I’m wading into dangerous waters with this column, but has that ever stopped me? This column is based on a very scientific study that I’ve conducted by observing the lives and behavior of four of my single friends; two men and two women. Of course this “study” is accurate but it may have a plus or minus error factor of 3%.
Since I remained single until I was 39, I also have some anecdotal personal evidence. But, since being married twice now, having two kids, and still happily married (at least that’s what I say), I think I’ve adjusted some of my behavior. It’s been said about men that marriage civilizes the gender. It’s also said that if a man has never been married by age 40 or so, he’s damaged goods. And, of course, it’s been said that long-single men are very set in their ways.
My observations during my years of dating – between marriages – was that these observations apply equally to women and now I feel that the issues that single men and women have are gender-irrelevant. The reasons single people are single is not rocket science.
Here’s my short-list of reasons people are single when they would prefer not to be:
~~ Too picky
~~ Too stuck in their ways
~~ Too selfish
~~ Too hung-up on money
~~ Too much of a list
Okay, so that may be “too” many generalizations and they may be “too” harsh, but there’s always truth to generalizations. Let’s analyze these five reasons people stay single.
Everyone has a single friend who is simply too picky. For the guys, it usually is a looks-related pickiness while for the women it may be a career/income-related prejudice. You don’t often hear a woman state, upon recently becoming single after a long relationship or marriage that they simply want to go out and have sex with as many people as possible. Nor, do you hear women usually state – after a divorce – that they’re never getting married again.
Why is that? Because more men tend to get hosed in divorce and men are shallower when it comes to sex. After all, men can have sex with a shoe. Pornography on the web is 99.9% oriented to men. Men work that way. Women tend to have more depth – on the surface – but are just as superficial when it comes to other things.
The set-in-their-way and selfish attitude are just undeniable about most single people that have been single for a long time. Of course you get set in your ways and of course you tend to be selfish because you have no one to really worry about but yourself. So, with the aforementioned single friends, I find making plans with them is always a “work in progress.” For reasons I’ll never quite understand, there’s always some “adjustment” to plans. “Can you meet 20 minutes later or earlier” or “I really don’t feel like sushi” or “My car’s in the shop; can you pick me up” are just a sample of the changes my single friends request.
Why is it that my single guy friend is the worst at returning phone calls of all my friends? Heck, he doesn’t even have a pet anymore. He ONLY has to worry about himself. But, my married friends, often with kids at home with disabilities, somehow can return a call promptly. The old saw that says when you want something done give it to a busy person, is true.
The other thing I find among my single friends is that they are the experts on relationships. Really? They judge others with such a broad stroke of certainty. Really? If they’re such relationship experts, why aren’t they IN ONE? Rather than judging others, perhaps a good hard introspective look inside is in order?
Let’s talk about “the list.” Most single people have a list of things they desire in a partner. It’s my belief that core values and some common interests belong on that list. But, does height really belong? Does the car they drive or owning their own home belong? Does the color of their hair or size of their (fill in the blank) really matter in the long run?
My suggestion is ditch the list except for those core issues. If you’re a single parent, perhaps choosing a partner with kids might make sense. If you’re not a parent and want children, choosing a partner that also wants children makes sense. Wanting only a blonde or no less than six feet tall does not make sense.
Given that I’ve always had a fondness for a certain “look” has been my Achilles Heel so I’m one to talk. But, I did relax my list and ended up meeting great women that I might have dismissed for a superficial reason. My wife did not have kids and I thought that might be a deal-breaker. Being open allowed me to not only meet and ultimately marry her, but I discovered that her being without children was a bonus I’d never imagined before. But, that is material for another column.
Dump your list. Be flexible. Think about someone else – heck volunteer somewhere and do some good. Stop being a know-it-all about relationships. Give love a chance…