When Did We Become So Proud of Being Broken?

My friend from college posted a link to her Facebook Wall yesterday.

It was a counter point article from CNN written in response to Tracy McMillan’s Huffington Post article “Why You’re Not Married.”

In the rebuttal, CNN columnist details her reasons for why she’s 40 and unmarried.

Maybe you spent your adolescence clashing with a stepfather who didn’t get you emotionally. And maybe the father who did get you had been relegated by the courts, when you were 2 and your parents divorced, to every-other-weekend access. Maybe your first love cheated on you, just around the time a second divorce rolled through your family. So maybe your faith in men and marriage was a little shaken before you teased your hair for the prom.

But that’s nothing some therapy and better hair sense can’t fix, right?


Maybe you were and still are a hopeful (I refuse to say hopeless) romantic who for years held a candle for the one you thought was The One.

And maybe he slipped and called you his soul mate at one point, a statement you caught and remembered. So even after you read the diary he’d left out, oops, learned about the Brazilian woman with amazing eyes, broke up and dated others, you still held out hope for him. You stupidly took the crumbs he tossed you from time to time and thought they had meaning. Finally, you got through your thick noggin that the guy just wasn’t that into you. Hell, he wasn’t even all that nice to you. You learned he wasn’t the one who got away. He was the one who got in the way.

Then, maybe you met the one who was that into you. He loved and respected you like no man had before. And the dog — how could you not fall for the man and his dog? ….maybe he pulled out a ring and asked you to marry him.

Maybe you said yes but then freaked out. … Maybe you were seized by fear. But everyone around you, including your therapist, said they expected nothing less, given your family history. They even said it would be weird if you didn’t freak out. So you were engaged to be married.

But maybe after you moved to a new state and settled into engaged life, you still worried. That fear, that inkling that something was missing or wrong, grew stronger….You didn’t want to quit the race, but at some point you knew with painful clarity there was a hurdle you two couldn’t clear. So maybe, out of your love for him and yourself, you handed back the ring and left.

Maybe, even as you licked those wounds in your pathetic little apartment, you began to appreciate your courage. You learned to trust yourself more. You realized your past didn’t define your future; you did.

Maybe you suddenly lost your father. Being emotionally available for someone else wasn’t something you could even entertain. Now you had an excuse not to date.

But maybe you knew that your dad — not to mention your amazing mom and stepmom, and your now-gentler ex-stepdad — wanted nothing more than for you to love and be loved. So when you were ready, with a fresh start in a new city, you were excited to put yourself out there again.

Maybe you were approaching 40 when you arrived in the South. Maybe you were slapped across the face with the reminder that most people your age are married with children. Maybe you went to a singles event and became convinced you were the oldest one there, so you ducked out early.

But maybe you held onto hope and optimism. You sucked up your pride and whipped up an online dating profile. You found out that men in Belgium, as well as men with odd fetishes and offensively bad grammar and spelling, have a thing for you. You received horrifying — yet hysterical — notes from suitors that made for great Facebook status updates.

Maybe you agreed to go on dates you dreaded because you were determined to have an open mind. Maybe you learned you had good reasons to dread those dates. You wolfed down a nice piece of salmon as one man told you, within the first hour of meeting, that he cheated on his wife, still loves his ex-girlfriend and didn’t go to his own father’s funeral. Maybe you thought you should charge him for therapy.

But maybe you still believe there’s someone great out there for you. You’re ready, you know you have so much to give, and you look forward to meeting him — wherever and whenever that might be.

Read the full article here


Hmm. This sounds familiar. Too familiar.  This appears to be the growing voice out there, and it’s really alarming to me.

Okay. I’m just gonna ask the question that has been bouncing around my brain since I read this article last night:

When did we become so proud of being broken?

All I hear in this woman’s article (and all over the internet) is a myriad of excuses and sob stories. “See, I was hurt once or twice. But instead of getting my shit together and addressing the issues and the reason why I perpetually dated assholes, I just forged onward and wore my scars like a badge of honor. See, I’m afraid of being vulnerable. I’m afraid of being hurt because I’ve been hurt. Do you need me to tell you the stories again? Because I will. I’ll tell the same story over and over again every time people start wondering what my deal is or starts questioning why nothing ever seems to work out for me.  I’ll use these bad experiences as a shield so nobody will think it’s me. Because it’s not, okay? I’m choosing this life. Society has certain ideas about how I should behave. I’m a rebel! But I’m also quite fragile. So be careful with me. ”

Let me explain what you’re choosing. You’re choosing to be wounded and using it as an excuse. And you know what?

It’s an excuse. It’s a Lifetime movie of the week. Strong, single independent, no nonsense woman who is afraid to love. Attracted to the wrong guys. Never interested in the available ones. How original.

