Dear Amy: I’m a 36-year-old gay man. I have always had an interest in starting a family.
I have a good career, which could be part of why I’ve been single for roughly 10 years now.
The issue that I run into is that I struggle to find a “peer” to date.
In the past (and recently) I’ve dated professionals five to 20 years older than me, but I know that people in that age group are unlikely to want a family, and there is an imbalance (from my perspective) in the dynamic.
On the flip side, I have dated those five to 10 years younger than myself, and the connection can seem just as great as those on the older side, but inevitably, they are still starting out, dealing with their own struggles as they find their way.
Ideally, it would be great to meet someone who is at a similar place in their life as I am with mine, but I wonder, at this age in my life and given the length of time I’ve been single, am I asking too much?
What do you think?
— Professional and Single in Portland
Dear Single: You are not asking too much from your dating life. You are asking the exact right amount.
First of all, you shouldn’t necessarily make assumptions about people based solely on their age. Although I agree that age has an impact on a person’s readiness to have children, being family oriented is more of a core value.
It seems that your approach to dating so far has a Goldilocks quality. You’ve tried dating people who you perceive are too old for children, you’ve dated people who are too young, and now, at 36, you are looking for someone who is just right.
Put the word out among your friend group and rewrite your profile on whatever online matching sites you use that you are a family-oriented man, ready to have children with the right partner.
You might find (as I did at your age) that all of your peers seem to be taken.
If that is the case, if you want to get started on building your family, you can do so as a single man. Look into adoption, surrogacy and fostering children. Also consider dating available men who are already dads. Being a stepparent is a unique challenge and joy.
Dear Amy: On occasion my wife and I will go out to dinner with two other couples. Since none of us drink, we always split the bill and tip evenly between us.
However, the last time we all went out, one of the couples insisted on separate checks. When the checks came, the wife pulled out a gift card to obviously be applied to their bill.
Quite frankly my wife and I don’t need a gift card contribution when we dine out, but I was appalled by her actions.
If my wife and I had a restaurant gift card, I would have applied it to the total bill, or at least I’d have bought appetizers for the table!
If she did not want to share the gift card’s value with us, then she should have saved it for when just she and her husband go to this restaurant alone.
What do you think?
— Appalled Diner
Dear Appalled: I think that this other couple should rethink their choice to dine with you. You are way too sensitive about how people pay for their meals.
The restaurant gift card is the equivalent of currency.
Your tone implies that because their restaurant card was a “gift,” they should have shared it with the table. How do you know it was a gift? And why does this matter to you?
Must all forms of payment be sourced by you to make sure that it is earned?
It might not have been necessary for the other party to ask for separate checks. Restaurants can handle gift cards the way they handle other payment cards, if you ask them to deduct a specific amount from the card’s total.
Dear Amy: “Chatty Sister” complained about her brother who demanded total quiet while studying to get into law school.
I thought your answer was good, but why did you feel the need to insert a stupid “lawyer joke” into your response? As a lawyer, I found that quite offensive.
— Upset Lawyer
Dear Upset: Yes, I did make an obvious “lawyer joke” in response to this question. The opportunity was just ... sitting there, and I take responsibility for it, and apologize.
Contact Amy Dickinson at: email@example.com.