Because women don't need marriage for the economic stability and source of identity the institution provided decades ago (because the majority of American women nowadays were not raised simply to be wives but to value personal advancement by self-sufficient means, and women are economically independent deriving their identity from their work and other societal roles, not just from being a wife) marriage is not a necessity but a choice.
So when a woman dates a man and he doesn't possess all the "features" she requires, she briefly deliberates and continues shopping (Is passionate about his work, check. Loves to travel, check. Forgot to ask how my meeting went, uh-oh. Completely unacceptable.) No longer does a woman need a man or a marriage; now she wants a soulmate, a partner to share her interests and values and who provides passion and support and fun. She desires a man who won't require her to sacrifice her identity or every aspect of the single lifestyle she's come to enjoy.
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But until we meet him, the solution to the single person's isolation may be simple: shut the lid on our laptops and get over ourselves--you don't have to do it all on your own. We'll only find the comfort to our singles' loneliness by spending time in the physical presence of people we love. If we want love, we have to love. We have to open our hearts to connecting again.
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Kristine Gasbarre is a freelance writer living in Italy. Visit her personal blog at howtoloveanirishman.blogspot.com.