Dating for Fun Instead of Forever - She Has The Right Idea!
I love your advice column! I love to read your thoughts because you dated lots and built your career, and took your time before you found and married your Mr Right. I know your advice is solid because you're living proof. Okay here's what I wanted to ask you about. It's not a specific situation it's more like that I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on these things. I am only 22 years old. I just graduated college in June and I've just started at my first real job in graphic design. I had a few different bf's in high school. Then I didn't want to be tied down in college I wanted to experience the whole college experience. I had a lot of fun! I met many cool people and made lots of friends. My friends and I always made fun of stage 4 clingers. I always thought, why do you want to settle down now? We've got so much ahead of us! How do you even know what guy is right for you if you don't try dating different guys? Well here I am now I have my first apartment on my own. In school I went from the dorm to roommates. This is the first time I have had my own place. It's completely different than living with roommates. I feel so independent. I know this is probably silly but it's all so exciting to me. Going to a job I like (so far!) and having my own place and my own car, making all my own payments. I realize it's just a couple months now but it feels like I am doing things right. Getting back to dating, I go out with my girls a lot and we get asked out a lot. I like to date and meet different people. I am with you when you say what's the rush. I am no where even near ready to think about giving up my apartment and my independence. I love this feeling that i can take care of myself. I am dating this one guy right now that is all ready asking me after only 4 dates if I want to get serious with him. He looks at me with such a look like he thinks I'm the greatest thing in the world. I read your column all the time and I can't figure out where these girls that write you are meeting guys. They say they can't find someone who wants to get serious. Meanwhile every guy I meet wants to get serious! I would like to know your thoughts on that. My mother went right from living with her parents to marrying my father and living with him. It's sad I think that she has no idea if she can take care of herself. She never wanted to be an artist or a biologist or anything. She just wanted to get married and have kids. Now her life is half over and she has this whole second half to go. She married my dad who is the wrong guy for her. She never dated so how would she know. She had kids which is all she wanted and now we're all grown and gone. Now she's alone and she has no interests. Her and my dad got married too young. They can't even stand to be in the same room together. What is she going to do for the rest of her life? I just don't want to be like that. I don't want to say she's weak but I don't know what word to use to describe it. I love her and I don't want to sound ungrateful. It's just that it's hard to have respect for her. She came to visit my apartment and she complained about my used furniture and my little place. She kept saying things like I should hurry up and find a man to marry so I don't have to live so sad. It's so weird because I am not sad at all. She's sad. She's always alone and always asking me or my sisters to come home for dinner. She has no life. Again I don't want to be mean but she just isn't very... I don't know what word to use. Anyway I am just curious to hear your thoughts on these things! Thanks!
The word you're looking for is empowered.
You are a very empowered woman. You are enjoying the wonderful feeling of being able to take care of yourself. This time of your life is fabulous. You are learning so much, about yourself, about how the world works, about men, about what will make you happy for the long haul, and about the path you should follow. It isn't silly at all, it is empowering. You aren't dependent and you aren't clingy.
Your email was a lot of fun, Haley. It's clear that your very excited about your life and that's infectious. So many of the notes and comments I get are from people in turmoil and pain. Many of the emails are very troubled and sad. I want to help those people and I am honored they are coming to me with these sensitive issues. It was a lot of fun to get such an upbeat note as yours.
It's funny you should bring up how many girls are complaining that they can't find guys that want to get serious, while you're meeting them all the time. You're living proof of exactly what I always tell them. The reason you have all these guys clamoring to get serious with you is because you're a whole woman. You're independent, and smart, and successful. You are happy. You are making your happiness. And all that makes you wildly attractive. That's why guys want to get serious with you. You're awesome!
Guys are not intimidated by successful women. They are attracted to successful, strong, independent women. And no one can resist a woman that's happy. You said it yourself. You're making your own happiness. You're out there on your own, making it all happen for yourself. That's so very beautiful, and the guys can see it. They want to be apart of it. They want to be with you.
