Love Letters

People keep telling her she dates like a guy

Do genders really have distinct styles when it comes to romance?

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Q. I am 36, never been married. My engagement ended eight years ago when I walked in on him and another woman. I was scary calm at the time, but a sense of “Now what?” gradually came over me. I moved out, bought a condo, rescued a pup, advanced my career, and became closer to my family. I dipped my toe back in the dating pool a few times, which resulted in endless app swiping, and while I now possess a hilarious repertoire of stories, I remain single.


One thing that keeps resurfacing is that I am the “guy” in the relationship. I wonder what this means. Do I have a more logical, pragmatic mind, as opposed to one that’s emotionally driven? I am a passionate, caring, loving woman seeking a strong, confident man. How do you explain the notion that a woman “thinks like a man”? Does that mean I make it challenging for myself to find a compatible match who’s a heterosexual male? And what does this say about gender roles and our expectations?

— Seeking emotionally stable lumberjack

A.“One thing that keeps resurfacing is that I am the ‘guy’ in the relationship. I wonder what this means.”

It means nothing because it’s not a real thing. Having a pragmatic mind makes you someone . . . with a pragmatic mind. That is all.

The people who tell you you’re the “guy” in the relationship (I assume you’re hearing this from friends?) don’t really know what they’re talking about. Steer clear of dating advice that involves platitudes and words like “always” and “never.” Also know that gender does not dictate whether someone is capable of having a feeling. You are a passionate and caring person who wants a lumberjack. No need for any more generalizations.


I should add that the people who say things like “you date like a guy” might not be trying to confuse or mislead you (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here). It’s tough to see someone struggle as they look for love. Sometimes we want to give them an easy answer, but the most honest thing to say is that it often takes a long time to meet a real partner.

That’s the frustrating truth, and it has nothing to do with your passionate, caring, loving mind, which, for the record, sounds wonderful.

— Meredith


You don’t date like a man, you date like you. Own it, embrace it. Maybe you’re more cautious than before because you’ve seen firsthand that sometimes our forever plan needs to get altered — and fast. BOSTONSWEETS21

What strikes me from your first paragraph is that you seem to gloss over a lot of things to try to prove that nothing hurts you. I wonder if you are holding back emotionally from connecting with dates because you don’t want to get hurt again and that’s why you think you’re the “guy” in the relationship? Not all guys are like this, by the way. If you’re happy with yourself and how you are with others, why are you so bothered by it? SURFERROSA


Just because you’re stable and practical doesn’t mean you’re the “guy.” And emotional outbursts and hysteria are not confined only to women, in my experience. WIZEN

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Get Season 2 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast now at loveletters.show or wherever you listen. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.