Chronically Single Women Wonder What The Problem Is

For many women, being single is not a chosen lifestyle, but a deeply painful and disappointing experience. Some have suffered through a social drought so severe that they feel they are going to dry up and blow away. Some have had several dysfunctional relationships, often including marriage and divorce. “Why am I still alone?” they ask.

It is tempting for the woman who finds herself persistently or repeatedly alone to blame men for her difficulties. It is tempting to lament that there are just not enough good men. But the fact is that single men out number single women born before 1955.

A chronically single woman—that is, a woman who thinks she wants to be in a committed, intimate relationship, but finds herself persistently or repeatedly alone, or involved in relationships that cannot progress into commitment—is increasingly commonplace, says Karen Jenkins in the book Chronically Single Women.

She says that in the process of courting and dating, we reveal who we are to others. That’s what it’s about—the self-revelation essential to find a suitable mate. We have to be willing to be known—at first by our appearance; next by our opinions, values and our strengths and weaknesses; and ultimately by our souls.

But some women are afraid to be known. Not feeling very good about yourself makes it difficult to let others get close. Most disastrously, it can make a woman want to hide—and true love seldom finds it’s way into hiding places.

Some women are not so much ashamed of who they are, as they are unsure. Such a woman fails to express herself because she does not know what to express. She therefore does not attract many men—not because they dislike her, but because they can’t see her. When a woman is uncertain about who she is, she will instinctively defend herself by avoiding real contact with others. She will therefore do such things as avoid eye contact, keep her conversations superficial, act aloof, avoid opportunities to get closer to others and demean herself in the presence of others.

The fear of being known is really the fear of being rejected, and it may cause a woman to behave in such a way that she will not be known at all.

Part of what may keep a woman chronically single is her attachment to partners who are not actually available to her, or acceptable to her, for a committed long-term relationship. These include men she could not, or would not, stay with. There is a place for such relationships, and they can be positive growth experiences. But sometimes what starts as a temporary arrangement begins to turn into a more permanent attachment, and then the problem occurs. She will then need to make him fit. The woman begins to delude herself into thinking the unavailable man will somehow become available, the inappropriate man will change. Becoming lost in such fantasies is not uncommon among chronically single women, says Jenkins. Fear of being alone motivates many women to do time with “fixer-uppers” that they have no intention of accepting as is. For some women attachment to unavailable partners is chronic.

If you are a chronically single woman, and if you find yourself attracted to a man who has some trait that limits his availability for a committed, intimate relationship, it is worth exploring why you want to spend time with a man who lessens, rather than strengthens, your chances of marriage.

Not all chronically single women are chronically lonely. Some have no trouble meeting men and getting relationships started; they have trouble keeping them going. These women are very busy dating, mating and leaving men; or dating, mating and being left. Outsiders may see their lives as in enviable whirlwind of romances or as a pitiable series of failures. Their close friends see their despair—trapped, as they are, in the revolving door. So says Karen Jenkins in her book Chronically Single Women.

A woman appears taken when she enters a temporary relationship with an unavailable partner. All relationships, even undesirable ones, require work, and her temporary relationship may distract a woman from her goal, and give others the impression that she is not available. Very often, therefore, women learn that they cannot find a mate until they let go of a temporary partner.

Some men are unavailable because they are afraid of commitment—and it is not hard to identify them, unless unresolved issues block the view. It is frequently women who have been neglected by their fathers who are attracted to these men, for it is so much easier to follow the familiar pattern—to keep trying to gain a man’s attention—rather than to confront the problem and to change it. Some men who are perfectly capable of a mature relationship are nevertheless emotionally unavailable, such as men who are on the rebound.

It is curious that some women can delude themselves into believing that married men are available, when it is well known that even those who promise to divorce their wives seldom do. Some women habitually play the role of the other woman, motivated by ambivalence, unresolved fear of commitment, or a need to continue some childhood drama such as a daughter’s wish to steal Daddy away from Mommy.

Perhaps she is occupied by an addiction or a compulsion—by a substance, such as alcohol or drugs, or by a behavior, such as eating, gambling or working. Addiction and compulsions make a woman appear taken because the substance or behavior increasingly becomes the center of the woman’s life. It is her best friend, her lover.

You may also appear taken by carrying a torch for a lost love. Sometimes a woman hangs onto a lost love not because she wants to keep loving him, but because she wants to keep hating him. Feeding her resentment seems to redress her sense of injury, and fills up the empty space. But she repels men with her anger, and she is at risk of extending her resentment to include all males.

