Dear John: I think I'm the oldest living virgin on the planet. I'm 43, to be exact. I've never had a serious boyfriend. Odds are you would never believe this if you met me. I get along great with most people. I've been told I am very attractive and look quite young for my age. I was even carded at a bar recently.
Most men can't believe I'm not married. I believe I have a major problem, at least compared with the norm. I would love to find the right guy and settle down. I must be sabotaging myself somehow, but I don't know how or why. — Help Please in Warwick, Conn.
Dear Please: You are not the only 40-plus virgin. Some people would rather not wait to experience passion prior to finding true and lasting love. You've chosen this path, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Some women won't go out so that they may avoid the pressure men put on them to be intimate. As a result, they never give a new relationship the chance it needs to move through the stages of commitment and intimacy. We don't have a built-in radar system that tells us, "This person is right for you." In order to find our soul mate, we have to date as many people as possible so that we may discern what traits we are looking for in a mate. Love will create its own timetable. Date openly and actively and it is almost a certainty that lasting love will find its way into your life.
Dear John: I am a 35-year-old mother of two boys, 7 and 4, in a good marriage of almost nine years. "Anthony," my 46-year-old husband, loves me and I love him, but it seems that his "fun time" is more often spent away from the boys and me. In the beginning of our marriage, it was fishing. I could not go with him, because six months into our marriage, I became pregnant with our first son. Anthony is now into horseback riding. My boys (I always call them "my" boys because they are primarily my responsibility) are too young to ride horses.
It would thrill Anthony for me to take an interest in horses, and I do ride with him sometimes, but to do so we have to get a baby sitter, and I hate leaving the boys so much. Therefore, it is rare that I ride with him. I talk to Anthony and work hard to do so without putting blame on him, but he doesn't seem to get it. — Out of Sync in Roanoke, Va.
Dear Out of Sync: On a deeper level, it sounds as if you resent his ability to find time away from his family and feel guilty when you take time out for yourself. You shouldn't. Yes, busy mothers find time a valuable commodity, but it's healthy for adults to find time away from their families for hobbies or other stress-relieving activities. Dad or a sitter can cover the kids. Make it a goal to regularly plan a few hours away from the children and your husband, be that one day every month or a few hours every week. Go to a movie or on a walk with a girlfriend, or take an art or dance class. Couples should also plan activities together that give them a few guilt-free hours away from the children each week. Make this a priority.
Your husband should recognize that your sons need to be included in a lot of the activities he enjoys. That can include nature hikes, fishing, picnics — and even horseback riding when age-appropriate. The rest of your life starts today, so make plans.
John Gray is the author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus." If you have a question, write to John in care of this newspaper or by email by going to www.marsvenus.com. All questions are kept anonymous and will be paraphrased. To find out more about John Gray and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.