My friend Chris, blogging as Moxie, wrote a thought-provoking piece a few weeks back, entitled "You Just Might End Up Alone. And That's Okay."
The original question reads, "I am at my wits end. I am in my early 50′s and I can’t meet a man. I have tried the online thing and it hasn’t worked. I have a guy I’ve been friends with, but he only sees me as a friend. We have even gone away together a few times, but nothing has happened. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life. How else are people meeting and connecting?"
Pretty common complaint. Really uncommon answer. You think I'm blunt? Moxie gives this reader a full smackdown.
"Maybe it’s time to consider the possibility that you won’t meet anybody? I know that someone who does what I do isn’t supposed to say that. We’re supposed to spout trite sayings like, “It’ll happen when you least expect it!” or “There’s a lid for every pot!” You know what? Those are placebos. They’re fake bits of wisdom meant to encourage you and keep you on the path to finding love. I’m not saying you should give up completely. But I am saying that it’s time for you to reconcile with this fear you have of ending up alone. Because more than likely, one way or another, you will."
It’s time to get comfortable with it being just you, because that may be how it turns out.
Now, I wouldn't have said that because I actually do believe there is a lid for every pot. And if this was the only wisdom espoused ("Give up!") I wouldn't be sharing this with you. But Moxie was just getting rolling. She took the words right out of my mouth with this paragraph:
"To be honest, questions like, “Where can I go to meet men?” also tire me. You can meet a man anywhere. You can walk down the street and meet a man. You can go grocery shopping and meet a man. They’re everywhere. If you’ve tried various avenues to find a man and nothing is working, then it’s time for some introspection. Something isn’t working. I can’t tell you what it is because I don’t know you. Having me list out all the ways you can meet men isn’t going to do anything if the problem lies with you. Maybe you’re expectations are out of whack. Maybe you shoot out of your league. I don’t know."
Finally, she brings it home with a crescendo, reiterating what I've said for years on this blog, which is that I'm not going to post your question if I agree with you and think you're doing a great job. I'm only going to post an answer to you if I think I can see a blind spot and share something that may shift your perspective. Moxie goes even further:
"I would guess that confirmation bias is one of the leading reasons why so many men and women who seek long term commitment end up 40 or older and single. All their lives they’ve heard the same things over and over again. Their belief systems have been reinforced by perpetually listening to or being told the same thing day in and day out. You really want to make a change, OP? Get out of what ever vacuum you exist in and start fresh. This goes for everybody. Cut out all the people and places and ways you hear about how hard dating is and how awful men and women are and how this doesn’t work and that doesn’t work. Tune. It. Out. Because if you truly make finding a relationship a priority and you develop your own belief system based solely on your experiences and your experiences alone, your opportunities will increase ten fold. It’s time to get comfortable with it being just you, because that may be how it turns out. Until you’re okay with that possibility, you will continue to struggle."
Yeah. That's about right. It may not be the softest response, but it's just about the most truthful one.
The full post can be read here. Your comments, as always, are appreciated below.