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Society Often Suggests that Women have only Two Options: Either Maintain High Standards or Stay Single.

This is the third person you went on a date with this year. You’ve been dating since you were 14 and now you are 32. You are tired, withdrawn, and overall, you’d like to just be done with it. You have low patience and any red flag is grounds for departure. You are happy, you have self-confidence, you are going to therapy, and your standards are high, but you also would like to share your life with someone. You lay in bed thinking about your options because you know how cruel society is to women who are 30+. The options you settle on, hold your standards tightly until an amazing man arrives, or accept that there are no truly amazing men and decide how much mediocrity you are willing to take.

This is a very real scenario women experience. Growing up, society teaches women that they will stumble upon the man of their dreams and have a happy life. What many love stories don’t include is the price women pay. The truth is, not everyone will end up with someone great. Unfortunately, it is the design of patriarchy. Patriarchy rewards men for existing. They get paid more for being men. They aren’t subjected to violence because they are men. Finally, patriarchy has positioned them in such a way that women covet them, and they are allowed to choose the type of women they want, despite being less than ideal. Patriarchy also makes men incredibly lazy. It hampers their ability to have emotional intelligence and shields them from consequences.

So, women grow up ignorant about their dating landscape and run into a large number of men who won’t match them emotionally, financially, spiritually, and educationally. By the time women realize this, they are exhausted from dating and a tad jaded from the horrible experiences they’ve had. Yet, for some reason, everyone tends to make this reality a secret. If women aren’t actively quiet about it, they are met with vitriol because they are vocal.

Men laugh at us and call us damaged, despite doing the damage. Other women laugh because they are socialized by patriarchy and believe that being alone is associated with worth. Or they use bitterness or jadedness as an insult to boost their self-confidence. We never say to women that you are justified in your feelings. We never say to women sorry we lied to you about being whisked away by a greater or equal man. We never say to women or ask women to develop a more modern option that addresses this reality. We just say shut-up bitter desperate bitch you should’ve been more palatable so you can have a man.

The truth is, that society has held onto archaic rules and images of womanhood. It has yet to catch up with who women are and what they are doing. Modern women are saying no and staying single[1]. Modern women are so skilled and confident that they aren’t allowing anyone mediocre into their lives. Modern women are also deciding how much mediocrity they want in their lives. Modern women are managing [2]their expectations so they can experience partnerships and family. Modern women are creating alternative forms of living and co-parenting [3] with their best friends.

So, knowing the landscape and the archaic rules women are held to, why aren’t we internally developing alternative visions of fulfillment and happiness?  Why is so much of our joy tied into who will be partnered with when we know there aren’t great men out there? Why are the choices between being happy or being alone? Why not be happy and alone? Even though I tend to shun this, why not choose someone to fulfill your physical needs of sex and parenting and leave fulfillment up to you? It is a controversial option, but it can relieve a lot of anxiety. The truth is, we have to start thinking and creating new visions for ourselves. We can no longer continue to be sullen and regretful over dating. There is so much more to life than “him”.

So, start defining what that is. Start creating a picture of who you’d like to see. Who you are without a partner? What fulfillment is to a modern woman? What is the average limit you are willing to accept? Can romantic love be fulfilled with community relationships? Can physical touch be supplemented by having friends who are comfortable with cuddling and partners who are just for sex? What are your plans for when you get older? Can you save for nice retirement homes if you decide never to have children? Where can you put that additional money you would’ve spent on children? It is time for us to see our world and paint a picture for ourselves that will leave us fulfilled. So, the question begs to be answered…what is your picture for you? [1]


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