Monday, June 16, 2008

Must She Always Be Alone?

Dear Terry,

I am not dating anyone right now. Smart, talented, attractive mid-forties. I keep looking back at my exes. One is married, and another has had a girlfriend for eight years.

I wonder where did I go wrong? How come I am still alone?

I also want to add that I gave up one boyfriend since did not want to get married. But now he is living with his girlfriend of eight years.

Should I have done that? Just lived together?

-Alone for Now


Dear Now-

Do you remember what happened to Lot's wife when she looked back? Well, stop looking back. There's nothing to be gained from mooning over dead relationships that probably died for good reason.

If you didn't want to live with a guy without being married to him, you did the right thing by not living with him. You would not have been happy then, and you would not be happy now.

Chances are, you'd still be trying to convince him to get married, and clearly he wasn't kidding when he said he did not want to get married -- to you or to anyone else (see present girlfriend for evidence).

You ask where you've gone wrong, but maybe you haven't gone wrong at all. Things happen for a reason (I really believe this). Maybe the first guy, the one who did get married, would have made you miserable. Be open to the possibility that you've been saved from something.

You say you're smart, talented, attractive. Be confident there's a man out there who wants what you have.

But let me play devil's advocate:

Say you don't ever get married. Say a prophet just happens to pop over to borrow a cup of sugar and tells you, "God told to me this morning that you're destined to remain alone, so you'd better start enjoying yourself?"

How would you change your life?

Would you travel? Buy yourself flowers? Try new foods? Study Latin? Treat yourself as a treasure that's yet to be discovered?

You see, I do not believe that a woman needs a man to be happy. (I do believe that if she's going to stay happy she'd better hook up with the right man, however.) I also know there are no guarantees in life, except that we will all die one day.

The job may move to Mexico, the husband may drop dead of a heart attack, the house may wash away in a flood. But you will always have you, so you'd better start enjoying you. Stop worrying about snagging a man.

Keep in mind the great qualities you have to offer. Start enjoying the whole, talented, self-supporting, smart, attractive woman you are. When you feel good about yourself, when you're happy and full, you attract good circumstances and better people.

In the meantime, I recommend you read a fabulous book by a woman who would have traded places with you in a minute. She got a divorce and embarked on an adventure that fed her mind, body, and soul. The book is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Buy it or get it at the library. It's a life-changer.

7 comments:

Chris said...

I LOVE that book :) It is written very emotionally honest. Rare find :)

Peace,

Chris:)

Susan said...

Thanks, Terri. I didn't write this letter, of course, but I could have. I appreciate your advice -- no matter how many times I have to read it :)

And to your readers, you are NOT alone.

I'm actually beginning to like the idea of dating myself. (Shoot, if no one else is going to...) I think I'll do a post on that one day soon!

Terry said...

I always appreciate your comments, Susan, so thanks a lot. Please do write that post. I'll look forward to reading it!

Claudia said...

Hi Terri,

As usual you deliver your words of wisdom - it is true one does not need a man to be happy. Who ever planted that idea into a person's mind?

But it is perfectly reasonable to want to share your happy life with a man that meets your expectations.

In fact I have found in my past, a huge sense of relief and happiness to be on my own. Come and go as I please. Flirt with who ever I want. Go running at 4 in the morning. Listen to jazz late at night. Fly to Amsterdam for the week end...

Which makes it all the nicer when you get the man who adores you for being just like that which yes I do have now.

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Sassy said...

Great advice. This is a lesson I've been learning ever since my divorce and it's fun and exciting. And now that I've got a great, steady man in my life, I'm not stopping. Thanks, Terry!

Jeff Mac said...

I think the idea of dating yourself is fantastic. Just make sure you're not simply using yourself for sex. I mean really, can't I respect myself for my MIND?