There is No Such Thing as an “Old Maid”

During the last Presidential election, things got pretty heated here in the USA.  On social media, things got downright ugly at times.  Not only did people hold vastly different views and argue with each other nonstop, but many took it to a personal level and verbally attacked each other based on their differing views.  This happened to me.  When a guy from my hometown had no comeback, he decided it was okay to attack me personally.  As if personal attacks and name calling are ever an adult and respectable way to resolve differences!

What did he say?  Well, he called me an “Old Maid“.  Now this got me to thinking, where did this term come from?  Who would even use such an archaic term in 2012?  My other thought was this guy needs to get out more and live in the world of today and not centuries ago! This attitude does tend to prevail among some in the small rural community where I grew up.

So where did the term “Old Maid” come from?  It is actually a term used in the 18th Century.  While the term originate in England, the card game we all played as children actually originated in Asia, where playing cards originated.  During Victorian times, people were concerned about etiquette and rules of adornment(they also played a lot of cards), so this term was used to reinforce the negative image of a spinster or unmarried woman.  The card game became popular in the United States in the 19th century and many latched onto the term to refer negatively to an unmarried woman.

Today, we rarely hear this term.  Societal norms have changed our ideas about many things.  Centuries ago,  people did not spend years in college or wait so long to get married – they married very young.  Today, many wait until their thirties or later to marry for the first time.

Since “Old Maid” is defined as a woman who remains single beyond the conventional age for marrying, does this term really apply to anything today?  Unless you live under a rock and are not immersed into our society today, there is little room for this term to be applied to anyone.  Is there a conventional age for marrying today?  While many people do marry in their 20’s and 30’s, many others choose their careers and live happy and full lives.  Some people have no desire to marry at all and choose not to.  There does not seem to be much of a norm.  Besides, is it really anyone else’s business what you choose?  Why does it even matter?

While this term mildly annoyed me, I can now sit back and reflect on just how far women have come.  Today women are a strong and influential part of our society.  We have our own lives and our own careers.  So the next time someone tries (keyword is TRIES) to put you down or make you feel bad because you are single or still looking for your Mr. Maybe, stand tall and be proud that you are a strong woman who will not settle for less than she deserves.  You are a force to be reckoned with and you should be proud of that!  Remember, people try to put others down based on their own insecurities.  They have the problem, not you.  Do not allow them to make you question yourself or the wonderful woman you are.  The only “Old Maid” that exists today is a card game with Victorian roots.   

Time to Move on

You have taken my advice and given him a chance.  You have taken the time to actually get to know him better than the surface knowledge gained on the first few dates.  He is a great guy with a lot going for him.  However, you are still not feeling it.  You enjoy hanging out and have a good time, but you are just not looking forward to those times the way you feel you should be.  It happens!  Sometimes we meet great people along the way that are just not the right ones for us, for whatever reason.  That is a good case scenario.

On the other hand, we also do meet those who riddle us with one disappointment after another, leaving us wondering whether there really are any good men out there,  Trust that there are!  You do not want to become bitter and negative in your search because that will attract the wrong men to you.  Stay positive and know that Mr. Maybe is out there – you just have not met him yet!

As we go through the process of finding our Mr. Maybe, there will more than likely be many disappointments along the way.  Do not allow that to deter you.  However, do take time after each one to reflect on what initially attracted you to him, what it was that made you question it, if you missed anything earlier on, and what you can do to improve the situation next time.   Seriously, take time for you – especially if things started out really well and turned into heartbreak and disappointment.  You need time to heal your heart and your mind in order to attract the right one.  You also need to understand what happened and know how to do things better next time.  In our quest for love, so few of us take the time to reflect when we need.  Time seems short, and it is.  But if you jump back in and make the same mistakes again and again, you are wasting more time than it would have taken to reflect on the situation – and you cause yourself more heartache and aggravation.

