All the Single Ladies Put Your Hands Up!

A little while ago a good girl friend of mine got engaged at the age of 38.

She is probably one of the strongest, smartest and most beautiful people I know, who for years has been praying and asking God for a husband. And although she has now found her true love, I know it wasn’t an easy journey. There were times where she felt desperately lonely, times when she was tempted to give up and to compromise, times when she almost settled for someone or something less than the best for her.

Unfortunately I also know and have spoken to too many other single girls who have settled. Girls who honestly believe they are “past their sell-by-date” and have compromised their morals, values and identities simply to avoid the pain of being alone.

Donald Miller, in his post How to Live a Great Love Story, says that “living a great love story doesn’t look like winning the lottery, it looks like training for a marathon. It’s hard work and you have to do the work long before you ever meet Mr. Right, otherwise you’ll be the girl who shows up for the marathon having eaten a gallon of ice cream every night, listening to Taylor Swift songs and watching love stories about vampires. No good man can run with that girl, not for much longer than a mile.

Here are 5 tips taken straight out of Donald’s blog on how to live a great love story. I found them to be challenging and controversial, but also very true! As I read them I realised how much I have messed this up and have had to pay the price. Hopefully those reading this won’t make the same mistakes I did.

1. Don’t hook up

Girls shouldn’t make it too easy on the guy. Don’t hook up, in other words. A recent article in Scientific American revealed when a girl hooks up with a guy, she esteems him very highly. She may think of him as powerful or famous, somebody who is strong. But the opposite is actually true from the guys perspective. Guys hook up with girls they find less attractive and sexually easy. All they want is sex, and so if they perceive she will give them sex and then get out of their lives, they are going to jump at the chance. The girl may feel very wanted and beautiful but the truth is he’s insulting her. If he thought of her with respect, he’d sit and ask questions about her life and her family. He’d try to get to know her because he wants to develop a friendship and perhaps a romantic relationship. In other words, guys don’t hook up with girls they would marry. They marry the girls they get nervous around and are made to pursue. So, if you become a “hook up” girl you get labeled, in the minds of guys as a girl you really don’t have to fight for.

2. Make him work for it:

When a guy is made to fight for a girl, he esteems her much more highly. She becomes more attractive in his eyes, and for that matter she becomes more attractive to other men, too. That said, most of the time this will backfire because lots of guys are just looking for cheap and slutty sex and for her to get lost afterward. Still, it’s your chance to weed them out. And believe me, girls, there are a lot of weeds.

3. Be willing to suffer:

What this means for you is that your love story needs to have a lot of lonely crying in it. Believe it or not, there will come a day when a man will fall madly in love with you and you will have the honor of sitting down with him one special night to explain that, while you weren’t perfect, you turned down plenty of guys and cried yourself to sleep hoping somebody would come around and treat you with respect. He will be honoured by this, and he will love you and feel humbled.

 4. Have some faith:

I’ve noticed that most women who complain a good man won’t come along are actually interested in the wrong guys. They make lists of their perfect gentleman coming to rescue them meanwhile they’re hooking up with guys who have a track record of just having sex with random women. Really? Your husband won’t really care what you say, he will care what you do. We tell our love stories with our actions, not our words. Life isn’t a Taylor Swift song, with all the hardship left out. Stop falling for the romantic version of life, and start realizing that a romantic story is told with an enormous amount of pain, sacrifice, suffering and patience.

5. Work through your need to be validated by men:

You’re going to marry a man, not men. So cut the slutty dresses and Facebook photos. Start acting like a woman a man can partner with to build a family, not a woman who would make a great romp on a drunk and emotionally foggy Friday night. And stop using alcohol as an excuse. Nobody gets drunk and accidentally sleeps with a hamster. You know what you’re doing, drunk or not, so cut it out. In other words, become the woman who fits the character in the love story you want to live.

So, if you want a great love story, start training for it today. Start suffering, like somebody training for a marathon. Do the pain, suffer through the nights where you cry in your pillow, have some faith and stop cheapening your love story with scenes you’ll never be able to edit out.

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56 Comments on “All the Single Ladies Put Your Hands Up!

