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Spinster
A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite...
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Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Created: 04/28/16

Replies: 23

Posted Apr. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

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Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

In her relationship with W, Kate senses the "friction between the intimacy we shared and the autonomy required to become the people we wanted to be." Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?


Posted May. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 33

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Yes. BUT. A great deal of maturity is required from both partners. Marriage is less complicated later in life. Marriage with both partners reaching their own goals is much easier when both know what's out there and what they really want - which sometimes takes years to know.


Posted May. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 36

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

A fascinating question. I would say "yes" but only if the person's full potential involved the job of parenthood as well has the cooperation required of marriage.
Many people might find that trying to be a mother or marriage partner too restricting of their life goals. Any life goals that require tons of travel or excessive time with a career, especially if the career is poorly paid, would have difficulty meeting potential.
Having sufficient money available as well as support from family or friends can also be a critical factor. Also the willingness to hire others to help with the household.


Posted May. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
N*Starr

Join Date: 03/13/14

Posts: 35

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

That is a great question- what if Kate's premise is wrong? What if we can better understand atonomy through our relationships with others? I am not sure that there needs to be a friction between intimacy with another and growing into the person you are meant to be.


Posted May. 02, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 250

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Why not both, a relationship and a growing of our own potential. People do it all the time. It may take a little more work, and a lack of selfishness and cooperation on both parties. I think Kate was not sure of what she really wanted out of life and this is what caused her problems.


Posted May. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 86

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

I don't think romantic solitude is necessary for personal growth, but I think it takes a special person to continue through the ups and downs and the intensity that can occur with the personal growth process. It can take longer to grow to where you want to be when you have a romantic relationship to consider.


Posted May. 04, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
karenrn

Join Date: 08/29/13

Posts: 68

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

I think you can be married and reach your full potential. It is more difficult though especially for women. It is easier if you have a husband who is a active partner in the house and as a parent. As I said in a earlier post on a different question women tend to lose themselves in their husband and children. I'm not sure if its something thats required of us or if we just tend to consider them before our own needs.


Posted May. 06, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 203

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Hmmmm, only if both parties are truly supported of the other.


Posted May. 07, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Windsong

Join Date: 05/07/13

Posts: 70

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

I know I did because of the person I married. I now know that the best day of my life was when my college boyfriend of four years broke my heart and ended the relationship.
Throughout the book I could not connect with the author's angst. When I read the sections about her awakeners, I felt as if she had an idea and was determined to make their lives to fit into her own. As I wrote before, I had a hard time with her spinster wish and her need for relationships.


Posted May. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sallyh

Join Date: 09/07/12

Posts: 85

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

I think that being in a healthy relationship can help individuals reach their full potential, because part of who we are involves how we relate to others. I also think that it can be helpful, in order to find what one is looking for in a relationship and a partner, to be single for a time, and I don't think the author has really done that. Honestly, I found her book unconvincing and a little silly. People who want to be single should be single; there's no need to elevate singlehood to a plane of ultimate self-actualization, or find historic figures to justify one's status. I did not have the feeling that Bolick is all that comfortable in her own skin.


Posted May. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melindah

Join Date: 12/25/12

Posts: 48

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

I agree with N*Starr, I don't think personal growth exists in a bubble. We are affected by our relationships, marital and otherwise, other people bring things that we cannot hope to provide. We are inherently social creatures.
I also agree with sallyh, I was not convinced by the author, I couldn't figure out if she was trying to convince me, or herself....me thinks thou dost protest too much!


Posted May. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Of course they can! If it's a mature relationship between mutually supportive partners, each should be able to grow to their full potential. If a relationship stifles individual potential, I would have to wonder what's wrong with the relationship? For me, a relationship doesn't mean 24/7 togetherness. Each partner spends time with other people (most couples don't work together, for example) and some time alone as well as their time together. I disagree with Bolick's overly-generalized premise that relationships are stifling.


Posted May. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janp

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 31

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

I have a totally opposing response to this question. When I married my husband it was probably at one of the lowest points of my life in terms of self-esteem, depression, and inability to say no to his proposal. But I did believe I loved him and the marriage would be "good". As it turns out, I sunk lower than I believed possible and only when led by a dear friend to seek help, did I begin to reach my full potential. BUT I don't think I would ever had done so if I had not married this man and confronted the past that brought me to him. The marriage lasted 4 years and I don't regret it overall. Life is a teacher. Having said that, at 65, I continue to strive to reach my full potential.


