a man she met on the internet. They also have a son, a 4 yr old, and are v. happy. He’s a vegetarian, she’s not; he’s atheist, she’s pagan, etc. I know a number of people who have made connections on the internet, mostly through usenet as opposed to dating sites, but if you find a dating site that focuses on what you’re looking for, it opens up your odds tremendously.

  49. All my relationships were unexpected – the closest I’ve come to meeting someone conventionally was at a party at a friend’s house, and that didn’t go anywhere because I’d met someone wonderful the week before through unconventional methods.

    My husband and I met online back in the dark ages when few people had heard of the internet and it was a dark and scary place. What made it more interesting is that I had a serious boyfriend at the time and he had a serious girlfriend – in fact, I’d put in place a policy that I would only form online friendships with guys who were safely attached because otherwise they tended to want things I was not comfortable with.

    But over time I broke up with my boyfriend, he broke up with his girlfriend (all for unrelated reasons) and well, the rest is history. We’ve been married 13 years.

    Weird things happen. I think it’s just as silly to say it’ll never happen as it is to say of course it will happen, because we just don’t know.

  50. Don’t make indirect advances, especially not by droppinng hints to friends. Ambiguity breeds confusion and smacks of lack of confidence in both yourself and the person that interests you. It sends the clear message that you don’t trust the person to behave in a mature fashion. If you do it through friends, it indicates that you aren’t prepared to behave in a mature fashion.

    One does not need to be aggressively flirtatious, dress provocatively, or even talk a lot to gain positive attention from people one finds attractive. One simply needs to have the courage to be direct.

    I am a very quiet person. I usually don’t speak unless someone asks me a direct question. However, I gain attention by making eye contact when I listen, smiling, and asking questions. I show a direct interest in people, which usually leads to them showing an interest in me.

    The more attractive I find someone, the more frequently I make eye contact. I don’t stare, but it’s very obvious when my eyes are drawn to someone. The moment that they notice is usually the moment that I compliment them on their smile or their eyes or whatever it was that drew my attention. It breaks the ice and gives them an opportunity to return the interest if they have any.

    Interacting with people directly gives me more confidence in myself and allows them to have confidence in me because they see that I’m not afraid to speak my mind even though I’m a quiet person. I certainly get much more positive attention than I did back when I was indirect and dropping hints through friends.

    I haven’t found love yet, but I haven’t really been ready for it. I’m keeping my skills honed so that things will go smoothly when I am ready, but I’m not ready.

  51. I wonder why no one has mentioned sites specifically for fat girls and the boys who love them.

    Seriously, there is nothing better for your self esteem than the realization that there are LOTS of boys who think big girls are gorgeous. And not in creepy, fetishy ways.

    Me- I have my own high standards. I don’t date anyone without a graduate degree (I like smart and determined guys), I like guys who speak more than one language and who love to travel, etc.

    What I don’t do is limit based on things that other people tell me I should want. Tall, whatever. I’ve dated tall, I’ve also dated a lot of lovely short guys (and there is something very hot about towering over your date in a pair of heels)

    Almost all dating starts out superficially. You might as well start with a pool of men who already think people your (our) size are attractive. And don’t be afraid to get some dating experience with people who don’t meet all of your qualifications. I am sooooo not the type to ever settle down and be married, but just by sheer number of opportunities I could.

  52. Great comments on this post!

    The only thing I can add is that you might want to try to look outside the US. We live in a horribly fatphobic culture, as we all know, but there are some parts of the world where fat bodies are considered a beauty ideal. (Fat women friends who have been to Morocco report that they’d never received so much positive male attention.) Of course cultural norms vary a lot and it’s dangerous to try to stereotype– but if you can meet people (through community groups, volunteering, music or whatever floats your boat) whose cultural backgrounds have given them other ways of thinking about fat women’s bodies, you might find a new pool of candidates!

  53. Before I met my partner, I had a plan for if I hadn’t managed to find someone by the time I turned thirty. I was going to take a trip across the country to Sydney, and hire a gigolo to find out what the whole “sex” thing was about. At the time, I figured it was my only chance of ever having sex with a partner other than my own right hand.

    I met my partner through the worst job I’d ever had in my life. I was working for a government department, formally assigned to one office, but spending a lot of time at a second in order to receive the training for the main systems used in the tasks. He worked at the office I was being trained at. We actually met in the break room – he quoted one of my favourite authors, and I leaped at him and started swapping favourite lines. From there, we developed a friendship which stretched over the next nine months to include occasional movies, and regular email exchanges. The job was hideous, and I wound up quitting (as an alternative to commiting suicide, which had been my first choice). This led to the one and only manic episode in my life, where I felt I had the confidence to do all kinds of insane things (leap tall buildings in a single bound; solve major political, social and religious issues; bring about world peace; tell this guy I really liked him).

    I think one thing I should point out is that while we’re partners, we’re primarily friends more than anything else. We’re both independent people, who go our own ways (to the point where one therapist I visited wondered why the hells we were still together, since we didn’t really have that much in common). We maintain our own interests, and while there’s some overlap, it’s mostly cursory. Sex is very much a maybe thing (mainly because the medication I take for depression has absolutely killed my libido stone dead… while I wasn’t on the meds, my libido was more active than his) but hugs, cuddles, snuggles and kisses are an everyday thing. But the big thing for us is we keep each other hopping mentally, and that’s the thing we can’t get from other places.

  54. dating? is evil evil evil. in my very limited experience with this form of torture, it has been impossible to get to know someone when we’re engaged in this ridiculous sort of social game. i’ve gotten into a couple of different relationships this way, and they were brief, awkward, and (ultimately) dishonest. the aspie thing makes social calculation that much more impossible. hate, hate dating.

    what has always worked out best for me is getting together with male friends. know someone, like someone, keep hanging out and being honest, and eventually one person says “i, um, don’t want to, like, um, freak you out, or anything, but, uh, i think i… uh… nevermind,” and the other person often clues in and has been having some similar thoughts that they’ve been having trouble working up the nerve to act on. (passing messages on through other people has always been imprecise and embarrassing.) long-distance friendships have been particularly conducive to this sort of mutation, but this could be because i find online friendships to be easier than face-to-face interaction in general. i just need to actually *know* someone on a meaningful level before i can contemplate trying to have a romantic relationship with them.

    the chastity thing might be a limitation, but not as much of a limitation as the media would generally have you believe. i used to be very christian, and still had relationships with guys despite my sexual prohibitions. if this is something important to you, don’t compromise on it because you will just feel like a self-betraying piece of crap if you do things you do not want to do. been there. not worth it. when i stopped allowing myself to be pressured into conforming to other people’s expectations, sexual or otherwise, i became much more capable of having healthy romantic relationships.

    i did eventually become an atheist, which made sex something to be considered carefully rather than ruled out automatically. even then, though, neither of the men i’ve had sex with pressured me into it. both have respected me and my autonomy, and cared about me. someone telling you that they would like to have sex with you is honesty, not pressure, if they’re doing so respectfully and don’t make it into a giant issue from that point onward. if virginity had continued to be important to me to this day, i can honestly say that those two relationships would have been of identical duration without premarital sex (and one is still ongoing). for some people, it’s too important and they might have to respectfully break things off. for others, they’ll just be assholes (and you wouldn’t really want to be with them long-term, anyway). in my experience, though, sexual desire and personal convictions don’t have to result in some gigantic deal-breaking clash.

    the boy i’m marrying was an emphatically-off-limits long-distance friend for years. he has also been the only person i feel i can trust completely and the only one who has never broken a promise to me. then he left an abusive first marriage and asked if i would maybe possibly consider contemplating trying to perhaps date him a little? i agreed, he moved closer, and despite all the emotional baggage he’s brought with him, i know that this was the best decision of my life.