  1. I think that was an OPRAH a haaaa moment:) thanks bud great blog…im all in!!! imbrace the suffering and run the marathon cos i know il be winning in the end

  2. Great article Tomo, thank you. God is faithful above all else! I think many woman don’t see how valuable they are and so they settle. God is raising up a company of woman who will stand firm in their identity,strong,confident,purposeful woman!…it’s a beautiful thing seeing girls walking through life with purpose. Its God in us, that makes us beautiful.

  3. Pingback: Real Men Tell Great Love Stories « tom.basson

  4. Dear Tom,

    I came upon your blog randomly/by chance this afternoon, and I’ve read several posts as a break from my work. This post choked me up — I love it. I am definitely a woman going through the struggles of finding “the right man,” but I know what it will really require is for me to stop looking and to just start living my life and working on the best possible version of myself. The rest will sort itself out, and if a guy is really interested in me, he’ll pursue it. Thank you again – I am now a subscriber to your blog, and I look forward to catching up on your past entries and reading the future ones.

    My best to you and your family,
    Adrianne
    http://www.onegeekgirl.wordpress.com

    • Thanks Adrianne. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. It’s humbling to me that it had such an impact on you. I checked out your blog, and love it! Keep it up.

  5. Fantastic post! I follow all these rules…rejection is hard sometimes, but I figure I’m weeding out the riff raff, becoming stronger and more independent, and ultimately preparing myself for the right guy. Thanks, a little validation and shared perspective always makes me feel better. 🙂

  6. Wow great post. I have been single for a long time. And I am hard to get. No one night stands, no flings or anything. I am a one man woman, and prefer long steady relationships..No no nothing wrong with me!! I have a full life with parties, friends family. but the special one eludes me. And I am on a verge of giving up. Every day I come to a conclusion that there might be no man for me. Not being a pessmist here..but maybe there isnt a man out there for me. So I am concentrating on doing things that make me happy instead of spending my time,energy and emotions on someone who isn there. If he is there and we meet..then great..if not…its still good. Makes sense right?

    • Makes sense to me. Don’t lose sight that their IS hope, but we must hold to it lightly. I find so often happiness is serendipitous in that it finds us when we stop looking for it!

      Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities. – Aldous Huxley

  7. This is a great post! It is absolutely true! Maybe what I’m going through at the moment is my marathon, I really hope so 🙂

  8. all women need to hear this! gosh, you are so wise on relationship stuff. I think I’m at that point in life where I’m mature and confident enough to wait for the right man and not just settle for less because of pressure from my friends and society generally

  9. Thanks for this post. It has taken me a long time to figure out that my worth is not found in getting married, but in Christ, and to be able to find my confidence in Him. (Or rather it took a long time of being single for that message to go from my head to my heart). That being said, I still desire to be married, and point number 3 validated that even though I live a full life, it is okay to still feel lonely sometimes. 🙂

  10. I totally just run into this blog and it’s great! And I have a question, I was raised in a very Christian home with great parents. But that came with a lot of strong views, a couple of which was drugs and getting drunk are wrong. Always. Well, I’ve now watched 1 of my sisters go down the road of drinking and partying, which has been hard and made my dislike of drinking grow. I my question is this, I’m dating a wonderful guy who has a kind of ugly past. Drugs, Drinking, partying and girls. It wasn’t easy to see past all of it but the Lord really showed me a different guy, he serves at church, leads bible study’s and will talk about Christ with passion, fear and truth. But…he still drinks, says he doesn’t get drunk, but doesn’t like to tell me about when he does drink. Most of his friends are still living how he used to live, I’m afraid he is going to start missing that life and go back to it. And his drinking scares me and makes me think the worst. He said he would stop drinking if I asked, but I afraid if I do ask it will drive he away? I know you can’t be in a relationship and try to change who you are dating. I’ve been praying about it, and I’ve simply put it in Gods hands. But thought you may have some good advice… Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment. Well I obviously don’t know you, your boyfriend, or your situation at all, so I am hesitant to give blanket advice around this stuff, but here are a few general principles I think may help.

      1) Communicate!
      If it is bothering you, just be honest with him. Express your feelings and concerns, and then LISTEN! I’m sure he has his own understanding and you need to create space for him to be able to be honest. The worst thing is that he feels he needs to hide his drinking from you. Create an environment where you can both be honest and open with each other.

      2) Fear is never a good reason for anything
      I know you may be worried about him returning to his “old life”, but worrying doesn’t help a bit – in fact it only makes things worse. Part of growing in your relationship is learning to TRUST each othert, and this takes time and energy.

