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35 and never been in a relationship

(98 Posts)
neverthebride Sun 27-Oct-13 17:09:03

Have n/c for this as frankly, I'm embarassed. I'm 35 and I've never been in a relationship. I've never even been close. I've had sexual or dating-type things but they've always ended fairly quickly. I'm ok confidence-wise and I get male attention when I go out so it's not that I can't meet men or even get dates; it just never leads to anything. Its becoming more and more likely that I'll never experience someone really loving me and that makes me really sad. Everyone always says 'you never know what's around the next corner' and although that's true, I've been hearing that for 15 years so don't hold out much hope anymore!. I spend the years seeing friends fall in and out of love, get married and have children while always staying single. I think most people would think there must be something wrong with me but I can't figure out what it is and my friend's can't seem to suggest anything either. I don't need to be in a relationship at all, I manage perfectly fine on my own but i'd like to love someone and be loved in return. I'm a Nurse so spend all my working time looking after others and it would be nice to have someone to look after me if I needed it, just once. Living on my own and paying all my own bills means i'm often in debt and never have spare cash for holidays etc so feel like I literally work to live. I know FB isn't necessarily a genuine picture of people's lives but all I see is friends holidays, weddings and children and I can't help but feel like a loser. I'm going through a bad bout of depression (unrelated to singledom I think) and although I have friends that care; they're busy with their own lives. I feel exhausted by dealing with everything on my own all the bloody time and just think what's the point?. I've never met someone else my age who's never been loved by a partner. Are there any others out there?.

tinpotted Mon 28-Oct-13 06:51:37

I'm sorry, that must be tough. Have you tried internet dating or have your only experiences been with people you've met when out? Maybe you unconsciously put up barriers from people getting to know you.

I would think that you could try developing a rapport and possibly relationships with people online based around a common interest, which may lead to something. You always hear about people who got together after chatting online for a while. On internet dating sites, there are often forums where people just chat which may be a place to start.

Also, if you can afford it go for a site where you have to pay.

tinpotted Mon 28-Oct-13 06:53:25

Also, I have quite a happy homelife, but also feel a bit inadequate after looking at facebook.

Lweji Portugal Mon 28-Oct-13 06:57:03

Considering the twats some of us have been with, not having been in a relationship is not that bad. smile

Yes, I got married, but whether I have actually been loved by my partner, is another question... Feeling supported, maybe at times. I ended up supporting him in fact, more than anything.

Finding the right person is not that easy.
Make sure you don't lower your standards.

reallyhurtz Mon 28-Oct-13 07:06:09

I have had 4 long term relationships, and i have 2 children. ALL of those relationships are tainted by what happened at the end/after.

i feel massively disillusioned. If people that loved me can treat me like that, then i want no more relationships

i feel empty and umloved as you described

' its better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all' is the BIGGEST crock of shit...

VashtaNerada Mon 28-Oct-13 07:12:12

Maybe internet dating is worth considering, even if it's just to get used to the pattern of dating / find out what you don't want! If you're lucky and find someone you like, great. If not you'll have had a few nice meals out and learnt a bit more about who's out there. Probably not much consolation but I have a friend who didn't have a relationship till 34 and is now very happily partnered up.

Orangesarenottheonlyfruit Mon 28-Oct-13 07:13:22

FB is a load of Keeping-up-with-the-Jones twaddle. when was the last time you saw anyone post, my partner is driving me nuts, why won't they put the washing out/ help with the kids/ stop getting drunk/ give me sex/ stop bothering me for sex etc. You don't because people want to present the best, most sanitised view of their lives.
I am the same age as you and I get heartily sick of the smug posts from people with their perfect baby/ relationship when I know they life is just as much a slog as mine.
Things always look better from the outside, I actually told my husband last night that if he popped his cloggs I wouldn't marry again. Not because he is irreplaceable but because I would like to feel free to travel the world, or even just go to bed when I want without having to consider another's needs. There's a lot to be said for staying single.

VashtaNerada Mon 28-Oct-13 07:13:42

Oh, and my friend who didn't have a relationship till 34 was very nice, attractive and NORMAL. She just hadn't had much luck till that point.

KouignAmann Mon 28-Oct-13 07:16:47

You sound like a nice normal person and having friends who give you honest feedback should rule out the obvious problems like halitosis!
I wonder about barriers you put up. I have been thinking about the spectrum, from those who struggle to form an intimate relationship at one end of the scale, to those who begin affairs despite being married or simply flirt automatically all the time.Is it something inside your head that stops you progressing a relationship or just not meeting the right man or woman for you?

superstarheartbreaker Mon 28-Oct-13 07:23:06

What orangesarethenotonlyfruit said. Im actualky about to embark on therapy due to an early relationship. It was abusive. They are not the be all and end all.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Oct-13 08:21:09

If you can make and keep friends you're able to form lasting relationships. However, if you think you're not worthy of affection or love ('they're busy with their own lives') and if your self-confidence is low that can sometimes come across to others as being aloof or stand-offish. I'm sorry you're experiencing depression.

One thing occurs to me which is that, as a qualified nurse, your skills are highly transferrable. NHS pay-rates may not be high enough to give you a decent lifestyle and a healthy social life but have you thought about relocating overseas? A fresh start in a new environment might be just the ticket.

