Q. All my friends are engaged or getting married. Meanwhile, I’ve never been kissed. I’m a 25-year-old woman who wants to date but is terrified to the core. I’m traditional and want nothing to do with the hookup culture on dating apps.
I live in the New Hampshire suburbs, and I’m looking for someone who shares my Christian faith. I’ve tried my local churches, but the guys are looking for their immediate future wife. I’ve tried Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and OkCupid. The guys on those apps are looking for hookups . . . or, because of where I live, they’re people I knew in high school (I was bullied in high school; it was terrible for me).
I built up the courage in the spring to go on my first-ever first date. It went better than I expected! Things didn’t work out, but it gave me hope that I could survive a date. I am looking for ideas on where to meet people; I don’t have a lot of classes or other options like people do in Boston. How do I find someone who isn’t just looking for a hookup or wants to get married ASAP? —AnxiousForAnyAdvice
A. A few thoughts:
1. The men who are looking for wives might also be interested in a few dates and some good kissing. You can get to know these men and see where things go. You can have a few dates without promising forever.
2. Sometimes people are better after high school. Don’t rule out everyone from your school days. If someone seemed kind of nice back then, there might be potential.
3. Some of suburban/rural New Hampshire is within driving distance of more populated places — Boston; Portland, Maine; Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where there’s a bookstore that’s also a bar! Sometimes it’s worth traveling a bit to change your scenery.
4. Work on finding some new friends and expanding your community. The dating process is less terrifying if you know you have people who want to spend time with you no matter what. Some apps connect people for friendship. Consider giving them a try. —Meredith
You seem to have a lot of binary thinking going on. Everything in your letter is either A or B. People are more varied than that. You need to start recognizing those distinctions. JIM-IN-LITTLETON
Even the marriage-minded guys will want to date first. They won’t bring a preacher to the first meeting, usually. WIZEN
You’ll have to put your nose to the grindstone, like everyone else looking to find that special relationship, and do all the tedious work. That includes lots of online dating. Keep at the sites you’re using and keep networking through your church. And don’t immediately write off all guys as wanting hookups, that’s narrow-minded. LUPELOVE
You’ve told us what you don’t want. Focus on what you do want, what you like to do. Try Meetup.com to find people who like those same things in your neck of the woods. Start with that. MEDFIELDDAD
Get Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to email@example.com.