There's a brand-new book out called (deep breath) Seeking Happily Ever After: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Being Single Without Losing Your Mind (and Finding Lasting Love Along the Way). To write it, author Michelle Cove interviewed more than 100 women and talked to them about how relationships based on what they think they should want often leave them unhappy. She tried to determine what it was that they truly wanted — in the process, getting readers to think a little more deeply about what their dream relationship might really be like.
After interviewing so many women, Cove began to think that most of them fit into one of 12 categories, which she defines for us below.
The Soul-Mate Seeker: Someone who is doing everything she can to find The One.
The Phoenix: A woman who recently had a painful breakup and is doing everything she can to rise from the ashes in better shape.
The Organic: She prefers to leave things up to destiny and live her own life rather than hunting for men in any methodical or calculated way.
The Princess-in-Waiting: She is waiting to be rescued by a prince (who sure is taking his royal time).
The Late Bloomer: The rest of her life is on hold while she waits for her future husband to appear.
The Free Spirit: She worries that she can only have one or the other — her independence or a committed relationship. (And she thinks the former is better.)
The Wedding Wisher: She suddenly finds herself fantasizing about marriage after a lifetime of not caring about it.
The Town Rebel: She no longer aspires to live the cookie-cutter lifestyle of everyone else in her community, though she once used to.
The Ritual Re-inventor: A woman who wants to get hitched but also feels very strongly about having an unconventional marriage (right down to the wedding ceremony).
The Someday-Mom: She would like to have babies someday, but wishes she didn't feel so much biological pressure to figure it out fast.
The Slow & Steady: A woman who hopes to marry when the time is right. Meanwhile, she does her best not to cave to the massive pressure she feels from friends, family, and society.
The Trailblazer: A woman who knows married life is not for her, so she's trying to break a new kind of path to happiness.
Which one of these are you? Which one am I? I'd love to say, "Oh, I'm The Organic — if it's going to happen, it'll happen." But as I think finding a good guy becomes a numbers game after a certain point, I do put some energy into looking for people — which might make me something of a Soul-Mate Seeker. At the same time, I'm Slow & Steady — I'm well past the age when most of my friends (and most women) get married, and I'm in no rush. (I'm not so sure I want kids, which makes it easier to stay calm.) I am fairly certain that if I do get married, I will be a Ritual Re-inventor — I'm not necessarily interested in conventional anything. My dude and I will do what feels right, conventions be damned! But I'd also say I am a real Free Spirit, and I fear a relationship will absolutely mean an unpleasant curtailment of my freedom. And weirdly enough, I think I used to be a Princess-in-Waiting as a cover for being a Commitment-Phobe — I kept saying to myself, "The problem is that I can't find the perfect man who will help me to stop being sad and make everything all right in the world." In reality, I think the real problem was that no man ever seemed perfect enough because I wasn't really all that interested in getting into a relationship — and risking all the potential emotional trauma that might come with it.
So ... that's me, in a nutshell. Again, which of these categories do you fit into?