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anyone else let go of the idea of "the one"

(74 Posts)
pickingup Sat 01-Aug-15 20:47:42

I'm 38 and have finally, I think, made my peace with being alone.

I have a small child from a brief marriage, which I think has filled that kid shaped hole. I would have liked another but it's not to be, and that's ok.

I didn't have my first boyfriend until uni, that lasted about 2 years.

Next one was for a few months when I was about 23.

Next one was the one that got away and was from 27 to 30.

Next one was an ill advised marriage which happened purely because I thought I was missing the boat. I had DS and we split shortly after.

I am now a single parent, work full time and have no family support or anyone to rely on. I'm so busy and tired, I can't think of anything worse than dating. I like my space. I like my routine. I don't want a succession of boyfriends that I have to introduce my child to.

My child is 3 and he is everything to me. I don't want to put his needs secondary to a relationship or to my own needs (although I acknowledge that when he gets older I need my own life).

Am I reasonable is thinking that, at 38 I'm done? I don't have the time, energy or patience for a man in my life. I have never met anyone who has truly cherished me and I'm fed up of waiting. I think I'm ready to let go of the dream.

I'd like to know if anyone else has got to this point. Is it ok? How is it being older and on your own? What about when the kids grow up? I don't know anyone else who was just passed by in life when it came to love. That's how I feel, just passed by.

I'd like to add by way of extraneous detail that I am fun, educated, slim, well dressed and interesting. There is nothing I can put my finger on that might have contributed to my never having met a nice man to spend my life with. Just bad luck.

I'm rambling now so I'll just take a deep breath and <post>

pocketsaviour Sat 01-Aug-15 21:08:28

I'm pretty sure "the one" concept was made up by marketing executives to sell more dating site subscriptions/wedding packages/diet plans...

I have had longer LTRs than you, but I'm now 42 and been on my own for two years after my last ex went off with another woman. I think this is probably pretty much it for me now; I might pick up a FWB or two, but I can't imagine sharing my flat with anyone again.

My son is 20 and left home; he visits every couple of months (lives a long way away.) We speak on the phone every few days. I'm very close to my sister, who lives near; we text most days and see each other every couple of weeks. I get on well with my colleagues but don't socialise much, and that suits me fine. I am an introvert and prefer my own company.

I miss having someone for sex, but I don't miss anything else from a relationship. Or if I do, it's on a purely practical level: it would be great to have someone to send to the shops when I was ill, or to vacuum up giant spiders, or who was tall enough to get stuff out of the high cupboards for me. But I'm certainly not going to go through all the inconvenience of dating and relationships for that - I might as well just hire a butler!

pocketsaviour Sat 01-Aug-15 21:15:17

Also meant to add: my first real boyfriend, at the age of 16, lasted two years and I was devastated to the point of suicide when we split.

Even at that age and as fucked up as I was, I knew the relationship hadn't been healthy. I remember saying to myself "I will never love anyone as much as this again, because I can't face feeling like this again."

And I never did.

After that was a brief abusive relationship, then a 7-year stretch with an alcoholic, passive-aggressive man-child. I left him for the man who became my husband, who I did love fiercely initially, but that love fizzled out after a few years.

After that I was single for about 3 yrs, then met my last partner. We got on well (especially in bed) but there was no great romantic feeling there. When he left I was more angry than hurt - mainly because I knew I'd never see a penny of the money I'd lent him (several grand.)

Milllii Sat 01-Aug-15 21:16:15

I feel that at 38 you are still young and potentially have years ahead of you to find someone that you are happy with. If you are happy with your life at the moment then that's great. Enjoy it, your child is only 3 so you can concentrate on your little life together without distractions. Pocket you are only 42 and also not too old at all to find the man that makes you happy. You don't have to live together if you choose not too but you are still young.

pocketsaviour Sat 01-Aug-15 21:22:19

But that's the thing Milllii - a man's not going to make me happy. I'm already happy! I think an actual romantic relationship would reduce my happiness level, not add to it, because I'd have less time for myself, which I really resent.

pickingup Sat 01-Aug-15 21:30:16

pocket I agree. For me a relationship would mean:

time spent away from my son, or time not focused on my son.
Me time reduced.
I never want to live with a man again, so any relationship wouldn't be able to progress naturally onto a more serious level
I don't want to get hurt again
I don't want to go through another breakup. This time I have my child to consider too.

