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Choosing to be single forever...anyone done this?

(37 Posts)
hussty Sat 21-Nov-15 12:09:45

I'm 37 years old and think I have come to a point of deciding to be single forever.

I am not really sure where I have gone wrong with romance, but the last truly healthy and satisfying relationship I had was aged 18. Since then I have had rather bad luck. I say "luck" as I have always tried quite hard to make good choices. I've never fancied bad boys, never gone for looks, always gone for men I thought would make good husbands / fathers as the traditional "love story" with 2.4 kids was really all I ever wanted out of life.

I spent the first half of my twenties being single and having fun with a few dates here and there, but never met anyone I fell for. I only had one long term relationship where the only good thing I got out of it was a beautiful child and to be honest - I only went into the relationship because he liked me so much and I felt time was running out.

I then elected to stay single for several years (5) to raise my beautiful son, and while I did a good job with my career and raising DS over those years, I was ultimately quite lonely and sad deep down. I thought a lot over those years of my first love, that I never fully got over.

Then I met a man, and again, he seemed to love me enough for the both of us. He ticked every box on paper and in practice he was a very loving partner. I grew to love him in a very real way over time. We planned to marry and have children of our own and DS was very happy living as a family, as was I. I didn't realise until much later than this man was a little EA. He isolated me bit by bit and my career went off the tracks, he was very selfish and manipulative. I became a SAHM with not much else, and he met someone else and left me (very cruelly) after 5 years together.

I found that very painful, very damaging to my self esteem and felt very lost without an identity or future that made sense. I felt like I had failed DS also and that my chance to have more children and live my dream life with a nice family was not going to happen.

I did the counselling to get over it, saw my ex as the twat that he was finally and began OLD in a serious effort to meet someone.

I had three relationships of three months each, each time the man was a great person, and fell in love with me quite quickly but I did not return the feelings so I ended it. Then I had three more relationships, again of three months each time and this time all three were emotionally unavailable and made me feel confused and deeply hurt.

The last one worst of all, was the first man since my first love that I'd felt the "thunderbolt" for, and truly believed I might have met Mr Right and as soon as we started to get serious he backed off and lost interest and started treating me quite badly. I ended that a couple of days ago as he was causing me a lot of pain and my self esteem was so low I ws crying all the time and have lost my zest for life.

I feel quite tired of it. I am 37 and have spent 20 years in the dating game, with only one LTR to show for it with a very bad human being who had me completely duped. I feel like during the times I have been single I have been lonlier, of course, but also more stable and was thinking about eliminating the dating game from my life completely.

I have some financial issues, from being a single Mum (no help from DS's Dad, and I have only been back working a little while. Everything is a struggle. I am lucky in that I have amazing close friends but most are now married, or they live too far away for me to see regularly. I have a great family but feel like I life is passing me by.

I deeply desire a close, committed union and to be loved and to give love - but it just hasn't happenned for me. I feel like I have tried to make good decisions, but no matter how hard I try and "qualify" the men I invest my emotions in, they turn out to be quite bad people.

I am so tired of crying, of checking my phone, of feeling alone, of feeling not good enough, of feeling a failure, of being demotivated and listless - as these men have deeply affected me and my ability to feel generally happy.

I would like to make a happy and fulfilling life for myself that no longer includes dating or men. I would like to make my career better, get myself financially in order, buy a house, maybe adopt another baby and have a life where I see friends and do things and have a laugh and feel no lonliness without it being dependent on having a relationship.

A few questions.

1. Has anyone done this?

2. Is it lonely?

3. How do I meet new people or find ways to make more friends that actually have a similar life to me? My married friends I never see

4. How do I make a full and fun life with no money ever?

5. Do you feel truly happy?

Thanks for listenting and advising

LiviaDrusillaAugusta Sat 21-Nov-15 12:23:22

I have been single since I was 27 (18 years) and celibate since I was 30 (bar two ONS with an ex) - you say you desire a committed relationship, unfortunately I don't think the permanently single life will be for you. It's not something you can force yourself to do, otherwise you may find yourself lonely.

I gave up for many reasons but it was easy because I never envisaged myself with a full time partner and I always knew I didn't want children.

But to answer your questions:

1. Yes

2. No

3. I don't - part of my lifestyle involves not having face to face contact with people outside of work - I live alone and prefer to be alone as much as possible

4. Not having money isn't really a big deal with no social life

5. Yes - it's the best thing I ever did!

hussty Sat 21-Nov-15 12:27:31

do you not like people Livia?

