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(27 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 11:40:05

Are you suffering from 'single-phobia'? Do you believe that a woman without a man is a failure or a lesser being? Do you see independence as a terrifying or socially unacceptable prospect? Do you believe the Daily Mail stereotype of single women being automatically poor and their children automatically on a fast-track to a prison cell? Have you been scornful or judgemental about single women in the past and are now afraid to join their ranks? Is any partner better than no partner? Is 'single-phobia' holding you back from achieving your full potentially or keeping you trapped in an unhappy relationship?

Help is at hand... smile

pinkfluffypoodleface Mon 17-Feb-14 11:42:15

No to all of those Cog smile

A life as a single woman is very much as valid as other ways of living, as long as you are happy.

MadBusLady Mon 17-Feb-14 11:44:19

<pulls up chair>

No to all of those but I'm just in the process of becoming single and been meaning to start a "waaaah, regulars, help meeee" thread. I'm absolutely sure it was the right decision for me but there is a LOT of horrible messaging out there, would like some encouragement to weather it when I start going public. smile

GiveTwoSheets Mon 17-Feb-14 11:46:07

No no no and a big fat no to all your questions.

But then again I'm a happy single parent.

MadBusLady Mon 17-Feb-14 11:46:22

(Actually I was going to start a thread asking for advice on whether to end it or not but I realised I knew what you'd all say, so I just did that!)

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 11:49:42

It's no secret that I'm also a happy single parent. However, increasingly conscious that a common mental trap for those in abusive or unhappy relationships - fear of being single - goes beyond loneliness and stretched finances and into the reaction of others, sense of failure, social exclusion etc.

bibliomania Mon 17-Feb-14 11:50:56

Hurrah for internalising the stern wisdom of the Relationships board, Mad!

A model of single blessedness myself, with the occasional wobble.

pinkfluffypoodleface Mon 17-Feb-14 11:58:58

Sorry for a long & boring post but I've felt differently about these issues at different ages:

-when I was doing my A Levels I had constant boyfriends, if I was alone then to me, it signalled that I was ugly or not worthy in some way. I enjoyed the dubious 'kudos' of being attractive enough to get & keep a boyfriend.

- I was then married to husband who was fine at the beginning but who developed alcohol & drug addictions so I left him to become a single parent in my mid 30's. I did worry about what other people & the parents of school friends would think of me, but it didn't stop me leaving. So it bothered me, but not enough to keep me married to a shitty bloke.

- When I was single parent I couldn't have given the tiniest shit about what anyone thought. I gained loads of confidence in myself, came on mumsnet (under a different name) & have been here ever since. It made me more assertive.

- I've now found another partner (without actively looking) & remember my times as a single parent as one of hard word (DS2 was only 4 months when I left exH) & as a time where I could do what pleased me, without considering anyone else. If I wanted to spend all night on MN I could do, without worrying about anyone else. That's a type of freedom to me, as now I have to negotiate with dp about him wanting to watch Top Gear while I want to watch something else.

Independence can be terrifying if you've been married for years & are considering going it on your own, but once you actually do it then its liberating!

pinkfluffypoodleface Mon 17-Feb-14 11:59:29

Mad smile

Sortyourmakeupout Mon 17-Feb-14 12:14:11

Yes to one of the questions cog.

When I was single I used to get stuff like whats a good looking girl like you doing on her own, like there had to be something wrong with me. I couldnt possibly have been single through choice.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 17-Feb-14 12:41:26

Maybe it depends too on how you see yourself when in a functioning couple, just an adjunct or an essential part?

I know there are people stuck in horrible situations - living abroad married with DCs and unable to leave their DCs when the relationship fails; trapped by poverty; carers for family members - who can't break free.

I don't condemn anyone who wants to give a cheating spouse or partner another chance. I think it takes guts to go and guts to stay.
DCs do complicate matters. I worry that women do put themselves through the mill to try and keep things going at all costs for their offspring. And by the time those DCs grow up and leave the nest, what impression of adult relationships and attitudes do they have?

