All The Single Ladies: Here’s the Answers to a Few of Your Questions
SINGLE FILE - New!
by Susan Deitz
All The Single Ladies
Here’s the Answers to a Few of Your Questions
Exercises in Singleness
DEAR SUSAN: How on Earth did you come up with the idea of exercises in singleness? I’ve heard of situps and pushups for the underused abs and belly muscles, but how does someone exercise their singleness?!
DEAR BLOGGER: The same logic that applies to one’s abs or stomach muscles applies to their singleness: Underused is underdeveloped. A flaccid stomach muscle or abdomen is of little use to its owner when physical strength is called for. (Follow me closely here, dear Readers, and logic will lead you to your answer). The unmarried state, if not utilized vigorously, will tend to either grow inward, narrowing the supply of people so necessary for a full and vigorous life, or make a splash outward and become a mini-world of time-wasters and distractions. Either direction of energy is a contortion of the purpose of life, which is to grow and develop into more of a person. That purpose is best achieved in the unmarried state, when time and resources are under personal control. Exercising one’s singleness is, then, conscious usage of one’s time and resources in order to grow, to explore one’s interests and to expand one’s personal universe. And, when making the decision to migrate to the coupled world, the move can be as smooth as walking off a moving escalator—without missing a step. Paramount to coupled success is the continuation of the Exercises in Singleness! Maintaining them faithfully will keep one’s “undependence” intact and operable. And, not incidentally, it will make you—and your relationship—so much more interesting. Being interesting and beloved makes for a fascinating partnership. I wish it to you.
You and Change
You probably know that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of the characters for “danger” and “opportunity.” Sure, there’s danger being an unattached woman. At times, panic and depression creep in, too. But there’s also an opportunity that generations of women longed for: the chance to cultivate lifelong self-reliance. When those low moments creep in—and they do no matter what—turn your thoughts to that unbelievably huge plus given our generations. And do your best to get on good terms with change. I promise it will bring pleasant surprises: You’ll start enjoying your dates more. You’ll stop faking a smile and forcing yourself to pay attention to the conversation. Instead, you’ll find yourself feeling a little closer to him because you’re feeling closer to yourself! And—shock of shocks—being husbandless will start to feel less like a drawback. In fact, you’ll actually find yourself having moments when you relish your unencumbered state! And—surprise of surprises—you’ll have more energy, more curiosity, more of an appetite for new places and new people. These are exciting times for women. Who knows what’s in store for us?
Oh, one more thing before you finish reading “Single File” today. The very next time you find yourself with a married couple, make it a point to deliberately study them close up, without, of course, making them uncomfortable. Your mission? Notice small things about their relationship to each other, their voice inflections, their gestures, their hand holding (or not), their gentle touching (or not). The point isn’t at all to convince yourself that singleness is better, but to convince yourself that marriage is no bed of roses either. This close-up is meant to be proof positive that life is so very much determined by you and what you contribute to it. Married, single, with or without a partner, part and apart, in and out of love/infatuation/whatever, you are the constant. So much of what you get from your existence is derived from what you give to it.
Learn to Say No
From time to time, you may need to end things, as well as begin things. Take phone calls, for instance. How many times have you been involuntarily glued to the phone—having a zillion other things on your plate—because you didn’t know how to end the conversation? How many times have you let a friendship (or romance) linger far too long because you just could not get up the nerve to call it quits? Well, friend, think about these truisms:
> It’s much easier to end something if you’ve brought about the beginning, because the power already lies with you. Incidentally, that goes for socializing, too, including phone calls.
> Be kind, but also be frank. Do not apologize or lie or give unnecessary excuses. If you must go, you must go. Be firm, steadfast and truthful.
> Don’t worry about making other people feel rejected. When the ending is handled sincerely, their feelings won’t be hurt—and you may even gain their respect.
> Saying goodbye first (when appropriate) feels good because it puts you in charge of your available time—and, more broadly, in charge of your life. Even in a small thing like a phone conversation, you are deciding your own destiny.