      3) Seek wise counsel
      ALways good to surround yourself with good friends and people who are older and wiser than you, and who love you enough to tell you the truth, even when it hurts.

      4) Show Grace
      You are never going to change Him – onlyGod can do that. If drinking is a problem for him, then God is the one who needs to convict him of it, and begin to work in his heart. We cannot start with the behavior. God works from the inside out – starting with our heart, which eventually affects our behavior. At this point, just LOVE him and accept him as he is and let God do what he does best.

      Hope this helps

      • Hey,
        Thank you so much!

        God ended up opened a door for us to have a chance to talking about somethings. I’m not 100% sure what everything means that was talked about but, I saw my boyfriends Love for Christ in all that he said. After just reading your reply I feel even better, thank you so much for replying!

  11. It’s funny, I never thought about the male perspective, but from my own perspective, I followed this advice when I was a teenager. I did it for my own reasons, but apparently I did things right.

    1º. I didn’t dress up when I was a teenager. I wore loose clothes and never used make up. I never bought a wonderbra or padded one. My reasoning was: “I don’t want to attract someone with make up, because then, when I get the makeup off, he might not like me. If I wear a padded bra, he’ll be disappointed when he takes it out.” There were two results to this policy: one, I was ONLY approached by good guys. I didn’t know it back then, but the sort of pick up artist who wants to f*** “tens” doesn’t look beyond sportswear. Not dressing up, not flaunting your looks, makes an amazing casting. As icings on the cake, dressing with potato sacks saves money. And the day you decide to “dress up”, everyone looks at you and suddenly realizes you’re really pretty. While a girl who constantly dresses up and takes care of hair and make up, only looks uglier the day she forgets to do her full toilette. I just pitied those girls who lived working their looks. After the second day of perfect grooming, no one paid them any attention. When they didn’t groom, they looked shabby. I, who didn’t want to be noticed by looks, couldn’t avoid thinking that the ones who worked hard on their looks were getting less praised about them.

    2º. I remember thinking stuff like “Should I work harder to be prettier? Should I try to get a very hot body? Hmmm… What’s pretty useful for? It gives you money if you’re a model. I can’t be a model because I’m short, so out of the question. Being “hot” is useful only to get men to want to have sex with you. What’s the point in that? Young enough, most men will want to have sex with you anyway. So, why focus on a perfect ass? The best thing that’ll get you is men wanting to have sex. Apparently, men even have unwanted erections in the morning, so there’s no merit or effort in that. Plus, what’s the point in wanting lots of men to have sex with me? Do I want to have sex with lots of them? No.
    Conclusion: No, “hotness” is not worth pursuing, and it doesn’t even last past 35 or something. Health is worth pursuing, so I will keep a healthy body, healthy skin and neat appearance, but for myself. I live in my body.

    What’s the hard thing to get from men? Respect. Respect is good. Now, all men respecting me sounds good. Some of them won’t, because there’s always someone who’ll dislike you, so if someone doesn’t like me, I won’t take it personal. Even if they don’t respect me, I can respect myself, it’s a good start.

    (By the way, I didn’t know about validation back then. It took me a few readings to get to understand that some women base their opinion of themselves on someone else’s opinion. Apparently, PUAs believe that if you undermine a woman’s self-esteem with sentences like “I don’t like what people say, I like a woman with meat on her bones”, she’ll have sex with you. And apparently, it works for them. It is hard to believe because I was about sixteen or seventeen when I realized that being sexually attractive amounted to nothing. Maybe the prettiest and hottest girls are prone to fall for that trap, and they are the main target of PUAs. Anyone who has a beautiful or hot daughter should study all seduction techniques and PUA forums and teach her about all that. I certainly will, if I do have a girl).

    So, I didn’t dress up, made up or show off a lot of meat. I wanted to be smart, nice, hard working and honest so people (including men) would respect me.

    Well, turns out some men loved me for that. They weren’t many, but the ones I attracted didn’t just want me for sex. Nothing does a better casting than NOT flaunting looks, because only the non-superficial guys who look for a personality will approach you. I didn’t know that when I was sixteen. I just didn’t want a guy to see me without make up and think me ugly, I wanted him to either like me without the make up, or not at all.

