Are you single and struggling to find love? Well stop listening to all your loved up friends and put down those well-meaning self help books as, according to a leading psychologist, they are hindering your chances. Instead of fretting about being alone and trying to change, single women need to simply realise finding Mr Right is down to fate and good luck.
Dr Karin Anderson has penned a guide to coping with single life and the barrage of well meaning but often bad advice dished out by women in couples after she grew sick of being made to feel like a freak for being alone. At 39, she’d ploughed through plenty of self help books and had sat endlessly listening to advice from her married friends about what she was doing wrong in the search for love. So the clinical psychologist, who lives in Chicago, decided to hit back and wrote It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet to help the thousands of women around the world who were in the same position as her.
Karin, now 42 and married herself, explained: “I wrote the book because I could see for myself that it just hadn’t happened for me yet, and I knew from talking to my friends that there was so much self help advice out there but no-one from a psychological background saying what I was saying. That there’s nothing wrong with us! All the self help books out there are all flawed. So many books set out this formula of changes women need to apply to themselves to meet the perfect guy which is wrong.
“I thought about all these things myself and my heart went out to these women because even if they do change, he still may or may not show up,” she says. “I’m just trying to help women go through this unfortunate part of their lives, as there are some things out of our control. I believe it’s about being happy with the parts of their lives you can control, and when it happens it will happen and you will be thrilled with yourself for being strong and independent and not having settled.”
Karin says she speaks from experience on the trials of being single, having spent most of the 30s, the time women are under the most pressure to settle and have a family, on her own. She had two boyfriends for two years when she was a student, then was single until she was 30 and dated a guy for four years, before having an on-off fling between the age of 34 and 36. As well as interviewing 30 women for her book, she says she has heard all kinds of advice on why she was single and what she needed to do to get a man.
“People would say ‘You’re educated, you’re probably intimidating to men,’ But I know a lot of women who are highly educated and opinionated and they’re married. Their husbands don’t want some wussy woman,” she explained. “It’s all about them. They would feel more comfortable if we were married, they feel uncomfortable because we’re single and they want to take care of us. “I get the ones who married in college, they don’t understand, but those who met people at 35 will be like, ‘well I did this, this and this to meet my man,’ they don’t understand. “Everyone’s afraid to say the obvious – it just hasn’t happened yet for some people.
“I’m conscious that I’m going against my peers, the psychologists who say there are things you can do to make love happen – well, yes, of course, they’re selling you a book where you follow a plan and a man will roll up on a white horse, but the truth is there is no formula. It’s fate.”
Since she started writing the book, Karin is now married to Dan Abrell, 50, who she met through a dating agency. He was her 19th date and she was his second. While she’s been criticised for writing a relationship guide when she was still single, she insists that she stayed true to herself and the advice in the book to find love. She said: “I never settled, I stand by what I say in the book. I met Dan through a dating agency and he was worth every lonely night all through my adult life because he is ‘The One.’ I signed up for 12 months and went on about 18 dates before I met my husband. He was divorced and wanted to get out of the community he’d lived for many years and meet new people.
“I’m married but being in a couple doesn’t define me. I’m me and I’m worth something as a person outside of the marriage. I’ve never been so happy.” Karin says the advice she’s most like to give to singletons is not to give up hope, to stay strong and remember that it’s better to be on their own than trapped in an unhappy marriage.
And for the ‘smug marrieds’ she has the following tips. Karin said: “I think they need to have a little sensitivity. Recognise that their path to finding love worked out but it’s not the same for everyone. “Instead of seeing single people as flawed and screwed up, they look at them as courageous for having the strength to go it alone and not settling. “Being in a great marriage is wonderful but if it takes time to find the right one, so be it. Leave them alone!”
The top 5 most annoying pieces of advice and why they are wrong…
You’ve got get back out there – Of course you’re out there – unless you’re a hermit! But don’t go hunting for men, instead open up your social circle, so join a running or book club, a cooking class, so you feel your doing something to make a connection.
You need to go online – People in couples think websites are full of amazing men and online dating is fun. They’re not! It’s awkward, stressful and embarrassing. Ok, if you enjoy it go online, but if it’s exhausting and you’re meeting guys who are liars and losers and you feel disillusioned, take a break and go back when you feel ready.
You don’t try hard enough – Women will set you up with their friends or cousins who are totally unsuited and be outraged when you don’t make yourselves like them. He might be nice, smart and successful but if it doesn’t feel right they can’t understand. But in many cases he may not be any of those things. If he’s right, you don’t have to try, it’s just right.
You must be doing something wrong – Married women look for a flaw that they need to correct. They may say you are too opinionated or you exercise too much and you should tone it down. But plenty of women with these traits are married. Don’t change. It’s about finding someone who is accepting of you.
You’re too picky – Married women think single women have this ideal and if a guy doesn’t look like Brad Pitt, with a six pack and is super clever then we wont meet him. It’s not that we’re shallow. Most of the single girls out there are just looking for a guy who takes care of himself and looks presentable. Don’t drop your standards.
Dr Karin’s book, It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet is available on Amazon, RRP £13.00.