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How serious would you tell your 30 year old self to be about finding 'the one'?

(101 Posts)
Lastgasp Sat 31-Aug-13 12:05:36

I should say I don't actually believe in 'the one', but there are people we would want to marry/have kids with and people we would not.

I am approaching 30 and have been dating a lovely man for about six months. We have fun, I'm happy, but I know I don't want a future with him. There are reasons but I don't feel the need to unpick them here, as to me they are valid, and when you know, you know IYSWIM.

My question is, how long should I allow a relationship that makes me happy to continue, if I'm potentially missing out on locking down something long term? I frequently read posts on here by women who say that dating/meeting someone just gets harder and harder the older you get. I sometimes worry that I'm fundamentally immature and turning a blind eye to the fact that everyone around me is getting married etc. Should I continue with something that makes me happy until it naturally tails off, or do I need to be a bit more ruthless about finding someone I do feel a future with? This isn't really a biological clock issue as I absolutely don't want kids now, but I think I do one day.

I should add that he's never seemed fussed about marriage/babies etc so I don't feel I'm wasting his time at the moment.

MumblingMummy Tue 10-Sep-13 03:52:14

Bumpstarter sorry to hear about your friends losing their lives at such a young age but yes, you are right, the mortality rate among men is far higher than it is for women.

nooka Tue 10-Sep-13 05:16:56

Here is a nice population pyramid, which shows that there are sightly more men than women until about 40, after which there are slightly more women than men until around about 70 when that starts to widen as men died off so much earlier.

This doesn't take into account prisoners, but will exclude those who have emigrated (I must admit I didn't realise that made my dh and alpha, don't think anyone we know would class him as that!)

I met dh at university and married in my mid-twenties, not sure he was ever the 'one' and we've had some rough times along the way, but I'm very happy now and not just because of my lovely teenagers. Some of my friends thought I was crazy settling without more experimentation, but many of them didn't find their life partners for many years, and then have struggled to have children, which has made them very sad. I think it also leads to a lot of pressure on relationships the later you leave it, because there is more of that 'is he the one' subtext going on, plus at some point people get less picky and perhaps end up with husbands that they know aren't right because they think that 'everyone good has gone' but need a potential father for the children they very much want.

OP, let him go. This guy might be really in love with you and see a future and you don't. How would you feel if the shoe were on the other foot - you were really in love with him, wanted kids with him, but he was only killing time with you until someone better came along and that he had loved previous partners more than you? I don't think you'd like it and I think you're being selfish stringing him along.

Now, if you are NOT worried about kids and marriage, then why not broach it with him. If he feels the same as you, then the two of you can carry on precisely as you are.

Incidentally, I don't think you'll find there necessarily are fewer decent single guys in their late 30s. I'm a single guy in my late 30s and I find there is a dearth of decent single women in their 30s! I do think a lot depends on location.

Lastgasp Tue 10-Sep-13 22:10:50

Voice do you really think I should broach it all with him? Because that just feels like instigating the break up conversation. Or is that what you're getting at?!

MadeMan Tue 10-Sep-13 22:27:05

@MumblingMummy I didn't realise that all those rich bankers that screwed up the economy were Alpha males. shock

I thought being Alpha was all about bodybuilding, tattoos and looking thug.

Lazyjaney Tue 10-Sep-13 23:21:59

I'd tell any 30yo self that they now had about 3 years before it stopped raining men and became a trickle.

Attractiveness changes with fertility, it's a downward curve from early 30s for women, men just straight-line.

MadeMan Tue 10-Sep-13 23:43:27

Men get fatter, balder and greyer than we used to be; doesn't sound like a straight line to me. Plus, we lose our sense of fashion (if we had any) and stop taking care of our appearance.

Some Mumsnetters have commented on this decline when discussing the lack of suitable men over 30.

yeah utter bollocks in my opinion on the women decline men straight line. not my experience at all. certainly not from early thirties if you take care of yourself.

Lazysuzanne Wed 11-Sep-13 00:05:53

Alpha male's are just men behaving in a dominant way. The actual manifestation of that will depend on the circles they move in. Wealthy educated men might become bankers.

