AIBU to feel hopeless and depressed? :((27 Posts)
I was referred by my cousin who has 3 DC and found mumsnet to be a very supportive place. I know that this is primarily a parenting website, so I hope it's OK to post this question here.
I am going through a lot of conflicting emotions at the moment because I am 2 weeks from my 24th birthday and I have never been in a serious relationship with a man. I've only had 3 brief 'flings', and I haven't ever had sex.
I've always been a serious student and was classed as the 'nerd' all throughout school. In addition to this, I was a very sick child which kept me at home away from people my own age quite a bit.
However, since the past 3 years or so, I have been doing internships and then a postgrad programme. I have had opportunities to interact with men and they have expressed interest in me, but nothing ever works out.
I don't think I am ugly. I am not an obnoxious personality. I don't know what's going wrong? I should mention that I am not a party girl. I don't really go out drinking or for parties very often. This is because I am currently quite focused on trying to get a job and it's a time consuming process. Is that where the problem lies?? Should I socialise more?
I find that I am just not approached by men as much as other women my age and I don't know why that is. I see all my friends in relationships and they seem happy. I find myself wanting the same thing
A close friend told me that I am am 'intimidating' to men because I come across as a 'feminist'. It's true that I am involved in a lot of causes which could be classed as feminist, but I don't go around announcing them and I can't imagine that they would bother someone so much even if he knew about it??
Essentially, I feel like an oddity and I feel hopeless. I very much want to be in a relationship, but it just isn't working out for me.
Anyone got any advice? Anyone been in this situation?
You sound very lovely and possibly a little naive. Don't go looking for a relationship. If it is to happen it will happen when you are not looking for it. Being a feminist is not an issue. You need to be true to yourself and find contentment and happiness in all areas of your life.
I'd say don't force yourself to go out and join in activities you don't enjoy like going out drinking. It won't be fun and feeling uncomfortable isn't going to help.
I'd suggest that you find an activity, e.g. sport, music or drama, that you will enjoy and join a class or group. This will enable you to meet people with whom you have something in common which is a far better recipe for success and you'll have fun into the bargain.
I have at least two friends who took a long while to get off the ground romance-wise, well into their mid-twenties, but both have settled down into relationships/families. I think you don't need to worry what other people are doing- you only need to find one nice person who suits you. It might be worth getting over the nerves and joining a dating agency which is more personal (I would worry that the cut and thrust of internet dating might not be for you) and going on some dates. You don't need to drink on a first date and if you are matched well, hopefully it will be with an interesting person who you can talk to, even if it doesn't end up in major romance.
Mind you, both my friends who ended up with someone did eventually get drunk and throw themselves at someone as I think they started to feel 'odd' for not having done so earlier- there's always that option!
Many many people don't date extensively before they find someone, some do but not all by any means, so you have so much time to find someone lovely, don't worry!
This will sound like a terrible cliché but as soon as you stop looking and turn your attention inwards and focus on making YOURSELF happy then you will find someone.
Don't bother with me, join a gym, get a dog, get out and about and experience life.
The right guy will come along, just be patient. I'm sure you're sighing at my stupid advice but just trust me. I didn't have sex or any relationship till i was 24.
I do enjoy going out and I like having a drink or two with close friends. What I meant is that I'm not into nightclubs and the like. Too noisy
I like the idea of joining a class and I'll look into some options. I'm a bit tight for money at the moment so I'm not sure if I'll be able to afford it.
You sound lovely, you need to find people with similar interests, embrace who you are and don't compare yourself with your more extroverted peers. Lots of men will prefer you and the one you want to be in a relationship with will like you as you are. As for the feminist politics, that may give some men the wrong impression if they assume you're one of the paranoid, man hating ones from media folklore, let them get to know you.
You sound perfectly normal to me but then I work at a university (smile).
You might enjoy a book called "quiet" by Susan Cain which is about the power of introverts and how we do not enjoy mass socialisation at all, but have other ways to do things. At 28 I was in exactly the same boat as you, then my boss introduced to me to a nice thoughtful academic and by 29 I was married.
Definitely agree that finding someone who shares your interests is more likely to work out than going to a nightclub and hoping for the best. It so often ends up being a friend of a friend, because people like you and me prefer to socialise in small groups and talk quite deeply about things, so random hook ups across the room just don't happen.
