Life Advice



Single File: Overlooked?

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I was quite saddened to read in 'Single File' that unmarried households (solo) outnumber married families. But as I think about it, it's somewhat true. Even in my life I know of several people between the ages of 30 and 55 who live alone. Those divorced are trying desperately to meet someone so as not to continue their journey alone. I think that's because they have experienced marriage and motherhood and want to experience part (if not all) of it again. I myself happen to fit in the category of never having married, and so have a hard time relating to my divorced friends. I do however feel I'm running out of time because of my age (30). Even my chances for motherhood are diminishing. I've pretty much learned to be alone, to go to parties alone, to hang out alone, even travel alone. The problem is that I hate it! Maybe I feel it more because I passed up some really "good" men when I was in my 20s and can't find anyone like that now. I was recently accused of having "too high" expectations. But I know what I want and what I need. Is that wrong? Anyway, I have plenty of friends and family to keep me busy, plus my work and my hobbies. All that I'm missing is a partner -- and I'm not sure that will ever happen. Unfortunately, I must agree with a recent article that "The longer women postpone decisions on marriage and motherhood, the bigger the chance of their failing to try either one." Sometimes it's just too hard to try. -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: ... but then you meet someone who is worth the extra effort. And all of a sudden, breaking stale patterns of "old-maidism" turns out to be easier than you thought. All of a sudden, this person you met inspires dreams. All of a sudden, you feel more flexible; this nice person inspires you to adjust and change and give of yourself. What a happening! Suddenly, you don't feel alone -- you have a new friend, and it's pretty clear that what you have together isn't going away anytime soon. Suddenly it occurs to you that this is what you've been waiting for, the relationship you've been waiting for all these years. This one feels right. Wholesome and clean. Like nothing else you've experienced. This is what you've been waiting for. The years of living alone are making you strong, self-sufficient. They are lessons that need to be learned, digested. The waiting has a purpose. Enjoy it for its lessons and the strength it is giving you. Thank you for your apology to the "nice guys" you spurned in your 20s. My sense is that sometime in the future you will meet someone with similar qualities -- and this time, you will know the treasure you've found, and appreciate his goodness. And do your best to stay upbeat; the waiting will only hone your senses so that you'll be more certain of your choice when the Right One shows up. Until then, make the most of its life lessons.

DEAR SUSAN: What is the most common mistake people make when they fall in love? -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: They feel a sense of ownership. The marriage license morphs into a leash (albeit a long one). And all of a sudden, the person who was so vibrant and alive in courtship days now is a lumpen blob who refuses to think for him/herself. In the same way you must find your personal road to your very best self, you must allow -- no, encourage -- your partner to have the same freedom. Where fear takes over and restricts a partner from growing, their love becomes stunted (and morphs into resentment), and the love between partners dies. The ideal? A free-range partnership based on love and respect, flourishing in a climate that encourages both partners to be themselves. If a partner is denied the right to grow, he/she will eventually feel cheated and resentful. Under those conditions, love cannot survive. For a relationship to work, both partners must have all the freedom, privacy and opportunity each needs -- even though it gives both of them opportunity to stray. Admittedly, this type of loving is risky, but it is the only kind with a huge payoff. No one can own another human being.



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