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Dumped for Not Being Desperate

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I am a straight, single woman. And I have just been dumped by a female friend.

Two woman arguing

Woman on the Verge of Having Kids: About three months ago, Lana got a boyfriend. And since then, nothing has been the same between us. Not because I am not happy for her, but as far as I can tell, because I do not share her desperation to get married.

Lana and I met at a Friday night dinner for Jewish singles. I am 38. She is 26. I used to joke that our meeting was proof one could find love on the singles scene. We hit it off and quickly began gossiping, seeing plays, and going to events together.

About three months ago, Lana met her boyfriend, Aaron, who seemed like a nice enough guy. Knowing she was eager to find a relationship, I was happy for her. But soon after she began seeing him, I noticed that, when I asked her anything about him, she would abruptly change the subject to inquire about one of the several men I was seeing.

"What's going on with Larry?" she would say with urgency. "And how about Mark? Is it going anywhere? Are you going to visit him? Do you think you'll get married?"

In answer to Lana's questions, I shared with her what I will share with you -- that in my thirties, with a fulfilling career and half a lifetime of experiences behind me, while the men in my life are attractive to me in different ways (short of falling head-over-heels madly in love), it will be tough for me to commit to becoming a wife. I love my single life and my freedom so much, it is hard to imagine giving them up.

But since I also want a baby, on balance, single motherhood may turn out to be the best option for me.

"But don't you want a guy who 'gets' you?" Lana asks.

Of course I do. Don't we all? But wonderful as men can be, my experiences have taught me that the romantic relationship that fulfills the lioness's share of a woman's needs is rare indeed. And true love can't be forced.

When I was in high school, I read about a woman who had chosen to remain single. When asked, at the end of her life, why she had never married, she replied, "It would take a very good husband to be better than none at all."

Precisely.

Recently it was Lana's 26th birthday. Over the phone, I helped her choose a birthday cake with an elaborate design of icing flowers, and I brought it to the party as her birthday gift, cradling it protectively through the crowded city streets.

At the lounge, Lana greeted me with a shriek and a hug. After wishing her a happy birthday, chatting for a minute, and handing the cake to the manager, I told her I was looking forward to meeting her boyfriend.

"Sure, sure," she said, her big brown eyes darting around. Then she excused herself and hunkered down on the other side of the room with Aaron and his friends. Parked on his lap, she drank from his umbrella'd drink and continued squealing.

I got myself a Cosmo and sat down. Lana did not make any attempt to include me or introduce me to her boyfriend.

When it was time to leave the party, I went over to say goodbye. Aaron said, "Thanks so much for getting Lana the cake. She totally loves it."

"It was my pleasure," I said, holding out my hand to shake. "It's nice to meet you."

Lana jumped up and put her arm around Aaron.

"Thanks-so-much-for-coming-did-you-have-fun?" she asked breathlessly, slurring a little.

"Sure, hon," I said.

That was a month ago. After the party, Lana canceled plans with me twice and I stopped getting e-mails and phone calls from her. When I asked, via e-mail, whether I'd done something to offend her, she wrote, "I continue to care about you, but you must realize I'm trying to grow my business in a difficult economy and there is an amount of time that must be devoted to that. You shouldn't read into it."

"I understand you are busy, but friendship is a two-way street," I wrote back. "When you ignore me and write 'You shouldn't read into it,' I feel totally dismissed. Anyway, when you are ready to discuss, I will be here."

"It's in your imagination," she wrote back. "If you don't feel you've gotten enough attention when I've been very busy with my new business and relationship, that's just not my problem."

I replied, "That's it, after two years of friendship?"

She retorted, "Look, I have a boyfriend now, okay? Just because you can't commit to anyone doesn't mean you're going to ruin it for me!"

To which my genuinely puzzled response was, "What are you talking about? Ruin what?"

I never heard back from her.

Over the next few days, I attempted to make sense of our nonsensical falling-out. Was Lana afraid that I was some crazy cougar who was plotting to steal her young hunk right out from under her? Or was my "happily single" status a threat to her "desperately seeking husband" position?

In old Salem, townspeople used to burn "witches" at the stake or drown them. As it happens, a lot of these "witches" were unmarried, or widowed, single women. Explanations for the Salem witch trials include the economic and political. But personally, I think the fear of single women had something to do with it.

Despite what we hear and see everywhere from fairy tales to bridal magazines, some women simply don't need to be married to be happy-ever-after. Perhaps those powers that some women possess -- the abilities to be emotionally self-reliant, and to nurture each other -- could account for some of society's fear?

Because even in 2009, some people are confused and threatened by a single woman who is not desperate to get married. Perhaps, like my friend Lana, they want their friends to share their insecurities.

Not all women need to be married to be good mothers. Society has already begun to figure this out. But many people who are either married, or who dream of being married, are not able to consider this possibility.