There are also women who are so dependent on their parent’s approval that they are not free to choose a mate without it. Also, some chronically single women have children from earlier marriages, and find that these children occupy her so much that she isn’t available for an intimate relationship for herself.

10 comments on “Chronically Single Women Wonder What The Problem Is

  1. Thank you for your insights. As a woman who had a traumatic childhood it does ease my anxieties about being chronically single. You are so right about it being unlikely that love will be found if you isolate yourself. I hope one day i will fond a healthy relationship!

  2. Well since so many women have certainly CHANGED today compared to the GOOD old days when MOST women were so much more NICER and so much EASIER to meet at that time which today many of us GOOD men are still SINGLE since finding love is so much harder today than it was back then.

  3. Well just maybe if there Weren’t so many Career women nowadays that are so very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky, and so very money hungry which really explains why many of them are Single today. And many of us Good men that are still Single ourselves Can really Blame them as well since many of us men should have been married by now with our own family that many of us still Don’t have today. And many of us men are certainly Not Single by choice.

  4. Attended a wedding. My friends try to set me up. Girl gets angry. EMBARRAsses me in front of everyone because I asked for her number. Says I should learn how to talk to women. 3 months later. The same girl is asking my friends about me. Sees me in church and tries to start a conversation.. Hello no!!!!

  5. Well let me be realistic here with my comment since the women of today unfortunately have really changed for the worst of all which it is certainly their fault why they’re still single today since many of us good single men will never ever blame ourselves at all to begin with. Most of the women nowadays just expect too much since it is all about money for them since they’re real Golddiggers today as well. They will take advantage of men that have money since most of these women now are such users as well as losers too. So God forbid if they will ever date a good man like us that make a lot less money than they make since they’re so very greedy and selfish nowadays as it is. Most women don’t even have no respect for us men at all anymore today when years ago Most women were the very complete opposite of what they’re now. And i do have to say that the women of the Past really did put these women today to real total shame altogether now as well. This is a very Excellent Reason why many of us men are still single today since it really does Take Two To Tango.

  6. I find it very interesting that the male comments here are so derogatory. I am single .. I have been forced to take care and provide for myself, my family. I am very much lost to the new way of things. I can see that the new generation of women are horrible users and abusers however just like not all men are bad.. not all women are bad. I suppose if we all just lay down our shields we might be able to recognize each other. In my personal experience the men I meet want to have sex not date.. then if you do your a hoe if you don’t they don’t bother with you .. so look guys you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have your cake and eat it too . I admit I may have a few things to work through I have not led a fairy tale life but I am a good old fashioned woman. And I have a lot to offer with very simple expectations . So while I hear you and your cries .. complaints.. maybe just maybe you too have some issues causing to select or draw the wrong kind of woman . … just saying..

    • Gigi, There are many of us good men out there that Aren’t just looking for sex like you say. Many of us that are still single would just want to meet a good woman that would be able to Accept us for who we really are which unfortunately most single women nowadays Can’t do that at all. There many of us men that are very loving and caring and Can be very committed to just only one woman if we were that Blessed to meet that Right One for us which unfortunately many of us men are having a very difficult time now. It has become so very extremely dangerous for many of us men to approach a woman that we would really like to meet now since most of the time they will be Very Nasty to us and walk away anyway. So our chances of meeting a good woman now Isn’t really good at all since they have really Changed from years ago which it definitely Would’ve been much Easier with no problem at all either since the times back then were totally different than today. Many of us men that are very seriously looking for love would’ve been Easily settled down by now had we been born back then, especially since many of us were never married and have no children to fall back on either which really sucks for us.

  7. If a woman goes through long stretches of being alone, she is “chronically single”. If she complains about her lot in life, she is given sympathy.
    If a man goes through long stretches of being alone, he is labelled an “incel”. If he complains about his lot in life, he is blasted with “being entitled” and “women don’t owe men their bodies” and told to “stop having toxic masculinity”.

  8. Reading these articles which really explains why finding love in the old days was certainly a lot easier than today, and the men that happened to be born in those days really lucked out since it definitely was a much easier time for them. Very obvious why our family members had it much easier back then, when they met one another. Then again, most women at that time were very normal compared to today. That was certainly a real plus as well.

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