In one breath you proclaim your independence and self-sufficiency. In another you’re saying you have no control over why you do what you do, or why you date who you date. You’re just wired that way. Which is it. Either you’re strong and independent, or you’re this fragile little turtle afraid to poke your head outside of its shell, ruled by her neurosis.

What is the root of this thinking?? Where is it coming from??? I don’t know. Maybe I’m being insensitive here. Maybe I’m just projecting my own remorse for my past mistakes. I know, or at least I’m sure, that I thrived off of playing the victim. But doesn’t that get exhausting? How long can that last??  Who didn’t have a weird relationship with one or both of their parents? Who didn’t date a handful of jerks? Who hasn’t been afraid of being rejected? It just feels like people are holding on to these experiences and using them as both a way to get attention and sympathy as well as an excuse to never  open up or give any decent guy a chance. What’s all this really about? What are we really afraid of..and why??

Is it that men fear commitment and women fear…intimacy?

We’re more resilient than this..aren’t we?


I know I’ve been harping on this issue lately. There have been a ton of article highlighting what’s going on with single women out there. Which is why I’ve been writing more of this type of stuff lately.


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42 Responses to “When Did We Become So Proud of Being Broken?”

  1. P.S. Jones Says:

    This falls into that perpetual victim thing. We all have to play the cards we’re dealt but you can only play that hand ONE TIME.

    On the other hand, I recently wrote about not being afraid to take a moment to be vulnerable because I see so many women who spend all their time trying to pretend like everything’s ok and nothing bothers them. I honestly don’t think that either extreme is all that attractive.

  2. dimplz Says:

    I think you’re right. There’s a pity party going on here.

  3. Vox Says:

    I am very embarrassed for that woman for having written that. As for the very excellent question “When did we become so proud of being broken?” my theory is, we are witnessing the real long-term influence of the show Sex and the City.

    In criticizing the show, most people pointed towards the attitudes towards casual sex. Personally I never saw that aspect as troubling. What was troubling to me was the notion that there is something charming and cute about neuroticism in a middle-aged woman. That you can wear it on your sleeve because that is who you are as an individual, and eventually a man will see through your pain & flaws, love you for who you are, and make everything better. In fact, there was a strange point of pride behind it, the same pride I see in the CNN rebuttal.

    There was no need for personal growth in that series. Why work on yourself when everything will magically work out in the end? Someone will come along, scoop up the wounded little bird that is you, and nurse it back to health. And he will make a lot of money too, by the way.

    I don’t think it’s that these women fear intimacy at all. It’s self-criticism that they fear more than anything else! Perhaps in addition to the influence of the media, what we are witnessing is also the legacy of being taught that you are a special individual who should celebrated and cherished exactly as you are. (Maybe Dad was just a little too nice and accommodating?) Being able to look in the mirror and admit, “I am not as great as I think I am” isn’t a fun exercise, but it must be done if there is going to be any improvement. The writer of the CNN rebuttal certainly isn’t willing to do it.

    • dimplz Says:

      I agree with the fact that SATC had a huge cultural impact on some single women, but the show was never meant to be an example of how single women should behave. No one should be modeling their life after a cable television show, and if they do, they are just lost and broken people. The show was entertaining, but who would want to be like Carrie? She was an irresponsible mess – drank too much, always ran late, was insecure, always acted based on emotions rather than logic, and was always broke and maxing out her credit cards.

    • Ash.Allen Says:

      I think you bring to light some very valid points. In my Social Problems class at SJSU we were discussing how with every female rights accomplishment comes another way to differ that accomplishment and strength. For example (and now I dont’ remember all the details, but I think I can still make the point)around the time birth control and places like planned parenthood gave women the strength to control their own life in regards to family planning is when media images portraying unrealistically looking skinny women started popping up everywhere. My teachers point with this was – yes, woman, you are strong, powerful and should be confident. But now you can’t take advantage of these opportunities/strengths offered to you since now all you are focused on is trying to become like these skinny women on tv and in the media.

      It’s hard. So often we try to identify with characters in television shows and movies – “which one am I most like?” – but, is that really what we want to be like? Do we really want to identify with them or branch out and be ourselves?

      And on top of this – how do we remain confident in our abilities, work, and demeanor while at the same time self-criticizing and growing. In big buisiness it seems people wait and see what you are willing to self-criticize (often what your most insecure about) and rip it to shreds to destroy you. It’s a difficult balance… but hey… life’s difficult. And I’m slowly learning that as I’m finishing up my junior year in college.

      Anyways, Awesome post! Great comments! :)

  4. Ed Says:

    As I mentioned on another blog, women will continue to have problems so long as they refuse to step up and take more leadership in what happens. Letting men set the pace and tone of every conversation is a mistake.

