Laura Doyle

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Introduction

The Way You Always Wanted Things to Happen

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“For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke


What is a Surrendered Single?

And just what is she surrendering—and to whom?

A Surrendered Single recognizes that if she wants to attract the man with whom she can develop intimacy, she cannot control relationships. She cannot determine who asks her out, how he'll do it, when he'll call or e-mail, or if he'll commit to her. A Surrendered Single may have unwittingly been trying to control, manipulate and force relationships previously, but no more.

She doesn't hunt for Mr. Right–she attracts him.

She's purposely quiet on first dates so she can learn more about him and stay with her own feelings and intuition about what he reveals.

She relinquishes her checklist of qualities she thinks she requires in a man. Then, she acknowledges that she can be blissfully happy with an imperfect man, and that she will definitely be lonely without one.

Surrendering is about following some basic principles that will help you change your habits and attitudes about dating. It is terrifying because, at times you will feel vulnerable. But the results are grand: your fears will melt. You will discover amazing, available men. You will feel adored. You'll stop going it alone.


You will find intimacy with a good man.
Surrender Control, Find Your Faith

There's a constant in romance: You can't control when, where or how you fall in love. You can't even control whom you fall in love with. The chemistry and mystery of love are unpredictable.

Every story of how couples first met includes the element of a pleasant surprise. They didn't expect to meet their mates then or there. Not on a Wednesday. Not at the paint store. Not over nachos, or during the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game.

Marla didn't intend to fall in love with her friend's co-worker, but now they're happily married with a baby. Had Jessica known she would meet her future husband at the gym one day, she probably would have put on lipstick before she left the house. Sarah didn't anticipate meeting anybody at all for a while after breaking off an engagement, but mutual friends of the man she would later marry introduced them.

These women did not expect to find their soul mates when or how they did. But they did have faith—whether they knew it or not—that somewhere in the universe was a man who was right for them. They simply had to be open to the possibility of encountering him.

That's all faith is—being open to the possibilities.

Maybe you think that's great for other women but you don't believe that faith—which may seem maddeningly elusive—is going to win you a great romance.

Think again.

Having faith means you can let life surprise you. That doesn't mean that we are powerless, just that we embrace the unknown and stop being afraid of uncertainty.

It means liking the idea that the man of your dreams may look and sound nothing like the one you had imagined. Faith means that you keep your door open to dating, no matter how discouraged and frustrated you are, because you believe that ultimately the man who's right for you will walk through it.

For those of us who would like to have control of every aspect of our lives as though we were climbing a predictable corporate ladder, this is hard to swallow. The unknown is disconcerting. Trekking forward willingly requires faith.

Part of what keeps you single is lack of faith. The other part is fear of the unknown.


Who's Afraid of Dating?

“A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason.”

– Thomas Carlyle

Every strong, single woman I know rolls her eyes when I suggest that lack of faith and fear are what keep her alone. She doesn't typically think of herself as scared because she's built a career and a terrific circle of friends, stood up to dozens of men, and often even raised a child alone. She is capable and hearty.

And she's through with “having faith” because so far, it hasn't done a thing for her. (Or so she thinks.) In fact, the very word is disconcerting to her. Truth is, her faith is as out of shape as her first little black dress, and it's as worn as the fabulous heels she bought to go with it.

This is understandable. When we believe that something will happen, but have no control over whether it does, the possibility of disappointment looms. What could be more disappointing than believing he's out there, and never finding him? We'd be faced with thinking that there's something wrong with us. To protect herself, the single woman does a funny little sidestep.

She goes into the world with good intentions to find someone who has all the characteristics she wants in a partner. She makes a list of these characteristics by starting with what she knows will meet her parents' approval and what her friends will like. Unfortunately, her list is now both restrictive and irrelevant since it has nothing to do with her own desires.

Each potential suitor is measured against his ability to fit into her complicated jigsaw puzzle of the perfect guy.

Of course, nobody fits.

She thinks she feels hopeless that there's “no one out there,” but really the terror of risking her heart keeps her from acknowledging that any man might be right. Her good intentions cover her fear, and keep her from having to muster up a critical ingredient for finding love: courage.

