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Being single

(336 Posts)
blackbirdatglanmore Wed 19-Jun-13 08:37:42

This is a spin off from another thread on here which made me realise several of us were in the same boat.

When you split up with a partner, or express anxiety about the years ahead, either because you want a baby or just worry about being alone, one of two responses tends to be made.

The first response is that you WILL meet somebody, it is easy, the person you're talking to has and they know an aunts friends neighbour who did. If you've been alone some time the response becomes accusatory and tells you that you haven't made the effort and you need to 'put yourself out there.' For most people this means online dating or 'clubs'.

The second response is that you should be happy for beng single - grateful in fact, because they had an abusive partner some years ago and are happier without him and if you're lonely maybe you should join a club.


This thread is for single women in the real world. To take the first response, you may meet somebody, that is true. However, for some of us we know its unlikely. In my case it is my age. I am mid-thirties, most men my age are settled with a marriage, a mortgage and children. Younger men want younger women. I joined mysinglefriend last year (online dating site) and the numbers of hugely attractive, professional women in their thirties was significant. I got nowhere with that, one date grin and we had little in common. I have since spoken to many women who have admitted online dating wasn't for them, and nor was it for me. I am a slow burner and can't feign affection for somebody on the basis of one meeting. That leaves meeting someone in 'real life' which is not easy. Certainly all (I'm really not exaggerating) the men I meet are attached.

While you can be happy alone, and I am, it doesn't mean it isn't hard sometimes. My social life is restricted and I spend a lot of time alone because my friends are married with babies/small children. Holidays are difficult. I don't get to enjoy any intimacy (I wouldn't like one night stands) and while I've taken the step of deciding to have a child alone, for other women accepting single hood means accepting being childless which would break my heart.

The advice to 'put yourself out there' and join clubs is well meaning but doesn't account for the lack of 'clubs' - certainly around here the clubs are for young mothers and for retired people! Not quite what I am looking for!

'Get a pet' is also advice that can be very upsetting. I have two cats, they are much loved animals but they are not a people substitute and should not be viewed as such.

Sme people assume you are single because on some subconscious level you are damaged and shy fom intimate relations. There was perhaps some truth in that for me once, but in the last seven years I have worked with men who I found attractive and who I was drawn to. If they'd asked, I'd have said yes - but they didn't - why, because of their girlfriends.

So I am starting this thread in an attempt to:

dispel the myths about why women are single
to give us a safe place to moan without being ordered to join clubs!
discuss matters pertaining to single women.

I hope someone else posts now! grin

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Wed 19-Jun-13 08:45:33

Amen. But I know many men who would say precisely the same things, too. They get fed exactly the same drivel and there are men on this here site.

I have heard all of the above and plenty more. My favourite was "Being single's great, you should enjoy it, marriage is hard work" to which I replied "Fine, so how come you're married? How about you leave your DH if being single is so fab and marriage is hard work?"

MadBusLady Wed 19-Jun-13 09:03:53

I often wonder what the "clubs" advice is about. It's not the 1950s, what clubs are these people talking about? I've been looking around for stuff to do - not single, but we've moved to a new area - and there really isn't anything aimed at people in their 30s that isn't specialised sports. If we wanted to sing in a church choir, play bridge or take our non-existent children on bat walks we're sorted. Actual honest-to-god fun doesn't seem to be catered for.

I suppose you could start a club grin

PostBellumBugsy Wed 19-Jun-13 09:25:02

I'm single - but I do have children.

I have to say that as time goes by, I am coming to enjoy being single more. I have come to the conclusion that I'm not going to meet anyone in the forseeable future (if ever) that I find attractive or want to be with, so I might as well enjoy the good things about being single and in my view there are quite alot of things!

I am the boss of me
I have the whole double bed to myself
I do what I want with the decor & contents of my house
I decide where we go on holiday
I decide what car I drive (on a very small budget though)
I don't have to go to tedious dinner parties (because no one wants a single woman) where everyone boasts about their new kitchen / holiday / children / nanny / blah blah blah
I don't have any in-laws (and my goodness that is a big plus)
I can let the fanjo grooming & leg waxing slip a bit and no one cares
I can watch whatever I want on TV

I miss sex - but if I get really desperate for a shag, there is always internet dating.

I very occasionally miss an extra pair of hands at weekends to help drive the DCs to their activities.

