Single FileĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 21 Aug 2019 03:21:55 -0700 Single FileĀ® from Creators Syndicate 1188cb50a0ac1366eaa7cf14d0f6cc1f Reentry (Part 2) for 08/21/2019 Wed, 21 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Around the same time the newly singled realize their bed-hopping adventures actually make them lonelier, a growing awareness of themselves as a distinct entity takes hold. Standing on one's own, recognized as a person in one's own right, starts to feel good. Really good. The loneliness is still there, of course, felt most in the early-morning hours and the coming-home alone time, but now the awfulness of meaningless sex seems far worse. It's then &#8212; a year or so after decoupling &#8212; that the advantages of being unpartnered begin to make themselves known! <span class="column--highlighted-text">It's not that the lacks in the single life suddenly vaporize and fade into the sunset, but with the passage of time, you realize that sometimes it's not so bad being alone with yourself. </span>Once that realization seeps into consciousness, those long walks after dinner begin to feel more like meditation than the dark rejection pangs of just a few months ago. Times of quiet musing quietly find their way into alone times, strengthening the sense of individuality so recently liberated. It hardly compensates for the lack of a loving and dedicated partner, but it does bring its own emotional sustenance that nourishes the spirit.</p> <p>After incorporating this stronger sense of personhood into one's self-image and seeing its benefits lead to greater personal power and selfhood, another issue arises: how to keep one's sense of self within a romantic relationship. When this issue takes center stage (usually around two years after reentering singleworld), it speaks of emotional need for committed love. The irony here (rarely mentioned) is that compatibility with oneself is a prerequisite for a successful love partnership: One must evolve in order for the other to work well (a dichotomy that makes perfect sense).<p>Updated: Wed Aug 21, 2019</p> 028a68155005313fbb6614ad0829e7e1 Reentry (Part 1) for 08/14/2019 Wed, 14 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Coming back to home base is never easy. Astronauts are well aware of the complexity of returning to Earth's atmosphere. Immigrants resettling in the homeland must face the challenge of unlearning new ways while relearning the ones from childhood. And (deep, deep sigh) singletons are faced with the momentous challenge of rejoining peers after a significant period of snug interdependence ... aka marriage. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Life with a mate, as wonderful as it can be when a relationship is harmonious, tends to encourage some degree of dependence. </span>Yes, it certainly can be healthy interdependence where partners weave their strengths and weaknesses into a fully functioning relationship, and lean on each other's strengths to complement their weak points.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 14, 2019</p> 4a474330b645c7bc9be06cb3c26b823b Letting Go for 08/07/2019 Wed, 07 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The ongoing battle to hold on to our hard-earned personhood while in a love relationship demands self-confidence and self-awareness. But what about encouraging your beloved to also be an individual? What about having the maturity (hate the word) and wisdom (a much better one) to grant them &#8212; nay, encourage them &#8212; to own breathing space to be themselves? (Risky business, that, because neither of you knows for sure which direction your growth will take you, so loss is a distinct possibility.) But <span class="column--highlighted-text">take it from me: The wisdom to allow a loved one his or her own destiny is the rarity that separates spoiled brats from adults in the exceedingly grown-up game of love. </span>Holding your cards loosely takes guts, for sure. And yet it's the only way to earn the respect and esteem at the core of the real thing. </p> <p>Yes, love has imposters, to be recognized and avoided. Cloying jealousy is often mistaken as true love but is soon enough unmasked and revealed to be massive insecurity and possessiveness. Tight control of the partner, another of Love's false facades, insists on strict dominion (masquerading as deep concern) over the Other and in time achieves total control, but at exorbitant cost. The one being controlled builds up layer after layer of silent resentment that finally erupts in deep mood swings; fits of temper; long, morose silences. However cloaked, resentment of being controlled has long since extinguished love's fires. Lovers who must control &#8212; or must be controlled &#8212; cannot risk releasing the beloved. And so they are denied love's huge payoff: mutual respect. