Dear Coquette

Dear Coquette: On the Harsh Way Things Are

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Welcome to Dear Coquette, a place to have your burning and how-do-I-make-this-stop-burning sex advice questions answered. You might recognize The Coquette and her bare-knuckle honesty from her columns on Playboy.com, The Daily, or her own popular site, Dear Coquette. Send your questions to coquette@nerve.com.

I am 43, attractive, successful and fit. I have essentially been single since my divorce four years ago. I seem to run up against ageism over and over from men my own age! What gives? Are men in their forties all fucked up or am I expecting too much to want to partner with a man around my own age? #frustrated

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news (otherwise known as reality), but 43 year-old single men who are also attractive, successful, and fit simply do not date women their own age. That just ain’t the kind of world we live in.

Here in Los Angeles, attractive and successful forty-something men date women in their twenties. Not sure where you live, but best case scenario they date women in their thirties. If you find yourself a divorcee who’s already had kids, you’ve got a better shot, but only if he’s a serial monogamist who’s done with his mid-life crisis.

If you want a serious relationship, start looking at men in their fifties. If you just want to have some fun, feel free to start cougaring it up and sport-fuck a few twenty-somethings. (Yep, you can do that now too.) If you absolutely insist on partnering with a man your own age, then short of moving to a remote Alaskan mining town, you’re probably gonna have to just lower your standards.

I understand why this is frustrating, but whatever you do, don’t live in denial or let this shit make you bitter. Accept it. Come to terms with it as soon as possible, and know in your heart that there’s really nothing you can do to change the way things are.

What does “I don’t necessarily want to break up, but we should start seeing other people” mean? Because the way he says it, it sounds like “I really want to break up, but I also want to keep you as an emergency booty call.”

Yes, that’s exactly what it means. It also means your boyfriend is a selfish, apathetic coward who cares so little about you and your feelings that he can’t even be bothered with the inconvenience of ending your relationship.

The problem is that he’s not lying. He doesn’t necessarily want to break up, which means he might put just enough energy into the relationship to keep you around, so the next question is, how low are your expectations? Do you have the strength to say, “No, our relationship is exclusive. You cannot be with me and also see other people?”

That’s the shittiest part of scenario. If you’re a strong woman with self-respect and the courage of your convictions, then he’s setting you up to be the one who ends things. If you happen to be a weak-willed doormat, that’s fine with him too, because like you said, he can always string you along as an emergency booty call.