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 08:31:13

Thanks for all the replies. I know it's not the be all and end all to have had a relationship, expecially when so many people have bad ones but it would be nice to try!. Maybe clutching at straws but it's good to hear of at least one person of a similar age who was in the same situation and is no longer single.

peasandlove Mon 28-Oct-13 08:34:25

my friend's sister <shrug> she was about 38 then met a guy at a course she did and they are very happy together. There was nothing 'wrong' with her either, in fact she's an attractive lady

Willemdefoeismine Mon 28-Oct-13 08:42:57

OP, I was in your situation in my mid-20s..I think I was just rather afraid of men and I came across as being stand-offish (even though I didn't think I was). However, I consciously made an effort to put myself out there and make male friends etc....and to just become more confident around men. It took time but by the time I was 30 I'd kissed some frogs and moved onto the first serious relationship of my life....(who started off as a friend). I had my heart broken over the next few years but finally met DH with whom I have two DCs! In my 30s I certainly made up for lack of previous relationship action but it did take a lot of perseverence on my part to overcome shyness - I read an awful lot of self-help books too!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you but maybe you just haven't felt confident enough to put yourself out there? Also, if you do have lots of good female friends maybe you hide behind those relationships rather than seeking out a romantic one?

Coro Mon 28-Oct-13 09:04:37

I find FB is awful for my self esteem& try to distance myself from it. I too have struggled to be in a relationship. My standoffish ness due to previous abuse makes me come across as aloof and a good friend described her first impression of me as up myself!shock luckily that first impression didn't last.

I'm not sure what the answer is, I just wanted you to know you're not alone.
I have friends who have just fallen together effortlessly& wonder what the trick is that i've missed.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Oct-13 09:06:29

"fallen together effortlessly"

I think truth is that some people fall together 'thoughtlessly' rather than effortlessly.

Longtallsally Mon 28-Oct-13 09:06:35

OP, I used to work with someone who met her drop dead gorgeous hubby a couple of years after she retired at 63!! Not saying that you will have to wait that long, but just to assure you that it happens. She was single all her life, lived with her single sister, and was a slightly eccentric lady filling her time with odd, but harmless hobbies. She didn't follow the crowd, but was true to herself and her interests.

Then she retired, only to reappear at a works do a couple of years later, looking tanned and glamorous, just having returned from a long cruise with her silver haired and very distinguished hubby, who obviously adored her. smile It was quite an entrance!

Nursing is hard because of the shift work, meaning that it is hard to settle into a regular social life and activities. Single life is hard too - I married late and was sooooo chuffed to have someone to put out the bins!! They were the straw that broke my single back everytime. It was a joy to be able to share that task!

You do sound exhausted. Do you manage to get to go away on holiday? Could you book yourself a weekend away or even a day away, as a Christmas treat, and pamper yourself. If you were in a relationship, you would spend time and money on the other person, to keep them feeling good, so do invest some of that time and money in looking after yourself, and think about how life now can be better for you. You deserve it.

(Married life with the wrong person can also be heartbreakingly hard, and the facebook pictures never tell the whole truth - in fact those who post about how happy they are are often trying to convince themselves. )

Pancakeflipper Mon 28-Oct-13 09:33:44

My colleague was 37 and thinking there was no one. She is lovely, attractive,funny,little timid,had interesting hobbies etc. But she would put up an invisible wall around herself if a man showed interest in her. She didn't mean to and didn't realise. Because she wanted to develop a relationship but up would go barriers.

Then on a course she met a man. They lived in different countries but he was determined, it was total love thing for him, and took a year to 'woo' her. Kept us entertained for a year as he tried to break down her invisible wall. And they have been married for 10yrs now and she moved to his country which was a huge thing for her.

Mapleissweet Mon 28-Oct-13 10:38:42

Never ever compare lives on FB. It is a false reality. I often post pictures online of doing happy family and couple things People must think I have the perfect life, but really it us just a snippet of my life. They don't see my dh bickering because of tiredness or me getting exasperated with the children. FB does not give the full picture.

You sound lovely. It must be hard.
Do men see you as being too independent? I think men like vulnerability a little. They want to protect women and feel needed.
But if I'm honest, I know a lot of single girls your age. And the quality of men just does not match. Most good men j suspect have been 'trained' up by their partners!

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 12:00:26

Thank you for the positive stories everyone!. I really don't know if I have any invisible or subconscious barriers. I just never seem to meet anyone suitable or if they are; it never progresses. When I hear about friends or acquaintances being in new relationships I always think but how do they do it? HOW does the rest of the world manage it and make it look easy when I can't seem to do it?!!.

brokenhearted55a Mon 28-Oct-13 12:10:16

I'm 35, had 2 year dating thing on college when I wad 19-21 and since then nothing serious.

I'm so so sick of being alone.

MooncupGoddess Mon 28-Oct-13 12:15:17

I have a friend who had a couple of short relationships but nothing more until she was 37... at which point she met her now DH via online dating and they are very happy together.

Do you have male friends as well as female friends? If so, could you get drunk with one of them and ask their honest opinion?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 28-Oct-13 13:05:21

You sound like a lovely person and I do know people who've been single for ages then just clicked with that one person. It can feel more satisfying if you give fate a nudge so something alters. If you can't afford to move and don't want to change jobs then look at how you spend your spare time, perhaps?

CynthiaRose Mon 28-Oct-13 13:07:44

I'm the same. 37 now and never been in a serious relationship. Lots of friends and stuff, just never happened for me either.

Willemdefoeismine Mon 28-Oct-13 13:36:31

I think you might find it's a lot more normal and usual than you might think, particularly if you work in a very female dominated environment and socialise with like-minded friends - it's just not one of those subjects that is necessarily talked about.....

Pinkpinot Mon 28-Oct-13 13:50:06

I was the same
Then I met dh and I think subconsciously thought it was my last chance
I wish I'd never married him

Anyway, looking back I actually had lots of interest, I just never really acted on it
I was a lot more attractive than I gave myself credit for
I still can't quite put my finger on how come I didn't find anyone. I know with one guy I actually pushed him away because I was scared of the rejection. I wasn't his type, but looking back we could have been really good together, we were great friends.

cleolaineonatuesdaynightinbolt Mon 28-Oct-13 17:12:21

I've also name-changed blush.

