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Does life ever begin at 40?

(32 Posts)
fireworksscarethedog Sat 07-Nov-15 11:28:11

Has anyone ever reached a point where they feel life hasn't turned out as expected and you feel a bit of a failure or like time has run out.

I look back on myself and see I had so much promise as I was starting out. I had a wonderful and long lasting first love and fantastic school and career success with great friends and a lot of happiness in my late teen years and then it all went a bit pete tong.

I ended up travelling through my twenties for work, which I loved and gave me a lot of experience, and I also ended up getting pregnant by a largely abusive and scary man and went through a very difficult pregnancy and have been a single Mum for 12 years now.

DS is the light of my life, but obviously it's been hard. No support ever from his Dad. Hard to continue with my career. Money always a struggle through those 12 years and have never had any savings or bought a house or paid for a holiday or bought a car.

I feel quite sad that I didn't end up with more children, always wanted a big family, and also that I haven't beeen able to share parenting or being in a family with a partner.

I did meet someone and fall in love when DS was 5 and we were together, happy for 5 years then he jilted me at the alter which was hard to get over.

I am here now, about to be 40 soon, and I feel deep sense of sadness at the fact that money is always so tight, DS is quickly growing and wanting less time from me, I feel no financial security, and along the years most friends have married and have families of their own.

Most of all I am sad I never met the one, or got married. It was an important part of the hopes I had for myself and I feel quite sad.

On the surface I think friends and people around me look at me and see someone very happy and fullfilled. Most friends would tell you they are jealous of all the fabulous dates I go on, or my "fun" job and free life but it's really very lonely and all I ever really wanted was a bit of security and stability.

The last three men I have dated in the past year all turned out to be emotionally unavailable nightmares who have strung me along, and I have felt frustrated and lost a lot of self esteem. As the big FOUR ZERO approaches I am considering putting dating aside completely, letting go of feeling so disappointed by people and trying to make a life of my own that fulfills me and makes me happy while it does not include marriage and the setup I'd hoped for. Focussing on my job to try and build a better financial future.

Has anyone got a life like that?

I am afraid in a few years of DS going to uni and me being all alone and not having a full life. I do feel at this point that I am not going to meet anyone who's right. It might be that just isn't going to happen for me.

TheFormidableMrsC Sat 07-Nov-15 11:49:05

flowers for you OP. I know exactly how you feel and feel similarly sad at the moment. I was, I thought, very happily married. After 11 years I had a baby at 41. Two years later, my now ex-h had an affair and left us. At 46, I find myself divorced with a 4 yo DS who has ASD. I made so many sacrifices for my ex, including my career and now find myself in middle age, on benefits (temporarily hopefully) and knowing I am going to have to relocate my children several hundred miles away to be able to rehouse us. I get no support from my DS's father at all. My Mum is dead, my family are all miles away and while I have a fantastic circle of friends, it does sometimes feel very isolating and I am disappointed at how my life has turned out and even more so as it was not my fault and has been foisted on me by the whims of a selfish self-centred individual.

On a more positive note, I am trying to make some plans moving forward. It would be good for you to do the same. I am planning to retrain in the legal field in order that I can provide properly for my kids. I am currently redecorating and sorting out my house in preparation for sale. I am quite excited sometimes at the prospect of starting again as one never knows what is around the corner!

I too sincerely regret not having a life partner and I am very sad that I will probably never celebrate a 25 or 50th wedding anniversary (silly, I know, but I wanted to be like my parents, until death do us part!) but I am not prepared to have another relationship. That is a decision I have made and I am comfortable with it. I try and look for positives in every day, create nice new memories for the children and I, exercise daily, have a reasonable social life. There are lots of things you can do just to improve your very existence!

Try and see 40 as a new beginning, you are still very young. Your DS is growing up which will afford you some more freedom sooner than you think. Perhaps make a list of some goals you'd like to achieve over the, say, next two years. I have done that and it's helped enormously. I know it's tough, I really do. I have found, however, that adopting a "glass half full" attitude has changed my perspective somewhat and generally made me feel more positive smile

Savagebeauty Sat 07-Nov-15 11:53:22

14 months ago I had a lightbulb moment and realised how unhappy I was in my 20 year marriage. We divorced in March and life for me, has begun at 54.
My dcs are thriving, I am happy and have plans for the first time in years.
I also have a new man, who I met totally randomly..... I never gave any thought to meeting anyone.
But its lovely.
And my ex is the one alone on Xmas day smile

Yseulte Sat 07-Nov-15 11:56:27

It ain't like it is in the movies, this is real life. Being a single mum doesn't mean you're not making a success of what life throws at you.