Uneducated men with fewer prospects have to resort to thuggish behavior

Lazysuzanne Wed 11-Sep-13 00:08:04

And yes either gender can let themselves go. Fertility may drop off a cliff for women but attractiveness doesn't have to!

perfectstorm Wed 11-Sep-13 00:17:09

I was at a birthday party for uni friends recently, and one of the women quietly commented to a couple of the others how much faster the men were, on average, going downhill than the women. She was not wrong.

It seemed to me that most of the guys were taking no steps to look after themselves and their appearance - the women, obviously, were. The ones looking good for their age, men and women, were the ones who exercised, ate well, got decent haircuts/flattering clothes and so on. Most of the men weren't. And all of us are mid to late 30s.

That little social myth is, IMO, having the opposite effect.

Lazysuzanne Wed 11-Sep-13 00:42:55

Perfect, perhaps men still think that their earning capacity will make them attractive to women?
Not going to cut much ice with women who are quite capable of making a good living.

Plus, single men often seem to go a bit 'feral' after a period of time..or so it seems to me

cuillereasoupe Wed 11-Sep-13 07:43:17

I'm not convinced by Mumblingmummy's stats. 80,000 prisoners is a drop in the ocean population-wise and I'd bet that the vast majority of those men are not in their thirties. Likewise the number of "alpha males" hmm who emigrate.

don't know about 'alpha males' but i do know a lot of the kind of men i'm actually attracted to have get up and go and have therefore got up and gone as i did when i was younger. now being a mother i've ended up very out of that world and the stream of lively, interested people who move around - be it overseas or between cities etc as i used to.

i begin to feel as if i've become asexual i go so long without fancying anyone then i revisit a vibrant city i used to live in or an overseas haunt and find that no, it's all alive and kicking it's just literally that there is a dearth of attractive, interesting, passionate men around me here.

Lastgasp Wed 11-Sep-13 08:21:20

Looking around, I think the average woman holds up much better than the average man in their mid to late 30s. That's not my worry. I'm reasonably attractive but that's never been my "thing" so I'm not freaking out at "losing my looks". I think the reason men especially those who have got to their late 30s without settling down are inclined to go for younger women is because they fear women their own age will want things to progress to children pretty sharpish, which it has to.

I think I overplay this fear in my own head - I worry that if I restart dating as a 30 year old men will just hear "thir..." and freak out that I'm a sperm bandit.

what's a sperm bandit?

Silverfoxballs Wed 11-Sep-13 09:00:50

My friends are all 45 to 55 so we are past our fertile years. Three of my friends have not had dc though they wanted them due to the lack of a man. Two of them wasted years on men who were really just stringing them along and the other kept trying to mould really unsuitable men in to what she wanted. They are really nice women but very much heart over head.

If you are absolutely sure you see no future with this man then I think you should end it. Just be sure the tick list in your head is attainable though. I always knew pretty quickly if a man could be suitable for a stab at a lifetime together. When I met DH I was petrified because I knew it could last. I was 31 when I started dating him and married within 18 months.

DH and I suit each other well because we are both very practical. We do enjoy things but we are at a level of sensible and seriousness that would not be attractive to most some people.

LessMissAbs Wed 11-Sep-13 09:11:34

Ditto in that I know a few very presentable, good company single women in their thirties/forties, but struggle to think of one single man who would fit into this category. Most of the single men fall into the clubbing/drinking/casual drugs/sleeping around culture OR can barely hold down a job/pay the rent on their shared room/rented flat OR physically resemble some kind of Frankenstein's Monster (bald head, big fat neck) OR if they are in any way decent, law abiding and job-holding, are very cynical and seem to think all women are out to ensnare them. That's not even mentioning the women haters/misogynists and control freaks who are impossible to have a decent relationship with.

And the behaviour! From what I've heard from single friends, sending pictures of cocks and inviting them to pop by for a shag to women they've met once are par for the course for many of the single men out there.

Virtually all the decent/nice to know men I know are in relationships.

Fairylea Wed 11-Sep-13 09:29:25

Well I am in my third marriage and I am 33. Yes really. I've led an interesting life and now I feel very old and middle aged smile smile

My first husband was my dds dad (she is coming up to 11). I was on a path to go onto study at oxford and then met my then dh and basically my gran got cancer so I moved her in with us and cared for her till she died. Having my dd in the middle of it all. I think all the stress if it all clouded how unsuitable ex was. We were together 5 years ish. I left him when dd was 6 months old. He just didn't get the whole family thing despite us actively trying to have her.

