The REAL Reason You’re Still Single

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There are two big problems in dating.

1) You don’t want the people who want you.
2) The people you want don’t want you in return.

Now, take a look at those two problems; which one do you think you can change?

Most of us take the futile route of trying to change the second one – “How do I MAKE him like me?” “I’m exactly what he’s looking for!” “He doesn’t know what’s good for him.” But, as we’ve established a few hundred times on this blog, you can’t change anyone else’s thinking.

What you can change is YOU.

To be fair, it’s possible to “make” someone like you by becoming a more desirable catch – there’s no doubt that a man who earns more money, gains more confidence, and gets more experience will have a more positive dating life. But he’s not actually CHANGING women. He’s only changing himself.

But increasing your dating options can be a risky proposition, at best. Men can’t always make more money. Women can’t always lose weight. And as easy as it is to talk about gaining confidence and experience, most folks would rather sit on the sidelines and complain that the people you want don’t want you in return.

This is a waste of time.

In fact, the easiest remedy for an ailing love life is to want the people who want you.

In fact, the easiest remedy for an ailing love life is to  want the people who want you.

It is anathema to suggest this, of course. Any conversation about opening up to more potential prospects leads us down the slippery slope to settling. And as the furor about Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him proved, nothing pisses women off more than the suggestion that they may be somewhat responsible for being single.

But, to be crystal clear, it’s not just women.

There are tons of 38-year-old male Ivy-League educated lawyers who just can’t find a single woman good enough for him. These guys, who are, like me, probably 7’s in looks and 9’s in intelligence, just can’t help but to go for women who are 9’s in looks, but 5’s in emotional intelligence/compatibility.

One of the things that I’ve often thought is that none of these men would marry someone like my wife, even though my wife is – objectively – just about the coolest woman on the planet. They’d have the same objections I did: a little too old, not a Harvard grad, blahblahblah.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that I made a CHOICE to find an amazing partner and create an amazing life – and all I had to do was give up that IMAGE that I’d had of dating a woman who was Just. Like. Me.

If you’re single, and never find anybody “good enough,” chances are that you do the exact same thing.

Today, I’m calling you out.

Because if you’ve been dating this way for 5, 10 or 20 years, there’s something that you’re not seeing.

And that something is this:

If a 42-year-old man says that he’s ONLY attracted to 9’s and 10’s who are in their late 20’s, that’s fabulous. But if NONE of the 9’s and 10’s he covets are interested in him in return, it only makes sense that this man needs to recalibrate his dating options. 6’s and 7’s are readily interested in him, but he doesn’t find them attractive enough. Without knowing this man, I think it would be clear that he’s overestimating himself. If he can get only 6s and 7’s in looks, he’s probably a 6 or a 7 in looks himself. Therefore, if he ever wants to get married, it would probably make sense to start appreciating the 6s and 7’s and choose the one that he’s most attracted to, who shares the same values and can be his best friend for life.

I’d think it would be hard to argue with that logic.

So should it be any more controversial if we flip the genders around?

If you think you “deserve” a certain kind of partner … and yet you’ve NEVER gotten him, you need to start considering another kind of partner.

If the 38-year-old woman MBA who owns her own condo, runs marathons, and can complete the Sunday New York Times crossword only likes 9’s and 10’s… but those same men always a) prefer younger women or b) ultimately break her heart because they’re egotistical, selfish narcissists who only want younger women and aren’t ready to settle down… should she keep holding out for them? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to marry one of the devoted 7’s who think she’s the bee’s knees?

Apparently not.

Because that would be settling.

And settling is bad.

Therefore, all of these amazing men and women remain single indefinitely. Because They. Will. Not. Settle.

They would rather tilt at windmills, trying to acquire a partner who DOESN’T want them, instead of realizing that the BEST partner for them is the one who WANTS them and VALUES them and thinks THEY are a catch.

And the culprit in all this? Our unrealistic expectations – of how we see ourselves – and of what we expect of our partners.

If you price a candy bar at $100 and there are no buyers, you need to lower the price of the candy bar.

If you think you “deserve” a certain kind of partner – not just someone who is rich, hot, and brilliant, but a rich, hot, brilliant partner who STICKS AROUND – and yet you’ve NEVER gotten him, you need to start considering another kind of partner.

The key is in letting go of the image you’ve been holding onto. Because real relationships aren’t about credentials; they’re about connection. And I truly believe there are thousands of people you can potentially be happy with… if only you didn’t have such a rigid idea of what it looked like.

Last night, I was coaching a favorite client, Katie, who is part of  Love U.

Katie is 58 and never married. Of course. She never wanted to settle.

After rebranding her on Match.com, she’s getting a ton of attention and is being chased down by two men simultaneously.

Tom is the brainy, charismatic one who talks about himself incessantly, sends template emails, and hasn’t followed up in a week.

Bill is a fun guy, makes her laugh, is a great kisser, and has followed up for four dates in two weeks.

Katie wanted to know how to make Tom like her and how to get rid of Bill. When we dug deeper, I learned that she was embarrassed at the thought of introducing her friends to Bob because he wasn’t as “sophisticated” as her other tony Connecticut friends.

I asked Katie, point-blank: Are you attracted to Bill? “Yes”

Real relationships aren’t about credentials; they’re about connection.

Do you have fun around Bill? “Oh, yes!”

Is he consistently good to you? “Absolutely. He’s crazy about me.”

So why are you trying so hard to run away? Because of what your friends think? Because Bill’s not what you’ve pictured in your head for 58 YEARS?

“Yeah, kind of.”

I’m delighted to report that Katie is going out with Bill again. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she “settled” her way into an amazing relationship.

By thinking you’re “better” than everyone who wants you, you’re eliminating the greatest source of love around – the person who wants you! And you may be surprised to find that you can be EXTREMELY happy with someone who doesn’t meet your preconceived image of your ideal mate.

I certainly have been.

Did you find this post thought-provoking? Challenging? Insightful? Then be sure to check out my eBook, “Why He Disappeared – the Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever“.

Join our conversation (313 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 221
    Anna

    I suggest you all rent the DVD of “Marty”, an classic movie staring Ernest Borgnine. Consider it your wake up call.

  2. 222
    Jim

    With so many women these days that have a very high list of demands when it comes to men certainly tells the whole story right there.   Must have a full head of hair with no baldness at all, excellent shape, a career making a lot of money, have a million dollar home, and drive a real expensive car as well. Wow, those demands that these women expect today are very horrible considering that most of the women are very obese today and not all that attractive that they really think they’re.   And then they wonder why so many men are still single now.

    1. 222.1
      No Name To Give

      Idk what women you’re looking at. I’m probably on the average to below average on looks scale and don’t believe I should have the guy you describe. Lame women might be dazzled by those sorts of men, but don’t really believe we would ever have a chance with that sort of man. As a matter of fact, anytime a man like that has contacted me online, I knew immediate it was a scammer with a fake profile.

    2. 222.2
      Lynx

      You know that wealthy guy with the full head of hair and 6-pack abs? His ex is sooo happy to be done with his narcissistic ass. A woman who wants a genuinely good guy knows better than to fall for that type.

  3. 223
    Jilted Dream Girl

    I’ve been following your blogs for several years now, and this advice has landed me in more disappointment and heartache than simply remaining alone. While I do think there is merit to this argument, it ignores the reality of human ego. Particularly, the male ego.

    I’m the kind of woman who most would assume could have any man she wants. It confounds people that I’m not married to some tall, handsome, athletic millionaire. I turn heads everywhere I go, and have never met a stranger. Most men (and some women) get nervous and giggly in my presence. I’ve been “woman of my dreams” to several men who are now married to women who – objectively – are nothing like me. I’ve joked that I’m kind of the female equivalent of Good Luck Chuck.

    After reading your blogs and even purchasing “Why He Disappeared”, I realized my ideal match (and male equivalent) wouldn’t likely be available (mid 30s) or interested in me. So I decided to entertain the advances of men who were. Date who wants you, right? These men were usually short, chubby, balding, not conventionally attractive, socially awkward, insecure, not particularly ambitious or high earning potential, high school educated, never traveled the world, lots of baggage, not stylish or sophisticated, et al. They weren’t bad men. Just average men who were seemingly sweet and trying their best in life, and believed they hit the jackpot when they met me. I had resigned myself to the reality of building a life with a man who wasn’t necessarily my ideal match, but if he was kind and genuine and crazy enough about me, I figured it could work. Besides, all the handsome, charming “alphas” were disinterested or taken, so the alternative was being alone. Crash and burn each time. They put me on a pedestal immediately, then their insecurities would quickly take over. They didn’t feel like they were “good enough”. I “deserved better” than what they had to offer. I tried to assure them that they are good enough, and that I did love them, and reminded them that I was choosing to be with them. But it wasn’t enough. I ultimately get dumped by men I had to convince myself to be interested in, in the first place. Having their “dream woman” reduced to begging threw the power dynamic off and I’m sure it was ultimately a turnoff. This pattern has even been repeated a handful of times I’ve fallen for a man who was “more compatible” with me. To have a handsome, intelligent, successful, witty man who shares excellent chemistry with me also tell me that he’s “not good enough” was kind of the final straw for me. That’s when I realized this was all some kind of game for men. Pursue the ideal woman just to see how far you can get, then break her heart and go commit to someone else. They always check back up on me weeks, months, years later to see if I’ve been snatched up yet or to tell me how I’m the one who got away. And my favorite: “You’re amazing. One day you’ll meet a man who can handle it.“ I’m almost 40. Ha.

    I just wanted a husband and some kids. Someone to build a life with. Nothing unusual. So much unnecessary pain and time wasted. I’m humble enough to be self-aware so I’ve asked friends for tough love feedback. The general consensus is: You just haven’t met the right one yet. It’s certainly not a numbers game, because I date a LOT. I also meet lots of people organically through my community work and various hobbies. I’m literally doing all the things you’re supposed to do, and it’s effortless. I’m not “trying”. I happen to be a bubbly woman with a full life who simply wants a partner to share it with. Not coming from a place of desperation or need. I approach first dates appropriately. I’m confident, charming, and apply zero pressure. Genuinely curious about them and finding out what we have in common. It’s always pleasant and fun, but then they say “You’re amazing. I just didn’t feel a connection.” Honestly, what are women like me supposed to do?

    1. 223.1
      Jeremy

      I’m going to ask a few tough questions, and you might not know the answer. I might humbly suggest not answering too quickly, because intuitive answers are often wrong.

      – How did you feel about the men you dated, the ones you considered objectively below your league but tried to feel attracted to? How successful were you in feeling attracted?

      – If you feel you were successful in being attracted to men, how do you show it? How did you expect men to show their attraction to you in return?

      – When these men were with you one-on-one, did they seem comfortable? Did they seem at ease? Were they relaxed with you, or were they constantly on their proverbial toes? Do you find men who challenge you to be attractive? Do you like to challenge men?

      I ask these things because no man breaks up with a girl for being “too good.” They break up with a girl who believes she is too good for them. Or, at least, that’s how they think she feels. It’s possible all these guys were totally insecure. But you’re the common denominator. I fully believe you were trying with these guys. But…..on some level, did you feel you WERE too good for them? If so, even a bit, it likely came out in your behavior. Is my best guess, with the lack of other info.

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