Don't worry about being serious and academic. Just try to work somewhere where there will be other similar people. I suspect that as the men around you grow up, they will be more interested in a serious relationship.
On classes, they ought to be free to a student if you pick the right provider. Try the adult education branch of your Uni, assuming it has one.
Don't, please, think that because you are bright and lovely but don't fit in with the whole student/post-uni drinking thing that you won't find someone brilliant in the end. I was 30 when I met my now DH. PPs have emphasised doing stuff you enjoy which is great advice. I'd also recommend finding a career you adore - I've been in mine 15 years and it gives me such a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. You've plenty of time, you really do. I think focusing on being with friends you like and letting things happen naturally is the right approach. Others might try and persuade you about internet dating - for me, it wasn't that successful, but I'm a particular type of person and just didn't click with my internet dates.
If there's one piece of advice I would give to my 24 year old self (and wish I could, as well as give her a hug) it would be to focus on the exciting and good things in front of you, travel as much as you can, read and learn as much as you can, and don't discount meeting someone who you think doesn't meet your essential criteria list. My DH doesn't read much for example but is v clever and v funny (and lots of other things I won't make you sick about but which make me v happy). Grasp every opportunity and know that no matter (I am projecting here) how shitty evenings in your bedsit can be whilst eating tuna and bean casserole, things change, often when you least expect it.
Yeah, I wouldn't really be looking for relationship material in the nightclubs anyway if my experience of them as a youngster is anything to go by ;) You are still quite young. Focus on the job search etc and getting established, the right person will turn up eventually xoxoxo.
I echo what other people have said.
Don't go looking for a relationship, just go to things to have fun and enjoy yourself. Do you have any hobbies you peruse? That seems to be where people mainly meet decent men after uni, or thru extended friends and where I work a lot of people are going out with each other as you start each year on the grad scheme as a big cohort. Crazy number of work relationships actually, and they seem to last as there are loads of directors and partners with wives they met on the grad scheme umpteen years ago!
Parties aren't really ideal places to meet new me , but can be good to meet extended friends.
So basically, don't sweat it and worry about 'finding a man' just be yourself, meet friends, go to events etc and have fun.
Seconding (or thirding or fourthing) the comments about not going looking for relationships. It puts too much pressure on and is likely to make you appear a bit needy, frankly.
I don't think you are remotely unusual, you sound like a highly intelligent person who knows what they want from life and these traits will ultimately make you more likely to attract someone like you.
I wouldn't sweat not meeting people in nightclubs: these sorts of relationships tend not to last.
Also not having lots of sexual encounters when you are quite young is not a bad thing. Take it from me. I had a fair bit of silly, casual sex from the age of 15 onwards and it did me quite a lot of emotional damage. You sound well adjusted. Just enjoy doing what you like doing and the right person will come along.
Thanks for the supportive words everyone
I don't have any sisters or cousins and my closest friend is studying outside the UK, so I don't always have advice at hand when I need it. So I think I just needed some reassurance that I won't die a virgin and/or an old maid
I'm looking into joining classes, but so far I haven't found anything affordable even with the student discount. I'll keep looking! Otherwise, I hope that when I get a job I'll have a better chance of interacting with like-minded people. Assuming of course that I ever get a job because it's just so difficult to get a job nowadays
Totally agree with the advice about getting on with your life and enjoying it and men will then come - I've found that to be true.
Try not to worry about being attractive to men. Firstly, I think some women do attract more men - I'm quite a strong (though quiet - I really found that book so affirming, beastofburden woman and I think I and some of my more interesting friends, who do not simpler or pander, are not as appealing to as many men. But you don't want those ones anyway. I had sex quite late by today's standards (one week shy of 21) and only with two men, one of whom is now my DH. I don't feel I've missed out. You only need one, if he's the right one (as Amy March said).
Feeling comparatively old and wise (34 yo) I would say, just enjoy life as it happens, it turns on a dime and is really nothing like what I thought it would be (both bad and good). It is easier as you get older actually as you get more comfortable in your own skin.
Good luck, you sound lovely and all shall be well.
Reading your OP I thought exactly the same as everyone else, that you're not going to meet someone you like going out
to the cattle market nightclubbing if you hate that kind of thing.
You're going to meet them being in places you go naturally.
Pah! 24's nothing
Would you want a bloke who's 'intimidated' by you, that you have to dumb yourself down for? Surely you talk to people as equals, and most would just see you as that, and not expect a passive, Women, Know Your Place partner.