  55. Then, later, my boyfriend told me that she had thought they were going out because they hung out so much, so he put an end to their friendship.

    hlynn…been there. The other girl, I mean; I was her, about twenty years ago. And, in this one particular case it went on a fairly long time, and we’d begun to get physically intimate, before he did the ‘just friends’ thing (telling his mom and brother, who assumed we were an item, in front of me, about his hot new girlfriend, who happened not to be me. Worst. Pain. Ever.).

    That was an exception, though, and I did use to get the just-friends rebuff so many times, in much more clear-cut circumstances, that I always assumed there was some special interested-guy radar that other women had that I’d been born lacking. Actually, it was really just the case that I’d never got my head round the concept of being happy on my own, and didn’t do so till after my divorce. Only then did I start mixing with guys purely to do friend stuff, and realizing that I got on just fine with them without having anything more ‘serious’ in mind. I don’t like to say to Alone that it’s a good idea to just go out there and forget about the whole search for love thing, because I know how much that used to annoy me. But it may be a good point.

    The irony being, I didn’t then meet my husband face-to-face through anything social; I met him via a small ad. I’d met my first husband via a dating agency – not really a good idea, a lot of fibbing going on I suspect, a lot of guys looking for sex and not actual relationships, and some real compatibility issues didn’t really enter the picture. Like, in this case, spirituality. My ex found out I was pagan shortly after he met me, never quite understood that, and never showed much sign of wanting to (he had no beliefs as such but he just found it ‘weird’). I ‘m with you on that, Alone – your deepest beliefs, whatever they are, are not something you should have to sweep under the carpet for a partner’s sake – so I put an ad in one of the pagan mags. I got only one reply, but by then I’d replied to another ad in the same issue, and that’s how I met my husband. We exchanged photos pretty early on, and he’s never had any issues about my weight. We’ve now been together for over a decade, married for eight years.

    Luck? Absolutely. And a great deal of learning from experience I wish I hadn’t had to do, but it seems to have been par for the course.

  56. Following up on Jen’s comment, fillyjonk’s response, and Jane’s. I’ve read that surveys show that on average, married and single women report equal levels of happiness. Of course, that’s imperfect by leaving out the non-married partnered, and gay, but it’s an important point.

    All that said, I’m someone who’s single and wishes I weren’t. But, to riff on this site’s greatest hit, I’ve learned not to be demoniated by ‘the fantasy of when I find true love.’ I know there are things I enjoy about having my own space, and making my own decisions that I’d miss, I’m still looking, but I’m also excited about other things that might come into my life – risks that might be easier to do without a partner. So sometimes I find myself thinking, “enjoy this now while you have it!” It’s a nice feeling.

  57. I think I wasn’t expecting to find love when I met my now-husband because I wasn’t expecting I would ever find love. (How awesome that at 18 years old I figured I already knew everything like that.) I went through high school like a lot of fat, shy girls–with a lot of unrequited crushes, which there is nothing wrong with per se, but in my case they seemed to function to reinforce both my tendency to romanticize the idea of “the one,” and my belief that unrequited crushes would be all I ever had. Of course AA is 30-something and I was not, so this “advice” many not apply– but as much as I love my husband and wouldn’t change anything that has gotten me to this point, I really wish I had just dated a lot somewhere along the line. Not to find “the one,” as others have commented, but just to get out there and meet people and learn more about how to relate to men.

    One of my early crushes was on a cruel, fatphobic asshole, so I think this also contributed to my baseline belief that no boy I talked to could possibly have any interest in me. But in looking back, I think I missed a whole bunch of cues thinking this way. If I had it to do over, I think I would try to “put myself out there,” talk to or flirt more with guys I found attractive, etc. I think this would have been a useful experience for me, but as I said my belief that I was ugly to every guy who ever existed was so ironclad when I was younger that I would sooner have taken my clothes off in the middle of a restaurant than gone up to a strange boy and started a conversation. But upon consideration, this would not actually have been such an outlandish thing to do. :P

    I also second the idea that you might consider dating folks who don’t share your exact belief system, as long as they respect your beliefs (not to say you might not already be doing this). People continually surprise me. We learned yesterday that my husband’s cousin is dating a vegan, and cousin’s family are dairy farmers and about as judgmental and dismissive of vegans as you might expect if you were to stereotype “farmers’ attitudes toward vegans.” Frankly I wouldn’t have thought any of them would touch a potential vegan date with a 10-foot pole. But it seems to be working out OK, so I can only assume the two have found a way to respect each other’s beliefs. Certainly a partner constantly prodding and making fun of your veganism, religion, or political beliefs would be an unworkable situation, but then again you don’t want to be dating an asshole who makes a hobby out of provoking you in the first place.

    My husband is a Republican and I am not, and we fight about it from time to time, but basically we love and respect each other and each think the other is a good person, so tensions don’t run that high very often, even though we watch The Daily Show together pretty frequently. :) And honestly in our case, our core values are much more similar than you might expect just looking at our voting affiliations.

    I eat meat, so certainly it’s a lot easier for me to say, but meat-eating practices are actually one example of this in our relationship. If there is a “spectrum” of vegetarianism then I would say that left to my own devices I would probably functionally be a vegetarian (I do have qualms about the morality of meat-eating or more specifically the raising and slaughtering of meat animals, plus raw meat is kind of gross and expensive, so if I lived alone I think I would probably just eventually quit buying it), whereas my husband’s family is more along the lines of “meat at every meal and we don’t really care what the animal’s life was like.” My husband himself is somewhere in the middle–despite being a pretty frugal guy, he goes along with my spending twice as much to try and secure “humanely raised and slaughtered” meat, eggs, and milk, enjoys cooking and eating vegetarian meals (which we eat a lot of the time) and has never seemed to “miss the meat,” and he absolutely loves and dotes on our cat and is very kind to animals in general. So for me, I feel that his “core values” related to compassion for animals and mine (and even those of, say, my vegan best friend) are not all that different, though he and my friend might look like vastly different people on paper. Again it’s easy for me to say, because I have a more wishy-washy belief system about using animal products than you do and yours might be much more non-negotiable, but I hope I am making some kind of sense here.

