Life Advice



Single File: Reader's Choice

Susan Dietz on

For the curious, my life's work found me. Catapulted overnight (literally) into young widowhood, and with a very young son to nurture, I quickly realized how unprepared I was for life on my own. (Smith College doesn't educate to be Head of Household.) Every day was a challenge; some I met adequately, some not so well. But slowly and painfully, I began to push back against the terrors that came in the night -- every night -- droning their frightening what-ifs. It took many, many nights to finally replace fear with action, but when I did, I had found my mission.

Dedication to unmarried life has taken many forms. As adjunct professor at The New School in New York City, I led seminars in my original curriculum, "The Art of Living Single." I conceived, created and hosted a weekend radio program on station WMCA in New York City. During the same period, I wrote and recorded scripts on single living for Codart International as well as a 900-number project. My survey on Single Sexuality soon followed, with results that make it nationally representative. I was featured on the Prodigy online service for six years as the Sin gles Expert. During that time, my second book, "Single File," was published by St. Martin's Press. (My first book, "Valency Girl," was written with Robin Moore.)

As thought leader for the unmarried, my advice column, "Single File," (now past its 40th year) has been featured in hundreds of newspapers -- some (such as Newsday) for many years -- and is also featured online. My dedication to the single community is codified in manifestos: "The Declaration of Undependence," "Sexual Bill of Rights" and "Emancipation Proclamation."

DEAR READERS: Now that you know more about me, tell me more about you. If you will, mark your favorite columns/issues from this group and email the list to Undependence; Exercises in Singleness; Fathers as Mothers; Premarital Divorce; Renewable Virginity; Marry Me a Little; Casual Sex: Risky Oxymoron; Dual Citizenship; Bed Gratitude; Living in all the Tenses; Mutualism: Beyond Gender; Re-Entry; Get Online; Time Well Spent; It's Your Ride; Madonna Motherhood; You as Hero; Sexual Bill of Rights; Chairman of the Board; Declaration of Undependence; One's Company; Connectedness; Alchemy: From Partial to Primary; The Not-So-Quiet Revolution and the New Singleton It Produces.


Shared Fear: We women share men's reluctance to commit. (I can already hear the female groans in Readerland). We probably won't admit it and will lay the blame on the man in our life, but we did choose him and, therefore, must assume some responsibility for the stalemate. Truth be told, women are as terrified -- maybe more -- of emotional meltdown, of being smothered by a man's needs and losing the personhood they've struggled for so long to attain. (Who wouldn't be reluctant?!) If -- when --women feel free to insist on emotional reciprocity with their partner, they won't need to worry about imbalance! And as they (we) learn to keep a firm grip on our personhood within a coupled relationship, this dread will also ease. But make no mistake about it: Not only men are skittish about commitment!


Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at 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 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.



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