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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
The basic principles of a Surrendered Single are that
- 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
- 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
- Checks for safety before she risks herself physically
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,
- 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
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
– 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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
– 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
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
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
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
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
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
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