Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Unmarried Woman

SINGLE IN DIXIE wrote in to Dear Abby:

I am an average-looking, middle-aged woman. I have many friends and a career I love.
So far, so good.

What I do not have is a partner.
Some people are happy like that. Not her.

It breaks my heart. I feel excluded from an important part of life -- romantic love.
She wasn't always excluded, as she writes...

I have had relationships with men. All of them were disasters.
All? Why? Are you bad a picking men, or bad at treating men? If it is the former, find out why you are bad at picking men, or you are likely to keep picking bad men.

I wonder how many great men passed you by because you were embroiled in disasters with bad boys?

Once you do have that figured out, don't be unrealistic in your standards. By no means should you put up with lousy treatment or anything like that. But if you're only going to consider, say, high-earning professionals around your age... the unmarried ones either don't want to be married or can attract younger, hotter women.

At the age I am now, there seems to be little or no hope of finding anyone.
I'm not going to lie. It is difficult for an "average-looking, middle-aged woman". This is why so many women "pin the tail" on the groom before they get to that point, with mixed results.

Most of my friends are married or in committed relationships, and I feel like an outsider.
That could be part of the problem – you’re hanging out with married people. They're already married.

I am involved in my church and my career, and to all outward appearances, I look happy and successful.
Is your church the kind that tends to drive away unmarried men? That could be another problem.

But, Abby, inside I am terrified that I'll be alone forever.
See, as unromantic as it sounds, I could have been happy being unmarried. I was happy being unmarried. But I understand that other people are different.

Sometimes I wonder how I will survive this life.
I suggest saving, investing, insuring, and networking. And not getting a lot of cats.

Dear Abby tries to convince her it isn't so bad:

There are worse things than being alone.
There are worse things than just about everything.

Chief among them is being stuck in a relationship (formal or otherwise) with someone who isn't right for you.
This is true.

If you are spending most of your time with couples, perhaps you should arrange to spend more time with other singles.
Yes.

Expand your circle. Travel, if you can afford it. It will make you a less depressed, more interesting person to be around.
Yes, yes.

Here's what I’ll add:

First of all, you've made it this far in life. Yes, you are lonely, but ask yourself if you are really willing to trade some of your established ways and autonomy for romantic partnership, and make sure that you're not just feeling left out because of your friends being married. If you really do want a romantic partner, read on...

Honestly assess yourself. "Average" these days means "overweight". If you are more than ten or fifteen pounds overweight, shedding the fat will give you an advantage. Also, see if there is something else to do to improve your appearance. Is it time for a new hairdo? Time to change the wardrobe and makeup use?

Some women give off a "do not touch" vibe. You are probably giving off a "desperation" vibe. Neither one is helpful. Do you know how to flirt? Do you carry yourself in a way that makes you approachable? Do you put yourself in places where eligible men are likely to be?

Career women sometimes give off a vibe that they need to always be in control. A lot of men don't want that in their personal life. Also, most women marry men who earn more than they do. Have you considered men who earn about the same or less than you? There may be very romantic men who are right for you who earn less and you should consider them because you don't need a man to support you.

In addition to considering a man who earns less, you should also consider older men or younger men. You said you're looking for romance. A middle-aged woman can certainly have romance with a younger man or an older man. If you were younger and looking to start a family, I'd recommend a man about your age or slightly older, but that's not your situation.

You didn’t menion a hobby. Maybe you should get involved in a hobby, activity, or cause where you are likely to find elible men who are compatible with you. There are such men out there who have the same ache you do.

Go do something about it!

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