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Hermitude DEAR SUSAN: You're always writing about undependence — the word you coined that means wholeness, I guess. Well, I've proved that I can do it all — be a good parent, have a life, work, manage it all. But now what? I'm so darned lonely. &#…Read more. Life Support DEAR SUSAN: It feels as if it's all up to me. As a single person, without a partner right now, I have to be the captain of my ship, making all the decisions and choices. I could use a little help. — From the "Single File" blog DEAR BLOGGER: …Read more. The 'As If' Life DEAR SUSAN: Your work interests me. What made you choose single life to write about? — From the "Single File" blog DEAR BLOGGER: Back in the days of the covered wagon — now hold it right there! "Single File" isn't that old! To continue: …Read more. Friends First DEAR SUSAN: You write about being a hermit. Well, I think I'm one of them. I like my food arranged just so in my fridge, and when I made my holiday/party list, I realized I'm running on empty. I've been alone too long, I suppose. Give me some ideas, …Read more.
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Rough Spots

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DEAR SUSAN: I've had it with being single. It's full of potholes that never get fixed, and I end up alone, crying myself to sleep many nights. What's with me? Is every unmarried woman hiding tears like me? — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: You'd think that a society with more than half its population unwed would rouse itself from daydreams of partnered paradise and fall into step with single-file reality. And in some ways, this is exactly what's occurred. Enormous revolutions have rocked the workplace, the family, even romance.

But women such as you, without a partner, are still bombarded with the same stale propaganda that blasted dear old Mom: Marriage and children are your reasons for living, so get out there and grab a man. On and on it drones, from hundreds of sources, in countless forms. You've internalized that party line, and you've got plenty of company. As I enter another decade on Planet Single, I'm more certain than ever that pressure to join the married mainstream is responsible for much of the unhappiness there. Just recognizing this can be a giant step forward, toward new strategies. I'm talking about changing your attitudes, because changing those around you is too much to ask; popular perception isn't known for quick shifts.

But the public's opinion, though a major one, isn't the only roadblock to unmarried contentment.

Loneliness is a major mischief-maker. And a rigid "old maid" mindset can creep into your thinking now and then — as well as shyness and defensiveness. Not to mention jealousy and bitterness. In this column, going forward, we are going to exorcise those hobgoblins, admitting they exist so that we can end their tyranny and you can get on with your life. You're going to find answers to questions you may have thought would never be answered, at least not in print. Stay tuned.

DEAR SUSAN: I'm sorry you can't tell some of your readers to just get over it or learn to live with it. — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: (Chuckle.) What is this "get over it" advice given out so freely and often? And it's not the single world to blame for that attitude. Why, in my nationwide survey researching single sexuality and relationships, that phrase was nowhere to be seen. How do people get over what is bothering them? Is loneliness like chickenpox, to be endured for a certain spate of days and then miraculously gotten rid of? Maybe this is a cranky day for me, but I don't like or understand the "get over it" mentality. It's devoid of any compassion. Even in a column devoted to the unmarried, as "Single File" is, there should be humanity, concern for our fellow man who seems to be in trouble. Get over it? How? How else than seeking advice from an adviser, someone sympathetic? Get over it? The phrase merits a chuckle, perhaps, but nothing more.

Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at sumor123@aol.com.

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Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 - It's not just women that have had it with being single, their is men too. The pot holes never get fixed because there is no one to fix them. Did you ever wonder how the potholes got there in the first place? It was because not everyone followed the same rules and they were never maintained as promised. Sex and happiness are the culprits. What can be done? Do like everyone else and dodge the pot holes and if you're lucky you won't hit one, but remember the same people that created the pot holes are still on the road also. Have as much sex as you can even though it won't make you happy, but your chances of finding someone that will are a lot greater then just setting on the side of the road - ie regrets.
Susan - it's not "Marriage and children are your reasons for living" the reason for living is to have fun and happiness and to help others, but even those things can't rid loneliness that can only be done by another person touching your heart. Admitting those things that have tyranny isn't going to allow you to get on with your life - "old maid" mindset, shyness, defensiveness, jealousy, and bitterness. What will is acknowledging this is the best it gets unless you change and become like the others that got what you want - the ones that created the pot holes.
Comment: #1
Posted by: J
Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:54 AM
Susan - RE LW2 - "concern for our fellow man who seems to be in trouble" just what does that entail? How is being "sympathetic" going to quench thirst? It's not - that can only be done with a drink. Loneliness is like being thirsty and we all get thirsty - there just isn't enough water for everyone and you can't just "get over it" because your soul dies. Its reality.
Comment: #2
Posted by: J
Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:13 AM
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