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35 and never been in a relationship

(98 Posts)
neverthebride Sun 27-Oct-13 17:09:03

Have n/c for this as frankly, I'm embarassed. I'm 35 and I've never been in a relationship. I've never even been close. I've had sexual or dating-type things but they've always ended fairly quickly. I'm ok confidence-wise and I get male attention when I go out so it's not that I can't meet men or even get dates; it just never leads to anything. Its becoming more and more likely that I'll never experience someone really loving me and that makes me really sad. Everyone always says 'you never know what's around the next corner' and although that's true, I've been hearing that for 15 years so don't hold out much hope anymore!. I spend the years seeing friends fall in and out of love, get married and have children while always staying single. I think most people would think there must be something wrong with me but I can't figure out what it is and my friend's can't seem to suggest anything either. I don't need to be in a relationship at all, I manage perfectly fine on my own but i'd like to love someone and be loved in return. I'm a Nurse so spend all my working time looking after others and it would be nice to have someone to look after me if I needed it, just once. Living on my own and paying all my own bills means i'm often in debt and never have spare cash for holidays etc so feel like I literally work to live. I know FB isn't necessarily a genuine picture of people's lives but all I see is friends holidays, weddings and children and I can't help but feel like a loser. I'm going through a bad bout of depression (unrelated to singledom I think) and although I have friends that care; they're busy with their own lives. I feel exhausted by dealing with everything on my own all the bloody time and just think what's the point?. I've never met someone else my age who's never been loved by a partner. Are there any others out there?.

Pinkpinot Mon 28-Oct-13 13:50:06

I was the same
Then I met dh and I think subconsciously thought it was my last chance
I wish I'd never married him

Anyway, looking back I actually had lots of interest, I just never really acted on it
I was a lot more attractive than I gave myself credit for
I still can't quite put my finger on how come I didn't find anyone. I know with one guy I actually pushed him away because I was scared of the rejection. I wasn't his type, but looking back we could have been really good together, we were great friends.

cleolaineonatuesdaynightinbolt Mon 28-Oct-13 17:12:21

I've also name-changed blush.

I could have written that post, OP, apart from being a nurse and being a different age - I'm 37. It feels like that now that more people are getting paired off, it's getting harder to meet people. My few friends don't even ask me anymore if I've met anyone, neither do my parents sad. When you get to this age and have never heard anyone say 'I love you' or 'I'm in love with you', never having had anybody to hold hands with walking in the park, share Valentines night with, nobody to go to weddings hurts deeply. Never having that special kind of validation. I feel like there's a part of me missing.

Interesting that so many people are saying barriers could be a problem.

I think you should go to your G.P (as I'm doing tomorrow) and get the depression sorted out first, not easy I know, and take it from there.

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 17:46:41

Oh Cleo, I feel exactly the same!. I used to love, love, LOVE Christmas but the last couple of years I haven't bothered to put up any decorations because it was so sad putting them up on my own and thinking I should be doing it with a partner and/or children. Everyone has given up asking me about relationships too which in a way is a relief as it was often embarassing and I'd sometimes find myself making something up rather than admit I was still single. Hugs to everyone on their own for whatever reason x

Upstream Mon 28-Oct-13 18:05:10

You're not the only one. I'm in my early forties and I realised a few years back that I've never been in a situation where my romantic attraction for somebody was reciprocated. confused sad

Have had a gay boyfriend, a player who was only half there. An older bf who was good company but who really heavily guided me in to having a relationship even though I was never physically attracted to him.

Not once have I experienced that feeling of having my affection and attraction fro somebody reciprocated.

and there is nothing wrong with me. I don't have walls up around myself. My 'standards' aren't too high wrt looks (but they are high wrt personality). I'm not awkward, or particularly eccentric. I'm not unattractive or odd or 'high maintenance' whatever that means.

Who knows what it's all about. But I know what you mean when you say you watch friends fall in and out of love, it's something that happens to them every few years. I'm still waiting.

Upstream Mon 28-Oct-13 18:06:36

Everybody's given up asking me too. Like, when you get to forty, it must be obvious that it's too late.... confused

It is a relief but it's also an insult. More a relief though.

Upstream Mon 28-Oct-13 18:10:26

Ps, before I name-change back.... wrt to the barriers. Well, hmm.

I think that people like to assume there's a neat little reason why you're single. That it is down to YOU. not that sometimes it's hard, or that there isn't always a lid for every pot.