You never know what's round the next corner.

LucySnow12 Sat 07-Nov-15 15:17:00

We all have regrets about decisions we made. Everyone has struggles. But what I try to remember, is I can't redo the past. I have to accept the choices I made and live the life I have as best as possible. Don't give up on hope and dreams.

I like this quote:
"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell

Londonmummy01 Sat 07-Nov-15 15:50:55

Fireworks gosh I know just how you feel. No longer sure which way to turn as all the plans are down the pan and it feels like time has ran out. I'm hoping that the positive motivated feeling is on its way as at the moment my glass is not even half empty but bone dry confused

Guiltypleasures001 Sat 07-Nov-15 15:57:33

Hey op you do realise that if you are 39 now your already in to your 40th year, so it's just a date lovely

Also my life and that of my ds started very much for the better at the ripe old age of 39 grin
Took me 39 yrs to back away from the fuckwits and embrace a whole new check list

Solvent, own front door him and me
In a job
Me and child come as a package
No alcohol issues hidden debt

And dont deviate from the check list too much if at all, life's too short for fuckwittery in all its forms
Trust instincts and act sooner rather than later

Good,luck thanks

3mum Sat 07-Nov-15 18:55:14

Another one disappointed with my life here, but I'm 15 years older than you. Did the marriage and children thing, it didn't go well. He was EA and destroyed my confidence which also put paid to my career. I worked like a dog, while unknown to me he spent his time cheating while pretending to work long hours. Classically for abusive men he cheated for the first time when my oldest child was a small high needs baby. We're divorced now.

My oldest has special needs which run in my ex's family (discovered AFTER he was born, my ex kept it quiet until then) and will probably never leave home. I love my children but I didn't sign up to be a single parent and I'm trapped now. A lifetime of trying to be "good", take responsibility and do the right thing has well and truly shot me in the foot.

I do infinitely prefer life without my ex, but I'm stuck with not being able to move away, having to interact with him over the children when I'd rather he died in a ditch. I want to travel and live abroad, I don't want to always be the sensible one and do the right thing, putting everyone before myself. By the time I'm down to just one child I'll be 60 and as I have a progressive health problem, I probably won't be able to travel then.

Singledom, free of children, ex's and ties is my fantasy!

hollieberrie Sat 07-Nov-15 22:37:33

Can i join? I'm so disappointed and sad too sad I'm 36, only child, both parents have recently died (miss them so much), fiance left me for someone else, all my friends are married. Its hard. I am really trying to be strong and rebuild a life for myself - have changed jobs, joined some groups, do voluntary work, do a bit of online dating but still life seems to have lost its joy. Wish i had some advice OP, just KOKO i guess. Sorry you're finding things so hard.

MrsC, always love your posts, your strength is very inspiring.

flowers for everyone finding life hard.

Leavingsosoon Sat 07-Nov-15 23:10:56

I turn 34 at the the end of this month.

It's hard to say, isn't it? I feel sorry I won't experience growing old with someone, most of all.

TheFormidableMrsC Sat 07-Nov-15 23:36:36

hollieberrie thank you for that lovely compliment! smile. What I can tell you is that you are only 36, I wish I was 36 again! You are doing amazingly well in the face of huge adversity my darling...the loss of one parent is hard enough, been there, but two, goodness I can't imagine. I am so sorry you have had to deal with that. You are doing all the right things and in fact better than me...everything turns a corner, of that I am sure.

KOKO flowers

EmpressKnowsWhereHerTowelIs Sat 07-Nov-15 23:41:10

YES. Or 41 anyway.

I thought my life was over at 40, depression, unemployed, crap relationship, heavy debts. I'm now 42, single, love my job, finances under control, almost off the ADs and HAPPY. It's really not too late to have a fantastic life. flowers

SnapCackleFlop Sat 07-Nov-15 23:48:35

I don't have anything positive to offer but would like to join in too and pass around some wine cake flowers

I've been married for 15 years and my husband was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome a few years ago. My marriage is really hard and to be honest I wouldn't still be here if it wasn't for my children sad

It's probably easy to look at people and imagine things are better than they really are.

