All Tea No Shade with Andrea Lo.
Last month I wrote about receiving unsolicited advice on how not to be single — and the importance of staying true to yourself, rather than following what other people are telling you, when looking for a partner.
I received an email from a reader highlighting her observations on why single women remain single.
“I’m married, and often I’ll be as direct as possible with my single girlfriends. My attitude is that if I don’t tell them what’s wrong, no one else will do so,” writes the reader.
“One really has to ask if being yourself is good enough,” she adds. “Perhaps being yourself doesn’t work and one needs to make adjustments and improve.”
According to the reader, the single women she knows — “who desperately want a partner and don’t want to stay single” — have issues that prevent them from finding a partner, and being in healthy relationships.
I’m writing an open letter to address her points here.
“Unrealistic expectations: Many of these older women (over 40) won’t consider dating men who are less financially successful than they are, even though these types of men have their pick of much younger women and are unlikely to want older women. Men who want to marry tend to want kids, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to date women who are over their mid-30s.”
My take: Like I said last month, I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with having standards, at any age. I also think that while looking for a relationship, you should focus on searching for the right person for you. It’s not a “please pick me!” situation for women. It’s true that some men over a certain age look for younger female companionship, but is this really a reason to change what you want in a partner? There are also people who look to marry but might not necessarily want kids.
“Talking too much: This is really a problem. I know women who love to talk non-stop about everything. About themselves, trivial subjects — anything. They just love to chatter non-stop, get carried away, and end up dominating the entire conversation. Unless a guy is into that, it won’t work!”
My take: If a man can’t deal with a woman who voices her own opinions, then maybe both parties should just stay single.
“Being wacky: Some women just lack focus, direction and motivation in their career and overall life planning, or have unattractive qualities such as a bad temper or extreme jealousy. Marriage-minded men just don’t want such women as their wife or mother of their kids!”
My take: I don’t think being wacky equals a lacking in drive. I’ll be the first to admit I have weird habits (sleeping with a minimum of six pillows; insisting that my stationery lines up in a certain way on my desk while working) — you could hardly use that to build your case for someone not being focused or motivated. Some people do have bad tempers or extreme jealousy issues, but to say this applies to all women who are single seems to be a sweeping generalization. If a guy doesn’t want to be in a relationship/have kids with me because he can’t deal with me having six pillows in bed, then he can leave/also shouldn’t have kids.
“Raised in a broken home: Not growing up in a stable household can have an adverse effect on healthy relationships in adulthood. How can you expect to know how to be in a marriage or partnership if you didn’t have such role models as a child?
Of course, many folks from this type of background can overcome issues that stem from growing up in a broken home and successfully build marriages and families as adults. I have seen problems ranging from lack of trust and inability to commit with friends raised by single parents. My own husband came from a broken home and had a terrible relationship with his stepfather when he was a teenager. This affected him badly and even I have difficulty being supportive or understanding.”
My take: If this was an issue, I’m not too sure what adjustments I could make to change it. Divorce rates continue to rise, and I myself along with the majority of my friends come from so-called “broken homes.” I personally take issue with this term as I don’t believe that all parents who are no longer together instantly lose the ability to raise children properly — there are many successful examples of co-parenting out there.
Divorce does have an effect on families, but to say that this 100 percent damages a kid’s chances in relationships later in life is kind of dramatic. Lack of trust, as well as commitment-phobia, are issues that don’t necessarily have to do with growing up in a single-parent household. For me, it’s not something I carry around at all. You gotta leave the past behind and live.
Final thoughts: No one should have to change who they are to fit what other people think they should be — whether or not they’re looking for a relationship.
Love it? Hate it? Tell Andrea all about it: email@example.com.
Reader’s submission has been edited for grammar and clarity.