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To feel that my life has been wasted

(15 Posts)
Treaclecats Tue 27-Oct-15 17:34:13

I have lurked on Mumsnet for long enough to know that these threads rarely turn out well, with one half scolding and urging you to do things you just can't do and the other half informing you that you should be ecstatically happy because things could be worse!

With that caveat that I am firstly, relatively content most of the time and also that I am a happy person by nature (parents used to say I had a naturally "sunny" temperament, which is nice smile) I'll say what I don't think about all the time but creeps into my mind during my darkest moments.

I've never been in a relationship: nor, at my age (mid thirties) do I see this ever happening. I haven't been in a relationship in the past because of a variety of different reasons - bullying at school (from boys, not girls) led me to believe I was unattractive and also I suspect something happened in childhood or adolescence or both, as my brother (similar age) has also never been in a relationship, which is pretty unusual. I've had counselling but while I was able to identify why being in a relationship had never happened in the past, I suspect I just came to it all a little late. At any rate, the things people typically suggest get me nowhere (failed miserably during many attempts at online dating, including match, guardian, singlefriend and plentyoffish, so have tried extensively!) - I have given up, now.

I believe I can still be very happy and I spend time indulging my hobbies and seeing friends and I have in many ways a very nice life.

But, when I feel a bit low or sad, which for all sorts of reasons I do today, I do feel an aching sense of loss that I have never been loved or experienced love. Some of my friends have done some lovely things including travel, romantic weekends away in beautiful areas of the country, indulged hobbies and interests as a couple (always more pleasurable, I feel) and even things such as taking a walk or watching a TV show are made "nicer" by the addition of one more person.

I realise bad relationships can be horrible, of course, but I do feel sad and a real sense of loss at something I've never truly experienced and something I can't fully understand.

I am interested in your replies - but please don't tell me that being single is worse than being in a bad relationship as I do know this and have supported one friend in particular through a horrible domestic abuse situation - but my thread isn't about that.

StarTravels Tue 27-Oct-15 17:51:41

I think you're a bit young to be writing off the possibility of meeting someone in the future. Loads of people have no luck at online dating.

I would keep at the counselling to help with your self esteem.

FeckTheMagicDragon Tue 27-Oct-15 17:56:32

I feel for you. I think sense of loss when you are sad is the basic human need for someone else to give you a hug and share your life. Yes, we can get along, often quiet nicely, without a partner. And TBH I sometimes daydream about how nice it would be not to have to compromise on stuff, or deal with the inconveniences living with someone can entail.

Is it the lack of physical intimacy or emotional intimacy that you would want most?

Treaclecats Tue 27-Oct-15 18:05:42

Both, truthfully. In a sense, it is easier having never experienced it, I suspect - in the same way someone blind since birth can only vaguely appreciate what it is to never see and adapts their life accordingly, I have done so.

Counselling isn't possible due to financial restraints; I included that information because I thought someone would suggest it and did not wish to be accused of drip-feeding.

April2013 Tue 27-Oct-15 18:39:21

Maybe you should try non online methods just to see if it works better for you? Maybe try doing some random non online things eg voluntary work, join a cycling club (have heard these are good places to find nice men), also would you ask your friends if they know of anyone they think you might like to perhaps set you up with? Then there's the First Dates TV programme - you could brave applying to go on that. I know these are fairly out there ideas so not sure if they are any good, I think meeting people through friends or whilst doing something with friends is probably more realistic and maybe easier\higher chance of success. I think you have plenty of time and it is no bad thing to not have gone out with people you don't like or fancy or who don't like\fancy you, my exes fall into these categories, I think a lot of people dont think that highly of most of their exes. Perhaps you just haven't met the right person for you yet. Then there's the stop looking and they will appear approach but I have never been a believer in that - I think you need to be proactive and theres no shame in that. Good luck!

Treaclecats Tue 27-Oct-15 18:44:38

Thanks, April

However, I'm not really looking for advice on how to meet someone - I do think that ship has sailed and most of the time (most!) I am OK with that. I probably misled a bit sorry - I haven't just done online dating, it is just that unless you explicitly mention it people do tend to assume you haven't yet tried it and urge you to give it a go and you will soon meet someone - it didn't work that way for me.

In theory I have time to meet someone but not to meet someone and have a family with them. Remember, I have not yet been in a relationship.

I'm posting because I feel sad at all the things I've missed out on, all the things that I have never experienced. I'm moving on to new things now, but I do feel just a little sad that this is part of life I won't get to enjoy.

April2013 Tue 27-Oct-15 19:09:40

Ah sorry, there a lot of people who are doing children first then finding a partner later, a wonderful thing potentially to release the time pressure and get on with getting what you want out of life - I saw an article in the Guardian recently about Dutch women apparently increasingly doing this. Plus I am sure a lot of women have at your age met someone then had years together then had children with them. I totally understand your sadness about it, I guess the whole package of meet someone, fall in love, start family and stay together, although our cultural ideal is not that common, so you are not alone in that sense. In my mind my rubbish exes were not a positive way to spend my time so I don't think it is such a bad thing to have not wasted your time on people that were not right for you, I don't see much difference between someone in your position and someone who has had lots of relationships but single and looking for someone better than the exes.

jiskoot Tue 27-Oct-15 19:14:37

Apologies in advance if this is a long reply, your post could have literally been written by me a couple of years ago.