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 07, 2019</p> a163da4e70210f7ff9412343868fb173 Ticklish Questions for 07/31/2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Parenting is a privilege. Being the main influence in the lives of your children is an honor and a blessing. And at times, a royal pain in the neck! </p> <p>But single parenting has to be &#8212; hands down &#8212; the most complex, demanding situation in all of the single world. It's exhausting, complicated, seemingly never-ending, emotionally draining &#8212; and in the end, the most rewarding role of all permutations in the unmarried community. As a young widow, catapulted overnight into the single world, I became Chairman of the Board of my small family. The role is to this day deeply etched into my thinking, forever changing my priorities. So let's get to the questions I've formulated specifically for unmarried parents with on-premises children. I promise some of them are ticklish! <p>Updated: Wed Jul 31, 2019</p> 16183a014622facb2b55de9647a0e13c Reasons Why for 07/24/2019 Wed, 24 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: The other day, a friend said that I'm angry at men and I seem to resent them, even if they're nice. Any thoughts on why this could be? &#8212; Sallie D., New York City</p> <p>DEAR SALLIE: <span class="column--highlighted-text">There are many possible roots to your anti-male mindset, starting with the family dynamics in your home.</span> I'd like you to scan the whole list of possibilities before going back to the first and giving it careful consideration. (This gives your brain a head start.) And please take your time answering; let your thoughts drift to memories, significant incidents, strong feelings and fears. Now, before you read the first word, take a deep breath; exhale slowly; then (and only then) begin to read. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 24, 2019</p> 8d6d31442f1ca20d7e741b948948150e The Wise 30s for 07/17/2019 Wed, 17 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Susan: I used to only date men who were taller than me. But now I'm engaged to someone almost 3 inches shorter than I am, and honestly, he's such a great person I couldn't care less. (From the internet)</p> <p>Dear Blogger: At last, good sense makes a comeback! (I don't know your age, but I'll bet my shiny new printer you're upwards of 30. That seems to be the decade when good sense returns to the feminine psyche, and it usually arrives with a shock and a poke in the ribs (the Adam-donated rib, of course). But as adviser to my sisters, getting there has been quite a trip! I've had to stand by and offer (ignored) advice to femmes totally electrified by the slouch of a bad boy's shoulder; women who, even when done dirty by him, turned a deaf ear to my pleadings &#8212; and coldly refused to see him as bad news. I've explained my heart out about the quiet fellow, the man short on fancy words but extra-long on sincerity and devotion. But those woman-hours at the keyboard were often totally ignored/overlooked by the under-30s. Still, I hoped. And plodded on, hopeful yet discouraged, doubtful but nevertheless persisting, confident (at times), counting on maturity and fate to bring another epiphany. Oh, how I've shouted from the rooftops (not literally) to anyone who'd listen that it only takes one good chap &#8212; height too trivial to mention &#8212; to open those baby blues to the reality of loving a good friend. You, dear woman, have made the discovery that will change your life. Not to mention the lives of all those 5-foot-something men out there. Plus &#8212; if they're still with us &#8212; the lives of many shortsighted 20-year-old girls. (Every pun intended.)<p>Updated: Wed Jul 17, 2019</p> 54f5fc3a815a0680a86080c5ef522100 Deadlines Unlimited for 07/10/2019 Wed, 10 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: Responding to your recent survey:</p> <p>&#8212; How late in the week can a man call you for a date? ANS: Whenever he wants to, provided he doesn't show up at my doorstep unannounced! If I'm busy, I'll say so. If not, I'm happy to accept his invitation.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 10, 2019</p> 790b5e1123b3cb30faa1eb2b4e18e218 Summer Thoughts for 07/03/2019 Wed, 03 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For those lazy summer days (and nights), <span class="column--highlighted-text">these are some high-voltage queries to ask yourself when you're intensely drawn to someone:</span> </p> <p>&#8212;Can I be myself with them? <p>Updated: Wed Jul 03, 2019</p> 8b632360229756db3b472e3e43fe5b64 Lost & Found for 06/26/2019 Wed, 26 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Susan: I was widowed in February after being married 35 years. My husband and I married in our 30s, so I do have some experience being single, but now I'm sort of lost. Our marriage was so close we kept our friends at the periphery, which only adds to my problems. Have you some back material I could download or purchase online? Thank you. &#8212; C.H.