    If you can’t lead a man, don’t expect to keep a man.

    Its interesting how so many women make it difficult for a man to say hello, but easy for him to do other things. How about you flip this for a while and see how that works? Make it easy to say hello (or better yet, do more conversation starting yourself) and let the other stuff take a little bit more time and then be the one to instigate it.

    If you learn how to lead a man, he will follow you to the ends of the Earth.

    Or you can continue to do what your doing now, if that’s working for you.

    • Saj Says:

      I have to agree with points of this. Sometimes being the one to set the pace (as a woman) does work. I was fairly proactive in meeting men and would also be clear in my interest level but also reserved the right to set the pace of the physical intimacy and it did work out really well. But leading or should I say “collaboration” should be a 50/50 effort on both parts.

  5. BarbaraMSD Says:

    I have to admit, I’m the one who posted the article. Please know (and I concede that this is foolish of me) that I hadn’t read it, and was only commenting on the provocative nature of the title (“Why I’m not married–and it’s not because I am an angry slut.”) I have since read the article, and the article that it is in response to. I have to say, I agree with you. Besides being extremely poorly written, the article title purports to be about a woman who is healthy and happy about her single status, and yet the text of the article is an endless litany of comments about why, in fact, she’s has reason not to be. I happened to like the article that inspired it, actually. I think that had a lot of cogent points that people would be wise to heed.

    I come from a family of people who have serious issues, among them substance and alcohol abuse, extremely poor choices in partners, and general self-sabotage. I know that my siblings can point to our upbringing and use it as a reason that they are what they are. I point to our childhood and do the same–I am who I am because I choose not to use our childhood as an excuse to become someone who I just don’t like or respect. I do not visit my past on my partners (and now husband) and I do not burden my children with it. My past is a reason that I am the way I am–but it is not an excuse. In fact, I have always viewed myself as even more responsible to live a better life than the one I was given as a kid.

    That said, I had a therapist once acknowledge that I had never been parented, and that my childhood sucked. She actually said, “I’m so sorry about that,” though, of course, it wasn’t her fault. That acknowledgment meant a lot to me–it was actually very healing. No one had ever done it for me before, and I needed it. Perhaps this author needs acknowledgment, too. Sad that she doesn’t realize that she does, should get it in a better environment, and is now subjecting all of us to providing it.

    It’s time to grow up, now. That may be reducing it to its simplest of states, but it’s true. Children do what they do because they know no better. At her age, she is choosing to be what she is, and blame what she blames. She can choose differently. And she should definitely take the steps necessary to heal her past, in a mature and private fashion. If she doesn’t, I believe she never will be truly happy. As Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t heal the wounds of the past, you’ll continue to bleed.”

  6. JoyC Says:

    I have a problem with both articles. The one by Tracy McMillan is, IMO, incomplete. She’s trying to fit all women into one or more of 6 categories and she pulls it off like some foolproof theory? Someone on this board posted that women should not take it to heart, and if they did, they are taking it too seriously, and it’s supposed to be fun.

    Well, clearly Jessica Ravitz took it way too seriously and it rubbed her the wrong way. And, in response, she came up with a string of…excuses.

    I just read a board on askmen.com, and most of them loved the Tracy McMillan article and poo poo-ed the Jessica Ravitz one. Big surprise?

    I agree with Moxie that people need to get their sh*t together and stop making excuses. People (men and women) fall into 3 categories, in my mind:

    1. You have your sh*t together
    2. You don’t have your sh*t together but are making an earnest effort to get there – therapy, self-awareness, introspection, whatever
    3. You don’t have your sh*t together and don’t realize you need to get it together

    I think #1 and #2 have the best chances of finding and keeping healthy relationships, but let’s not forget that MANY people in relationships fall into #3. So, any article that claims that if you are single you have to fall under #3, is ignoring the people who fall into #2. I would love to see more articles written for people in that category.

  7. VJ Says:

    Yep. And the OP/CNN response says it all: “You didn’t want to quit the race…”

    Make no mistake. She had ample opportunity to do so, but something, narcissistic self regard, delusions of the moment, whatever, kept on holding her back. Again you really do not commonly get to 40 w/o a few of those ‘ah Ha moments’ in retrospect. Woulda, coulda, shoulda perhaps.