I hope there's a way to live when we can find happiness in less than perfect lives. I hope that we all can find it (if anybody does please tell me how.......)

magiccatlitter Sun 08-Nov-15 00:27:48

I don't think it's ever to late to be happy and have a happy life.

I was hoping for the death do us part but after investing 30 years in 2 failed marriages well I'm just accepting that marriage just didn't work out for me.

I sold everything at 44 and moved to another country and it has been an amazing experience. My kids are grown and I'm working on the grandkids now. Now that this marriage is ending, I'm making plans for a new life. Fortunately, I have a good career that pays well in IT.

...a life that isn't dependent on some guy in it. I've had to accept some things along the way like going deaf but I can't change that and why sit around and be sulky about it.

Turning 50 was the most difficult age for me as I thought I had failed and things didn't turn out like the fantasy.

So my news plans are loving my kids and grands, finishing a degree, lots of travel and photography, writing, learning new things, maybe living in another country.

happyandsingle Sun 08-Nov-15 00:33:11

You sound amazing magiccat litter it takes a brave person to go out there and start a life in a new country. Would love to do that in the future to.

IrritableBitchSyndrome Sun 08-Nov-15 00:47:28

It took me until I was about 37 to sort my life out, find a healthy relationship, and achieve some stability and happiness, so I certainly wouldn't assume that because you're slightly older than that it's all over for you! I had a very turbulent life and chose very difficult EA relationships for many years, and grew up alongside my children rather than being an effective single parent, in all honesty. They, and I, are doing ok now. I assumed it was too late for me years ago, in all honesty, but I was wrong (as usual)! smile

CuttedUpPear Sun 08-Nov-15 01:48:27

Life hasn't turned out like I hoped either. I'm a significant age next week and no one has ever wanted to marry me, least of all the fathers of my DCs or even my present LT partner.

I worry about the future. In the words of DP last week (whilst in his cups) "I'm alright. I've got my properties. But you've got nothing".

Thanks for that DP.

Flangeshrub Sun 08-Nov-15 07:14:15

I feel the same. I'm 43 and my DH left me for someone else. I've always dreamed of spending the rest of my life with someone. The damage inflicted on my 3 DC by his behaviour and the break up will haunt me for ever.

I feel finished. On the scrap heap. Sounds dramatic but I can't imagine a moment of happiness or security again.

Leavingsosoon Sun 08-Nov-15 07:18:27

Sometimes I feel a little like that, but I know it's just society's way of making me think I need a man to be happy.

CherryPicking Sun 08-Nov-15 07:26:58

I know how you feel, I know my ex was an arse and I'm well rid, but I do think my chances of meeting someone new are very slim, even factoring in that I could potentially fall for a man or a woman. Think it would be very hard to trust a man now.

CherryPicking Sun 08-Nov-15 07:29:45

Cutteduppear, that's a really horrid thing for him to say. I'd be thinking about LTB if only to give myself some control over the situation, but I guess I don't know back story.

eddielizzard Sun 08-Nov-15 07:35:53

cutteduppear, what a shitty thing of your dp to say. i hope he has other redeeming qualities...

TooSassy Sun 08-Nov-15 08:14:36

Goodness me, I certainly hope it does!

Every decade brings its positives and challenges.
40 isn't too far away for me. Here are the positives I take.

I have a family I adore (DC's, siblings etc)
I have only a small number of close friends but they are rock solid and not flaky.
I'm more confident in myself and my abilities.

Yes I am about to be single. No I never thought I'd be here. Yes I could have achieved more by this age (couldn't we all??). But I'm healthy (touchwood) and dearly loved by those who matter to me.

My 40's will bring challenges, of that I have no doubt. But they will come hand in hand with my opportunities and blessings. Doors are always opening, you just have be looking for them and not staring at doors that closed a long time ago.

Leavingsosoon Sun 08-Nov-15 08:16:11

My challenge now is to lose weight.

TooSassy Sun 08-Nov-15 08:16:56

I should add I could not (right now) care less about meeting another long term partner.
Need to get rid of current STBXH and focus on myself /DC's. I may well feel differently about the whole 40's plus meeting someone in a few years. Certainly hope not though! Fingers crossed

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