I had psychotherapy after I left my x (father of my child) and I don't have barriers around me. I can't make people see me the way I see myself though! I see myself as normal, attractive, content, loving. I am only looking for what I can offer myself. I don't want to date down. I know a lot of people would read that statement and think 'ah bingo' her standards are too high. But it's not to do with height or looks or job or class or any of that shallow stuff. It's to do with common decency and intelligence.

weneedtotalkaboutkettles Mon 28-Oct-13 18:17:18

To be honest I think it's just luck - good or bad, that dictates whether or not you meet somebody.

People like finding a reason because they think if there is a reason as to why "you" are single, it won't happen to them, because the same doesn't apply to them.

All the men I know in their 30s/40s who are single - well, you can see why. All the women are lovely though!

Kernowgal Mon 28-Oct-13 18:20:24

Until a few years ago I'd never had a relationship last longer than six months (and that one was long distance, so probably more like a week in reality wink).

Then I finally met someone while on work placement and we were together for a couple of years. I was so desperate to make things work that I stuck it out for far longer than I should have - he eventually turned out to be abusive. I just wanted a relationship, any relationship. He also never reciprocated my affection, and as a result I subconsciously put my guard up and so we were doubly doomed.

Now I'm free of him I can't really contemplate dating again although I would like to meet someone for companionship more than anything else - something I didn't have with my ex. Just someone to laugh about silly things with, someone to go for long walks with, someone to feel comfortable with.

There's nothing wrong with me either, except that maybe I don't have much confidence. I am also fiercely independent and I think sadly this does put some men off. However I'd also say that if they're put off by that then they're not the man for me.

I'm not going to give you the usual platitudes about "you'll meet someone when you're not looking" because tbh I think it is bollocks. It may be that you don't meet someone. That's life. I think a lot of women are brought up to think that they are a failure if they don't have a long-term relationship (my mum is certainly guilty of this) and it drives me mad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being single but society seems to view single women with suspicion.

Terribly sorry, got a bit ranty there confused

Chubfuddler Mon 28-Oct-13 18:22:47

I was with the same man for 15 years and I wonder now we are divorced if he ever really loved me. I'm the same age as you op.

I agree with the others - don't lower your standards. Many many apparently happy people are just settling. Don't be one of them.

Kernowgal Mon 28-Oct-13 18:23:47

Should have added that I am 36, not that I feel a day over 21...

I think it is also important to ask yourself honestly if you would want any of your friends' relationships. Out of the many couples I know I think there are perhaps two or three whose relationships seem completely solid and based on mutual respect and love. That's not many. So maybe I want the unattainable?

ProphetOfDoom Mon 28-Oct-13 18:45:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NerdyBird Mon 28-Oct-13 18:48:30

I was mostly single until I met my partner. A few short relationships but big gaps in between. I don't know why it was like that for me, and I know two other girls the same. We're all just normal people who would like someone to share their lives with.

I know several men who met their partners later on, two have children. At least one couple met through internet dating. Online dating didn't work for me, although my flatmate has had a couple of relationships from it.

I met my partner through friends in the end, and everything is going well. It's different from how I imagined having a partner would be, for one thing he has children and they live with him full time. I've recently moved in so we are all adjusting.

Do go to the GP if you feel you are depressed.

Chubfuddler Mon 28-Oct-13 18:49:03

All the men I work with are married, and I wouldn't get involved with a colleague anyway. Would be frowned upon.

Kernowgal Mon 28-Oct-13 18:49:36

Propinquity - never heard of that! Interesting, thanks smile

joanofarchitrave Mon 28-Oct-13 19:03:38

My oldest friend was single until she was 39. She met her husband through a strange set of circumstances to do with her university - she wasn't actively 'looking' exactly. She was reasonably choosy (i.e. not prepared to put up with crap) as everyone should be. Otherwise i can't see any reason why it took so long for her to be with someone. They are very happy.

Working for the NHS there will be a lot of female-dominated times in your life. You clearly want something in your life to change, and who can blame you. Why not make changes in other areas? Would you consider VSO, for example? Or something less dramatic, perhaps HOPE (European health professionals exchange)? Or go all out for a promotion and more money? If you were able to pay the bills and do some of the things you would like to do in life, perhaps things would feel better?

NulliusInBlurba Mon 28-Oct-13 19:06:16

DH's wonderful aunt had her first ever real relationship after she retired from teaching at 65. She fell head over heels in love with a widower, they married, and now twenty years later they're both failing a bit physically but still very much in love. Even though she never had birth kids of her own they have a huge extended family who visit regularly. It really is never too late!