    But what’s really special in this scenario is the clear Lack of learning in the interim. No lessons learned evidently. Just more world class whining & non stop excuses, fast & furious. No Adult responsibility taken for yourself and/or your choices made. At 40? It’s long since past time for everyone to ‘grow up’. And if you’re singularly somehow incapable of that? Don’t come to expect a successful relationship with another ‘real adult’ to fall into your lap either. Of any type or description. It’s as simple as that. Decent real adult men? Want real adult Functioning women mostly. Not mindless/deeply confused overly self involved juvenile playthings & toys. Not really. Not for the long haul as life partners. For your own sake? Learn that please. Quickly. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  8. AmyRose Says:

    These articles are starting to become the ad nauseam counterpoint to the whole notion of sexually dysfunctional behaviors for women 35+.
    This type of validation is just another form of narcissism. Where the twenty and younger thirty-something set exhibits the grandiosity-exhibitionism side of narcissism with thier “me-fest” of constant pictures and emotional/mood updates via social networking, the late 30’s-50’s set exhbits the ‘vulnerability-sensitivity’ aspect and wears their pain as a badge of honor. I think articles like this are ethically damaging to the publication and to the overall baseline values and morality of women over the age of 40. We lack role models of healthy behaviors of body acceptance, relationships, self awareness and personal growth. Moreso, these articles dimish the strength and courage of real survivors of emotional, physical, sexual abuse, and trauma. Real “victims” are compelled to figure out a way to make their pain a catharsis instead of trying to poke and prod at it and open it up for the world to see and pity, essentially repeating the same cycle. Real survivors gain wisdom from these experiences and don’t latch onto them as an excuse for their neurosis.

    • Joe Says:

      I agree with most of what you say, but this is nonsense:

      We lack role models of healthy behaviors of body acceptance, relationships, self awareness and personal growth.

      The entire notion of role models is an extension of blaming everyone else for our own problems and, as you put it, making exuses for our neurosis. Moreover, there are plenty of role models out there, but many, if not most, people wallowing in their self-pity have nothing but contempt for them.

      We humans have a profound ability to understand what should and shouldn’t be. We have the ability to make choices and take control of our lives.

  9. andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    BarbaraMSD :

    And she should definitely take the steps necessary to heal her past, in a mature and private fashion. If she doesn’t, I believe she never will be truly happy. As Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t heal the wounds of the past, you’ll continue to bleed.”

    This is what I’m talking about. It’s all I see and hear in the dating blogosphere and I’m just so sick of it. No, I don’t want to hear about how the guy you were dating kept a secret online dating profile. No, I don’t want to hear about how that one guy 3 years ago that you dated for 2 months crushed you. No, I don’t want to hear about that woman who cheated on you. What I want to hear is.,….why do you keep finding yourself in these situations and what are you doing to change it? Don’t tell me you’re changing or working on it, don’t tell me you’re being more flexible and then deconstruct every date you have and tick off unimportant reasons for why you won’t see the guy again. Stop being so fucking proud of how attached you get, or that guys keep sending you cock shots, or how they refuse to call you and only text you to set up a booty call. Don’t TELL me anything. SHOW me how you’re working on yourself. Show me a modicum of change and self-awareness. Show me something. But for fuck’s sake, stop TELLING me. I’m not expecting 180 degree changes. But don’t insult my intelligence by insisting on how introspective and self-aware and happy you are when the tone of resentment, confusion, hurt and loneliness is pervasive.

  10. JoyC Says:

    “Don’t TELL me anything. SHOW me how you’re working on yourself. Show me a modicum of change and self-awareness. Show me something. But for fuck’s sake, stop TELLING me. I’m not expecting 180 degree changes. But don’t insult my intelligence by insisting on how introspective and self-aware and happy you are when the tone of resentment, confusion, hurt and loneliness is pervasive.”

    Uh…what do you want? A wedding photo? Would that “show” you? Come on, Moxie, short of putting your entire private life on a blog post, it’s kind of hard to do…geesh, change is sometimes hard and slow. But that doesn’t mean people are not trying or making progress. Getting pissy with people doesn’t help. Relax.

  11. andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    Uh…what do you want? A wedding photo? Would that “show” you? Come on, Moxie, short of putting your entire private life on a blog post, it’s kind of hard to do…geesh,

    A wedding photo means nothing. Marriage isn’t an accomplishment and it’s no longer the end all, be all. I’m actually talking about the stuff out there on blogs, written by people who are “putting it all out there warts and all.”

    And don’t get me wrong….I’m in no way setting myself as some example. Far from it. I am by no means proud of the mistakes I’ve made. But I could use a number of excuses to defend my choices and lack of healthy relationship experience – loss of a parent, sexual abuse, etc. I don’t. I’ve made shitty choices, I fallen on bad habits, I’ve dwelled. That’s why I’m 42 and single. It’s not pretty and it don’t make good copy, but it’s the truth. Now, what have I done about it? I lost weight, I got more physically healthy, I set the foundation to get my finances in order, I started therapy recently (thank christ). I stopped doing much if any public blogging posting about my private life. I toned down my need for drama and attention. I’ve worked on relationships with my family. I’ve managed relationships that were holding me back. I don’t write post after post about my war stories. Am i 100% there? Nope. This has been a good 2 year process that is still going on.

