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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

blackbirdatglanmore Wed 17-Jul-13 16:14:35

Jessica, you sound like me. I can so relate to "I would find it more lonely doing something memorable on my own than just staying at home on my own" - it is the part people often don't get (in my experience) - yes, it's possible to do stuff but it's rare (in my experience again) that it is particularly pleasurable or enjoyable.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Wed 17-Jul-13 13:03:53

Breakout - I so hear you on that one. I am blessed in that I have lots of friends but only one who is single. All the others are coupled, some with kids, some without. I don't have a DD or DS or a DH and almost no family, so birthdays (and Xmas to an extent) can be incredibly lonely. I have my 40th next year and I can't see myself suddenly having a partner by then, as I have been single the last 3 years and only 2 dates in all that time. I would love to do something memorable but have no one to do it with and will probably end up doing nothing at all as I would find it more lonely doing something memorable on my own than just staying at home on my own.

allaflutter Wed 17-Jul-13 11:56:41

Flojo, but if you don't want to live with someone, what are you desperate about - you mean just with the more casual dating? I do relate to being like that in my youth - how things changed grin.

BreakOutTheKaraoke Wed 17-Jul-13 11:55:06

It's my birthday next week. It's one of the worst times of being single for me. Friends get whisked for weekends away, one has a surprise party being planned, another is skint so her husband will send the full day running around after her instead. I need to remember to ring up a family member or two to make sure someone will remember to take DD to buy me a card, she gets upset if not. To me,that just sums up the full crapness of being single. People ask what I'm doing for my birthday. Nothing, as it means planning it myself, paying for it myself, and feeling shitty when my friends already have plans with partners and can't see my anyway. So I'll open my cards with DD, and put on a happy face for the rest of the day.

Flojobunny Tue 16-Jul-13 23:40:59

I haven't always been single but I can't live with anyone, I'm too stuck in my ways now and find it too stressful.
I used to be confident and aloof, and sometimes a complete bitch, but now I'm needy and desperate and that seems to come across. Being nice and genuine doesn't seem to get me anywhere.
I often wish I was that 18 year old in a bar without a care in the world, what happened to her?

allaflutter Tue 16-Jul-13 22:28:59

empathise, I mean.

allaflutter Tue 16-Jul-13 22:28:26

sorry Op, didn't mean to sound harsh, but it probably came out like that. Glad you enjoy your social life. I really emphathise with not liking being single - in my case I'm used to being in r-ship, and it's even harder to get used to being single - but after 2.5 yrs I'm somehow more chilled about it eventhough I do want to meet somone. I'm older than you by 10yrs, so to me it's negative that at only 31 you've given up mentally - all I want to say, never say never! I'm just worried that because you've decided 'that's it' , you ar giving off that vibe that you don't believe in finding a partner and maybe that's why there is no interest? I can't think of any other reason that no one ever shown interest as you are popular with friends and a good person. Someone asked, did you ever ask a man out? Maybe if you have a forbidding type of vibe, they are feeling the 'don't come near' - I've been accused of that at some point so it's nothing unusual (I wasn't ready then anyway). I also srtuggle meeting single men, this IS the biggest problem for women in their 30s-40s. But I'm not negative as I know for a fact that preople find the right partner at 40, 50, anytime - I don't mind an older guy. I think you come across as a very strong confident person, and men assume that if you aer interested, you'll approach them, unlike someone delicate looking/acting. Also, why not ask a man friend for honest feedback - unless you are very proud, that's if you do still want to be open to dating. Try older men too online within reason, some women have excellent partners who are older.

blackbirdatglanmore Tue 16-Jul-13 21:34:16

allof - sorry you feel it's negative. Truth is, I have to spend my days smiling and being cheery and sunny and happy, and it is a relief when I can come on here and be honest, and with some of that honesty is sullenness, resentfulness and yes, negativity. I didn't promise a rose garden, after all - or did I? wink

I appreciate everything I have, but again, I didn't start a thread about my lovely home, good job or friends, I started one about being single and truth is I don't appreciate it, I find it hard and I find it lonely. TTC, alone, is despairing at times. The end result will be worth it, certainly, but in the interim the isolation is immense.

