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I'm 29 and I feel completely and utterly alone - nobody would believe it from the outside

(24 Posts)
ranley7 Sun 03-Jan-16 02:30:21

I'm 29 and I've been single for 2 years after ending a 3 year relationship.

All my friends are married, kids, or as a minimum are in relationships.

I am online dating and so far don't find it hard to meet people, but can't seem to find 'the one.' I chat to people and will introduce myself at work events etc...I'm always open to the prospect of meeting someone.

I feel desperately lonely. I have my own interests and own life and career, but I desperately crave loving someone and sharing evening means and basic things with.

I can't stop crying, I've had ebough of going to weddings alone etc. Nobody would know I felt this way as I'm ok looking, have a good career, family and lots of friends. I'm just desperately desperately lonely. Does anyone have any advice please?

antimatter Sun 03-Jan-16 02:41:20

I think I remember feeling similar at your age bar having no career to speak of.

It is hard because you won't be able to see for many years that most of couples you know will split. There will be painful divorces, hartbroken partners and some unhappy kids too. Someone may die atcan early age too. That is a law of statistics.
We all assume that we will all live happily ever after.

How to keep your spirits up?
I think if I was your age I would try to know the answer why I thought I needed to have partner to be happy?

I had very little money but a lot of freedom and only very ocasionally took advantage of it.

Being in a relationship is great but there are many ways to gain fulfilment. Have you tried to do what you dreamed as a teenager or a student?
I bet there was more in your plans than to settle down with a partner?

Can you write about it here?

lexib Sun 03-Jan-16 06:16:41

I remember feeling similar when I hit 30, just couldn't work out how (and if) it would all end up coming together.

It sounds like you're doing everything right, and it is ok to be lonely. Can you decide to take the pressure off for a bit, give yourself 6 months break from dating & thinking about it too much? Know that's tricky from where you're at, but it might help. Focus on enjoying your own time, activities, your friends.

Having felt identical at 30 I tried that, didn't manage it very well but changing my focus meant I did quickly meet a man and now, at 35, we're married with 2 children. I know I didn't enjoy those last days of being single that much, but I often remember the luxuries of the time I had and the freedom to do anything I wanted.

myfirstandonlylove Sun 03-Jan-16 08:30:59

I can remember very well the physical pain I would feel on the rare occasions at the age you are now when I would be asked if there was someone in my life. It was like people got so used to me being single they stopped asking which hurt me even more as it felt like they were judging me incapable of attracting anyone. So I kind of rebooted my brain and started living differently took up some voluntary work and moved abroad with a new job. In a new city in a new country I was reborn and no longer felt like I was the most unattractive person on earth. It still took a few months but I met someone when I was simply expanding my new social circle. Since then I have been single again but will try never to judge myself so harshly again. I wish you l the best. It is touching to hear someone say openly they'd like to meet someone. Sometimes I think there is no future for men and women together but your post gives me some hope.

velvety55 Sun 03-Jan-16 08:40:06

Maybe stop looking for 'the one'? Online dating gives us lots of dates but this in itself can make us more picky, and possibly even more desperate to 'fall in love'. I'm not saying you have to settle for someone clearly not for you. However, you could try seeing one or two dates just on a friendly basis at first, and see if it leads to something deeper.

Simmi1 Sun 03-Jan-16 08:49:39

Oh OP I could have written your post 5 yrs ago at age 35, the next year I met someone, we married the following year and I have recently had our second baby. I now look back and am annoyed at myself for getting so down when I was single and not having made the most of my life as it was then. Life now is good - but having two kids under two is tough plus I have been suffering from some health issues for the last few months which has been really upsetting. Please don't get fixated on meeting the one and comparing yourself to others - it's just not worth it. Enjoy life now - you never know what's round the corner.

Choughed Sun 03-Jan-16 08:53:15

I second Simmi's post. Try to enjoy the lack of responsibility, the freedom, the ability to just please yourself. Invest in friendships, not just potential relationships. Travel, study, work hard. When you do meet someone and have a family it will be decades before you have the chance to do that again.

Fairylea Sun 03-Jan-16 08:55:49

I remember feeling the same sadness when I became divorced at 28. I genuinely thought that was it for me.

A few years later and lots of frogs later (!) I met my dh online (on plenty of fish) and we are now married and have a toddler son (as well as dd from my first marriage).

Looking back I can see that 29 is very young in the grand scheme of meeting someone. It doesn't feel like it at the time I know. My mum is 67 and has just started online dating, I think the key is to just not give up and be open to meeting all kinds of people and eventually you'll meet someone who is right for you. I really believe that. There are times I really felt like I'd never meet anyone - my ex dh left me for someone else and it crushed me. But life is funny, you never know when someone new will walk into it.

TooSassy Sun 03-Jan-16 08:56:22

OP I think most of us could have written your post. I was in a similar position to you. Then I met my STBXH and was married with two DC's by my mid 30's. Am a few months off getting my divorce finalised.

I had some very happy years with my ex and I have two beautiful DC's. So I don't regret any of it. But it hasn't been easy. Being single and not enjoying it isn't easy either, I remember it well.

My only advice is this: make the most of this time and these years. Invest in hobbies. Go on great holidays. Create amazing memories. Life with young children is amazing but relentlessly hard work.

I plan to do the next round of being single much better this time round. Positive thinking is the most important thing. You will meet someone, you will. Until then, enjoy life.

ranley7 Sun 03-Jan-16 09:11:02

Thank you everyone.

I think it is because I am so aware of my loneliness. I hsve nobody to go on holidsy with, as an example. I will still go on my own at some point, and I did that last summer and it wasn't so bad... I just so much want that companionship and to build a life with someone. It is hard to ignore.

