Have you ever wondered WHY you're still single? The reasons may surprise you. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you. Maybe there isn't anything you can do differently. Or maybe the things you can do differently aren't the things you imagined. You just might be fabulous, but our society has gone through some unfabulous changes.
Everyone is full of avice that they think is GREAT and REALLY HELPFUL like you've NEVER heard it before. More than once I've wanted to tell people, Hold the lame advice, there's something going on.
1. Appearance. Standards for appearance have changed the less fabric we wear. We wear FAR less than in previous decades. The less we wear, the more we seem to be dissatisfied with our bodies. Appearance seems to be everything because we have little else to judge people by. We don't know them other than what we can see because the days of growing up together are mostly gone.
2. Work. We are defined by our jobs. It used to be true just for men, now it is true for women also. Jobs are often still segregated into men's jobs and women's jobs. Most teachers are still women. Most construction workers are still men. This makes it hard for large portions of the population to meet.
3. Education. We feel that we have to use our education rather than give up our jobs when we marry. Our accomplishments are important to us. At one time it was expected that a woman would give up working to pay attention to her own family. She would make lunches and care for their needs. In the days of TV dinners, microwaves and Molly Maid that just seems a little ridiculous, doesn't it?
4. Bad Manners. With all of our education, we don't seem to know how to behave--interviews and dates are both blown for some fixable faux pas. Manners are on the decline. Society once expected better manners, and some people are still taught them, but many aren't. I have had some very interesting experiences. Please read Sexy Table Manners or Clash of the Pet Peeves for a few good laughs.
5. Sex. We expect sex sooner. Sex used to be for marriage and people would marry so they could have sex. They would also marry because they had already had sex, knew nothing about contraception and had a baby on the way. Access to and knowledge about contraception freed us yet enslaved us and devalued us. We are now judged by how good we might be at it. There are alot of people who aren't willing to wait to get to know someone before hopping in the sack.
6. Commitment. We live with someone without making a lifetime commitment. They see this as an opportunity to see someone more often or as a trial to see if they actually want to be married. Living with someone is not the same as being married. If it were, the gay community wouldn't be fighting for the rights of marriage.
7. Promotion breakups. We aren't willing to move with someone when they get a promotion or start a new job. Women and men have their own seperate hobbies, careers, friends and social networks. The couple that is living together often breaks up in these situations.
8. Isolation. We are more isolated. Our modern technology isolates us. We don't go to the movies to see the news reel and meet our friends. We don't invite friends over to play and sing the latest sheet music. We watch TV or hop on the Internet. Singles stop going to church for whatever reason. We don't see people walking to work because we work places other than where we live. We commute long distances to work in our cars by ourselves. We come home to empty apartments, condos and houses. Our families are far away from us as we seek our education outside of our communities. It's hard to meet someone who has the same world view as you when you are dealing with a potpourri of people from all over the country. Our lack of social connection leads to fewer possibilities to meet new people.
9. Internet Dating doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't seem to be working for the majority of us. There is an inherent pressure attached to meeting someone one-on-one who you have never met before. I don't know about you, but I rarely get second dates from the internet. It has only happened 4 times out of the 100 or so people I have met. Sometimes it was mutual, sometimes one sided. I haven't liked plenty of people I met for alot of reasons! I also hear of men going out on 3 dates a week and getting their action that way. All I know is that I will be getting six months free from match.com and have only met one person. What a waste of time and money!
10. No way of knowing who is really available. We don't have signs, symbols or real places that signify our status as being available for courtship and marriage. Sure, married people often wear rings, but not everyone who is in a relationship is married. In other times there were rituals or signs that meant something. Parents used to organize dances, parties and activities for their eligible young people and invited each others' well-bred families. I remember seeing on a travel show that people in Poland would paint part of their houses blue to signify that they had an eligible daughter. A debutant ball meant that the girls debuting were ready to be courted for marriage. A quineceanera once meant that as well. What do these things really mean today when we don't marry so young?
11. Different standards for relationships. Things have changed alot. A man once had to prove to family that he that he was worthy of a woman's hand in marriage through how he behaved with the family, proving his character and honor. Nowadays, it seems that women have to prove themselves to the man by being good enough in bed, living with him or somehow trapping him into it through games. If we look at our current level of happiness, we are all getting more and more confused as we stumble through our love lives confusing and hurting any children that we may have had. As I teacher, I knew a girl who was deeply hurting as she moved from place to place and school to school as her mother married for the fourth time.
How depressing!! But there are solutions, even in the modern age. I am a big advocate of being honest about my expectations for dating. The key is still to open your social circle. Here are some ways to do that:
1. Meetup. I am a big fan of Meetup groups. I have been to a few that were fun. I have met people who have started or help organize their own meetup groups. They are some of the most fascinating people I know. They don't let anything stop them. What can be great about Meetup is that you don't have to wait for your friends to go karaoke with you, you can find people who already go. There is also no charge. I have had a few dates through going to events.
2. Table for Six is a West Coast organization that seems to be doing well. It is what you make of it. They set up people at tables with 6 people--3 women and 3 men. They have fun and exciting events. They also have what they call Just for Two where a matchmaker sets you up. Honestly, attraction comes from so many factors, the best option seems to be to get into the events. The drawback is that more women join than men, so it is difficult for women to be set up on a table or get into some of the events. The outdoorsy events tend to draw more men than women, the artsy events draw more women than men. The fees are quite high, but online dating fees can also be quite high over time. eHarmony costs $50 a month. At the end of the year, you may have shelled out $600 on eHarmony and not met anyone. At least with Table for Six, you meet people. Whether you date them or not is another story. There are other similar matching organizations. Look for one in your area. Just know that some people are just glad to be out of the house and the organizations tend to work on obtaining members who can pay regardless of if a match can be found for them.
3. Go back to Church--especially if you're a guy. There are alot of women sitting alone in the pews! It's hard to go back. It's hard to get up in the morning. BUT, it's a chance to connect with your spiritual side, make some friends and maybe get to know a potential sweetie in the pews. If you've been going to church, try a different one just to change things up. I would like to say that there is nothing wrong with dating someone you meet at church. We're all grownups. Just treat the people you date with respect, even when you break up with them.
Ultimately, you decide who you allow into your personal social sphere. With so many newly created opportunities, there is no reason for you to sit at home and watch TV. Take an afternoon siesta and get out there. Maybe you'll still be single, but at least you'll have a few more friends. I'll also be in your gratitude if you start your search from my humble blog!