    It’s this pride that so many people seem to have in their inability to emotionally connect with people on a healthy level that gets me. It’s the posturing in between stories of bad dates and over thinking and over analyzing and ridiculing and finger pointing.

    • JoyC Says:

      Well, since you ask…okay, I will take some time to write out what I, personally, have done to move in a new direction and change my old ways that clearly didn’t work. I hope others find this helpful.

      1. I recognized that I had “ways” and they didn’t work! I looked deeply at my past relationships and found commonalities, not just in the men I dated and their behavior, but mine as well. What were my expectations, what was I looking for, did I find those things, are those things what I still want? This is THE most important of all the ones I am listing. The hardest part is to admit that you are doing something wrong and once you do that, it really is liberating. And only then could you work to find ways to change that, right? There are some good books out there to help with this, but (not a plug, here) but a friend of mine told me about this book called “Calling In the One”…it’s decent, the best part is it’s a workbook, and you can write in it. It asks you to go back to your past relationships and some of the exercises, aren’t easy. But, getting to where you want to be mentally, emotionally, or spiritually is never easy, but if you want to change badly enough, you’ll do it.
      2. Made new choices in how I would socialize. I no longer go out to bars with my girlfriends. I sign up for events and activities that I actually enjoy.
      3. Work to tone down my expectations. I don’t go to events “expecting” or even hoping to meet someone, which is why I am very choosy with my events. I only go to those that I am really excited about. Because I know if I have a good time, there is no disappointment when I am on my way home, because I haven’t met anyone.
      4. Said GOODBYE to a bad relationship….in very clear terms. Told the person to go away and NO for the last time.
      5. Started working out. It’s true what they say, about increased levels of seratonin and the effect it has on those sad thoughts. I work out 5 days a week now. Yes, 5. I am high on those endorphins.
      6. Started reading books that are uplifting and positive that serve to keep me uplifted about my life. To appreciate what I have and see it as a foundation, and whether or not I find a great love, that I can still be happy. I am not religious, but consider myself spiritual. I like reading and listening to Joel Osteen. I like him because he’s very positive and doesn’t shove religion down anyone’s throat.

      My only point is, people have thoughts and opinions and yes, they reflect their experiences and choices, that doesn’t mean they are not focused on making improvements. I really like your blog, you give some great advice, but lately there has been way too much anger. Where is the light-hearted and fun content anymore? When you date, you have to be positive and wear a smile. How can we do that if all the content we read is so bleak, morose and negative? Why not post an article on stories of people finding love in their 30s, 40s, 50s…in NY to boot!

  12. Cricri Says:

    I think people also took that article for what it is not. The author was simply trying to make a point in the line of “You don’t know me and not everybody fits in your little boxes”. She was simply saying that life happens and some stuff can prevent you from forming productive relationship. She’s not saying that in retrospect she could have done better or worse. The CNN author and McMillan are talking about the same issue at different level both requiring serious work and I don’t think we should condemn those writers for letting people learn from their own mistakes. We’re missing the point by focusing on blaming them from how their life went, it is an obvious fact.

  13. JoyC Says:

    Well, judging from all the thumbs downs for my earlier post I can see people didnt understand the point I was trying to make. It may be unrealistic to post an article that receives positive reactions from everyone, but why beat to death topics that are known to cause such negative reactions? Am I the only one who is tired of the negativity and bad energy? Anyway, I’ve quoted a piece from an article I found below that I found to be helpful. I don’t think I can post links as I tried before and was restricted, but the full article is on beliefnet.com and is called: Law of Attraction in Action: Seeking Marriage.

    “Too often, people make getting married more important than the person they’ll marry. I rarely hear someone say they want to be happily married. Or to meet a person they’ll WANT to spend the rest of their life with. Often the goal is just to be married. Who they marry seems almost optional. And the older someone gets, the less fussy they get too. I ask, “Do you really think you’ll be happy after the glow of the wedding day is gone and you’re living with someone you may not really love or who isn’t special to you?” and get confused looks.

    People who are anxious to get married don’t stop to think about the consequences after.

    If you’re with someone you’re trying to love, who you may not like spending time with him or her the way you would with someone who makes your heart sing. In many cases, intimacy becomes hard, which causes resentment with the person you settled for. I hear from MANY people who regret marrying for the wrong reasons, and every reason is wrong unless you marry because you love this person so much that you want to share the rest of your life with him or her. A cool marriage is worse than no marriage in the long run.

