It’s really no secret that today’s dating scene can be like pulling teeth – painful, expensive, and sometimes incredibly frustrating.

As a case in point, I was sifting through the internet yesterday, and saw, what I guess, was a re-print of a “Dear Abby” column piece.  Remember Abbey Van Buren? She’s the one who had an incredibly popular and widely syndicated advice column that lasted like, forever.

Anyway, this particular inquiry came from a frustrated young woman seeking advice about dating. What caught my eye was this women’s frustration about the dating scene, and how it was so difficult for her to deal with, because she felt “different” and generally misunderstood by the opposite sex.

Now, I don’t know exactly when this piece was written, but I truly believe that her concerns about the dating scene are still incredibly common among legions of women. Not only that, but I think that most of what she says is still very timely and worthy of investigation.

And Abby Van Buren’s response? Well, not bad, although too brief, and a tad general for my taste.

Here’s that “Dear Abby” Question & Response:


By Abigail Van Buren, Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I am a young woman hoping to find “The One.” But I have come to realize that I’m not the normal female. I don’t get manicures or go shopping. (I hate shopping!) When I meet a guy, he likes that I’m “me,” but if we get serious, then I’m either “too independent,” “too outspoken” or “not girly enough.”

I don’t want to change myself or pretend to be someone I’m not. One minute they like that I’m independent and can fend for myself; the next they don’t like that I don’t depend on them to pay bills, etc.

Why is it always a double standard? Men like strong women until they are with one. Then they can’t handle it. Maybe I’m too much for the men where I live. Is it possible for me to find someone? — INDEPENDENT FEMALE IN LOUISIANA

DEAR INDEPENDENT FEMALE: Welcome to the wonderful world of dating. While some may think of dating as a popularity contest, it’s really more like sifting for a gold nugget. It takes a lot of people years to strike gold — and it’s the same with dating. Is it possible to find someone? Absolutely! But it takes time, stamina and a sense of humor to survive the process.

Thanks, Abby. I have some of my own responses to the “Independent Female in Louisiana” (“IFL”):

Is there such thing as a “normal” female?

If one goes by the stereotypical “normal,” as was so narrowly defined for decades, as in love of manicures, shopping, and acting “girly,” then, maybe this woman isn’t so normal – that is, by her own definition. Gender roles are swiftly being redefined, though, so don’t feel like you need to pigeonhole yourself! (See Gender & Stereotypes in Honeymoon Forever).

Liking the “real you”

I would hope that one would always present the “real” self to any prospective dating partner, and that includes the possibility of things like being out-spoken or showing a strong sense of independence. Is “IFL” concealing these traits, and actually not being herself, or are these the kind of traits that naturally came out only after she “got serious” with him?

In any case, I hope “IFL” knows enough to just move on if she’s not accepted for her outspokenness and strong independence.

Different strokes for different folks, right?

“I don’t want to change myself or pretend to be someone I’m not.”

This is a pretty healthy statement of self. On the contrary, when we present as someone we’re not, then we become a fake, and almost impossible to be truly known, including our various wants, needs, values – and shortcomings.

If they can’t accept you as you, then it’s probably time to reconsider this new connection as one to promptly sever.

So, yes, by all means, keep it real…

That double standard.

With all due respect, I think that “IFL” is a bit off on this one. First, to say that all men like strong women, is just not true. Like it or not, there’s a lot of guys out there that want to control, or maybe, shall we say, “guide” their women. Obviously, these types are not easily led.

And, of course, there’s the fearful man that runs for the hills when a woman shows her robust independence or innate adeptness – definitely not the one for “IFL”!

Secondly, I don’t know too many people, male or female, who are either weak or strong, all the time. I know that for myself, sometimes I don’t feel all that strong or confident. At those moments, I tend to look for outside support. At other times, I feel on top of the world, and feel mentally solid as a rock. But I can’t say that I’m always one way or the other. And I think that’s how it is, especially these days, for both men and women.

Good advice

But dearest “Dear Abby” does make a couple of decent points in her brief response to “IFL” when she states that dating is “like sifting for a gold nugget.” And I do believe, for a lot of us, that the process of meeting someone special and entering into a successful long-term love relationship (a “honeymoon forever”) can take a long time.

I do like it when Abbey encourages “IFL” that it is possible to for her to find someone. I think she’s right.

And I really like her final response to “IFL,” when she wisely states the ultimate truth about the dating scene: “… it takes time, stamina, and a sense of humor to survive the process.”

I couldn’t have said it any better…

And maybe, just maybe, “Independent Female in Louisiana” finally found her match – and a true and lasting love.

We can only hope…

*If you have an opinion or experience, that you’d like to add to this blog, please leave your remarks in the “comment section” below. Your particular point of view is very much appreciated! If you have some questions about dating that you’d like to send my way, maybe I’ll start my own advice column ;)


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