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Why Do I Keep Looking For A Husband? I’m 44. Do I Really Need One?

I’m baffled at how so many people seamlessly turn themselves into a “we.”

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Paige Vickers
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Have you ever wanted something and not wanted it all at the same time? Like when a lactose intolerant wants the mint chocolate chip but also remembers her exploding bowels from the last time she “just went for it”? Or like how you want to be a person who has finished the Boston Marathon, but you also hate sweating … and wearing shorts … and running?

I’ve wanted and not wanted to find a husband for 15 years. I do all the things a person who is looking for a husband should do. I tap through the apps before I fall asleep, swatting left and right like I’m hitting at flies in the blue night-light.

I use one app where women talk first to keep the creeps away and another app where the creeps can jump out at you anytime. I hate when I match with my husband but then I read his fine print, and he already has a wife but just wants one extra person to love.

Before I meet my app suitors I think, Maybe there’ll be chemistry. There isn’t. Or there is, and then there’s not. My lesbian best friend who has been married for 20 years tells me, “Just do what you love and you’ll meet men who love to do the same things.”

I join writing classes and philosophy discussion groups. Apparently, only middle-aged ladies like me and men who love their own voices do my kinds of things.

At home, I squint into the bathroom magnifying mirror to be sure I don’t have any stray hairs on my face. These days, there are hairs where you’d least expect them. It’s important not to have a beard (unless that’s the look you are going for) when you bump into your husband in the coffee line. But then you don’t, and that extra tweezing time has been a waste.

Maybe I do these things so I can say “at least I tried” and “aren’t men just so disappointing the way they only love all the people who aren’t me?”

I’m baffled at how so many people seamlessly turn themselves into a “we.” My parents have been married for 49 years. They have one email address. It’s The French writer and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir seemed pretty sure that marriage “almost always destroys a woman.” She theorized that being married means losing yourself inside your husband’s inbox.

One day a bunch of birds flew into my married friend’s bedroom window. She ran into the hall, slammed the door and called her husband to come home to help because “she shouldn’t have to live like she’s in a Hitchcock movie.” I was jealous that she has a husband to help with the pigeons.

Married people seem to spend a lot of time checking in about what’s the plan for dinner. I’d hate to talk about dinner that much. And also, what I wouldn’t give to come home to my husband cooking dinner (but never broccoli because he knows I hate it), and we’d chitchat at the table about we did that day. I want to fall asleep next to my chef husband every night, instead of with my app boyfriends.

But then what happens when he has to use a CPAP machine for his sleep apnea and the noise is unbearable, and I really need to sleep? Women without adequate sleep are at high risk for dementia. I’d rather stay single than be demented. Or maybe the trade would be worth it.

Recently, I talked to a $120/hour therapist about all this. She told me that I am a classic avoidant attachment type. She insisted that dependence creates freedom. She said that sometimes the boring guys from first dates are the secure attachment types who make the best husbands. But, then I’d have to live with a boring guy for the rest of my life. I guess at least I’d have help with the pigeons.