If you find there are some things that need to improve and you really like the person, you may want to have a discussion and work through those things.  However, if the problem is larger than that and you do not see the situation improving, or if there is something that has been recurring, then you will probably be best served by moving on.   Many women stay with men and think things will improve.  If a man leaves you disappointed again and again, and it is a recurring theme – he will surely continue acting in that manner and you will be left feeling alone and empty.  The point is to find the right man, not the one who is okay for now.  Be good to yourself, demand to be treated as you should be treated, and do not settle for less than that.  Stick to your guns.  If you compromise what you deserve, it may end up being a lifetime commitment to that compromise.  You deserve better than that!

The Online Dating Dilemma

  While I am on the subject of online dating, I want to address a few things.  First, maneuvering through these online sites, can be frustrating, disappointing, and cause one to lose your faith in the opposite sex.  Sometimes people place their own expectations on others and when others do not respond in the way they think they should, they make assumptions about them that could be very far from the truth.

For instance, I was recently contacted by a man I had been communicating with awhile back.  Apparently, both of our lives got busy and we stopped communicating.  He recently sent me a message asking how I have been, which I answered honestly saying that I have been extremely busy and have not been on the site much.   The response I got actually shocked me, since all I was doing was giving an honest answer to his question.  What I got back bordered on intimidation and verbal abuse – especially since this man doesn’t know me.  I was called a “broad” (who even uses that word these days?) and told that he thinks that is a problem and he is sure that is why I am single (and then he used some other derogatory language).   Pardon me for being honest!

What I have found on these sites is that men think you should be at their beck and call.  They are busy and try to “fit” you into their busy schedules.  After all, aren’t their jobs what defines them (please excuse the slight bit of sarcasm)?  However, the minute we, as women,  are busy and have to schedule dates for when we are available, it seems to be a problem.  Since I have an extremely busy life, there are many times I have to schedule dates weeks out.  It is not that I don’t want to meet them (I DO!), but I keep my calendar full.

Ladies, we all know men will not cancel plans they have to meet you – especially if they met you online and do not know what to expect when they do meet you.  Why on earth would we do that for them?  I don’t!  If I have plans, they will have to work with me on a time that works for BOTH of us.  You should not be canceling your plans to meet someone you do not know and may never hear from again – plain and simple.  They would not do it for you.  What I find extremely annoying is that in our hearts, we know this (and so do they).  However, in practice, there are many times when women will cancel their plans to meet a man.  How many times has this left you disappointed?  What did you miss out on that you had on your calendar with friends?  Your friends have been there for you and will be going forward.  This man you have never met has no track record with you yet.

So what if you really want to meet a man you have been chatting with online but are too busy to fit him in for a few weeks?  I say schedule him when you are free.  More than likely, he will try to pressure you into changing some plans to accommodate him and meet sooner – don’t!  Here is why- this sets the precedent for the whole relationship!  If he can bully you into catering to him now, he will definitely think it is okay to do it going forward.  Your time and your life is no less important than his – ever!!!  If he is a decent man, he will get this simple concept and work with you on meeting at a time that works for both of you.  If he balks at the fact that you are busy or asks you if you are always this busy, he may not be the one for you.  You want a man who respects your time as much as he does his own.

I was also recently communicating with another man who asked me since I am so busy, why I would be on a dating site.  My reply?  I am on a dating site BECAUSE I am busy AND if I wait until a time when I am not busy, I could be dead first!  It is true, if you think about it.  Today, our lives are so busy we barely have time to come up for air.  Who is not busy?  While it is absolutely necessary to make time in our lives to develop a relationship, we want to make sure we divvy out that time to the right man – not everyone who demands our attention.  Believe me, if I meet the right one, he will have my time and attention.  Until then, no man has the right to demand my time (or yours).  I get tired of the double standard that still exists where we are expected to cater to their time – what about our time?  There are many, many decent men out there who are wonderful, understanding and respectful – these are the ones we want!  Not the ones who think we are not as valuable as they think they are.  We owe it to ourselves to make sure we ask for the same respect they demand.  We want to make sure we find the gems and not the stones.  Keep your standards high, but realistic.

Show Some Respect

 Listen closely to your date.  Trying to decode what a man is looking for in a woman could be like decoding a foreign language.  Are you missing subtle signs?  Did you shut out certain information because you did not want to hear it?  I question myself on this very thing.

