Being a single woman today isn’t easy. After a long week at work, it’s hard to find the time and energy to go out, navigate the crowded dating scene, and try to find a deep romantic connection. And here’s the thing: When you finally do come across one of the good guys out there, why does it always turn out that he’s either taken, gay, dead, or available?

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you the last time I met a nice, intelligent guy who didn’t end up being in a long-term relationship, attracted to other men, currently deceased, or unattached and actively looking for a partner. It never fails!

All the ladies out there know exactly what I’m talking about. It seems like you can’t start a conversation with a cute, charming guy anymore without him mentioning that he already has a girlfriend or a boyfriend or no romantic companion at all. And if it’s not that, then you soon discover that he lived and died 300 years ago, or that he’s alive right now, or that he doesn’t exist yet and won’t be born for decades in the future, or that he’s just a momentary figment of your imagination.

God, it seems like it’s always something!

Now, I’ll admit that some of the blame falls on me—I can be pretty picky. When it comes to a potential partner, there are certain things I’m just not willing to compromise on. He has to be educated, polite, a good listener, and have a sense of humor. But of course, whenever I think I’ve finally met that perfect guy who fits my criteria, he drops the bomb that he’s engaged, or that he’s a purely fictional character from a book or movie, or that he’s a real living person, or that he’s single.

This happens literally every time.

And then I think to myself, ugh, Kim, not again! Why do you always fall for the married, gay, single, straight, alive, dead, bisexual, imaginary, comatose, extant, or extra-dimensional guys?!

But the thing is, it’s not just me. You’d be amazed by how many times my friends and I have sat down and shared stories about falling for a sweet, interesting guy who seemed like real marriage material, only to find out later that he’s already in a serious relationship; or that he’s President James Monroe, who passed away in 1831; or that he’s available, handsome, and interested in us; or that he’s actually just a coat hanging from a door and only looked like a man from far away.

And I can tell you from my own personal experience that there’s nothing more demoralizing than thinking you’ve hit it off with Mr. Right—a guy who’s active, confident, and actually has his priorities in order—only for him to disappear and be replaced with a flashing orange hand warning you not to cross the intersection. That’s just my luck, you know?

But that’s how the dating scene is nowadays. Every time we stumble across a man who has even the most remote amount of job security, out of nowhere—wham!— we find out that he’s just a stock photo in a Merrill Lynch investment ad or that he’s my ex-boyfriend, or that he’s a plastic cup. And you know where we end up after that, don’t you? Back out at the bar, drinking a vodka tonic and kicking ourselves for ever being dumb enough to think things could have worked out.

I’m sure some of you probably think I’m exaggerating or being melodramatic. But let me give you a rundown of my admittedly pathetic romantic history over the past year, just to give you an idea of what today’s women are up against. The last nine kind, charismatic guys whom I’ve been interested in have been, in order, gay, married, 10 months old, created in 1968 by Hanna-Barbera Productions and voiced by Daws Butler, still living with his mother, single and open to dating, a western lowland gorilla, gay again, and a marble bust of Julius Caesar.

Talk about frustrating!

I guess the bottom line is that we women have to learn to accept that most of the true catches out there have some sort of sexual orientation, exist or do not exist, and may or may not just be reflections of another man in a mirror or still body of water.

I’ll admit, though, that there are some days I’m so exasperated that I feel like giving up. Like yesterday, for example, when I learned that this great guy I’d been flirting with for months—a thoughtful, attractive guy I could honestly see myself with—has been married to a woman for the past five years, and the woman was me and we’re raising two children together. Ugh, can you believe that? It was pretty embarrassing when I finally put it together. But you live and you learn, I guess.

And despite all this, I still believe deep down that there’s a wonderful guy out there for me somewhere. I just have to keep my eyes open.