The Unmarried: Why Women Hesitate On Getting Married

Im really into psychology and philosophy and just studying the actions of others. How people react, why they react a certain way. Their body language and all that. I love it! I think it’s extremely interesting, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy helping others and giving advice. I read this book a few years ago by Theodore Reik who was physcoanalyst. I came across quite a lot of interesting things in that book and one of them was, why women hesitate on getting married. From everything I’ve learned, from all my experiences in this 25 years of life of mine, I agree with what he has written.

Theodore Reik in his book says

You have to live with yourself at least reasonably well before you are able to live with a mate. There must be a certain self-esteem before you can expect that other people will value you highly. A woman is often in danger of depending entirely upon the opinion of the man with whom she is in love with. Nobody should be dependent to such an extent upon another’s opinion of him. Men take women according to their self-evaluation. A woman who does not consider herself worthwhile is not worth a man’s while. You can only accept love when you are sure you have something to give. Women are unconsciously aware of this. They know that they do not appear attractive when they do not like themselves – and it needs courage to be oneself. On the other hand the feeling being loved increases a woman’s self-esteem. She does not need a man because she wants someone to love but because she needs to be needed, wants to be loved. Women want to be proud of their men because they represent for them an extension of their own personality. On the other hand, women often reject a man because they think they cannot live up to the man’s idea or ideal of them.

Modern women’s deflated idea about their own sex leads not only to their over-appreciation of the male as a sex but, sometimes, by a strange detour, to contempt of the particular male who appears as a suitor. It as if he cannot be worth much if he considers a woman so highly. Not to be satisfied with one’s own sex – that is the tragedy of many young women, the more tragic because the situation cannot be changed. Hated of men is an expression of inferiority feeling in women. It is the result of a displacement of self-dislike by dislike of the other sex. Another badge of women’s insecurity is the excessive emphasis on appearance, the exaggeration of the value of good looks, of dress, of adornment, in our culture pattern. It would seem as if, in the mind of women, beauty is the only attraction which appeals to men and as if charm, kindness, grace, intuition and delicacy of feeling were of no avail. Women are admired for beauty, it is true, but rarely married for it. How often we see that men prefer girls with other qualities than their conspicuously beautiful sisters. Many women consider themselves not beautiful and are over-aware of certain physical shortcomings which appear to be fatal. Conspicuous beauty is a curse. The most beautiful women do not arouse on the third day the same admiration on the first; it seems that their beauty prevents, in some way or other, the process of crystallization. Stendhal said: “The more generally one is admired, the more feeling is the admiration.” Women who are not beautiful but have the attraction called “charm” make an impression which is not as intense, perhaps, but more profound and longer lasting. Many a woman is ridden by a superstition that it is wrong to show a man she cares for him. There is an unconscious or conscious fear that as soon as men are shown affection they desert. But extreme restraint causes many women to lose their naturalness and spontaneity with men. They fear that the man will not stay with her when she dares to be herself haunts too many mistaken girls. He would, she thinks, wake up as from a dream and find out that she is mediocre, dull, insignificant. he would realize “how stupid and small I really am.” He would, she thinks, lose respect for her because he would recognize that she has nothing special to offer – and go off in search of a more attractive girl. The fear of being found out later on-or found wanting-is experienced by many women, but an assumed front of overconfidence and self-assurance is a poor cover for a frail ego. The fear concerns almost all qualities, physical and mental, and prevents women from being themselves in the company of men whom they want to attract. Often such woman gets panicky when she becomes aware of her real or imaginary shortcomings. She thinks, then, that her social charm is a miserable substitute for a real warm, her conversation shallow, her personality superficial and insignificant. She fears that the man will laugh at her or lose interest when he discovers she is “a failure as a woman.” “I am not pretty and I am not intelligent. I am afraid to talk about serious matters with him because I would expose myself and be would find out that I am an impostor. A false front is the best I can put up.” There is the hope that the man will love her not on the account of herself but in the spite of herself. She feels that she is not good enough for him and that she ends her pathetic confession with the words, “I have no redeeming feature to my name.” Such a self-abasement of course makes a defense necessary. The will to fail, especially in their relation with men- to destroy their own chances and to become frustrated-is evident in many women in our civilization. Self-doubt in a womans displacement to the man are not only his qualities devaluated. She begins to doubt her love for him. She questions whether she can be happy with the man who wants to marry her. She criticizes his manners and character, finds faults with him in other ways and ask herself whether she really cares for him. Often enough, haunted by uncertainty about the genuine character of her own affection, she begins to test it and subjects the man to subtle mental torture. She withdraws suddenly and seems possessed with all kinds of scruples and hesitations. Of course, there many cases in which doubt regarding the man is justified, but every experienced psychoanalyst can spot an excessive doubt. In one of my cases the unconscious projection became especially clear. A young girl began suddenly to question whether the man to whom she was engaged would b too old for her, whether she would be bored, whether she could remain faithful to him, whether he could compete with other men, and so and and on and on. In a short time, while we analyzed the nature of these doubts, they change their direction: she began now to ask herself whether she was not too immature for the man, whether she had enough interesting things to say to him, whether he would not prefer other girls to her later on. She was afraid she would endanger her independence. Analysis revealed that this girl was justifiably afraid of her own possessiveness, of tendencies in herself to restrict the free decisions and movements of the man. The person who is very afraid of a danger which she wants to avoid becomes so frantic that she does just what she is most afraid to do.

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