Why You SHOULDN’T Find a Husband in College

As if you don’t already field enough unsolicited advice from overbearing friends and relatives, a Princeton alumna is suggesting that female students take advantage of their undergraduate years to find a husband.

If you haven’t read the letter that The Daily Princetonian printed from Susan A. Patton, an executive coach and human resources consultant who graduated from the school in the ’70s, here’s a recap:

For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.

She doesn’t stop there, either:

Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them. And, you could choose to marry a man who has other things to recommend him besides a soaring intellect. But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isn’t as smart as you.

Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen?

Patton says she was inspired to write the letter to the editor after attending a conference on campus about women and leadership. While there, she asked some female students if any of them wanted to get married and have children. “They looked at each other before they sheepishly raised their hands,” says Patton. “They all did, but they were afraid to say so unless the other women were willing to say so. … I thought, ‘For all of the advice they’re being given about professional development, no one is telling them how important it is to pay attention to the personal side of life as well.’”

After the letter got picked up by the media, The Daily Princetonian’s site crashed, presumably because of the influx of traffic generated by the controversial advice.

Here’s the thing: Personal views aside, tons of relationship research shows that it’s actually better not to get married straight out of college. Here’s why:

Your odds of splitting up are lower
The divorce rate in the U.S. has been on the decline since 1980—and the fact that women are getting married at an older age explains at least 60 percent of the decline, according to a 2011 study published by the Social Science Research Network. While the riskiest time to get married is in your teens, your chances of going through a divorce are about 34 percent if you get married between the ages of 20 and 23—compared to 20 percent if you get married between the ages of 27 to 29 and 8 percent if you wait to get married until after you’re 30, according to a survey by the National Fatherhood Initiative. “The longer you wait to get married, the more education and wealth you’ll have, which will translate to more stability when you get married,” says Brad Wilcox, PhD, director of The National Marriage Project at The University of Virginia.

You’ll make more money
College-educated women who marry after 30 make about $ 15,000 more than degree-holding women who get married in their early- to mid-20s, according to data from the American Community Survey. What’s more, women who get married after 30 also tend to have a household income that’s a little more than $ 20,000 higher.  “It’s pretty well documented—what a substantial number of women do is sacrifice their own ambitions to those of their partner,” says Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving up Too Much?, who points to a study done on brides written up in the New York Times’ “Vows” column. “Half of them quit their careers the minute they got married,” says Bennetts. If you wait to get married until you’re more established in your career, you’ll be less likely to abandon it the second he puts a ring on it, she says.

You have more options dating-wise than ever before
One of Patton’s biggest arguments: College is when women have the most options in their dating pool. That may have been true before the advent of online dating, but now you have plenty of single men to choose from. And that whole notion of only being able to date dudes who are older than you? You can throw that out the window. “I think that her advice, not only is it old fashioned,” says Bennetts, “but her understanding of the way the world works is extremely outdated.”

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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Good News: You Don’t Need to Find a Husband in College

Within hours of when her letter to the editor went live on the website of The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University’s student newspaper, Susan A. Patton knew she had hit a nerve.


“TKquote,” says Patton, who spoke with Women’s Health yesterday. Soon afterward, the site crashed altogether, presumably from the influx of traffic generated by Patton’s letter.

For what it’s worth, Patton stands by the message expressed in her letter—in spite of the intense public ire it’s received.

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The Worst Way to Find a Doctor

When searching for a new doctor, you’re probably hoping for a bedside manner that’s more McDreamy than Dr. House. And while it’s tempting to scour online reviews, they may not lead you to the best choice. It turns out that physician review websites aren’t always reliable, according to a new study from Loyola University Medical Center.

Researchers randomly selected 500 urologists in the United States and examined 10 free physician review websites (like Healthgrades.com or Vitals.com). They found that 79.6% of the doctors were rated on at least one of the sites, with 86% receiving positive ratings and 36% boasting highly positive ratings. Unfortunately, those composite scores were based on an average of just 2.4 ratings! That glowing recommendation doesn’t seem so legitimate coming from less than three people, does it?