Guys do not want to be with women that are sad, lonely, depressed or desperate. Guys know that a woman that depends completely on them for a life and for happiness, is bound to be a big let down. When a woman says something like all she wants is to get married and have kids, it doesn't come across as stable, it comes across as pathetic.
Not that there is anything wrong with wanting those things. Those are great things! But when that is "all" she wants, that's just sad. She should want more for herself. She should want to be a person so that she can be a partner one day. Guys know this, believe me. The big thing is, when a woman says all she wants is to marry and have kids, it tells the guy he's an end to her mean. He fits into her agenda. The majority of these women are not saying, "All I really want is to fall in love with the right guy, and I want us to support each other and learn all about each other, and really live life in harmony." Yes, of course there are truly romantic women, thank the gods, that do want real love. And they write saying so. They say all they want is to be in love, and to feel loved, and to be a life partner, and move through the journey of life hand in hand with a soulmate. Corny, but beautiful. And more power to them. But those aren't the gals I'm referring to here.
When a woman says all she wants is marriage and children, she's not saying she wants to fall in love or be a partner. She's saying something entirely different. And she's waving a big flag that warns guys for miles around to steer clear of her. It's a big problem and it is the source of so many of the articles I write. These are the women that write to me asking How do I get him to marry me. They do not write to me asking, How can I better listen to my partner's needs and find compromise? How can I be a better partner? They don't care about that. They just want what they want. 'Nuff said?
Your mother's situation sounds sad. Just to put some perspective on this, I'm probably her age or close to it. Judging from what you've shared about your age, and that you've referred to her as middle aged, I'm figuring her and I can't be that far off.
I didn't have the college experience the way you did. I had to keep going back to night school. But I can relate to the rest of your scenario. I remember so clearly that first apartment I had. That is, the first one I had without any roommates. God damn that was such a fabulous time of discovery in my life. I believe I was 25. Like you said, I was working and carving out my own paths in life. I was meeting people and discovering myself, I was figuring out my career. I made many mistakes and it wasn't all easy as pie. But it was all mine. And it was empowering.
I'm so glad for you, Haley. And I'm sad for your mom that she missed out on that experience. It's never too late though, to start your life. Maybe you could encourage her. I realize how frustrating it must be for you to hear her criticisms of you when really she should be celebrating how independent you are. You want to feel how proud she is of you, and instead you're feeling frustrated. And confused! You see that she isn't happy, or empowered, and you can't figure out why it seems as if she wants the same for you.
I can give you one small insight into that mindset, and I hope it helps. It's not that hard to look back at your life and say this was a mistake, or that was a mistake, or this was something you really should have done differently. But it is damn hard to do that, when those things you should have handled differently involve people you really love. Your mother most likely can't be objective about the things in her life that have brought her to this point, because those things resulted in You. And your siblings.
Just try a new approach. You said she's always inviting you and your sisters home because she "has no life." Well help her to find one. Instead of just saying no, you're busy, maybe you could invite her along once in a while to wherever you're going. Coffee shop, dance club, poetry reading, dinner, art exhibit, a movie. I'm sure eventually something will peek her interest if you try.
Meanwhile, your attitude about getting into a serious relationship is perfect. You have plenty of time ahead for that. Enjoy these years. Discover yourself, explore your career path, spend time with friends, spend time on You. And continue to be so excited about your independence! You'll see the wonderful cycle this creates. Your being empowered and creating your own happiness is the most attractive thing in the world, and the guys will continue to chase after you. Like attracts like. Your happiness and individuality will attract happy secure men who can appreciate a dynamic woman and all the possibilities of a life with her.
One day it may happen. You may be dating a guy and it will all click. You will realize how deeply you love each other. You will see that being with him doesn't detract from being You. On the contrary, it enhances it. You see life differently, and you want to join paths.
And that is the only time you should be considering marriage. It shouldn't be an ends to a means. It shouldn't be an excuse not to develop yourself. It shouldn't be because you can't stand yourself or to be alone. It should be a celebration of your mutual love, respect, and a celebration of what you two can do together.
I celebrate You! Thanks for writing.