I talk about relationships pretty much all day, every day. When it comes to dating and love, everyone asks the same question: Where are all the good men? You guys, this question sucks. It is the wrong question. Why? Because even if there was the perfect location, that wouldn't really help you move toward the relationship you want. You'd just end up hanging around the frozen food aisle of the supermarket or going to a couple of baseball games in full makeup, and let's be real, if that worked, you'd be so married that by now you'd be sick of your husband.
The problem is not that you're not meeting enough men -- it's that you're not meeting enough men because you're failing to ask the right question. And that question is: Are you ready for a great love relationship?
I can already hear you saying, Of course I am!
But no, not of course. Because as a relationship author -- I wrote a whole book on this topic, Why You're Not Married... Yet -- and matchmaker on NBC's new dating reality show Ready For Love, I see zillions of women who totally think they're ready for love, but what they really are is wanting love. And wanting love and being ready for it are two different things.
So how do you know if you're ready? I put together this little list of signs:
- You Act Your Age. This is America, which means you are free to pick an age and stick with it as long as you want -- you can act like a young twenty-something for the rest of your life if you want to. But most young twenty-somethings are (age appropriately) self-centered and confused. Not exactly marriage material. So if you're acting like one of the girls on Girls, you can be pretty sure you are not in the process of creating a long-term relationship. The good news is -- this is easy to fix. Just don't act like anyone you see on TV.
You've Given Up. Recently I was talking to a woman who said about her dating life, "Oh, forget about me, I'm a lost cause." I thought to myself, Awesome! You're finally ready. There is something about surrendering your whole Plan For Your Love Life that opens your heart wide enough for a real (not fantasy) man to walk into it. Sure, lots of women get married according to Their Plan -- they "get" the guy, house, kids -- and they just end up learning this lesson on the job. Because there is no such thing as "getting" a guy, house and kids. There is only surrendering to them. If You Met The Opposite Sex Version of You, You Would Like Them. I talk to a lot of women who want to date someone who is "better" than they are -- cuter, richer, went to a fancier school or comes from a more together family. In the Olden Days, this was called "marrying up." Here's the thing, you're not really ready for love until you have enough self-respect that if you met your exact self but in a guy you would totally, completely, absolutely want to be with him. If that's not true yet, I say GO BECOME THE PERSON YOU ARE HOLDING OUT FOR. (Yes, this is so important that I shouted it.) Even if you just get started on the path, you will move into an energy that defines "readiness." Perfection Bores You. Ask anyone who has been in a love relationship for a while, nothing is perfect. In fact, lots of married women I know are happily (or reasonably happily) mated to men lots of my single girlfriends would reject on the first date. How interesting is that? Here's the upshot: if you're still unscrolling a long list of Must Haves and Must Not Haves and measuring your real life dates against it, you are not ready. You're Alone But Not Lonely. You're Not Lonely. You've heard it a thousand times: someone will come into your life when you least expect it. So you walk around trying not to expect anything, hoping The Universe will never know that you'd actually love for it to happen any minute. Of course, you can't trick The Universe -- it's like Santa Claus that way. The difference between being alone and being lonely is all about loving your life SO DAMN MUCH that a guy becomes the sprinkles on top of the cherry on top of the whipped cream, hot fudge, and ice cream that is your existence. If this isn't true for you yet, you can change it by finding one or two somethings you are so passionate about you would do them for free -- then do them for free.
So, are you ready? If not, don't even worry about it. All you really need is to be ready to be ready. Again, growth is all about taking a single step in the right direction. Continuing to do this more often than not will eventually bring you to the realization that when you're ready, you already know the answer to where all the good guys are -- everywhere.