You Have To Kiss A Lot of Princes Before You Marry The Frog

You Have To Kiss A Lot of Princes Before You Marry The FrogYou’ve been through a LOT when it comes to love. You’ve dated guys with whom you felt the most incredible connection, only to find out that they weren’t serious about you. You’ve dated guys with whom you didn’t feel much connection at all, and hung on for awhile hoping it would develop. You’ve dated guys who seemed great on paper, but one or both of you just couldn’t find a way to make a commitment. Everything you did, you did for a reason, and I’m not going to second-guess any of those decisions of the past. I am, however, going to share three things I learned this weekend at my 20th High School Reunion – and illustrate how they may apply to you… It’s easy to question your own judgment when dating. You may be insecure that you’re drawn to the wrong men. You may be frustrated that you can’t help who you’re attracted to. You may even look around at friends and wonder what they’ve figured out that you haven’t. Questioning your own judgment is normal. But so is the opposite: It’s easy to NEVER question your own judgment. It’s easy to form a set of beliefs and live your life by them, even if they’re flawed. It’s easy to find evidence to support these flawed beliefs, which is why you never question your own judgment. It’s easy to spend years and years stuck in negative relationship patterns, and never conclude that you’re the common denominator in each situation.

Now, as you well know, being 38 and single is certainly not a crime.

To illustrate these principles, I’ve got 3 interesting anecdotes. Now, to nostalgic people like me, a 20th reunion is a big deal. It’s not like I was super-popular in high school, but I still reflect on my high school years fondly. At the very least, I was genuinely curious about what happened to all these people whom I once considered myself close friends. One friend, in particular, is a lot like me. The only difference I’ve seen is that, as we’ve gotten older, I’ve found a measure of humility and he has not. So while I went into the reunion telling my wife, “Don’t let me talk about myself. Make sure I’m listening and asking questions,” my friend Brian’s impetus to return for the reunion was to show everybody how great he was. And it’s not like he’s wrong – he’s an impressive guy. But what Brian failed to recognize was that he wasn’t “better” than everyone else who get married at 30 and had 2 kids – he was, as I saw it, just less likely to compromise in love. His decision not to compromise meant that he’s been extremely successful in his career, he’s traveled around the world, he’s dated models. It also means he’s 38 and single. Now, as you well know, being 38 and single is certainly not a crime. But it is a choice. And while Brian was looking down on all the married suburbanites who couldn’t hop on a flight to Morocco, I was sort of envying them. Jesse took his kids to Jay, who was his local pediatrician. Barry took his kids to Stacey, who is a speech pathologist. Dan had to get up early the next day to drive his kids to soccer practice. This is, to me, the American dream. And yet all Brian could say was how sad it was that none of our peers had grown because they’re still living where we grew up in Long Island. On the contrary, I thought they had grown tremendously. In fact, all of the happily married people grew to understand how important it was to compromise in love. Sam certainly did. He’d been married for 12 years, and in about 20 minutes of conversation, he made it clear to me that while having the freedom to do whatever he wants can be exciting, his life is ALL about the kids. I thought this was beautiful. Sam is about devotion to one woman and selflessness and building something bigger than himself. (Yes, men like this DO exist.)

If you’ve been looking for your whole life for your prince, it may be time to let go of the image and find a real, live, human being who loves you unconditionally.