I feel as if everyone has found someone significant, and I'm left behind. Even those not married are in meaningful relationships. I know a relationship isn't everything and I am happy in myself, I just feel so excited to marry and have a family and build a home... I've done living it up as a single person and it has become boring and lonely. I'm so ready for the next step.

RedMapleLeaf Sun 03-Jan-16 09:36:38

I just so much want that companionship and to build a life with someone.

Would it help to rephrase that at, "Companionship is so important to me, and I'm building it in to my life with a a range of people"? I don't mean sleep around blush I mean just look for connections with a lot of different people in a lot of different ways?

Choughed Sun 03-Jan-16 09:48:38

There are plenty of holidays for single people. Sport is a great way to have companionship and fun and be healthy and beat the blues. Diving, walking, yoga holidays... I did SwimTrek which was fab. I understand that going on a beach break and sitting alone in restaurants is no fun.

Choughed Sun 03-Jan-16 09:49:38

And those relationships which look great from the outside will often be just as challenging as your single life...

myfirstandonlylove Sun 03-Jan-16 09:54:00

I think redmapleleaf's words are really very sound. Intimacy has so many forms and we have been socialised to think a romantic relationship is the only one, it is not. I have just had a very emotionally intimate exchange of messages with a bereaved friend which has albeit through sadness strengthened out bonds. I know all this doesn't detract from not having something you want. It is a bit simplistic just to say "you will meet someone" as who can see into the future. However you sound both lovely and very open. I personally found travelling ( you can ALWAYS find a reason not that you should need one to be travelling solo-visiting friends abroad, some business research etc). At the end of my last relationship I resolved to head to Iceland under the "guise" of doing some research for my business ideas. I got out of my head for a bit, at least I was then " x who has been to Iceland recently" instead of "x who is destined to live and die alone". I thought about it as creating a narrative so if and when I did meet someone later I was a rounded person of experience not someone one dimensional. But yes, it probably needs reiterating, being involuntarily single can be really really hard. I really hope you meet someone right for you soon.

sandgrown Sun 03-Jan-16 10:09:06

When I met ex-DH I had a part time job in a pub to fund my love of travel. When we divorced I was working but also took a job in a pub to earn more money to support DC. I met my my next long term partner there. I moved to another pub and met my current DP when he managed the place. Not saying it would work for you but it is a great place to meet and chat to people while getting paid. I would often bump into customers when out and about and be introduced to their friends. I am still friends with some of the girls I worked with and some of the customers. I also felt confident to go in the pub on my own because I knew so many people. It was a community local though rather than a town centre place.

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 03-Jan-16 10:58:11

"Living it up as a single person" doesn't just mean fun and games: it is also about seriously pursuing the things that are fulfilling for you. Are you expressing your skills, your talents, your ambitions, and your dreams in your daily life? Do you treat yourself with kindness and care, giving yourself the best life you can?

You can be your own best companion, in the most meaningful ways. Which, by the way, will also make you the best kind of companion for someone else.

ranley7 Sun 03-Jan-16 11:14:15

Thank you, replies are so helpful.

Part of the feeling I think is due to shock almost. I didn't expect to be single this long and at one stage I believed I would marry my exdp. I have so much to give in a relationship and while I enjoyed being single properly for a good 8 months or so, I now just feel that nothing can fill that void of loneliness.

I will do as suggested and look at yoga holidays and think about intimacy elsewhere. I think that will definitely help, though I don't think my desire for marriage and a family will disappear.

ThisHorseCalledDonny Sun 03-Jan-16 11:20:06

I second (third) what simmi said

I was single and thought I'd end up staying that way at 30, married to my DH by 32

I look back and cringe at the wasted opportunities and the times I felt sad.

ranley7 Sun 03-Jan-16 11:21:23

What would you do if you could be single for a year again?

Trills Sun 03-Jan-16 11:28:10

I'm 31, and while not feeling as bad as you do, I have been feeling a bit contemplative over the new year.

Trills Sun 03-Jan-16 11:28:47

Here's a lovely cartoon for you

Munchkin08 Sun 03-Jan-16 12:27:10

Hi I've been single almost 2 years now and I do feel lonely even though I have children. The joy of doing things disappears when you have to do it on your own, but you have suggested if I only had one year on my own what would I do and that's great - I think this year I am going to do my very best on 'getting out there' and enjoying myself everyday, I don't internet date, it's not for me but I'm not going to meet anyone sitting at home X

Choughed Sun 03-Jan-16 19:26:44

If I could cryogenically freeze my family for a year I would:

- work really hard to advance my career.
- possibly do an additional qualification via distance learning.
- learn a musical instrument or language, or join a choir, or try creative writing.
- sort my finances and save money.
- read more books, see more films.
- do sport or exercise, get fitter, enter an event like a 10k or a triathlon.
- plan and take the holiday of a lifetime.

I realise that some of these are contradictory (e.g. saving v expensive holiday) but these are the things I regret not cracking on with when I had acres of time and energy and freedom.

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 03-Jan-16 19:56:17

What would you do if you could be single for a year again?

- Travel
- Take career risks (following heart over head, just to see what might come of it)
- Follow my bliss

And in fact, that's exactly what I'm doing: I am taking a gap year in 2016; next week I start an apprenticeship in a field I am passionate about. And I'll be doing it in New Zealand, because why the heck not?

After a year of feeling as you describe, I decided to quite wallowing and put all that freedom to good use. So far, it feels great. Not a glimmer of loneliness: I recognise that I have the love and support of myriads of good friends, and I'm too busy feeling happy and excited about my personal projects to even think about romance.

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