</p> <p>Dear C.H.: Toweling myself off from an extra-long shower &#8212; where I do my best thinking &#8212; your bewilderment is front and center in my thoughts. Having been widowed &#8212; twice &#8212; I can tell you that answers to issues looming large right now will surface at the right time, and they will come from your own wisdom. (But please don't tackle any biggies just yet; you're only a year out of a long and tightly bound union, and both you &#8212; and single life &#8212; have changed mightily.) For now, keep your days calm and uncomplicated, taking one at a time, and doing your best not to overthink the situation. (Easier said than done, I recall.) Be gentle with yourself and your mood changes. Weep and moan aplenty &#8212; without guilt or shame &#8212; whenever it feels right. Trust your body's wisdom as it adjusts to this new phase.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 26, 2019</p> 3670851dff3377455d20d32d93bddca2 Life Engineering (Continued) for 06/19/2019 Wed, 19 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>&#8212;There's a fiction circling singleworld that making your life comfortable and secure while you're unmarried consigns you to a life sentence there, with no chance of parole or reprieve. Well, this lady engineer is over the moon to announce that the myth is pure fiction! The reality? The more interesting you make your singleness, the more relaxed and genuine you'll be &#8212; which will certainly make you a love magnet. To continue: The more friends and possibilities you cram into your life, the better your odds of getting what you want from it. Logic beats fiction, no?</p> <p>&#8212;Be yourself. A simple gem of advice, but like most simplicities it's not so simple. You're being asked not only to know yourself but to show the world &#8212; at all times, in every situation &#8212; that clear and strong sense of self. <p>Updated: Wed Jun 19, 2019</p> bf068358a08de5c5cdecdae9eb683f98 Life Lessons for 06/12/2019 Wed, 12 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>&#8212;Readiness is all. The same person who didn't stir you 10 years ago might just knock your socks off today because you've grown and now see their better points ... and maybe &#8212; just maybe &#8212; because you're now ready to make the commitment. Stay open. </p> <p>&#8212;<span class="column--highlighted-text">How many people do you know who look at marriage as an experience rather than a commitment? </span>(Are you one?) They &#8212; you &#8212; think of marriage as little more than prerequisite for divorce. (Sigh) Should the marriage fail &#8212; and they don't do much to help it succeed &#8212; they really and truly believe they'll be much more desirable on the open market, highly valued as seasoned, worldly, sophisticated. Are they for real?! <p>Updated: Wed Jun 12, 2019</p> ffb85931ecc60c85cad897a9198bc38d Tips for That for 06/05/2019 Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>&#8212;The situation has eased somewhat, but the divorced dads of this world are still having a tough time winning custody of their children. The role of primary caregiver is usually given to the woman, and the man of the house has no more house &#8212; nor home. His children become part-time guests. His family role is decimated &#8212; as is his bank account and his self-esteem! The prevailing wisdom is that Mother knows best and therefore should be Head of House in a divorce scenario. Not necessarily the best solution.</p> <p>&#8212;Census figures show unmarried mothers to be on the increase, and that the trend is mainly among successful, well-educated women. (Teen pregnancies not part of this study.) Again, let me remind all interested parties &#8212; considering such a change of life &#8212; that the path is a rocky one, demanding nearly limitless time, patience, financial security and devotion. Children are here to be loved, not to give love nor to stave off loneliness. Enough said.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 05, 2019</p> 71f3994d51e5f343dbb42f51c5723d88 Tasty Tidbits for 05/29/2019 Wed, 29 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>&#8212;Meditation is a proven path to inner thoughts, to thoughts circling consciousness. It can serve as a quiet time in your busy life, a few minutes of total calm in which you allow your mind the quietude and rest it needs &#8212; and certainly deserves. <span class="column--highlighted-text">In the 15 minutes or so of quiet time, meditating, you'll hear the voice of your inner thoughts finally taking center stage, and giving you silent time allowing you to muse on them.</span> Think about them. Your deepest thoughts, needs and individuality rising to make themselves heard and inspire you to action. </p> <p>&#8212;Want to hear another example of negative thinking? Try this on for size: "I'm a half-member of my family/church/community because I'm not married." And this gem: "All the good and desirable people are already married." Need another? "It's not normal to be single. Being married is much healthier." And then of course there's the ultimate zinger, the fatal blow to the smallest shred of self-confidence a single person might cling to: "Independence means selfishness." Try and refute that one. <p>Updated: Wed May 29, 2019</p> f4caca75ea099cf7d938e1d0ff3c5054 More Tips for 05/22/2019 Wed, 22 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Single parenting can be lonely, coming back to needy children and a partnerless home every night. But <span class="column--highlighted-text">calling for a Family Council every Friday night, when the kids can sleep late the next day (and so can you), can put some fun and pizza into the week for all of you.