So when I compare Brian and Sam, I don’t see one person as better than the other. Brian is a wealthy single guy who raises money for cancer. Sam loves his wife, supports his family and gives every ounce of effort to his children. Neither is superior, but I can tell you, 100%, that I’d rather be like Sam. What about you? Would you rather be the world-beater who has all the luxuries on earth, but looks down on everyone who made compromises? Or would you rather be the woman who makes certain compromises and finds love? The choice is yours. Brian has told himself he needs to be with a liberal Ivy League supermodel to be happy. I used to feel the same way. I learned to compromise. I’m MUCH happier than I was before. You can be too, if you’re open to it: Which brings me to my final story from the reunion, courtesy of a surprising source. Darlene and I were barely even friends in high school – it was more of a first name recognition. But we knew people in common, she knew what I did for a living, and we had a really engaging conversation about the nature of love. And then she said something to me that I’d never heard before. “You have to kiss a lot of princes before you marry the frog.” I was so confused that I asked her to repeat herself. She did, and then some: “You have to kiss a lot of princes before you marry the frog. What I mean is that it’s easy to find a cute guy with money – especially in South Florida. These are the men who SEEM like they’d be princes. My first husband was a prince, and you can see how that worked out. So now that I’m on JDate at age 38, I finally figured out what I was looking for – the guy who treats me the best. The guy who, in the past, I would have thought of as the frog is REALLY the prince.” I think Darlene’s line is instantly quotable and kind of genius. If you’ve been looking for your whole life for your prince – the equivalent of Brian’s liberal, Ivy League supermodel – it’s not that you’re “wrong” for being attracted to that person…But if you’ve been looking in vain for that person for your whole life, it may be time to let go of the image and find a real, live, human being who loves you unconditionally, instead of holding out for the super-impressive man who doesn’t. I honestly thought my 20th high school reunion would be validating for the same reasons that Brian did – because I kept my hair, because I make a good living, because I left home to forge my own path. But the real affirmation I got from the event was that, in marrying my wife, I was positive I was choosing the right path for me. Marriage. Kids. Love. Compromise. I look forward to making sure that your compromise, like mine, FEELS GOOD. Your prince may not look exactly like a prince, but I guarantee he won’t look like a frog either. 🙂

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  1. 91

    But Evan, I would guess that a percentage of your core audience, including women who you might coach, are either on the fence about kids or don’t want kids. And yet are totally interested in marriage.
    I can’t speak for the other dissenters, but I’m not writing out of anger, nor am I trying to push a pro-singles agenda on your blog – which is clearly geared at marriage minded folks. I’m simply saying that you, and everyone else writing towards people who say they want to get married, have an opportunity to diversify the images you offer as to what a successful marriage might mean.
    When I think of some of the women clients who you have spoken of in other posts, I sometimes wonder if their hesitations about commitment are coming, in part, from not knowing what to want out of marriage. Of feeling some vague sense that they don’t want a “traditional marriage,” but aren’t really sure what different approaches are being tried out by others. Perhaps these women end up settling in the wrong manner, meeting a man who wants the norm of buying a house, and centering life around a family with kids, and she goes along with that for several years before waking up confused and bitter one day.
    A few days ago, I went on a date with a woman who I had a lot in common with. We had a really nice, wide ranging conversation, enough that, in the past, I would have leapt at a second date with her. Even though there wasn’t a ton of initial “chemistry” between us. And yet, knowing myself better now, I realized that she was really focused on getting married and having children. Relatively soon. I think she recognized my ambivalence about that, and pulled back herself. The whole situation got me thinking about how even if you have let go of the “dream” images of some perfect prince or princess, you can still be faced with roadblocks that might have nothing to do with your ability to compromise, or your ability to commit to someone.

  2. 92

    Why do they say you must be a ‘BITCH’ to get a man fall in love with you? Is that correct? In my experience, it may work in the beginning but you can uphold that position for so long. Short after stopping the ‘bitchy’ behavior, the relationship does not work. Consequently, you blame yourself giving rise to an array of unnecessary but inevitable ‘what ifs’
    The reasons why you, Evan, are with your wife are all the contrary. Your wife probably showed her true colors from start and you fell in love with her. Such gives me hope. Hope to find someone who would like me exactly for who I am (including righteous principles and values) and not for how much ‘I play hard to get’ to get him interested?

  3. 93

    [email protected]: No, Helen. It isn’t anger, and it really is the superior attitude that many married people, including EMK, present, as I still hold that his post about his so-called “best friend” is full of. This attitude seems very clueless. It’s more annoyance that people can really be so narrow-minded. This narrow-mindedness comes out in small, everyday interactions, from trying to fix people up when they don’t want to be, to excluding them from couples-only things, to not allowing a good friend to bring a “date” to an event when others can bring a spouse you don’t even know. There are more types of subtle discrimination against singles once you get into the world of commerce and tax legislation, but I won’t get into that here. Then there is the assumption that the single sibling should take care of mom and dad, that you’d be thrilled to watch the married people’s pets while they go on vacation or their kids when they go to the movies, or that your vacation from work is less important than the vacation of guy with the kids who has to have the last two weeks in August because his wife/his kids/his in-laws/blah blah blah. So you get to work the least desirable hours and get second choice of days off. Or you have to fill in all the time for the woman who has to take care of her sick kid or who has to be home because school let out early and her husband’s job is so much more important than anything else in the world, of course. 