Now, this would change potentially if my "soul mate" came along. I think what I am realising is that my soul mate ain't coming, so my life has to be focused on what happens next in the real world, not the fantasy world in which someone comes along to make it all better.

It's only me. Well, me and my son, but as far as my life is concerned, it's only me, and it's only going to be me.

I'm kind of sad but ok about it.

newnamesamegame Sat 01-Aug-15 21:37:16

I think the idea of "the one" is a complete load of horseshit and I find it staggering that people actually fall for the idea that there is "one" person earmarked for you.

I think having made peace with being happily alone is a good thing and something to celebrate, although I think the odds of your never meeting anyone you like again are fairly slim. You're still young and by the sounds of it, attractive, sorted and happy with yourself. You are bound to attract people, some of whom will be right for you, some not.

The thing I struggle with, having become single after 10 plus year relationship, is the balancing of these opposing drives, the drive to be happy alone with the necessity of looking for someone, which is more or less a requirement these days if you're single and over a certain age.

I'm basically happy alone, have a great relationship with my child, good friends, a full and fulfilling life. If I never had another romantic relationship again it wouldn't be a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. And like pocketsaviour I would think very carefully before agreeing to live with anyone again. On the other hand I'd like to meet someone romantically again at some point. But I know that the chances of meeting someone "organically" (i.e. without online dating and generally putting oneself about) are slimmer than they are when you are in your 20s. But the idea of online dating fills me with deep, existential loathing and dread and I just can't face it.

Maybe just better kicking back and enjoying being alone smile

CalmYourselfTubbs Sat 01-Aug-15 21:40:14

i gave up at 40.
i've come to terms with a life alone.
actually - it's a relief because i now know for sure that there's no one out there for me. i wish someone somehow could have given me a heads-up about that years before and it would have saved on false hope.

Gabilan Sat 01-Aug-15 21:40:22

I'm in my early 40s and single. I do miss having sex. I possibly also talk to the cats too much.

I'd like a friend with benefits. But whenever I read threads on here where someone says "LTB, there's someone wonderful out there for you" I find myself thinking the first half may well be true, the second half may well not be. I just don't think there are that many wonderful, available men out there.

I'm OK with this. I have a good life, certainly better than I would have if I were in a bad relationship.

Hannahouse Sat 01-Aug-15 21:43:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 01-Aug-15 21:44:17

I don't believe in "the one" anymore.

A very long time ago someone posted something on MN along the lines of sayig that a lot of people could have been her soulmate, but in the end her husband was because they had chosen each other and weathered the years as a team.

I think it's a bit like that.

Someone can come along at 38, 48, 58 or whatever and you can choose each other and make the decision to be a team and then they become "the one".

I don't think it's mystical forces pulling two people together - just attraction and commitment gone wild.

I know it's hard after disappointments and kids, and don't think "relationships" are for everyone at every point in their life. Sometimes you can take a few years just for you...and life is not passing you's just part of your journey.

newnamesamegame Sat 01-Aug-15 21:45:13

Gabilan spot on... I also have this cognitive dissonance on these threads. People saying LTB are usually right. But the idea that you are going to waltz out of an abusive relationship and into the arms of an available, well-adjusted, desperately sexy, intelligent and caring man at will seems like a way of sugar-coating it.

The bottom line is that its definitely better to be single, in control and at peace with yourself than in a shitty relationship because your'e scared of leaving. I'd tell someone in a shit marriage this any time. But that doesn't mean its going to be easy or even possible for these people to find someone else....

pickingup Sat 01-Aug-15 21:49:24

Sorry just to clarify, I wasn't really meaning "the one"

I was kind of meaning "someone". Not quite "anyone", but someone special.

And as for there being only one, well I'd be chuffed if there were as many as one. In reality there are "none"!