I won't find a relationship. I haven't had any interest at all, ever, it isn't going to start now! I know if I was writing a chick-lit novel now would be the point when the main man would waltz in but it isn't a chick-lit novel, it's my life, it will keep ticking on much as it always has. I've had my share of moving homes and jobs and adventures and interests but the one things that is always consistent is my singleness!

I am much better, thank you. Unfortunately most friends work or are with small children during the day so asking them isn't a help.

allaflutter Tue 16-Jul-13 20:51:46

Op, I was replying to Walk's post about how great would it be to be loved and be the most important person to someone. As if I don't knnow that! I'm single too and don't really want to be. And no, nothing wrong of saying it's shit, but surely you expect people to try and cheer you up or at least come out with a philosophocal view on things (as I've tried to do) - rather than just repeat 'it's shit' over and over again? Al lI was saying is that lts of relayionships are shit, and the chance is really small to find one where you are cherished for a long time by same partner while also loving him rather than getting bored/irritated/disappointed.
Life gemerally is tough, and all you can do is try but also appreciate what you have just being and enjoying aspects of life - and planning for a baby in your case - meditation is based on it and it does help the morale.
I agree that being ill and alone sucks, but don't feel embarassed to ask a friend. My new (not very close even) friend offered to go the shops when i was unwell (I wasn't that bad so did it myself) - but it was enough to cheer me up.
I just think you are too negative when you say 'I will never find a relationship', why is that hlpful? you don't have to sit and hope, but being so 'final' is just not being open. I think most people don't understand threads where all they are alowed to do is say 'yes, that's shit' - most would not want to wallow in woe is me. Sorry I know I don't have to post, but being single and not too happy too, I still think it's too doom and gloom. Hopefully you are getting well now at least!

Llareggub Tue 16-Jul-13 08:30:38

Blackbird, I do hear what you are saying. I can go all weekend with speaking to a single adult, and with 2 children under 6 it is hard.

As a single mother I crave company of adults and the best advice was from a friend of mine in the same boat. We have a pact where we try and make social activities happen for us. Last night she took a bottle of wine to her neighbours (they are in their 70s) and she encouraged me to do that this week too. Both of us tend to wait for invites from others as we don't want to impose on what we see as "family time" at weekends.

The reality is that if someone asked me to do something at the weekend I'd move heaven and earth to make it happen. I rarely can though, but I am working on it.

I took the kids to the beach Friday evening and felt moments of sadness when I saw the families with 2 parents and children and the groups of friends, but I know that I am rubbish and inviting people to do stuff. I wish I was better at it. If you had been there on your own I would have snapped your hand off for a bit of adult conversation!

blackbirdatglanmore Tue 16-Jul-13 07:16:35

Lots better now thanks! I'm just recovering so tired, sluggish, a bit depressed (always get a mild form of depression after physical illness! No idea why!) flowers

Walkacrossthesand Tue 16-Jul-13 06:47:50

X-posted! Hope you feel better soon, blackbird brew

Walkacrossthesand Tue 16-Jul-13 06:46:17

No, allaflutter, I don't think all my coupled friends have wonderful close relationships, nor do I compare myself to them - but it is a strong human drive to form a pair bond - the majority of people are in one, and it's hard being single for a long time /forever. The song isn't romantic, incidentally - he's singing about what he'd like to do with a companion (go fishing and enjoy a lazy day). In the end, he decides to go fishing alone - defiantly. I like it.

blackbirdatglanmore Tue 16-Jul-13 06:45:54

I'm quite pessimistic at the moment because I have been so unwell, I think. There's nothing like being alone and ill to make you really feel it.

I think we all know that our friends' relationships aren't all hearts and flowers but the point is that being single isn't all high heels and hangovers either, there are enough posts on relationships dispelling the myths about them - we KNOW! Is it not possible to just say that something can be shit without every other post reminding us it could be even more shit!?

allaflutter Tue 16-Jul-13 00:28:11

OP, I do wish you best of luck in becoming a mother, I think you will find happines that way, as you want it passionately. Your whole perspective will change to a positive one, at the moment you sound very pessimistic as you focus on lack of company - imo the child will be much more reliable as long tern company than any man can be. Yes, it's touch being single sometimes, but same can be said about being with someone and maintaining love long term - and not being irritated by their bad sides - in majority of cases.

