12 Types Of Women Seeking “Happily Ever After”

Is it time to retire the word “spinster” yet? Author Michelle Cove takes a closer look at 12 different types of women who stay single until later in life and explains why. Which one do you identify with?

By Jane Ganahl

istorically, if you were still single by age 35 or so, the ugly S-word, spinster, would rear its ugly head. That’s all changed in recent decades. There are more single women today than ever before — around 51 million of us, according to the Census Bureau — because we’re marrying later and later in life. And smart single ladies are learning to view this stage of life as both fun and rich with promise rather than something that simply must be endured.

At least, those are some of the findings of a sassy book by Michelle Cove called Seeking Happily Ever After: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Being Single Without Losing Your Mind (and Finding Lasting
Never give up if you haven’t yet reached your romantic goals.
Love Along the Way)
. In her book, the author explores — via interviews with more than 100 unmarried women — what they’re really striving for these days. Is marriage still the pot of gold at the end of every woman’s rainbow? Does single life carry its own potential for “happily ever after?” How do you figure out the right path for yourself when everyone is telling you what to do? How can you be sure that they’re right? Through Cove’s research, it becomes clear that single women are redefining the Cinderella scenario — not just for themselves, but for future generations as well. Her books is geared toward helping single women figure out, and then achieve, their personal goals for their romantic futures, and it also functions as a road map for the life stage called “being single.”

Seeking Happily Ever After offers individualized advice for 12 different “types” of single women — from those who have spent their whole lives dreaming of a perfect wedding to others who are now unsure if they will ever marry, and many more. Cove’s advice to all is to cut through the noise of media, family, and friends in order to understand what kind of relationship and romantic partner you truly want; to avoid putting off starting your “real life” until you are part of a couple; and to never give up if you haven’t yet reached your romantic goals.

Herewith, we break down each of the 12 unmarried female personality types detailed in Cove’s book. Which one are you?

1. The Soul Mate Seeker
This type is looking for “Mr. Right Now” and will do everything she can to find The One. She is organized and energetic and knows how to get things done. But she can also be single-minded to the detriment of the rest of her life — and too easily swayed by messages in the media that you need to be perfect and beautiful to “trap a man.” And as we all know, women who are too eager can give off a foul-smelling whiff of desperation.
Cove’s advice for the Soul Mate Seeker: Ask yourself why you’re so desperate to marry, readjust that lengthy list of must-haves in a boyfriend, quit reading magazines that equate youth with beauty and watching rom-coms that always end in marriage.
Celebrity Soul Mate Seeker: Yes, she’s married, but who else epitomizes that desperate search for perfection than Heidi Montag?

2. The Phoenix
This woman recently went through a painful breakup and is doing everything she can to rise from the ashes of it in better shape. She thought she’d found her true love and was set to retire from dating, but was traumatically dumped. She is doing a lot of soul-searching to try and figure out what she did wrong — and what she can do better in the future. She might be a sad sack now — but cut her some slack; she’ll rise from the ashes and love again!
Cove’s advice for Phoenix types: Take a vacation from dating for a few months, go ahead and cry, get rid of all traces of him, treat yourself to some indulgences and see a lot of your friends — but don’t let them turn your misfortune into a pity party for one. Then, and only then, get back in the dating game.
Celebrity Phoenix: Taylor Swift, who was dumped first by Joe Jonas in a 27-second phone call and more recently by Jake Gyllenhaal.

3. The Organic
She prefers to leave things up to destiny and live her own life rather than hunting for men in any methodical or calculated way. She is fed up with the pressure of feeling like she needs to find her prince, and is more comfortable waiting for fate to intervene. But ask yourself: might your point of view have something to do with fear of rejection? Could it be self-defeating?
Cove’s advice for Organic types: Put away those flannels and quit hibernating. Open your mind to having your mind changed.
Celebrity Organic: Oprah Winfrey, who has said many times in the past that she is in no hurry to wed.

4. The Princess in Waiting
She is waiting to be rescued by a prince (who sure is taking his royal time). She is constantly disappointed when her date does not measure up to her fantasy. She doesn’t realize she can rescue herself and make her own life wonderful if she wants.
Cove’s advice for Princesses in Waiting: See the princess dream for what it is and get real. Ask yourself why you’re so attached to it, and then adjust your criteria for your dream man.
Celebrity Princess in Waiting: Kim Kardashian, who has a predilection for athletes who live in other cities.

