Dear New Shrink,

I have been thinking about your dating advice offer. Well, here is my question. I live in Santa Monica and the beautiful women that live here are endless. Where and when does “the game” end? I am not talking about sleeping with them, but rather the “a better one, another one” syndrome. I am a 44-year-old single guy who is considered to be good looking and women around my age in real life or on dating sites seem to fall out of trees here. So doctor, what should I do? We are lucky to have all these beauties. It adds years to my life just seeing them! Guess that little birdie is saying wife time and to be like my dad and mom, aunt and uncle — married for 50 years.

Signed,

Mystery Man

Dear Mystery Man,

It may come as a surprise to you, but in my profession I rarely give advice. I see my role as having the right questions and one of helping to guide people to find their own answers. I don’t pretend to know what is best for others. Of course there are exceptions to this when someone is really sick with alcoholism or mental illness. But because that is not the case here, I will gladly attempt to guide you by sharing some of my basic knowledge.

There is no question that we live in a part of the country where beauty reigns and is a priority to many people. Especially in this part of town where there is such a big Hollywood influence.

Some people really enjoying dating, others do not. Some people really just want to be in a relationship. If you are enjoying dating until you are ready to settle down, that is not a problem. But you say that you are playing some kind of game, always looking for the next one, a better one. It sounds a bit like you are not giving anyone a chance and that makes me wonder if you have a problem with attachment.

Scientific research has shown that our basic nature is to form attachments. If you have trouble with this, you should ask yourself what you are so afraid of? I am serious; just think about it.

You mention your parents and aunt and uncle have been together for 50 years. They are role models for you and whatever impression they made on you influences your actions today.

We all have internalized images of what a family is or should be. That image comes up and takes over once we settle down so when you start the process, you will want to make sure that the lady you pick has similar images, ideas and expectations. In this regard you should have similar goals, both personal and transpersonal. These goals help bind you in rough times. Be sure that you really like her character because you won’t be able to change it and will have to live with it. It’s also critical that you have open and honest communication, it is the secret of staying in love.

You realize that you pretty much answered your own question with your comment about “a little birdie saying wife time.” At 44 time starts to speed up and life in many ways gets more difficult as time progresses. But don’t just grab the first one that feels good. Make sure about these things that I have just mentioned. Take your time to be certain. Ask questions and pay close attention.

This person should be your best friend and someone you are really comfortable with; someone you can grow old with!

Finding someone that is beautiful to you is very important but basing your choice on looks alone is a dangerous business. None of us can keep our looks forever. But more importantly, the greatest of beauties can begin to look ugly to you if you start to build up resentment because you are not truly suited for one another or you got together for the wrong reasons.

Good Luck Mystery Man. Hope this helps.

Dr. JoAnne Barge is a licensed psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist with offices in Brentwood. Visit her at www.drbarge.com. Send your anonymous questions and comments to NewShrink@gmail.com Got something on your mind? Let us help you with your life matters.