Life Advice



Single File: Old Maidism - A (Gentle) Rant

Susan Dietz on

This is definitely equal-opportunity advice, since thinking/acting like an old maid is a personality trait that can be acquired by either gender. You're familiar with the signs: Rigidity with a capital R, dogmatic refusal to consider another solution to a problem. Simply put, it's their way or the highway. Sometimes it takes some time to recognize the trait in an acquaintance, but once you do, the final scene is scripted. Old Maids -- male and female -- must have even the smallest detail met with their approval. (Recognize anyone in your own universe?) Such people make the people around them edgy, unsure of themselves. And so the Old Maids are ultimately left alone to stew in their own discontent ... a pathetic tale, tearfully told by repenting Old Maids of both genders.

If the subject of my rant seems similar to you or anyone you care about, let's stop the merry-go-round and look a bit closer -- and (perhaps) get more personal. (Ahem) If you -- yes, you -- hesitate handing over the television remote or (gulp) use a booming voice to dominate what was to be a friendly discussion, it may be time you realized your odds of getting close to a beloved are almost nonexistent -- unless, of course, you catch a whiff of recognition from these words and make yourself a binding oath to change the way you view the world of people. Because in love, the real thing, you must relinquish some individual power to gain the fellowship of a dyad. Yes, it's a trade-off of the most deserving sort. I heartily suggest swallowing hard before giving that nugget of wisdom your contemplation. And that you do so often. Through some twists and turns of mind and mood, I myself have come down hard on the side of sharing. Yes, there are old wounds that take their toll, sad and soulful memories that resurface to have their moment in the sun. But the sweetness of welcoming embrace always, always resurfaces and wins the day. And the heart.

In the wake of that gentle rant, some fodder for your thoughts ...

The divorce rate for people ages 50 and older has doubled, with this part of the population now comprising a growing share of America's splits. By year 2015, 1 in 4 adults seeking a divorce was 50 or older, an increase from 1 in 10 adults in 1990. Some proposed reasons for the epidemic of gray divorce:

-- Rising expectations.

-- Greater longevity.

-- Kid-centric marriages.


-- Growing apart.

Longer life inevitably gives time for contemplating and experiencing more stages of life, for other views of the marriage relationship and changing emotional needs.

Your own thoughts on lengthy marriage are welcome!


We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks - in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at



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