I feel like I very much need other people. Not all the time, but it'd be great not to be alone every night. Being a single Mum and working at home is very lonely.

LiviaDrusillaAugusta Sat 21-Nov-15 12:38:44

I don't dislike people but I don't need them, and in fact I crave time alone. I have a busy online social life, and have contact with some amazing people, some of whom I have met in RL and some of whom I haven't. Is that something you would consider? I am a member of various Facebook groups and I can spend hours at a time on there.

I have never actually felt lonely so this lifestyle is the right one for me - if you need people around you, I don't really know what to suggest - presumably joining things like evening classes will be difficult because of money and your DS?

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Sat 21-Nov-15 12:46:37

I have a plan to live in a big shared house or block of flat just occupied by intelligent/educated/hardworking women, who have also reached this conclusion, and our children.

All the company and support you'd ever need but with none of that lying, cheating, abusive crap that goes with a relationship.

Whythehellnot Sat 21-Nov-15 13:01:05

I am not interested in a relationship although I do like company and miss the intimacy of a relationship.

I agree with pp that it might not be a way of life for you because you really want a loving relationship. What about taking a break for a year or two?

I'll be ok because the thought of sharing a bed with a hairy smelly body makes me feel ill. I never want to live with a man, I can't think of anything worse.

I agree it sounds like you have had a lot of bad luck.

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 21-Nov-15 13:08:12

1. I have NOT ruled out a romantic partnership, at all, but I am also perfectly fine with the idea of not having one ever again.
So I'm not renouncing anything, as you seem to want to do (I don't find absolutes healthy, OP: that kind of rigid thinking can't be helping your state of mind). But I am consciously open to living life as a singleton. It's a positive choice, since what would be the point in feeling that my life is lacking if I am single?

2. I'm not lonely. I'm very sociable and have lots of friends. Also a flatmate at the moment, and a dog. I am very active, and curious, and choose hobbies where I can be in groups. I count a number of my work colleagues as genuine friends. So I have companionship out the whazzoo.

3. Meet people of every walk of life! Why restrict yourself only to 37 year old women who have like you chosen singledom? That's narrowing your pool a bit too severely.
I have 60 year old friends and 28 year old friends, friends with 5 children and friends with none, etc etc. It's not like anybody stays fixed in the same stage of life, anyway! People who are married now may become divorced later, people who are single and in your city now may run off to Tahiti later... Befriend PEOPLE, not relationship statuses.

4. Gosh, I don't know as I have always had a comfortable income. But I'm hoping to find out, since I'm taking an unpaid career break in 2016. Personally, I'm going wwoofing, which will be a money saver. I've always found walks in nature, volunteering, and cooking in a friend's kitchen with the music on to be far more enriching than anything that costs loads of money, so you can find your cheap/free fun. Never fear!

5. Yes, very.
But the reason I feel happy is because I love life. I love it single, and would love it married, I love it childless, and would love it with a whole football team of children.
Again, choose to love your LIFE. Not your particular circumstances.

pocketsaviour Sat 21-Nov-15 13:11:49

I've been single for several years and I am happier this way. Even when I moved in with my last partner, the pros only just outweighed the cons of sharing for me. And my ex was very independent as well, worked away a lot and didn't feel the need for constant closeness the way some (the majority I think) of people do.

I don't plan to get into a relationship again, although I will probably seek a FWB arrangement. But right now when I think about all the hassle of arranging first dates, trying each other out (as it were!) and spending time with someone so it's not just a booty call, I find myself resenting the idea of having such large chunks of time taken out of my week.

As to your questions:
1. Yes, obviously grin
2. No, I've never been lonely in my life TBH
3. I tend to meet people through work, but if that's not an option for you, maybe try
4. Can't answer this one as I am in a well-paid career stealth boast but is there anything you can do to increase your earning potential? As a single mum I presume you're home most nights and weekend - is studying an option?
5. Yes I feel very happy smile

regretsihaveafew Sat 21-Nov-15 13:20:11

1. Yes, but made the decision much older, but also after being royally messed about by partners who 'loved' me [but didn't know what they wanted]. Relationships can be a minefield and affect our self worth, mental health, motivation, joy of life and equilibrium when they don't work.