I met my exh online, so there's no way I'm going back there again. Newname I think "kicking back and enjoying being alone" is exactly that. The thing is, there's a sadness that comes with that - does that mean it's wrong?

Being alone doesn't feel wrong, it feels like fate. This is how it was supposed to be.

Calmyourself false hope is exactly it. That's such a sad way of putting it though.

I don't miss sex at all. Sex had only ever brought me grief and problems. I miss someone being in love with me, wanting to spend time with me and giving me that little boost each day. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone who has got your back all the time? However the reality to me is that being in a relationship brings headache, heartache and nothing but stress and trouble. Hence better on my own.

HermioneWeasley Sat 01-Aug-15 21:52:50

If you are happy as you are, that's great. You don't need someone else to complete you, and th idea that out of 8 billion people on earth there is only one soul mate out there for you is a nonsense.

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 01-Aug-15 21:54:29

If a relationship brings that it is better being on your own. But not all relationships bring that. Some bring a lot of support, love, warmth, affection and really enhance life.

To be honest I find your posts quite positive!

A woman who is happy to be alone, but not closed off to the idea of one day having a relationship. if and when the right person comes along.

I actually think that's great OP.

That false hope you are talking about is some air fairy ridiculous belief that we are not complete on our own. It's just not true and only people with a bit of life experience, heartbreak and wisdom really get that.

pickingup Sat 01-Aug-15 21:57:52

Britney I like the idea of this being part of the "journey",but I can't kid myself anymore that I'm on any kind of road which ends up in happy ever after.

This isn't a reaction to the breakup of my last relationship. This is a clear eyed view of my dating life in the last twenty years. It hasn't been good news. I really really wish I knew why it hasn't been a journey towards a happy family that I'd hoped, but I do just think it's bad luck.

So, this part now is accepting that my journey isn't towards happy ever after with a husband and family, although it might be towards happy ever after on my own (with a cool and amazing child).

That's quite a large adjustment in expectations.

pickingup Sat 01-Aug-15 22:01:14

Argh I feel positive Britney, I really do!

I actually think I've never really been happier, aside from a short while with the one who got away, which doesn't seem like happiness now that I know what happened afterwards.

But with the positive comes a sadness, because I'm giving up.

What I'd really, really like isn't a husband but another child. But I know I couldn't cope with two on my own, I think that it where some of the sadness comes from.

Sorry I feel as if my posts are very confused.

happybubblebrain Sat 01-Aug-15 22:03:45


I'm 43 and I reached the same conclusion as you 6 years ago. I have been happily single all this time without even a single date. I've been asked out on occasions but I always say no. I like things as they are. I split with dd's dad 8 years ago and had one short relationship after that. I realised from the last relationship that I much prefer being single, with enough time for me and dd and time for our friends and hobbies.

I don't miss sex at all either, I'm happier without the constant pressure of it and fear of pregnancy.

If I did want to find someone I would. Although I know it is very hard to find someone nice. I never meet men I find attractive at all, I don't think they exist where I live.

The idea that there is the right man out there for me doesn't appeal to me at all, and I find it slightly annoying when people say this to me. Sometimes it seems like everyone else is living in an immature Disney delusion. When I see my friends' relationships with their partners I don't see any that I would want, most relationships I see look completely miserable and false.

I think it's great to be single.

GinAndSonic Sat 01-Aug-15 22:05:42

I recently realised that i dont need anyone.
My emotional needs are met by my friends, and increasingly so as we become closer due to this. Im currently in an odd, undefined situation / relationship with my ex, or not, i dunno what we are. But i dont need him or the relationship like i used to. I dont cling to him. If we ended, id be sad, but ultimately id be ok, because ive shifted my focus onto myself, and making my life good and fulfilling.

CanisLupus Sat 01-Aug-15 22:09:02

Pickingup, you describe my life perfectly - I'm a similar age to you with a 3 year old child. Have been alone for 2+ years now and while I sometimes feel lonely, I think, like you, I am done with relationships. Can't see myself with another man, I'm happy with my life as it is.

