I met a girl the other day who is, by European norms, a pretty woman of 20. She is at university, with a good career ahead of her. She’s clever, sweet, kind, lively and attractive. She’s going out with a man who is darkly jealous, feckless and mean-spirited. She knows what he’s like, and she wants to dump him, but she’s scared that no-one else will want her. She thinks she’s fat (compared to contemporaries who are skeletal). The prospect of being on the shelf, in her culture, is horrific, even at the expense of an unhappy married life.
So she defies her parents (who detest the boyfriend) and puts up with the boyfriend’s horrible behaviour because she thinks he’s the best she can expect.
She’s not alone – how many young men and woman set themselves up for years of unhappiness and loneliness in much the same way?
What is it about our society that we bring our children up to feel unlovable? Can family influence outweigh the media brainwashing? What do we need to do to stop the growth of loneliness in our families and friends?