And a Better Way to See Things
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
Have you ever wondered what was wrong with you that you were still single?
I spent a lot of years and money trying to figure out why I could never have a successful relationship.
I would start therapy sessions with a new counselor with the instruction that we needed to determine what was wrong with me and fix it so I could get married.
I read every relationship book, listened to every dating podcast, tried every self-improvement hack. I wondered if I was not thin enough, not pretty enough, not elusive enough, too elusive.
When I was 40, I considered that maybe something was just wrong with me - like the wiring in my brain must be deeply flawed. So flawed that nobody could figure it out, but clearly there was something wrong with me that was the cause of my singleness.
It wasn’t visible: I have a good figure, I keep myself up, I look way younger than my actual age. I’m successful, I’m financially stable, I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally fit. I’m independent and caring.
There was no obvious reason for me to be single, so it must be some defect deep inside.
But then I started noticing that a lot of really screwed up women are married, and a lot of really great women get left by their husbands.
And if all these Ph.D.’s I was hiring couldn’t find what was wrong with me, how could an average Joe that I would date figure it out?
I got to the point where I just wanted to be at peace with myself.
I spend a lot of time alone (as many singles do), and I knew I had to get comfortable with being with me. In the words of Marianne Williamson, “How could I expect him to want to spend the evening with me - I didn’t even want to spend the evening with me!”
Here’s how I got over my belief that there was something wrong with me:
“I’m not good enough” translates into lack of confidence. You don’t ever have to tell anyone you think there’s something wrong with you. They’ll just pick up on it.
To them, it will feel like you are hyper-critical (you are - mostly of yourself). Or that you are judgmental (you are - of yourself). Or that you are uptight (you are - you’re constantly looking for your flaws).
The problem is, people will assume you are hyper-critical, judgmental, and uptight towards THEM, not towards yourself, and you end up being unattractive (as in, not attracting what you want).
You’re not relaxed and confident; how could you be - you’re constantly trying to ferret out your demons and shortcomings.
Men love confidence. When you think something is wrong with you, you are NOT exhibiting the one characteristic most men define as “sexy”: confidence.
One year, I was with a boyfriend at his sister’s house. The family had donned bathing suits and were frolicking on a homemade water slide - a tarp and a hose.
I passed, as I didn’t feel comfortable being so exposed in front of my boyfriend’s family and their friends. But, I watched his sister, who was a short woman with a pear-shaped body.
Her thighs were significantly larger than the rest of her body and were jiggling with cellulite. I noticed, because this is the part of my own body that I am most critical of.
But, what struck me was how super sexy she was. She was running, having fun with her kids, enjoying the moment - she was confident, she was laughing, and in that moment, I thought she was the most attractive woman I’d ever seen.
When you are confident, you give a man confidence that he has chosen well in you. Her husband looked at her with pride and love. It’s not your thighs keeping men away, it’s your lack of confidence.
Men don’t want perfection. They want realness. Most men would rather be with a woman who is fun and accepting than fussing over the dust and scrubbing the floors.
Men don’t want to hear you criticize your body or agonize over your “bad hair day.” They don’t care. If they do, you’re dealing with a control freak or a closet homosexual.
Good guys want a woman who takes care of herself without being obsessive. Who keeps a neat home without being a germaphobe. Who has confidence, but is vulnerable.
When I finally decided the only thing wrong with me was that I thought there was something wrong with me, I relaxed and started feeling that peace that I craved.
To me, that’s the One-Derful Life: having peace even when things haven’t turned out how I’d hoped.
Before I forget - if you need some help getting over a broken heart, check out my ABC's of healing. You'll be on your way to a One-Derful Life!
Question: Have you ever wondered if you were single because there was something “wrong” with you?
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