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To sometimes think I wouldn't be able to cope alone

(33 Posts)
zeezeek Fri 22-Jan-16 10:50:34

Have been married for 25 years and with him for nearly 30 now. Prior to DH I was engaged to someone else, so haven't really had much time on my own.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day - she's been divorced a couple of times and is currently on her own after a fairly long relationship ended. We were talking about how important it is for women to be independent and not depend on a man and she laughed at me and said (quite rightly) that I wouldn't know because I hadn't actually been single for more than a year or so since I was 16. I'm nearly 50 now. My first thought was that she was wrong, that I am totally independent: I earn my own money and have never been dependent on a man for money, I work away a lot and travel at least once a month all on my own.

But then I started to think about it and realised that she's right: I've never actually had to cope on my own. Even when I've been working away for up to 3 months I know that DH has always been on the end of a phone and could fly out to me if needed. Now feel spoilt and also starting to worry what I'm doing to do if (when) my much older DH dies and I really am left all alone....

PumpkinPie2013 Fri 22-Jan-16 10:56:44

It's not a nice thought certainly - especially when you have been married for such a long time but from what you've posted, I'm sure you could manage if you needed to.

You sound like you are independent and have a career to focus on which is great. Do you have close friends/siblings/other relatives? If so, I'm sure these people would be there for you if needed.

It would, of course be tough but I'm sure you would cope smile

Katenka Fri 22-Jan-16 14:31:18

And what?

I don't mean to sound blunt, but you have been in a long relationship and of course would miss your dh if/when he dies and you are still here.

Why is this a problem? Is there no one she would feel lost without, if they died? Friends, parents, siblings? If not I feel sorry for her

I own my own business, earn my own money and am very independent. I have been with dh since I was 18z of course I would devastated if I lost him. But I don't see what's wrong with that?

I know I would be devastated if I lost either of my parents. Which will (hopefully) happen sooner than losing dh. I would be devastated if I lost my brother.

Because I love them. I have meaningful relationships with them. They are my loved ones and cants understand what's wrong with that.

You can be independent and have relationships.

theycallmemellojello Fri 22-Jan-16 14:34:31

Yeah I agree that beyond taking steps to be less co dependent if you think it's a problem, what are you going to do about it? Humans form attachments to other humans.

Babyroobs Fri 22-Jan-16 14:38:12

I work and consider myself fairly independent, but would struggle with things like basic DIY and things like setting up a new TV or sorting a computer problem etc, I rely heavily on dh for those things. I know I should be more competent in these things and could teach myself if needed.

zeezeek Fri 22-Jan-16 17:05:06

Her point wasn't really that she wouldn't miss anyone if they died because she would. It was more me deluding myself that I was this great independent women, when in fact I have, to some extent been dependent on someone to support me for most of my life!

I do think that people like me, who have had this particular life experience may sometimes find it harder to cope when we are alone compared to people like my friend who has gone through various break ups. I've also noticed that she's much better than me at predicting other people's break ups and noticing when a couple is unhappy.

Katenka Fri 22-Jan-16 17:58:26

Tbh it sounds to me like she was putting you down.

That you can't be independent and not be married. That her several divorces makes her better.

Maybe she is so independent a long term relationship won't work.

As for her noticing stuff, maybe she is nosey.

Does she not rely on anyone? At all?

No one is truly independent. We rely of our bosses or (I work for myself) my customers placing orders.

I rely on my dad to give my head a wobble when I need it or a sympathetic ear.

I doubt she is fully and truly and independent person that doesn't rely on anyone at all. I can't imagine many people would choose to be like that.

The fact is you have had a long relationship, She hasn't had that, so take what she says to heart.

I am confused though, does she think you will split up with dh?

Everyone's life is different. Being single or divorced doesn't make you a better person. The same as being married for a long time doesn't make you a better person.

If she is making you feel shit, she isn't really a friend.

Katenka Fri 22-Jan-16 18:01:23

After my mum lost her mum, she became distant. Eventually she told me it was because she didn't want me to feel like she did when she dies.

