Illustration for article titled How do you look for love when you've lost hope?Photo: Guido Marsman (Shutterstock)

Not all advice has to be professional. Sometimes your problems deserve a little blatant honesty from a guy with only a computer and a conscience. Fortunately, I am that guy. Welcome back to Tough Love. (If you’d like to be introduced, email me at

Today we’re discussing what to do when you feel like you’re not taking a break on the dating front. How do you move on when it feels like all hope is lost, especially when people around you seem to find it with ease?

Note: I am a columnist, not a therapist or a certified doctor. My advice should be interpreted in that sense. If you have a problem with something I say file a complaint here. Let’s start now.

Dear sam

I’m 32 years old and I’m out of luck and not having fun dating. It’s been 4 years that I’ve tried on again and again, absolutely nothing and nowhere.

I tried to date online every three months then I deleted it, no one speaks. I was like a match and they never answered. I spent days changing and tweaking my profile for nothing it seems.

I have friends who are socially incompetent but can attract women and date – they would have new girls every week. Part of my problem is that I have very little contact with women and can’t get a date to try to do better. I’ve been to a lot of hobby groups and they’re either old people or people in exactly the same position that I’m in. I do not know what to do.

Any help is appreciated

Beyond the frustrated black nerd

Dear Beyond Frustrated Black Nerd,

You are in a difficult situation so you have my sympathy. When we play on the field, we often crave an instant payout. This is rarely the case with most people, regardless of how charming, funny, or handsome they are. Dating is a process, and an annoying and potentially heartbreaking one at it. There’s a reason “Dating Sucks” is a pretty common refrain that is reflected in myriad instances Books and Podcasts.

With that in mind, you should know that this is not necessarily a “you” problem. However, the problem could be how you present yourself, especially on your online dating profiles. Connecting human beings to other singles is more art than science, but I believe maintaining the right dating app profile really boils down to a straightforward scientific formula. Are you using low-resolution, grainy photos or selfies from four years ago? Does your profile offer an insight into yourself? Are you versed in the subtle art of the thirst trap?

The annoying part about wiping hinge or tinder through is that it takes quite a bit of effort to create a profile that could attract potential matches. I’ve never come across your profiles (obviously) so I don’t know if you took the time to curate a site that will sell you the way you deserve it. You said you “spent days tweaking and tweaking your page”. Maybe you already know that.

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If so, give it more time! Three months are not part of the grand plan to find a partner. I know it can feel like a tedious slog especially because your dating apps are always there begging for a fearful swipe sesh. Try to moderate your usage. Give yourself a day or two a week to paint and let the addictive nature of the apps disconnect you for the rest of the week. This stuff can be easy to get obsessed with – especially after a year of quarantine and isolation – so try not to let it dominate your headspace.

As for your friends who you say get dates – fuck it. Relationships are very subjective, and just because you make it seem like they are successful doesn’t mean they have something that you don’t. And while I think that’s true, it’s far more important that you believe it. There is no secret recipe that they use. It could very well be luck of the draw. At the same time, you could ask some of them how they complied with this data. There’s no shame in that, and if your friends succeed with a certain strategy, it might work for you.

And one more piece of advice: try not to cause stress! Thirty-two is pretty young, and at that age you have the gift of not being quite the ankle you were probably when you were 25. You are more emotionally mature and you know what you want. Be true to yourself and keep trying because it is obviously important to you. Ultimately, it will pay off – not because fate dictates that “there is someone out there for everyone,” but because you cared about it and did the job.

That’s it for this week, but there’s a lot more Tough Love. If you’d like to be featured, please contact us by describing your dilemmas in an article E-mail me (Please put “ADVICE” or “TOUGH LOVE” in the subject line). Or, Tweet me with the hashtag #ToughLove. Serious inquiries only: Don’t send me emails or messages if you don’t want to appear in the column. Disclaimer of liability: I cannot answer all of them. So make sure you describe a specific problem in your note. I will not respond to generalizations like someone who is “mean” or vague descriptions of “relationship problems” without specific examples of what is making you sick. Take care of yourself until next time!