Those of us perpetually single know not to dwell upon one question. Yet at some point, it will nag at us: Why am I always single?
So when my girlfriend Jude's husband, Patrick, offered his surprising opinion during a dinner party, I was all ears. "I'm just glad I asked Jude out in college," he says. "Women were scary enough then, but now you're all so busy and accomplished. It makes you unapproachable."
Looking at the astonished female faces around the table, I secretly wondered if he was right. Are we becoming too busy for relationships?
"Single women are told to stay busy for two reasons," says Bethany Marshall, Ph.D., author of Deal Breakers. "It's easier to meet men when you're out trying new things, and being distracted can stave off loneliness. But if you don't slow down, you may not even notice when a man is interested in you, or you might convey that your life is full enough as is."
Take my single friend Alexia — classic multitasker. A 34-year-old television producer, she has a prestigious job at a media company, owns her apartment, takes Italian lessons, and in her "spare" time leads an art history lecture at her local community center. Oh, and she also runs marathons. Guys gutsy enough to approach her usually fall puffing by the wayside.
Or Judith Offman, 36, a research biologist who juggles work with hobbies like cooking classes, film club, and Pilates. Like many women, she embraced an after-work activity — volunteering at a Jewish festival — to meet men. She loved it so much, she now runs it herself. "But I'm so busy with the event, I'm still single three years later," she says.
And then there's journalist Anita Sethi, 31. When she's not scrambling to meet one of her many deadlines, she's writing a novel and gallivanting through South America. Yet her glittering résumé hasn't helped her love life — in fact, her last date said he prefers "homey" women.
My suggestion to women is this: Quit wondering why he didn't call, and hop off the treadmill for a bit. Or your soul mate may come along and you won't even notice. You'll be late for an artisan butchery class and run right by (or over) him.