As a psychologist who specializes in dating and the author of, 'When Mars Women Date: How Career Women Can Love Themselves Into the Lives of Their Dreams, I objected to the article I just read, '8 Reasons Why New York Women Can't Get a Husband' (http://nypost.com/2014/03/12/princeton-mom-heres-why-new-york-women-cant-get-a-husband/ ) in the NY Post, where Patton lists 8 reasons that NY women won't meet a husband. She just wrote a new book, 'Marry Smart.' But in my experience as a psychologist and dating coach, I don't agree with her points in this article and I was surprised the NY Post didn't provide a different or opposing viewpoint for balance. Here is my reasoning:
1. Patton says that women meet men in college and should spend three-quarters of their time in school on the hunt for Mr. Right. I don't know about you, but if I pay $200,000 for my kids to attend college, I want them to be learning much more of the time! And I don't see her telling men to do the same. In traditional dating, women looked for men who would provide financially in marriage so they could stay home. Although this is still a valid choice, half the labor force is now women and more women are graduating college and grad school than men now and younger women are making more money than men in respective jobs. So, many women may want to focus on their careers and have a balanced home life, instead of finding a breadwinner early on. What they need in a partner might be different than before. They may prefer someone who will be an equal partner in balancing work and home and who will help out equally with domestic tasks. In a recent survey by ResearchNow for Match.com, it said that today only 14% of singles marry for financial security. This is a low number and it's a definite shift from the past. For women to accomplish their dreams and achieve wholeness they need the same opportunities as men and this includes a good education and some time in a career. Also, has Patton ever considered that most NY men won't be ready to get hitched at age 17-21 these days, anyway?
Patton also warns women that they shouldn't drink too much on dates but she doesn't say this about men. While it's probably a good idea for both sexes to have their wits about them and not too drink too much, 9% of singles do meet in a bar and it's still a popular outing for singles. She suggests women meet men in a museum instead, which would be nice, but how many young eligible single men do you know who go regularly to the museum? She also says that women 22-35 have hope but they're "spinsters in training." This is an untrue detrimental message as I have helped many women over 35 find love, get married and have children. To publicize a limiting belief that women should give up on finding a husband after 35 is untrue and unfair.
2. Patton says to get off your iPhone, which may be good advice for both sexes but one-third of couples do meet online and a Match.com survey revealed that 20% find lasting love online. Around 40 million singles are online and in my experience singles do regularly check their dating profiles and text prospects throughout the day which can be helpful in the dating process but it's also good to diversify and go out too.
3. Patton cites wearing black as a reason NY women are not finding a husband. It seems an outrageous claim. I've read research saying that red is the color of love and men find it most attractive but experts say that black is the color of authority and mystery and some men like that. Plus, shouldn't a woman just be herself? She can look nice on a date but if she always loves wearing black, should she change her style to date a man? I think not. I don't hear Patton telling men what color to wear to attract a woman in her article. There are more things for men to be attracted to in a woman than the color of her clothes, for example her smile, brains, heart, soul and accomplishments.
4. Patton says women date too many guys at work and the women who do so will end up alone with cats. But research says otherwise. Many surveys say the best way to meet someone is at work. 40% of singles have dated someone at work and 14% of singles who met through work, ended up married. In a study of 2000 adults, relationships at work were the most likely to end in marriage. I met my own husband (a fellow therapist) at a psychotherapy clinic where we both worked. Yes, there are sometimes issues with work relationships that need to be considered but with New Yorkers being so work-oriented it can be a viable option that shouldn't always be ruled out.
5. Patton's next reason for NY women not meeting a husband is that they spend too much time with their gay friends! Does this also apply to their straight male or women friends? With online dating and singles events, NY women can have full lives with diverse friends and still make time to date. They are multi-taskers!
6. Patton says NY women don't find a husband because they ignore their biological clock. In my experience, NY women do not ignore their biological clock. Both women and men have a biological clock but technology has allowed many more women to have children later now so that they can focus on their career and becoming solid in themselves before taking that on. I've had clients do egg freezing, invitro and even adoption so women and couples today have many more options open to them. Having a child is a huge emotional and financial responsibility and many women and couples are doing it a bit later in life so they feel more ready and solid. Patton also says that men are choosing younger women but a recent survey showed that 80% of men will date a woman five years older and 33% of men would make a long-term commitment to a woman who was ten years older.
7. Patton says that some women hook up too much to get a husband, saying, 'Men lose interest in women who are easier to make than a peanut butter sandwich.' She also says, 'Young, career-obsessed New York women are only too happy to hop in the sack without any long-term plans.' Is there a correlation between loving your career and hooking up? I haven't found that in my clinical yardstick. Traditional dating wisdom has been that a man perceived a woman's value based upon how long she held out for sex and something about that is bizarre and gross. Today, research shows that most singles have sex with a date after three dates. I don't mind couples waiting longer, it just depends on what sex means for them. But to stick with the facts, in a recent survey of 1,000 18- to 35-year-old women, women felt that over 83 percent of men would lose interest and respect if they hooked up with them too soon. But in fact, 70 percent of men said that’s not true – if they’re interested, it doesn’t matter.
8. Lastly, Patton says women don't find husbands because they over rely on conveniences, "Seamless, FreshDirect and Netflix are making you lazy and, if Chinese is your takeout of choice, fat." Personally, I use FreshDirect and it saves me two hours grocery shopping so I could do something I'd rather do! In the case of a single New Yorker, they could go on a date! Patton suggests women create a dog lovers romance instead by attracting a man while walking the dog. In an AVNA survey, 43 percent of single men had a dog but I wondered, 'Is that in the US or NYC?' In a study by UK Craigslist, having a dog was the most likely to hurt your dating prospects and 23% of people are less likely to date someone with a dog. I have nothing against dogs (they're great) but it's not one of the most likely ways to meet a husband. In a survey, dog walking and museum going and anything in this "other "category altogether comprised 8.8 percent of ways people met someone, this is less than the 9 percent that met in bars or 66% of folks who have gone on a date with someone they've met on a dating site, because there's a ready single audience there.
A lot of current stats support a more modern dating etiquette now yet experts continue to plug these old gender based notions and dating strategies. Traditional dating advice can work for men and women if they're traditional in values but many men and women today are forging new dating etiquette and more balanced partnerships. In the traditional dating process, a woman's actions are still at the effect of the man's reaction, instead of maintaining a focus on who they are, what they need in a mate and creating the life that they would later want to share with someone. The latter more modern trend and change is happening now and will be seen more in the future, which is why I wrote, 'When Mars Women Date, so that single women would know that they can pursue their dreams and balance home and work with their prospective mate. These balanced relationships begin with how we date and how authentic we are from the start. It's time to empower our daughters and son's with more choices. When Mars Women Date is currently being translated into Czech, Chinese and Korean so the push for more balanced relationships and modern dating etiquette is becoming a global trend too.
My Best in Love,
-Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and dating coach in Manhattan, a dating expert and author of 'When Mars Women Date' and 'Dating from the Inside Out.' For more info see: www.drpaulettesherman and www.whenmarswomendate.com