    People assume that if they hitch themselves to family values they will get away with these unfair things–and putting down singles or a single lifestyle is part of keeping the family values status quo dominant.

    Glad to say that these discussions are finally taking place in the media and, more importantly, in HR offices. Cannot wait until the tax code gets rewritten.

    Here’s a news flash: Lori Gottlieb isn’t married because she doesn’t want to be. Brian isn’t married because he doesn’t want to be. I am not married because I do not want to be. We are not secretly pining away for your life. Really–get a grip on reality and stop with the insults already.

    1. 93.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      The newsflash is for you, Jesse. Your singlemania seems to have gotten the better of your logical thinking. See, you don’t know Lori Gottlieb. I do. You don’t know my friend Brian. I do. You don’t know any of my clients. I do.

      So, as Helen and I have repeated, ad nauseum: if you want to be single, be single, and leave the dating/relationship advice for people who actually want to be coupled up. I honestly don’t have a problem with single people (since, you know, ALL of my clients are single). Why you have an axe to grind against married people is beyond me but suffice it to say, it’s your mishegas.

  4. 94

    Evan, how much contact have you had with Brian in the last 20 years?  Are you still close friends?  If not, perhaps he’s changed since HS, yet isn’t quite as far along in changing as you are.

    1. 94.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      All of you who are doubting me sound like conspiracy theorists – just looking for any shred of evidence that will validate your original premise. You question me about what I’m thinking. You question my wife about what she’s thinking. You question people you’ve never met before and don’t find me a credible character witness. And what are you basing this on? What you WANT to be true. Sometimes you have to defer to someone who knows a little more about the subject than you do.

  5. 95

    Jesse 104, I do have to agree with Evan that your singlemania seems to have gotten the better of your logical thinking. While many of your viewpoints are good and valid, you do go off on some crazy rants, such as the 2nd paragraph about people getting hitched so that they can shove off duties to singles. Please tell me you’re joking. People get hitched because they found someone whom they love, to whom they want to commit. NOT to burden singles. I challenge you to find a single individual who married for that purpose. That idea is sheer nonsense.

    On the whole, you seem to believe that married people hold a vendetta against singles. We (Evan and I, among singles like nathan and Goldie) are here to tell you that is patently false – we hold nothing against single people. The sooner you believe this, the happier and closer to the truth you will be.

    As for your long first paragraph in 104: without any malice, I will tell you that it reeks of passive-aggressiveness. Why hold your tongue about things that bother you and then rant about them later? Jesse, it’s much better for yourself and the whole world to ASK for what you want.
    1. If you want people to stop setting you up, tell them so directly. You can do so without being unkind.
    2. If you want to take a vacation at a particular time, ask for it.
    3. If you want to be invited to an event, with or without a date, let the hosts know.  Don’t assume you’re being excluded just because you’re single.
    4. If you have a sibling that you think should assume more duties with your parents, ask them to do so.
    5. If people are trying to foist pet care onto you because you’re single (I find this very hard to believe), let them know you don’t want it.

    Jesse, whether you’re single or married, you can’t expect others to read your mind about what you want and then to hand it to you on a silver platter. Take responsibility for your own happiness. Make your own opportunities. 

  6. 96
    Saint Stephen

    I share EMK sentiment. If you are one of those happily married and feels the need to extend the advice of what worked for you- more power to you.
    But i see no reason why anyone happily single, isn’t interested in a relationship and/or marriage- to hang around a BLOG primarily geared towards achieving that. If such folks had restrained themselves to Happily singles Blog, they wouldn’t jump on Evan’s throat for simply doing his business.

  7. 97

    What you said about compromising (or not compromising) in love was very well stated.  It very articulately sums up my dating history.  I realize now that almost all of my relationship choices have had to do with not wanting to compromise in love. 
    For me, it’s not that I think I’m “better” than others necessarily, but I admit it does have to do with being artistic and self-centered. Wanting to be “free” to manifest these wonderful visions of what my life could be.
    Of course, being “free” often means being alone. 
    I can see the value of a bit of compromise. I think it’s at least worth experimenting with : )

  8. 98

    [email protected] and [email protected]: Surely you gest when you suggest that singles and marrieds are treated the same in our world–legally or socially, or that there isn’t a tremendous amount of pressure to get married whether one wants to or not, that bias against singles is a reality, and that for most people marriage maybe isn’t the greatest choice (based on outcomes). If it works for you–great! You’re in the minority. More power to you. Your way, your beliefs, don’t work for most people in the US, the statistics seem to tell us.

