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When Perfect Isn’t Perfect

MILO’s conversations are substantive, he’s good-looking, and he dresses well. He’s got a great sense of humor, he’s thoughtful and generous, and he’s kind. I’m bewildered and somewhat embarrassed to say this, but he’s boring me to death.

Have you ever had a “wow!” moment in a dress store, seeing a “perfect” dress on the rack? It’s EXACTLY the right color, size, and style! You’re going to look FABULOUS in it! You put it on and it looks like — nothing.  That’s what it’s like with MILO.  He’s perfect except that he isn’t. There’s just no chemistry.


I might think that MILO is perfect if I were a younger woman. When you have lots of years ahead of you, and  you’re starting from scratch, it’s easier to patiently mold the ideal lover / companion / husband.

A young woman views changing her man as integral to the building of a lasting relationship. He won’t put his dirty socks in the hamper? No problem. A brief, sly passive-aggressive denial of sexual favors and —voila! — he’s Mr. Neat & Clean. We older gals are not going to change habits that have been 50 years in the making. The dirty socks thing might be fixable, but turning a dull man into a raconteur isn’t going to happen.

I feel bad about dumping MILO.  Not because he’ll suffer – I’m not ringing his chimes either. It’s just that we’d both like to connect with someone, and we’ve invested precious time to chase what has resulted in nothing at all. It remains to be seen if we’ll even take time to nurture a continuing friendship.


There is an upside to older folks’ failed relationships. Unless there’s been embarrassment or harsh betrayal, there’s rarely any acrimony, recrimination, or revenge – just profound disappointment. For MILO’s sake and mine, I hope it’s true that disappointment contributes to one’s store of wisdom.

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'When Perfect Isn’t Perfect' have 6 comments

  1. April 20, 2013 @ 9:08 pm WallFlower

    It’s so true that you can’t change old men. Sometimes I get hung up on one of their quirks and can’t let go, so I don’t go out with them a second time. A man I know has a habit of clearing his throat loudly when we’re at concerts or in restaurants. He’s probably been doing it for years and can’t stop. I should be more accepting, but it drives me crazy.

  2. February 25, 2012 @ 9:03 pm Passion Flower

    Did you really give this man a chance?

  3. January 22, 2012 @ 2:51 pm Alicia

    This is a good point that you can’t change older men. I guess we can’t change much, either. The wonder is that you lasted any time at all with him, but I agree that an nice but unexciting man is better than no man at all.

  4. September 26, 2010 @ 1:54 pm MsPreserved

    I really like that you don’t blame this all on him. A lot of women are blogging about how awful the men they meet are without looking at their own failings, but you have the right perspective.

  5. April 21, 2010 @ 2:14 pm May

    I understand this. I have tried to make imperfect relationships work and the longer I tried, the harder I was on myself and on him. Chemistry is so important, and at this point in my life (I’m 59) I don’t want to be with someone who puts me to sleep – unless it’s because we’ve had great exhausting sex.

  6. March 1, 2010 @ 9:10 pm Katrina

    I wish I had your opportunities. I’d grab this guy in a minute!

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