Why are so many career women in Singapore still single? (Part 1 of a 2-part series)

There has been a lot of talk that many career women in Singapore are still single… In the first part of this 2-part series, we are going to talk about the characteristics of some of the single ladies that I have met.

To be fair, not only many career women in Singapore are still single. It is the same with any other modern cities around the world e.g. Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai etc. The thing is… more and more singles are delaying marriage. In the past, women marry in their early 20s. If you were to marry in your mid-20s, it is considered old. But now, many women are still not married by the time they are in their 30s. A lot of times, it is because these women are so focused on building their career in the early part of their life. And when they finally decide to settle down, they learn that it is not as easy to find a partner in their 30s as opposed to when they are in their 20s. One of the realities that I have shared in my book ‘Lessons From 15,000 First Dates’ is that ultimately many men are looking to date younger women as they would like to start a family eventually. So they would start to think, if I date a woman who is in her mid-30s, after 2 years of dating, 2 years of honeymoon period after the marriage, would it be too late to start a family?

Single ladies can be generally categorised into 4 groups. Of course these are generalisations and stereotypes and they are not exhaustive.

dragon lady1. The Dragon Lady: Dragon ladies are women who have done very well for themselves in the workplace. And as the skillset of women such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, multitasking skills are being more sought after in the workplace, more and more women are rising fast in the corporate world, sometimes even faster than their male counterparts. Women often feel that they have to adopt a more domineering and aggressive demeanour to climb up the corporate ladder. And often, they bring these characteristics with them wherever they go even when they are on dates. However, I always say to my single female clients, ‘Men are looking to date and marry women, not men!’ Women need to realise that they are on a date and not a debate. They do not need to challenge every single thing the guy say, or have the last say all the time. My advice to the dragon ladies is to indulge in your femininity and leave the fist-thumping in the boardroom.

2. The Waiter a.k.a. The Fixer: These are ladies who might be seeing someone, but they have been in the same relationship for 3 years, 5 years, or 9 years but the relationship just does not seem to be going anywhere. The reason is, the man keeps telling the woman that he’s not ready to settle down, and the woman is willing to just sit by and wait, hence the name ‘waiter’. And some of them are also fixers meaning they believe they can fix the guy, even though women who preceded them have failed. They believe that they are unique and special. My advice to this group of ladies is to give the guy an ultimatum. Give him a deadline, and if he does not adhere to it, then move on. You have to love yourself more because time is not on the side of the women. Just move on. If he loves you enough, he will ask you back and ask for your hand. If he does not, then he was never worth your time in the first place.

3. The Princess (and her Prince): A lot of single ladies for into this category. They probably have read too many fairy tales or indulge in too many Hollywood movies or Korean dramas. They would like to meet their prince charming ‘by chance’ because they believe that it is not romantic if they do anything extra to meet him. I believe that dating is a numbers game. Out of every 10 single men you meet, probably there are only 5 whom you are interested to know more about and he too would like to know you better. From the 5, you will probably go on a first date with 3 or 4. And from that 3 or 4, you will probably only go on more dates with 2 or 3. And from there, hopefully, you meet the one. Hence, the question is, if you do not even meet 10 single men in a month or even for some a year, what are the chances you would meet the one? I always ask the princesses, do you wish to be romantically single for the rest of your life, or be more proactive and find your prince charming? Smile My advice is, give yourself more opportunities and find more platform to widen your social circle and meet more new people.

4. The Clueless: Some ladies do not have a lot of relationship experience or have not dated in a long time. Hence, they have no idea of what to expect when it comes to dating or might have unrealistic expectations when it comes to dating. They would tell me things like, “Why should I do anything different? They should like me for who I am. If they don’t, then they are not worth my time!” when I suggest that they put on some light makeup when they go on a date. My question to them is, “There are many guys out there who are very nice and have great personality, however they might not meet your height preference (height is very important for most ladies!), then why don’t you like them for who they are as well?” My advice is that we should challenge our own list of criteria and preferences. Ultimately, we judge others, others judge us as well. When we look at each of our criterion, we should ask ourselves, is this a ‘must have’ or a ‘good to have’. If he is 1.75m, does it mean that he would be a better husband or a better father?

Stay tuned for the 2nd part… ‘What can single women do to lose their singlehood?’

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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5 Comments

  1. nakhoda /

    is it really true that women got so busy building their careers that they have no time? lets be honest here, chances are in the course of their work, hobbies, etc they are likely to meet men – from suppliers, to customers, to business contacts, fellow colleagues, office neighbours, etc. and chances are there are already men who in the past that pursued them among these groups. but just maybe their expectations are too high.

    [Reply]

  2. nakhoda /

    is it really true that women got so busy building their careers that they have no time? lets be honest here, chances are in the course of their work, hobbies, part-time studies, social get-togethers, etc they are likely to meet men – from suppliers, to customers, to business contacts, fellow colleagues, office neighbours, fellow coursemates, neighbours etc. and chances are there were indeed men who pursued them. but just maybe their expectations are too high/unreasonable?

    [Reply]

  3. By 'single' did you mean 'not attached' or 'not married'? Because your stereotypes are confusing. (i.e. #2, The Waiter). If you meant 'not married', then what about women who don't believe in/want to/need to get married, but are happy with other arrangements, i.e. co-habitation?

    [Reply]

    Violet Reply:

    @j, thanks for dropping by! :) When I say single, I generally mean ‘not attached’ or for those who are dating – marriage is their objective. I have nothing against women who don’t believe in/want to/need to get married as long as that’s their personal choice and it’s not something they are coerced into because of their partner’s decision. Most of the readers of my book are women who are looking to get married, hence I am focusing on this segment of readers. :)

    [Reply]

  4. HI, thanks! What you write is very true!
    It is going to help a lot of ladies.

    [Reply]

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