On a date this past week, I was pleasantly surprised when I met my date.  I do not find many men my age and older to be very attractive.  It is like they gave up and let themselves go, and yet they tend to think they have the right to demand a women look a certain way.  I prefer teeth, hair, some intelligence, and well-groomed (not necessarily dressed up, but decently presentable).

This man pulled up to the restaurant and got out of his car and to my surprise, was actually more handsome than his online profile picture.  Finally, a man I could find attractive AND intelligent!  It is so rare that I find a guy my age or older attractive.  I must also note here that he is seven years older than me and I usually do not date more than 2 years older than myself for this very reason.

We went into the restaurant and had a nice dinner and what I thought was a great conversation.  We seemed to hit it off and had a lot to talk about.  The conversation was very pleasant as we exchanged information about our lives.  This man pretty much fit everything I was looking for in a guy.  However, we were talking about things we wanted in a partner and I did mention finding someone who believes in God is important to me.  He seemed a little taken aback by my church denomination when he asked me.  This actually surprised me.  As he could clearly see, I am a fun-loving female, just as any other.  As my friends can attest to, I am just as “normal” – well, really what is normal, anyway – as any other person out there.  In most previous relationships, I have been told I am really fun to hang out with.  Simply put, I enjoy life!

Dinner ended and, at his suggestion, we went to a different restaurant for dessert.  The conversation was easy and continued through dessert.  In my mind, we hit if off well.  In my line of thinking, if he did not like me he would never have asked me to dessert at a different restaurant.  After dessert, he was the perfect gentleman and walked me to my car, which was about a block farther than his from where we were.  Over the course of the evening, we had somehow exchanged business cards (I know, business cards!).  As we parted, everything seemed like it was on great terms.  In parting, I never ask a man if he will call me or if we will see each other because many tend to lie about that, anyway.  I drove home pleasantly surprised by this wonderful man I had just met.

This broken heart is an over-dramatization to make my point.

When I got home, I was super busy for a few days and did not have time to get back to him.  However, by the second evening, my life calmed down and I had the chance to log back onto the dating site.  I wanted to make sure to thank him again for the wonderful evening and make sure he knew I was interested in knowing him better.  As I went online into the email feature to send him an email, I was not given the option to do that.  Now my computer does weird things from time to time, so I played around with the site for a little while, to no avail.  I found his profile in my list of people I am not interested in, and I never put it there.  How could that happen?  I was definitely interested.  I also could not remove it from that category, so was totally baffled at how he got into that category when I did not place him there.

As it turns out he must have placed me there on his profile, which automatically put him there on mine, and does not allow me to remove it or communicate with him anymore.  Wow.  Sheer disappointment flooded over me.  I have not met a man I was this interested in for years – yes, YEARS!  Now this.  So apparently there was something about me that did not coincide with what he was looking for.  While this is all fine, the way it was handled is not okay.  It is rude, inconsiderate, and carried out with a total lack of respect for me.

While a man not being interested is always a potential outcome, I expect the same respect I would give to him if I was not interested in him, and that is communication.  If I am not interested in a guy after a date, I will let him know that I do not think we are good for each other.  I may or may not give a reason, depending on whether or not he asks.  However, acknowledging the individual and communicating the fact that he/she is not interested is the very least decency one could offer in this situation.  While I realize some people are not comfortable with this, he could have at least sent me an email explaining this.  Instead, I actually had to find out by the help center at the dating web site.  It was rude and inconsiderate of me as a fellow human being.  It is like saying I was not a real human to him, with thoughts and feelings.  It is cold and disrespectful.

I realize we are in the age of online dating, but we all need to realize that these people are real people.  They deserve respect, just as you want respect.  My point here is that if you are not interested in someone you dated, let them know, either in person or in an email.  The very least they deserve is the respect of a follow-up on the date.  While I would rather hear this at the end of the date, I know many would be uncomfortable with that.  It is okay to communicate this via email, but the key is to actually communicate!

Being respected and respectful of those you meet is a basic human interaction that is so often lost on our society today.  I would love to hear how you handle these situations and what your reaction is to others in these situations.  Comments are welcome!