    I remember a conversation with a highschool mate. She asked about my love life, and I, at seventeen, said I didn’t have any. I liked a guy, but he didn’t like me. Her suggestion was “dress up, use make up, get a better hairdo”. I didn’t answer. I just thought “if I do that and he likes me for it, then I don’t want him”. By the way, the guy she got at 14 (too soon for a boyfriend for my taste) with that technique, was bored of her at 18 and they broke up. I never understood women or girls who believe looks will not only get them a man, but they will get them to keep a man. The first can happen, the second will not.

    3º. I never got drunk. This is not my merit much, not liking the taste of alcohol helps a lot. But I could have gotten used to alcohol if I had wanted to. Or gotten drunk. However, there was no reason. Teenagers I knew drank to get the guts to say stupid things in front of others. I said stupid things sober, so there was no point. If someone needs alcohol to gather courage, what they need is training to get courage, not alcohol.

    4º. Do not divinize marriage. Do not think of it as a state of perennial happiness and exaltation close to heaven. Do not think of it as your mission in life or as a symbol of status (do not ever want things because they symbolize status, EVER). Do not give marriage a mystical aura. It’s a social contract, and many times it gets broken. You can’t even say “this is going to be a marriage”, if you’re lucky, you’ll look back and be able to say: “this was a marriage”.

    I didn’t want to get married. My parents divorced when I was 18, after ten or eight years of suffering. Hey, I remember suggesting divorce to my mom, a age 12 or something. I didn’t believe in marriage, didn’t have a good idea of it, and American comedies had made me believe that all men aspired to be Sam Malone or Mick Jagger. No man would ever love me for a lot of time, and if comedies were right, men had to be practically dragged by brute force onto the altar. Marriage was not a state to which I should aspire. So my idea about my duties for my future was:
    A) I need a good job and my own money, and independence, because my Mom, even married, had to keep us all. If I wanted children, I had to bear in mind I’d have to keep them.
    B) Men don’t want to be married or stay married. So if I have a relationship, I’ll try to be happy and make the other person happy, will not abuse and will not tolerate abuse, and just don’t care if it ends.
    C) If I want a costume party and a pretty long white dress, I’ll play a noblewoman in the next LARP.

    But, above all, something bothered me about marriage. It was the sentence:
    “My wedding was the happiest day of my life”.

    What Sorry, what? You marry at 22 and the best day of your life is already in the past? How’s that for crazy? What about your happiness for all the remaining years of your life? Is it going to be lesser? If you were a man, the best day in your life would be the one you got your Nobel prize or got your novel published. I have had the best days of my life with my now husband… but my wedding day was not one of them. I would have been highly disappointed if I had expected that. It’s not a magic day. It’s a costume party for the family.

    The result of me being afraid of men, not wanting to attract them in general, and having a low opinion of marriage, turned out into selecting a very special man at 18. 32 and still together, the last four being married.

    I think women shouldn’t go for marriage in itself. They should try to be good people and to have a great relationship. When two good people who enjoy making others happy get together, and when they’re logic enough to apologize when they do something wrong, when they have a common path and look together in the same direction, the relationship works. But it’s the relationship that will make you happy. Not the marriage.

    And, yes, forget about it without hard work. A man who wants a partner for life doesn’t want a pretty ass and doesn’t want a lazy drag. He will want a woman who adds something to his life, and being hard-working, cultivated, funny, with an interesting conversation and all that stuff is what’s going to count.

    What I mean is, if at 29 you feel old, you didn’t do your homework from 18 to 28. In those ten years, you can become an amazing adult woman if you focus on the things that get better with age: courage, smarts, common sense, self-discipline, skills, hard work, self-knowledge, problem-solving, and so on. There are men who always want a new 18 year old girl and who would never settle for a 35-year old, probably they are the majority. But there are men who want a partner, and they will certainly love a 35 year old woman who’s worthy. Actually, I was pretty impressed to realize how many men like that exist. There are men who, at age 40, cannot like women under 30 because they simply don’t feel any attraction towards them. But these men are scarce (though not so much as I used to think). And they won’t be charmed by a pair of fake tits, much less by an irresponsible 14 year old in the body of a 35 year woman.

    I think a couple only works if both parts are ready to live alone and with others. In short, you don’t get loved if you don’t love yourself. And that means having self-esteem, not being conceited and not believing a man has to give everything to you in a silver platter. It also means having a mission in life, working your way, and being able to solve your own problems, without expecting another person to take care of them.

