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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

PostBellumBugsy Wed 19-Jun-13 16:56:02

Hmmm, Selba - that is an interesting question.

I was really happy when I was first with ex-H & really miserable by the time we split up. I am happier now than I was for the last year or so of our relationship, but probably not as happy as I was during the good times.

LurkingBeagle Wed 19-Jun-13 16:56:26

Summers - I totally agree. Embarrassed to say my family are the worst for negative perceptions, especially the men. My uncle actually used the words "nobody will have you now" when I was 31, so goodness knows what he'd say now! arsehole

Blackbird - maybe it's a horsey thing? ;-) Seriously though, I love my stress-free uncomplicated life. I have been going on holiday alone for years, or I go trekking or do outdoors stuff with a group, which is not as geeky as it sounds (honest grin) I went away with a group of 4 girlfriends recently - none are single excpet me - and much as I love them I just wanted my own space! The holiday thing is easier if you want to do spa-related stuff. If you turn up for a pampering-type holiday, nobody bats an eyelid if you are alone. Disneyland? Not so much. wink

blackbirdatglanmore Wed 19-Jun-13 16:57:43

Well, yes, quite! Not that I do want to go to Disneyland, but all the same, spas aren't really my thing.

allaflutter Wed 19-Jun-13 16:57:52

I've been asked out twice by MARRIED men shock, and by some on od, but not by a simgle man in rl in the last few years, I just don't meet them, not a party goer. Or those I do meet are attached and not looking.

Selba, it's not really a question you should base anything on. You have to qualify what kind of relationship. I'm happier on my own then in relationships with a)a loser with no brain, b)someone who tried to dominate me, c)my exH who was too closed-in emotionally and we had a communnication breakdown. But with the right man, I'd rather ne in r-ship than single. And it does happen , read some happy MN reports!

I'm learning how to make better choices, reading those MN threads!

Happymum22 Wed 19-Jun-13 16:58:58

Great thread. I've been single nearly 12 years after my exH had a horrific affair and treated both me and the children very badly. After lots of court cases and trauma with the children trying to have a relationship with their father, 10 years on and none of them see him.

We live in a relatively affluent area and, for some reason, at that time I only knew one friend who had split from her husband. Those around me were less than helpful, but tried, and it was hard not to feel immediately below all these happy couples and that they were desperate for you to meet someone else... maybe to reduce 'awkwardness' of dinner parties etc.

After we split I was in no place to start seeing anyone else due to the shock and everything else going on. A few years later I 'got myself out there' and went on a few dates (old friend). I honestly just feel after my experiences and with my life now, I can't I can re-enter a relationship. I'd love to, but I'm not wanting someone to be let into my life, and my (now mostly adult) children's lives -unless they are really 100% the right person. I completely accept and feel OK with that. I am now 50. I can also assure you it is bloody hard for a woman to 'get back out there'.
I have great children who are always about, including three teenage-early20s daughters who are incredible company and between them keep me busy plus a son who REALLY knows how to treat woman. I have great friends, a busy work life and am very content. My life happiness isn't dependent on a partner, but not saying 'I don't need a man' but more 'I do just fine without'.

True believer everyone is different and any comment on whether someone should 'get back out there' or 'enjoy the single life' is unnecessary and rarely going to help them. Some woman may be confident and need to 'get back out there', others may not.
If anything it is patronising and forgets the often traumatic experiences they have had. Supporting them to get through the break up and be as strong and resilient as they can is far more important than 'cheerful' comments about the next bloke or singlehood!

blackbirdatglanmore Wed 19-Jun-13 17:08:18

I really sympathise Happymum. I work with a lady who came home last year to find her husband of 22 years had gone. She had to sell their home and move to a flat and adjust really quickly. She's done really well but is constantly being asked "so have you found yourself a fella?" hmm

She's not even divorced yet!

LurkingBeagle Wed 19-Jun-13 17:24:24

Allaflutter - I once inadvertently went on a date with a married man. He texted me 5 mins before the date saying the venue where we'd agreed to meet was closed. (I knew it wasn't - I had just been in there to stake it out, find the loo's etc - I am short sighted and anally retentive! grin)

STUPIDLY I didn't realise he was lying. He had seemed so nice in emails.... so I saw his car in the car park, wandered up, said hello and he went into complete meltdown. The truth came out and his wife's parents were in the bar. I called him a rude name, turned on my heel and stomped off.

That was 1 of 3 internet dates in about 5 years online....