Would you consider psychotherapy, with two goals in mind:
To explore whether you do really want a relationship or not in the long term, or whether you're just currently feeling a bit down because you're in a different situation to the 'shiny happy people' on FB.

If you conclude you do want a relationship, you could look into why this might not be working in practice, and if you are subconscioulsy sabotaging yourself. Or work out concrete ways with the therapist of becoming pro-active in going for a relationship.

If you conclude that, no, you're actually perfectly happy by yourself, you could explore what you could do to overcome your current feelings, and to make practical improvements in your lifestyle. For instance, do you know one or two other people living by themselves who would be happy to come together for Christmas lunch? Or another meal at Christmas? Would it help if you extend your circle of friends, perhaps by getting a new hobby?

All the best, anyway.

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 19:27:57

I am being treated for my depression, it's just taking time.

Its interesting to hear of other women in my position as I honestly don't know anyone with my lack of relationship history in RL.

The question of would I want my friend's relationships is an interesting one as I think with only one or two exceptions I'm surrounded by happy and respectful relationships.

Ive got good friends, a career, pay my own bills etc but I can't help feeling like I'm failing at a fundamental part of life.

Several people upthread have suggested I shouldn't lower my standards and my immediate response was to think 'oh I won't' but then to be honest, this year I've dated two men and finished with both of them as they turned out to be twats (one was verbally abusive when drunk, the other would text 50 times a day but stood me up - twice!). I knew I wanted and deserved better but found myself getting in touch with them again after a few weeks because I was lonely and thought something was better than nothing. I came to my senses again quite quickly but it still scared me that I'd got to that point. I feel ashamed admitting that to be honest.

ProphetOfDoom Mon 28-Oct-13 19:29:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeamSouthfields Mon 28-Oct-13 19:33:23

My partner had never been in a relationship, she was 31 when we got together... We've been together 9 years in January

TwoPeasOnePod Mon 28-Oct-13 19:53:31

My partner is 39, he's never had a relationship further than a few dates/a bit of sex, with very few women. He's been with me for a year now, and it has been a STEEP learning curve for both of us.
As I am 13 years younger, I have three DC aged 6 and under from previous abusive LTR, and live a very different lifestyle to him, and we have struggled at points. He can err on being controlling, simply because he has always been in control, iyswim?

But I echo previous posters in that you should not 'lower your standards' just to be part of a couple. I thinkI am a woman who needs to be enmeshed in an LTR at all times, I have been since I was 15, and still haven't really found who I am. Which is a shame. So you are at a strong advantage having experience of who you are smile

And fuck what anyone else thinks if they are judging you, the idiots! You are clearly an example of a strong and self-possessed woman who is in charge of her life and that is most certainly something to be proud of

TwoPeasOnePod Mon 28-Oct-13 19:58:59

Forgot to add, my DP has found it hard with even the very basics, like cuddling/texting/sharing a bed etc. He's got used to it more now. And although he wouldn't be so hurtful, I know for a fact there have been times he's wished he was still single, just because it is hard and scary to trust and love a person. Whereas you can more or less always rely on yourself.

HappyHugs Mon 28-Oct-13 20:42:49

You sound lovely OP. I am married with 3 little dc but I am very much the exception among my female colleagues, all of whom are in the 38-45 category (including me). I sometimes envy the freedom they have; nights out, holidays, disposable income! I see their FB pages and the gulf between our lives seems huge. Yet I know that they probably look at my life with similar thoughts. The grass is always greener.

I just wanted to share this to show that although you feel the odd one out you're really not. I hope you do fulfil your dreams and meet someone special, but dont wait all this time and go for something less than best. Keep your standards!

HogFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 21:01:07

What are the other relationships like in your life? friends, siblings, parents etc? this can sometimes shed some light.

FairPhyllis Mon 28-Oct-13 21:01:12

As a long termly single woman (almost 32), I hear you OP. But OTOH you have good radar for total twats. Being in a bad relationship is worse than being alone, I think.

Could you look at switching into a different department/specialism in nursing, or look at nursing in a different type of environment? Not specifically so that you could meet someone, but so that you get a bit of a change of scene and feel that something good is happening with your career. It sounds like if one really big and positive thing happened in some area of your life it would give you a boost and spread out to the other areas of your life.

neverthebride Mon 28-Oct-13 21:32:05

Thanks so much everyone for being lovely and giving such good advice. Feel pretty low and this has given me a bit of a boost.

Am looking into a change of scene work-wise and although I'm not anticipating that that will lead to meeting someone, I am hoping it'll make me a bit happier in general.

Some really, really lovely people on this site and you've all helped a lot!.

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