    However… You must always remember that not all people can marry and find a perfect person. Your life depends on you, but a couple depends on someone else. Why put all your chances of happiness on someone else’s ideal of happiness? Don’t hurt yourself about what you cannot control. You can’t force a man to love you. But you can live a happy, fulfilled life on your own, with your family and friends. Surprisingly, most women that I know who live that way have a husband or long-time boyfriend, save one exception of a very pretty girl who’s been unlucky in love. She keeps, however, working about everything else. Maybe she’ll find her man or maybe not. In any case, she’s certainly not losing her time hooking up in bars. Whatever you do, you have to be selective. A good relationship is better than being alone, but being alone is better than a bad relationship. Only when you can live alone with yourself you’re able to live with others.

    Sorry for the post. Erase it if you find it too much.

    Pleased to meet you,

    Natsu

    • I agree about the make up part but as someone who likes to dress up, I don’t agree about not dressing up. It is an individual thing. I have male friends who like me whether I look like crap or I look nice (I mean like as in respect me as a friend). I dress as I want: fashionably and colourfully and if that gets me male attention, I couldn’t care less because the same men who looked at me now, wouldn’t look at me wearing just a T-shirt and jeans.

  12. Truer words could not have been said. Taking this so that I can tell other young women. This is definitely something that they need to hear. Thanks for the post!

  13. Awesome post. I often tell people one reason I’m single is that I can’t meet the right guy if I’m with the wrong one. I’m putting this in my evernotes to share later. Thank you!

  14. I wrote a blog very similar to this lsat spring (only mine was a reflection to a Justin Bieber song 😉 ) Anyways, I was really struggling in my walk with God and instead of turning to Him, I turned to guys. I wish that I had realized all of this much sooner! Thank you for this post- I will be passing this on to lots of my college girl friends and I know they will enjoy the read. 🙂

  15. Picked up your blog on Fresh Pressed today, loved the organizational advice, then found this one. Brilliant! Thank you so much. As a relationship coach for single women over 30 your blog is EXACTLY what I tell my ladies. I did the long and lonely work as a single woman and married my husband at the age of 40. At my wedding, I had single friends who told me how much my marriage gave them hope that it still can happen. No one is ever past their “sell-by” date! Love your commenters line too: I can’t meet Mr. Right if I’m busy with Mr. Wrong.

    Definitely subscribing to your blog and may repost your advice on mine.

  16. Pingback: From a great blogger. « My world: beyond what you see.

  17. I LOVETH THIS! ^___^ I’m 23. Single. Only had one boyfriend in my teenage years. At times I felt left out. But growing up, seeing how some of my friends messed up, I know better. It’s not easy. But I’m trying to motivate myself “not to settle for less because God is definitely gonna give me the BEST!”. Thank you for this post. I just saw your post about “how to simplify your life”. I loved it! Then, looked at your recent blog posts archive and the title of this post made me giggle!!! I get it a lot, you know as if it’s a crime to stay single (and available) at my age. I’m only 23, for crying out loud!!!! Ha!!!! What an awesome article you wrote! More single ladies like myself needs to read this! I’m sharing this with my friend!!!

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  19. Excellent information, thank you! So feeling a bit rubbish and low, nursing a gaping hole where a passionate relationship should be is all part of the workout? I never thought of it like that. My marriage broke down last year and, whilst the split was necessary due to his actions not reflecting his words, the new world of middle aged dating is daunting!

    I feel happier having read your post and shall now embrace the moments of loneliness as a necessary part of growing up. You’d have thought I’d be used to uncertainty by 42!

  20. Great post with good advice! I am so glad your friend held out for “true love”. … will definately be forwarding your post to my daughter.
    Best wishes,
    Sarah

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  22. wow !!!
    Thank you Tom
    Sometimes it just feels like im waiting for something or someone that may not happen.
    But i know and believe that the best is yet to come.
    Thanks for all your thought provoking and inspiring blogs.

  23. Such a beautiful source of encouragement, Tom! I’m 31…and still waiting…and yes, TRAINING! I love how you managed to compare the “waiting” into training for a marathon, and I can really relate to this, since I’m a runner too, and as soon as I’m done with Graduate School, I plan to run my first marathon. I hope *hope* that by that time, the right man is gonna meet me at the finish line. ^_^

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