Couldn’t resist excerpting some of this:
Commitment: Why do you think so many women are having a hard time finding that right guy? Is it our culture? A generational problem?
Amy: I think there are a lot of women (like me), who would prefer being alone to being with the wrong guy, who feel so much lonelier with the wrong person than they ever do alone (that is definitely the case with me). I have a lot of friends who aren’t like that. And that’s fine. They’d much rather be with someone – anyone – than alone. I have a dear friend who I just adore, who’s married, who blurted out one night at dinner, ‘everyone wants to know why you won’t make the same compromises we’ve made!” I explained I’ve made different compromises, which I think is sometimes tricky for people to hear.
Staying single can mean a lot of explaining, as people ask, “Maybe you’re too picky!” and “come on, tell me. What’s wrong with you?” They feel really comfortable asking these things, but you could never say (or at least I wouldn’t), “hey, how about the marriage you always complain about?” This is something I thought a lot about as I was writing the chapter, “Queen of the Court,” about the many misunderstandings single and married women have about each other, how they tend to idealize each other’s lives. I think the difference with this generation is women saying, “I want a relationship, but not at any price. And that’s OKAY.”
Commitment: The break-up of your boyfriend Josh after your mother’s death was naturally very painful. I could almost feel your pain when you wrote about running into him at a restaurant with his new wife just a week after he was married.
How did you have the guts to go downstairs and congratulate your mutual friend on his engagement, when you knew that would involve seeing Josh at this engagement party with his new bride? Any advice for women out there who may face running into that dreaded ex-boyfriend at some point?
Amy: You’re so sweet to call it “guts.” I think it was “nuts.” I know I’ve felt like I should be dressed by Rachel Zoe and have my hair and make-up done by Sarah Jessica Parker’s team, just in case I run into any exes.
But I’ve run into lots of them and been fine because the truth is, if you really believe you’re better off without them (as my mother indoctrinated me), then no matter how you look, you’ll feel victorious.
Commitment: Loneliness. Many of us have experienced deep loneliness after the end of a romantic relationship. What did those bouts of loneliness teach you? What advice do you have for anyone reading this interview who may be trying to cope with the loneliness they feel right now?
Amy: Again, I’m someone who feels so much lonelier with the wrong person. It’s so funny, I was at a writer’s conference with other memoirists – people who had written about being bipolar, being sex addicts, drug addicts who stole, but so many people asked how I could be so open about feeling lonely sometimes, as if there were no more intimate detail a person could share.
There is nothing shameful about feeling lonely – either alone or with other people. It is totally and completely normal. I don’t talk about it much, but as I was finishing my book I had a very dear friend who killed herself. A girl who was easily the most social and well loved of all my friends.
She left a note in which she talked about feeling lonely and I thought, “why didn’t she ever talk about it with me?” and then I realized it was because I’d felt lonely too, and never talked about it with her. So I went back through my entire book and started being really, really honest about that part of my life. So my advice would be to talk about it with someone you trust and to never, ever, ever feel ashamed.