I could have written that post, OP, apart from being a nurse and being a different age - I'm 37. It feels like that now that more people are getting paired off, it's getting harder to meet people. My few friends don't even ask me anymore if I've met anyone, neither do my parents sad. When you get to this age and have never heard anyone say 'I love you' or 'I'm in love with you', never having had anybody to hold hands with walking in the park, share Valentines night with, nobody to go to weddings with...it hurts deeply. Never having that special kind of validation. I feel like there's a part of me missing.

Interesting that so many people are saying barriers could be a problem.

I think you should go to your G.P (as I'm doing tomorrow) and get the depression sorted out first, not easy I know, and take it from there.

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 17:46:41

Oh Cleo, I feel exactly the same!. I used to love, love, LOVE Christmas but the last couple of years I haven't bothered to put up any decorations because it was so sad putting them up on my own and thinking I should be doing it with a partner and/or children. Everyone has given up asking me about relationships too which in a way is a relief as it was often embarassing and I'd sometimes find myself making something up rather than admit I was still single. Hugs to everyone on their own for whatever reason x

Upstream Mon 28-Oct-13 18:05:10

You're not the only one. I'm in my early forties and I realised a few years back that I've never been in a situation where my romantic attraction for somebody was reciprocated. confused sad

Have had a gay boyfriend, a player who was only half there. An older bf who was good company but who really heavily guided me in to having a relationship even though I was never physically attracted to him.

Not once have I experienced that feeling of having my affection and attraction fro somebody reciprocated.

and there is nothing wrong with me. I don't have walls up around myself. My 'standards' aren't too high wrt looks (but they are high wrt personality). I'm not awkward, or particularly eccentric. I'm not unattractive or odd or 'high maintenance' whatever that means.

Who knows what it's all about. But I know what you mean when you say you watch friends fall in and out of love, it's something that happens to them every few years. I'm still waiting.

Upstream Mon 28-Oct-13 18:06:36

Everybody's given up asking me too. Like, when you get to forty, it must be obvious that it's too late.... confused

It is a relief but it's also an insult. More a relief though.

Upstream Mon 28-Oct-13 18:10:26

Ps, before I name-change back.... wrt to the barriers. Well, hmm.

I think that people like to assume there's a neat little reason why you're single. That it is down to YOU. not that sometimes it's hard, or that there isn't always a lid for every pot.

I had psychotherapy after I left my x (father of my child) and I don't have barriers around me. I can't make people see me the way I see myself though! I see myself as normal, attractive, content, loving. I am only looking for what I can offer myself. I don't want to date down. I know a lot of people would read that statement and think 'ah bingo' her standards are too high. But it's not to do with height or looks or job or class or any of that shallow stuff. It's to do with common decency and intelligence.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Mon 28-Oct-13 18:17:18

To be honest I think it's just luck - good or bad, that dictates whether or not you meet somebody.

People like finding a reason because they think if there is a reason as to why "you" are single, it won't happen to them, because the same doesn't apply to them.

All the men I know in their 30s/40s who are single - well, you can see why. All the women are lovely though!

Kernowgal Algeria Mon 28-Oct-13 18:20:24

Until a few years ago I'd never had a relationship last longer than six months (and that one was long distance, so probably more like a week in reality wink).

Then I finally met someone while on work placement and we were together for a couple of years. I was so desperate to make things work that I stuck it out for far longer than I should have - he eventually turned out to be abusive. I just wanted a relationship, any relationship. He also never reciprocated my affection, and as a result I subconsciously put my guard up and so we were doubly doomed.

Now I'm free of him I can't really contemplate dating again although I would like to meet someone for companionship more than anything else - something I didn't have with my ex. Just someone to laugh about silly things with, someone to go for long walks with, someone to feel comfortable with.

There's nothing wrong with me either, except that maybe I don't have much confidence. I am also fiercely independent and I think sadly this does put some men off. However I'd also say that if they're put off by that then they're not the man for me.

I'm not going to give you the usual platitudes about "you'll meet someone when you're not looking" because tbh I think it is bollocks. It may be that you don't meet someone. That's life. I think a lot of women are brought up to think that they are a failure if they don't have a long-term relationship (my mum is certainly guilty of this) and it drives me mad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single but society seems to view single women with suspicion.

Terribly sorry, got a bit ranty there confused

Chubfuddler Mon 28-Oct-13 18:22:47

I was with the same man for 15 years and I wonder now we are divorced if he ever really loved me. I'm the same age as you op.

I agree with the others - don't lower your standards. Many many apparently happy people are just settling. Don't be one of them.

Kernowgal Algeria Mon 28-Oct-13 18:23:47

Should have added that I am 36, not that I feel a day over 21...

I think it is also important to ask yourself honestly if you would want any of your friends' relationships. Out of the many couples I know I think there are perhaps two or three whose relationships seem completely solid and based on mutual respect and love. That's not many. So maybe I want the unattainable?

ProphetOfDoom Mon 28-Oct-13 18:45:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NerdyBird Mon 28-Oct-13 18:48:30

I was mostly single until I met my partner. A few short relationships but big gaps in between. I don't know why it was like that for me, and I know two other girls the same. We're all just normal people who would like someone to share their lives with.

I know several men who met their partners later on, two have children. At least one couple met through internet dating. Online dating didn't work for me, although my flatmate has had a couple of relationships from it.

I met my partner through friends in the end, and everything is going well. It's different from how I imagined having a partner would be, for one thing he has children and they live with him full time. I've recently moved in so we are all adjusting.

Do go to the GP if you feel you are depressed.

Chubfuddler Mon 28-Oct-13 18:49:03

All the men I work with are married, and I wouldn't get involved with a colleague anyway. Would be frowned upon.

