Dear Annie, I’m a 53-year-old man who has been in the dating scene for three years after my fourteen-year marriage ended in divorce. I would love to be in a long-term, committed relationship.

Unfortunately, no matter what I do, I’m not meeting the right kind of woman. I’m looking for a single or divorced lady in her forties, who is intelligent, attractive and classy. She’s got to be active, fit and most importantly “normal.”

The few women, in their forties, I have dated briefly were all strange in different ways. For example, one smoked a lot of pot. Another’s week-long meditation sessions prevented us from going out of town. How could I, as a normal, hardworking, educated and responsible guy who enjoys travel live with that?

I’ve gone to singles events, Meet-Ups and used online dating sites and apps. I’ve met dozens of women in their mid-fifties and sixties, but very few in their forties.

I agree with a male friend who said, “There aren’t any normal women in their forties. They are all married and raising children.”

Where are all the attractive and normal, good women? Mike

The simple answer is that you can probably find women who are in their forties who meet your definition of normal in a wide variety of places. They almost certainly work, go to the gym and shop. You might find them in classes, Meet-Ups or singles events. Some of them are also on online dating sites.

One of the problems that today’s dating scene causes is that people are more inclined to be solely attracted to external traits. In your case, you are only seeking a woman in her forties, even though you are well into your fifties.

Ironically, one of the issues that you face when you only want to date a woman who is at least four years younger than you is that many women in their forties don’t want to date men in their fifties because “it sounds so old.” By the way, I am simply reporting what I’ve seen and heard; I’m not saying that I agree.

If we were working together, I would ask you this question: What do you need a relationship with a woman to provide?

Because you’re not here to create your own list, I’m going to guess that your reply would include some of the following, in no particular order: You want to feel attraction. You desire sex, companionship and romance. Attention, affection and appreciation. A sense of feeling simpatico together, a sense of acceptance and feeling loved for being your authentic self. You probably want a woman who you can trust to have your back, one you can count on and someone who is easy to be around.

The next question I would ask you is this: Why are these things only possible to obtain if a woman is at least four years younger than you are? What do you believe is so different about a woman who is forty-eight than one who is your age, fifty-three?

It’s true that some women lose interest in sex after menopause. However, many women become even more sexually responsive, passionate and uninhibited. Lots of women find it easier to handle their mood-swings after menopause, which leaves them less prone to drama.

What if you became open to dating a woman who is, like you, in her fifties? There are a lot of attractive women in their early to mid fifties who are likely to share your values.By limiting yourself to a specific age, you are effectively lowering your chances of finding the intelligent, attractive and “normal” woman you so desire.