Anyway, it made me less inclined to find any old man, who might turn out to be a toad like that. Sometimes it's lonely, sometimes it feels like a damned lucky escape.

LurkingBeagle Wed 19-Jun-13 17:42:24

You are right flutter - it makes sense to put "no kids" on the profile section, but in all honesty I have just given up OD as a bad job.

I think maybe there is a bit of mutual envy between singles and marrieds/LTR' know, I have greater freedom and probably more disposable income than some of them, especially those with young kids. Appreciate this wouldn't necessarily apply to single parents. I think they envy me that. Equally, I sometimes desperately wish I had someone to give me a cuddle at the end of the day, or make me a G&T, or even just sympathise about my crap day!

Blackbird - I have a friend who has just got pregnant with her second child - the first one she also had "alone". The clinic were great about making sure the siblings would look alike. Am so happy for her. Best of luck with your baby-to-be. :-)

patienceisvirtuous Wed 19-Jun-13 20:00:20

Great thread.

I am not single, but have spent big chunks of time in my twenties and thirties single

I totally relate to a lot of the issues in this thread. I don't have dc (want them) and I am in a new ish relationship.

I was about to embark on single motherhood before I met my dp

I think advice would be better given to those people in relationships to be kinder to their single friends :-)

AnotherLovelyCupOfCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 20:13:06

Hear hear and bravo for saying it Blackbird.

For the record count me into the band of single women who

1) socialises when she can and makes efforts to expand her social circle when it is reasonable
2) is not desperate, who is content single (largely content)
3) does not believe that a cat or a dog is quiiiiite what she is looking for
4) does not have barriers up around herself!
5) is normal, attractive a decent person........... who may or may not ever meet somebody, but I suspect I won't because of my age. (42

patienceisvirtuous Wed 19-Jun-13 20:19:20

I feel sad when people say I don't think I will meet someone because of my age.

Obviously it's harder to meet people once you are out of your twenties but people of all ages for meet people

I think you can meet someone at any age. A lot of it is down to luck - right place, right time, right person :-)

AnotherLovelyCupOfCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 20:20:47

Yes,the OP's situation is different. I feel for her. Because I think when you're still young enough to have children it's like all eyes are still on you and you feel the weight of their expectations and hopes for you.

I know it's kind of like confirmation I'm on the shelf now but none of my relatives ever asks me if I've met somebody. It's just now taken for granted that i have not, that I won't.

AnotherLovelyCupOfCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 20:22:56

Well, six years have passed and I didn't meet a man in a rl situation in all that time. I have had one relationship actually and he was a very decent, attractive man actually, but I didn't enjoy his company as much as I should have. I didn't look forward to seeing him enough. I met him on line. So is that what you have to do now? Do men EVER ask you out? if you're not 25 and beautiful.

MadBusLady Wed 19-Jun-13 20:43:21

Another I was 25 and beautiful nine years ago and no-one asked me out. Not sure whether that's comforting or nit grin

MadBusLady Wed 19-Jun-13 20:44:42


Lweji Wed 19-Jun-13 20:54:53

I was once asked out when I was already with then DP (now twat ex).

And once, just before I started dating him, by this random guy on the street. I agreed on a date, had to wait over an hour for him (before mobiles were everywhere), and I just enjoyed the date, then phoned him breaking off. In fairness, I think he was just after an European passport. grin

velvetspoon Wed 19-Jun-13 21:19:29

Great thread OP, I think we have been on a previous thread recently where I entirely agreed with your sentiments and thought you expressed them really well smile

What grinds my gears is that when you're single, your life somehow becomes public property. I remember reading Bridget Jones' Diary when it first came out (I was in my mid20s) and being horrified that the SmugMarrieds would ask why Bridge was still single, tell her she had find herself a man etc. But fast forward 15 years and I get this crap everywhere I go.

If it's not work colleagues telling me I really need to put myself out there and make an effort hmm, it's other friends offering to set me up with lame ducks ('Oh, what about DH's cousin John. Nice bloke. Good with kids. Does a bit of charlie at weekends, would that bother you? shock). I don't sit around weeping and wailing about being single, I might make the odd dissatisfied comment - I am only human after all! - but I really don't ask for any of the advice or help, and I am using both terms as loosely as possible!, that gets foisted on me.

I have tried OD. It is full of 50x more losers than I have ever met in RL. I did meet one decent bloke (after an awful lot of duff ones) however he has a lot of issues and is not in the right place for a relationship. But you know there are loads of people who tell me it's MY fault I can't meet anyone decent online.

