Why You Should Ignore This Mom’s Wrong Dating Tips

By Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan for YourTango.com.

Last year, Susan Patton, alum and mother of two Princeton sons, shared her dating tips on finding a husband while still in college in the Daily Princetonian newspaper. Her opinion on how coeds should spend more time looking for love than working on career sent shock waves through women of all ages.

This year, the rewritten op-ed piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Valentine’s Day. As a dating coach for women over 40, I can see what caused the fury. Here are six of Susan’s most annoying points for college girls:

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Point #1 — Marry Early Or Else
Huffington Post shared an angry rebuttal written by Emma Gray who, at 26, says, “Thanks, but no thanks”. Like most of the response pieces, Emma’s hackles were raised by the idea that eating sushi and watching Downton Abby shouldn’t be enough for today’s young, career-minded women. Instead, they should work on getting a husband.

Emma goes on to point out that young women like her are looking for love, working on careers that are not a waste of time, enjoying sex without preventing them from finding love, and still value marriage and motherhood. As a dating coach for women, that’s good to hear. Of course you can find love and marry after college! Women do not have an expiration date. See point #5 below.

Point #2 – Don’t Fall For The Feminist Line
Slate.com did a post that listed quotes and determined whether men or women should be more insulted. Funny! Interestingly enough, the writer, Katy Waldman (who must be a youngster) did not know what the P.C. Feminist line is, even though Susan stated her version in the next sentence (You can’t have it all — a great job and a family) By the way, that’s incorrect!

This is evidence of how lost the feminist ideas really are. The point was women CAN HAVE IT ALL. Peggy Lee sang the lyric, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let you forget you’re a man” from I’m a Woman in the 60s. I’ll put ignorance about women’s lib aside for now.

The Slate piece did point out how a Match.com study showed men aren’t at all turned off by smart women. And Salon.com quoted the New York Times piece which explained new research revealing “Women in the top 15% of earners are now more likely to be married than their lower-earning counterparts”. That pretty much pokes a big hole in Patton’s worries.

Point #3 – Marry Your Intellectual Equal
It’s true I didn’t go to an ivy league school, but I do have an MBA. This may surprise you, but I actually have chatted about medieval tapestries with a group of women (from the book Woman with the Alabaster Jar), but not with men.

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My husband is a mechanic and I would say we aren’t focused on intellectual conversation. Instead we like to laugh and I enjoy his sense of humor immensely. And when we play Trivial Pursuit – we are evenly matched, although not on the same topics, which makes us a formidable team. You can be plenty bright without an ivy league education.

Point #4 – Don’t Have Casual Sex
I have noticed the stigma about having sex outside of a monogamous relationship has shifted. Seems like everyone is doing it, at least from what I see on TV. Just look at Vanderpump Rules — they all sleep with each other even when in a relationship.

Jeff Mac, author of Manslations, shared his point of view that men no longer hold it against a woman if she sleeps with him on the first date. He says the guy either likes her or he doesn’t, regardless of when she chooses to sleep with him. (I interviewed Jeff Mac years ago.)

Not being in that younger generation, I can’t say for sure about when to get intimate. I tend to be more traditional. So I think that holding off to better understand a guy’s intentions is smart if you’re looking for lasting love. That might not be sage advice for 20 somethings, even if it makes sense for women dating over 40.

What I do know is that cows today have become really hip! Haven’t you seen those commercials for California Dairy Association? They sing in the shower and talk! Susan’s reference about not buying the cow when the milk is free is so dated, what college girl would listen?

Point #5 – College is Teeming With Single Guys
OK, here’s where I start to agree with Mrs. Patton. College IS a place teeming with singles and there never will be an environment like this again in your life. That’s true. Of course it doesn’t mean you can’t find love after you graduate — how ridiculous!

As we age, the single men do get harder to find and many do want younger women. Yet, a study conducted by AARP discovered 30% of women aged 40-70 are dating younger men. That evidence disproves Susan’s theory that all men want younger women. Some must be attracted to older women or who are older women dating?

Keep in mind dating habits of the young have changed. Fewer date and have relationships in high school or college. I’m not sure why that is. Could it be due to the high rate of divorce and single parent households? Could it be a result of so many divorced mothers sacrificing their love lives to focus on the kids till graduation and not being a model for love and relationships?

