Last week my homework in Love in 90 Days was to tell my family, friends and co-workers that I was looking for a good guy and ask them if they would introduce me to any eligible men they might know. I decided to start with my married and coupled friends on Facebook, assuming they might be more inclined to play matchmaker than my single friends. I was dreading this assignment, so in an attempt to keep my sense of humor about it, I attached what I thought was a funny e-card, stated my love intention, and sent them the link to my first article to get a better idea of why I was making this request. Of the 18 emails I sent, I received a whopping total of 3 responses in return. Iâ€™m trying not to read too much into their silence, but if I had a friend who asked me to set them up on a date and was writing about it on a blog, I know Iâ€™d at least have a couple of questions. Iâ€™ve begun to notice when I let people know that getting married has become a top priority in my life their response is usually either dismissive or disparaging. The dismissive reaction is more likely to come from married women. They either say something like, â€œWhy would you want to do that? Being single is a lot more fun.â€ or â€œYou can have my husband. He gets on my nerves.â€ Some married women act like they belong to a private club and if youâ€™ve been denied membership, theyâ€™re not willing to sponsor you.
The disparaging reaction typically comes from unmarried women who are quick to label any single woman who expresses any effort toward finding love, marriage or companionship with a big, giant â€œDâ€ for â€œdesperateâ€ like a modern day Hester Prynne, (at least most people have the decency to talk about adulterers behind their backs.) While I was away at a conference, a former friend of mine (a BW who proclaimed she didnâ€™t date WM) began dating a guy she knew I was majorly crushing on. She then tried to defend herself by saying I was so desperate to hook up with any man she really didnâ€™t think I cared about that one guy in particular. In reality, I had only let her know that I was eager to start dating again and that there were a few men in town who I thought were attractive; she simply made up all the rest to make herself feel better. On the other hand, I have many other single friends who have been very supportive and totally understand the kind of backlash we sometimes face. When I decided to go public with my love quest, I sent a draft of my introduction to two of my single friends to proofread and give their opinions and this is the section they advised me to revisit because they were concerned that it made me sound pitiful and self-deprecating:
To be honest, at times when I was satisfied with many other aspects of my life, I was never content with being single. Since high school I had yearned for a boyfriend with whom I could share my affections and experience real intimacy, but all I ever found was rejection, imitations of love, or empty promises. What happened to my husband and family the â€œAmerican Dreamâ€ had promised me since I was a child? Why was I still alone when so many of my friends were falling in love, getting married and having babies? I wanted answers and when I didnâ€™t get them I became angry, despondent and resentful. I started to believe I was unlucky, star-crossed or maybe even cursed. When I turned 40, I began to accept the probability that I was going to be single the rest of my life.
OK, so I have the tendency to be a bit of a drama queen, but it felt downright liberating to express how I felt about being a single woman without apologizing for it. I donâ€™t mean to imply that I have never acted like a desperate woman in my entire life. In fact, Iâ€™ve withstood many frustrating years of agonizing, unwanted celibacy waiting for a particular person or the right moment to come along. Itâ€™s no surprise then, when that moment presents itself I might seem a little eager to get things started. Iâ€™ve never been very good at playing hard to get until a man felt that he had sufficiently conquered the challenge of obtaining his prize. I donâ€™t necessarily jump into bed with them right away, but I certainly make myself far too available.
For example, just when I thought Boy Wonder (see Part II) had completely gone off the grid, he invited me to come spend a few days with him in Florida- if he could work it into his schedule, of course. Because Iâ€™ve been in one of my extended periods of celibacy, I was very tempted to go. Initially, I found our sexting fun and exciting, but since the time he got nervous and aborted our original mission to meet and do the deed 6 months ago, my whole perspective has changed. Heâ€™s an absolute, self-professed commitment-phobe and Iâ€™ve come to want a lot more from him than heâ€™s willing to give. Ironically, this illusion of intimacy weâ€™ve created keeps us detached. When ignore him for too long, he beckons me to come closer, as soon as I respond he goes running in the opposite direction. I know itâ€™s hopeless, but he makes me want to believe I can make love happen if I only wait just a little while longer or give in just a little bit more, which only succeeds in creating more heartache and making me feel like an all-day sucker. It was time for an emergency check-in with my love mentor and a review of the chapters on commitment-phobes in my books. After that, I knew I had to remove the dead weight of this fantasy in order to make room for real love in my life. When I told Boy Wonder I couldnâ€™t meet him in Florida, he didnâ€™t make even the slightest protest. My guess is that he was probably relieved. It hurts to walk away from him, but not as much as it would have if I continued down this miserable path of desperation.
Susan Pageâ€™s motto in If Iâ€™m so Wonderful, Why am I Still Single? is â€œDetermination without Desperation.â€ I must systematically work at doing things that further my cause and stop doing things that prevent me from reaching my goal while trusting and believing that these things will work for me given enough time. Iâ€™ve put in twenty-some years of doing it my way, and you see how far thatâ€™s gotten me. Itâ€™s obviously time to try something new. Now that Iâ€™ve said no to Big Daddy, Boy Wonder and St. Kitts, Iâ€™m really looking forward to meeting someone I can say yes to.