So I told her I would rather be devastated when she died and had years of a loving relationship with her. Rather than spend years not seeing her and regretting it when she died.

What would you prefer? To have divorced your dh so you can feel like you can be more independent?

FreshHorizons Fri 22-Jan-16 18:04:48

You will cope, you will have no choice. I wouldn't worry about it in advance but just make sure that you know everything that you will need to know.

Chottie Fri 22-Jan-16 18:13:05

Please don't worry about something which hasn't even happened. I'm thinking there's a little bit of a green eyed monster there. If she had stayed married to DH No. 1 I expect she would have been with him for 15 - 20 years by now....

Don't let her comments spoil your happiness....

BeaufortBelle Fri 22-Jan-16 18:17:31

I think she's projecting. You have a career and a husband. I work with people who have a couple of divorces behind them and they are forever feeling sad about being on their own and wishing they had a partner.

If anything ever happened to DH and we've been together for a life time too, I'd manage. I know how to pay the bills and where the money is. I know the names and phone numbers of local trades people. I can drive and I think I'd also go on holiday on my own too. No shame at all in saying "yes, I'm alone, my husband died x number of years ago", I'd have church and the RHS and I 'd make a life for myself.

There is no way I'd want another partner in my life because my DH is irreplaceable and frankly I simply couldn't be bothered.

zeezeek Fri 22-Jan-16 18:34:24

She is very successful professionally - an oncologist and v involved in research. I don't think she's nosey, just seems intuitive and is also a friend of DH, in fact these days probably closer to him than me. I don't know why her relationships failed, I knew her second husband pretty well and be was a nice guy but they weren't suited it seems.

Katenka Fri 22-Jan-16 18:38:43

What is it that's really bothering you?

I feel like you are dancing round the real issue.

Katenka Fri 22-Jan-16 18:38:45

What is it that's really bothering you?

I feel like you are dancing round the real issue.

SugarMiceInTheRain Fri 22-Jan-16 18:45:04

I'm in a similar position to you in that I've been married for virtually all of my adult life, got married at 21, and even though I know I'd be able to cope financially, albeit not that comfortably, I would struggle to cope emotionally and without that shoulder to cry on, as DH is my best friend and I don't have many, if any really close friends. But a friend of mine is like your friend and being fiercely independent has its drawbacks too, however happy she seems and proud she is of not needing a man...

HortonWho Fri 22-Jan-16 18:47:50

I don't think she was putting you down and do think she's got a point. Of course you can feel independent. But you've never faced the fears true independence brings. Like what if you lost your health, lost your job, lost your savings, lost your house... It's all your responsibility and there isn't anyone there to share the worry of what if.

hefzi Fri 22-Jan-16 18:57:09

^^ What Horton said: you will cope if your DH dies before you, because you'll have to. But certainly not having a partner to rely on, even if that reliance is just for support or emotionally, develops in people a different kind of independence and resilience. Not necessarily better or worse- just different.

I have no-one to rely on, who supports me or can "be there" for me - it's just the way things have worked out. I sometimes travel a lot for work, in difficuly, uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations. If I'm having a wobble, there's no-one on the other end of the 'phone who can give me a boost. If I have seen something terrible and upsetting, there's no-one I can off load it onto. If my money all goes tits up one month, there's no-one who can get me through to the next payday. It's a very different kind of independence to being independent and self-supporting within a relationship - I think that's what your friend meant.

zeezeek Fri 22-Jan-16 19:06:20

Katenka I don't know. I just feel bothered and as if I'm not the person I always viewed myself to be. As DH is over 20 years older losing him is a reality, though he's in great health.

I think the thing that's bothering me the most is that I have 2 young girls and I want to be a good role model to them, but now wondering if I am. I want them to be brave and adventurous, to make their own way in life and choose a life that suits them....but I've not experienced anything other than being part of a couple so don't want them to think that's the only way because I kin the chances if them being n more relationships than me is high (their father has had loads!!!).