    You may think that finding someone to marry is practical.

    But the Universe hears it all as settling, and you’ll attract the kind of joy, or lack of it, that settling for someone to spend the rest of your life with brings. I hear justification: “Someone is better than no one.” This is SO NOT TRUE!!! It might seem like an answer before you get married, but will leave you wanting more after. You already have someone–YOU! This is why I encourage building lots of self-love before the marriage thoughts push you to action. Then put out the intention to meet the right person to marry–not to get married.”

    Sometimes…this is why people are single. Sometimes…it just takes longer for some people (who ARE doing things right – and I am not claiminng that’s me, btw) to find someone to love who loves them back. Ever wait in line for something great, like concert tickets? Someone is always in the front of the line, and some people are in the back, and some…by the time it’s their turn, there is none left. That’s life. Why can’t we stop the over-analysis???

    • Joe Says:

      People who are anxious to get married don’t stop to think about the consequences after.

      Conversely, many people who aren’t married ONLY think about the consequences afterward and often in the most negative way.

  14. Paula Says:

    I read the CNN article, and I didn’t think pride was coming through…what I took from it was “life happens.”

    The story she tells is essentially this: crappy family situation (no worse than some others out there, but certainly not ideal); loved a guy who was not that into her (again, not that uncommon); freaked out over the idea of committing to someone who might have been really good for her (which shows she definitely has issues, but I would imagine most of us in our past have a good one that we let away story); dealt with her father’s death (which can throw anyone for a loop for some period of time, especially when there are unresolved issues); and finally woke up to realize: hey, I’m 40 and single, maybe I should do something about it, then realizing that the pickings are much more slim at her age.

    Aside from the facts that I actually married the guy instead of having the trepidation in advance; and my dad is a great guy and still alive, it could be my story. It could be your story. It’s essentially: made some relationship mistakes early on, thinking that there was time left to correct them, and then time passes more quickly than you realize, and it’s not that hard to end up alone in your 40s.

    There’s a fine line between explanations and excuses, but Jessica is doing what we’re all supposed to be doing, right? Therapy. Setting up an online profile. Going on dates. Not latching onto a guy who’s a mess just so we won’t be single any more. Remaining optimistic.

    >>>Sure, you might be a bitch, a slut, a liar, shallow, selfish or not good enough. Maybe, though, you happen to be 41 and single because life, real life with all its complications, has just worked out that way. So far.

    If Jessica had owned Tracy’s list — that would be pride in being broken, given that Tracy tells us that the reason we’re single is because we’re one of those things. Recognizing that you can be none of these things and still single, because you can’t just head to the store and pick the perfect guy off the shelf, even after you’ve done all the requisite self-improvement projects — that seems to me like the kind of pride that you ought to be embracing: loving yourself for who you are, so “You’re ready, you know you have so much to give, and you look forward to meeting him — wherever and whenever that might be.”

  15. AmyRose Says:

    If anything this might be the male counterpoint to all of these type of articles:

    “Love is an opportunity that whispers at your doorstep, but most people don’t hear it, because they’re too busy talking about themselves loudly. Talking about why they’re not married, why they’re so unhappy, why life is so unfair.”

  16. Moxie Says:

    I LOVED that Frisky Article

  17. Trouble Says:

    Knowing WHY you date the losers you date is huge. But, there has to come a point where you realize that you may have been broken in the past, but you don’t want to be that way forever, and you start healing yourself.

    Great quote from Alice Sebold, from her book, Lucky, where she recounts her rape during college and the subsequent aftermath:

    “You save yourself of you remain unsaved.”

    Shit happens. A lot of us grew up in less than ideal circumstances. Do you want to stay there, or do you want to fix that?

    It’s a choice.

  18. Vox Says:

    But maybe you still believe there’s someone great out there for you. You’re ready, you know you have so much to give, and you look forward to meeting him — wherever and whenever that might be.

    It occurs to me: instead of believing there is “someone great out there” that she is looking forward to meeting, she would be much better off focusing on being a great person for someone else. This is a very selfish woman as we can see by all of the me-centric points in her editorial.

    I wonder exactly what it is that she has to give to Mr. Perfect if/when he appears in her life? That is the question I would ask her: What exactly do you have to offer a great man at this point in your life? My guess is, she’d answer “I have a great job” and then crickets…

    • Cricri Says:

      You mean that this article about HER life is too “me-centric”? Better get some perspective before lashing onto people! She was talking about her experience, granted it could be yours too but she’s not trying to include you. There’s a point where you have to read and not just jump to blame for blaming.

      • Vox Says:

        It isn’t an editorial about her life in general, it is an editorial about her love life. That takes two people!