Kernowgal Algeria Mon 28-Oct-13 18:49:36

Propinquity - never heard of that! Interesting, thanks smile

joanofarchitrave Mon 28-Oct-13 19:03:38

My oldest friend was single until she was 39. She met her husband through a strange set of circumstances to do with her university - she wasn't actively 'looking' exactly. She was reasonably choosy (i.e. not prepared to put up with crap) as everyone should be. Otherwise i can't see any reason why it took so long for her to be with someone. They are very happy.

Working for the NHS there will be a lot of female-dominated times in your life. You clearly want something in your life to change, and who can blame you. Why not make changes in other areas? Would you consider VSO, for example? Or something less dramatic, perhaps HOPE (European health professionals exchange)? Or go all out for a promotion and more money? If you were able to pay the bills and do some of the things you would like to do in life, perhaps things would feel better?

NulliusInBlurba Mon 28-Oct-13 19:06:16

DH's wonderful aunt had her first ever real relationship after she retired from teaching at 65. She fell head over heels in love with a widower, they married, and now twenty years later they're both failing a bit physically but still very much in love. Even though she never had birth kids of her own they have a huge extended family who visit regularly. It really is never too late!

Would you consider psychotherapy, with two goals in mind:
To explore whether you do really want a relationship or not in the long term, or whether you're just currently feeling a bit down because you're in a different situation to the 'shiny happy people' on FB.

If you conclude you do want a relationship, you could look into why this might not be working in practice, and if you are subconscioulsy sabotaging yourself. Or work out concrete ways with the therapist of becoming pro-active in going for a relationship.

If you conclude that, no, you're actually perfectly happy by yourself, you could explore what you could do to overcome your current feelings, and to make practical improvements in your lifestyle. For instance, do you know one or two other people living by themselves who would be happy to come together for Christmas lunch? Or another meal at Christmas? Would it help if you extend your circle of friends, perhaps by getting a new hobby?

All the best, anyway.

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 19:27:57

I am being treated for my depression, it's just taking time.

Its interesting to hear of other women in my position as I honestly don't know anyone with my lack of relationship history in RL.

The question of would I want my friend's relationships is an interesting one as I think with only one or two exceptions I'm surrounded by happy and respectful relationships.

Ive got good friends, a career, pay my own bills etc but I can't help feeling like I'm failing at a fundamental part of life.

Several people upthread have suggested I shouldn't lower my standards and my immediate response was to think 'oh I won't' but then to be honest, this year I've dated two men and finished with both of them as they turned out to be twats (one was verbally abusive when drunk, the other would text 50 times a day but stood me up - twice!). I knew I wanted and deserved better but found myself getting in touch with them again after a few weeks because I was lonely and thought something was better than nothing. I came to my senses again quite quickly but it still scared me that I'd got to that point. I feel ashamed admitting that to be honest.

ProphetOfDoom Mon 28-Oct-13 19:29:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeamSouthfields Mon 28-Oct-13 19:33:23

My partner had never been in a relationship, she was 31 when we got together... We've been together 9 years in January

TwoPeasOnePod Mon 28-Oct-13 19:53:31

My partner is 39, he's never had a relationship further than a few dates/a bit of sex, with very few women. He's been with me for a year now, and it has been a STEEP learning curve for both of us.
As I am 13 years younger, I have three DC aged 6 and under from previous abusive LTR, and live a very different lifestyle to him, and we have struggled at points. He can err on being controlling, simply because he has always been in control, iyswim?

But I echo previous posters in that you should not 'lower your standards' just to be part of a couple. I thinkI am a woman who needs to be enmeshed in an LTR at all times, I have been since I was 15, and still haven't really found who I am. Which is a shame. So you are at a strong advantage having experience of who you are smile

And fuck what anyone else thinks if they are judging you, the idiots! You are clearly an example of a strong and self-possessed woman who is in charge of her life and that is most certainly something to be proud of

TwoPeasOnePod Mon 28-Oct-13 19:58:59

Forgot to add, my DP has found it hard with even the very basics, like cuddling/texting/sharing a bed etc. He's got used to it more now. And although he wouldn't be so hurtful, I know for a fact there have been times he's wished he was still single, just because it is hard and scary to trust and love a person. Whereas you can more or less always rely on yourself.

HappyHugs Mon 28-Oct-13 20:42:49

You sound lovely OP. I am married with 3 little dc but I am very much the exception among my female colleagues, all of whom are in the 38-45 category (including me). I sometimes envy the freedom they have; nights out, holidays, disposable income! I see their FB pages and the gulf between our lives seems huge. Yet I know that they probably look at my life with similar thoughts. The grass is always greener.

I just wanted to share this to show that although you feel the odd one out you're really not. I hope you do fulfil your dreams and meet someone special, but dont wait all this time and go for something less than best. Keep your standards!

HogFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 21:01:07

What are the other relationships like in your life? friends, siblings, parents etc? this can sometimes shed some light.

FairPhyllis Mon 28-Oct-13 21:01:12

As a long termly single woman (almost 32), I hear you OP. But OTOH you have good radar for total twats. Being in a bad relationship is worse than being alone, I think.

Could you look at switching into a different department/specialism in nursing, or look at nursing in a different type of environment? Not specifically so that you could meet someone, but so that you get a bit of a change of scene and feel that something good is happening with your career. It sounds like if one really big and positive thing happened in some area of your life it would give you a boost and spread out to the other areas of your life.

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 21:32:05

Thanks so much everyone for being lovely and giving such good advice. Feel pretty low and this has given me a bit of a boost.

Am looking into a change of scene work-wise and although I'm not anticipating that that will lead to meeting someone, I am hoping it'll make me a bit happier in general.

Some really, really lovely people on this site and you've all helped a lot!.

Willemdefoeismine Tue 29-Oct-13 06:50:06

Good for you Neverthebride.....maybe as well as the change of work scene, which may be good for you in all sorts of ways you can't yet possibly imagine, you should consider a new hobby....