</span> It's a great time to air grievances, big and small, and let every voice feel important. So Friday around dinnertime, make it a ritual for the family to gather in the living room, put pillows on the floor so sitting is comfortable, and make small talk until the pizza arrives. Ordering (and paying) is your job, mom. Now, while you're Chairman of the Board of your family, it's your pleasure to strengthen bonds between generations. Can you think of a more important one? Neither can I.</p> <p>There are some people who definitely should be lifelong singles. (I bet you know some of them.) They prefer their individuality on a 24-hour basis, and resist sharing in any form. They like their own company and their way of getting through the day, and resist change of any kind! Set in their ways, I guess you'd say. They simply do not want to accommodate another's needs. And why should they?! Just as some people don't want children, some of us do not want to be part of a couple. And that's that. <p>Updated: Wed May 22, 2019</p> 26dc69874979f36e33bcf3f01ad8e623 Tips of Gold for 05/15/2019 Wed, 15 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>&#8212;Get closer to your parents. Like most corny advice, this one's pure gold. These people who sired you and raised you into adulthood are special in your life, unique and irreplaceable, too often ignored in the rush to adulthood. Take them to dinner, one at a time, and let them get to know their offspring as an adult, and a loving one at that. It will be good for all three of you. Promise. </p> <p>&#8212;<span class="column--highlighted-text">Were you left out of a dinner party because you're not part of a matched set? Use your spare adrenaline to plan your own party, rather than sulk or feel rejected.</span> In your party, mix marrieds with singles, all ages and backgrounds, and watch the interesting happening you create. Congratulate yourself for not being as narrow-minded as some. (ahem)<p>Updated: Wed May 15, 2019</p> 8a8b9e63e3cb0b9f83c131609d6e6715 Chairman of the Board for 05/08/2019 Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">As a single parent (Chairman of the Board) your first loyalty is to your children. Yes, you are an adult with normal needs for affection, but sleepover lovers are an intrusion into the innocence of your on-premises children. Reserve that kind of loving for times when the little ones are not at home.</span><br></p> <p>You probably know by now how strongly I feel about nutrition and the single person. Rushed, on your own, many nights you probably don't eat right. For the straight scoop on foods, consider subscribing to the newsletter of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Their extraordinary colorful posters are worth mentioning. <p>Updated: Wed May 08, 2019</p> 93b502c497494a615b9db92cd6c0d450 Life Engineering for 05/01/2019 Wed, 01 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A book reviewer recently called "Single File" an advanced course in Life Engineering, and the name fits like a glove! Because once you tune in to the opportunity that comes with singleness, you become Chairman of the Board, responsible for every decision big and small. Once you get the hang of life unpartnered &#8212; and, yes, these are times of trial and error &#8212; you are certainly well-equipped to live any way you choose. (And that choice may well change with time, as age dictates its own priorities.) With that preamble aired, some nuggets to use as only you decide:</p> <p>&#8212; The only power that counts in the long run is personal power, the effectiveness we have to make our imprint on the sands of time. It is developed by harnessing our talents and our strengths, using them to expand the floating sea of helpfulness that lies around us. <p>Updated: Wed May 01, 2019</p> 3484bebc35a7c22b84a1786e85ff8945 Learning to Love for 04/24/2019 Wed, 24 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"People find it difficult to take risks of love because they do not feel anyone has ever loved them without reservation or conditions. They do not feel worthy." Those are the words of Dr. David Viscott, author of a favorite book of mine, "Risking," an oldie in my library, a fount of wisdom to be read again and again, at different phases of my life, to be lovingly shared with you, my readers, hoping those words will spark your deepest thoughts &#8212; as they do mine. Enjoy the ride. </p> <p>"Learning to Love Yourself</p> <p>"People find it difficult to take the risks of love because they do not feel anyone has ever loved them without reservation or conditions. They do not feel worthy. But how do you correct a situation like