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Decided to settle 4 years ago and after more than 300 dates I still can't find anyone to settle for.

(22 Posts)
worriedmcflurry Mon 25-Mar-13 17:34:32

I have spent the last 4 years looking for a long term partner/husband but with no luck whatsoever. Because I don't fall in love easily (the only time it happened was 13 years ago and the guy was abusive - the relationship was thankfully very short lived) I made the decision that if I wanted to find happiness as well as have children I'd be stupid to keep waiting around for something that is not guaranteed to ever happen again and pick someone I am happy with but not crazily in love with.

I purposefully stayed in a dead end job to give me time to date a lot (I saw some of my friends lose 5 or 10 years to demanding jobs which destroyed their social lives and romantic relationships) but have yet to meet anyone I'd even settle for despite going on hundreds of dates with at least 90 men.

I don't think I'm overly fussy. Essentially I just want someone who is interested in me as a person (asks me things) and can meet my emotional needs (which aren't usually particularly hard to meet - I am usually relatively chilled out and happy). There just don't seem to be any men out there who are even aware that I might have emotional needs though and I have been deeply frustrated and pretty miserable in most of my relationships to date. All of my friends boyfriends and husbands seem pretty useless on these fronts too. They rarely ask anyone else anything and talk about themselves most of the time.

I'm feeling very low at the moment. I'm 31 and don't have much longer to have children. Because my mum couldn't have any more kids after age 30, I got an ovarian reserve test done and they told me I am very low on eggs and need to act soon. I am thinking of egg freezing but heard a lot of the eggs die and there have been few live births as a result.

Is there anything anyone can suggest? I've tried match.com, okcupid, plentyoffish and have also joined citysocialising and lots of meetup groups. I read so much about women who are always meeting people they like but it never working out but I am just not finding anyone I like to begin with.

something2say Mon 25-Mar-13 17:40:39

Awe don't lose heart!!! My only advice is that you can't force these things so why not concentrate on your own life rather than trying so hard to meet a man? When you have a man, what else do you intend to do???? A man is not the be all and end all. What else do you want out of life? That will probably be when you meet a man.

My own story is that I was with someone and it didnt work out, but having been there before I didn't stress about 'where on earth will I meet a new man!!!!!!'

All I did was see my friends, work on getting over the old guy, and I was changing jobs too, and then one day I went to a gig and me someone there who is now my partner. I wasn't looking at all, I was by myself. Going to see the band members whom I knew, and there he was.

I advise you to get into other aspects of life. I have a friend who obsessively dates and I think she scares men away to be honest. Leave it be! There will be a man, there always is, what else are you gonna do?????

Btw your friends partners sound like shit. Of cours men should relate emotionally, count yourself luck you aren't in a relationship like that!!!

BusyHomemaker Mon 25-Mar-13 17:50:26

I agree with something2say. I used to run a book group, one of my best friends came along and met her husband there. They were both in a place where they were open to a relationship but perusing their own interests. I know it's a cliche but love really does find you when you're not looking for it.

Jux Mon 25-Mar-13 17:55:49

I think you've got it the wrong way round. You need to be happy with yourself and your life. When you meet the man, then consider settling with him, rather than deciding to settle regardless of whether you've met anyone to settle with.

UnderPuns Mon 25-Mar-13 18:04:27

Agree with ^^

I have a friend that has dated her way around the entire south coast and is now working her way through the midlands. 100s of dates that have amounted to nothing but some short lived, generally abusive relationships. She is desperate for children but you really wouldn't want to bring kids up with the jerks she's ended up dating.

Your fertility issues are obviously a worry for you - have you discussed any other options with your GP/specialist?

spiritedaway Mon 25-Mar-13 18:13:25

Maybe you need a wife smile

Fleecyslippers Mon 25-Mar-13 18:22:11

Honestly ? I think you are probably giving off completely the wrong 'vibes' if every guy you speak to is being appraised as a potential father to your children.
How do you even KNOW you've had 300 dates ? Do you keep notes?

If your priority is to have a baby, then you don't necessarily need to be in a relationship to do that. I suppose your first dilemma is working out which is the priority ?

Gingerandcocoa Mon 25-Mar-13 18:22:35

At 31 you have plenty of time to have children smile.

worriedmcflurry Mon 25-Mar-13 18:32:24

Thanks for the advice, replies and encouragement/sympathy - all very much appreciated! To be honest though I am happy with my life otherwise. I've diched the dead end career and am in the process of starting my own business which I'm very much enjoying at the moment. I also have lots of friends I see and charity work I do. And I don't think I come across as obsessive under usual circumstances (current mood excluded!). I meet loads of guys who like me. Even if I was though I'm not meeting anyone I'd be bothered I'd scared away!