        That she can only view it in regards to her needs, her family history, her therapist, her relationship uncertainties etc etc reveals her selfish nature.

        As I pointed out, she wraps things up by saying that she believes there is someone “great” out there for her… but there is nothing mentioned about what great thing(s) she has to give. I’m sure she’s never considered it.

  19. Trouble Says:

    Sorry…typo: “You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

    I had this taped to my mirror for a long, long time. It helped.

  20. Speed Says:

    It occurs to me: instead of believing there is “someone great out there” that she is looking forward to meeting, she would be much better off focusing on being a great person for someone else.

    This is right on.

  21. Cricri Says:

    Vox :
    It isn’t an editorial about her life in general, it is an editorial about her love life. That takes two people!
    That she can only view it in regards to her needs, her family history, her therapist, her relationship uncertainties etc etc reveals her selfish nature.
    As I pointed out, she wraps things up by saying that she believes there is someone “great” out there for her… but there is nothing mentioned about what great thing(s) she has to give. I’m sure she’s never considered it.

    Maybe but that’s not the point of the exercise. This is a ” That’s why you’re single” paper, not a “why you should be married” piece. I’m amazed at the amount of people who think everyone should transcend all that shit that life throws at you like a hero otherwise you’re a failure. It’s not about being proud of your weaknesses or your mistakes but rather understanding it and learning from it. And that happens at different times for everybody.

    • Vox Says:

      Indeed, and my opinion directly speaks to a reason why she is single: she is selfish and self-absorbed.

      No one has to transcend life’s curve balls like a hero, but you have to do your damndest to transcend them if you want to share your life with another person. If you enjoy being alone, feel free to cling to your personal pain.

      But to cling to your pain, while simultaneously believing that “someone great” is right around the corner, is an exercise in stupidity. “Someone great” doesn’t want a broken woman, much like I’ll bet the writer does not want a broken man. She’s probably met a large number of “great” men, and most likely they ran for the hills once the emotional baggage was trotted out.

  22. Paula Says:

    It’s interesting, the contrast between the two articles…the original article author Tracy did absolutely no self-reflection…she acknowledged that she’d been married 3 times and none of them worked out, but she was oh so eager to tell everyone else what they were doing wrong. As Jessica acknowledged “Perhaps she was talking about why her own marriages failed or was simply setting out to get a rise, which she did brilliantly.”

    Jessica did a lot more self-reflection and discussion of her own situation, acknowledged that some of her issues got in the way, but that she’s still trying to find someone. So she’s selfish why, exactly? Because she talked about herself instead of trashing every other single woman out there? Because she refused to drink all of the “I’m a bitch, a slut, a liar, shallow, selfish or not good enough” Kool-Aid?

    As I said in the other post…there are things you can change that contribute to being single. There are things you cannot change. You can beat yourself up and think it’s all changeable, and end up like what Pistola was talking about. You can do absolutely no self-reflection and end up a mess. Or you can figure out the difference, and if you’re honest with yourself, it doesn’t guarantee that a guy will land on your doorstep, but will help you be ready when and if he does.

  23. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I understood the original article (Tracy’s). I didn’t read it as some sort of lecture to other women. I read it as self-depricating humor. The author was describing the mistakes SHE made. It was self-reflection and it resulted in a fairly insightful and accurate description of mistakes women make. The reason women were “offended” by Tracy’s article is because it contained truth.

    This latest article is just a bullet-point list of bad choices the author made that, she thinks, resulted in her not being in a good relationship. Ok. I believe her. Her bad choices led to her life’s disappointments. Score one for free will and self-determination I don’t understand her point. Listing out your bad choices doesn’t excuse you for making them. If you don’t like the results, stop doing that.

    • Paula Says:

      I had a completely different take on Tracy’s article. Granted, it’s an excerpt from a book, designed to be provocative and just enough to make you want to purchase the whole thing…but it seemed to me that it was directly aimed at single women, not analyzing her own situation as to why her marriages didn’t last.

      She said she knows how to get married, because she’s done it three times, and says things like “The problem is not men, it’s you. Sure, there are lame men out there, but they’re not really standing in your way. Because the fact is — if whatever you’re doing right now was going to get you married, you’d already have a ring on it.” All of her comments seem to be directed at the women who aren’t or who have never been married — not the ones like her who have.

      And that’s the problem that I had with it. Anyone who has been married three times by the age of 40 is not someone’s example I want to emulate. Hell, my former sister-in-law was married 5 times by that age, so I could go talk to her if knowing what it takes to find someone to marry me was the issue. (Although you might have to delete #3 in her case, since it’s worked well for her.) I’d rather look at my parents’ marriage of 56 years, or my college friends who are 20+ years and still going strong.