I'm overthinking this, I think.

theycallmemellojello Fri 22-Jan-16 19:13:40

I think the reality is that no one comes out of a long term relationship feeling equipped for life as a single person. I definitely would struggle. But as a PP said, you cope because you have to. Same as if you lost all your money, or lost your job after years of being in employment. It would be hard as you'd have to learn to live in a completely different way.

Katenka Fri 22-Jan-16 19:30:31

I think the thing that's bothering me the most is that I have 2 young girls and I want to be a good role model to them, but now wondering if I am.

You are a good role model. Since when does having a long term partner stop you being a good role model?

If she is one of the very few people who tells on no one. Not even for a chat....why does that make her better?

As I said very few people are completely independent. Most have someone they chat to even occasionally.

I really don't get why you are reading all this because your friend doesn't think you are independent.

My dd has only ever known me being married to her dad. Why is that bad? It doesn't lead to her thinking you must settle down and get married. You must have children. You must be a sahm. She knows women do diy, cook, fix cars etc.

She is fully aware that there are other ways. All wonderfully different but equal.

Are you possibly suffering with a bit of envy that she is free and single?

It just seems weird you are doubting your life based on this friend

zeezeek Fri 22-Jan-16 19:42:18

Yes, I think she does have a different type of independence to me and one that I do find slightly scary if I think about it too much which I'm not doing at all

I'm not envious of her being free and single, but nor am I feeling sorry for her. But sometimes can't help but think that life would have been less stressful without having to cope with my DHs baggage!

Katenka Fri 22-Jan-16 19:47:38

* But sometimes can't help but think that life would have been less stressful without having to cope with my DHs baggage!*

Isn't that part of a relationship?

You wouldn't have your dds?

Maybe this is a signal you need to asses wether you are happy or not.

I am happy and happy to have dhs baggage. He got mine. We now have kids.

I just find it weird that your friends comments have bothered you so much you are question your parenting?

Are you happy in your marriage in general?

QuietWhenReading Fri 22-Jan-16 20:21:19

I've been with my DH since high school so over 25 years. Basically I have never been a single adult.

By your friend's measure I should be a gibbering wreck on my own.

My DH travels with work sometimes for extended periods, leaving me and the DC at home.

I have a successful career and could, if necessary, pay all the bills on my salary.

I can manage the children on my own for weeks at a time without any problem or help.

I can deal with all the household maintenance and finances without needing any help.

I am happy in my own company but am lucky enough to have a great circle of friends.

I adore my DH, he is my best friend and God forbid something happened to him I'd be devastated.

But, I have no doubt at all that I'd pick up the pieces and build a new life on my own.

Independence isn't about experience IME, it's about attitude. I have several friends who!ve been single for long periods of their lives who can't cope on their own with the children for a weekend, or who don't understand the family finances, or who can't bear to be at home alone on a Saturday night.

Your friend is wrong. I truly pity anyone who believes that not having one person in your life who you would miss if they died is a better way to live.

whifflesqueak Fri 22-Jan-16 20:26:21

I don't even know how to put salt in the dishwasher.

I'd be adrift without dh.

zeezeek Fri 22-Jan-16 21:29:07

You're right, it is about attitude. Guess all I can do is being the girls up so they are confident in any situation and get a large grip myself and grow up.

At the risk of accusations of drip feeding I'm the daughter of a narcissist who constantly told me, tells me, that I'm useless, fat, unattractive and a bad he,an being and daughter and however much I know she's talking crap, there's a part of me that believes her.

As for my DH's baggage....well, he's got one ex wife who I, close to and an ex girlfriend who currently wants me dead - so yeah, baggage. I adore my step kids though and now have a step grand son. I am happy. I didn't think I could have kids but did. So don't really know where this discontent has come from. Maybe I just need people to tell me I'm being a brat, dunno. Just feel in an odd mood at moment and can't describe it or explain it to DH.

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