I then returned to work and met my second husband. He was everything my ex wasn't. Really ambitious, family minded, didn't go out much etc. We were happy for 4 years, really happy. We both worked full time, very senior jobs, had lots of money, but..... I don't think there was ever that crazy in love thing. With hindsight there should have been. We grew apart, we didn't know it really. It just happened. He started going out a lot with new friends, so did I. I didn't like what he was becoming. We could never agree on how to share or spend money.

Then he left me, very cold heartedly said he didn't love me anymore. And upped and moved out in 4 weeks. Went back to his ex before me! Never heard from him again, nor has dd despite him being "dad" for most of her growing up....

I then had a second teenager type phase. My mum was living with us so she was happy to babysit and I went out a lot. Had a fuck buddy for 6 months. Loved him and got very hurt. Shagged his best friend. Gulp. Shagged someone else, totally unsuitable. All a big mess. I was drinking way too much and not sleeping. I was very depressed.

I then had a break and thought about what I really wanted. Was single for a while. Got a different less demanding job. Started online dating.

Long story short, met my now dh and he was and is everything to me..I honestly didn't believe in the one .. but well now I do. We just clicked from day one. We have the same ideals, he doesn't drink at all and I stopped too. We share everything financially and child care wise. We now have ds 15 months and I am a sahm. I financially feel happy... I never ever thought I'd feel that.

I think you don't need to panic. But you do need to thinka about what you want long term. I wasted a lot of time going for the wrong people because I had low self esteem and I didn't really know what I wanted myself let alone in someone else.

I don't think age has much to do with it. Some of my partners have been older. Dh is 8 years younger than me.

Above all, enjoy dating. Its should be fun. And if you don't get the butterflies and want to jump them every time you see them in the first 6-8 months then I'd question it. You want the sparks so when things are hard you can remember them and smile. That's the love that gets you through.

Fairylea Wed 11-Sep-13 09:32:37

Finally feel happy ... not financially feel happy but yes that too !

Fairylea Wed 11-Sep-13 09:32:55

Finally feel happy ... not financially feel happy but yes that too !

Bumpstarter Wed 11-Sep-13 14:35:16

Thank you, fairy lea, for sharing.

Lastgasp Thu 07-Nov-13 21:40:28

An update:

Based on the useful advice on this thread, and talking with friends, I ended it with my BF. But I then realised I was much sadder about this then I expected, and we ended up see each other again, and before you know it we're back to how it was. So now I'm confused, because I do have feelings for him and I love him too much just to walk away, but I still can't imagine a future here.

I don't know if I'm struggling to deal with a new type of relationship, or I'm just reverting to what's comfortable and easy. I've always turned down the nice, loving guys in the past - and then watched them settle down with someone else and make wonderful partners. My preference has always been for hyper-ambitious, very intelligent, and frankly selfish people. My current BF is just normal, but makes me feel happy and secure in a way relationships haven't before. I just don't know what to do. Maybe I'm settling, or maybe I'm just realising I don't want what I think I want?

MadBusLady Thu 07-Nov-13 22:48:22

How long were you split up for? It can't have been long, looking at the dates of the thread. Did you do a lot of going out, concentrating on work/friends etc? It is of course sad when relationships end; that doesn't mean it wasn't the right decision, and it would be all the sadder if you didn't take active steps to fill the gap with something else.

I don't know whether you realise but with your last para you are definitely inviting the "nice, normal guys are better, it's not settling, it's growing up" type advice. I'm not sure I want to give that. Yes, maybe you are about to turn a corner and suddenly see how this man is going to work for you. But it didn't happen in a blinding flash, either when you split up or when you got back together again. So you are, as you say, back to how it was.

What if there could be a hyper-ambitious, very intelligent man who was also nice and made you feel happy and secure?

Pinkpinot Thu 07-Nov-13 23:34:28

I'd just tell my 30 year old self to get to a clinic, get some eggs frozen, forget about men completely and find a donor

At 30 I actually wish I'd thought more about finding someone, wish I'd noticed a few more signs, paid attention to who was paying attention to me, given a few more guys a chance
Instead of settling at 37 and fucking it all up, and now it's too late

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