The Self-Sufficient Single Woman

The Self-Sufficient Single Woman

They tout their independence and take care of themselves, but when it comes to old fashioned perks, like who picks up the check, you’d think it was 1955.

The Self-Sufficient Single Woman
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Unless you’re psychic or only date people who agree with you on subjects that often destroy relationships, such as sex and money, you’ve probably found dating in Los Angeles to be particularly complicated.

If you’re like me, someone on a spiritual journey, you’ve most likely learned that — as opposed to the usual craving and aversion that result in suffering — the remedy for most of what ails us is authenticity. But when dating, unless both parties agree in advance to drop assumptions, expectations, facades and roles, it can be a recipe for disaster – especially L.A.

Let me provide an example that will demonstrate what happens when things go awry. This is not a tale of right and wrong. This is a tale of incongruent expectations and insufficient communication. If there is anyone to blame I take 100 percent of the responsibility.

I met a woman on a dating site who I thought was awesome. Within 30 minutes of sitting down for a casual coffee (to which we both showed up early — a good sign in my book), she revealed her prior extensive drug addiction (while managing to graduate with honors from a prestigious university — huge bonus points for delving into her shadow side at a young age and coming out relatively unscathed) and we bonded over our love of music and our experiences in the music business. I think that both of us were excited for a more formal rendezvous so I proposed we have dinner a few nights later.

Again, both of us showed up early and the conversation didn’t lag for one second. It felt as if we could talk forever about our non-conventional lives, our mutual interests, our similar travels and our careers.

The check came and being the male part of the equation, I reached for it, but not too quickly. It sat between us for a minute before I slid it slowly towards me and put a card down. My new friend, who is definitely in favor of women’s liberation, women’s equality, women getting paid the same amount as men, etc. did not motion her hands towards her purse nor did she say, “I’ll get the next one.”

Again, this is not a tale of right and wrong; this is a tale of incompatible expectations, insufficient communications, and maybe a tinge of hypocrisy of which we are all guilty.

If men and women are equal then we have equal rights and responsibilities, correct? This implies disregarding our culture’s underlying myths of knights in shining armor coming to save damsels in distress and other chivalrous malarkey that feminists labored so hard to eliminate.

We continued to chat for another twenty minutes and then went our separate ways.

The next morning I texted to thank her for another vivacious conversation and invite her for a walk on the beach that weekend. She texted back that she was leaving for three weeks and we could get together when she returned. I wished her a pleasant trip.

Here are the subliminal messages that I received from the aforementioned snippets:

  1. Not reaching for her purse or offering to get the next one said, “I expect to be taken care of.”
  2. Texting that I should leave her alone for three weeks said, “I’m fiercely independent, I don’t need you, I’m my own woman.”

OK, so you’re your own woman but you expect men to buy you dinner? Sounds like a mixed message to me.

On Planet Ira — because men and women are equals — we both reach for our wallets. One of us says, “I’ll get this one,” and the other one says, “That’s very kind of you. Thank you very much. I’ll get the next one.”

But isn’t this a problem inherent in the system? Don’t we all want to be loved unconditionally and only have tools and symbols to convey love conditionally because we’re successful, smart, sexy, rich, pretty, articulate, independent, etc.? It seems the conventions of courtship make us all hypocrites in some ways.

The only solution is to communicate clearly and honestly so that expectations don’t wreak havoc on our lives. On the other hand, authenticity can often be unromantic, even un-erotic, particularly for men who are taught to create invulnerable facades and not display vulnerability.

Navigating subjects such as sex and money — particularly when trying to start a new relationship — is usually awkward and painful, but it appears to be the only solution for those seeking true, enduring intimacy.

Copyright © Ira Israel/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.