      Isn’t it possible to acknowledge your issues, own your bad choices, and still feel good about yourself? To say: I’m happy right now, I’d be happier if I had a healthy relationship, but I’d be worse off being in a bad relationship? Perhaps that’s too boring for a dating blogger to talk about — you either have to be endlessly self-deprecating or taking down those whose life is different than yours, or suspicious of those who find happiness down a contrary path.

      I liked Jessica’s article because she acknowledges her issues, recognizes she made some wrong turns, but she hasn’t given up hope or a positive attitude. She’s not trying to tear anyone else down. She’s just saying that not everyone’s life leads to a mate, but that doesn’t mean they’re terrible people. Tracy’s article was “you, you, you,” and comes across like finger-pointing. Jessica’s article was “me, me, me,” but I don’t think self-directed equates to selfish.

      • Paula Says:

        Or, as the Frisky piece put it (regarding Tracy’s article): “But taking responsibility for your happiness and your sorrow isn’t the same thing as self-loathing and that article seemed to do nothing but inspire an already self-pitying demographic to self-flagellate.”

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        This is a classic blogger (read: dumb)response when a writer challenges their choices: someone’s arguments or comments are wrong merely because the speaker or commenter has made different choices or failed in his/her own real life.

        You don’t lose your right to be insightful or interesting because you’ve been divorced or have multiple failed relationships. Good, cogent arguments are good arguments, regardless of the speaker. She wasn’t claiming to have specialized, scientific knowledge. The fact that Tracy says she was divorced three times was relevant only to understand the irony of her piece (which, I understand, you don’t appreciate.) Hell, it may not even be true.

        As I said previously, you have to be really fragile and possibly certifiable to take her article personally, as though she was talking to YOU or ctiticizing YOU. Anyway, if she was completely off-base, no one would care what she said.

        I don’t care whether Jessica is “selfish.” That’s beside the point. She’s a writer. I think her writing is pointless. If I take her words as true, then she is dumb or, at least, makes dumb decisions- a point which she apparently freely broadcasts and for which she likely gets well-compensated. OF COURSE she has a positive attitude. It’s easy to have one when you’re completely oblivious to your mistakes and the world around you.

  24. Brooke Farmer Says:

    I love this article!

    It’s not just applicable to love and dating either. Criminals blame their childhood. Abusers blame their abuser. Alcoholics blame the alcoholics that came before them.

    If people would stop making excuses for their lives and start living their lives instead the world would be SO MUCH better.

  25. peppermint Says:

    I’m reading Calling In The One, Seven Weeks To Attract The Love of Your Life, by Katherine Woodward Thomas. It’s got a lot of insightful exercises and questions that help you understand your limiting beliefs and patterns.

    There’s a whole chapter on Sacred Wounds, and how people get caught up defining themselves by their woundedness. We don’t have to deny what we’ve been through, she says, but reach an awareness that the essence of who we are is far, far beyond it.

    “What do sad people have in common? It seems they have all built a shrine to the past and often go there and do a strange wail and worship. What is the beginning of happiness? It is to stop being so religious like that.”


    • JoyC Says:

      The book is great, I am doing the exercises too. I think they are very useful. And really make you think. I also just picked up the book “Smart Women, Foolish Choices” by Connell Cowen and Melvyn Kinder.

  26. Leah Says:

    I really like Tracy’s article but not for the reasons that have been mentioned. Someone earlier made a comment that she was using humor to make her points but I actually think she went farther than that.

    I think she was being quite subversive to the popular definitions of these inflammatory words (bitch, shallow, slut, etc) which are so frequently used by men in a purely sexist and derogatory fashion. These words undermine us women and yet we accept their common usage. I think what she is saying is deeper than their connotations and she is attempting to turn them upside down.

    She ultimately seems to be saying that we women can engage in very unflattering behaviors (that stem from emotional pain!) that are damaging to us because we lack self-respect, insecurity, ability to make sound character judgments, etc. in our pursuit of unrealistic ideas of what love or marriage will bring to us.

    I read a great quote from another blog comment section, I can’t remember where unfortunately. But, it was during the time that there was the uproar about Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him book. This woman writes:

    “We marry expecting we have found someone who will love us. Sooner or later we discover the wonder that we have actually found someone to love. It’s our choice. Will I give love, or will I demand to be loved? That decision will determine whether you have a happy marriage. If the adjustment to living with another person doesn’t wash away your selfishness, the babies will. But oh, the rewards. Freedom from self self self all the time is wonderful. Raising a family of fantastic human beings is beyond description, and sharing life with a good man…ah, but the ticket to these treasures is readiness to take the risk of giving up your selfishness”

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