Kathryn's Blog: Still Single?

If you have been single awhile: 2, 5, 10 or more years

The longer you have been single, the more used to the single state you are and the more likely it is that you will stay that way.

I don’t have any research to back me up on that, but frankly I am pretty sure that is so.  Particularly if you have never been coupled (living together for a year or more) or married before at all. 

It’s pretty hard in our culture to have managed not to marry at least once by the time you are 35 or 40, if you are heterosexual.  The pressures to couple and marry are fierce.  In fact, you probably worked a bit to stay uncoupled, either avoiding dating at all, or getting out of developing relationships before committing.

Being and staying single is what you know how to do.  Your thoughts and behaviors keep you that way.  And you will probably stay single without putting in enormous effort to get different results.

Interestingly, singles are often unaware of what they do that keeps them single. 

Most folks have some ambivalence about looking for love.  Ambivalence means having thoughts, feelings, or actions that are in contradiction to each other, like love and hate.  Because it is hard for us to keep two conflicting thoughts or emotions conscious and in focus, we are often aware of only one side of the ambivalence.  Therefore, you may think and believe that you want to find a partner, that you are willing to do anything in order to get one, but you may also be equally unsure or not wanting to give up your single privileges, and you act unconsciously to undermine your best efforts to get what you think you want.

What might you be doing that undermines your finding love? 

If you are stumped, take a hop over to my readers’ “50 Ways to BLEEP Your Lover” for a funny take on the question.  But I’ve got some serious suggestions that might be indications of ambivalence:

You do nothing that will move you towards finding love. 
You think that love should “just happen” with no effort on your part.
You are always “too busy” in the present and vow to start sometime in the future when you have time.  But that time never comes.
Perhaps you are listed on a dating site, but you do not post a photo.  Or your profile essay is negative or otherwise poorly written.
You never make the first contact to potential partners.
You are critical of those who contact you.
You do not answer first or later emails promptly, waiting days or weeks to respond.
You complain about how much time Internet dating takes and the poor quality of people on your dating site.
You have long lists of “must have’s” and “deal breakers” that eliminate just about everyone.
Your schedule is so full that it is next to impossible to arrange even a coffee date.
You don’t show up at the first meeting, or you get lost, or you are late, or you change plans multiple times and then complain when your date backs out.
You are negative and critical at you first meeting, complaining about other dates or your ex.
You focus on some small detail that totally turns you off to your date, like he is balding or she is a little heavier than her pictures indicated, or he doesn’t talk easily, or she can’t spell.
You do not express positive interest, even if you are interested, and leave getting in contact again after that meeting to your date.
You consistently are not interested in people who are attracted to you, are reasonably healthy emotionally, and are truly available for a relationship.
You are interested in complicated, artistic, wealthy, elusive, moody, or eccentric people who perhaps are married or otherwise paired, or never married, alcoholic or drug-addicted, unemployed or deviant. 
You expect your partner to make your life exciting.  But exciting may really be a synonym for scary.

Well, as you probably can guess, I could go on and on.  But I am sure you get the picture. 

Now, if you keep reading, fair warning:  I’m going to spoil it for you.  You won’t be able to use your old excuses as reasons why you are single.

You are the reason.  The consistent factor in your staying single is you.

And it’s not because you are fat or short or bald or use a cane to get around.  Plenty of short, fat, bald, lame people are in relationships or married.  The fact that you aren’t one of them is you.

Ugh.  That’s the bad news, hard to hear and not easy to deliver, believe me.  But there’s good news, too, because if you are the reason you are single, then you can do something about it. 


The Plight of the Single Career Woman Looking for Love

The more educated and successful a man is, the more marketable he is for love.  Just the opposite for women.  Ergo, the complaint of women in their 30’s, 40’s and up: Where does a high-powered, successful woman find a date, let alone a mate?

It’s a real conundrum.  More women are going to college and grad school now than men.  Younger women are at least as concerned and focused on their career as men have traditionally been.  Men have tradionally “married down,” paired with women who were younger, less educated and career-minded, and perhaps even lower on the social ladder.  Women have tradionally done the opposite: “Married up” to older, more successful men.  As women rise in education, success and finances, there is a dwindling pool of men who are more and better than they are. 

Then you have the “I don’t want to ‘settle’” attitude, meaning “accept less than what I think I deserve.”  And then you have an gigantic demand (highly qualified women) meeting an extremely limited pool of applicants (well-qualified guys, who may be wanting to do what guys have always done, marry down).

Women need to rethink what “settling” would be.  What might fit the traditional model of “more than” for the women might be nice for a date, but not so good for the longer haul.  What if both parnters were heavily career focused?  Who does the important support functions that a marriage and family needs?  And remember that careers don’t go on forever.  But hopefully a mate will.

Qualities that work better in a mate than tall, dark, handsome, and more successful might be trustworthiness, dependability, and persevereness.  What women—and men—might want in a date (handsome or beautiful, exciting, fun) might wear thin rather soon in a marriage. 

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Staying Single

If you are single and wondering if it’s worth it to change your status to married, you are not alone.  Particularly if you live in Boston.  One of my Romance clients lives in Boston, and she told me recently that the culture there is very much single—her friends say “Why get married?  Just live together.”  And the figures support that: in a recent Boston Globe article, author Keith O’Brien quoted the US Census figures - 53.6% of men there have never married, tops in the nation.  And Boston women are close behind, with 45% never married, following only Newark and Washington, DC.

O’Brien also notes results from a Pew Internet and American Life Project report in February: 55% of singles in the US have no interest in pursuing a partner.  While 26% are in committed relationships, only 16% identified themselves as “actively looking.”  Interestingly, the Pew study started out looking at the significance of Internet dating and stumbled on this interesting phenomenon: While we assume that singles must naturally want to be paired, this may no longer be so.

In my book “Find a Sweetheart Soon!” I tackle this issue right off in Chapter 4.  Never, as I write there, has there been a better time to be single and have a good and happy life.  Since for many folks, a partner search is so anxiety-provoking that it is paralyzing, why do it at all?  As well, so many singles have set themselves up quite nicely with complete lives that they are unwilling to change.  So why do it?

It’s nice to see that more and more, people are giving themselves permission to opt out of the romance race.  And if that’s what you decide to do, go for it.  Unless you are giving up out of fear or worse.  Positive choice?  Yes!  A negative one?  Why?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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