What I miss most of all, is a good social life. However, I'm hoping to reclaim that a bit when the DCs are a little bit older & I'm not forking out for a babysitter every time I leave the house.

squashedbanana Wed 19-Jun-13 09:38:50

Agree with all you've said.

Will add that it's particularly patronising when people say you should get out more when they know you have kids. First of all, there's childcare to consider, secondly, I wonder if those same people would turn their noses up at you for 'getting out more' and leaving your children all the time with a sitter

msshapelybottom Wed 19-Jun-13 09:40:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dahlen Wed 19-Jun-13 10:54:45

I met my current DP after more than 6 years being single, at a point in my life where I loved being single and had no intention of giving it up.

There are numerous things that I think came together to create that situation, and of course, just sheer random luck that we both happened to be single at the time of meeting. There's a lot of luck involved in meeting people I think, moreso when people are older and there tends to be only a short 'window' between most people separating from one partner before moving on to the next. I don't think enough credence is given to that.

When my DC were very small, I couldn't afford much of a social life or babysitting. I got round this by carefully cultivating a network of other single mothers. There are enough of them in all walks of life for this to not be a problem no matter what circles you move in. Because they don't have partners, they are often more prepared to come over, with DC and a bottle of wine or two, and make a social evening of it. Kids all share beds or can sleep with mum on a room basis. Get creative with sleeping arrangements basically.

There are two massive advantages to this - firstly the friendship network you will establish (you will have fun and shoulders to cry on), and a readymade circle of babysitters that don't require paying because you can return the favour also for free.

That's how I did it. It took me a couple of years, but it paid off.

Having built my network of babysitters, I then took up some new hobbies. I live in a rural area where the only clubs seem to be needlework or sport related, none of which appealed to me, so I looked into voluntary work - there is always a demand for voluntary work, in many different fields and involving many different roles, no matter where you live.

Through this I have made many more friends and established an even greater social life. In fact, so much so that when I started dating DP I had serious concerns about my ability to fit him into my schedule. He much preferred this as had been put off by the speed at which most of his previous casual GFs had tried to progress the relationship.

I hope my way of doing it provides some ideas to help others get out there a bit more. I know I nearly went stir crazy in those early years of being single when I was stuck at home every evening after the DC were in bed with no money to do anything. I empathise for everyone stuck in that situation.

Lweji Wed 19-Jun-13 11:02:01

Divorced and currently single here.

It depends.

A year ago, I got into OD one year after leaving ex, and ended up dating a single man, my age, with no children. He was ok and I quite liked him, but not enough for further commitment and there were a few yellow flags. I ended up ending it a couple of months ago, particularly because I didn't want him getting too close to DS and then having to dump him later on, thus causing DS more upset.
(I left ex because of DV, which was witnessed by DS after the break up, so I don't want to bring further mess into his life)

Right now I'm perfectly happy being single and can't be much bothered about a man in my life.
I'm happier to reinforce friendships and dedicate time to DS and my things.

Things may change, but I think I'll enter any new relationships more carefully.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 19-Jun-13 11:06:22

Other than casual dating & casual sex, I have been single since October 2005! grin

Single for a year and half. I'm 22. In that year and half I had one 6 week 'relationship' but just FWB mainly grin

I have my friends in relationships saying 'get a cat' or 'you dont want a relationship my partner does my head in'

Well if he annoys you that much why are you with him?

I have pulled a few times but once the toddler pops up they don't want to know.

ImperialBlether Wed 19-Jun-13 11:15:52

I think a lot of people don't understand, though, that there's a huge difference between being single with young children around and being single and childless.

If you have children you don't spend huge amounts of time alone. You don't have to worry whether you will ever have a family of your own because you already have it. If you don't have children you can spend a hell of a lot of time alone - it's completely different and quite unnerving to think you won't speak to anyone for several days at a time. The fear of being childless can be overwhelming and the race against time is terrifying.

The OP's situation is different and I do think she deserves special consideration.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 19-Jun-13 11:21:24

Imperial, that's a good point. Maybe the thread title should change a bit to reflect that, as I can only comment on being single as a parent, which probably is not the same at all.

Dahlen Wed 19-Jun-13 11:21:53

If you are childless, however, the opportunities to get out there and meet people are so much more. Granted, they still come with no guarantees, but they certainly tip the odds.

Maybe it's a case of grass being greener. I certainly never took a lot of the opportunities available to me when I was childless, but it is only now I have children that I can see how many opportunities I wasted.

