Single File - December 2023

To Marry or Hit the Road


"Single File" - December 2023 Issue
by Susan Deitz

Dear Susan:
Recently, a reader praised one of your past columns, “What—Me Marry?” He said it was good advice, to be remembered when considering marriage. He was so enthusiastic that I’m curious to read it for myself. I’m wondering whether you would repeat it—or at least the best parts.
—Frida J., from the “Single File” blog

Dear Frida:
A firm believer in second chances, I am repeating the checklist, to be read (and reread) whenever a particularly enticing someone shows up in your life.

It might happen that you meet someone you can’t get out of your mind, someone whose chemistry zigs in perfect sync with yours. The mere thought of the person makes you smile from the heart outward. In other words, for the first time (in a long time?), you’re floored. And time only deepens the conviction that this time could be it. Yet there are those tiny pinpricks that keep you centered, realistic—and just a wee bit cautious. In those small morning hours, when sleep won’t come, your mind races with questions about this happy new development in your life:

  • Is this person in my corner, on my side, an ally, a friend, for me?
  • Does this person add something to my life? Do the two of us make more of each other?
  • Does he/she have my welfare/interest in mind always?
  • Is this someone I can trust? Will my life be safe in his/her hands?
  • Do I like this person? Do I like his/her values, his/her view of people, the way he/she treats others, his/her priorities?
  • Is this person grounded, down-to-earth, realistic?
  • Do we make a couple I’m proud of?
  • Do we have similar goals
    for the future?
  • Am I quite sure this relationship will last? Does this person want to cohabit for a few months to see how we get along together?
  • How will I feel when sex loses its novelty? Will our physical togetherness then deepen or disappoint?
  • Will I run out in the middle of the night to get medicine for this person?
  • Is this the person I want as my life’s companion?

When you start thinking along these lines and know (or are pretty sure you know) what it is you want in a mate (finally!), something quite startling occurs. Suddenly, the package the person comes in doesn’t matter.


Dear Susan:
My girlfriend loves me too much. She is constantly jealous of anything I do without her. I can’t play sports, watch television, or even take a shower alone. And she’s starting to bore me. Sometimes, I start thinking I don’t want to see her anymore! I tried to leave her once, to play volleyball with the guys, and she went crazy. What should I do about her? And is there a cure?
—Jared H., Tucson, Arizona

Dear Jared:
If that’s love, it’s a nunnery for me. Your girlfriend’s condition is smothering, and it’s a far cry from the real thing. She can’t stand on her own and needs your reassurance 24/7 to feel secure in the relationship. Nothing could be more unloving, boring—and more of a turnoff. The most attractive partner is one with a full life, who is living a satisfying life on his/her own. That person isn’t needy, so when they fall in love, their beloved is an addition to their full life, not the be-all and end-all of their existence. Your soon-to-be-former girlfriend needs to learn that lesson. Until she does, a cure is out of the question. One final thought: shoo her off to read my book, “Single File,” and ask her to call you when she gets the message.

Have a question for Susan?
You can reach her directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Catapulted into single life as a young widow and single parent, Susan Deitz’s unusually deep understanding of her new world was about to be born, a course in undependence (her term for the wholeness needed for a full life) unlike any she had known at Smith College. Totally unprepared for life without a mate, her nights were battles with fear and the dreaded what-ifs. But when those tigers retreated, each new dawn found a more confident woman. On her own, living out her singleness, she was using her own judgment to make decisions for her little family—minor perhaps in the wider world but crucial for her small family. And they proved to be good ones. From those years of life lessons learned the hard way came a lifework and the world of Single File. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. © 2023 CREATORS

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