    And if you call spreading the word about discrimination against singles “singlemania,” then yes–I am a proud singlemaniac!!

    But I don’t have to convince you or anyone else–the tide is turning toward singlehood as a lifestyle for most adults, at least for a vastly significant portion of their lives. And yes, single people date and have relationships and full lives, and yes, we are standing up for ourselves more and more in the workplace and calling out the media when it bashes singles or perpetuates negative stereotypes about us.

    Obviously this is a blog for married people, though, so I’ll keep moving on. Thanks for your comments.

    1. 98.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Jesse, Jesse, Jesse, who accuses me of “gesting”…

      Wrapped up in your singlemania, you seem intent on making a lot of points which are entirely irrelevant to this blog post. Is there pressure for people to get married? Sure. Is there bias against singles? Probably. Is marriage the best choice for everyone. Certainly not.

      See how much we agree upon?!

      Here’s the thing, bud: it doesn’t matter for the sake of THIS blog.

      THIS blog is for people who want to make better relationship decisions instead of living alone forever. THIS blog is for people who want to understand dating dynamics from a new perspective. THIS blog is for people who – gasp – might want to get married one day… or NOT. See, that’s the thing with you singlemaniacs. You see a conspiracy against single people everywhere, when we relationship-oriented folks are pretty much just busy with our spouses and our kids and couldn’t care less about what you do after work.

      So stop with your crusade to stand up for yourself on my blog. You’re in the wrong forum. Go to Congress if you want laws changed. On THIS blog, we’re focused on relationships and we’re not trying to preach to people who don’t want them.

      For the life of me, Jesse, I don’t understand why a bright guy like you comes to a place like this with an axe to grind. My wife (sorry, some of us like being married) actually gave me a good parallel to describe readers like you.

      Let’s say there’s a food blog for people who like to cook. And the blogger comes up with an exquisite recipe for steak, one that will blow away the readers who are really into that sort of thing.

      You’re the vegan who goes onto the blog and complains that it’s a meat-oriented world and that meat is bad for you and that the meat industry has you under its thumb.

      Dude, if you don’t like meat, don’t eat it. Leave the rest of us alone.

  9. 99

    Hi, i have experience..I began communicating with Oksana on in September 2012. Immediately I was attracted by a cute and adorable tone, and remarkable intelligence, in the letters and chats. I was strongly attracted to her pure character and kindness and by the 2nd month I said to her that I must rush to meet her and win her heart first. Oksana said that I had every opportunity to win her heart first. Oksana met me at the Kiev airport , and it was love at first sight, the eyes fell out of my head when I saw her. Except for a pocket translator, we were communicating without language for three days. There was mutual admiration and respect, ambiance and tranquility, to just be in each other’s presence. We felt that we had already known each other for our whole lives. Our second meeting was six months later when we became engaged on March 17. There were hundreds of emails exchanged, several each day, Skype on the weekends. There are several more months ahead which separate us while Visa for Oksana is in process, but soon we will join to be together forever! It is an amazing experience and great happiness to find someone you missed all life!

  10. 100
    Dina Strange

    Beautifully written, Evan. Thank you!

  11. 101

    But… why can’t we find a prince that loves us unconditionally? Why do you think that one condition excludes the other one? Why if he loves you unconditionally, he is no prince. And why if he is a prince, he is not emotionally available for us? I think this conclusion is a fallacy. We can find that prince that wants to marry us. 

  12. 102

    Judgment can go both ways, as a single 38 year old woman who really doesn’t want children, I’ve certainly experienced the backlash especially from fellow women who think you’re missing out just because you choose not to have a family. I have two little nephews I adore and would honestly die for, but that is about as much as I want to approach parenting. I can see from some of the posts on here, the whole “you’re missing out by not having children” attitude. Let’s just be accepting of each other’s choices. If your friend doesn’t want to get married and focus on his career, maybe that’s what makes him content. Just because people are married with children doesn’t equate to happiness either, it’s easy to say each side just loves their life but really you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors so who knows. With that said, I am single at 38 and I would like to meet someone. I ended an almost four year relationship with a man who was never going to step up so being single isn’t always a choice in a negative sense.

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