What I could really do with is a good friend or two in the same situation so we could all support each other, hang out with the kids and have the occasional glass of wine. All the good points of a relationship without any of the shit grin

britneyspearscatsuit Sat 01-Aug-15 22:10:10

OP I think your posts are confused because you are conflicted.

You wre raised in a world to belive happier ever after ment the adoring husband and what your life experience is telling you conflicts with that.

I think you have to begin to trust yourself, so your journey doesn't become just following the road most often travelled.

You really think most people describe their traditional lives and marriages as happily ever after? I don't think so.

I would far rather (if I ever settle down for life) do it through my own choice, being unafraid of being alone, after carefully selecting someone who makes my life better in every way just by being part of it - than to randomly marry someone so I felt like I had the traditional life.

You're ironically in the best position of your life for a relationship - happy, confident, pleased to be alone, not needing anyone else. This is the ideal.

I always believe in the phrase; build it and it will come.

I think you are building you. With the way you feel now, i reckon you will know what you want and don't want and be unafraid to expect it. I think you will have great boundaries. Make great decisions.

You don't strike me as at all bitter of defeated. Just coming to terms with the idea that the story books are not always the happily ever after.

Gabilan Sat 01-Aug-15 22:12:00

Yes, that's it Newname. There might be someone out there but it really isn't a given.

"I miss someone being in love with me, wanting to spend time with me and giving me that little boost each day. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone who has got your back all the time?"

I've never had that in a boyfriend/ girlfriend relationship. It might have been nice if I had. However, the one long term, serious relationship I had was a disaster and I really would have been better off if I'd never met the man in question. However, I've had FWB relationships where the man's cared about me, and the sex has been fun.

IME, the people most likely to have my back are my friends and family. I get that boost from my horse. I love the bond of trust I have with him. There's no such thing as "the one". Basic demographics and logic indicate that's just bullshit.

pickingup Sat 01-Aug-15 22:13:55

I'm comforted but saddened to find others in the same situation. Thanks for posting.

I am good on my own, I wonder if that's half the issue. When I divorced a friend said that, of all their friends, she knew I'd cope ok with it.

Funny thing was I was a bit offended by that. im not sure why - maybe that I didn't necessarily start off as someone who is "good on my own". I've had to become someone who can cope on their own because that's exactly what I've spent my life doing!

TheFormidableMrsC Sat 01-Aug-15 22:15:01

This thread is so sad...but I can join in...sad. I too have given up on the idea of "the one". I thought I had married him even though I realised very early on that he was a rather damaged individual by virtue of many things. I took my vows though, stuck with them. After 11 years, he persuaded me to have a baby (already had a then 13 year old DD from a previous relationship), I was worried as I was 42 and it was risky. We had our DS, he left. He fucking left. It was then I uncovered OW and very many before her. So here I am at 45 (46 next month) with a gorgeous little boy with an uncertain future and my life at a standstill.

I am a hardened cynic now. This experience has changed me and I am not the person I once was. I date, but literally can't take it forward. I have a lovely shag buddy, but he's way too young and wants marriage and babies which I can't and wouldn't if I could give him. I am told by well meaning friends and family that I am beautiful, kind, fun, loads to offer, but I don't want to, if you see what I mean? I have given up "offering" because you end up being trampled on. I will never trust anybody again, ever. How awful is that?

However, generally, I am happy on my own. I have no wish to share my bed with somebody but quite happy to share somebody else's bed, I won't risk inflicting anybody on my children, they have enough to deal with. I just think I don't want to. Maybe somebody will come along one day, I don't care either way if they do or don't. When STBXH left I was hell bent on having a "new" relationship and ended up having lots of inappropriate ones then one day realised it wasn't for me. What I do like about this is it's under my control...interestingly, my ex seems more invested in me meeting somebody else as I think it will assuage his guilt and somehow validate his actions. He's got a long wait.

However, if Jessie Pavelka ever found himself single....

CanisLupus Sat 01-Aug-15 22:15:27

P.S love your comment about accepting you're on a journey to a happy ever after on your own (with a cool child) - I think that's going to be my new mantra!

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