I don't really believe in the "don't look and you'll find him" school of thought though. Obviously it happens for some people but I wasn't looking for about 7 years before I took to internet dating and I didn't meet anyone in that time. I kind of see it in the same way as job hunting. There are people who hear about jobs when they're not actively looking but if you do need a job soon it isn't really advised to just sit about and wait for one to turn up organically.

I think what's made it worse is that I've met lots of really cool women via all my efforts on meetup.com and citysocialising. When I'm out with them I'm always laughing or engaged in interesting conversations but I don't get the same laughs and interesting conversations with men :-( Conversation with men often feels like effort and it's always me asking them about their lives and interests while getting little back in the way of interest from them

Spiritedaway - you're probably right about needing a wife grin. But a wife won't get me pregnant! I have no family other than my parents (who were both only children as am I) and I'm scared of not having anyone when they die.

UnderPuns - I didn't know there were other options to discuss?! I thought my only options in the absence of finding a man soon were pretty much egg freezing or go out and shag a stranger?!

To be honest I know it's just a numbers game and I just have to get over the current rut and get back out there. It only has to work once, it's not like I need 30% of all men I meet to be decent. It's just that I've put so much into it and I'm not getting anywhere. Just having a low day.

worriedmcflurry Mon 25-Mar-13 18:33:09

*ditched the dead end career.

arsenaltilidie Mon 25-Mar-13 19:03:59

It maybe a small thing but why don't you stop asking questions..
Resist the urge to fill in the dead silence.

hilbobaggins Mon 25-Mar-13 21:35:37

I thought my only options in the absence of finding a man soon were pretty much egg freezing or go out and shag a stranger?!

OP, it sounds as if fertility anxiety is really setting in. What about prioritising the baby issue, rather than waiting for a man to come along? It's really not uncommon nowadays for women to make the decision to parent a child alone - not the easiest route, perhaps, but perfectly possible and in many ways a pragmatic response to this situation. What about going the sperm donor route? It might not be your ideal option (its interesting that you hadn't even considered this as a possibility), but having your own baby might (actually, will) really help to turn the volume down on that part of your anxiety.

I think the advice to stop asking questions is actually a very good one.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 25-Mar-13 21:46:35

Hilbobaggins makes a lot of sense to me. I did the have a baby and 15 years later I'm so glad. I was 35 and had a biological clock like big ben. I have to say that I haven't found it particularly hard at all, in fact it's been a joy and continues to be.

sarahseashell Mon 25-Mar-13 22:20:20

sometimes with men you've just got to talk over them/interrupt wink
start talking about yourself and then they'll ask you more questions about yourself.

but I agree with the others - really consider your options - sperm donor, adoption etc. Cultivate all the lovely female friends to be around as the support network you'd like. Consider a bit of counselling (time to focus just on you and any fears you have) and consider taking a chunk of time say 6 months out of dating to give yourself a rest from it all. If you can afford it, plan a break to somewhere in the world you really want to visit, and go on your own. smile

theduchesse Mon 25-Mar-13 22:57:59

I also agree that it is better to look than expect to find someone when not looking but I would probably think about how you are coming across on your dates. I would expect that if I dated 90 men that I had met online dating so partially vetted before the date that I would be interested in a relationship with a few of them.

If you act like you think you are 'settling' and not really in to them they may not be particularly interested in you and not open up and really show you their lovely side.

I used to use online dating as just a way to go out and have a great and enjoyable social life with a side option of finding someone. I usually planned the dates to be something I wanted to do anyway (like see a band, go to a particular exhibition etc) and tried to have a good night regardless of who I was with. I viewed my dates as people to go to an event with first and decided on potential date status only part way into the date. I actually miss those days!

thezebrawearspurple Tue 26-Mar-13 00:24:35

I think your problem may be a combination of desperation and online dating.

Desperation; Men pick up on these vibes like a blood hound and they don't appreciate someone sizing up their father/marriage potential on the first date. No matter how subtle you think you are, they smell it.

Online dating; People lie about themselves on profiles, many men are only looking to meet for sex, then you have all the weirdos that don't get a date at all if they have to ask in person, reasonably attractive, normal, socially functioning people tend not to use them.

