Single FileĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 24 Jun 2019 05:12:38 -0700 Single FileĀ® from Creators Syndicate 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> 9f6ec09be00e41b3eda702b1d6b866b2 Expectations for 04/03/2019 Wed, 03 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: Recently, I reconnected with a man I knew four years ago during college days. We spent a whole day in wine country, and it became clear that money is a major issue for him. He griped the whole day about spending money to taste wine and made a fuss about having dinner at the end of the day, sore at having to treat me. Keep in mind that he asked me out!</p> <p>He came to see me a few days before New Year's and asked me out for dinner, theater, etc. But as soon as I accepted, he said we'd go Dutch &#8212; whereupon I declined. Soon thereafter, he sent me an email saying that now he knows I'm all about money.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 03, 2019</p> b2f83ee02cb04ac86cc660603eaf7314 Two-Handed Love for 03/27/2019 Wed, 27 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Zen teachings include a lesson on the sound of one hand clapping. For Buddhists, that leads to deep and provocative wisdom, definitely instructive as a life lesson but not where we're going here. In a less lofty (but more realistic) world, where give-and-take is the name of the game, both hands must be clapping to create the sound of true love. If you feel like a one-man band when you're with your beloved, best to speak up. Loudly. And often. One person cannot and should not be the whole enchilada. There must be mutual effort to make togetherness work. Reciprocity is the mantra of true love.</p> <p>A relationship that works is one in which both partners are expending thought, time and effort toward a mutually satisfying &#8212; and workable &#8212; solution. It takes dialogue, and plenty of it. Yes, at times one of you will do more of the talking, but then the other will catch up, choreographing a dance in which each of you takes a turn at leading. The dialogue could even morph into monologue at times, when one partner needs to vent feelings long suppressed. But it will always return to two-sided communication, because both partners lovingly give each other plenty of room for expression.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 27, 2019</p> b9b766779f5443f396380ba8c2c8ce59 La Femme Workaholic for 03/20/2019 Wed, 20 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: I happened to catch your column titled "Workaholism &#8212; Part 1." In my opinion, you nailed it. Women are quickly overtaking men as the workaholic gender, and it's very damaging to their relationships &#8212; in particular, their romantic relationships. I Ieft a five-year relationship with a woman, primarily over disputes about work-life balance. If you have no time to spend with me, I'd rather not be tied to you. I don't want to be with someone who just needs a man to bring to the office party. I'd rather be alone and free to pursue what I want. These were my parting words:</p> <p>Yes, I see that you are running hard.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 20, 2019</p> 1ee39b50904a35cfbdf936d7260f4bbd Augmenters and Diminishers for 03/13/2019 Wed, 13 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Yes, I realize there are plenty of ways to judge your lover &#8212; the amount of hair on his head, the sexy pout of her lips, the way just being with the person puts you on top of the world. But right here, I'm suggesting a different criterion. It's one that may not be as thrilling, but it comes with a lifetime of durable joy. For a moment, then, consider with me a standard based on self-esteem. Not vanity or puffed ego but a basic friendship with oneself.</p> <p>That eye-opener was suggested to me years ago by the co-author of "Open Marriage," a wildly popular book at the time because of its daring premise. George O'Neill, sociology professor at a New York City university, was clearly feeling parental one summer night as we were alone on the deck of a lovely beach house on Long Island. This professor, a deep thinker with much more life experience than I (or anyone I knew at the time) had, was speaking to me like a Dutch uncle, the conversation full of warnings and good advice. Clearly, there were no romantic vibes between us, but there seemed to be an unspoken agreement on values and people. I sensed it and therefore was more receptive than I'd been in a long time. Instinct was telling me that this friend was giving me words to live by, advice to be remembered long after the end of summer. So this advice columnist became rapt listener and student.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 13, 2019</p> ebd326c3c7d0e8f3af4fa4ce08299932 Turn the Tables for 03/06/2019 Wed, 06 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's a sure bet your folks feel their job isn't over if their daughter (little ol' you) has reached 20-something and still isn't cozily snuggled into a marriage. (For some reason, parental protectiveness doesn't seem to extend to an unwed son.) Dad is especially wary of men, memories of his own hunting years still fresh and unsettling. So the unwed woman is particularly challenged when it comes to showing the folks (and herself) she can stand on her own sturdy size 7s. Which makes the following reversal of roles such a significant symbol, with positive ramifications that can reverberate for years.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Taking your parents out to dinner is a significant way you can celebrate your coming of age with the people who brought you from cradle to perfume.</span> They deserve to know your thoughts about being unmarried and to see for themselves how well you've prepared yourself for life on your own. Not that it will be this way forever &#8212; they do want grandchildren, however you arrange it &#8212; but they need to realize you're not going to settle for Anyman simply to have a child seat in your car. (Incidentally, this conversation should be layered with loving thanks for the intelligent parenting that encouraged the undependence they're seeing today.)<p>Updated: Wed Mar 06, 2019</p> 4c4903c291a175c27b0bf80e5d4a1943 Mourning Time Frame for 02/27/2019 Wed, 27 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: I have a dilemma. My wife died a little over two years ago, ending our wonderful marriage of 26 years and making me a widower at 49. My wife was popular and well-liked by many in our area. Now I feel ready to explore the possibility of dating again by using online dating apps. The problem, though, is that some of my wife's single friends use those apps, too, and I'm afraid of being judged for not mourning long enough. What's a typical time frame for mourning, and is this a legitimate concern? &#8212; Worried Widower</p> <p>DEAR WORRIED WIDOWER: I'm honored that you turned to me for such sensitive advice. But your own instincts are already pointing you in a healthy direction &#8212; back into the world of people &#8212; so let them be a guide.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 27, 2019</p> 4314b2fe423dba4faee1a351acb168dc Sex as Gift for 02/20/2019 Wed, 20 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>DEAR READERS: The woman who wrote protesting men's attitude toward sharing sex hit a nerve. Mail was robust, with wide reactions to her statement that "sex is a gift, not a right." Read on:</p> <p>"Although I'm a very sexual man with no taboos or inhibitions, I think a man who grabs or gropes a woman without her consent is shameless, cowardly and disrespectful and deserves a knee you-know-where. Sex ought to be a delightful union between consenting adults."<p>Updated: Wed Feb 20, 2019</p> 4766d1c84e7db54e1462191b6d21791e Wired for Games? for 02/13/2019 Wed, 13 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: My fiance and I are separated but still see each other occasionally. I saw he was losing interest, so I separated to work on our issues, and that experience fits into your recent questions. I began seeing a therapist to deal with the stress of the situation and discovered I was being too nice and needed to be more "unavailable."</p> <p>The fact of the matter is that women must play these games; it's the only way to keep men interested. The chase is better than the catch, they say, so you must keep them chasing you. If you give in to a last-minute invitation, you become less intriguing. To us women, it's a game. To men, it's the way they're wired. So I answer your questions:<p>Updated: Wed Feb 13, 2019</p> f513a4c0f6e4cc9786d142592fed0fec Quiz Whiz for 02/06/2019 Wed, 06 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's fun time &#8212; tickle time for the brain. Yep, this is another chance to peer inside and come up with the truth. Your truth! The questions &#8212; and the responses to them &#8212; are for your eyes only; there's no editor on the case, no second chance to revise your answer, no eraser in sight. <span class="column--highlighted-text">First response, best response!</span></p> <p>Mark whether you agree or disagree with the following:<p>Updated: Wed Feb 06, 2019</p>