2. Not lonely, I see it as solitude, peace, my life is my own, being content with no one on my case or playing mind games with my life. I do like my own company though, as an only child I learnt to find things to do and not rely on others.

3. Find things to go to which interest you: choir, evening class, W.I., church, swimming club, badminton, cycling, scrabble club....whatever. And there will be like minded people there. Invite someone to have a coffee after maybe, go from there.

4. I brought my family up as a single parent so have never had lots of money. Go rambling/walking, go to free events in your area, invite people round for coffee/drinks and nibbles, ask a friend to go to the cinema, go on a picnic with a friend, go out for a cheap lunch, go window shopping and a coffee....lots of ways to socialise without expensive nights out/bars/clubs/restaurants. Go on a camping holiday.

5. Yes, I am truly happy...a bit short of friends at the moment...I love my life, my home and garden, lots of interests, never short of something to do or somewhere to go. Life's good.

I wouldn't look to a man to make you happy, it takes a bit of time but the world is full of chances and choices, you can do what you like....and I hope you can find life more enjoyable and cut out the stress you've experienced from unsuitable others.

Folkgirl great idea.

curiousc88t Sat 21-Nov-15 13:26:52

Spend some time on your own

Join some clubs, meet some new people

Do some new things that you want to do - be positive

You never know what the future holds...

SolidGoldBrass Sat 21-Nov-15 13:34:21

I decided in my late 20s that couplehood didn't work for me and I wasn't going to do it. I had several flings, FWB set-ups and a couple of open relationships but I have never, ever lived with a partner or married one. I am 50; I have an 11 year old DS and his father and I are on friendly terms (we were longterm friends before we had DS, who was a surprise but a welcome one - we had a tipsy Xmas bunk up and were not careful).

It's worked out fine for me (and DS, who has two very involved parents who just don't live together).

And I currently (for the first time in over a decade) actually have a new FWB who is lovely. But it's going to be fairly short term and is not very serious and definitely not monogamous.

category12 Sat 21-Nov-15 13:34:34

I can't imagine living with anyone again, but I do have a casual boyfriend. I don't plan on it turning into anything more, I don't feel the need to progress it into something. I do feel strongly for him, but living with someone is crap.

Atenco Sat 21-Nov-15 13:45:37

I never consciously decided to stay alone, but I did consciously decide to count my blessings and not fret about what I didn't have.

Once I'd had my dd I didn't want to accept any old twat and risk her happiness in the process so, between one thing and another I never did have another relationship. No regrets

hussty Sat 21-Nov-15 14:00:12

I mean more making the decision to not date. I have come off OLD, but there's still a few numbers in th old phone asking for dates. I wnated to find the will to say "no" to everyone. They will only disappoint, so what's the point anyway?

I can't do FWB because I get emotionally attached to anyone I am with. I could potentially do one off hookups for sex every now and then.

I just want a peaceful life without anyone taking anything from me, but working from home and being a single Mum makes it hard.

I can't just pop out to the pub or whatever so I do get so lonely. I keep in touch with friends far away on the phone, whatsapp, Skype but what I miss is someone just sitting there watching a film with me.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 21-Nov-15 15:46:45

I don't think making a Solemn Vow never to date again is going to make you feel any happier - though desperately pursuing a relationship with any old spunktrumpet isn't going to help you either.
As PP have said, you need a social life, probably via a hobby. What interests you? What do you like to do? There are some hobbies that are quite family-friendly so you could take DC with you.

RedMapleLeaf Sat 21-Nov-15 16:04:41

You seem to have described two options, single & lonely or partnered up and crying over your phone. Perhaps there are other options smile flowers

hussty Sat 21-Nov-15 16:20:33

I honestly don't know what I like doing. I have a lot of really great friends but I made them over time, working together or going to the same places when I was younger.

I'm rubbish really with making new friends now. Quite guarded and I can go to PTA meetings for months and still come out as strangers with everyone there.

I like painting and a few other things but really have no idea how to make new friends with people. Maybe that's the real problem.

It was my birthday recently and I got more than 100 messages over Facebook, dozens of phonecalls, presents and cards in the post, flowers, whatsapp messages, a friend wrote me a poem, another friend made a collage book of photos of me, people popped over, lots of people were asking me up to theirs for the weekend. I mean....all that happens so I know in some sense I must be quite popular and not a loner but for whatever reason, day after day I am alone.

