I'm a 25-year-old straight cis-female trying to navigate the dumpster fire that is dating in this modern world. I've been single for over a year and have been trying meet dudes....because there are A LOT of single dudes in this city... and I've run the gamut (Tinder, Bumble, fucking Coffee Meets Bagel?! Will someone please just slap these developers for coming up with these inane, bullshit names for dating apps??). I've even tried the "old school method" of just trying to talk to someone at a bar or a show, which feels IMPOSSIBLE because no one can communicate to you as a woman unless it's through a tiny, fucking screen.

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I'm a confident woman, I'm an opinionated and nasty woman, and I feel myself hardcore. I think I'm sexy, I think I'm smart, and I'm proud to have a badass job that I love and a circle of badass women to call my friends. I'm also a busy woman: I play guitar, I volunteer in my community, AND I work my ass off, so I don't have a ton of time to waste.

So WHAT THE FUCK, DAN? These dudes are garbage, I swear, ALL OF THEM ARE GARBAGE. And the most disturbing—a lot of them think I'm a call-girl (why??), so my conversations and interactions online yield not a lot more than some dude looking for a cheap hook up.

The dudes I do end up seeing on the reg. are serial time wasters!!!! I've let a lot of men treat me with a lot of disrespect and waste a lot of my time because they didn't want to be "serious" and because I've been willing to settle for that.... because hey—something is better than nothing, right?

I'm not even looking to get married, I'm not even sure I believe in marriage or even traditional, monogamous relationships, so what is going on that makes them think I want to compromise my life to take care of some horrific single man who cannot treat a woman with some goddamn respect?! I don't just want to have sex or be someone's goddamn mother, I want to have a connection.

The worst part is that I thought I finally found that with someone, someone I trusted as a friend and a confidant. The disappointment was only too real. He is married (but separated from his wife, which later I found out wasn't 100% true) and at first we had a consensual, sexual but casual relationship. I grew uncomfortable with the dynamic I was getting involved in, and when I tried to distance myself from him, he found a lot of ways to insert himself in back into my life and it eventually culminated in him sexually assaulting me.

I feel like all my trust in the opposite sex is utterly gone after being violated like that. But in so many ways, I've been allowing a lot of men to violate me for a long time...v iolate my truth, my integrity, my values, my boundaries... in addition to violating my physical body.

Please give me some hope, Dan. As I'm trying to heal from this experience, I want to believe that maybe there is a chance. Is there such a thing as a good man out there? Because I have yet to find one, and I am just so tired.

Feeling Exhausted Disappointed Unlucky & Pissed-the-fuck-off

Coffee Meets Bagel? That is a stupid name.

I hope you don't mind that I floated your question past Stranger staffer Sydney Brownstone. She's a hardcore and confident woman like yourself (who was recently voted Western Washington's Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists), and I knew she'd have some good advice for you from the strong/opinionated/confident woman angle. Take it away, Ms. Brownstone...

"Damn, FEDUP. There's a lot going on here. First of all, I’m sorry that someone you trusted violated you in that way. It’s amazing, however, that you’re even able to say that you were sexually assaulted—for lots of survivors, it takes years to reckon with that fact. That much shows that you’re resilient—you have the capacity and ability to bounce back and heal. Everyone deals with sexual assault differently, but if you’re not already in therapy, it might be a good idea. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is a good place to start to find someone who specializes in that stuff.

Second thing. Anger towards men, anger towards the world, towards humanity in general, and loss of trust in those same people and institutions is totally valid. Feel fucking angry, dude. Go scream in the motherfucking woods. And yeah, you’ve had 25 years to gather empirical data about men, and you’ve concluded that men are garbage. That’s valid, too! Most men are garbage! So why do you want a “man”? A man is nothing but an idea (and yes, you can have sexual preferences for ideas). In my view, you’re asking the wrong question about whether there is such a thing as a "good man." My suggestion is that you start from a different place.

What qualities do you look for in a “man”? Someone to trust, someone to hold you, someone to confide in, someone to fuck? When do you feel desire, and why? When we look at the roots of our desire, we often we get different answers than we’d expect. Turns out, lots of desires can be fulfilled outside a traditional boyfriend or w/e. If you want intimacy and trust and a confidante, you can often find those in close non-man friendships. If you want someone to fuck, you can suffer through a boring-ass drink with a Tinder idiot and fuck him anyway, find a friend who’s willing to be a buddy, get amazing at masturbating, or forgo it altogether. My advice: Interrogate your desires, compartmentalize your needs, and build intimacy and trust with people who deserve it, male, female, non binary, or whatever. If a “man” happens to be worthy of your trust and answer those desires, try him out. But stop looking at men with the expectation or question that they might fulfill your desires, and start looking at your desires in order to find what will fulfill them. Fuck the patriarchy and fuck toxic masculinity. Love yourself, your friends, and community first."

So, FEDUP, there you have it. Great out-of-the-box advice. My two cents: You're only 25. It's rare to meet a 25 year old who is happily (or even miserably) partnered off. (Lord knows I wasn't at 25). So there's no rush and the frustration you're experiencing is normal for this stage of life. And while a lot of men are garbage—or "testosterone-soaked dick monsters," as I like to call them—there are some decent-to-tolerable-to-wonderful guys out there. The hard part, of course, is finding them. Or, you know, not. Like I told TVWBFAWLJNITGW in "Savage Love" this week, "Even if you never meet someone (I'm not sugarcoating things—some people don't), going places and doing things means you'll have a rich and full and active life regardless." But don't wait around for a man or spend all your time obsessing about men. Get out there and live your life and maybe you'll run across a decent one. Or, you know, not.

P.S. Some women are garbage too.

P.P.S. I'm so sorry you were sexually assaulted by someone you thought you could trust. Fuck that asshole.

P.P.P.S. If you like what Sydney has to say, follow her here at The Stranger or listen to her new podcast, Trust Issues, with other Stranger staffer Heidi Groover.

P.P.P.P.S. Enjoy...

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