Because of course OD sites are packed with single, attractive, intelligent, solvent men with great personalities, any woman would be spoilt for choice....!

Not to mention all the people who bang on about how WONDERFUL it is to be single, or how they miss it (the latter ones always make me laugh).

Or the ones who say get a dog. Despite the fact I'm out of the house for 12 hours a day!

Or the ones who, if you say you miss being in a relationship, suggest a trip to Anne Summers or Love Honey. How incredibly patronising.

I've been single for 4.5 years (apart from the last 8 months when I was seeing the aforementioned man with issues). If I dropped my standards I'm sure I could meet someone, but I don't want just anyone. I see too many awful relationships around me to want to go down that route!

blackbirdatglanmore Wed 19-Jun-13 21:19:33

Mad - me too! grin

I am OK with not meeting anyone, I've sort of made my peace with it. it seems to bother others more than it does me, anyway!

blackbirdatglanmore Wed 19-Jun-13 21:21:12

Right on there, vs. It is so frustrating being asked why you haven't met anyone and the assumption is always that you are desperate!

velvetspoon Wed 19-Jun-13 21:24:25

Sorry that turned into a bit of a rant! blush

Dahlen Wed 19-Jun-13 21:26:28

My boss (who is otherwise really lovely) actually told me that it was high time "you found yourself a nice man to look after you."

Six months later, he tried to set me up with a member of his family!

My family have regularly come up with comments such as "you're not getting any younger you know".

I think they are all rather relieved I am dating again, though I suspect that as long as it was human, male and alive, they would be happy.

The one thing in common with all these however is that they are all over 60. I've never had disparaging comments about my single status or matchmaking suggestions from anyone from those younger.

The only thing I would point out to people though is that if there's one thing people feel more qualified to comment on than a single woman's status, its the state of a married/partnered person's relationship. wink Ultimately, people are just gossips and it's all about fuelling their need for that than any real philosophy on singledom or anything

MadBusLady Wed 19-Jun-13 21:32:12

A while back I had an email from an old friend who I hadn't seen for a couple of years and who I used to really fancy asking how I was. It included the phrase "How are you? Are you married?"


It's like Bridget Jones never lampooned all this stuff. No, I am not married, nor have I visited Minsk or played the accordion in a professional capacity since we last spoke. Are there any other random questions that have no bearing whatsoever on the state of my life that you wish to pitch at me? (I didn't say.)

UptheChimney Wed 19-Jun-13 21:49:03

* 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?"*

Love this. I have said to smug marrieds of my acquaintance when they say how lucky I am being single "Well, divorce [husband's name] then. Why don't you?" and they are shocked. And mumble ...

Then when I say I've pretty much given up, they say "Oh yo shouldn't give up. There'll be someone because you're so lovely" So I challenge them to name one single, straight, non-bonkers/single-for-a-reason man of our acquaintance, and mostly, they cannot.

My friends are lovely, but if they are married They. Do. No. Get. It.

I can probably give most of you at least 15 years, and it can get better if you can have a fabulous life in other ways: if I were a man at my age with looks still very much intact, well-off, very successful career, DS now flown the nest, lovely lifestyle -- well, if I were a bloke, I would have 35 year olds at my feet. But as a woman -- well, not so much ...

So I make a virtue of necessity. As Gloria Steinem said once (I think) I've become the husband I once wanted to marry.

[although for me, I was married, but he died]

I like this blog, although sometimes it is very depressing:

ALittleStranger Wed 19-Jun-13 21:54:04

I love being single at the moment.

But I know that I don't want this forever and it does worry me that I just don't seem to come across many possibilities.

Plus love and sex with someone you love is great. I can meet a lot of my needs through myself, my friends or casual sex but there are somethings that only somone you have the deep and meaningfuls for can hit.

I have strong enough foundations to be confident in admitting that yes I do need a man to complete me.

UptheChimney Wed 19-Jun-13 22:04:01

Sorry everyone but I wasn't looking for advice (and nor was I whining!) - I was hoping others in similar situations could maybe come on and we could share a bit!

Blackbird, I really DO get what you're sayig. You could be describing quite a bit of my life, and what you say in your OP and elsewhere about the responses to single woman -- because f course it's our fault if we're single, we're just not trying hard enough -- really gets me sometimes.

And if you talk about it, as you have, then you're bittter & not making the most of your opportunities blah blah blah.

Interestig tat when married people post about the difficulties of marriage here, people don't question their very character or give the equivalent of "advice" that you've received in this thread.

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