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to worry a bit about my generation?

(29 Posts)
CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:04:24

I'm 32, married with 2 children.

Before anyone points it out I fully agree that being married/having children are by no means essential or even desirable for many people.

However I do think that society is still very much structured under the assumption that most people will have a long term partner and children and that if you don't fit that mould for whatever reason then there is danger that as you get older the potential to feel lonely and left behind is quite large.

I do think that as time goes on it will become far easier for people to lead single/childfree lives and that can only be a good thing.

Out of my all the people know, born in Ireland in the early 80s only I and one other couple are in a relationship. AIBU to find this a bit worrying because as time goes on the potential to find someone/have children will fall rapidly and many of my contemporaries might find themselves very lonely in their 50s?
I think we're in the process of shifting towards new ways of living, brought about by longer life spans, greater freedom and different attitudes to work and that's inevitable and ultimately positive. But I do feel my generation are likely to be casualties of this process of transition.


gordyslovesheep Sat 29-Mar-14 11:09:30

did you find your 20's lonely? I don't see a massive difference between being single at 20 and at 50. Plus loads of 'lonely' 50 year old means lots of 50 year old to go out on the lash with

I think you are way over thinking it and also assuming being married and having kids means you wont be lonely - your kids might hate you grin and your husband/wife might die at 49

being single doesn't = being lonely at all - trust me grin

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:15:50

I've been with my dh since 19 gordy!

It seems like there is less potential for socialising in your 50s gordy but I'd be pleased to find that's not the case as that's probably the next time I'll get to go out

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:18:10

What I see happening is that parents die, siblings scatter around the world and my generation are left without family. Perhaps there's already the potential for friends to fill that role?

Squeegle Sat 29-Mar-14 11:19:45

Take your argument to its logical conclusion! If lots of them aren't settled down, then there will be plenty of choice :-)

gordyslovesheep Sat 29-Mar-14 11:21:20

Family are not the only source of support - friends play a massive part in peoples lives.

I am 43 and yes I still manage to socialise on a regular basis with like minded old people grin

I am also single - and happily so. I don't see it as my childrens role to 'look after' me or entertain me in my dotage - I am an adult!

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:25:27

True squeegle although I think my generation will lose out on that front as just enough people will settle down between now and 40 that the people left behind will struggle. I think perhaps future generations will have adjusted better and be more structured to ensure single/child free people don't feel left out of society.

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:28:11

That's good gordy. I hope that's the case for many people.

Do you have any worry that as you get older the lack of family connection will be a problem? Or do you feel as though your friends will be an enduring source of support?

EatShitDerek Sat 29-Mar-14 11:28:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gordyslovesheep Sat 29-Mar-14 11:31:17

OP without being rude, you seem to have gone straight from the family home to your married home with little in between. It would be natural for you to therefore think 'family' was all there was to life

many people don't do this - they leave home, they have adventures, work, make friends, buy houses, have fun THEN get married and have kids OR choose not to don't

Because they have put the time into building a life outside of 'family' it probably isn't as big a deal as it seems to you

gordyslovesheep Sat 29-Mar-14 11:32:26

well my two closest friends have been there through thick and thin for over 30 years so I am guessing they will be for 30 more grin

Grennie Sat 29-Mar-14 11:32:33

I have lived with my partner for over 20 years.

Statistically, the happiest people are those who choose to be single and do not have children. If all those people you know have chosen to be single, many of them will be happier than you.

Grennie Sat 29-Mar-14 11:34:54

And less potential for socialising on your 50's! I am in my late 40's, many of my friends are in their 50's. Lots of them socialise loads. They are out 3 or 4 nights in the week, and at the weekends. Not all people in their 50's sit in watching TV every night.

AnotherFurry Sat 29-Mar-14 11:36:03

I think the opposite in that there are so many more opportunities for people now who may choose to be single and or not have children. There really is no need to be lonely, with the internet you can easily find groups, social events and holidays for single people or those in relationships that also want to pursue their own thing as well.

So yabu to have a narrow perspective to think that having a partner and children is the only thing that will make people happy and not feel lonely.

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:37:03

I've done the travelling thing etc. I just haven't had many relationships.

What I see among my friends is a sort of boredom with the single life and a fear that children won't happen for them. Perhaps they will all just suddenly start settling down and my worries will be unfounded. But if that doesn't happen it's reassuring to know that it won't be a problem that there's plenty of support for them.

I am influenced by my own experience naturally.

Squeegle Sat 29-Mar-14 11:38:36

I would love to have more family around, and while it would be ideal to have a great partner who I have fun with, I have to say that at 48 and single I am much less lonely than I was with my XP.

There are plenty of people around in all states of relationships and all kind of ages. I actually think the Internet has made it a lot easier to meet similar people. So I do think YABU really. It's not all downhill after 40 you know!

EatShitDerek Sat 29-Mar-14 11:38:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:40:03

Furry I never once said that having a partner is the only thing that will make people happy. In fact if you would read the OP you will see I said I don't think that.

Squeegle Sat 29-Mar-14 11:40:26

Btw if your question had been about having children earlier I think that's reasonable. I know quite a few people who got swept up with the jobs/career/ having it all thing. And then realised it was getting a bit late for kids.

JassyRadlett Sat 29-Mar-14 11:40:27

I can see what you're getting at - but honestly, my mum in her 60s has a better social life than I do, and more single friends.

AbbeyBartlet Sat 29-Mar-14 11:41:28

I think our generation is incredibly lucky. We have the choice in how to live our lives, we don't have to settle down, get married, have children etc unless we want to. It seems like most people do settle down at some point but with divorce etc there are plenty of people in their 50s and 60s, with grown up children, who are single and have a great social life. And being alone doesn't necessarily mean lonely - i am single, child free and independent and don't feel the need for a social life. Perhaps our parents' generation were less free to make those choices, but they made it possible for us to.

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:42:16

Of course not squeegle! I can't bloody wait for 40. I might get a full night's sleep.

CailinDana Sat 29-Mar-14 11:49:18

Part of it is entirely personal of course - I feel my life and the lives of my friends have diverged massively and I see things from a different perspective to them. Because I love having children so much I feel sad they may miss out on it, but that's total projection on my part.

MojitoMadness Sat 29-Mar-14 11:51:05

I don't think being single in your 50's necessarily equals being lonely in your 50's. My mum and dad divorced when they were in their late thirties. My mum went on to have another relationship very quickly (was actually having an affair but that's not relevant), my dad has been single ever since. He's 57 now, and is happier than he's ever been! Far, far happier than he was when he was married to my mum.

He was a single parent to my sister in his early forties, and that was hard for him. But since she's grown up and left home, he's discovered all the things he was never able to pursue when married (for whatever reason).

Growing up I always thought he was a "man's man" you know the type. He's actually far from it, he's discovered his love of art, goes to art galleries and buys expensive paintings. He's a fantastic cook, cooks great dishes now. He loves classical music (something my mother hates) and frequently goes to classical concerts. He's dragged my sister and I along on a few occasions and now we're quite partial to it too. He goes on far flung holidays with friends to watch the Grand Prix all over the world, something that was never an option when my mother was around. He has his house the way he wants it, answers to no-one and lives how he likes.

He's as far from lonely as you can be, I'd say he was far more lonely and repressed when he was with my mother than he is now. The best thing she ever did for him was have an affair and leave him.

AnotherFurry Sat 29-Mar-14 11:54:49

That's the point though you can be surrounded by lots of family but still feel lonely. It's about the people you choose to interact with and they can be family but often also friends and acquaintances which can change as you go through life.

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