Never say never is my advice....

trish5000 Tue 29-Oct-13 07:10:52

The lowering your standards bit. No I dont think someone should lower their standards as to how a man or woman for that matter, behaves.
But there are some people who will only marry up in a social sense. As in it has to be a professional or whatever. That can be a barrier to some. Not meaning you op or others on this thread.

trish5000 Tue 29-Oct-13 07:17:49

One thing I never see said on this subject, and I do know some men dont like, is a high squeaky voice. I know this sounds terrible writing this. But thought I would brave it. I would suggest that if a woman has this and is in this predicament, for her to think about a few elocution or speech lessons. I am aware that this sounds shallow, but it may sometimes be the only thing being a barrier.So some women may consider it was money well spent.

angelinajelly Tue 29-Oct-13 10:01:52

I don't think a genuine person who was worth investing time and energy in would be put off by a squeaky voice, trish. My voice is a bit on the stupid squeaky side, and I've managed to get around the block a few times.

OP, just wanted to say I have two close friends who were in your position with your history in their mid-30s, and one of them is now in a very happy long term relationship. You aren't the only one in this position, it doesn't make you weird, and you never know what is around the corner. Good luck!

loopyloulu Tue 29-Oct-13 10:14:24

I know of two women who didn't marry/ settle until 35 and each now has 2 lovely kids.

I also have a brother who is 10 years older than you and has never had a 'proper' relationship - longest was 6 months and she dumped him- and he's not weird at all.

Maybe- without knowing you at all- I'd say that you aren't putting in enough effort. (I'd say the same about my brother who tends to have very fallow periods when he just can't be arsed with the whole internet dating scene so doesn't even try to meet women.)

I know it's maybe not a popular notion but I do think that when you get out of your 20s and friends are settled, then you need to treat finding a partner ( if you want one) like a mission, rather than just hoping someone will turn up.

Yes, you might meet someone in a queue at Tesco, or on the train, or plane, but you can still maximise your chances.
In your situation it might mean changing your job to earn more money so you can do more things, like holidays for singles ( not 18-30!), and just getting out more.

You might want to think about- a dating coach! There are several psychologists out there who can help- by getting you to look at how you behave which may come over as stand offish or aloof, or just plain not interested- when you are! It's about changing your body language so you are receptive in any situation where there is a chance you might meet someone.

I'm sure you will meet someone but you need a plan of action!

onlypassing Tue 29-Oct-13 16:01:59

What can the cause be? What do you think is most likely? Do you feel it may be to do with your looks or your personality? Are you just too fussy? Are you looking for someone who is almost perfect? Are you hypersensitive and extremely easily hurt? If anyone has turned you down what reasons have they given? Have you begun to feel warmth for anyone you've met? Do you usually reject them or they you? Do you do or say things which may be off putting? Do you usually want them more than they you, or is it the other way around?
What sort of man would be your ideal? Would you like to be married to or loved by any of the men who your seemingly successful friends are living with? Does the thought of sharing a house with a man and making compromises appeal to you ok? What do you do about meeting men? Is it just internet dating you do?
There just have to be reasons for you still being alone. Try to analyse it and then try to make changes of some kind. Try to do something because right now it's probably the most important thing in your life.

I was unbearably lonely right into my early 30s and became very depressed, had never even walked hand in hand with a girl or even had a single kiss or cuddle! And no sex, of course unless I paid for it. I made some pathetic efforts to get a girl but was always rejected. I felt no-one wanted me, nor did they.
I put it down to having no confidence at all and being under average height. Also, I blushed like mad at the slightest thing. Getting really desperate and hating my horrible life of being constantly lonely and without any love or affection from a nice girl, which I craved, I joined a marriage bureau (do they still exist?). So I'm afraid I had to get a stranger to find a woman for me as I couldn't do it myself. My first date led to marriage and I got love and kisses for the first time in my life! It was wonderful while it lasted.

Could you maybe join a reputable agency where men are actually seriously looking for partners, and those running it are trying to match you, so not just another ordinary dating agency. You'd likely have to pay but it would be worth it. I think you should waste no time in trying this, especially if you would like to have a baby. Singles holidays is another possibility. Don't give up on it!

SwimmingUpstream Tue 29-Oct-13 19:37:36

That thing about the high-pitched voice is a bit stupid really, sorry Trish. I know lots of women who are married but would seem to me to be unappealing in many ways. Boring, vacuous and shallow, bitchy, unattractive, whatever, they all have husbands.

By going down that predictable route of trying to find a reason you offend long term single people I think. The inference is that there simply must be something wrong with you even if you don't know what it is yourself. I think that's rubbish.

HogiBear27 Tue 29-Oct-13 19:40:27

I'm a little younger than you neverthebride and find myself in the same position as you.

I think I'm relatively normal and I am introverted and independent. I did meet someone last year and it was wonderful but brief (No it wasn't an affair). It did catch me completely off guard and given how short it was, has taken me a fair while to get over.

I probably do put up barriers but my feelings never seem to matter so its easier to look after myself. I have been told that I can look angry/sad ao I am trying to walk taller and be more smiley.

I find internet dating hard as I 'grow' on people and I would find it so hard to tell someone if I wasn't attracted to them, I'd feel bad. If last year's disaster showed me anything, it was what chemistry feels like. I too am completely perplexed as to how people seem to meet someone else so quickly after their relationship has ended.It would be lovely to meet someone but I am trying not to let it become the main focus in my life.

I hope you get the treatment you need and maybe making something of a change will be the catalyst for other things to come into your life. Please find the time/small change for a few treats for you smile

trish5000 Tue 29-Oct-13 19:49:45

Just saying that some men dont like high pitched voices. just making a comment. Ask some men you know. See what they say.

