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.