My parents' generation (okay generalising here) might have clung onto the notion that living without a man, or 'significant' other meant a woman was disadvantaged, downtrodden or undesirable.

I feel bad for people my age who say well, I am not likely to find anyone else/do better at my time of life. As though happiness were the preserve of the up to 49s. For me personally, the empty nest was a big milestone. Had my DH and I felt we'd seen the DCs grow and reach adulthood and our job was done, if we hadn't felt anything was left for us as a couple we would have reassessed and maybe made major changes last summer.

Last summer it was reported that the divorce rate was rising for the over-60s, okay there are more over 60s nowadays but there's been a loss of stigma over being divorced, and more financial independence for women.

Relate said at the time that over 80% of people surveyed aged over 50 said that strong personal relationships were the most important factor to a happy later life.

For anyone on the cusp of a new single life, good luck flowers be happy.

goodenuffmum Mon 17-Feb-14 12:47:24

I have been single for almost a year for the first time since I started dating when I was 14.

Im embarrassed to admit that i probably hung in there too long with STBXH because of the fear of how i would cope as a single mum, finances, practicalities of day to day life etc. i have quickly found that I can and am coping as a single DC tell me I am more relaxed and chilled out and the resentment I had when he was there but doing as little as possible has gone: i just get on with all the stuff now. I have wallpapered for the first time and even sanded my wooden floors by myself grin

I found out yesterday that he had cheated on me for the last few months of our marriage. 15 hours after receiving the OW's facebook message I'm already making plans to move on from this.

Sadly I work in a profession that receives must of its referrals from single parent households. I have started to reevaluate this: maybe single parents are more likely to seek outside help rather than maintain the facade of the perfect family?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 12:48:44

Certainly I think it is revealing whether someone regards themselves as an independent person in a relationship or the 'other half' as it were. Financial dependency has a big influence on single-phobia certainly. I think 'for the sake of the children' is a factor but, even there, I think the single-phobia is actually the real/imagined social stigma of being a single parent or the real/imagined disadvantage to be the child of a single parent.

JonSnowKnowsNothing Mon 17-Feb-14 12:48:46

Nope to all your questions!
I've lived alone for years, no children, no partner, nothing. It really suits me and it would take a LOT to get me to change my lifestyle now. I do get down when I feel that everything around me is aimed at traditional families, but I usually just shrug it off and carry on.
Fear of singledom, IMO, is not a good enough reason to stay in a terrible relationship.

Farrowandbawl Mon 17-Feb-14 13:09:18

My fear I have to admit was only financial. With ds being the way he is, that ment benefits...and do you know what? I'm actually financially better off on my own.. Not because of the amount of CA and IS because there's bugger all but because my outgoings have reduced dramatically.

No car - this is huge in itself
No huge heating bills as he's left it on all day and night
No extra phone
No computer crap
No petrol
No car tax
NO mot
No beer/larger
Food shop lasts longer
no smoking - another huge expense at 40-50 A DAY
no internet dongle bollocks
no sports packages
no work stuff that has to come out of our pocket first
no takeaways - only once a month when I feel like a treat.

I could go on forever baby.

Farrowandbawl Mon 17-Feb-14 13:10:46

Sorry, pressed too soon.

Financial worries is a huge thing and shouldn't be a reason to stay in a crap relationship but it's all too easy to see why people do.

You just have to make the jump and go for it sometimes and work out the kinks as you go.

FedUpWithJudgementalPeople Mon 17-Feb-14 13:16:58

It has taken me two years to no longer worry about the fact that I am single.
The last two Valentine's days I have been all 'woe is me I'm single'. This year, I felt, well, it was a nice day and being single on it didn't worry me. As I'm happy with my life. Have my moments like everyone, but generally happy, and much happier than when I was with my ex.
Part of the problem is that society places so much focus on women getting married and having children. Yes, these things are great, but they're not for everyone. I don't think there are the same expectations for men. If men are single then that is seen as being more 'ok'. It leads to a lot of women being obsessed with getting married etc, especially when you are in your 30's like me. You start to feel abnormal if that is not where your life is at.
however recently, even in the last 3 or 4 months or so, I've stopped caring if anyone thinks I'm abnormal.