Nobody wants to have her heart broken, so it's sensible to want to protect yourself.

But repeatedly searching for a partner and never finding one feels awful. Since trying to control potential suitors by comparing them to a checklist guarantees you'll end up empty-handed, surrendering means throwing out that checklist and giving yourself a chance to attract the unexpected.

When we surrender, we relinquish inappropriate control and override the fear underneath so we can have the thing we crave the most—intimacy.


Control and Intimacy are Opposites

If you've been dating off and on but never stay in a relationship for long, you may be telling yourself that you've just never met the right man. Chances are your fear is preventing you from standing still or being quiet long enough to find out if the men you date might be right for you. Perhaps your fear of heartbreak propels you to elicit affection, reassurance and commitments to assuage your insecurities. Maybe you feel safer being physically intimate than emotionally vulnerable and therefore relegate potential relationships to short-lived sexual flings.

All of this is about control.

If you haven't gone out on a date in a long time you might be telling yourself that men just don't approach you, when really you've been trying to control who asks you out. Maybe you've been so focused on a man who shows little interest that you're missing out on other opportunities to date because your field of vision is so narrow. Avoiding eye contact with men, refusing offers for blind dates and running off before a guy has a chance to get your phone number are examples of trying to protect yourself with control.

Maybe you're in a committed relationship and wishing your boyfriend would shape up in some way—be tidier, make more money, enhance the romance, or propose. It's easy—and tempting–to be the arm-chair quarterback of someone else's life, but it's in taking responsibility for our own happiness that we make ourselves available for an intimate relationship.

No matter how you try to control the prospects and relationships in your life, the result is the same: loneliness and exhaustion set in where tenderness and romance belong.


The Recipe for Loneliness and Exhaustion

After I published my first book, The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide to Finding Intimacy, Passion, and Peace with a Man, single women asked me how they could find an intimate, passionate relationship. These women, like me, recognized their tendencies to dominate and manipulate, and they identified with my message: control is the enemy of intimacy.

They hated to admit it, but these single women's urge to control left them feeling the same way I had felt while trying to dictate every aspect of my marriage: exhausted and alone. I realized that the solution for singles seeking love would be the same that it was for wives craving intimate marriages: surrender and find the romance and emotional connection. I started a singles workshop in my living room to help women apply the principles of surrendering to attracting the right man. (You can learn more about workshops in your area by calling 1-800-466-2028 or visiting www.surrenderedsingle.com). Surrendering is a powerful way to foster intimacy and I had watched thousands of women heal their marriages by relinquishing control of others.

Before long I could see that the competent professional women who came to my house on Tuesday nights were afraid. “I'd rather have two broken arms and two broken legs than have a broken heart again,” one woman said. I saw that they had been trying to manage their fear by staying in control. They tried to control who approached them. They tried to control how their dates behaved. They tried to prevent heartbreak by looking for and finding some insurmountable obstacle to compatibility with perfectly good men. They even tried to deny that they wanted to be in relationships in the first place.

They did all of this because they felt vulnerable.


My Favorite Defense

“For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.”

– Anonymous

By definition, vulnerability makes you feel exposed, and therefore afraid. I understand this particularly well because I, too, was once terrified of vulnerability. My favorite antidote to it was control. I felt safer if I thought I could manipulate the outcome of every situation.

Women who try to protect themselves with control have suffered disappointments in the past. Maybe you've been through a tragic divorce or watched your parents split. Perhaps it was something less dramatic, but also painful, like having your first love break-up with you to go out with another girl. Such hurt prompts women to erroneously believe that we can prevent all future heartache if we manage everything properly.

Of course, it isn't so. First of all, the only thing you get from trying to manage the people around you is the guarantee that you will never find intimacy. Secondly, there are no guarantees against heartache. However, surrendering makes heartache much less likely. In chapter xxx I show you why this is so.

