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Mid-40s, never lived with anyone, is there any hope for me?

(13 Posts)
Yika Fri 12-Oct-12 21:43:07

I've just turned 46, never been married or engaged or lived with anyone seriously and actually never really had a proper long-term relationship. It's a source of some grief to me; I like family life and I would have liked more children (I have a two year old from a relationship that lasted just under a year - we didn't live together). I have just never been able to form a meaningful or lasting relationship. I've had a few relationships lasting a year or two each - but I've never really been in love or felt that a relationship had a long-term future. After years of therapy/navel gazing/reading I feel I do know where the problem comes from (some family issues and attitudes) and I now feel I'm in a better position if I were to meet someone. But now as a single mum I rarely go out! I'd love to hear some encouraging stories of late-in-life first love, or just your thoughts/advice.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Oct-12 22:03:37

I'd suggest 'don't knock independence' as a first thought. In fact, read enough of the threads on this board and and there are so many stories of horrible men making women desperate and miserable because they're frightened of a life on their own that you might think you're better off out of it smile A second thought is that you have to seriously fix 'rarely go out' if you're to stand a chance of meeting someone. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. Also, when you get to our age (and I'm a year older than you), single well-adjusted men with no hang-ups or bizarre habits are a bit thin on the ground. Finding one is a needle and haystack job. If I see any I'll let you know.

Yika Fri 12-Oct-12 22:21:48

Please do! Yes I don't think I'm going to meet anyone hanging out on mumsnet. I should diversify my leisure activities!

OhWesternWind Fri 12-Oct-12 22:32:08

One of my old school friends was in a similar situation though no children. She met someone online - he was an ex-monk so no LTRs there either. They seem really happy together. Don't give up hope.

Loads of good luck to you.

Helltotheno Fri 12-Oct-12 22:46:41

Being with someone/living with someone isn't always what it's cracked up to be... in fact the more you see this as an aspiration, the more likely you are to be let down by it. In your head at the moment, you're projecting yourself into a 'perfect relationship' where you live with a man and it's all sunshine and flowers... life's not really like that. The higher your expectations, esp w.r.t. relationships, the greater the chance of your expectations not being met. I know that sounds cynical but I think you're much better off living a full life and just letting things flow out of that.

Do you have any support with your child? Can you get out/away on your own? I'd strongly advise building a social network, taking up hobbies/voluntary activities in your area, in short, just building a bit of a social network that will keep all your days filled and take you out and about. Some of these can be with your child. Don't bother with internet dating, just keep it real.

nightcat Fri 12-Oct-12 22:51:17

OP, my life has been very messed up until recently, I met at least 3 single/divorced guys via online - plus a few more married sad OK, so not hit it off with any of them myself - although nothing majorly wrong at the first glance - but hopefully someone will?

Yika Fri 12-Oct-12 23:26:48

Ex-monk? Interesting! hellto I think there's a lot of truth in what you say. My life is pretty full and interesting I would say. Good, interesting job. Friends and a very very LEETLE bit of time for social and cultural life (used to do a lot pre-DD so i don't feel deprived now). I love being a mum and enjoy doing kid stuff. I have a babysitter and DD goes to her dad's on average one night a week, sometimes more.

But I feel sad that I have not experienced what is such a fundamental part of most people's lives, ie to share their life with a significant other. I feel I'm missing out on something important, even if it may not be fundamentally better than the life I lead now IYSWIM. Also, I worry that I'm actually too dysfunctional to ever form a long term relationship. I would like to lay this feeling of being emotionally 'damaged' to rest.

garlicbutty Sat 13-Oct-12 01:27:17

Very slightly different take on this from me, Yika. The less emotionally 'damaged' - or, rather, the more emotionally repaired - I feel, the less I want a relationship. It's not at all what I expected! To be fair, I've always been pretty good at being on my own ... and I do get lonely sometimes, but lonely is no longer painful to me. The aching desire for a significant other, which is so very widespread among the single, has gone completely. I now think it's got quite a lot to do with an aching desire for someone to reflect off - something like feeling you don't really exist unless another person is proving it to you (iykwim; too tired to elaborate). The thrust of my therapy has been about learning to validate myself, from within. It's an ongoing process. I like it.

I have missed out on a vastly significant life experience: having children. I regret this, but it couldn't be helped and I'd be a raving fool not to appreciate the compensations. Now, you have a child so this massive experience is yours - and you're not on your own because you've got her!

I think your positive re-framing will help you feel content with yourself and your life. That, in turn, will help to ensure you're in a constructive frame of mind if you do meet an appropriate potential partner. I'm also wondering whether, perhaps, you're ready to go back to therapy and explore some deeper questions, or to explore them in other ways such as philosophically or spiritually?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 09:03:57

" I feel I'm missing out on something important, even if it may not be fundamentally better than the life I lead now IYSWIM"

In my adult life I was in one long term relationship between age 18 and 30 and since then I've been effectively single i.e. various boyfriends but no-one permanent. Both lifestyles have their pros and cons. Being in a long-term relationship brings a lot of unexpected pressures that simply aren't there when you're a free agent. 'Compromise' being top of the tree because everything from where you live to what you're having for supper has to be at least agreed if not discussed with someone else.

I actually find that 'single with boyfriends' is more fun and less restrictive. The cons of the lifestyle are that it can be lonely because you don't have an automatic companion & you have to work a lot harder on your friendships and make a conscious effort not to be a hermit. The only 'dysfunctionality' is that you can become set in your ways and intolerant of others' idiosyncracies.... back to 'compromise'.... but I think that's also a natural feature of being older. When people embark on long-term relationships at a very young age they are far more tolerant - often to the point of being taken advantage of and their good nature abused. I speak from experience!!

I'd suggest you get into some heavy-duty dating a.s.a.p. Let others decide if you're damaged or not.

Happylander Sat 13-Oct-12 09:16:48

I am 40 next month and I very much doubt I will live with anyone again and I am not bothered by that. My house is my house, my friends can come round whenever I want, when I get in from a long, busy day I don't have to deal with someone's ego. I am not saying I won't have a relationship again but I wouldn't live with anyone and I really don't think you need to.

I, like you, have some issues regarding relationships from my childhood but I no longer let it bother me. I am who I am and that is fine by me as no one is perfect and most people have hang-ups about something or other.

I wouldn't worry about it as you have a good life and seem happy.

Yika Sat 13-Oct-12 14:23:14

Thanks for your replies. You're right that it's not the be all and end all. Also, yes I am quite happy in myself. That is partly down to having my daughter. But I do want to meet someone, so i think I'll follow your suggestion cogito and invest some time and effort in the search.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 14:55:40

Good luck with that. I'll tell you a story in the meantime. My current beau recently stayed over and used the bathroom the following morning. It had been a lovely evening & he's great company but if I was in any doubt that living alone was preferable it was thoroughly removed when I saw that he'd cut himself shaving and had the audacity to bleed all over my lovely lemon-coloured towels.... which he'd then put neatly back on the towel rail rather than the laundry basket <eye roll> It's little things like that which I know are endearing as one-offs but which would have me braining someone with a shovel if they did it on a regular basis. <smiles sweetly but with a sinister edge>

Yika Sat 13-Oct-12 21:32:23

That is appalling. However, I shall not let it hold me back from signing up on a dating site. I'll just have the shovel ready for any housekeeping infractions (should anyone get that far).

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