this? You can't return to your childhood and ask your parents to love you the way you needed to be loved. Each person has the lifelong goal of making himself lovable. You do this by saying yes to all the things that give you pleasure and nurture you. This isn't an invitation to self-indulgence, it's a statement that says if something gives you pleasure, do it. (Within reason, of course.) Buy a piano, plant a garden, take up painting. Get out your best china and silver and use them for yourself! If you don't think you're good enough for it, who will? When you start loving yourself, doing the countless little acts of caring (for yourself) you may currently consider stupid or trivial, too small to even consider, you'll begin to feel cared for. (And isn't that the object of this exercise?) Maybe you feel other people should do them for you. But who should, and how can anyone know what to do if you don't show them by your own actions? Furthermore, people may believe that if you don't do (this thing, this action) for yourself you really don't care that much about it, and so they won't risk your disapproval/lack of appreciation if they give it to you. (Yes, it's complex and a bit twisty, but take it slowly and say it out loud. It does make sense to consider others' reasoning.)<p>Updated: Wed Apr 24, 2019</p> 50487040e5bd4f4fbf2c3e0556b75996 Apartnership for 04/17/2019 Wed, 17 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">DEAR SUSAN: I just re-read your column about "apartners," and I'm sending along my 2 cents. Since my marriage ended two years ago, I've been lucky enough to share some personally productive relationships. Currently, I'm dating someone with the strength of character to be himself with me, and we're having a wonderful time. But as much as I like him, I still cannot imagine any other person, however beloved, in my space. Maybe this will change; the relationship is a young one. But for now, perhaps I'm just not ready to remarry, as I still equate marriage with what I had with my husband &#8212; something that fails. But rationally I realize that if I find someone with whom my goals, visions and values align, he and I together can establish our own unique marital relationship. But right now my feelings (should I call them "gut-wrenching reactions"?) aren't necessarily rational; the idea of giving someone else access not only to my heart but also to my home, my assets, my future &#8212; my emotional and financial independence &#8212; is beyond me. Marriage is so much more than loving each other; it exists on a multitude of often-unromantic levels that can tax even the strongest love.</span><br></p> <p>So it makes sense to me that couples who care deeply about each other might not want to share that multitude of "unromance" with each other. They may want save the best of life to celebrate when they're together, leaving bitter reality for the privacy of alone time. Perhaps one or both feel unprepared for marriage; perhaps economic factors come into play. But if people are at heart satisfied with where they are in their relationship and with where it seems to be going, who are we to criticize? <p>Updated: Wed Apr 17, 2019</p> 494e004c09e78f347af882298dedb8e5 Rebuttal for 04/10/2019 Wed, 10 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For the record, this columnist needs a posting of her own. Needled by some recent reader comments &#8212; not always in the most generous spirit &#8212; she (moi) needs to air some thoughts in response. Bear with me, all ye of good faith, as I take time to vent my spleen. </p> <p>For openers, this column is not dedicated to partnering every extant/breathing person who qualifies as unmarried, but to strengthening their "single" core, their personhood &#8212; their individuality &#8212; which is surely everyone's most precious possession. That is the aim of the "Exercises in Singleness" sprinkled throughout my advice and indeed forms the basic mindset of every one of my suggestions for all my readers, the married as well the unmarried! But &#8212; one persistently unpleasant and disrespectful reader seems to enjoy taking potshots at this vibrant corner of the Creators website, annoyed by questions dealing with loneliness and relationship issues when other issues are more relevant to his (purported) life. (Hey, if agitas feels better than fulfillment to him, if roiling about unfair treatment to the unmarried is his way to get through the day, he's welcome to it.) But it so happens that I do agree with his comments about skewed rules in the travel industry that force single people to pay more and about tax provisions that hurt the unmarried. But "Single File" pins its message on the software of being unmarried because I believe a strong sense of self is essential to a fulfilled life &#8212; single, partnered or otherwise occupied. Sex, relationships and true love are puzzling challenges for most of us. And if I can help untangle even a small part of them, it is my pleasure &#8212; and yes, my mission.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 10, 2019</p>