A few years ago I was having a conversation with a co-worker who, at the time, was 32 years old, single, and desperately wanted to get married and have children. She was an educated, successful, attractive woman who had been supporting herself in New York City since she graduated from college. Basically, she mentioned how she was tired of wasting money on rent every month, and really wanted to buy a condo. However, she didn’t dare attempt it because she figured that Murphy’s Law would kick in as soon as she put a down payment on a place and she would meet a guy and get married and then be stuck with this apartment. To say I was speechless is an understatement. The sheer idiocy of this conversation was astonishing. In essence, she considered her entire life leading up to marriage as nothing. For the last 32 years of her life and up until she met a man to marry, she would just be marking time, whiling away the hours!

What kind of sick ideas are put into girls heads as they grow up? That they are non-persons until they meet a man who wants to marry them? That all of their energy should be put towards finding a husband? That they shouldn’t try to carve out a unique path in life for themselves that potentially doesn’t leave room to include a husband and babies?

I can’t think of anything that’s more important for women than to go ahead and forge their own way. To plan their financial and social lives as an individual. Even if a woman is in a relationship, she must always be sure to carve out some sort of financial security for herself. If one thing in this life is sure, it’s that people cannot unconditionally trust other people. Just because a person is part of a couple, married or not, does not assure your financial and emotional security. A partner could get sick or die, or one or the other of the partners could decide they no longer wanted to be in the relationship, and if a person has not planned for these kinds of contingencies, they can find themselves in a dire situation.

The only way to survive through life is to take control of your life. Women can do this in exactly the way that men have since the beginning of time. Find some way to support yourself. Get an education, learn a skill, control finances whether or not your single or in a couple. If you’re in a couple and have chosen to stay home and raise children, make sure that you and your children will be provided for in case something should happen to the marriage or your spouse. Too many women fall into a trap of falling in love and expecting to live the fairytale. There is no fairytale. That’s why the Cinderella story ends with the wedding.

It goes beyond the finances. I know of women who have no hobbies or interests other than husband-hunting. There is more to life than just romantic relationships. Grow, learn, do things. People who are happy and confident and engaged in activities which they find interesting will naturally find themselves in situations in which they’ll meet like-minded people. They’ll find themselves in situations in which they’ll meet great potential partners.

A healthy life also requires single and partnered people to have a solid network of friends and family. Cultivating relationships seems an essential part to any single person’s life, however it is equally important for people in relationships. It’s dangerous and unhealthy to allow one person to be your entire world.

There will always be men who will not be interested in women who show any kind of financial and social independence. But these men are generally not the kind of people women should want to partner with. Any man who wants a woman to put her life completely in his hands is usually a control freak, and that should be a huge red flag. Women should run from these situations.

So, go out and live your life, go to school, buy a place, have fun, forge a career, learn how to manage your finances. This is the best life recipe that a woman can have in order to ensure happiness in all situations whether single, married, divorced or widowed. And she’ll be properly prepared for anything that life can throw her way.

Check out New York Moment’s blog and don’t forget to come back next week for her weekly column.

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