The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What's Wrong with Being Single?

I am now focussing my reading on Keeping the Love You Find, the book for singles (and that includes me). The reason? Any further work with Getting the Love You Want really needs a partner, and I no longer have one.

I’ve just finished the first chapter entitled “What’s Wrong with Being Single?” This is a VERY interesting chapter. Unfortunately it’s too long to summarize, so I shall extract a couple of especially meaningful passages...

Singles often tell me they feel there’s something wrong with them because they’re so needy of a relationship. Sometimes, they say, they get to the point where they just hope that someone – anyone, practically – will come along and fall in love with them, and they’ll get married and everything will work out fine. This seems immature and desperate, but such “it’s my only chance” marriages occur all too frequently, with disastrous results. People who marry without honoring the mandate of their singleness are, in a way, just postponing their single years until after they divorce – unless they get lucky, or work very hard in their marriages, or stay in dead-end relationships.

I don’t want to judge too harshly, though, because in most cases something more complex is going on here – not just a desperation to get married, or a desire to fill any empty life. That neediness is symptomatic of a profound but unrecognized desire in the unconscious, a manifestation of the human need for wholeness and connection and, specifically, for a safe, intimate, enlivening partnership. I am saying that in order to feel whole, to feel fully alive, fully human, and to heal the wounds we carry from childhood, we’ve gotta have it. This sounds pretty dramatic, but I believe it is profoundly true. It is not a matter of desperate singles. Our human nature and needs, no matter how we rationalize or adapt, cannot be denied.

One young woman actually said to me, “Well, I love Joel, but he’s only a trainee at a bank, and he’s not interested in theater or going to museums. What will happen if I tell Joel I’ll marry him and then I meet someone better?”

So many singles concentrate all their efforts on perfecting the outside trappings and strategies of singleness, in order to stand up to the scrutiny of the mating game, while their inner selves remain unexamined and neglected. They want to find the perfect partner, get married, and then worry about being happily married. They reject prospective partners, finding them defective in one way or another, not realizing that the fault is in themselves, the rejectors. The irony is that nearly 50 percent of those who marry before they unpack and examine their childhood baggage, before they get some relationship training, are all but doomed to rejoin the ranks of the single the hard way – via divorce. What they don’t understand is that nothing will change until they change. They won’t meet a healthier, more mature lover until they are healthier and more mature, until they’ve done their homework and preparation.

What Hendrix is saying is that singlehood is an opportunity for us to mature, to learn about who we are, to identify our true desires, to confront our inner strengths and demons. It’s a time to make changes in the things that stymie our pleasure and progress in life, to learn how to connect and communicate. And rather than doing this haphazardly, there is a prescribed way to do it. This book hopefully will be my guide...