I almost ruined my marriage by “helping” my husband decide when to take a nap, how to get a bargain in Mexico and which kind of guitar amplifier to buy. Behind this control was fear: that he would be tired and cranky, pay too much money or buy an amplifier that cluttered our house. The threat of almost losing a relationship that had once made me so happy propelled me to learn how to surrender—to accept that I couldn't change anyone but myself, and that trying to change my husband was not only wasting my time, it was killing my marriage.

I also discovered that when I changed myself by becoming more vulnerable, my husband responded to me differently.

Vulnerability makes us approachable and attractive because it's a gift to the person we're with. It's an unspoken compliment that says, “I trust you to be gentle when I put down my armor. I feel safe with you.” When someone gives me such a gift, my instinct is to be tender so as to reassure her that I understand the honor. Vulnerability will draw me to someone in a way that appearing invincible never could because I identify with the humanity and authenticity. To appear perfect is to keep your defenses up, which means others can't see and love the real you.

Once you have someone's empathy, there's only one way for them to interact with you: with compassion.

When we surrender control of who pursues us and how he does it, we clear the way for the relationship we always wanted.
The Power of a Woman

“One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night.”

– Margaret Mead

Women often protect themselves from disappointment and vulnerability by flaunting their independence. How many times have you thought, "I don't need anybody to take care of me” or “I can handle this?” Strength is attractive, but hard-nosed independence sends a “get away” message to those who want to approach you.

This masculine persona can be effective—and appropriate—in a work environment where forcefulness and toughness get the job done.

But you have another side to you that's soft, tender, vulnerable and receptive. That part of you wants to be taken out for dinner, walked home, asked about, thought of, caressed, and just plain taken care of. It's the part of you that relishes feeling protected and cherished. These are undeniable feminine qualities. Since femininity is what men are fundamentally drawn to, those are the qualities that will attract a man who's right for you. Surrendering means acknowledging that as a woman, you have a feminine mind, body and spirit.

Taking a feminine approach to dating means that when you leave the workplace (or even when you're interacting on a social level in the workplace), you turn off your ambition and bossiness and relax into your feminine grace. You have the power to magnetize men with your manner, your scent, your body and your voice, which will serve you far better than a know-it-all attitude or toughness in the dating arena.

Revealing your feminine qualities allows a man to show his strengths, too. For instance, if you let him treat you, you give him the opportunity to demonstrate his generosity and ability to please you, which makes him feel proud and happy to be with you. If you dismiss his offers in the name of self-sufficiency, you reject him. If you try to one-up him or even the score, you're competing with him like one of the guys, instead of luxuriating in his adoration and affection. Now, he wonders why he should bother trying to do anything for you because he feels superfluous.

Pleasing a woman makes a man feel more masculine and good about himself. Men want to see your soft side so they can show their strength. By being feminine, we allow our man's masculinity to shine.

Men and women really are infinitely different, and you'll enjoy the foil of his masculinity to your femininity if you surrender to both.

James Thurber wrote, "I love the idea of there being two sexes, don't you?"
Surrender Really is The Right Word

“Eventually I lost interest in trying to control…to make things happen in a way that I thought I wanted them to be. I began to practice surrendering to the universe and finding out what ‘it' wanted me to do.”

– Shakti Gawain

The word “surrender” is frightening to some because it calls to mind losing a battle or spinelessness. But in interpersonal relationships surrendering is simply acknowledging that sometimes the only thing I can change is my attitude, and that doing so has a profound effect on everything else. Making “surrender” your mantra is much shorter and to the point than saying to yourself, “stop trying to dictate who comes into your life and what he'll be like and when he will call.”

