Dear Dategirl,I'm divorced and didn't meet anyone for three years after I left my marriage. Then suddenly I met this man. I fell for him big-time. I felt like I'd finally met my better half. I felt like I could be myself for the first time in my entire life. He told me he loved me and then he ran away.I'm 10 years older than he is, and I have never been in a situation like this before. I really don't know what to do. I can't just throw my feelings out like yesterday's trash. I think that the difference in age is a factor. I keep hearing that you have to put yourself out there—and I am out there more than most—but nothing.Men look, smile, and keep moving. Most want someone younger, but I'll bet most of them could not keep up with me. So how do I meet age-appropriate men who are not chicken?—Mrs. Robinson
I don't know why you're miserable; you should be jumping up and down, cuddling kittens, and high-fiving everyone in your path—you've had your rebound romance! Not only that, but he's already bounced. This means you're actually now really ready for a relationship.Everybody (seriously, everybody) knows that the first tryst following a long-term marriage/cohabitation is doomed to failure. It doesn't matter if it's been three years or three days—that's just the way it is. Basically, for about a year after an LTR ends, your judgment is completely useless. You've got baggage, you've probably been hurt—you're in no shape to fall in love. It's perfectly normal—and in my mind, preferable—to have a palate-cleanser between serious relationships. This is commonly known as the dry spell. It's annoying and lonely while it's happening, but it also gives you time to get your head straight and realize you'll be OK on your own. Then once you're done with all the navel-gazing and mourning, it's safe to go out and test the equipment.So by getting involved with your fickle young suitor, you effectively ended your dry spell. Think of it as pulling a particularly sticky Band-Aid off your vagina. It hurts, but underneath, you're healed!While it might be comforting to blame this latest liaison's demise on your beau's age, unless he's a teenager, I wouldn't. Men can be notoriously flaky no matter how old they are. The bad news is some of them will be boys well into their 80s. But the flipside is also true: Some young guys are more man than their dads will ever be. Bottom line: Ten years in either direction doesn't really matter.However, yes, it's annoying when men your age exclusively want to date Chiclets who could easily be their daughters. I recently met a guy who told me he has friends, all in their early 30s, who won't date women over 25! As he dodged the flames shooting out of my ears, he explained it wasn't because the youngsters were so much hotter than the 30-somethings they were rejecting, but because the "older" ladies wanted things like commitments and babies. He was quick to add he wasn't "like that." Whatever, dude.The most important quality any dater can possess is a thick skin. If some guy smiles and keeps walking, keep walking too. Smile at strangers. Tell your friends to fix you up, and get your flirt on. Engage in some of that outdoor crap that Seattle men seem to love. Though it's not weather-appropriate at the moment, I've always found a surplus of hotties in the snowboarding section of the sporting-goods store. And, as always, I'm a big advocate of online dating.Also, feel free to lie about your age. According to a study out of Cornell University, 24.3 percent of men do.Got a question for Dategirl? Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.