I have not given up on my search for committed love. But I want to be a mom, and I'm not going to force anything. If I don't fall in love in time, I will have a baby on my own.

Don't burn me at the stake for it.


next: David Letterman's Wife Demanded Public Apology
33 comments so far | Post a comment now
jennifer October 9, 2009, 7:04 AM

Kudos to you for staying true to yourself- and for not giving in to societal pressures to conform to some b.s. ideal that you don’t even want.
You sound like a =n amazing woman and friend- Lana’s loss!
You also sound like you will be an amazing mom- with or without a husband!

jenn October 9, 2009, 7:19 AM

Sounds like Lana wasn’t a true friend anyway. Her loss, not yours.

Anonymous October 9, 2009, 7:59 AM

Mom Logic used this picture before for a previous story

sarah October 9, 2009, 8:03 AM

honestly im married and i hate 2 admit it but my husband is a big ahole lol we hardly ever speak soo i dont see a diff between what we hav and being single so good 4 u..

Anonymous October 9, 2009, 8:32 AM

too bad you had to learn the hard way she wasn’t a very good friend.

Shannon Smith October 9, 2009, 9:12 AM

I think a lot of times what happens is they get it in their head that they can only have couples friends. It could be that’s she’s insecure and like you said jealous that you might try to steal her man, but it might be that she’s so obsessed with her new man that she can’t imagine spending time without him (puke) and so needs you to have somebody to hang out with as couples rather than the one on one time you are used to.

Not sure I explained that well, but hope it makes sense. LOL

Anonymous October 9, 2009, 9:58 AM

Spot-on observations!

As a single woman, I’ve been gradually shut out of social circles that have become populated exclusively by married and in-a-relationship women. Here’s my Amateur Oprah theory on the matter: young women who feel pressured to be in a relationship usually feel that way because they’re looking for someone to shore up their own self-esteem. Being desired by a man does that for them. (Hell, it’s really nice!) But when your boyfriend effectively becomes an appendage of your ego, the prospect of “another woman” (in the most innocent sense of the term) detracting attention from you can be threating.

Vel October 9, 2009, 10:12 AM

Wow, yeah, she’s totally insecure and sees you as a better catch than she is. Totally worried that if you hang out as a threesome her boyfriend will see how lame and shallow she is compared to you. Good riddance!

Marylin Pitz October 9, 2009, 12:13 PM

Interesting turn of events/emotions—-you may be right, Lana may feel threatened by your happy single-hood. Makes her clinging desperation all the more pathetic. But sometimes “falling in love” when it happens to an insecure girl, makes her doubly vulnerable—to everything. If the guy actually marries her, she may be back, or if he dumps her—she will for sure be back! (But who needs her?) —-Marylin

Black Iris October 21, 2009, 6:35 PM

Your friend may just be very busy with her new boyfriend. To her he comes before friends because she really wants to be married. I don’t think it has to mean she feels threatened by you in any way. It’s not very nice, but she’s in love.

Logical December 11, 2009, 1:33 PM

Perhaps the real situation is that “you” were the filler. She wanted to be in a relationship (as many people, male and female do), and you were there to pass the time. It may have felt like it should have been more to you, but to each their own.

And having a child by yourself would truly be the selfish thing to do, and NOT in the best interest of the child, as ALL research shows a two parent household (regardless of genders) is at least three times better for the child.

So I would caution you to learn from this, and although you may chastise your friend for being selfish, and feeling threatened, be careful you do not follow suit and end up hurting a child instead of an adult.

Savvy December 11, 2009, 5:26 PM

She’s jealous…plain and simple. You’re more mature, more experienced in life and you know exactly what you want; that’s a turn-on for hot, single men. LOL….and she’s running scared. Don’t sweat the small stuff, lady. That girl’s still got a lot of growing up to do.

One of the nice thing about being in our thirties, is that we’ve “been there, done that” across a wide spectrum of issues. We come into our own. There’s nothing wrong with being who you are, so never apologize for it.

But I will tell you this: As a single mother, it is VERY difficult raising a child by yourself. Make sure you have a really great support system in place if this is truly an endeavor you want to pursue, because I have to tell you that I WOULD NOT opt to do this alone if I did not have to. I would not opt to because as wonderful as MotherHood is, ChildHood can be very, very taxing at times and there are times when having another person, specifically a strong solid male father figure, is an absolute MUST HAVE. Children just need that….and so do moms….

….if not for our own sanity, then for the sake of not driving our child insane trying to get the MotherHood right.

Just my aged two scents. :-)

Cheers & Happy Holidays!

~The Savvy Lady~

Pamela April 21, 2010, 3:50 PM

I had the same situation happen with a woman over ten years older than your ex-friend. It was a horrible situation and I have to tell you I felt comforted (in a strange way) to read that this has happened to someone else. Single woman should not be treated badly or as competition by their new-in-a-relationship friends. This problem is probably widespread and I agree with another poster - “kudos to you” for writing about this topic.

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