[Two Pronged] Waiting for 'The One'
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
I’m 30 years old and I am not dating anyone (but I’m willing to date). I always feel empty because I feel that I want to start a new life and have a family of my own. People would say that I am fortunate because I have everything, but I feel the opposite. I feel men are intimidated by me.
I am already based here in the province. I have had past relationships. My most recent was with a Chinese guy. We broke up because of his family. I always feel that I'm not worth it, which is why he did not fight for me. I know I am good at work, et cetera, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I am not.
I know that I am a good catch but how come I can’t find "the one," or maybe he’s not finding me? Do I need to wait or find him myself? Or maybe I am just too obsessed with happy ever after?
Thank you for your email.
I am not sure whether you are usually so sparing in your communications but in less than 200 words you are giving us all the background you think we need to answer your questions about how to start a new life and live happily ever after. As we are not in the "walk on water" or crystal ball businesses, this complicates our task immeasurably.
That said, what do you tell us about yourself? You are perceived to be fortunate "because you have everything," you are good at work, you are a good catch, men are intimidated by you. You however feel bad because you want to meet Mr Right and have a family and children. Your failure to date has led you to believe that you are no good at relationships and unlikely to achieve your goal.
Well, there's good news and bad news. First, the good news is that if you are indeed the way you describe yourself, then you are indeed a good catch and suitors will come.
The bad news however is that if your self-assessment fails to mention some vital element, such as a vile temper, fungus on your feet, or some other negative factor which explains why men are intimated by you, then you will have a hard time finding a suitable mate – unless you change your own behavior.
The sad fact is that we are seldom able to influence this 'living happily ever after' business really significantly. The places you are most likely to meet a future spouse are school, church and work. Social events, including fitness clubs, sports etc., are also possibilities and of course nowadays the Internet offers lots of possibilities for all sorts of relationships, from hookups to marriage.
If none of these is fruitful, then perhaps it is down to serendipity. It's frustrating but sometimes patience is truly a virtue and you cannot rush matters.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter, even if, as Jeremy says, you haven’t really given us much to work with. Thus, I will not be able to hypothesize too deeply on the whys and wherefores of the way you feel. I can, however, share a few observations which may be helpful.
1. It is difficult to give definite reasons certain men do not seem to be as attracted to you as they are, perhaps, to some other women. I am sure your mother, not to mention good friends, have told you that the reason you do not have a boyfriend is that men are “intimidated” by you. That is the sort of thing people say to one another to feel good, or at least not as rejected.
Generally, I feel that women who say “Men are intimidated by me” are the same kind who also say “(he didn’t like me) because he’s gay.”
2. However, happily, you are far more complicated than a woman who conveniently blames men for her lack of suitors. You have the courage to take a reasonably good look at yourself and admit not only that you’re lonely – since let’s face it, even women who intimidate men can be lonely – but that you are also willing to explore your loneliness and disappointment about your last boyfriend whom you felt didn’t even fight for you.
And I am glad that you are willing to explore your possible contribution to this lack of a relationship because that is the only way you can truly learn about yourself.
3. In my opinion, one of the most important studies that has been done about why certain women are more attractive than others is that by Paul Eastman and Lucy Hunt which can be found in the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Dr Eastman and Ms Hunt concluded that while having more good looks, brains, influence and money make people seem much more attractive than those who have less at first, these qualities do not matter as much as how distinctive you are to the people who rate you (as attractive or not).
I think this is tremendous good news not only for people who feel they lack the usual qualities that make people attractive, but also for women like you who worry that they are incapable of romantic relationships no matter how willing they are to have them.
What this study (and others since then that have merely confirmed the same findings) is that it doesn’t matter how pretty or plain, rich or poor you are. What matters is that you are a person, with your set of likes and dislikes, views and yes, even prejudices.
Everyone starts out as unique but oftentimes the desire for popularity (or a boyfriend) convinces a person to try to be like everybody else and not to stand out as someone different. Some people teach themselves to be as pleasant (and nondescript) as everyone else. But it doesn’t work that way and anybody who wants you to merely be pleasant so as not to offend anyone is not really someone you want to be with.
So in answer to your question: “Do I need to wait or find him myself?” I’m afraid I cannot really tell you for sure. The best I can do is quote Anais Nin, the author and diarist who once said: “You don’t find love, it finds you. It’s got a little bit to do with destiny, fate and what’s written in the stars.”
I so hope this helps.
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