VelvetGecko Mon 17-Feb-14 13:31:38

I have spent more of my adult life single than in relationships despite living with a partner for 10 years. Haven't lived with anyone for over 10 years now and no desire to.
I'm a LP, work and studying for a degree, never been happier. No idea what others think of me and don't really care. I've never hankered after marriage, 2.4 Kids etc though, it's just not for me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 13:33:06

Am really pleased to see so many ferociously independent women! smile There's hope yet.

comingintomyown Mon 17-Feb-14 16:56:46

I grew up in a single parent household with a largely absent Father

Growing up we were very short of money and My DM seemed stressed and gloomy a lot of the time which I perceived as being because of being "stuck" with DB and I and not much money etc. My thoughts on that as I got older was I didn't want DC so that I didn't end up like DM

I didn't take action when I should've when I was married because I was terrified I would end up how I had always dreaded

I have been single four years now and as time goes on seem to go from strength to strength getting happier and happier . It's a shame I had such a dodgy role model for single life growing up or maybe I was just too cowardly but if I knew earlier what I do now I would've left XH long before he eventually left me !

hermionepotter Mon 17-Feb-14 17:10:19

Another happy single here smile took me a couple of years to adjust, having been brought up very much in a 'you must have a maan, any man' type home.

When exh left I thought my life was over but the years since have been the happiest of my life, I've got my lovely dcs and my freedom, and I enjoy freedom at this age in a way I just didn't/couldn't in my teens and twenties.

I have men queuing up tbh, not meaning to sound bigheaded as I'm shock by it but I'm really happy as I am and unless it was someone very special I have no intention of changing that

cmdalt Mon 17-Feb-14 17:29:03

I was a single parent for 13 years and it was a struggle with money as I was on benefits, but I never took the easy way out in finding the nearest man just to avoid being on my own. I saw that happen with a lot of my friends, and it definitely seems to be common - Gingerbread (single parents' group) says the average duration of single parenthood is five years. It's sad as some close friends have lurched from multiple disastrous relationships on the rebound and they have no skills like car maintenance or basic DIY as they have never been on their own for long enough to need it. It's very clear that many of them are unhappy in their relationships and are only staying because of the financial/emotional security of having a partner.

At best it means that they never really know themselves or see any role for themselves except as a wife/partner; at worst they end up in awful abusive relationships because they are too scared to be on their own. They are horrified at the thought of having to cope on benefits, whereas I was always very smart with budgeting and managed pretty well on the income that they consider to be beneath them.

I met and dated a lot of eligible men during my single years (I am married now) but I was never interested in settling down with them until I met DH - he is the only man I've met who I ever imagined spending my old age with but if we'd never met I would have just been happy to stay single rather than just settle. I enjoyed my independence, being taken to dinner, but until I met DH, none of them were quite right for me long-term. Marriage was a very practical/legal procedure for me, and I haven't changed my name nor do I wear a ring, and I've kept my own identity by continuing to socialise on my own, going on holiday alone etc.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 17:35:31

That's an interesting perspective cmdalt. Particularly that you believe your experience of independence and the opportunity to appreciate yourself had a very positive impact on your subsequent marriage. That whole thing about loving yourself first rather than relying on others to provide your self-esteem. Excellent. smile

akawisey Mon 17-Feb-14 21:14:26

I would rather eat my own eyeballs than shackle myself to a man for the sake of 'being in a couple'. Marriage taught me a lot about loneliness. Singledom has taught me to value solitude.

Wrapdress Mon 17-Feb-14 22:29:23

I have never been married, but I did raise a child to adulthood. I have never even had an exclusive relationship. I just need more alone time than the average woman, I think. But now that I am an empty nester, I am more open minded to a relationship. It seems exciting to think of being with a man and past the whole kid thing. I like being single, however, although I know nothing different. In the past it just never dawned on me to get married. I was not raised with the belief that getting married was any kind of goal or hope or point in life. I blame my mother wink.

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