ToTheTeeth Tue 29-Oct-13 19:55:54

Some men don't like lots of things. If we all started correcting "faults" because of "some men's" preferences we'd never finish.

Swimming has it, lots, in fact most, of unattractive, horrendous, boring, socially flawed people have relationships. These things are not complete barriers to relationship. The issue is more likely going to be the OP putting up very strong walls, or having unrealistic/misaligned expectations. I know a lovely person who is still single and always has been at 32. The reason - as far as I can see - is that she's fundamentally dishonest with herself about what she wants.

SwimmingUpstream Tue 29-Oct-13 20:01:24

shock Ask some men I know! as in, ask them what's wrong with me, ask them if I'm single because of my voice confused That is as ridiculous as it is offensive. And if it were the case, then what? have a few vocal chords removed? hmm Then would I be good enough to get a man?

Would I want to be with a man who'd reject me on the basis of my voice being too high pitched? I'm looking for a compatibility that I can enjoy, knowing that the person is decent, kind and clever.

Just because you're married trish5000 doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with you. Maybe you should ask some men you know. See what they say.

TweedWasSoLastYear Tue 29-Oct-13 20:03:24

want to meet men socially but without the awful pressure of speed dating or a singles night < shudders > ?
Buy a road bike and join a club . Honesty . There isnt the danger with internet dating, no disappearing men , cheaters , players or nigerian con men. There should be some single men who arnt overweight and available. I know its difficult to find childfree time at the weekends but you might enjoy it , its healthy and a social group ride is safer than going out alone .

SwimmingUpstream Tue 29-Oct-13 20:05:09

ToTheTeeth said it better than I did.
It would be an endless and pointless work in progress to start trying to be what some average faceless man we don't know yet might want.

DioramaLyte Tue 29-Oct-13 20:14:33

I'm like you, OP - 37 and never had a relationship, only an on-off FWB thing (I would have liked a relationship with him, but he wasn't keen).

I do worry that even if I did meet someone now, he'd be scared off by my my lack of experience, assuming I had major ishoos. In reality I'm just very low in confidence; always aware that the world is full of better women than me, so why would anyone want me?

Anyway! Sorry to digress into self-pity. As this thread shows, we're far from alone.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Tue 29-Oct-13 20:36:03

Rather enjoyed the suggestion about trish asking men what was wrong with her.

Go on Trish - if it's good enough for the op ... grin

sleeplessinderbyshire Tue 29-Oct-13 20:41:37

Friend of mine is in a similar situation and actually wrote a book about it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Single-Minded-ebook/dp/B00D86OWX4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383079204&sr=1-1

I've not read it yet but bit has good reviews

Isthisstormcomingorwhat Tue 29-Oct-13 21:02:45

Two of my closest friends who are both early 30s have never had relationships. They are both close friends of mine and have many good qualities. One of them is however quite awkward around men and also works and socialises in female-dominated environments. I think she might give off stand-offish signals to men.

The other one ..... Well she has had offers from some guys who sound like very decent guys but always turns them down (normal reason is she doesn't fancy them). The guys she seems to want are the bad ones, who don't want to treat her well.....

But it doesn't sound like this is the case with you. Good luck

trish5000 Tue 29-Oct-13 21:16:22

I'm married weneed. But yes, I try to know what he likes about me and what he doesnt. Then I choose to change things or not. Some yes, some no, or else gradually. Works to a certain extent vice versa as well. I dont want nasty surprises further on, and neither does he. Been married 25 years.

Auntidote Tue 29-Oct-13 21:44:24

Another long-term single woman (37).

Please don't feel you have "failed" or you "ought" to be with someone to "succeed". Society's massively couple-centric but ignore that: what other people do is up to them.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Tue 29-Oct-13 22:19:48

I know you're married trish but that's just it - you wouldn't ask random men what they thought about you, would you? But it's ok for the OP to do so? I see the point you're making but it's unlikely to be something simple or straightforward, to be honest it's unlikely to be anything other than bad luck, just as its good luck you met your husband and have a presumably happy marriage.

EBearhug Tue 29-Oct-13 23:00:44

Early 40s. Similar story. Pretty much given up hope, certainly of having children.

Actually, I'm mostly quite happy being on my own and doing my own thing, and I found on a group holiday recently (with total strangers), I do need time alone, because I'm used to it. But I'd quite like someone to take the bins out and do the vacuuming from time to time, and I definitely miss sex, and it'd sometimes be nice to have someone just asking how my day went.

I'm not going to meet anyone though, as my social life is pretty much non-existent these days, and the few parties I get invited to tend to be for 4 year olds.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 29-Oct-13 23:07:45

Not every man who's unattached is confident and sure of himself. Over time I've known some shy men who on being asked why they hadn't chatted Miss X up let alone asked her out, replied they thought she'd already been snapped up, so wouldn't approach her. Grown men, accomplished, amiable, sometimes professionals, not gauche clumsy teens.

So much is luck. If you meet someone and don't seize the chance, that might be the only time they're in your town in that place, off duty or on that particular shift pattern, with those friends, in that pub or at that show.

neverthebride Tue 29-Oct-13 23:35:40

Thanks for all the replies and the advice. I will take it all on board because if I didn't; why would I have posted?.

I agree that it's hard to meet anyone decent in your 30s and I am trying. Really!.

I honestly don't think I'm doing anything wrong and can't think the lovely ladies who were brave enough to admit they're in the same boat as me are doing anything wrong either.

We all know people who are 'aloof' or 'very independent'or are ' needy' or 'high maintenance' or 'silly' or 'annoying' or don't conform to what society thinks is attractive or have high pitched voices or WHATEVER. And we all have ishoos because that's life and we probably know lots of people with ishoos that still have someone that is in love with them so although I accept that as a possible contributory factor, I don't think it can be the whole story.If I was being blunt and unkind; I'm sure we all know utter twats that have someone to love them:-).

