"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thoughts On Being Single at 36

I grew up during an era where little girls were taught that we could be anything, where age and gender didn't matter. It was drummed into our heads and I believed it. I still do hold these values. Partially my mother imparted these ideas onto me and partially society, the media, my teachers and peers. Most of the people who imparted these ideas onto me and my generation never actually experienced what they taught us. They were trying to make the world as they wished it were for them.

I am a strong-minded person. I always agreed with these ideas and at the risk of completely repeating myself...I STILL DO.

Here's the problem with this: I, as a single woman, at the age of 36 (-5 ha) who lived these values, took her time to develop herself never thinking that after I crossed the line of 35 I would become the undesirable to still single men, am dealing with a very strange breed of men.

Men of my age who are married somewhere along the lines learned and live the ideals of the art of compassion for their mates differences and desires. They understand what is appropriately up for debate in a relationship and what is not. They allowed themselves to fall in love and accept and respect the little differences in their mates habits such as one person needing to be very organized and the other not. And infact they realize how important that difference is to the balance of their positive relationship. If infact if both parties were both extremely organized people chances are there would be too many challenges for who was in charge. Think the show on TLC "Jon & Kate Plus 8". Kate is a self labeled organized germaphobe and Jon is more laid back and lets Kate run the show in the house. It works precisely because they are NOT the same in that very area.

Single men today of a certain age, just do not seem to understand this idea. I have met single man after single man, who show this same lack of understanding or willingness to experience this in a relationship over and over and over. He comes in all packages: tall, short, heavy, thin, educated, less educated, pretty, ugly...doesn't matter.

Sure, they will SAY they aren't looking for a clone of themselves, but the truth is, if you listen to them when they speak on these dates, that IS what they are looking for. And AIN'T NOBODY CAN BE THAT FOR NOBODY!

Yin/Yin or Yang/Yang doesn't work.

There's a big part of me that regrets taking so long to work on myself. But I really didn't have a choice. This is what my life presented to me and I worked with it. I never in my wildest dreams thought I was losing time...until now.

I thought I was living the dream I was taught I could have.

Yes, there are men who understand the yin/yang principle. And many of them are my friends. And most of them are married.

I honestly do not understand the mindset of these men. They choose singlehood at a very much older age over simple compromise and compassion for another person's needs that would lead them to a great relationship with a woman.

"Super Jew" has a woman "friend" who he enjoys very much, shares thoughts with and is even planning a huge pleasure trip to Africa with. But she does not fit the bill of a girlfriend for him or a wife simply because "she is too rigid with her time...if I call her on a Monday to ask for plans on a Wednesday she has told me it isn't enough advance notice." Said "friend" is still very much front and center in his life but he'll never take it to the next level because of this difference, which he cannot see is the exact reason (well one of many I am sure) why they should be together. This would compliment them.

"Super Jew" on our walk back to my train made rude comment number ...I lost track, about his friends having too many children, people who should not. Of course I am going to ask why. "It's strange to see a woman you went to college with and throw up outside a window from being so drunk, now have three kids."

I truly ask you to take a good hard look at that thought I shared with you that he expressed because I think that is extremely telling not only of "Super Jew" but of MOST single men left for me to date.

In their eyes we cannot be multi-dimentional. We cannot mature in our relationships and grow from one way to another or consider our partners wants. If we were the party girl who vomited out a window -- guess what folks, we are labeled thusly and have doomed ourselved to enternal singlehood because we decided we too could have just as much fun as the boys were having.

I really am trying not to be bitter. It is hard but I am doing my best.

I need to be with the man who allows me to be me, doesn't have an obsessive need to know from a first date if I will think and act just like he does on these minor issues like organizing my schedule. Just because I am living one way doesn't mean I cannot be flexible.

I need to be with the man that understands that the art of compromise is the key to a great long-lasting relationship.

I don't want a clone of myself. I do want shared values. Understanding the art of compromise is a shared value. Not liking to cook vs liking to cook is not a shared value, it is a preference. PREFERING to have your schedule planned out is a PREFERENCE not a value and should not be a need to determine if you could ever possibly be a girlfriend or a wife.

Whatever happened to the days where you really enjoyed the other person so much so, that you slowly learned about them, their likes and dislikes and learned slowly to accept them or change them for the other person to be more comfortable?????

