August 8, 2014
Saint Jude-Patron Saint of Lost Causes
There’s very little information that I come across these days that can throw me into the vortex of fear about being single, but a series of articles I read this week really caught me off guard.
I was reading a popular blog written by a single woman in her mid-40’s, and she wrote a series of articles that were basically about how delusional women can be about their options for love when they are 35 and over. I’ve never been one to panic about getting older, as a matter of fact I truly do enjoy it, but some of her articles had me running scared. The gist of her advice is men in the 35-50 range have so many options, that most of them will opt for a woman younger than 35. She also says you’ll have to work like a mad woman to meet a decent man and you’ll need to drastically lower your expectations. She also wrote a very sobering article about her own dating experience and how she’s single by circumstance and not by choice.
About a month ago, I had a conversation with a potential client who was in a program with a well-known dating coach. Based on the question she asked, he told her some people aren’t marriage material and won’t be able to make it happen. Ouch!
When it comes to love and marriage, are there any truly lost causes?
I’ve been pondering this question all week, as I reflect on my own love life and hold space for my clients who have a really hard time meeting quality men. I don’t believe love is beyond anyone’s grasp, no matter what age they are, how they look, or whatever thing society says is supposed to make someone unlovable. I’ve been doing this work a long time, and there’s still a part of me that hasn’t fully accepted the fact that love is so much easier for some people and not others. The difference is that now I understand that trying to emulate exactly what someone else did to find love won’t automatically work for the next person, and so much of it is about timing.
One of the things I always tell my clients, and it’s something I’ve written about here, is just because you heal your heart, get rid of your baggage, do the spiritual work or emotional heavy lifting doesn’t mean your man is going to show up. You don’t do the work to get the guy, you do the work for your own sake. A lot of women have called me to task on this idea, because the general feeling in our self-help obsessed culture is that if you do all of the things the spiritual guru tells you to do, you’re supposed get exactly what you want and your man will show up. But you’re also supposed to feign piety and pretend that your real focus isn’t getting a man but something “deeper” or more “spiritual”. But you have no idea how much I wish doing the work meant that he would show up for you.
It wasn’t until after I’d spent half of my adult life in therapy and came to terms with the change in my spiritual beliefs, that I realized there were a ton of people who had never stepped foot in a therapist’s office who found love.
It wasn’t fair.
I mean, there I was week after week, baring my soul and repairing my brokenness, while watching friend after friend find love and get married, and they hadn’t gone to the same depths that I had.
Then I found what I thought was going to be long-lasting love. I felt great and wanted to spend my life with him, but after a little over a year together he broke up with me. So there I was again, left emotionally barren and forced to crack myself open once more, so that I could heal and move on with my life. I wasn’t one of those women who said he didn’t want me so it was his loss. I cried for a year just from the heartbreak, and it took me another 2 years to really let go and move on. But there were people all around me who had been in relationships at least twice or three times as long as mine, and they were already dating the next person.
For whatever reason this is life on life’s terms, and I’m learning to accept it as it comes. But here’s what I know for sure: you’ve got to at the very least put up a fight. Don’t just lay down and die because the right man hasn’t shown up yet. If your singleness is not by choice, then say so. If you want to be loved but the right man hasn’t shown up yet, say so. Allow the ache for the love that you want to exist, and continue to pursue and live the best life you can in the meantime.
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