Why we’re still single

Ok, so if I had a simple answer to that question I’d be writing this from a beach house in Bali rather than a converted warehouse in northeast London.

I’d be raking in millions from seminars, TV appearances and book sales rather than trying to avoid falling into my overdraft. And I’d be calling this post ‘why you’re still single’ instead of ‘why we’re still single’ because I’d be all loved up.

The truth is I don’t have one simple answer – and neither does anyone else, as far as I can see – but I do know that hundreds of thousands of us around the world are looking for a solution.

That’s why dating coaches are doing such a brisk trade and Matthew Hussey is selling out his Get The Guy talks (I’ve only got as far as a few of Matthew’s videos and I’m curious to know more, if a little put off by what feels like an unnecessary hard sell).

If my conversations with my single girlfriends are anything to go by, many of us are wondering where all the ‘good guys’ are – those elusive, intelligent, solvent, available and willing to commit guys.

But maybe we need to throw the spotlight on ourselves before we start scouring the male dating pool for an eligible partner.

That’s what I gleaned from spending the last few weeks engrossed in the book Getting to Commitment: Overcome the 8 Greatest Obstacles to Lasting Connection by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol.

Steven and Sokol first wrote Men Who Can’t Love, which taught women to avoid heartache by giving commitmentphobic men a wide berth (good advice!). They followed it up with He’s Scared, She’s Scared, noting that commitmentphobia was by no means exclusive to men. Getting to Commitment goes a step further, helping readers form successful, long-lasting relationships.

I found the book sobering and inspiring all at the same time. I seemed to recognise myself on every page.

I saw myself in the woman who frequently made a beeline for men who were unavailable for one reason or another (ranging from the obvious fact they already had partners or were wedded to their work to the more subtle hurdle of them wanting different things, to be childfree for example). And I saw myself in the woman who set unrealistic expectations for her partners, rejecting them on the basis of anything from the style of their shoes, to their choice in home décor, to their level of professional ambition.

As I read on, I thought about my past relationships. Where had I chosen the commitmentphobe or when had I walked away from a perfectly decent guy? Where had I ignored all the signs of unavailability or when had I nitpicked until he threw in the towel? Far too many times.

By the end of the book, I was worn out but I also had a clearer picture of where I’d been going wrong. I had a better handle on my patterns and more awareness of how to tune in to warning signals or to stop judging him and just give the relationship a go.

So knowing myself is the key.

I can say yes to invitations, get out of my comfort zone, socialise more and work on my self-esteem so I feel confident when I walk in a room.

But the real breakthroughs will come when I can break the habits of a lifetime: when I can stop myself before I get involved with a man who seems unavailable or unable to commit or when I can let go of some of my rigid, fixed beliefs about how my partner is supposed to be.

For me, that’s how to get the guy.

About the author

Katherine Baldwin is our Maybe No Baby Blogger. She is a writer, storyteller, coach and speaker. As a coach, Katherine specialises in helping professional women navigate the world of dating and relationships and fall in love. She also helps men and women follow their passion and transition into more wholehearted, fulfilling lives. Katherine is writing a book about her journey from 40 to 45, a period during which she came to terms with being 40, single and childless, overcame her fear of commitment and her perfectionism and learned to fall in love. You can find out more about her work at katherinebaldwin.com, read her blog at fromfortywithlove.com and follow her on Twitter @From40WithLove

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