Q. I am a 30 year old single woman and I have never been married and have no kids. I consider myself a confident, happy and healthy woman but of late, I sense a gradual change in the way I feel about myself. All my friends are married and some of them have kids. I am almost constantly reminded that I am not yet married no matter where I go whether it’s social events, parties or holiday gatherings. I have had my share of relationships some great and some not so great. But of late, I am increasingly feeling that I need to get married. I am also worried that I might never be able to find the right man. I have never worried about marriage before, so this is something new and it’s affecting my self-esteem.
Recently, I went out for a date and I made an absolute mess of it. I was tensed, nervous and felt I was grilling the man I was with. I think I was trying to figure out if he was marriage material so that I can stop wasting time with him if he wasn’t. I realize that it’s ridiculous to think that way- after all we were on our first date. But I can’t seem to enjoy the now and my mind seems to constantly slip into a grim future where I am single and lonely. How can I stop worrying about the future and start relaxing and enjoying the present?
A. Dear Grim Future,
First and foremost no marriage can truly make your self-esteem stronger.
That is a princess dream, perpetuated by your need to believe in fairy tales, instead of the magical life you can create in your reality.
An excellent question to ask yourself is: “If I know I am a confident, happy and healthy woman, why do I feel the need to compare myself to my married and child-rearing friends?"
One of the main reasons that women start to notice the relationship milestone differences around thirty is that they are no longer in school or just starting off in their careers—meaning we’re not all on the same level in life anymore.
Adulthood offers vast opportunities for when you can marry and have children. Why force it upon yourself rather than letting it happen naturally?
If you continue to compare yourself to your friends, fear your future or act desperately on dates, your results will continue to be sad dates and a lot of loneliness.
Here are some quick tips and strategies to keep yourself focused on maintaining the confidence you’ve had all along, and on finding a healthy relationship, which in my opinion should be your real goal.
Anyone can get married and have kids. But not everyone who marries does it for the right reasons, and many married people have very unhealthy relationships.
1. Start a journal so you can pay attention to your thoughts and feelings around your desire to get married and have children.
Pay special attention to how your feel or how you’re thinking after you have meet ups with some of your married friends. Also journal before and after you go on dates, to see if there are trigger words or expressions that leave you wrestling with your thoughts.
2. Create a fun game about the type of man you would like marry, date or dump.
Famous actors, musicians, high school crushes, single men at work, neighbors, guys at the gym, etc., are eligible for your game. It’s a lot easier to determine who is real relationship material for you when you are having fun with the idea of marital compatibility. Your girlfriends may enjoy this game too, and you will get to hear their opinions on who they think is marriage material.
3. Invest in some gratitude.
You say you’re happy and healthy— give yourself some credit! There was a time in history when woman your age had to be married and have kids by the time they turned 30. Now you get to choose when you want to marry and have kids, based on finding someone you actually want to do that with, regardless of when in life it happens. When you are feeling moments of despair ask yourself: “How would my confident and happy self handle this?”
4. Treat yourself the way you would prefer to be treated by your future spouse.
There is nothing sadder then expecting a man to treat you in a certain way when you’re not even treating yourself in that way! There are several men who may read this post and think: “I tell her all the time that she’s beautiful, smart and talented, but she doesn’t believe me.” You don’t want to be this kind of partner.
5. Speak well of yourself, always.
When someone asks if you are married or dating anyone, smile coyly and say, “Not yet.” If they press you with more questions, respond confidently and vivaciously,” I simply can’t marry every man I go on a date with. I have goals too, you know!”
6. Consider and expand your interests.
Are you into yoga? Are you a coffee shop junkie? Or are you constantly looking for men by getting drunk at your latest watering hole? A great thought to ponder and even better question to ask yourself is: “Where does the kind of man I desire to be with hang out? Does he like golf? Does he play rugby? What kinds of music does he love? There is nothing better then observing and flirting with the opposite sex in their environment, especially if it’s an interest of yours too. Men are usually more relaxed in their own environments, and you will be too.
7. If you are dating online, consider what you are saying about yourself.
Your profile should be as clear, direct and honest as possible. If you’ve had crummy relationship experiences, can you find a way to explain them so they sound humorous? Or if you had a serious breakup, can you make sure your story comes across well without “glossing it over?” Be as real with your heart as you can be.
8. Believe in your value and self-worth.
You have to truly believe that you have a lot to offer to a potential romantic partner. Begin by saying affirmations that state you really are beautiful, loving, intelligent and talented, and that the love of your life can’t wait to meet you.