I find that lots of books for single women, although often briefly inspirational, work on the assumption that we want to construct a kind of utopia of singledom and reside there forever. However, the reality for many of us is that we’re trying to find a balance between accepting — even embracing — single life while at the same time actually wanting to look for a romantic partner. How to Be Single and Happy strikes this balance really well and shows how making the most of single life can, in fact, improve our chances when it comes to the dating world!
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This book is divided into two parts — the first explains more about the psychology behind being single and dating. The numerous studies that are referenced seemed a bit artificial and contrived, but this may be a matter of taste and appeal more to those with an interest in clinical psychology.
I found the second part especially useful, as it focuses on practical advice to change your mindset and basically just be happier with life, whether we’re coupled up or not. The range of suggestions, such as being more mindful, giving to others, and focussing on values rather than goals, are sprinkled with little thought exercises and tips to help you apply the techniques.
Most of the case studies are very relatable and involve situations the majority of us will have found ourselves in at some point. Others just made me feel a bit better about myself (like the girl who broke up with a boy in high school and he later turned out to be a rock star. Ouch!)
One of the things I love most about reading nonfiction is that it often gives me the vocabulary to talk about thoughts and feelings I’ve always had but struggled to articulate. Terms such as ‘anticipated aloneness’ mean that I’ll be quicker to recognise that unhelpful “I’ll be alone forever” mentality after a breakup, so I can reframe the situation more realistically!
The advice Taitz offers is practical and doesn’t feel too daunting to implement. I’m definitely going to be taking on some of her suggestions, such as committing to mindfulness practice and creating a list that will remind me of values important to me outside of a romantic relationship.
Let’s face it: life as a single woman can be particularly difficult around Valentine’s Day. The couples in our lives seem to be cast in an idealised glow of romance. Meanwhile, we’re stuck fielding endless questions about our relationship status, not-so-subtly implying imminent doom if we haven’t started popping out babies by the time we hit our 30s.
Taitz’s style is perfect for this sort of situation. Her writing reminds me of that one no-nonsense friend who really cares about you but also isn’t going to let you waste your life wallowing in self-pity!