Up Close and Personal with Bettina Arndt

March 16, 2012 by Odile Faludi
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Odile Faludi recently interviewed Bettina Arndt, aged 63, renowned sex therapist and social commentator. She has spent over thirty years writing about sex and relationships for Australian newspapers, magazines and appearing on radio and television.
Bettina, single, after a twenty year marriage, has embraced dating again. Her advice is that women need to look for more reasons to simply say, “yes.”

Bettina Arndt

She was delighted to hear that j-junction offers its members such an unique and personalised matchmaking service. “There’s always room for more good professional dating services,” she said.

Whilst we drank lattes and laughed in a local Woollahra cafe, a harsh reality picture was forming with every word Bettina carefully chose. Bettina insists women are losing out by simply saying the word, No, far too often. She suggests women who are looking for a mate often set themselves up for failure by being too quick to dismiss a possible partner. Women have too many idealistic expectations and in their search to find the perfect soul mate they are destroying the possibility of finding real love and, eventually marriage. Trapped in their private fantasies it’s now time for women to get out of their own way and find true bliss.

As the saying goes, “Men fall in love with their eyes while women fall in love with their ears.” Men will normally have a couple of key points when it comes to their wish list. Yes, it is fair to say, men prefer slimmer and more attractive ladies. But woman take the cake when compiling their list. Bettina explains, “Women often have a very long shopping list which is totally unachievable and unrealistic. They want someone who is not only good looking, slim, intelligent, but also creative, sensitive, humorous and successful and the list just keeps rolling on.” Bettina says, “Stop … it is just too much!”  She believes women need to be more realistic and realise it’s really rare that one person will tick all the boxes on their list. They need to think carefully about what is really important to them. Therefore, it’s a matter of tossing away half of the wish list and focusing on getting to know someone who could be a suitable partner for them.

Bettina points out that many relationships that gradually blossom are really successful. Whilst lust is really rare and it’s wonderful if people retain that sexual chemistry, Bettina recommends friendship as a much better basis for a long lasting relationship. She jokes, “What’s between the ears is often more important than what’s between the legs.”
Dating is becoming increasingly hard for women, particularly women over thirty. They need to be aware of their “market value” and understand that men have a lot of choice. In every age group over thirty in Australia there are more single women than men. Men tend to grow up learning to cope with rejection in the course of their early dating experiences and they have become very strong at withstanding criticism. But, for these slightly older women, rejection is very new, not to mention an uncomfortable experience, which they may never have had to deal with in earlier relationships.

For those women who are coming out of marriages, who are now fifty, not thirty, the rules of dating have certainly changed. Due to social media, most opinions have already been formed prior to the first date. Men are now in the driver’s seat simply by the rules of supply and demand. Bettina suggests, “Even if you don’t meet the man or woman of your dreams, you may make a lot of friends along the way so the results are well worth the effort… so just keep dating.”

Tips for singles:

•    Women, stop wanting too much. Get rid of that long shopping list and focus on the essentials when looking for good men who can enhance your life.
•    This need for emotional intimacy with a man may not happen. It’s a harsh wake-up call, but most men are not capable of giving it! That’s why women have girlfriends.
•    It’s really important to be content with your life. Having a partner is only the icing on the cake. It won’t help you find the right person if you appear to be “needy” or “desperate” to meet someone.
•    Develop a “thick skin” and learn to deal with rejection and see it as you would a job interview. You accept that you may have to go for many interviews to prove yourself and to win the employer over in giving you that job. You have to be able to cope with the interview process but if you land the “right job” it was worth the effort. Dating is no different.
•    Go for it – you can’t just expect to meet the right person whilst shopping at the biscuit counter at Woolworths. You need to open up many avenues for finding love. Use j-junction and take the opportunity which your community has so kindly provided you. Meet as many people as you can. It’s okay to be looking. Be honest with yourself and others. It doesn’t mean your life isn’t good. It just could be better. There’s no shame about being open with your network of friends and saying, “please look out for me!” It takes courage to share what is in your heart… but the reward can be great.
•    Men need to be heard, their needs to be acknowledged and most of all they crave intimacy. It’s their method of communication.
To learn more about fascinating Bettina and her books please check out her website here

Recommended Reading: Lori Gottlieb is the New York Times bestselling author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, a surprising look at modern love, marriage, and what really matters for true romantic happiness.

To learn more about fascinating Bettina and her books please check out her website here


2 Responses to “Up Close and Personal with Bettina Arndt”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Bettina Arndt has made a profession out of marketing her advice to women in this way. If she’s well-known for anything it’s her particular bias to men and the weak, simplistic excuses she continually provides for some men’s negative behaviour. I couldn’t think of a worse person to seek sex counselling from, as it’s not a question of taking sides between men and women, which is what she does, but rather a question of understanding human behaviour and having compassion and insight for men and women equally – it’s not a competition.

    It’s my opinion that most women are pretty pragmatic in their relationships and whereas extreme idealism of any kind can be destructive in its effects, high personal standards and values, as well as knowing yourself and what you don’t want in particular, can be a good general rule to follow. There are many women much older than their 30s who manage to meet and partner men who are good for them, and if it happens that they can’t find a man to suit them, then they’re better off alone, rather than ‘lonely’ within the wrong relationship.

    Women are ‘trapped in their private fantasies’!? What about men’s fantasies (which Arndt doesn’t mention) – of a kind that often prevent healthy, good, ongoing relationships, because usually they involve slimness, blondeness and unintelligent submission, oh, and youth.
    Women need to be aware of their ‘market value’! I’d remind Bettina that we’re not cattle, sheep or horses. I don’t think we need to make that sort of equation as individual human beings.

    Please spare us any more of Bettina Arndt’s utterings, and crass jokes as in ‘what’s between the ears and what’s between the legs’. I don’t see J-Wire as an appropriate place for Arndt to advertise herself and her website.

  2. Deb says:

    Seriously speechless! Bettina takes the cake!

    Wonder if she has any advice for same-sex attracted over 30’s single women?

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