The basic principles of a Surrendered Single are that she:

  • Acknowledges her desire to attract and marry a man who's right for her
  • Lets go of the idea of a perfect man
  • Receives compliments, gifts, help and dates graciously whenever possible
  • Takes responsibility for and focuses on her own happiness and fulfillment
  • Relinquishes control of the pace of the courtship
  • Strives to be vulnerable
  • Honors her desire to be married by ending dead-end relationships
  • Checks for safety before she risks herself physically or emotionally

A Surrendered Single is

  • Open where she was guarded
  • Optimistic where she was cynical
  • Feminine where she was tough
  • Gracious where once fended for herself
  • Respectful where she used to feel superior

When a single woman surrenders she doesn't try to manipulate a man to express his feelings, devotion or commitment because she knows that would render his words meaningless. It creates the same kind of tension and frustration as when you twist someone's arm to do something rather than letting him decide when and how he wants to do it. She refrains from making ultimatums, nagging, criticizing, and correcting the man she is romantically involved with because she knows she can't improve someone else, and that trying will cost her intimacy.

Instead of indulging in negative thinking about men and dating, she knows that there are both pleasures and risks involved in discovering an intimate relationship.

A Surrendered Single lets go of the negative beliefs she's been holding onto like a security blanket, such as:

  • There are no good single men out there
  • I'm too old to attract someone
  • Dating is too much trouble

At first surrendering will feel awkward and frightening.

But so what? No one ever died from these feelings. They're trivial compared to the payoff.


Surrendering Changes You Little by Little

“The big things that come our way are…the fruit of seeds planted in the daily routine of our work.”

– William Feather

No trumpets sound on the day you surrender. In fact, it doesn't happen on a single day, but over time.

When Fiona first came to a Surrendered Singles group, she wasn't convinced that control was her issue. “I just haven't met the right guy yet,” she said. “I think it's because Southern California is just so superficial.” Still, she agreed to try smiling at everyone she saw and being open to accepting dates because, she admitted, doing things her way had left her alone, tired and defensive.

She also told us about a flirtation at work. “He's really attractive, but not a possibility because he's too young and he smokes.” Yet, Fiona agreed that the flirtation made her feel feminine and tingly, so she decided to continue without trying to force anything. In the meantime, she announced to friends that she was available for blind dates, and joined an Internet dating service. Before long she went from not dating at all to dating once or twice a week.

“I'm surprised because I'm enjoying it,” she admitted. “I thought it was so much work, but when I focus on receiving and don't try to control anything, it's more relaxing and enjoyable. I still get nervous and scared, but I'm also excited.”

On one date, Fiona felt herself wanting to reach for the bill and pay her share so he wouldn't think she was cheap, but she resisted. Her date seemed happy to pay for both of them, and for the first time, Fiona realized that not only could she receive graciously, she liked being treated!

She survived that experience, so she decided to experiment with surrendering control of the conversation by being quiet so she could listen to her own heart—and her dates—rather than trying to perform by thinking of something clever to say next. Instead of one lull after another, she found her dates were happy to entertain her and lead the conversation.

Meanwhile, she learned about herself and them.

Fiona found the courage to override her cynicism and let the men who wanted to woo her have a chance. (Granted, it wasn't easy.) She reminded herself that she wanted an intimate relationship more than she wanted to assuage her fear by staying in control.

Slowly but surely, Fiona was changing. She looked softer and more attractive. She felt more feminine and more open. “I was single before because I was afraid of the alternative,” she admitted, “not because I hadn't met the right guy.”

Ultimately, there was no reason to complain about the lack of available men. They were everywhere.

Not coincidentally, Scott–the younger man at work–asked flirtatious Fiona out on a date. Perhaps he noticed she was less guarded, or that she seemed more confident in the wake of so many men pursuing her. In any case, she was surrendering to the idea that she couldn't possibly know if she would like someone unless she went out with him, so she said, “yes.” It wasn't a tough decision, as she already felt attracted to him.

By now Fiona knew better than to suggest a place and time to meet or do the back-and-forthing that would make their schedules mesh.

She didn't try to keep him interested with sex.

She didn't try to find out if he was interested in a commitment or just a summer romance.

Fiona stayed in the moment. He pursued her with home-cooked meals, adventurous dates, and experiments in what would please her. Scott arranged their dates and paid for them. Fiona enjoyed herself and she accepted a second date, then a third.

How normal. What bliss.