I have taken the following from a great site called Daily Om. I believe is cleary illustrates my feelings on this subject:

Small changes allow us to grow into a new habit and make it a permanent part of our lives, whereas sudden changes may cause a sense of failure that makes it difficult to go on, and we are more likely to revert to our old ways. By embarking on the path slowly, we have the chance to look around and consider other options as we learn and grow. We have time to examine the underlying values of the desire for change and find ways to manifest those feelings, whether it looks exactly like our initial goal or not. Taking small steps forward gives us time to adjust and find secure footing on our new path.


Barbara said...

I hear you on this loud and clear. Its very hard not to be bitter.

My life presented itself completely opposite of what I had ever imagined for myself.

The plan was to "settle down and get serious about finding a husband" in my late 20's. I did that but by age 30 realized my fiance was a jerk and broke up with him.

A year later I got pregnant. At age 30 my whole world changed - and I was not longer "the center of my universe" my son took that role. I chose not to date for about ten years.

When I did get back out there to date at age 40 I found that the majority of available men where undesirable for one reason or another (a lot of them just wanted sex - no commitment).

I did meet a decent guy when I was 43 and we dated for three years. I broke up with him and for the last year and a half have been single again, dating on and off.

I am seriously not interested in men right now. I have not given up forever, but I am so disillusioned and disappointment with what's "out there" that I HONESTLY rather be lonely.

I feel that I am the "best" person I have ever been in my life as far as personality, wisdom, character, etc. etc. I am not going to settle for someone just to have someone.

I think I need to face that fact that I may be single for life and it doesn't upset me nearly as much as it used to.

Anonymous said...

you said the right words ..a man who apreciates who you are and compliments you in different ways..bingo!!!!!!! be your self an dhe will love you for that..not pick at you..there is always little nitpicking between couples but they still love the other oone for who she or he is..tThe whole think with that guy bringing up stuff about college days is trivial crap..he's still living in the past and making excuses...be your self and let him love you..pretty straight forward..but not easy..

Drowsey Monkey said...

Yep...you make soooo much sense! This is why I'm single (well divorced) and will be forEVER! I found the men I dated while in my 30s were idiots, lol. I never met one that I wanted to actually spend more than a few hours with.

I truly don't mind knowing that I'll be on my own for the rest of my life. It did take a while to get to this point tho, but for me it just makes sense and works for me.

I admire your desire to find someone, and I hope you do! I'm not sure online dating is the best way...but to be honest I'm not sure what else is. I actually beleive there is a very small percentage of men online who really truly want to find a 'life partner' I think they're mostly looking for sex. Just my opinion.

Lauren said...

Robert- Thanks!

Drowsey - Not sure online dating is the way to go either but honestly can't think of many other ways to meet guys. And I don't think the medium is the issue. I do think it is the men, society etc...that have made this easy for them to do, making it acceptable.

But what these men FAIL to forget is that within a short few years, they are not going to be so physically appealing anymore, and none of their charm is going to be strong enough to bed a beautiful woman, not even with a viagra in their pocket! Their guarentee of sex with a woman is a LTR or marriage because as you know for women emotions and love are key factors in wanting to have sex, and those things create that feeling in us and will make us still attracted to this old farts!

Perplexio said...

Another part of the problem is that men, single and married, are generally resistant to change. And in being generally resistant to change they can't see past the here and now.

When it comes to change the difference between a married man and a single man is that a married man knows that change is inevitable, and if you get married at least you have someone by your side to help you weather the seasons of change in your life... You don't have to go through those changes alone any longer.

Anonymous said...

I was bitter about being single till I read Princess Bubble and this little fairy tale really reminded me how great I have it!

Lauren said...

Thanks anonymous. I'll have to check it out. But I did read a little from the books website and I think it is pretty much the story I mention about at the begining of my post. The reality is a lot different because we don't share the same values as today's single men. There's still too much disparity. UGH. But it is a nice thought and I will check out the book this weekend. Thanks for sharing that information!

36/f/educated and still single- I ask why? said...

Hi there- I am single- 36 and well educated, have quiet many abbreviations behind my name- they dont mean anything- its great to be good at what you are doing and when you come home alone- and noone to share- it is just difficult.

Will see- I have also my journey on the blog- I cross my fingers for all the sane single woman- who is looking for sane men who is ready to share and find joy in the process.

Take care