ivorced, widowed, always single women, this question is for you:Do you know the real reason why you are single?I asked this question to women in my research study and was astonished by their responses, reported in my book,With Or Without A Man: Single Women Taking Control of Their Lives.What was most striking was how varied and contradictory their explanations: too fat, too thin; dependent, independent; shy, strong willed; not smart, too intelligent.
Other typical explanations mirror comments you have heard from others: “I’m too fussy or too choosy,” or “I don’t give a man a chance.”It’s as if women have heard these comments enough that they have internalized them, believing them.
Wait.I hear some of you saying, “No, the reason I’m not married is because men are jerks.”In fact, some of the same women who gave the above answers also said this.
To understand this, let’s consider this scene.Is it familiar?You are sitting at lunch with a friend complaining how men are jerks.You are upset after a first date you had the other night with a man who promised he’d call but hadn’t, or talking about a man you met through email who suddenly stopped writing.
What do you tell her?You’re upset because men are jerks?Maybe, but do you also share your worry that perhaps you had been too pushy challenging him about supporting Obama vs. Clinton?Or, maybe you hadn’t shown enough interest in his detailed discussion of the workings of a computer?Did you question yourself:What did or didn’t I do that caused him not to call or write back?
With your friend, and by yourself, do you search your brain trying to recall what you should have done or said differently?Did you come across as insensitive?Could he see you aren’t ready for a relationship?
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
If this is you, or has been you at any point, listen carefully to yourself.You may call men jerks, but how much responsibility do you take for why a man doesn’t pursue a relationship?How much responsibility do you take for why you are single or single again?
Now, let’s imagine the man is at lunch with his friend.Do you think he is rehashing the date (or email) with you?Is he trying to figure what he may have said or done that pushed you away?Can you imagine him taking apart the conversation or email, worrying about his behavior, what he said or shouldn’t have said?Was he questioning whether he was too pushy, or you seemed afraid of intimacy?
Don’t laugh too loudly.You know the answer.You know men and women are different.And, one of the many ways is women internalize relationship problems (“It must be my fault”) while men externalize them (It has nothing to do with me”).So you’re at home blaming yourself for being too pushy, and he’s either not thinking about you at all (egads!) or he’s saying, “Nah, no chemistry,”chalking it up to another wasted evening.
Well, listen up, always single and single again women:Here’s the unspoken truth that no one wants to acknowledge, despite all the books and information available on how to make yourself irresistible to men:
More women than men are pursuing their personal growth, so more women than men are ready for a healthy relationship.
It is hard to find an EAM, an emotionally available man.This is a man who is willing to put in the effort you have to make yourself as emotionally healthy as possible.
No matter how well you flirt or how you dress, even if you did headstands naked in Times Square, it wouldn’t guarantee your meeting an EAMIt takes two people to make a relationship work -- so the man has to do his part.
If you don’t blame yourself for being single, then, where does that leave you?Disappointed in there being so few truly emotionally available men? Moving ahead feeling competent and enlivened with the rest of your life?Sad, at times, at the absence of a loving man?All of these, but mostly, not blaming yourself for being a single woman.
You may not want to be single, but, for however long you are, get some FREE reassuring guidelines: 15 Golden Rules for Being An Emotionally Healthy Single Woman (DrKGL.com/rules).And, check out my upcoming weekend retreats for single women, http://www.UniqueRetreatsForWomen.com/Elephant.aspx.