    Anyway, since it can be so fraught to date coworkers and it’s difficult to meet people elsewhere when you are working long hours and trying to, you know, do other stuff to relax besides attempting to meet people, I have to concur that luck is a huge part of the equation. I happened to meet my husband when I was 18 and in college. If I hadn’t, who knows whether someone else would have come along for me. It’s such a crapshoot. My husband works in a college town, and a few of his single coworkers are currently trying to decide where in the surrounding area they would like to move because they have found it basically impossible to meet other 30-something professionals, or really anyone other than undergraduate students, where they live now. Meanwhile I can live wherever I please–wherever is most pleasant and cheapest and most convenient–and I don’t have to worry about this kind of stuff. It hardly seems fair.

    (I know we don’t talk like this around here, but I was glad Kate a while back shot down the vague idea that “someone will come to you if you’re confident and when you’re not looking,” which seems to be popular advice from couples to single people. To me this has always been about as offensive as telling a woman who is trying to conceive that she’ll get pregnant if she just “relaxes and stops trying so hard.” Gah.)

  58. Hey Red Queen, what are your favorite fat dating sites? I was musing about Dimensions recently, but it seems a lot of women find it problematic over there because of what they see as a fetish focus. I think if I were looking, it would help me out to know about some other resources for fat-friendly dating.

  59. Erg, dating is a sucky thing. It is especially a sucky thing when you are a fat and girl and made even suckier if your religion restricts your dating pool. I totally understand not wanting to compromise on religion since it’s one of my priorities. I’m a religious Jew, but not Orthodox. Add the fat thing on top of it, and there are approximately 27 guys in the country who I can date, and my guess is that most of them live in New York (I do not).

    So, I guess, the important thing to remember is that we are inherently picky. People who get lots of dates are usually much less picky. So it is no good to compare yourself with other people.

    My story isn’t complete right now. I’m still pretty young, only 22. I didn’t date anyone until I was 20, then I decided to give up on boys. 2 months later I met the guy who I dated for over a year (who more-or-less matched my religious convictions). I spent about a semester recovering, and then met another one who I’ve been casually dating for about 3 months since I’m moving across the country to a city where there exists ANOTHER boy (who also matches me religiously). This one is the best of the three, since we’ve been friends for seven years and only recently started to come to terms with our feelings for each other. I get warm fuzzies when I think about that one. :)

    So, I guess, the point is that it’s totally possible to be inexperienced, fat, and religious and find people to date. You just need to have some luck and confidence. I’ve also found, with me and my friends, that once we got through the first experience, it was easier to find other ones. It’s probably a confidence thing.

    Good luck!

  60. My husband and I had been friends for 3+ years before we started dating. Not only that, I had previously been interested in him, and had told him that, and he had very politely told me that he was not interested. Now we’ve been together for 6 years, and married for 2. So, my advice is, if you are interested in one of your friends, and he isn’t initially interested, don’t abandon that friendship because you’re embarrassed or whatever (this assumes that the guy was polite and kind about the lack of interest. If he was a jerk, he clearly isn’t worth your time.) You never know what will happen, and even if nothing ever does, you’ll still have an awesome friend.

  61. I wonder why no one has mentioned sites specifically for fat girls and the boys who love them.

    Seriously, there is nothing better for your self esteem than the realization that there are LOTS of boys who think big girls are gorgeous. And not in creepy, fetishy ways.

    In my case, I haven’t found any sites like that — the responses I got were the “creepy, fetishy” type. So I went back to OKCupid, which hasn’t been too successful, but I think it’s a matter of geography narrowing my “pool” even more than usual.

    So if you have any sites in particular you’d like to share??? :-)

    I’m single at 42, and mostly happy with my self and my life. Although I did have relationships in the past, it’s been a long while. I’ve come to believe that being an opinionated, feminist in a conservative part of the country is as much, if not more of an issue than my weight. Could be just the opinionated part that’s the problem… heh.

    As much as it would be great to have a good relationship, I feel like the idea that being single is somehow “wrong” or “incomplete” has caused me more pain in the long run than actually being single. It’s an insidious idea and even well-meaning people can add to the “pile-on” without realizing.

    And I can attest from experience that being in bad relationships has definitely caused more hurt than any of the time I’ve been on my own.

  62. And I can attest from experience that being in bad relationships has definitely caused more hurt than any of the time I’ve been on my own.

    Fuckin’ A, Tricia.

  63. Oh m goodness, do I need this post right now! I’m 22 and have never been on a date, and I’m at that age where most of my friends are getting married/in a serious relationship. Plus, most of my married/engaged female friends are thinner than me, which creates a lot of bad body image days.
    Patience is a tough pill to swallow when it comes to relationships.

  64. I wish I had read this post when I was 26 and had never been kissed. It would have helped me so much to get this reassurance and encouragement.

  65. I’m pretty sure before I can find love I need to go on dates, and before I can go on dates I need to learn to flirt. I grew up closeted in a Catholic school, and although I’ve known I was at least bi since I was 13, it’s only been in the last year (I’m 22) that I’ve come out to my family, joined the lgbt soc on campus, and generally stopped hiding (from) myself. I still pull myself back HARD from flirting with girls because I just assume a) they’re straight and b) they’re not interested. Which I’m well aware is pretty fucked up, thanks.

    I’ve still had two long-term relationships (one a guy and one a girl) but both of them were in love with me and I didn’t feel the same, so I should never have let them go on as long as I did. As to how they happened — both were drunken-hookups-turned-relationships because I felt too guilty turning them down after. I wouldn’t recommend that but, you know, it doesn’t sound like that’s a danger for the letter-writer. Good effort there.

    Yeah, I’m one of those people who NEEDED both feminism and fat acceptance to come along and kick me in the ass. ::rolls eyes at self::

  66. As to how they happened — both were drunken-hookups-turned-relationships because I felt too guilty turning them down after.

    Oh jeez, I’ve been on the other side of that relationship. And part of me knew all along that was the only reason we were together, but I kinda figured: “Hey, once we’ve been dating a while, he’ll realise how great I am and decide he wanted to be in a relationship with me all this time.” Umm, yeah, not so much. I blame myself for sticking with it for as long as I did (it took a friend telling me, hey, you deserve better than this relationship to snap me out of it).

  67. This is a bit of an aside, but I believe still a bit pertinent because of the “motives to do what we do to get a partner” thing, I think.

