Single women who are over 35 and who have come to me for counseling, regardless of race, religion, nationality, education and status, all have the same core issue: a “feeling unloved” schema. Each one of these ladies (and I’m talking about more than 10 this year alone), wants to find a guy who will love them. My efforts in helping them re-evaluate their self-worth, or try to re-frame the situation by looking at what’s good in life, or look for meaning in life that’s not dependent upon a partner – are usually futile. I’ve tried helping them identify unhealthy beliefs, socratically questioning them, behavior experiments, problem-solving, self-esteem building, but most of the time they still walk away unable to look inwards for the source of happiness.
The more traditional Eastern female mindset places value on a woman’s role as wife and mother. This value is culturally rooted, and even career-minded, financially independent and successful Eastern ladies do not find fulfillment in their professional lives if they are older. Something crucial is missing for them – their other half. So they seek help in trying to come to terms with the reality of being unloved. I have listened to how they try to find a mate through community social events, online dating sites, even going to match-makers who do this for a living. But they are disheartened by repeated failed attempts – activating a “failure schema” in addition to the “unlovable schema”. Of course I’m talking only about the women who seek counseling; there are tons of psychologically resilient single older women out there too.
Ditto with my Western female clients who, in contrast, have been raised valuing independence and self-sufficiency. It seems a bit of a contradiction when Western culture encourages individualism – and yet I see the same issues: low self-esteem, and a lack of fulfillment because of a missing “other half”. They express similar core beliefs and negative automatic thoughts as their Eastern- raised sisters: something crucial is missing in their lives. Dating or living together haven’t worked, and they are still alone and unhappy, ruminating about their body clocks that are ticking away.
Is it true: are we women psychologically wired to seek a mate and do we feel unworthy, unloved and unfulfilled if we’re alone? Do we really need our other half, to feel whole?
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA