The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Find a Man (That Your Friends are Too Afraid to Tell You)
Before I begin, let me preface this by saying that I know not all women need (or want) a man. This Hub is for those who do. As someone who married her childhood sweetheart and is still married, these are the answers I give (or wish I could) to my girlfriends who ask why they're having such a hard time finding a good man to love and share life with.
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Finding a good man is hard, so they say. But are you looking in the right places or throwing your time away?
It's no Secret that visualizing your goals helps you obtain them (see what I did there?), but there's such a thing as too much of a good thing. Chances are, whenever a beautiful, successful, smart, sweet, funny woman who checks of all the boxes except for married and single asks why she can't find a man to appreciate all these wonderful qualities in her, it's because of The List. There's nothing wrong with knowing what you want, especially in a relationship. In fact, you need to have some idea of what you want so you'll recognize it when you find it and not settle for anything else.
But... And it's a big caveat... If you've been trying to date and have remained single for more than a few years, despite otherwise being ready for a committed relationship, your list of qualifications a potential mate has to meet is probably why. We all want someone we're reasonably attracted to, someone who can support himself and a family if that's where your values lie, and most importantly, someone whose values align with our own. This isn't really a list so much as a set of standards that I believe any woman should have when looking for someone to share her life with (and for the sake of this article, we'll assume you bring just as much to the table!)
The problem lies within a list of specific criteria that have little to nothing to do with the life you want to build. There's a famous scene in my favorite movie, Practical Magic, in which a young version of Sally, the main character, creates a highly improbable list of qualities her dream man must meet in order to come into her life in the future. Sally is smart enough to realize at a young age that this list-building exercise is the best way to keep a man away from her, because she thinks no real person will ever match those qualities. Of course, the laws that govern the world of Practical Magic are a little less than practical, but I know plenty of grown women in the real world who use this strategy to attract a man. This might be a practical way to approach buying a new car, but not finding a life partner.
Relationship Sabotage (And How to Stop)
Self-sabotaging tendencies in relationship could be an article all its own, but this is by far one of the most common reasons I see women struggling to find love. Self-sabotaging is most often a subconscious behavior, and some of the worst perpetrators have absolutely no idea what they're doing. What is self-sabotage? Any behavior, attitude or talk, self-directed or external, that makes you an obstacle to your own goals. What does self-sabotage look like? It comes in many forms, but the common theme is a person who says they want one thing and lives as if they want another. Most importantly, why do women sabotage themselves in relationships? A few reasons:
- They lack confidence
- They aren't 100% sure of what they want
- They don't believe they deserve what they want
- They're waiting for "the right time"
- Conflicting desires
- Fear that it will never happen if they try
- Fear that it won't live up to expectations if they get what they want
Bitterness is a term that's unfairly levied at single women for all the wrong reasons. Don't have a man by 30? You're a bitter spinster. Relationship didn't work out and you have the gall to speak honestly against unfair treatment? Oh, you're just bitter. This kind of accusation is not only unfair but shows how deeply ingrained misogyny can be in our culture. What I'm talking about is a different, dictionary-definition kind of bitterness. According to the dictionary, bitterness simply means "anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment."
Note the "at being treated unfairly" part? Sometimes bitterness is fully justified, but that doesn't make it any more advantageous for you to hold onto. No matter how your ex treated you, taking that baggage into your new dating life will only hurt one person: you. Bitter people don't make good partners, which is tragic since they're often the ones who need companionship and love the most, whether you're a man or a woman. Identifying and removing bitterness in your life isn't about looking over past wrongs, it's about releasing their hold on you and not letting the past rob you of the happiness you deserve.
This is a difficult and touchy topic, and one that most women find themselves dealing with at some point. During the process of examining any bitterness in your life, you will likely find it necessary to confront the contradictory leanings in your own self-image as well. Take, for example, a relative of mine. She's in her early 40s and she lost over 90lbs within the span of two years. Let's call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth was an absolutely stunning woman both before and after the weight loss. She has never had an issue getting attention from men, but her prospects have increased significantly since the weight loss. Elizabeth has admitted on more than one occasion that she believes this is because the same men who weren't interested in her when she was heavier are only interested in her now because of her weight loss. While this could be the case, anyone else can see that the spike in male attention could also be caused by any number of the following:
- Higher levels of confidence after the weight loss
- More effort put into external presentation, such as hair, makeup and clothing
- Confident body posture
- The air of a woman who believes she has more options and subsequently doesn't need any man in particular
- Attractiveness to health-conscious men who share a similar lifestyle
- Exposure to more men who meet her standards through activities such as the gym and the tennis team she never would have joined pre-weight loss
As an outsider, it's easy to see the complex, multidirectional relationship between these changes and Elizabeth's increased dating prospects. All she can see is that even though she now has what she wants (better prospects in romance), she deserved it all along. While this is absolutely true, it's yet another reason why it's so important to work through any self-image issues during the weight loss process. Even though Elizabeth is a Size 6 these days, she's still stuck in a mindset that was based on her previous weight. She may have shed the pounds, but until she sheds the emotional baggage that went with them, she is going to look skeptically at any interest a man takes in her at best and push him away unfairly at worst, always wondering, "Would he love me if I wasn't thin?"
Location, Location, Location
Are you over the age of 25 and still looking for a man in the club? Don't. Okay, do whatever makes you happy, but don't blame me when you're still trying to find Mr. Right in a stack of guys with bad tribal tattoos who live off of Doritos and push pyramid schemes from their mom's basements. We all know one, and husband material they do not make. Location is the #1 reason why smart, gorgeous women strike out time and time again in the long-term love department. You wouldn't go to a hardware store if you wanted to buy ingredients for dinner, so why go to a place engineered for casual hookups where you can't even hear what the other person has to slur to find the ingredients for a stable relationship?
Let's go back to anecdotal evidence for a moment. Take my friend Jess as Exhibit B. Jess is, you guessed it, beautiful and reasonably successful with a stable office job and a good education. She doesn't have any major hangups that would send the level-headed men running for the hills, and a few minutes with her is enough to tell she's a catch. The problem is, Jess is still operating on 90s dating etiquette that the club is a far more fertile field for romance than online dating. Despite the fact that women of all shapes and sizes, attractiveness, attractions, religions and ages are finding love on sites like eHarmony, Match, etcetera etcetera, Jess refuses to give it a go. I can certainly understand her reservations when it comes to safety and recommend that any woman considering online dating gives it the full caution it deserves before meeting someone in person, but Jess has seriously diminished her prospects by shunning the fastest growing way to meet a mate.
In one study of nearly 20,000 respondents, 35 percent met their spouses on the Internet and nearly half of those met them on dating sites. Others used social media or online interest groups to connect with like-minded paramours. What's more, the couples who met online reported a much lower rate of divorce and separation than their classical meetup counterparts. Just 6 percent of those relationships end in divorce or separation. Think about that before you throw the baby out with the bathwater and decide setting up a profile is a waste of time. In a world where people are increasingly less present in the "real world" each day, connecting online to determine shared interests and values before meeting face-to-face doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
There are plenty of other reasons why women fail to find the love they want and deserve, but these are by far the most common reasons I come across as a happily married woman. Please know that your intrinsic worth isn't determined by whether you have a ring on your finger, or how many connections you make in an online dating profile. All it takes is one person to make a connection that can lead to a lifetime of companionship and happiness, but no matter how ideal a man is, you can only ever experience as much love as you give yourself. Self-love begins with honesty, and I hope that by identifying and examining these obstacles in your life, you'll be able to begin the journey to true, everlasting love -- most importantly towards yourself.