    @Shoshie:

    my guess is that most of them live in New York

    They do NOT necessarily live here. Do NOT move here because of that. Move here because there are thriving general communities of all religions, move here because you can’t stand to be without the art and the books and the concerts and the theatre and the Park and the university communities and because you think it’s one of the true centers of the universe (except without Chicago’s or Minneapolis’ weather or L.A. and the Bay’s traffic and earthquakes or D.C.’s or Philly’s or Miami’s murder rates).

    But wherever you find a high percentage of supermodels, you will find guys of all religious persuasions who believe that their very own Heidi Klum lookalike is waiting around the corner just for them, even though the prototype just married and had several kids with Seal.

    So wherever you go, 1) there you are and 2) there those types are too.

    Just my $0.05 re: The Search.

  68. <blockquote“i, um, don’t want to, like, um, freak you out, or anything, but, uh, i think i… uh… nevermind,” </blockquote

    Have you been hiding somewhere I didn’t see you listening and observing every romantic relationship in my whole life?

  69. I blame myself for sticking with it for as long as I did

    Na na. The fault isn’t yours. Speaking for myself, keeping on a relationship with someone you know you don’t feel the same about is cowardly and patronising and unfair to both of you. I pretty much knew both of them were thinking what you were, and I still didn’t break it off because I couldn’t face causing them that pain. Like I wasn’t causing them pain anyway? And moreover, like I’m such a prize they won’t get over me breaking up with them? That’s pretty fucking conceited.

    Ah, dear. At least I’ve learned from the experience — if I don’t think within a few weeks that the potential‘s there for me to fall for them, I’m out of there. It’s best for both of us til I learn to sort myself out.

  70. A few random comments:

    One: I attend a weekly Socrates Cafe, where an informal group gets together, chooses a philosophical question, and discusses it for an hour and a half or so. I go with Writer Guy, who I’ve been seeing for a few weeks. At the last Cafe, the question under discussion was “What is the purpose of primary relationships?” It was fascinating (and weird, to be there on a date with someone I’m just getting to know). What finally came home to me was this: I have been happily single for many years, and am happily single today. I truly love my single life, and it’s a bit hard to figure out how to add a relationship to it. But over the course of the conversation, I realized that what I miss about not being a relationship is not so much the activities or the companionship or the sex or even the love – it’s the loving. The experience of loving is worth the pain of getting there, I think.

    Two: I would love to try speed dating! But I’ve always been afraid – afraid that all the guys would show up and be angry or disappointed that they got stuck with the fatty, and that nobody would be interested. I guess that reflect my overall insecurities about dating.

    Three: Re: Morocco? Word. When I was traveling alone in Morocco I got a ridiculous amount of attention from men (of both the charming and disgusting variety). Lovely: Had a lovely little fling with a man named Ahmed in Taghazout. Amusing: Was repeatedly catcalled in Marrakesh, by a man with a stall near my hotel, who every morning yelled – appreciatively – “Hey, big ass! Big ass!”

  71. Meowser said:

    Most people who write personal ads try to draw in as many potential suitors as possible; I, on the other hand, wrote my ads in such a way that very few people were interested, but they were of the highest quality (i.e. rightness for me). I was not looking to go out on date after date after date; I wanted to put out a very finely tuned signal that the “right person” would be able to hear, but most “wrong people” would be turned off by.

    Hmmm. When I write them specific and very much ‘me’ I get men who think I am some kind of challenge or am not really sure of what I want try to argue me into accepting their non-compliance via email (i.e. I want a man taller than me, so I get 5’2″ men writing to argue the point.) They have to spend money to send me their emails, so I find it doubly puzzling.

    Back to AA…and Cailtin:
    I have a friend from high school (now 40) who for 38 years never had a relationship or anything close; crushes yes, but no dates, no casual sex, no making out randomly, nada. I’m not sure whether she had any suitors, or guys who liked her that she didn’t recognize, however. She’s a lovely woman, of largeish size, very into family and such but she hung around a group that didn’t attract winners, KWIM? Well – she had a roommate that had a brother, and after he had stayed at their place for a few days for a work thing, they discovered they liked each other. Now they own a house together, have a brand-new baby and are getting married in a few months. And all this without ANY prior relationship experience…proving you don’t need a resume for love to come calling.

  72. Wow, a few years ago I could have written AA’s letter. It matches me and what was my situation almost identically.

    I decided at approx age 18 that no-one would ever love me. This was in main due to the weight and the way my parents’ attitude to it informed my own. Of course I had fantasies that someone out there would finally ‘see’ me and he would be my soulmate, but I hid this hope under a general misery and certainty nobody would ever see past the way I looked (which, actually, was really not bad at all).

    As I got older I watched my friends and siblings get married (3 younger sibs married at ages of 20 and 22), while I got older and stayed single). I come from a very marriage/family-oriented society – Jewish and Orthodox – and it is incredibly difficult to be single surrounded by that. Whatever my other accomplishments, it felt like that was the one important thing – and I was a failure. I had good male friends but I was either uninterested in them or they were uninterested in me. I always found it rare to be interested in anyone – I seemed to be a lot more ‘fussy’ in what interested me than a lot of people. It was never about looks for me; wit and humour and quickness and intelligence drew me, but in a certain combination that only came along rarely – sometimes in men who weren’t interested in me, and sometimes in men who weren’t available in the first place.

    As I got older I did a lot of work on myself, and on my confidence. I should also add that to make my dating prospects worse, I moved to Israel when I was 22 – but still needed someone who shared my language as well as my culture and ideals. The pool of English-speaking single guys here who enter the realm of suitable is really not that big – and I’m not a natural at flirting/easy dating etc.

    Before I go on to my ‘happily ever after’ story, I want to echo what some people have said – just because I unbelievably did find my wonderful, beyond adorable husband at the age of 34, that didn’t turn me into one of those rather irritating ‘it’ll definitely happen for you too’ type of people. I wish I knew that everyone was guaranteed a partner worthy of them, but I know it doesn’t always happen. I have many single friends who want to be married, younger and older than me, thin and fat, and my heart aches for them and I wish I could wave the magic wand – but I know that I can’t. Of course it’s possible to have a fulfilling and amazing life single – I am very proud of all the things I accomplished in my single life – but that doesn’t make it any easier to be single if you don’t want to be.

    So. Cut to last February. A very close friend of mine was visiting for a week. This was someone who used to live/study here although I knew him from home. He only had one night free, and he wanted to see all his friends who live here, so he arranged a dinner out in a local restaurant. When I asked him a few weeks earlier who was coming, he told me all the names I expected, and then he mentioned a guy who I didn’t know was living here. This was someone who had studied with him 6 or 7 years earlier. I’d met him a few times back then and found him engaging – he was tall, ridiculously skinny, but funny and sarcastic in the way I was drawn to, into literature (as am I), and…there was just something about him. We’d only met 2 or 3 times, and he was 3 years younger than me, and I hadn’t seen him in 8 years. But I remembered him. And it turned out after 4 years back in the U.S. he was here again, and still single.