For those of us in this lonely boat. It just hasn't happened for us and it's shit isn't it? I won't repeat the clichés I've (and you) have heard before but it's meant a lot to me to know I'm not alone xx

trish5000 Wed 30-Oct-13 07:51:48

I agree with most of your post weneed, except for the asking bit. I am a bit bolshy. So yes, I would have started asking past about 28. In this day and age when people are marrying about 3 years later than they were back in my day, probably about 31 I would ask. And ask my friends and acquaintances too. I dont think it hurts to ask. [I gave up pride a long time ago. I realised that having pride was me stopping myself doing things in life I needed or wanted to do. So I try and push through pride as much as I am able. I realise I am not everyone].

Good luck op. It is indeed a bit of a lottery. And fwiw, I sometimes think there are not enough nice men for the nice women. I did come to think that if Iwas in yours and others boat, that I might take a part time job in a garage service station or another suitable man place. Lots of men of all ages use those. Just a thought. And where I am, there always seem to be jobs available at those. Maybe the pay isnt too good. The hours might be evenings, but that is the time that men may be filling their cars up. Just a thought as I say, and may not be at all suitable for you neverthebride.

You sound lovely btw. And I too, and probably others do know single lovely people. And I get a bit stumped as to why they were not snapped up. I know a couple of lovely single men too. They now go round in a group together and I think wouldnt it be lovely if they paired up. Just randomly thinking now, perhaps there are other groups like the one I know in Britain as well. Hmm.

Kernowgal Algeria Wed 30-Oct-13 10:16:53

I do worry that even if I did meet someone now, he'd be scared off by my my lack of experience, assuming I had major ishoos. In reality I'm just very low in confidence; always aware that the world is full of better women than me, so why would anyone want me?

My ex used my lack of experience in relationship as a stick to beat me with, as it were. But he was a horrible person, and any decent person would put in the effort with you, because you are worth it, despite what you think. As someone said upthread, so much of it is luck.

I've been thinking about my single friends vs my coupled-up friends, and they are a really mixed bunch. There is no single trait that defines them and provides a reason for their singledom. Though weirdly enough it's the men who are needy and desperate to meet someone, whereas the women are hardworking and independent and would like to dip their toe in the water, despite what dating stereotypes would have us believe.

I'm just not bothered enough to try to find someone at the moment. But I despair of friends who pity me for being single. I'm generally pretty happy with my lot!

trish5000 Wed 30-Oct-13 11:03:56

I have been thinking some more too. The single men I know. I would say that they do have a bit on common with the film Failure to launch. They are a little bit homebirds, a little bit mummys boys. I think they could have been prised out earlier in life, not quite so sure now that they are in their 40s. One of them has elderly ailing parents to care for. Perfectly decent chaps though.

MooncupGoddess Wed 30-Oct-13 11:14:13

"Though weirdly enough it's the men who are needy and desperate to meet someone, whereas the women are hardworking and independent and would like to dip their toe in the water, despite what dating stereotypes would have us believe."

Yes, this is my experience too! The statistics show clearly that marriage is better for men than for women in various ways, so it's not really surprising. The popular stereotypes are just very wrong.

trish5000 Wed 30-Oct-13 11:25:47

I think, broadly speaking, that women have changed attitudes in the last 35 years, men not so much. So there is a mismatch.

struggling100 Wed 30-Oct-13 14:48:26

First of all, you are not a loser. You're an extremely successful, independent woman with a career you're devoted to - who has the courage and resilience to go it alone. Hats off to you girl!

Secondly, I do think that relationships come at different times for different people. The fact that you're single isn't a sign that anything is 'wrong' with you! Nor is it a sign that you'll always be independent and living by yourself. It's just where you are right now. And it's not uncommon or 'wrong'!

Thirdly, do not underestimate the way in which depression can make a supermodel feel ugly, a genius feel stupid, and a vibrant, fun nurse feel worthless and alone. It's a horrible illness.

MadeMan Wed 30-Oct-13 14:55:09

I'm surprised anyone has time for a relationship these days.

In the old days you got up, had breakfast, went to work, came home, had some dinner and went to bed.

Nowadays you get up, check facebook/twitter, have breakfast, go to work, check facebook/twitter, come home, go down the gym, check facebook/twitter, have bath, have dinner, check facebook/twitter, walk dogs/cats, watch telly, eat snacks, check facebook/twitter, read a chapter of book, check facebook/twitter, go to bed.

Leopardprintsock Wed 30-Oct-13 17:03:21

Just wanted to add OP, that i dont for one second think its you. I too am 35 and have been single for 5 years. Im aware its not quite the same, but its still a considerable lenght of time. People who know me are baffled by it while people on forums have generally told me it must be my fault in some way.
Its not.

People just like to look for a reason its your fault, that way, if it ever happens to them, they wouldnt end up like you as they would do x.

Its very hard to meet people as you get older, the avaliable pool of decent men becomes smaller and smaller. I dont have any advice but wanted to just show my support.

Purple2012 Wed 30-Oct-13 17:35:20

I could have written your op 5 years ago. I too had sexual/dating or short term relationships and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. The truth was nothing. I just had to meet the right one. 5 weeks after my 35th birthday I got together with someone I had known for years at work. Now I am 40, been married for 2 years and have a stepdaughter. In the main I am happy although had to accept I won't have a child of my own which I struggle with a bit sometimes but I am happy with my life. I never thought it would happen for me and with all my short term relationships I always hoped it was the big one and I would alter my behaviour with my husband I never had to do this. It was just right.

onlypassing Wed 30-Oct-13 17:42:35

Its very hard to meet people as you get older, the avaliable pool of decent men becomes smaller and smaller

Yes, but lots of separated and divorced men constantly emerge from the woodwork (often with baggage, of course).

catameringue Wed 30-Oct-13 18:00:22

I've known a couple of men who found their first partner at that age, after barely having even dating experience. He met his partner on a dating website. Had a lot of dates until they met.