allaflutter Tue 16-Jul-13 00:21:07

Walkacross - it's very wrong to compare yourself to the coupled friends - do you really think all their relationships are close, sharing, understanding?? I think the truth is, they just put up with a lot, and many don't even love their patners anymore and stay out of habit/children even if they don't hate each other, but what I mean - it's not like that romantic song you are quoting! I literally know only a couple of truly happy loving r-ships, the rest of women i know either put up with a lot, or their H's/P's have left for someoneelse after years together.
I'm single too - it's hte first time in life htat it's been solid for 2.5 years, so OP, it's not at all always the case that those who had r-ships are always on the bandwagon. I'm sort of shocjed myself, but if I think about it, it's about preferring to be on my own to someone only slightly suitable. If I find the right man, I will of course go for it, but previously I went for it completely on imulse - that's why I had relationships, not because there was something 'right' with me, and now htere isn't - I just didn't think too much. And guess what, they haven't worked out, even though I had a 6yr marriage.

Walkacrossthesand Tue 16-Jul-13 00:03:01

I understand, blackbird, I've been single for 18 years contrary to everyone's expectations after my marriage ended. I long to be someone's 'one and only', to be special to someone - you can have friends, go on singles holidays, find company - but it's just not the same, you do wonder what's wrong with you that you can't find what so many of your friends have found. John denvers song 'druthers' says it well - 'Give me somebody to love me, make me feel like the only one....You just need someone to talk to, Something you can share. You don't need no reason for livin', It's already there'. It's tough.

blackbirdatglanmore Mon 15-Jul-13 23:25:12

whitesugar I do get out a fair but but only 'cause I live alone. If I didn't get out I wouldn't see people. Unfortunately it really isn't an exaggeration to say I never, ever meet single men. I can't imagine just taking the chance one is single and asking him out - thanks, though. I know I'm not going to meet anyone now and I accept that and I'm ok with it - I think I'll be happier once a child is on the scene - but at times it is very very tough being alone.

superstarheartbreaker Mon 15-Jul-13 23:24:55

Latara...why don't you get chatting to him and find out more about him rather than asking outright. Do some research! Drop hints and flirt!

superstarheartbreaker Mon 15-Jul-13 23:23:39

I think that society needs to be much more supportive of single women. Bridget Jones needs to stop being bandied about as a cringe-worthy role model. I prefer Samantha Jones from Sex and the City who is georgeous, strong and does not need a man but loves sex!
Society needs to acknowledge that no relationship is better than settling or indeed better than abuse. A single women should be seen as a success for coping alone rather than a failure for not putting up with a lot of crap finding a man.
The way I see it is like this; everyone who is interested in me is an ex who now has come crawling back. The thing is , now I am over them I do not want to be them as I have no desire to date drug addicts, alchoholics, dead beat dads, emotional fuckwits, controlling, intellelectually stunted, badboy loosers!

Latara Mon 15-Jul-13 22:33:14

But if I ask him and it goes wrong then I can't go to the gym any more.

whitesugar Mon 15-Jul-13 22:08:34

I think men just want a best friend who they can hang around with. The reality about relationships isn't anything to do with looking like Barbie. Men just want someone they can talk to about things apart from football, cars and work. Ask him latara, if he says no the world will still keep spinning around. Easy for me to sound brave huh?

Latara Mon 15-Jul-13 21:48:32

I can't imagine asking a man out, and it turning out well!

The man I like is a trainer from the gym, but he's very attractive and probably well out of my league. I don't know if he's single anyway or if he likes women in my age group (similar age to him).

Zynda Mon 15-Jul-13 20:51:38

I think taking advice from women reminds women not to lose sight of what women want!! A lot of advice men give out is telling us to be more like the idealised woman, as idealised by men. And life aint like that buddy cos sometimes people are allowed to be women, so I wonder confused if taking advice only from men could work wonders in terms of getting-a-man, the what came next could be stormy. I don't really know though!

Zynda Mon 15-Jul-13 20:45:41

True! I guess. I can't relax and kick back if i'm wincing about something excruciatingly humiliating that I did/said though!!

Whenever I ask a man out I think he feels awkward :-/

I'm not sure I want to take advice from men. I don't even know any though!! It's that bad! I do see that there is logic there, in what your brother says - if you want To Get A Man Full Stop. But I don't want to have to jump through hoops and do thngs that don't come naturally, or pretend to be Cool Girl.

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