Posted May. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 56

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Growing to one's full potential is one's own burden. Life will throw whatever it has at us and we can use this as an excuse not to grow or a reason to grow. Whether you reach your full potential with and in spite of life experience is entirely up to you. It may not be pretty, it may be a total cluster, or it may go like a kite in the wind ... whatever it is, it just is. As sallyh mentioned, the book was a bit silly and the continual angst and whining made me want to throw it across the room and yell, "Just get on with life - there's more to it!" I actually wish that the book had been entirely about the women and that Bolick had left herself out of it. They were fascinating and I'm pretty sure moved through life one day at a time - the same as the rest of us. They just managed to do it brilliantly ... in hindsight.


Posted May. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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donnac

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 126

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

This is a loaded question. How does one define "full potential"? Some would argue that unless a woman bears a child (or a man sires offspring) they have not fulfilled their full reproductive potential. Others would say that unless a person can sustain a lifelong relationship (with spouse, friend or other) they have not fulfilled their full social potential. Personal potential is a far more elusive thing, different for each person, and should be unrelated to one's romantic status. Whether I need somebody else to bounce ideas off of to reach my full potential is my own decision. So no, I don't think romantic solitude is necessary at all. Solitude is another matter altogether.


Posted May. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 278

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Yes, if the marriage is strong, both parties are mature and if they can weather the bumps along the way. It is not easy but with both support, both parties can be successful.


Posted May. 10, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Windsong

Join Date: 05/07/13

Posts: 70

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

donnac I agree. Good answer.


Posted May. 10, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 33

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Sounds like many of us are walking around the same point. The title Spinster feels like a challenge - "I dare you to read this NOW". I agree with those who complain of the author's defensive and whiny tone. It did seem to be a defensive position - and yet, I loved the biographies. Edna St V. Millay for example - I went out to get a book of her selected poems just to re-read them and be reminded of why I liked her work. And the same with The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman. I read it long ago and at one time had a "cassette" read by Sharon Gless that I loved. A horrifying story on one level and a "spinster booster" on the other. And Edith Wharton seemed to make her relationship work, right?


Posted May. 11, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 76

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Absolutely. If you are in a relationship in which partners respect each others' individuality, you can not only thrive but become more complete than if you were alone. Respect for each other is necessary. In addition, you must continue to be your own person in addition to being part of a couple. You must maintain your individuality and independence if it is important to you. Solitude is not necessary unless you are unable to stay true to your self and your needs while being in a relationship.


Posted May. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 129

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Definitely. If a person is strong and dedicated to a goal, being in a relationship would probably enhance their professional life.


Posted May. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbm

Join Date: 02/04/16

Posts: 73

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RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

According to Bolick's words.... or her actions? So much angst for so little reason! Jumping from relationship to relationship must be mentally and emotionally exhausting; it is no wonder that she thinks spinsterhood is curative and the 'way' to creative full potential (whatever that is) A little romantic solitude may have been good for her! All that studying of her awakeners... but what did she really learn from them? What exactly was awakened? Wow, it sounds like I'm angry, but really I just feel sorry for her. A true relationship would offer the respect and love that offers support to personal growth. I see a relationship like a trampoline.. it helps you to jump higher, giving a push sometimes, but also a soft and pleasant place to land.


Posted May. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
suzanner

Join Date: 04/26/15

Posts: 27

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

Romantic solitude is not an inhibiting condition for personal growth. A truly balanced, highly intelligent woman with good judgment, grace and willingness to work personally and professionally can become highly accomplished. Bolick's arguments are off base. She lacks self-esteem, confidence and insightful judgment. Her relationships are a series of disjointed frenetic socializing, shocking litter of sexual escapades with different partners and a very odd way of looking through lens of selected women's histories to buttress her own decisions. She is indulgent, insecure, and afraid of commitment. I think Bolick's biggest issue is that she is basically unlovable. This aspect hit me hard by the second chapter. Bolick is very haughty and judgmental about other women - "the sell-outs" by and large enjoyed marriage and companionship in measure during their lives. Romantic relationships are not about "selling out" but rather about responsibility and commitment of two people who join their aspirations together. Doing anything else means there is another type of relationship.


Posted May. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Pepper

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 12

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

I almost think relationships are necessary for a person to reach his/her potential. A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are made for. Traits like loyalty, empathy, tolerance, kindness--how can they happen in a vacuum?


Posted May. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cb

Join Date: 03/19/14

Posts: 26

RE: Do you think individuals can grow to reach their full potential while in a relationship? Is romantic solitude necessary for personal growth?

To grow individually inside a relationship? Often a slower, though possible, process. In the mother/spouse role, I gave to much to realize I was being stunted by that giving. Needed balance. As I make my way down the "other side of the hill, I find I am still working on that.


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