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Dear Abby 8/23

Dating game baffles woman who is now back in play

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    DEAR ABBY: I am a 40-something-year-old woman, single for four years, moving on with my life after the dissolution of a 24-year marriage. I am told I'm pretty. I'm in good shape, exercise regularly and take care of myself. Young men often hit on me.
    My dilemma is that I find men in their 30s, 40s and 50s extremely hard to figure out. One minute they can't live without you, the next they want you to leave them alone and won't talk to you. What's the deal?
    I dated one man (age 50) for eight months. He wined and dined me, said he loved me, even talked about marriage. We were close — I thought. Our lives became very busy with work and kids, so we took a break for a while. When I tried to talk to him again, it was like there had never been any connection at all. He had lost all feeling, desire and passion. I still had it, but — zip! — his was gone. How does that happen?
    I dated another guy who couldn't keep his hands off me. I ended it after a month because I was afraid he was going to try to make love to me in the middle of the restaurant.
    Another man is very nice, but stiff. I can't get close to him at all.
    I met a really interesting guy on the beach yesterday. He was around my age and took me out on his catamaran. I had a great time. He said afterward he'd be there the next day and to come to say hello. Well, he was there like he said, but when I went to say hello, he completely ignored me and walked in the other direction. Go figure.
    Why can't I find a nice older man to settle down with, enjoy life and companionship with, and grow old with? I don't want to be alone, but it's really hard to find a compatible mate at this stage of life. Any suggestions? -- FRUSTRATED IN CALIFORNIA
    DEAR FRUSTRATED: Remember the old saying, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find Prince Charming"? Welcome back to the wonderful world of dating, which includes a lot of sifting.
    Perhaps it's time to take a look at the signals you are sending out to men. Could they be catching a whiff of the scent of desperation? The most attractive women I know are those who are comfortable with themselves. Because they cultivate their own interests, they have the most to share.
    My advice is to spend some time finding yourself. The dating scene has changed since you were in it the last time. Do not expect to find Mr. Right overnight. When you're finally comfortable being on your own is probably when Mr. Right will find you.

    DEAR ABBY: My 4-year-old nephew recently cut his finger. When the story was being told by my sister, she mentioned telling her daughter to get out one of the red towels.
    "Red towel?" I asked.
    "Yes," she said. "I have four of them that I use only when the kids cut themselves. That way they don't see the blood, and the tears aren't as bad."
    I thought that was brilliant! -- KURT N., MILWAUKEE
    DEAR KURT: It certainly shows preplanning. And it makes sense to me, because a small child who has suffered a minor injury often cries more out of fear than pain.
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