Other offers for dates were still coming in and although Fiona was mostly interested in Scott, she accepted them to keep her options open, knowing that she couldn't predict whether Scott would decide to take things to the next level. “I would fret because he didn't e-mail me for one day, but I sat on my hands and didn't try to draw out a message by sending him one first. I didn't want to cheat myself out of being pursued, so I just waited to receive what he had to offer. For me, being the aggressor was about controlling so that I wouldn't feel vulnerable, but I don't need to do that anymore.”

After only three months of surrendering and a few weeks of dating, Scott told Fiona that he wanted to see only her. Thrilled, Fiona agreed that she didn't want to see anyone else either.

Each of the small steps that Fiona took eventually brought her to where she always wanted to be: with a wonderful man who adored her.


Will Reading This Book Make Me Seem Desperate?

There's nothing more humiliating for a single woman than feeling desperate—or imagining that other people see her that way.

Reading this book is not going to make you seem anxious, needy or quick to take the first man who comes along. When you start dating, you will feel transparent, as if everyone around you can see your insecurities and is judging you for them. That's simply part of the vulnerability of dating. In reality, however, people aren't really paying attention to your insecurities—they're not thinking about us as much as we imagine. And if they are thinking about you, nobody will think less of you for receiving offers and dates from the men you meet. Acknowledging that you want a romantic partner is not desperate-it's honest and brave. Good people will find your vulnerability endearing and empathize with your desires.

Desperation is feeling that you have to find someone immediately no matter what the cost. Desperation drives you to be sexual long before you would normally be comfortable, and settle for unacceptable men. It prompts you to reveal too much too soon, which leaves you with little power and lots of risk.

Surrendering, on the other hand, means honoring your desires and protecting yourself from over-investing. Rather than taking the first guy who comes along or rejecting everybody out of fear, you'll be able to make well-informed decisions based on your desires.

Finally, taking time for yourself is a fundamental part of surrendering. Long walks, dinners with your girlfriends, journal writing—or just cuddling up on the couch with a book or Hallmark Movie of the Week helps us to hear our own heart. When you do, urgency and desperation are replaced with confidence.

Surrendering will not humiliate you; on the contrary, it will make you strong and sure-footed on the road to attracting the right man.
Seek Out A Wife Who Has the Kind of Relationship You Desire

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he's got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.”

– Rona Barrett

As rewarding as it is, surrendering isn't always easy. Neither is dating. So it's important to have someone who has been down the same road guide your passage.

Happily married women are a wonderful resource and I suggest that you seek one out to be your mentor in attracting the man who's right for you.

If someone in your immediate circle of friends and family fits that description, ask her for input, support and advice as you walk down the road she's already traveled.

If you know two such women talk to them both.

If you don't know anyone who has the kind of marriage you would like to have, then think of people who are just outside your circle. Does your co-worker or your friend's sister have a happy union? How about someone on your softball team or in your professional organization who is clearly in love with her husband? Somewhere around you is a woman who has what you're seeking. Most likely, if you approach her graciously, she will happily tell you what she knows. That's the power of sisterhood.

Most people like the feeling of helping someone, so chances are your married mentor will be glad to help you. Everyone loves to watch the miracle of a romance unfolding, so she'll enjoy talking to you as much as you'll benefit from talking to her. She'll probably feel honored that you want her advice.

Think of your mentor as someone who can help you make difficult decisions, calm your fears and reflect back to you what she hears in your own heart. Call her whenever you're feeling uncertain, obsessed, terrified, nervous or curious about something related to dating.


Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

When you're craving an intimate relationship, it's tempting to focus on someone outside of yourself. Does he like me? Will he ask me out? Was he flirting? Does he love me? Will we get married? The more important questions to ask yourself, however, are: Do I like him? Would I go out with him? Do I want to flirt? Do I love him? Would I marry him?

Like children who look at each other's papers to see who's coloring in the lines, we sometimes look at a man and think we will find information that will help us make decisions about our own lives. But when it comes to matters of the heart, the most valuable information will come from inside you.
Surrendering Brings out Your Best Self

Surrendering isn't about being so desperate you'll go out with just anyone. It will not make you into a Scarlet O'Hara or a Barbie Doll.

