Elizabeth Mehren's article, "Frustrated by the Odds, Single Women Seek Answers in Therapy" (Nov. 30) adds unwelcome fuel to a spreading fear.
As a psychotherapist in private practice, the majority of my clients are women struggling with relationships and being "single" (the word is beginning to sound like a condemnation instead of a description). Contrary to the idea that a search for men drives women to therapy, what leads them to therapy is distress about the types of relationships they do have, and the ways they feel and act both alone and coupled. Their problems don't arise mysteriously after age 30; it just takes that many years of experience before most people are able to see the patterns of their behavior.
For many women, the "Cinderella Complex" written by Colette Dowling several years ago is very real today. It means that women were in fact raised to be dependent upon men, and the shift to independence is not so easy. A woman may be quite competent in her career--an adult in the professional world--while emotionally she has not yet learned to take care of herself. She is a "dependent child-like adult" waiting for her husband/father to make her feel safe, loved and lovable. This dual character is understandably as confusing to men as it is to women. The "Woman Who Loves Too Much" is often the woman who can't be alone. Wanting a relationship is natural and healthy; needing one for emotional survival is not.