It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reason Why You’re Single by Sara Eckel. Publisher: Perigree (January 27, 2014). Self-help. paperback. 184 pages. ISBN 978-0-399-16287-9.
“But the myth that we’re 100 percent in control of what happens in our lives makes us extremely hard on ourselves, and single people especially, so eager to solve the riddle of Why, are often willing to accept the premise that some fatal personality flaw is preventing them from finding lifelong love.”
Finally, a book that will ensure singles over 35 that they’re not the last single person out there and there’s nothing wrong with them. They just haven’t met that someone. It’s okay to be picky, to have careers, to enjoy living solo, to travel, to be undecided about your future, to be a bet of a mess, to not smile all the time. Yes, someone will love you anyway. Some people are late bloomers and there’s no reason to beat yourself up over that. Sara Eckel wrote a wonderful article in NYT’s Modern Love called “Sometimes It’s Not You” which reassured many a single that his or her singledom wasn’t for being too ugly or too smart or not into sports or having too many cats or reading too many books.
“Single people aren’t on the fringe of society– they are society.”
In this book, Eckel extensively researched relationships, dating and the stigma of being single. She spoke with a plethora of experts. She uses a Buddhist-style philosophy to let it go, to let the universe happen, to be mindful, to feel what you feel and release it. It’s OKAY to be picky, independent, a feminist, older, sometimes sad, to not settle, and to be intimidating and not play games [remember the dreaded The Rules in the 90s?]. Sara Eckel debunks all those reasons everyone’s been hearing about why they’re still single: “you’re not playing the game,” you’re too desperate, you’re too picky, you’re too negative; you need to be happy alone. And many more. So with 27 of the wrong reasons why you could still be single, you should find solace in this book somewhere.
You Have Low Self-Esteem
“Research shows that people with high self-esteem are no more well-liked than those with low self-esteem, they only think they are more admired, says Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at University of Texas at Austin.”
Eckel embraces meditation and mindfulness and suggest this approach the next time you’re feeling rejected, less than or down about not having a date:
“Instead of assigning blame, simply take a moment and acknowledge the painful disappointment you’re feeling. You don’t try to talk yourself out of feeling bad—since feeling bad is a completely natural response to rejection.”
You’re too Desperate
Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, a History says: “Historically, desperate is agreeing to marry a much older man whom you find physically repulsive. Desperate is closing your eyes to prostitutes and mistresses and praying you don’t get a venereal disease. Desperate is having child after child because your husband won’t let you use birth control or covering the bruises you got last night when you hurry to the market to shop for the evening meal. Women today may be anxious about finding a mate, but most could not even imagine being that desperate.”
You’re Too Picky
“The implicit assumption –that I wanted perfection or nothing—infuriated me because I wasn’t entirely sure it was wrong. How could it be? I had failed my entire life to find this relationship.”
You’re Too Selfish
Not so fast! Oh the things you can accomplish alone. Sure being part of a couple can be great but I know some marrieds who have to do everything together or check with each other before doing something and that’s a drag to me.
“Single women and men are more likely to call, visit and help out their aging parents with daily tasks (doing housework, driving to the doctor’s etc.) than their married peers.” [Yes. My brothers rarely visit my parents and hardly ever visited my now deceased grandparents. I was the one to visit weekly and take care of them.]
“Single people are also more likely to lend a hand to neighbors and siblings. And never-married women attend more political gatherings and sign or petitions than their married cohorts . . .” [I’ve always been politically active and volunteer on political campaigns.]
You Don’t Know Love
I love this section because I never understand when people feel the need to say they’ve been “almost married” several times or to list the number of long-term relationships they’ve had. My long list of dates, short-term relationships and one-night-stands don’t count as experience? I beg to differ.
“Little credit is given to the person, who has the sensitivity and intelligence to avoid the near-engagement or divorce—who takes months, rather than years, to realize the partnership isn’t working. No due is given the person who refuses to be jerked around—thus compelling the jerks to move on to easier prey. It’s assumed there is some love gene that you lack.”
–review by Amy Steele
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin Group.
Sara will be reading at Trident Books on Tuesday, February 11 at 7pm.