I do understand the ticking clock feeling though, and socialisation and culture being what they are, it is unsurprising that most women feel they can only have a child within the context of a relationship. I don't know what the answer to that is. If a woman doesn't feel the desire or ability to be a single parent by choice, then she will remain childless if she doesn't meet anyone.

ImperialBlether Wed 19-Jun-13 11:27:35

Dahlen, there really aren't that many places to go to, unless you live in a huge city.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Jun-13 11:29:19

"The advice to 'put yourself out there' and join clubs is well meaning but doesn't account for the lack of 'clubs' - certainly around here the clubs are for young mothers and for retired people! Not quite what I am looking for!"

This all sounds a little whiney to me... .sorry. Yes, it's difficult to have a social life or meet people or even just manage day to day life solo but what's the realistic alternative? Do nothing at all? If a club for young mothers or retired people isn't what you're looking for (and assuming you want to be sociable) then you have to be a little more creative... often comes attached to more effort or expense (like booking babysitters) but that's life.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 19-Jun-13 11:36:52

Hmmm, not so sure about the lack of places to go. I live in a fairly sleepy small town or big village (not sure which it actually is) and these are the things I would do if I didn't have the DCs:

Go for drinks after work
Join the local am dram club
Join forces fitness or military fit or whatever my local one is called
Join the ramblers (yes I know a bit beardy, but I love walking)
Join the choir (if they'd have me. I'm not very good, but I think it would be fun)
Quite fancy an evening class on painting too & wouldn't mind seeing if I could play badminton somewhere as well.

If I didn't have to pay for babysitting each & every time - that's what I'd be doing. Not really to meet Mr Right but because sitting at home in front of the TV would do my head in.

Dahlen Wed 19-Jun-13 11:37:34

I agree with Cogito. The clubs are not all about mothers and retired people. I live in the middle of nowhere and there are still a lot of clubs around, and, as I said earlier, certainly lots of volunteering opportunities - everything from working in a charity, food banks, special constables and first aid responders in the community, local art projects - it's there, you just have to look.

MadBusLady Wed 19-Jun-13 11:41:59

<passes gin to the OP>

mcmooncup Wed 19-Jun-13 11:53:13

Some people see the difficulties in every opportunity.
Some people see the opportunity in every difficulty.
That's the divide as I see it.
I'm single. But really don't let that define me. It's just a small part of who I am. Who cares what your 'status' is?!!

allaflutter Wed 19-Jun-13 11:56:22

I'm the same as OP (divorced, no dc, been single for 2.5 yrs since last BF), and I agree with Imperial that women with dc are not really lonely, even though they are romantically lonely. On the othger hand tey do have to cope with more by themlselves and have more financial pressures. I'm now out of the time-pressure as I won't have dc (past 40 now, and when I was married we postponed and then r-ship didn't work anyway). If I was very maternal, I'd go for single motherhood but withour family nearby or a P, it'd have been a very tough choice.

I was just going to say that it's NOT easier to find a man just because you have a lot of free time on eves and w/ends, and what's worse, it's extremely hard to find women of your own age to go out with - and I mean low key stuff like going to a cafe and chatting, going to exhibitions/walks etc - not clubs/bars! Once you are in your mid-30s/40s, most women and men of your age aer in couples and many completely absorbed with small dc so you have to adapt to them which is fine but it's so rare that they can and want to get a break from the family.

You know, I wouldn't that fussed about finding a man and dating if I had a few friends who wre actually available for things! Never thought I'd say that as I've always been in r-ships up to 2.5yrs ago, BFs after divorce.

I really do try to find new friends but it's hard and sometimes very dispiriting when your efforts are not going anywhere much as people aer busy with their private lives - I've bee nthe same whe nwith BFs and now regret that I haven't devoted more time to female friendships. Few old friends are either abroad, or have babies and don't live locally either.
I've managed to find a couple of women who work locally and at least we chat and go out sometimes at lunch, but again not evenings, and not that often. I've offreed to a couple of women on the short art courses that I do, to go to exhibitrions together, mainly in london, and although they've agreed in principle and we were friendly when on the course, I haven't heard from them so far though still hoping that one of them will get in touch - it seems like they respond but don't initiate, again both women I ;liked and got on with have partners. They would gladly chat on a course but to actually arrange someone specioally - so far hasn't happened.