    I couldn’t work out why I was SO looking forward to seeing him again; I was nowhere near as religious as I’d been when I’d seen him last and he still was, and I’d barely known him. And why get excited when nothing ever worked out with anyone anyway. It didn’t seem like we’d be a match. Still, I passed those weeks anxiously waiting for that night, and I made sure I looked fabulous, and when he walked in to the restaurant, my heart skipped a beat. And he was just as sweet and funny as I remembered. After the meal, when it turned out we lived close to each other, we started walking home together, and when it came to the point where he’d turn one way and I’d turn the other he carried on walking with me…I invited him in for a bit, lent him a book, swapped email addresses. The night ended with me knowing I liked him as a person as much as I had done all those years ago, but I didn’t know if I was attracted to him (or, of course, whether he’d be interested in me). But we were emailing the next day, saw each other again 4 days later, I saw him again…and again… we were officially dating after less than 2 weeks, were engaged within 3 months, and married 3 months later.

    After 8 months of marriage I can continue to say he is everything I ever dreamed of and many things I could never have imagined possible. The depth and level of security and trust I have with him, when I had never been able to imagine such a thing, when I truly believed no one would ever love me or accept me… it is so natural to be with him it shocks me. I turned 34 last year, so I’d got to that age with much life experience and many many friends of both sexes, but zero real romantic relationships, and I was beginning to feel that there was just something about me, that I just couldn’t ‘do’ the relationship thing. And I was wrong, but I had to have the right guy in place before the relationship could happen. He is the best person I have ever known, and we laugh and are playful and are so right with each other it’s amazing. I know how very very lucky I am. (of course he’s lucky too! :) )

  73. /delurk

    My boyfriend and I met online via a game we both play, a little more than a year ago. We hit it off right away, but there was never any hint of romance (he was still in a very-long term relationship). We became good friends and talked each other through some heavy stuff–including the dissolution of aforementioned relationship. The funny thing is that he apparently had a crush on me for a while but didn’t say anything until he got fed up with my whining about an ex and busted out with his feelings. I’d never have dreamed he’d be interested in lil ol’ me. Long story short, we’ve been dating for a few months now, and he’s adorable and makes me *squee*.

    For AA, I’d second what people have said above. Romance can develop over a long time, so don’t worry that you have to say something within X days/weeks/months.

  74. FatGirlonaDate: “Amusing: Was repeatedly catcalled in Marrakesh, by a man with a stall near my hotel, who every morning yelled – appreciatively – “Hey, big ass! Big ass!””

    That so made me cackle.

  75. Late to the partay, as usual. Awesome comments! I did the online dating thing pretty much exclusively and I had my ups and downs with it, but emerged unscathed and with a better appreciation of the quality of luck. I had some fun times with some people that just weren’t my type but I never really felt rejected; in fact, it was often mutual that we decided it just wasn’t clicking. It also gave me a better sense of how attraction is very much an individual thing and not a global or even social phenomenon. Some people to whom I was attracted were thrilled because previous dates had found them “unattractive,” and sometimes people were attracted to me when I had started to think that I wasn’t good-looking enough. I thought dating was a great way to take the pressure out of my “hunt.”

    I’ve been with Mr Phledge now for five years and we met online. There are days when I actually long to be single again, where my actions don’t affect another person like this and where others’ actions don’t affect my bedroom floor. :) But I remember thinking something was wrong with me when I was single, and I know how painful it is. As someone said upthread, it’s less about being alone and more about what you think the reason is for it.

  76. Have I told this story already? Stop me if I have.

    I met my husband during high school, through the guy I was dating at the time (and for most of undergrad). The first time we met, Then-Boyfriend and I walked into Now-Husband’s basement, where Now-Husband was lying on the floor listening to Queen.

    Now-Husband took one look at me, shot four feet straight in the air, landed on his feet, and bellowed “Damn, man, you told me she was ugly, but you didn’t tell me she was THAT ugly!”

    He then smiled and introduced himself. :) Love at first sight, I tell ya.

  77. You delurk for one post and then you can’t stop..

    My two cents as a happily single 31-year-old singleton (my career is more important to me than a man and has been for some years!):

    1. I know it’s a cliche, but man, confidence is key. I got more guys approaching me when I was a “I’m fat and fabulous, wooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!” size 30 then when I was a size 14 and in full “I’m not skinny enough” unhealthiness. (I’m happy to date, don’t want to settle down.)

    2. That said, I’d say be careful of dating sites. I only tried match.com for three months and after seeing you’ve had 300 clicks on your thing and no one has winked/emailed/whatever you, it can take a hard knock to your aforementioned fabulosity.

    3. I hear the high standards thing but it is worth noting, as some have alluded to: are you applying the same standards that you think people are applying to you? (i.e. “that guy’s not cute/too fat/too bald/too short”.) Are you as open-minded as you’d like your potential partner is? (I’m totally guilty of this..I’m 5’8″ and stone-cold not interested in guys my height or under..)

  78. Fat women friends who have been to Morocco report that they’d never received so much positive male attention.

    Be careful here. I would not generalize over all of Morocco, let alone all ‘other cultures, but well-heeled American women of any size are often the object of positive attention for reasons that have nothing to do with more relaxed beauty standards, and everything to do with the ability of an American fiancee or spouse to petition for a green card. There are internet cafes that brag about how many international marriages they make (this was mentioned in a recent NYT article, among other places.) Morocco in particular is considered a high-fraud consulate because the economy there is so bad it’s often a guy’s best option to try to marry for papers.

    Not that there aren’t many legitimate couples that meet online from Morocco or anywhere else, just that one has to be careful when assuming that the interest doesn’t have an ulterior motive, especially if one is not well versed in the culture.

  79. I met my husband on a telephone dating service that was then called Telepersonals but is now called Lava Life. They have a website dating program now, too. I think .

    I met him at a point in my life when I was ready to grab adventure and run with it. I decided that the risk of getting hurt was worth it.

    That said, if I’d chosen to remain a virgin, we’d never be together. But then we’re both atheists, so religion isn’t a factor for us.

    For someone who is concerned about chastity, I’d say try eHarmony. Supposedly, there are a lot of people on that service that are more inclined to be religious, and therefore more likely to understand and value chastity.

    I was hardly a slut, but I wasn’t a virgin, either.

    My husband wasn’t looking for anything serious, and by the time I met him, neither was I. I just wanted some fun. I found that and then some. Though it took us some time to work out the kinks (like falling in love with each other two dates in – and him SO not being ready for that), we ultimately did and have been happy together for almost 10 years.

    He didn’t care about my weight. He said at some point he was asked and he realized that if I never lost a pound, it wouldn’t matter. He loved me for who I am, not what I look like.