I have a female friend slightly younger who I don't think has had a relationship or met someone yet. I haven't discussed it with her as she never raises it.

I guess I'm just adding examples of people I know in a similar position.

I think it's quite hard meeting people these days without additional efforts such as internet dating etc.

Leopardprintsock Wed 30-Oct-13 18:12:18

onlypassing - this is true. It depends on how the divorce went/ for what reason... and when they are ready. Lots of men will automatically jump on anything as an ego boost.. they are not great for a relationship.
or lots cheat and thats the reason they are divorced... again, not great.

CoatLover Wed 30-Oct-13 18:25:42

onlypassing they are looking for younger women though. Maybe I'm being pessimistic about men despite being a positive person in other aspects of life. I am in my early forties and just don't expect men my age to notice me. Despite looking well for my age in my opinion. I just couldn't face going out with a man a decade older than me. I tried it once. He was nice, but just seemed older than me, that was always there. I guess I'd rather be single than be with somebody old. Bah! it's something I just push to the back of my mind now. No point hoping or looking or waiting to meet A Man. There's just no point. Too late. Forget about it and just get on with life.

onlypassing Wed 30-Oct-13 19:08:33

Coatlover You may be right in some cases. Didn't think of that!
But I really do think you're wrong about your ability to attract men of your own age. If you look reasonably good for your age I think there are lots of men in their early 40s who would find you attractive and would want you. Lots and lots!
If you can just forget about it and 'get on with life' you must have some fascinating interests to take up your time. (I have some too, but very lazy about pursuing them.)
Because, to many people, what you're 'forgetting' about is a major and crucial part of their life!

Leopardprintsock Wed 30-Oct-13 19:16:01

its a better way of dealing with it than beating yourself up over something you cant really do anything about though, isnt it.....

Theres also a world of difference between men finding you attractive and actually wanting to commit to a relationship. More often than not older, divorced men want to play the field and relish their new found status.

Mumpire Wed 30-Oct-13 19:23:21

I think that's so true leopardprintsock.

Have no interest in going out with somebody for 5 weeks only to then find myself dumped for no reason other than there are hundreds, no thousands, of other women out there.

ManofMystery Thu 31-Oct-13 20:02:10

OP, you sound utterly lovely so don't think you have anything to worry about. It's all been said but I would focus less on having a relationship and more on taking up some hobbies and being happy. You will naturally meet people and every guy is attracted to confident, happy women!

WearingAnUmbrellaHat Thu 31-Oct-13 21:35:53

My bf who I have been with for 5 months is 33 and before me had never even been on a date. Never kissed a woman let alone anything else. He had given up home but then he met me and I corrupted him. We have got loads of plans for the future now. Your friends are right, their is a lot of chance that you will meet someone even though it might seem unlikely right now.

onlypassing Thu 31-Oct-13 21:37:36

every guy is attracted to confident, happy women

I've never needed a woman to be confident or even happy to be attracted to her. In fact, I'd probably feel better if she was shy and a bit unsure of herself.
And if she was unhappy I'd love to try to make her happy and make her life nicer, with me, of course!

ToTheTeeth Thu 31-Oct-13 21:43:02

Umbrella he'd never kissed a woman? How is that even possible? I don't know how to put this politely, but did you have to overlook a lot of superficial flaws to get with him?

ToTheTeeth Thu 31-Oct-13 21:44:02

Onlypassing do you realise what a creepy thing that is to say? Your preference is for a shy and insecure woman, and if she's unhappy all the better!

ManofMystery Thu 31-Oct-13 22:36:41

Onlypassing, it was a generalisation. Different strokes etc but my point was purely that is the OP appears happy and confident, she will naturally swivel the heads of many men. Course it would be a huge turn off for you!

onlypassing Fri 01-Nov-13 00:28:39

Far too much can be made of the importance of so called 'confidence'. What is it exactly?
In my experience it can often be simply a quiet smugness and rather too much self satisfaction, often for no particularly good reason. It can often merge into arrogance and a sense of superiority over others.
Factors which are actually down to the purest of pure chance and the luck of the genes, such as beauty, handsomeness, intellectual ability, a stable and happy upbringing with loving and successful parents and relatives, and no history of serious medical problems to inherit, are all are hugely important in this respect.
There's a much greater likelihood that a child from such a fortunate background will grow into a confident and happy adult than a child who has not had the luck of the draw. There's just no comparison when you weigh the advantages of one against the other.
Some people who are very proud and pleased with themselves, don't realise that some others might well regard them as smug, selfish twats, far too full of themselves, their opinions and their importance to anyone else but themselves.
The development of confidence in oneself is a great thing, of course, especially if you have struggled to achieve something and succeeded in the end. But, as I said, an air of confidence can often be nothing more than unjustifiable pride and arrogance, i. e. a total turn off to me.
Mo Farah seems to be a great example of a man who is confident but humble with it. That's the ideal, I'd say.

And yes, of course it's lovely to be with people who are happy and have sunny natures. I only said that I wouldn't mind if a woman wasn't happy, say she was lonely, for example. Just as long as I felt I, with the affection and caring I gave her, could make her happy again.
But saying that apparently turns me into 'a creep' acc. to a poster above. I notice that some women never seem to tire of using that term about men.
Now I wonder what term I'll use for selfish women I don't think much of...

Leopardprintsock Fri 01-Nov-13 06:54:48

and there we go......... example of why its harder as you get older.......

Mumpire Fri 01-Nov-13 14:03:12

Well, there is a difference between confidence and arrogance even if you don't understand it!

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