Ach, you'll be fine
(I'll expect an update when you do find him )
Should end parenthesis after beastofburden, sorry!
Don't feel any pressure to go out clubbing if its not for you.
When it comes to meeting people, I think the key is to keep doing things where you will meet new people. My friend wonders why she never meets a man but socialises and holidays solely with her family and a select few friends. A tip I heard someone give is 'never say no to an invitation' I think apply that rule within reason is a good way to ensure you keep meeting new people.
That said - 24 is young! Don't panic, concentrate on enjoying life and having fun and following your interests.
Have a look and go for a few local walks, lots of different people go. If you decide to join its about £19 as a student per year, but a lot of the walks you can just go on for free. At the very least you will get some exercise
Stop pressuring yourself, it will happen.
Agree with other posters in that you sound like a lovely person.
What is it you'd like about being in a relationship? Do you feel ready for serious, settling-down type stuff or is it just that you're worried about being left behind? If its the former have a try at Internet dating perhaps, and you may find that men in their late 20s and 30s are more suited to you?
Don't worry about your feminist ideals 'putting men off' - I'd suggest a man silly/immature enough to think that feminist=man hater is not a suitable match for you anyway.
Do what YOU are interested in, follow your dreams now. I spent my 20s trying to please various boyfriends (despite being a feminist! Doh) and I'll never get those years back. I could have travelled, studied, made progress in my career, had fun with my friends, but I wasted almost a decade trailing round after men and tolerating dreadful gigs and fa cup matches
You've had some great advice already. I just wanted to add that I could have written your post when I was 24. Then I met a man 5 days before my 25th birthday. We've now been together for 8 years and married for 3.
I used to think I was odd but know I think that's how it was meant to be
Another, admittedly unlikely, alternative, is that you may not meet anyone. I think you probably will, but I never did. And I'm really happy.
It isn't the be all and end all, it really isn't.
If you are struggling to afford classes, try volunteering - I do all sorts of interesting and exciting stuff stuff, for free, with the added glow of helping the community.
I'm not sure what activies would be best for meeting people, I'm past that stage ;) but I'm sure your uni will have info on some groups/ activities. What subjects are you studying. Some courses lend very well to voluntary stuff.
Ps I didn't have a boyfriend at uni, I was like you, a bit 'different' and geeky. i met my now dh aged 30.
There's hope, trust me!
I agree with AllanMoore - I met my DH after a couple of failed relationships where I was pretending to some degree, not happy, dumbing myself down, ignoring my own interests to maintain a relationship with a man because thats what I thought success was. So heres my n=4 story!
After a break up I decided to just enjoy being me and being single, and it was amazingly liberating to rediscover what made me tick. I decided to take up a sport again, one that I had been very good at and loved as a child and teen: and when pursuing this met my DH, totally randomly while doing this sport, when not looking or thinking about attracting anyone, had a whirlwind romance (across continents and countries but no visa issues) that ended up with us moving in together in 3 months and together since (over 10 yrs) in a relationship thats healthy, Ive never had to tone down my intelligence, strength, ambition or opinions and can be as much of a geek as I want.
Id say stop looking, take the pressure off yourself and get absorbed in something else, being yourself, find stuff you love to do because you'll probably be much more likely to meet a like minded and compatible soul there than if you dress up and force yourself into a mold and persona that doesn't fit to get a relationship. Don't be afraid or apologetic for being a feminist, having opinions -an intelligent and secure man wont be threatened by this.
You sound really nice, I hope things work out.
Yes yes yes what she said! ^^
I was single (barring a couple of flings) for two years before I met DP and I did more in that time than in the previous decade. If I'd met him sooner I wouldn't have been ready.
We met through a friend, but by chance rather than design. We had met before but he was in a relationship and I didn't really register him, also i met his GF at the time and she was gorgeous and I am not so much so probably had mentally filed him away under 'likes stunning women'!
One of my closest friends didn't have a proper relationship until she nearly 30. She was very career-oriented in her 20s and had specific ideas about what she wanted from a partner. She has now met a lovely guy, introduced via family friends, and they are getting married. He shares her cultural views and she is very happy.
Don't settle for any man just so you can have a man. Relax about it, be happy in your own skin and know who you are before you try attaching yourself to someone else's life. Being in a relationship is one thing - aim to be in a GREAT relationship!
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