    Sometimes it just takes actively seeking a relationship. It doesn’t have to be a serious one you’re seeking… just someone to go out with and have a good time with.

  80. littlem-

    Don’t worry. I am not actually moving to NYC. I will be moving from Boston to Seattle this summer (whoo!). In fact, NYC scares me a bit. If I settle down in any of the biggest three cities, it will probably be sweet home Chicago. I am tough. I can take the weather. ;)

  81. when i stopped looking for someone, i found TWO men! one is around my age, the other is considerably older. both have told me that my size was not a detriment, but an asset. both are attracted to larger women, and i fit the bill.

    i have learned a lot about myself from both of them, and i recognize that i may not end up with either of them, but i will never forget that i am a woman worthy of love with the right man, whether it’s with one of these two, or someone else.

    there is hope, though. i’m 44 years old. if it can happen for me, it can happen for anyone.

  82. Awesome post. I love the fact that there are so many different versions of Fat People In Love/Lust/Friendship/Singledom/Matrimony/Whatever (you know, almost like we’re regular people like anybody else).

    Personally, I’ve met dudes in lots of different ways – ads all over the internet, musicians I’ve worked with, dudes I met through friends, random guys in coffeeshops or at Ren Fests (kilts get me every time!)…and I’ve had lots of different kinds of relationships with varying levels of L-words. For me, variety is the spice of life, and taking various models for a test drive has proved a good way to figure out what it is I like and dislike.

    I’m not necessarily interested in finding The One (though if he showed up, I probably wouldn’t kick him out of bed), which sets me up for a very different experience than AA’s…but I think Aunt Fattie’s awesome (as usual) advice holds true for both perspectives: keep on doing what you do, and roll with whatever circumstances life tosses in your path while you’re doing it.

  83. Yet another successful interwebs story here, although in contrast to many of the others, the only creepy e-date I had was the one guy I met because of a shared interest instead of through a dating site.

    I’m fat, bossy, and argumentative; my bf is charming and conventionally attractive (almost without fail, my friends and family have said, “He could be a movie star!”after meeting him). If we hadn’t met through craigslist, we never would have gotten together. The man gets hit on all the time without ever ever responding. Honest. We’re in our thirties and I am the only person with whom this man has ever been on a date, kissed, or even held hands. When he decided it was time to find someone to marry, he started looking around. I was the only person he even met through a dating site. Yes, his slow version of courtship meant I thought he just wanted to be friends, but now we’re just waiting for me to meet his parents next month before getting engaged.

    One of the big dating myths that you have to get over is the thought that if they’re still single, there must be something wrong with them. If you can be fabulous and single, so can the guys…

  84. I’ve dated great guys through online dating sites and hooked up with a few boyfriends through work. I think the key is to remember that attraction comes in all sizes. I’ve had plenty of boyfriends and I’m a fatty and I have a lovely friend who is quite thin and she has never had a boyfriend.

    Size doesn’t matter. I think it has more to do with belief that you can and will be in a relationship.

  85. Hmmm. When I write them specific and very much ‘me’ I get men who think I am some kind of challenge or am not really sure of what I want try to argue me into accepting their non-compliance via email (i.e. I want a man taller than me, so I get 5′2″ men writing to argue the point.) They have to spend money to send me their emails, so I find it doubly puzzling.

    Well, in my own case, I suppose it helps that I don’t have a height “requirement.” Although I’ve never been with anyone shorter than myself, just as a matter of accident (the closest was one or two dates with a guy exactly as tall as I am). I figure, if chances are pretty good I’m gonna be heavier than my partner, I can handle being taller too, if need be.

  86. I have watched it work a million times. The perfect Rx is always confidence. I have seen a large woman cary herself like she was a queen and men follow her every step. It is less about the things that you have done to align your physical appearance and more about the things you have done to align your mental opinion of yourself.

  87. I met my first boyfriend/first ex on eharmony.com. I’m glad for the expirience because it helped me to understand what I knew. I knew that somepeople were actually attracted to me and that I would find someone eventually. Now that I have I’m able to whip that expirence out when my mind tries to sabotage my good moods, or edge in on my crappy feeling days. I can tell myself no, see we’ve already done that it IS possible. I don’t think I believed myself enough before hand.

    I learned a whole lot about me though, which I really enjoy. I learned I’m more of a social person, looks aren’t as important. I learned that maybe my best bet is just to be patient now. I’m not doing so good on that one because I’m crushing on a guy from work…who’s friend at work I suspect of trying to gauge my interest for my crush. I can sink just about anyone’s subtlety ship. Best bet on all things, just flat out tell me. But then I am not always able to confirm my feelings. Eventually I will just ruin the whole thing and blurt stuff out…but I’m at least trying to be patient. blah de blah blah.

    basically its hard not having someone, I have two good friends and both of them are in really committed long term relationships. But I keep letting myself know that it will happen at some point and then I ask what I should be doing in the mean time. (right now I should be sleeping)

  88. Agonizingly Alone, I feel you and I can tell you that everyone has their path and choices to make in life. Do what you have been doing and take some suggestions from this board to put yourself out there and then leave it to fate.

    There is only so much that we can do to influence the outcome of our lives and sometimes there are unforseen unpleasant consequences to forcing what we want into our lives. Even when we live with intelligence and awareness and make smart choices, we won’t always be where we want to be or always happy with our life.

    We should approach each life project with the acceptance that we could make mistakes but that we need to take some chances.

    Good luck in getting out of your comfort zone and finding something new and exciting in your life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll find the love of your life, but perhaps you’ll experience something else to enrich your life in your journey.

  89. You could get a hobby which men also likes, or take some courses like art history. Thats probably the best way to meet someone since a relationship based on common interests usually are allot more fun!
    Good luck!

  90. I might get some croap for this, but as a guy I have to say your best bet is to give up on the vegetarian requirement, The vast majority of vegetarians are women so small minority of vegetarian men have a vast ammount of choice in the dating pool since they are a rare commodity.

  91. I don’t know if anyone will see this one for awhile since there are like three other posts right now….but I have to share this. I was married for about 22 yrs when my then husband called me from Iraq (government contractor) to tell me that we were getting a divorce….I won’t go into all the gory details, it was hard enough living through them as it was. His main reason was that ‘he never really loved me enough to get married….but didn’t want to make a scene right before the wedding’ ok, yeah we know HE a complete ass.

