Anyone who is unwed, unattached and not haunted by a recent break-up has likely had at least one bout of the “Why the hell am I still single?” blues. My spouseless friends and I occasionally take turns crooning the lead vocals in the anthem that serves as the soundtrack this pity party. My lyrics tend to go a little something like this, “Lord you took my mama, isn’t that enough?” Okay, so maybe I’m not ready for an ASCAP credit just yet, but darnit, you get the message! There are times when the ‘me, myself and I’ threesome aren’t enough.
A few of us decided to do something about it. Some would say we lowered our standards, but I will call it “letting our guards down”. We opened ourselves to dating men we normally wouldn’t try, broadening our horizons to the various packages a great companion may come in. All of the results sucked, but for legal reasons I will only talk about mine.
I dated guys who didn’t “fit” my normal desired aesthetic. And then—the most dreaded— guys who I wasn't into at all, but that my friends thought would be so wonderful for me, I’d be transformed by the joy their presence would provide (those are my married and bored friends). Armed with my NYU social work education, and the knowledge I've picked up from books by credentialed and comical relationships experts alike, I prayed, chin-checked my inner saboteur and set on my “lets-date-for-fun-sojourn.”
See here’s what people don’t tell you— and this is true for both men and women: most people that you think you’re ‘settling’ for don’t consider themselves as plan B, A- or, in some sad cases, C. They’re just doing them. It’s doesn’t matter if you’re a 7 and they’re 4 — that’s your scale, not theirs. So while you’re busy trying to be enlightened and open-minded, you can’t dodge that “WTF” feeling that gnaws on your Spidey senses when they display the traits you'd deliberately avoided in the past. Yet they aren't concerned with changing them because they aren't expecting to be your alternative to desperation.
Back to my experiment. I kicked it with a guy my friend insisted that I date, who passively aggressively nagged me for 20 minutes about eating all of the $10 appetizer he bought (even though I was already full), because taking it home was unacceptable. And the cool eclectic dude I thought I could “hang out” with casually who told me that he was looking forward to doing cocaine all Saturday evening with friends. And lets not forget charming male voted ‘most likely to keep you on your toes intellectually’ by my girlfriends, who likes to pepper long walks in the park with playful games of slap boxing.
Well, I tried.
As a life coach, licensed therapist and real woman-dating, I have one tip for singletons: don’t be desperate. It’s okay to miss companionship, but really is it worth dealing with passive aggressive control freaks, addicts or anything else outside of what really makes you happy? Only you can decide that
Since our wings are still pending, we know that none of us are perfect, but here’s my suggestion— for myself and clients: strive to be with someone you like. It doesn’t matter how good the person looks on paper, or in person. Their finances can ease the financial burden, but not much else. Beauty fades. But a true connection trumps it all.
To me, doing and being better means holding on to the optimistic attitude that declares there is someone out there for you. And you will know when it’s right because you won’t feel like anything is missing. Well, at least nothing major…like sobriety or safety.
Do Better, Be Better tip: Hold on to your standards. Loneliness will fade. Choosing a mate out of desperation will only change one thing: The topic of conversation in your therapy sessions.