OPINION: When’s the right time to find the right man?

There was a recent letter of the editor of the Daily Princetonian about finding a man while you’re in college. It’s received quite a buzz and even had Star Jones and Dr. Nancy Snyderman in quite a heated debate on “Today’s Professionals” segment on the Today Show.

I can’t say this is a touchy subject for me because I’m very happy with the decisions I’ve made and path my life has taken but it is a subject that’s come up more than once in my life in recent years. I’d like to take a moment to weigh in my opinion about her opinion. By no means is this advice to anyone because your life isn’t the same as mine. This is just my opinion based on the course my life has taken.

First, I appreciate the brevity of her letter. I hope to be as brief but we all know I’m long winded so read as much as you can muster.

There are quite a few points I agree with –

  • “Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated.”
  • “Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal.” (I agree with this in part.)
  • “once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them.”
  • “But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isn’t as smart as you.” (OH MY GOSH, will it!!!)
  • I’m almost 40, single and currently finishing my Masters Degree. The next step is to find a Doctoral Program that suits my needs (I want to be a college professor at a University that has a strong music education program). Several years before I started the University application processes, I decided that I needed a change and I was willing to make a decision or accept a life change – either someone special would come into my life and I’d settle down to start a family or I’d go on to grad school and concentrate on my career. I was about 35 years old when I came to this decision. Although Brad had come into my life and I was willing to spend my life with him (this all happened after I’d decided to go the grad school route – I was willing to adjust decisions to accommodate life), our life together didn’t work out and we went our separate ways. It still makes me sad but I’ve become okay (kind of) with this. This is the way my life is supposed to be.

    But let me tell you that it’s become more and more difficult to find someone special to share my life with as I’ve become older. I don’t particularly want a built-in family with a prospective relationship. I’d like to have time with him (whomever that may be) to spend by ourselves, to travel and to be able to have time apart as well. I think being able to be alone (or with our own friends without each other) is just as important as being together. I’m not opposed to the concept of marriage (although the prospect of divorce scares me terribly) but I don’t feel the need for the big wedding ceremony. I just want to have the freedom to shout about my love for whomever I’m with from any rooftop I can get up on.

    I had some wonderful relationships that didn’t end well as an undergrad. I wasn’t ready for a long term relationship then. To force one would have ended in divorce (remember my fear of them?) and ultimately the wrong path for me.

    I guess if I had to give any advice about this, I’d have to say, don’t force it. Don’t expect (publicly) an engagement ring because you think “it’s time”. The time will come when it’s really time. If you force it, you will only end up unhappy – if you have kids, they will be unhappy. Life YOUR life, not the life someone has said you should live.

    Love you, mean it!
    ~C

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