5. The Late Bloomer
The rest of her life is on hold while she waits for her future husband to appear. She doesn’t want to buy a home because her future husband might want to live elsewhere. She won’t go to
Relationships don’t all have to look the same way.
Paris, because that’s her fantasy honeymoon destination. She’s afraid to make her life too comfortable for fear that she won’t appear welcoming to Mr. Right when he arrives.
Cove’s advice for Late Bloomers: Appreciate the good things you already have in your life — especially the freedom. Ask yourself what joys you’re putting off by waiting until marriage.
Celebrity Late Bloomer: Meg Ryan’s character in the movie French Kiss, who never traveled anywhere because she was waiting to do it with her husband.

6. The Free Spirit
She worries that she can only have her independence or be in a committed relationship, not both (and thinks the former is better for her personally). She loves her freedom and does not pine for the minivan and 2.5 kids she associates with marriage. She occasionally pushes away great guys and keeps love at arm’s length for fear of losing her cherished freedom.
Cove’s advice for Free Spirits: Relationships don’t all have to look the same way. You can have your cake and eat it, too; you just need to find a guy who appreciates your independence.
Celebrity Free Spirit: Pink, whose marriage to Carey Hart might seem nontraditional — they rarely see each other — but currently has a baby on the way.

7. The Wedding Wisher
She suddenly finds herself fantasizing about marriage after a lifetime of not caring about it. She thinks she is ready to take this next step, but now there are no prospects for a husband on the horizon. This new mindset can sometimes make a woman feel desperate and/or result in bad decision-making.
Cove’s advice for Wedding Wishers: Ask yourself why you feel so anxious about getting married. Don’t let your anxiety spoil either the dates you go on by laying your cards on the table too soon or the relationship you’re currently in now.
Celebrity Wedding Wisher: Amy Adams’ character in the movie, Leap Year.

8. The Town Rebel
She no longer aspires to live the cookie-cutter lifestyle of everyone else in her community, though she once used to. She lives in an area (i.e. a small town) where a husband, two kids and a dog is expected, but she isn’t sure that life is for her. She feels like the town weirdo or outsider, and has no true peers to hang with.
Cove’s advice for Town Rebels: Consider moving. Make a list of pros and cons. Seek out like-minded singles — or find them online for chatting. Don’t isolate yourself.
Celebrity Town Rebel: The character of Skeeter Phelan in the best-selling book, The Help.

9. The Ritual Re-inventor
A woman who may want to get hitched someday, but also feels very strongly about having an unconventional marriage (right down to the wedding ceremony). This nonconformist detests the idea of following the crowd and any elements of the wedding that smack of sexism.
Cove’s advice for Ritual Re-inventors: Rather than refuse to marry, remember that a wedding is what you make it. Enroll your groom in creating a scenario that’s meaningful for you both!
Celebrity Ritual Re-inventor: Actress Sigourney Weaver declared that she would never marry, but then wed fellow free spirit Jim Simpson in a ceremony that featured bongos and bagpipes. Each guest was given a temporary tattoo with the couple’s initials inside a heart.

10. The “Someday” Mom
She would like to have babies someday, but wishes she didn’t feel so much biological pressure to figure it out fast. She may not have even met the potential dad yet. The pressure can rob the entire idea of the joy.
Cove’s advice for “Someday” Moms: Tune in to yourself. Do you really want to have a baby? Know your alternatives: what could happen if you wait another five years?
Celebrity “Someday” Mom: Cameron Diaz, who has said that women rarely claim ambivalence about having children “because they’re going to get shunned.”

11. The Slow and Steady
This is a woman who hopes to marry when the time is right. Meanwhile, she does her best not to cave to the massive pressure she feels from friends, family and society about it. She is methodical and has timelines for how her life should be structured. She is likely engaged but now questioning whether she made the right decision — or let others make it for her.
Cove’s advice for Slow and Steady types: Take time to tune in to yourself and your desires. Do you really want to get married? Or are you doing it out of duty or fear? Find other women who are having the same feelings who can support you.
Celebrity Slow and Steady: The character of Mary Jane in the film Spider-Man 2, who has massive doubts about her dashing, wealthy fiancé and leaves him at the altar when her heart isn’t in it.

12. The Trailblazer
A woman who knows married life isn’t for her, so she’s trying to break down a new kind of path on her own to happiness. She likes being single and has no problem with asking for a table for one or going solo on a trip. The problem for this woman is that she will always be seen as an outsider — perhaps, at best, an “acceptable” eccentric.
Cove’s advice for Trailblazers: Round up some fellow trailblazers for company; a circle of like-minded friends is important to stave off loneliness. Educate your other friends why you made this decision.
Celebrity Trailblazer: Kim Cattrall, who asserted that she will never marry again, saying that “it’s not necessary” — although she is still open to falling in love.

Jane Ganahl is author of Naked on the Page: The Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife, editor of the anthology Single Woman of a Certain Age, journalist of two decades, and codirector of San Francisco’s Litquake literary festival.
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