“Patients should absolutely be cautious if they’re using this to assess their physicians,” says lead study author Chandy Ellimoottil, M.D., urology resident at Loyola University Medical Center. “They’re based on very few ratings, and you have no idea who put those ratings in.” For instance, you’ll never know if a negative score was from an angry patient or just a competing physician. And even more concerning for patients, those stellar reviews may have been written by the doctor himself. “Until you have hundreds of patients writing reviews, you can’t be sure of the accuracy,” says Ellimoottil.

So leave online review sites for a less serious search—like the best Thai takeout—and stick to traditional methods for finding a great doctor.

Start the search before you’re sick
It may seem like a hassle, but the best time to search for a new doctor is actually when you’re healthy. That way, you can explore your options without settling for the nearest nurse with a prescription pad. “At least for primary care doctors, it’s always a good idea to try a couple and find someone you’re really comfortable with,” says Ellimoottil. “That needs to be worked out before you get sick.”

Hit up friends and family
Word of mouth is always an option, says Ellimoottil. But, as with blind dates, this introduction needs to come from someone you trust. Ask your girlfriends or family members if they know any great physicians in the area. They’re more likely to tell you the truth when it comes to long wait times or a not-so-gentle dentist.

Get a referral for specialists
If you already have a primary care doctor you love, it’s wise to get his recommendation for a specialist, says Ellimoottil. Since they’re likely familiar with your insurance and medical history, they have all the information they need to make an informed suggestion.

Use online tools sparingly
If you absolutely must go online to find a doctor, be smart about it. Pay special attention to the number of ratings that contribute to a doctor’s score. “Somewhere between 50-70 reviews would be a safe point,” says Ellimoottil. And feel free to look there for objective information, like a doctor’s education and board certification. But when it comes to the written reviews, take them with a grain of salt.

Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion
Even though it may feel like you’re cheating on your doctor, you shouldn’t feel bad about scheduling consultations elsewhere if you’re unsure about something. “If you have a diagnosis that requires surgery, I always recommend getting a second opinion,” says Ellimoottil.

Trust your gut
Regardless of the reviews, your physician needs to be someone you can trust. “You have to feel good about your doctor, and you have to know they care about you,” says Ellimoottil. Plus, a positive doctor-patient relationship will ensure that you actually go to your annual check-ups. If the chemistry isn’t right, it may be time to dump your Dr. and find a better fit.

photo: Thinkstock

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How to Find a Good Therapist

Two-thirds of depression sufferers don’t experience significant relief from antidepressant medication. Fortunately, new research findings might help improve their treatment. A large scale trial in the UK found that the combination of antidepressants combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is far more effective at conquering depression than pills alone.

Researchers prescribed 469 patients with treatment-resistant depression to one of two regimens: Antidepressants alone, or a combination of antidepressants and CBT. Of the pills-only group, 22 percent reported reduction in symptoms after six months. In contrast, 46 percent of patients treated with the combination of medication and therapy reported a reduction in symptoms. Not only that, but the beneficial effect was maintained over twelve months.

For people who turn their noses up at the idea of therapy, CBT is nothing like the tired cliché of spending a lifetime on the couch, untangling your dreams or exploring your childhood. “CBT is a short-term, goal-directed treatment focused on the here and now,” explains Dorothea Lack, Ph.D., a member of the American Psychological Association and a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. “The therapist works with the patient to restructure negative thought patterns and acquire better coping skills.” Patients take an active role in their treatment, and therapists generally assign homework (which could be anything from journaling to scheduling a positive activity into the week) with the expectation it will be discussed during the next session. “The idea is that sessions build upon themselves to help the patient develop the tools she needs to manage on her own,” explains Lacks. “But the specific sessions will vary based on the individual.”