    We were divorced in Aug 05, the following spring a friend of mine was telling me about a chat site called pal talk, and she took an online meditation class there. After downloading the site stuff onto my laptop, I didn’t have the patience to wait for her to get home from work one night to tell me the name of the room. So I started poking around on the site, I had spent the previous winter on the dating sites and hadn’t had much luck. So I’d decided to take friends advice in that ‘when it was time for me….love would find me’ My first foray into a chat room that I for reasons I still can’t explain what drew me to it…..there he was! This guy ‘walked’ over and welcomed me into the room, we chatted for a bit and he said he had to get back to work as he was on his lunch break and would I be back later on. I figured I’d come back and meet some of the other members of the group. I should mention that I am a non-christian and the group was for our specific faith, which my former husband did not share with me. The day I went into the chat room was a year ago on 1 May, just last week. The last two years have been the craziest of my 46 yrs. I was very freaked out a bit when I’d found out that my new friend was not only married….but was 22 at the time. His marriage was a very miserable one and he credits me for giving him the ‘guts’ shall we say…to tell her it was over.

    So now I’m married to a guy that I think is so gorgeous he almost makes me drool….half my age….less than half my weight….and I spend most of my days chasing around two small stepsons. He thinks I’m the most beautiful women he’s ever known and I know for a fact that I am loved and wanted.

    Right before I met him, I had actually been making plans to commit suicide after my daughter moved out. I honestly didn’t felt that I didn’t want to live if I had to do it alone. I was in a dead end, part time job, no job experience (my ex never let me work) and no friends. My dearest ‘K’ was like a gift from the gods. I don’t know what I did to deserve the love I have, but then he says the same thing.

    Keep your chin up hon…if it could happen to me…it can happen for you. Let us know how things go for you.

    BB

  92. I met my husband thru another friend. Up to that point, I’d been trolling the dating websites in hopes of making something happen. What I discovered after one heartbreaking blind date (the guy didn’t realize I was fat even though I told him how much I weighed!! – I guess he thought I was 17 feet tall too.) was that I had to be OK by myself. I had to like myself and I had to be happy alone and happy with the prospect of never meeting Mr Right. About 6 weeks after this, I was introduced to my future husband who is my soul mate in every way. We’ve been together 10 years and we are expecting our first child this summer.

  93. Caitlin said: Speaking for myself, keeping on a relationship with someone you know you don’t feel the same about is cowardly and patronising and unfair to both of you.

    I still feel bad to this day that it took so long for me to break up with my first boyfriend (mentioned in comment #4). I knew fairly early on that he was way more into me than I was him, but I really liked him as a friend and felt bad about it. (I was very young and shy and non-confrontational.)

    I finally broke up with him for real a couple of months in, and he called me up late at night, and cried at me until I gave in and took him back. We were together for another six months or so before I broke it off again (and permanently). He was a really nice guy, and it was completely mean and cowardly of me to keep him hanging on that long, no matter how much he cried about it.

  94. I was 38 when I met my husband, and 40 when we married. I have seriously walked this walk!

    I tried Match.com, though I have to admit, it didn’t work well for me. I found that guys who said they didn’t mind fat girls apparently minded girls as fat as me… and that guys who are 5’6″ evidently consider themselves “tall,” and therefore fit my requirement for someone “tall.”

    I’d been single for a long time before that, and the relationships I’d had weren’t good. I’d had two of any length, one with a guy who finally came out of the closet and one… well, let’s just not even go there. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was over 30. I spent a lot of nights pacing the floor and crying over my single state. (Really.) But I finally decided to just throw open the doors and be vulnerable. I flirted with everyone I could find, and I didn’t rule anyone out until I’d met them. My husband was one of three guys I was actively flirting with when we met… and he was the least likely “prospect” since he’s 17 years younger than I. But we clicked, and we’ve now been married just over 2 years. We met playing online trivia games, of all things.

  95. “might get some croap for this, but as a guy I have to say your best bet is to give up on the vegetarian requirement, The vast majority of vegetarians are women so small minority of vegetarian men have a vast ammount of choice in the dating pool since they are a rare commodity.”

    Women do make up the majority of vegetarians in North America, though not by that dramatic a margin. And in my own faith community, it’s closer to 50-50, as it’s a common religious/cultural practice.

    BTW, thanks for all the advice, all!

  96. Dear AA

    I have seen so many others advise you what has worked for them, and casting your net wider may not hurt. I will tell you what worked for me.

    Accept your situation.

    You have been doing all the right things in terms of looking for a potential partner: the most important in my opinion is your refusal to compromise what is important to you. Many other people feel the same way regarding compromising on things that are important to them, and intrinsically part of themselves when it comes to relationships. You however are not getting anywhere.

    Your potential partners’ requirements for a relationship means that you are excluded. It may be because of your chastity. It may be because of your vegetarianism. It may be because you are overweight and have medical problems. It’s probably your appearance – looks are important to most men, as a man’s character is important for most women. My appearance (weight particularly) was the reason for not getting past the gate as it were.

    Don’t fall into the trap of believing that religious beliefs, pre-marital sex and dietary requirements are justifiable as relationship razors as to whether someone makes the grade, but body shape/size is not a reasonable (or dare I say fair) standard for another person. People who are willing to have a romantic relationship with another person irrespective of their size or body shape are in the minority – physical appearance is an important factor for many (not all) men when considering a relationship. That’s the way it is. It’s not fair, but coincidentally life isn’t fair. Does it mean that you give up on life – absolutely not! So you can’t have something you want – time for some tough choices

    a) keep on the way you are; or
    b) accept your circumstances, or
    c) compromise.

    My circumstances are similar to yours. I decided a number of years ago not to compromise on what was important to me, and the consequence of that decision means that I am alone. I have a very good life – would it be better if I was in a relationship? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t have a relationship to which it can be compared. Age and perspective have meant that I can now see I was pining for what I thought I wanted, what I thought I saw other friends and family experience. But I will never really know, so the sporadic sadness of 10 years ago are now only mild wistfulness on some occasions. I am part of society, and even I cannot totally eradicate from my mind “this is what you should want, just like everyone else.”

    I understand what if feels like to know that you will never marry, never have children, never grow old with someone. I also know that the freedoms that my single life brings me have a certain kind of sweetness and a decade on after my decision I believe I made the right choice. My choices have brought me here. No children, no partner, no husband, no lovely white wedding from my childhood dreams. But what I have is enough for me.

    My choices have meant that I am active in community organisations that are important to me, my health issues are under control and I have a job that I enjoy and pays very well for someone of my appearance, social background and education. It’s enough for me. I wouldn’t have said that 10 years ago, but now I can. That’s age and perspective for you.

    AA – embrace your life as it is the record of your choices your have made and the ethics and beliefs that you have accepted for yourself. You do not wish to compromise, and I believe that you would also respect that others do not wish to compromise either.

