Dear E. Jean: There’s a man; we’ll call him Miles. We met on Tinder. We talked, then dated for a month. He slowly started ghosting me—not all at once, but over time. I asked him about it head-on. He explained that he doesn’t see me as “marriage material.” I’m 26. I’ve never had a guy tell me this before. Naturally, I feel worthless now. I don’t like the idea of a man’s opinion of me changing my opinion of myself, but here we are. How do I hit restart, and stop feeling like there’s something wrong with me?—Lone Woman


Lone, My Duck: Who is “marriage material,” exactly? Someone who cooks, does the laundry, runs the vacuum, takes care of the kids, brings home the bacon, and asks how her lord’s day went when greeting him at the door wearing nothing but earrings and a feather duster? Bah! A woman wants to be CEO material. A woman wants to be Olympic material. A woman wants to be presidential material. A woman, in short, should want to be anything but an outdated, patriarchal version of “marriage material.” Matrimony is an excellent model for many, but really, he just gave you a huge compliment!

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2018. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.

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