The get the most out of CBT, it’s essential to find a therapist you feel you click with. Here’s how to get started.

Get a referral
If you’re on antidepressants, ask your prescribing doctor for a CBT-trained therapist he or she recommends. “An advantage of working with a therapist who’s already worked with your doctor is that it may be easier for them to collaborate—with your permission—on future treatment plans,” explains Lack. In other words, if your therapist and your MD often work with each other, it may be easier for your MD to get a bigger picture insight into how your medication is working than if she’s never spoken with your therapist. But if her own referral network isn’t ideal, it’s no big deal—you can always connect them later. Other places to find a therapist include online—therapists.psychologytoday.com has an extensive directory that’s searchable by location, insurance, and treatment modality, meaning you can specifically look up CBT therapists in your area. Another option is to ask your insurance provider for local practitioners.

Arrange an interview
Just because you received a referral doesn’t mean you’re locked in to that particular provider. “In the first session, you should feel comfortable asking just as many questions as the potential therapist,” says Lack. Schedule a quick phone call or a brief office visit where you ask about their training (effective therapists have a range of degrees but all should be licensed by the state), their therapeutic approach, and whether they’ve often dealt with your own particular issue. “Therapists aren’t psychics,” reminds Lack. “It’s essential for you to explain your own goals and expectations so you can get a sense of whether or not you and she are on the same page.” Other stuff to bring up in the initial meeting: What she expects from her patients (such as homework assignments, journaling, or committing to agreed-upon goals each week), how she handles between-appointment communication like phone calls or e-mails, and any need-to-know billing info. Getting the policy stuff out of the way early ensures that it won’t interrupt your treatment once it officially gets started.

Check in with yourself
“You should leave the first encounter genuinely feeling like you trust and respect the therapist,” says Lack. Not only that, but it’s key to pay extra attention to minor annoyances. Since you’re going to be visiting her more often than you would, say, your dentist, an out-of-the-way office or a less than ideal time slot could compromise your commitment to treatment.


photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

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How to Find Your Happy Weight

Even if you’re unhappy with your current weight, your weight loss goal might be more forgiving than your elastic-band pants. According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, the average American woman is heavier than she was 20 years ago—and her “ideal” weight is heavier, too.

Researchers asked a random sample of 1,015 American adults about their current weight and related attitudes. Then they compared the results to data collected from a different sample in 1990. On average, women weigh 14 pounds more than the women polled 22 years ago, and their average ideal weight is now 11 pounds heavier than it was back then.

“If you always see people who are overweight, you begin to think that’s normal,” says Keri Glassman, registered dietician and Women’s Health expert adviser on weight loss. “Then you see someone at a normal weight, and you think they look thin.”

Which makes sense: 60 percent of the people polled said their weight is about right. That’s in spite of the fact that 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, according to a quarterly Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Certainly, some people are content with being overweight. But it’s also likely that many people don’t realize that their perceptions of normal—and healthy—are skewed.

So how can you be sure that your ideal weight is as ideal as you think? Surprisingly, Body Mass Index (BMI) isn’t a good predictor—BMI measures ignore factors such as body type, genetics, and muscle mass.

Your best bet is to think in terms of health and happiness, not numbers. “Just think about the time that you felt your healthiest, when you were eating well without starving yourself,” says Glassman. If you need a number to latch onto, make it your goal to return to what you weighed then. But be realistic: weighing what you did in high school or on your wedding day might not be attainable.

If you can’t recall a time when you felt healthy, begin with the standard formula for calculating the ideal weight for women:

Allow 100 pounds for your first 5 feet, then add 5 pounds for every extra inch. To account for muscle mass, body shape, size, and genetics, add and subtract 10 percent. This is your healthy weight range. So, if you’re 5-feet 3-inches tall, your healthy range is between 103.5 to 126.5 pounds.

“It’s still a very generic number, but the range makes it a little more accurate and a good guideline,” Glassman says.

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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