    So what to do now? Stop making moves on male friends. Don’t talk to casual friends about your circumstances when the topic of conversation moves to love and relationships. Just simply say that you are uncomfortable talking about it. If someone wants to know why (and just won’t shut up) let them know you have had problems in the past and you don’t want to talk about it. If they still want to know I think you can exclude them from the definition of friends, as they are obviously poking into your private life for their own morbid curiosity when they have been told twice you don’t want to talk about it. Casual (as opposed to real) friends will probably be happy for the conversation to move back to themselves anyway. Excuse yourself from the group, stand up and walk away. I guarantee that the subject won’t come up again if they are anywhere near decent. And if they aren’t decent, well you know who to stay away from in future.

    Get on with your life. Embrace the freedoms that come with a single life. Go to bed when you want. Wake up when you want. Buy what you want. Spend time with whom you want. Devote your efforts where you want. You may feel that these are pretty poor substitutes for a loving relationship – you however can’t every truly know this as you have nothing to compare it to, only what you observe and you think it is like, and what well meaning friends tell you. Accept the reality, rather than pining away for the illusion.

  97. Without even trying, I have only dated vegetarian men, just because of the circles I run in. I also know more vegan men than women–it just depends on the community (though yes overall there are more veg women). There are some veg personal sites, if you also look for religious affiliation, you may find some good people.

  98. i met my hubby on the internet. it seems like there’s a lot of that going around! i tried the more conventional sites, but i just didn’t find the right vibe. after i got onto a non-traditional site that was specific to what i’m interested in… there he was! and i can’t agree more that it’s best to tailor your online bio/interests so that you will get the select few gems that you’re most likely to click with. we have been together for 3 years next month, married last month. both of us are ecstatic to have found each other. (ok, really he found me.) but we also both agree that if we’d met any earlier, it wouldn’t have worked. we needed to be ready for each other, and i just wasn’t ready for him until we actually met. before then, i had serious plans w/a friend of mine to be crazy-old-dog-ladies-everyone’s-kids-were-scared-of… we considered being cat ladies, but she’s allergic.

    (also, i’d like to point out that while fetishes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea… not all of us are crazy or creepy. at least i don’t THINK i’m crazy and creepy.)

  99. I just have to say how great it has been reading all of these posts. I am 26 and have never been on a real date, only kissed 3 guys (all involved alcohol) and often feel totally hopeless about ever finding someone. But reading all of this gives me hope and best of all, lets me know i am not alone. Thanks!

  100. “I wonder why no one has mentioned sites specifically for fat girls and the boys who love them. ”

    I wondered the same thing. There are a few good ones such as BBWDatefinder.

  101. I’ve been where you are and feel your pain. The one thing I would say is “don’t drop your standards” – I had so little self-esteem in my 20s that I would hook up with any guy that showed any interest in me whatsoever. There were only about 5 of them as I was far from a sex goddess but it was enough to drive my self-esteem even lower. When I was 28, I thought “If I’m not going to have a normal life, I at least want an interesting life” and went overseas to study a foreign language with the aim of working in a new country. And that’s where I met the man who was to become my husband. My weight was never an issue; he thinks I’m gorgeous and curvaceous and sexy; but some of the stupid things I did in my 20s was!

  102. Everybody’s advice is rad and very true. In addition to it, I’d add, take a class or join a club. It sounds terribly corny, but if you’re like me you may be outgoing but uncomfortable asking a guy out at a party or equally as uncomfortable in a manufactured situation like a bilnd date. If I’m in a situation where I’m “friends first” with a guy and I’m going to be seeing him over and over again in a situation where I feel relaxed and capable, then men are much easier to talk to. Plus, the more you widen your circle of friends the more likely you are to meet someone you like in the first place and since your interest are unique if you join your local vegetarian cooking club (or whatever) your chances of meeting somebody who shares them increases.

    One more note, is it possible you are just assuming guys don’t want to talk to you? Sometimes we make excuses when what we were looking for was right under our nose… When you’re used to rejection you tend to expect it even when it’s not happening…

  103. I’m a 26-year-old virgin who has never been kissed or on a date. And I know it has to do with my weight, because I’m the sad person who has just given up on humanity.

    I’m a lot like Agonizingly Alone in my ethics. I don’t believe in sex before marriage (my personal belief – I don’t expect anybody to hold to my own personal choice!) and I despise alcohol and bars. I’m not into clubs or dancing either.

    At this point in my life, I feel that I will never meet anybody who will look past (or admire) my 300 pound body. I am trying to focus on finishing business school and starting a new career now.

  104. I met my husband while I was volunteering as an EMT. As a pretty shy person at the time (and I didn’t think too highly of myself – I was 60 lbs lighter than I am now but still hated my body and myself, etc. etc.), it was tough to get involved with the volunteer rescue squad, but it was one of the best things I ever did. I volunteered for almost 4 years before I met my husband, and in that time I made great friends, grew as a person and became stronger and more happy with myself. The night we first volunteered together, I did something I never did before – I made the first move. I was just so proud of myself for kissing a guy that I was really surprised that he actually asked for my number. We’ve been together now for 8 years (married for 4) and he’s told me he fell in love with me that night. Ironically, I only thought he was sort of cute that night – very much not the type I thought I liked. It took me a while to warm up to him during a year of long-distance dating but now I can’t imagine not being in love with him. I think for me opening up myself to new and difficult (but exciting!) experiences helped a lot.

  105. I’m nearly 30 – bossy, argumentative, funny, picky and outgoing. I’ve had plenty of casual sex but no boyfriends. I do like my single life, mostly – I have the Peter Pan never-grow-up thing despite being in a serious save-the-world type job. Sometimes though I would like to meet someone to travel with, to have great sex with, to fight with etc. I don’t want someone who loves me in spite of my fat because my fat is part of me and if you love someone, you love their fat too. As someone else said, I’m always the best friend and never the girlfriend. Apparently, the fat feminist woman that I am is too intimidating for most men, is what I’ve been told on countless occasions. Still, it’s better to be alone than with the wrong guy :-)

  106. I found my fiance at a nudist event.

    He was impressed with me for exactly who I was, and for not being scared of it.

  107. I can assure you that if you dropped the “vegetarian” requirement in a man you’d find a lot more of them out there.
    Most men arent vegetarian and those who are are almost always pressured into it by their girlfriends. The thinnies I know have no better luck in getting veg men than you.

    I know quite few single guys right now, friends of my partner, who really resent that “nonsmoking vegetarian” requirement most women seem to have. I don’t smoke and I put up with my guy’s smoking [not in the bedroom of course!]. Why? Cos he’s a fantastic guy- and none of us is perfect. [I can understand "no smoking" actually, but "no meat" - jeez you are really putting in a tall order.]

    How many men would love to bits a girlfriend who not only would let him barbie up a steak, but would also eat one too, instead of two lettuce leafs?

    If being a veg is so important to you, then stick it out, but if you cna live with yr partner eating what he wants, without forcing you to eat it too of course! – then you’ll find your luck chanigng big time.
    Of course, once you’re together you can start to entice him with your home made veg cooking.

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