As for men, it's exactly that, OP and others - ther aer ALL attached. I mean the onrs I actually meet (and like!) through work or study, I don't eve nknow they are attached when I think 'he's attarctive/interesting', but inevitable it turns out to be so. One guy I get on with is gay altogether grin. But seriously, yes, there are some single men here and there but out of those I never met anyone I fancy, they are usually too old or not attractive physically to me, or just no vibe at all. I'm quite fussy (aern't we all) in that I wouldn't go for something lukewarm, tto me, I'm completely uninterested in just sex. I've been approached by two married men who would be interested in r-ship/affair rather than just sex, but no thanks! I'm not friends with both, at least I can occasionally go to events with them and generally chat about life, but again it's all sporadic and I still feel that one of then has hopes for more (yawn).

I've done some OD (been on for ages but only had maybe 8 dates over few yrs). Guess what, lots of men in their 50s-60s contact me, or younger men who are after casual. Once you get to your 50s it seems it becomes a lot easier! First a number of divorced men around then, with grown kids, and second, women willing to socialise! mid-30s-40s are bloody tough to be single in! I did go to meet some older men through OD, and I'm not against it, but so far haven't found anyone I'm attracted to, as a whole person. I find younger men easily attractive physically but they still want kids if they write on OD, or it's about casual sex. Again, I want a real connection bot just physical fancying.

Sorry for the epic, but it's tough sometimes, and you do feel like no one cares or wants to make an effort even if they are friendly with you - I have many people with the mutual liking but all busy for regular meetings and friendship, and where else to moan than on this thread. I'm trying though, what else is there to do.
I also think for a 35 woman there is still interest from younger or slightly older age guys who want kids - online they often say the want kids in their profile and state the age of woman up to 37ish. But obviously it's not just about being approached, he has to be right. I'm just saying I've lost a whole swathe of potential men of 35-45 who still do want kids, so women before 35 have a better chance meeting one.

allaflutter Wed 19-Jun-13 12:02:23

PostBellum, the thing is I'm really not interested or not suited to all of these, apart from walking - and I am thinking of joining a walking group! have to find one though. Also walking is not so regular, more like monthly. I do go on art courses but most women there aer much older and although willing to chat, won't really be friends with younger women, and those my age again usually with partners so don't have much time to go out as weel as doing course, though I think I've found one potential friend but still remains to be seen if she gets in contact.

Also not all of us are mad extroverts, I'm quite chatty but also sensitive and don't have bags of energy to socialise , don't like big groups. For me it has to be small group of people or one to one. Doesn't mean I'm a bad friend or a bad person. I can't face bars on my own that's for sure.

allaflutter Wed 19-Jun-13 12:05:13

Dahlen, so did you meet your DP through volunteering or online?

PostBellumBugsy Wed 19-Jun-13 12:19:22

allaflutter - understand that my list wouldn't be your list, but I'm sure you must have some things that you'd like to do.

Also, I'd rather walk around with my skirt tucked into my knickers than go to a bar on my own - but I can't help feeling that you've got to actually meet people to meet someone - if that makes sense. So, I've walked into a bar on my own to meet dates on plenty of occasions.

I think we can delude ourselves the grass is greener. Due to finances, I'm forced to remain inside the 4 walls of my house most evenings - so I long to get out & have my list of things I can't wait to get started on as soon as I don't have to pay for a babysitter (within the next 2 years - hurrah) but if you have lots of time on your hands, then you probably feel more conscious of being alone or maybe feel less bothered because you have all the time in the world to do these things, so they lose that sense of urgency or desire to be done.

The older I get the more I think 'seize the day' and get the most out of it, as life is short, precious and over before we know it.

Sorry - not really sure where I'm going with all of that! grin

allaflutter Wed 19-Jun-13 12:29:56

Post, yes I'm very much 'seize the day' now then I've ever been. As I say, I love and I do short history of art (of all types) courses but they are quite expensive so I can't do as many as I'd like. Also my work takes me around the UK and I do chat to people (it's not a formal type job, my own business) - I've met a few nice men through that but all attached. Financial pressures aer there as well, if you aer single, things are more expensive in the household (as you know I'm sure), and I have no one to bail me out so must save a bit. That's one side of being married dthat was nice - having security (at least while married).
Oh, i've defimitely met dates in bars, though mainly cafes, but these were all from OD, I wouldn't go on my own to meet new men even though it's not a bad way to meet.
Could you swap babysitting with a local mum? the good point with single mums is that they support each other, and more likel to form friendships than a mum with a non-mum.

allaflutter Wed 19-Jun-13 12:30:36

than I've ever been

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