Forget about forced dates, focus on building your business and an active social life. Get involved in activities where the opposite sex is plentiful. Joining a gym is great, full of quality men and you're upgrading yourself too which expands your options. Music gigs, festivals, pub, art shows...whatever you can find interest in. When you meet a man, don't treat him like a lump of meat and start thinking of his father/marriage potential, accept him as an individual, get to know him as a person, if there is an attraction, go slow, let him chase you.

silverangel Tue 26-Mar-13 07:50:45

Oh dear, I think I'm going to sound harsh and I don't mean to but you sound desperate. Desperation is never a good look (even if you are - hide it!). It sounds like you've dedicated your life to meeting someone at the expense of other things, you shouldn't have had to 'decide to settle' at 26/27 - lots of people (the majority in my circle) haven't settled down by then.

I would ditch the online dating for a while and try to chill out a bit and see what happens.

Moanranger Tue 26-Mar-13 22:32:01

31 not old at all, though you may be right in being concerned with fertility for your own reasons.
Putting that to one side, I would suggest working on yourself a bit to try to unblock whatever it is that is preventing you from finding a partner - meditation retreats, workshops, that sort of thing. I always do "My Best Year Yet" workbook every couple of years to help with goal-setting, etc. This may get you to a better, calmer place & move the process forward in a somewhat indirect but effective way IYKWIM - a variant of the "don't look for it and it will come" approach. Good luck!

LittleEdie Tue 26-Mar-13 22:49:25

You were very young to have decided to 'settle'.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 26-Mar-13 23:13:36

If you really want a child, consider having one by yourself. Your options include sperm donation, adoption or fostering as well as advertising for a 'co-parent' ie a man who wants a child but either doesn't have or doesn't want a heteromonogamous relationship.

But your current attitude towards men and dating is going to put off any decent man you encounter - you are so desperate that you must reek of it. No one wants to feel that they have been taken on just because they were there and had a pulse. Desperation is also attractive to shitty men, the sort who hate women and either want to abuse one or want to own one as a cross between a domestic servant and a pet. There is so much more to life than Having A Man, why not concentrate on Having A Life?

snowshapes Tue 26-Mar-13 23:21:19

Don't settle because you want a child, that is the way to another abusive relationship. Agree with SGB, take control of your own destiny and make yourself happy, whether that be in a job you enjoy or having a child yourself. That will be far more attractive to any man, plus you will be happy in yourself and not relying on someone else to make you happy.

worriedmcflurry Thu 28-Mar-13 10:55:57

To be honest I really don't think I come across as desperate at all (on dates anyway) and I'm not really thinking about a man as father/marriage material when I first meet him. I see the point of a first date as simply seeing if we enjoy each others company on the most basic of level and I'm good at putting people at ease.

I think I come across well because I almost always get asked on a 2nd date and men seem to like me. I get loads of men that have searched for ages themselves and seem to think I'm the one they've been looking for - so many of them are surprised when I tell them I don't think we clicked. This has been quite flattering and quite an eye opener as I'm not especially pretty but it is so frustrating that I'm not meeting anyone I feel I get on with myself. I give a lot of men 3 or 4 dates to be sure I'm not overlooking a great potential relationship but by that point I'm usually certain I'd be miserable with them!

I don't see men as sperm donors or pieces of meat. When I say "settle" I mean I'm prepared to forgo the fireworks but I do want a best friend who I love spending time with and having sex with. I want to be happy and secure in my relationship if I'm not getting the butterflies.

The adoption/fostering option is one I do think about but sometimes I'm scared I wouldn't love the child. I don't seem to fall in love with men easily so I'm worried I wouldn't come to love the child.

The (real) sperm donor option really isn't appealing although maybe if I knew someone in real life who'd done it it would be less daunting. To be honest I'm not really in a position to bring up a child on my own. I can't afford a child without someone to share the costs with and I don't really have the time to single parent and work either. Although things might be different in a few years time. I shall keep the suggestion in mind. Thanks. And thanks for sharing your experience clippedpheonix.

The co-parent thing is something I've thought about but is also daunting. I'd love a family like the one I grew up in although obviously I know that just because I want that doesn't make it inevitable that I'll get it. Again, maybe I just need to hear of some people in real life that have done it.

I also have various health problems that would make single parenting pretty difficult although I know that I might end up doing that anyway even if I did meet the love of my life and settle down.

Sigh. I need to just get out of this rut and get back into the dating game while researching egg freezing and coparenting. I'll keep the sperm donor idea at the back of my mind too. Thanks for all your replies!

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