Youâ€™re single. Â Youâ€™d like to be in a relationship. Â So, whatâ€™s the problem?
Well, if you ask around, youâ€™ll get plenty of input as to what youâ€™re doing wrong. Â Your friends insist you need to “get out there” more. Â Your mother complains that youâ€™re too picky. Â Your coworker swears that if you just get online, youâ€™ll meet “The One” in no time.
Or in some cases, your family and friends take it a step further. Â While conducting a little arm chair psychoanalysis, they determine that the core issue keeping you lonely on Saturday nights is YOU. Â Youâ€™re flawed, damagedâ€“a dating disaster zone. Â They say youâ€™re alone because you keep messing up your relationships. Â Youâ€™re too controlling or too passive; too intimidating or too low-key. Â Too opinionated or too boring.
And even if your friends and family hold their tongues, the rest of society doesn’t. Â Bookstoresâ€™ self-help sections preach the same rhetoric with titles like, Getting Married After 30: You Wonâ€™t Unless You Change and Ten Things to Fix Today to Meet â€śThe Oneâ€ť Tomorrow. Â Clearly, single people need to shape up or expect to live alone forever.
The Break Down
Letâ€™s dig deeper. Â If Iâ€™m single and un-datable due to annoying personality traits and relationship-destroying habits, then how is it that plenty of annoying people with relationship-destroying habits are happily coupled-up? Â Of course many single people have issues they need to address, too, and working through these concerns might help them cultivate healthier, more functional connections. Â But what about married people? Â Just because theyâ€™ve got a partner doesnâ€™t mean they have it all together. Â In fact, the very reason they got married in the first place may reveal their dysfunction. Â Whereâ€™s the self-help for them? Â Books with titles like, Why Did You Settle for That Loser? and You Were Too Much of a Wimp to Live Solo so You Married the First Person Who Came Your Way are potential titles.
Hereâ€™s how it works. Â Despite what most self-help authors claim, there is no formula for the perfect match. Â Every happy couple consists of two flawed individuals with a unique union that works for them. Â All guys arenâ€™t out there looking for the same type of woman and all women arenâ€™t searching for the exact same kind of guys. Â Forget all of the nonsense about figuring out what you need to change about yourself, because somebody out there wants exactly what you have to offer.
It Just Hasnâ€™t Happened Yet
So, if youâ€™re too â€ścontrollingâ€ť, then great. Â Someone wants you to tell them what needs to be done so they can do it. Â If youâ€™re too â€śboringâ€ť, then fantastic. Â Your perfect match has just sworn off drama queens and is praying for a low key partner. Â If youâ€™re too â€śopinionatedâ€ť, then wonderful. Â Youâ€™ll find someone who canâ€™t take a stance on anything and is happy to have someone else make decisions about where to eat and where to go on vacation. Â Itâ€™s really as simple as that. Â Hang in there. Â Be yourself. Â It just hasnâ€™t happened yet!
Dr. Karin Anderson is an associate professor of psychology and counselor education at Concordia University Chicago. Â She has a doctorate in developmental psychology, a track record of well-received presentations at national and international psychology conferences, and a speaking platform focusing on womenâ€™s identity construction and cultivation. Â She’s also the author of the book, It Just Hasnâ€™t Happened Yet.