It doesn't help that I've lived in lots of places, ended up with friends scatterred and a few moved when they married or went overseas. I really miss having a friend a couple of doors down to pop over for a glass of wine or having a little gang to go to the pub with.

The only people who call me and say "what are you doing tonight? fancy a drink?" are men wo are trying to date me so that might be why I end up always with someone.

I do know I need a mate or two locally but I'm wracking my brains how to make one. I know I have activities I can join to maybe get out of the house more.

DorindaStrong Sat 21-Nov-15 16:25:07

A day by day approach works for me. Focus on other aspects of life, finds things you enjoy doing and people you enjoy spending time with. Plan some things and leave space for life to emerge. You may feel differently after a while. You might not. Either way try and get the best out of your situation.

DorindaStrong Sat 21-Nov-15 16:26:28

X posts blush

Joy69 Sat 21-Nov-15 17:26:18

I've decided to live alone with 20 cats 😃. Much less hassle & always have someone to cuddle up to.

myfirstandonlylove Sat 21-Nov-15 17:38:20

Reading the progression in what you have said it does seem that the friendship issue is greater at the moment than the relationship one. If you would be content not to have furthe children there is no reason you could not stay single for as long as it takes to get happy with other aspects of your life. There are very many perfectly contented people who by choice or design have remained single. My own mother is one of the happiest most sociable 70 somethings I ever met, she was single since being widowed aged 50. She also made the majority of the friends now enriching her life in the last 15 years. She could very easily have gone under being left with no income and minimum wage jobs plus no help from extended family 1 university age son and broken hearted 12 year old daughter. I cannot imaging how her life would possibly be enriched by a male partner although she may yet make that choice. She is and was an inspiration to me even as I recover from poleaxing depression, and I hope she may be to you too. I changed some very small details for ID protection but you have the picture. I am male btw.

Gwenhwyfar Sat 21-Nov-15 19:06:01

"It was my birthday recently and I got more than 100 messages over Facebook, dozens of phonecalls, presents and cards in the post, flowers, whatsapp messages, a friend wrote me a poem, another friend made a collage book of photos of me, people popped over, lots of people were asking me up to theirs for the weekend. I mean....all that happens so I know in some sense I must be quite popular and not a loner but for whatever reason, day after day I am alone."

That's really impressive! I wish my life was like that. I'd find being single easier if I was so popular.

Gwenhwyfar Sat 21-Nov-15 19:09:33

"I really miss having a friend a couple of doors down to pop over for a glass of wine or having a little gang to go to the pub with.

The only people who call me and say "what are you doing tonight? fancy a drink?" are men wo are trying to date me "

I find that very few people are spontaneous like that. In my life, I've usually had no more than one or two friends who will go out after getting a text in the afternoon. A lot of people need more notice and it gets worse as we get older (people move out of the big towns, they get tired and can't cope with work and going drinking during the week, etc.).

I second the poster above who suggested meetup and also suggest City Socializer, though there's a membership fee unless you become a host. I don't recommend evening classes, usually people go to the evening class and then hurry home to their families.

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 21-Nov-15 19:15:07

"It was my birthday recently and I got more than 100 messages over Facebook, dozens of phonecalls, presents and cards in the post, flowers, whatsapp messages, a friend wrote me a poem, another friend made a collage book of photos of me, people popped over, lots of people were asking me up to theirs for the weekend. I mean....all that happens so I know in some sense I must be quite popular and not a loner but for whatever reason, day after day I am alone."

You clearly have a LOT of friends! And many of them are in your town, if they were even popping over. And clearly feel close enough to you to pop over like that.

You've got the companionship you need, OP. Perhaps you just don't see it.

You can start asking people to come over to sit on the sofa and watch a film with you over a glass or two of wine, if that's the kind of thing you're missing. The people are clearly there. They possibly just need to be asked.

cosytoaster Sat 21-Nov-15 19:24:08

1. Yes, but only recently. I think I would really struggle to live with someone now

2. No, but I'm an introvert and have a job that brings me into contact with lots of people during the day.

3. You seem to have lots of friends already! one of my single friends has used and recommended the meetup website

4. Maybe look at focussing on your career to boost your earning potential, otherwise find things to do that are cheap/free and find alternative ways to do things you enjoy. Life can be hard on one income but not as hard as living with an idiot.

5. Yes

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