It certainly won't make you a milquetoast.

Rather, a Surrendered Single takes the focus off of things outside of her and looks inward. She honors her desire to have a romantic partner by finding the courage to risk her heart, but no more than necessary. In doing so, she builds on her best qualities and gains confidence and virtue.

She focuses on herself by striving for balance between work and play, finding satisfaction in her career, pursuing hobbies and enjoying friendships. Those efforts bring her contentment, which in turn makes her more attractive and inviting to the right man.

She becomes the best version of herself.


Chapter 1: Surrender to Your Desire to Be Happily Married

“What's terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do.”

– Doris Lessing

Dishonoring your desire to get married is a way of protecting yourself from disappointment and trying to avoid becoming dependent.

If you've been denying—on any level—that you want to get married it's time to stop living in fear and start acknowledging your true desires, both to yourself and to others. Following your natural longings is nothing to be embarrassed about, and denying them can keep even a smart, independent woman from getting what she wants most.

Tell your friends and family. Say, “I want to get married to a great guy someday,” or “I'm looking forward to sharing my life with someone.” If you can't say it to anyone else yet, at least say it to yourself.

Denying what you want is a way of controlling your desires so that you can ward off the fear, disappointment and humiliation. Ultimately, however, such denial, such control will stand between you and finding the love you crave.

Surrender to your desire to be married and you give that desire the chance to become a reality.


Who Needs a Husband?

That was the question Time posed on a cover a few years ago. “More women are saying no to marriage and embracing the single life,” the headline went on, “Are they happy?”

Some women are comfortable living solo and don't want to get married, but if you're not one of them, pretending that you are will ultimately render you heartbroken and unhappy.

When I was dating, I told myself that I didn't want to get married. The dialogue between me and myself was an elaborate way of avoiding my fear of divorce. Yet, my loneliness and desire for a partner were acute. I wasn't so much “embracing the single life” as I was trying to avoid future pain.

My situation was not unusual. Phrases like “embracing the single life” are very often shorthand for “avoiding the risk of a disappointment.” Sometimes the women in my workshops will say, “I'm pretty happy being single. I'm not lonely or anything.” But if that were true, why would they take my workshop?

Sure, it feels less vulnerable to be able to say that you're completely content being single. You may think the take-charge thing to do when you haven't met the right man is to act like you're not interested in men because you're so fulfilled in your career, or so busy with ski trips and school.

Admitting there's a hole in your heart exposes you. We all want to be perceived as independent and strong and when we admit loneliness, we fear that people will think we're less self-sufficient—or even worse, that they'll feel sorry for us.


Lying to Yourself is a Form of Control

Not taking that risk is a way of trying to stay in control. Ironically, denying what you really want so you can avoid possible hurt puts you even further away from getting what you want and more in the face of the pain.

Admitting that I craved a wonderful man and surrendering to that desire put me at risk of heartbreak. It was also the critical first step of embarking on what has turned out to be a remarkable love story that has lasted more than twelve years and seems very likely to last a lifetime.


Let People Who Love You Help You Look

“You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.”

– Olin Miller

I'm not suggesting that you put your life on hold until you meet someone, or that you announce your matrimonial ambitions on a first date. In fact, if you read on, you will see that doing so is yet another form of control. What I'm adamant about is that you tell yourself the truth: You desire someone who will treasure, love, protect, admire and adore you.

If you're nervous about telling yourself the truth, perhaps you subscribe to one of the following myths:

Myth: If I admit I'm lonely, even to myself, I'll seem desperate.

Reality: Loneliness and desperation are different. Loneliness says, “I'd like to be with someone else, I crave companionship, romance and intimacy.” Desperation says, “I can't stand being alone and my self-respect is low. I will take anyone even if I know he's not right for me.” Loneliness is not undignified because it's a natural human emotion that we all feel at times.

Myth: If I admit to others that I want to get married, people will think I'm not serious about my career.