I can’t say for sure, but things have changed. The birthrate in several European countries is very low, only 1.6% which means the population is not replacing itself. Good for population control, but troubling for many other social reasons. Statistically, people are not marrying and raising families the way they used to do. I wrote about this here Global Love Crisis.

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Point #6 – Invest More In Your Love Life
As a dating coach with 12 years experience, I know this is true. Women invest way more in their careers than in their love lives and those proportions are smart in general. An education is very expensive today and still needed.

However, no one teaches the young how to find love or a boyfriend, or how to maintain a healthy relationship. There is no formal training or education. For the most part, girls/women are on their own, having nothing more to learn from than their family, movies, TV and books and girlfriends. That might not be enough to improve marriage success or lasting love given the current 50% divorce rate.

Let me ask you this thought provoking question, “What would your love life look like if you had invested more time and money to learn about love, how to find it and keep it going?” Being in this profession, I am biased. My hope is that you can consider the idea and realize it has some merit when you think it through.

Who is Susan Patton really talking to?

Overall, the problem with Susan Patton’s dating tips is that she seems to be talking to women in their late 30s, 40s and 50s who might wish they started seeking love sooner. Get real Susan. No one can go back and fix that — you can only be present and move forward. The only people who will probably by her book (Marry Smart) will be women my age giving it to their college-aged daughters. Like that will have an impact.

It’s Never Too Late!

As a dating coach for women over 40, I say – “It’s never too late!” I had a big career, and still found love and married for the first time at 43. Regardless of your love history, you can find love today. Stop worrying about controversial dating tips like Patton’s and how you don’t like what is being said. Channel all that energy instead into WHAT YOU DO WANT, whether that’s career or love or both — go for it.

Are you an over 40 woman struggling to find love? As a dating coach for women 40+, I provide proven dating methods that have helped thousands. Get more tips in my FREE book 5 Big Turnoffs That Drive Men Away. Let me help you find love with the right man and avoid the many potential pitfalls along the way.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Why You Should Ignore Princeton Mom And Her (Wrong) Dating Tips.


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa2 years ago

Thank you

Sean Gibbons
Sean Gibbons3 years ago

I'm shocked at the suggestions for women. It seems like a great way to stress the crap out of your life for no good reason. One of the biggest mistakes a person, man or women, can make in their life is committing (whether dating or marriage) as a result of fear.

Don't go into relationships out of fear of being alone. You'll end up much more miserable in the long-run.

Giovanna M.
Giovanna M3 years ago

I haven't read the original letters by Mrs Patton, and I don't think I will. But frankly, I can see her advice may be ok for some people, just as Coach Ryan's may be for others. Personally, I wouldn't follow either.
I did get the feeling Ryan was trying to counter Patton on more than one level, why else would she have to repeat 3 or 4 times she is a coach in this? Sorry, but if someone is confident of their advice they usually don't have to keep bringing up their credentials every two minutes. :S
I must say I'm a bit tired of people telling others they can and should do whatever they want. That is all very well as long as you consider the outcomes and take responsability of your choices. Maybe if we started facing that we'd create less false expectations and the amount of failure-feelings would go down (and that, dear coach Ryan and the likes, is one thing behavioral psychology is re-discovering!). Different people, different circumstances, different paths.

Margaret B.
Margaret B3 years ago

Love is a two-way street - but yes, I think it helps to have some-one who is on the same intellectual wavelength, at whatever level that is.

Franck Rio
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Tristan Adrian
Tristan Adrian3 years ago


Mrs Shakespeare
Mrs Shakespeare3 years ago

Point 3 makes you sound like a snob, but yeah, maybe you should be with someone who is intellectually your equal.
Its not about knowing all the answers; he'd prolly know much more about cars and technology than me, and I can teach him a thing or two when it comes to history and theology, so its more about being able to have an intelligent conversation every now and then.
I cant tolerate a man who cant talk about anything but football, or isnt curious about anything, or thinks he learned all that he needs in high school. I dont care how good looking he is; I cant love an idiot!

Tim C.
Tim C3 years ago


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Gloria picchetti
Gloria picchetti3 years ago

Write as many lists as you want but either you are in love or you are in love.