Ira IsraelLos Angeles psychotherapist and counselor Ira Israel is an LMFT, LPCC and Certified Yoga Therapist. He has graduate degrees in psychology, philosophy and religious studies and leads “Cultivating Meaning and Happiness through Mindfulness and Yoga” workshops at the Esalen Institute. He is the author of several books on anxiety, depression and yoga. For more information, please visit: Optimum Integral Wellness.
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5 thoughts on “The Self-Sufficient Single Woman

  1. I’m 41yo male . Have been dating without more than a month gap since I started at 14. If anyone ever comes up with a super simple way to have the life filled equally for both partners of at least 90% static free . Id almost do anything for answers. I know its realistic. But I’m
    Consistent on trying to figure out things that are good 1 day but not the next . Or sex is a major one too . I should say was. Because I think I’ve figured that out now . Answer to anyone that used to have a pretty consistent sex life then Bammo turned to zilch and to inquire why just caused more damage . So I’ve decided to just embrace and endor the facts. Hope that by not using it I don’t lose it , when her libido returns .
    I’ve learned polar opposites can make super great couples . They complement each other well . But key factor is open honest communication . And also just as important to respect no communication . There’s times I feel like I made things ample times worse just by wanting to talk about some change in behavior . Shit that stuff is like voodoo it can turn around on you / me fast .
    I just wish I knew how to be a superior man . Be more inerverted passive type . Seems they live a more peaceful life . Able to deal with the hard issues in life simply . It’s not that they don’t care its that they just don’t like confederation at all no matter what . My wife is this . I don’t like to fight but I speak my mind when it doesn’t feel comfortable . I like to mess the bed up and she doesn’t anymore. She’s happy and I envy her but its so hard for me to be non sexual to her bc that’s not who I am ., I wonder if I’ll ever be is the question ? It’s almost like if I don’t get with the program that having sex like we used to is just a thing of the past then I’m gonna end up without our sweet beautiful family . Seems simple enough right – wrong . Lots of other things play key to this change . Trust me . Temptations off the charts everyday all the time . :-)

    1. Sorry to barge in . I thought it was open table talk about secrets to wholesome joyful secure happy healthy intimacy relationship on all levels including sex . Whoops I’m a dork

  2. I have to agree that maybe you read to much into the 3 week trip. It could be a 3 weeks brush off to show something or it could actually be a 3 week trip. Who knows?
    One thing I have noticed is that people, especially big city people are way to concerned about proving they are rich and successful. To me it is rather dull and sickening that one must hear about how great you are and how someday you may rule the world.
    We are all humans. Some are rich and most are not. Putting happiness on things such as money and success should only be for your own feel good thing, and on providing for your offspring or whoever else here may be.
    Money can disappear just as fast or faster then your looks and happiness should be based on how you treat others.
    However, I agree with you about the confusion of the roles the sexes are supposed to play. Independence and all is fine for women but yea do you still want all those things you were given before now? Have your cake and eat it too mentality.
    Basically, men know that even though you couldn’t vote and all, that you were given a lot and that women have always had the secretive way of pulling power over men.
    It can be a downer discussing those things upfront. I agree a lot, and I think some of both sexes must agree. A woman doesn’t always wanted to be asked how she wants paying for things handled as they still have the romantic hero in mind and even with no hero,I doubt they would.
    Men don’t always want to ask because it can cause us stress and ruin our own romantic feelings at the moment.
    Talking about these things upfront is a downer but I think in a way is good for men and women. For men it tells us if this girl is going to expect a free ride while emptying your pockets, among other things and for women it must tell them about how the guy may feel and how he could be in a relationship, again among other things I am sure.
    My opinion right now as to men, women, dating and relationships, no matter where you live, is that it is tie to grow up.
    I like your article and hope to read some more.

    1. Now that I realize what’s up . I have used the exact planet explanation for many moons .
      I think that with just trying to realize . Time and circumstances change at any time . It’s vital to have this as a forethought . Do not devalue or hurt anyone in life . You may be powerful today but time is more powerful than you. Be good and do good .
      My problems are plenty . It’s prolly the same as most but no one has the answers. It’s like the million dollar question . So I’m stuck self educating for now hoping and praying I do the right thing and get rewarded in an adult manner :-)

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