Reality: Even if other people are thinking about you that much, they aren't likely to think you have to choose either career or marriage. Having the desire to get married doesn't wipe out your accomplishments and ambition because the two are not mutually exclusive. Everyone knows there are lots of very successful married women out there. No one will be surprised to learn that you want both a fulfilling career and a passionate romance.

Myth: If I admit I want to get married, people will think I'm undesirable if I don't get married soon.

Reality: Again, it's hard to imagine someone having enough free time to think about your love life so much, but just for the sake of argument, imagine a friend says to you, “I want to get married.” Would your next assumption be that there's something terribly wrong with her because she's still not marred six months later? Of course not. Truth is, “you can't hurry love.” We all know it takes time. Good people will think you're brave for telling the truth.

Myth: If I admit that I'm lonely, I'll scare off the kind of man I want to meet.

Reality: If you were desperate and willing to settle for anyone, that might be true. But you'll still have your standards, and you won't have to settle for anybody who isn't just right for you. Acknowledging the vacancy in your life–the same way you would admit that you're looking for a job when you're unemployed—opens the door for that desire to become a reality.

In fact, there are some similarities between the way you approach finding love and the way you would start to look for a job. When you want a new job, you admit it. You network. People give you leads. You follow up on every one. You leave the dead ends behind, always cordially, and don't look back.

Another similarity is that when you're on the job market the people who matter to you don't think you're weak or lacking in anyway because you need a job. Instead, they keep their ears and eyes open so they can help you find what you want. If you admit to your friends and family that you're in the market for the right man, they can encourage and support you, and invite you to baseball games and parties where you're likely to meet someone.

There are some differences between attracting romance and finding a job. One is that while you sometimes have to settle for a job because there are creditors at the door; you never have to settle for a husband. Another is that you don't have to aggressively hunt for a husband the way you would your dream position, because he will find you.
Romantic Love is Your Birthright

“If it is your time, love will track you down like a cruise missile.”

– Lynda Barry

Some of us were told growing up that we shouldn't wait for Prince Charming, and that we should be self-sufficient. You may have seen the bumper sticker that says, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Maybe you've felt pressure to “embrace the single life” when really you just wish you could be happily married.

If you've been open about your desire to find the man who's right for you, maybe people have discouraged you by saying, “It never happens when you're looking for it,” or “Don't want it so much.” They may have meant well, but not only are they maddening to the single woman who is honest about what she wants, but they're also confusing desire with desperation.

Saying that you don't want what you want is not helpful.

Your prince may not ride up on a white horse, but it's not too much to ask to spend your life with someone attractive who makes you feel like a princess. Being loved by a man is your birthright as a woman. Mating is one of the oldest, ingrained human instincts. While self-sufficiency is admirable, it doesn't fulfill your need to be held and touched, to be intimate with a man. Acting as though you don't crave a leading man in your life doesn't make it so, but it does contribute towards keeping you single.


The Look of Love is Congruent

Once you've acknowledged that you want to be married, you'll change inside. You'll feel more relaxed because your thoughts and your feelings will be aligned. You'll feel the relief that comes with baring a secret that's been eating at you.

Consequently, you'll change on the outside, too. When you're in denial about wanting to be married it shows on your face—in the way you wrinkle your forehead or shift your eyes when someone looks directly into them. It's in the way you walk and hunch your shoulders. Your defenses show like a coat of armor.

When you surrender to the desire to be married—when you embrace it—your countenance and body will change. Your eyes won't dart, as you wonder what people are thinking. Instead, you will see possibilities, and you will smile with your eyes. Instead of wearing “I don't need a man” body armor, you'll send out “I'm available to the right guy” signals. Your body language will be different. You will send out available signals.

If you've ever seen someone smile when they're angry, you know how strange someone looks when they're incongruent. They send mixed signals that make them hard to read and uncomfortable to be around. The only way to be congruent is to honor your feelings instead of trying to dismiss them. As soon as you do, everyone else will unconsciously pick up on that. That gives potential suitors the encouragement they need to approach you or invite you to spend time with them. A man you will absolutely love is much more likely to spot you if he sees that you're available.

And once he spots you, there's a very good chance that you'll never even think of embracing the single life again.

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