So, I read this little article: Susan Patton: A Little Valentine’s Day Straight Talk and it made me sigh and shake my head.
Like this quote:
“Despite all of the focus on professional advancement, for most of you the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry.”
I have a problem with the concept that my future happiness is going to rest in one single human being. Not in what I accomplish. Not in what I experience. Not in my wide and diverse group of friends. But in one single, solitary individual.
I call bullshit.
I say that’s something my grandma believed. Both of them. Even the one that was married ten times. (Maybe particularly the one that was married ten times who never seemed to be able to live without being someone’s wife.)
Is there value to be had in a one-on-one relationship with someone that you face life with as a partner and equal? Absolutely.
Is that where you should derive all of your future happiness from? No.
I think placing that much of a burden on another human being is a recipe for divorce. That’s too much to ask of anyone.
You should find your happiness within yourself and let another person enhance that, not rely on them to define you.
I, as you know, am single. Always have been. I am also highly educated to the point of scaring people when it comes up in conversation.
I do not rely on anyone else to make my life a life worth living.
I have traveled to over twenty countries, lived in three. I have done any number of adventure activities and have friends from all over the world. I have thrived in my chosen career and been proud of it, but my work has not defined me.
I have lived a GOOD life.
One that was not based upon being someone else’s wife or partner.
Which is why I call bullshit on that article.
Now. Having said that…
When you are a highly-educated woman, it is HARD to find an equal in this world. And, when I look back over my life to date, I think that the two times I had the highest possibility of meeting men that were at my intellectual level were when I was in college.
(As long as I could look past the drunken, stoned behavior and their apparent need to get through as many women as they could while they were there…Not all of them, but a pretty high number of the social ones.)
So, I don’t think it’s bad advice to say “keep an eye out” when you’re in college. College does provide a concentrated group of individuals of a similar age and inclination who are forced to spend a lot of time together. That alone makes it a good place to meet a future mate.
Now, having said that, I have another issue with that article. And that’s the assumption that men that don’t attend a college like that or don’t have a certain type of career aren’t a valid option.
In undergrad, instead of dating future investment bankers and lawyers, I actually dated a local cop. And I have to say that, even to this day, he was one of the most compatible people I have ever dated. He was intelligent in a non-pretentious way. (Another quote from the article, “When the conversation turns to Jean Cocteau or Henrik Ibsen, the Bayeux Tapestry or Noam Chomsky….” Haha. No. Not my friends, thanks. I HATE pretentious people.) I respected that man because he was driven within his chosen field and a good human being who treated me well and respected women.
That’s more than I can say for many, many of the men I went to school with.
More recently, I found myself highly compatible with yet another man who never went to college. A man in a very non-traditional career who yet again was highly intelligent, driven in his chosen profession, a decent human being, and content with his life. A man who also wasn’t the least bit intimidated by my income versus his because he was secure in himself and knew that life is not all about how much you earn or whether you drive a BMW.
So, yes. If you are attending a top college and want that stereotypical future CEO husband, lock him down in undergrad. Be the first wife, because you won’t be the trophy wife with that good an education.
Better yet, though. Look outside the narrow confines of that limited future upper class group of classmates your locked in with and find a man who will be secure enough in himself to let you be you. Even if that is someone who outearns him and didn’t feel like settling down and having kids until she’d reached the C-Suite.