I'm 39 and up until last year had never had a relationship, or a boyfriend or anything. I, like you, was convinced it would never happen and had resigned myself to being alone forever. 95% of the time it didn't bother me....but the 5% was when I felt so incredibly lonely, I just wanted someone to do stuff with. I'd tried every single online dating site known to man, went on a speed dating night (the most horrendous experience of my life), I tried doing evening courses, lurking in supermarkets on a friday night, chatting to random strangers...everything and nothing worked.

My best friend was/is in the same boat and has never had a partner and she's in her mid 40s. She's decided she's perfectly happy by herself and doesn't want children. She has lots of hobbies, the freedom to take herself away for weekends and holidays and quite frankly bags of money to spend on herself. Her brother is the same, they live together and from what I've seen they're happy as larry.

l would just say don't give up on meeting someone, relax and stop focusing on it so much. Really not trying to be rude but I'm kind of speaking from experience. smile I'm convinced that the 'long term singles' give out a vibe which puts people off, I'm sure I used to anyway! I persevered with online dating and was within two weeks of my final attempt expiring when I got chatting with someone and we've been together for 18 months now.

Having a partner is not the be all and end all for some people and some can be perfectly content being alone but from what you've written it doesn't seem that you are...? smile

whois Tue 27-Oct-15 19:22:10

At risk of sounding a bit flippant, would a cat or a dog help? Probably a dog better since they give more back.

reup Tue 27-Oct-15 19:25:23

You should travel and do hobbies. People rarely do hobbies as a couple. When I was long term single I was fed up and then thought sod it I'll just do it by myself. I went on some city breaks and some small group tours run by explore asnx exodus. You meet lots of single people - a friend met her husband on one and I made a good friend on another. I also did a bunch of evening classes and there was only one with a couple in it. Do the things you want to even if you're not with someone.

MatildaTheCat Tue 27-Oct-15 19:41:35

If you are yearning for a family is that something you would consider as a single? It's quite acceptable to most people now.

Agree with others about getting out there as much as possible.mdogs are amazing for meeting people. One of my closest friends met her now fiancé at the age of 54 after many, many years alone.mit just happens when it happens.

lorelei9 Tue 27-Oct-15 20:05:39

As you're genuinely interested in replies...I have been in positive relationships but have opted to stay single. I find it interesting that you've not been in one but seem fixed in the idea that it must be better.

I'm kind of wondering what it would be like if you had a good relationship and realised you prefer single life? Just a thought. I think we are sold the message that we must have a relationship in order to be happy, up to a point where it's incredibly hard not to absorb it.

I'm not the only person I know who prefers being single to even a good relationship. Just a thought. I know someone who has just broken off her engagement after realising she is happier alone than being in a good relationship. Neither of us wanted children though and tbh I think she partly got engaged because she found the stigma of being single a bit much. We've both just crossed 40 and I think it was a real turning point for her deciding what she wanted.

I have other friends who describe it as six of one and half a dozen of the other either way. That said, I think there is a type of person who almost needs to be in a relationship and their views are very different.

Whatever happens, I hope you have a happy life.

Treaclecats Tue 27-Oct-15 20:12:12

Thank you for replying smile

Having a child as a single is something I am giving serious thought to at present (I have both cats and dogs - and horses!) and I will move onto this. The reason I still feel a little sad sometimes is that this means my child won't get to experience the loving relationship I had with my own Dad.

I have travelled alone and to be honest didn't enjoy it much: I know it's meant to be the anecdote to many ills but I felt a little self conscious doing touristy things alone, as well as, if I'm honest, sometimes feeling a bit bored. It was great seeing the Great Barrier Reef but I wanted someone to share the excitement with.

I feel I am mostly a happy person; I enjoy my job, I try to get as much out of life as I can - but I'm aware there's a world of enjoyment that I can't really access: that sharing things as a couple.

Clare1971 Tue 27-Oct-15 20:57:51

Throwing in a curve ball here. (I don't actually know what that expression means!!) Would you consider becoming a foster parent? There are loads of sad (and often difficult) youngsters out there who need a family. Families come in all shapes and sizes and though you couldn't guarantee they'd ever care about you, caring about someone else might be half of what you're missing.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 27-Oct-15 21:13:08

Everybody loses out on something. Those with kids lose out on freedoms and money. Only children miss out on siblings. People die: my cousins had no dad because of cancer when they were tiny. A friend who only came out as gay in her forties has lost years of fun she could have been having. I had actually bought that flat in what was then a dodgy bit of London in 1996 I would have no mortgage now but I was too scared of the debt due to dodgy upbringing. Occasionally I become jealous of my childless SIL's lifestyle.

No-one has the perfect life. It's OK to feel sad about the things you don't have from time to time. It isn't a character flaw, it is normal human behaviour.

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