Dear Rachel,

Why are all the good women taken? The single women I meet are clingy, jealous and possessive to the point that I feel smothered. Whenever I meet a woman with looks, personality and intelligence, she inevitably has a boyfriend or a husband. Why didn’t I meet these women before some lucky guy took them off the market? Why can’t I find a woman who’s the “total package” in L.A.?

Signed, Left with Scraps

Dear Left with Scraps,

There are plenty of “total package” women in L.A., but you obviously can’t see them. Maybe you don’t really want a relationship as much as you think you do. Could it be that you’re too busy developing crushes on unavailable women to notice the available ones? Unavailable women are easy to idealize because you don’t know them, and, therefore, they won’t shatter your illusion of perfection. In your fantasies, these women seem perfect because you can project your favorite qualities onto them, whether they possess them or not. Fantasies won’t smother you, they never let you down and they can’t break your heart. And … when you get tired of them, you can simply store them away in your memory bank.

If you expect women to measure up to your fantasies, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. It’s simply not true that there are no quality, single women in this city. The longer you hold on to this limiting belief, the longer it’ll take you to actualize your goal of a fulfilling relationship. It’s counterproductive to look for love when you’ve convinced yourself that it’s impossible to find. The number one dating mistake people make is that they date the same type of person over and over again. No more excuses. If you only meet “clingy” types, look for new places to meet women. Mix it up. If you don’t like your results, break the pattern.

I’m wondering if your fascination with women who have boyfriends or husbands is your attempt to avoid intimacy with an available partner. Relationships can be scary because there’s always the risk of heartbreak if they don’t work out. While fantasy partners can’t break your heart, they also can’t offer the benefits of a relationship with a flesh-and-blood companion.

Dear Rachel,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for two years and we’re completely compatible except for one thing: he won’t marry me until he becomes a famous rock star. He says we’ll get married as soon as he gets his “big break,” but he’s been playing in bands for 20 years and I don’t know if he’s ever going to make it. I hate that our relationship is on hold until his career becomes successful. I don’t understand why we can’t move on with our lives now before he becomes a star. How many chances should I give him to marry me?

Signed, Waiting in Limbo

Dear Waiting in Limbo,

The fact that your boyfriend is making your wedding contingent on his elusive “big break” tells me that he’s not in a hurry to marry you. He’s also sending you a clear message that his career is the number one priority in his life, not you. Many men want to be able to provide security for a woman before settling down, but there’s a fine line between being practical and making an excuse. This sounds like another case of what I call, “Starving Artists’ Syndrome.” A starving artists’ career takes precedence over his personal life to the detriment of their interpersonal relationships. Many people, especially in L.A. suffer from Starving Artists’ Syndrome to one degree or another, and the presence of this syndrome is not necessarily a relationship deal-breaker.

Artists often live unconventional lives. That’s part of the allure for both them and you. If you want to be with this man, you may have to sacrifice some of your lifestyle preferences, like marriage. If you could be happy with him for the rest of your life, even if he never gets his “big break” and the two of you never get married, then he’s the right guy for you. If, on the other hand, marriage is more important to you than the rock ‘n’ roll life with your boyfriend, you may need to rethink your long-term compatibility.

Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice Beach. Her book, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For more information on Rachel or her book, visit www.rebelgirlpublishing.com. For dating advice, contact: rachel@rebelgirlpublishing.com.

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