Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am a 34-year-old successful single woman. I am overweight and I understand that most guys are not interested in dating an overweight woman in spite of all the positive things she has to offer.

What I don't understand is this: Sometimes I go out with guys who have been told beforehand that I am overweight. After the date they tell me that they had a good time, and then I never hear from them again. Obviously the weight thing bothered them. Why did they ask me out to begin with? Were they just looking for the chance to reject someone?

Also I don't understand why guys say they will call you and then they never do. It would be better if they said it was "nice meeting you and bye," instead of saying they will call when they really don't mean it.

I'm really puzzled.

Thanks for any advice you can give me on this.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the service you're providing. I've been reading your dating advice and it's been very helpful.

Esther

Dear Esther,

Thank you for writing. We know how frustrated you must feel to hear the same, "I'll call you" line and suspect that your date will not do what he says. Men don't realize that women get their hopes up when they say those words. Or, if they do realize it, they're at a loss with how to be polite when they don't want to go out with that person again. Believe it or not, men have also written to us wondering what they should say at the end of such a date (see Dating Advice #74). We agree with your suggestion as to what they should say.

Still, it would be helpful for you to know why you don't usually get asked out a second time. We don't think that your dates are rejecting you because of your weight. Some men don't mind a few extra pounds, and we're willing to bet that most of the men who dated you fall into this category. We also don't think that your dates have chosen to go out with you so they'll have the opportunity to reject someone. The dating maze is just as uncomfortable for men as for women, and most men don't want to waste their time going out with someone unless they believe she may be suitable.

There are a few reasons why you may not get calls back from men. Many men are conditioned to expect an instant click, and when they don't feel it, they move on. This isn't a good way to date, but it's a mistake people repeatedly make, and that's part of the reality of Western society. So if you find that the majority of the time you are not asked out on a second date, it's time to consider the possibility that there is something in your own behavior that turns dates off.

We sense an undercurrent of hurt in your letter. You'd be surprised how apparent this feeling is to others, even when someone thinks she is masking it, and you may not realize how uncomfortable this undercurrent makes other people feel. Even if you are not unconsciously expressing your hurt, you may be doing something else to sabotage yourself without realizing it.

After having gone on a number of unsuccessful dates, many people will experience negative feelings and start to question themselves. But there is a way to break this pattern. The first step is for you to identify what emotions and behaviors you may be projecting when you are on a date. It helps to write down your thoughts and then review them with a very close friend, who may be able to give you some insight into how you might be projecting your feelings when you date.

The next thing is accept that the feelings you have are perfectly normal, and that you are entitled to feel this way. At the same time, you should feel positively about yourself, since it is very important for everyone to balance their negative and positive emotions. We wonder if you are doing enough for yourself, by expressing your creativity and interests through classes, clubs, community work and other emotionally and intellectually stimulating activities.

We also suggest that when you date in the future, you enlist the help of a trusted married friend to be your dating mentor. We have found that the emotional support, advice and perspective of a good friend, especially one who is already married, is an invaluable aid to almost any over-30 single woman or man.

There is one other thing that you might consider, and it is very difficult for us to write because we know that it is a complicated issue for everyone who struggles with their weight. While many people don't mind dating someone who is somewhat heavier than the norm, and some people are attracted to fuller figures, someone who is substantially overweight will have a great deal of trouble in the dating arena. We can't tell anyone to lose weight -- this is a very personal matter. However, when someone is told that their date is overweight, they will expect someone who is 20, 30 or even 50 pounds overweight. If their date is much heavier, they should be told this beforehand so that they can decide if they still want to go out with that person. Otherwise, even though the well-intentioned people who set this couple up may hope that they'll hit it off and overcome any weight issues, this usually doesn't happen and somebody ends up getting hurt.

We hope this has been helpful, and wish you the best of success,

Rosie & Sherry