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What am I getting wrong?

(134 Posts)
TheBriarAndTheRose Mon 15-Aug-16 23:31:01

I separated from my husband a few years ago. Since then I've had a couple of short relationships and been on a few dates through OD. I ended the relationships because the men weren't right for me. My marriage was a loveless and sexless sham and pretty much always had been.

I don't want to be single forever, but I'm not desperate to meet anyone either. I've been completely single for about the past year and a half. I've spent the last year working on myself and it's made a real difference to how I feel about myself. But no one is interested.


I want to know what I'm doing wrong.

I have a musical hobby for which I rehearse weekly and perform regularly; I exercise regularly, but I'm certainly not obsessed; I dance and go to dances when I can; I like hiking, camping and youth hosteling; I'm vegetarian, but I have no problem with meat eaters; I use natural homemade skin care products and people often assume I'm younger than I am; I eat well and don't fuss about my food or talk about dieting and weight, I'm about a size 12-14, I could do with losing a stone, but I'm not too worried about it; I don't watch soaps or reality/celeb TV stuff; I'm educated and have a professional career; I like beer festivals; I'm not motivated by financial rewards or owning 'stuff'...

My friends tell me I'm kind, considerate, thoughtful, funny, easy to get along with and appear confident. And I don't take myself too seriously...

But no one is interested. I was talking to one of my friends the other week about something and he jokingly made a reference to me being chatted up. He seemed genuinely surprised when I said that not only had I not been 'chatted up' on that occasion, but that I never am. I haven't been asked out since 2013 and, prior to that, I was probably in my early 20s.

So what am I getting wrong?

StillDrSethHazlittMD Tue 16-Aug-16 08:34:09

Dunno. If I get the answer I'll let you know.

Skinimum Tue 16-Aug-16 08:38:59

For starter you are not getting anything wrong!!

You haven't year found Mr Right.

Maybe you have too high expectations on how love feels?

Generally marriage and long term relationships are 90% boring and monotonous!!

pocketsaviour Tue 16-Aug-16 08:44:06

Are you on dating sites? Are you asking men out? Or are you sitting around waiting for a nice eligible bachelor to fall out of the sky?

StillDrSethHazlittMD Tue 16-Aug-16 08:44:27

"Generally marriage and long term relationships are 90% boring and monotonous!!"

If that was true, most people wouldn't bother just for 10% of good stuff.

ButteredToastAndStrawberryJam Tue 16-Aug-16 08:47:21

I don't know either. I'm in the camp of, if it happens it happens, if not then that's ok too. I'm not going hunting on online dating, I know some people have success with it but the whole thing fills me with dread.
Inspired by the Olympics I might start a class doing Archery, there might be a nice Archer there shock
What about a new hobby for you. Do you not come across anyone nice in your professional life.

weaselwords Tue 16-Aug-16 08:51:06

It's not you, it's them!

DraeneiMage Tue 16-Aug-16 08:51:37

You're not getting anything wrong.
Just keep doing you & you'll eventually meet someone you feel compatible with.
Keep an open mind, nothing ventured nothing gained & all that.

SandyY2K Tue 16-Aug-16 08:53:42

Nothing wrong. Sometimes it's a matter of luck in finding a good man.

Are there any online forums for your musical hobby? I've heard of a few people meeting forming friendships and developing a relationship that way.

JennyHolzersGhost Tue 16-Aug-16 08:54:06

I can empathise. Online dating seems to require immense reserves of energy, patience and optimism and it's also incredibly time consuming. And meeting someone in person just through the course of normal life seems impossible. So I don't know what the answer is I'm afraid.
If you find out can you come back and let us know ?! grin

IreallyKNOWiamright Tue 16-Aug-16 09:34:34

Could you join a gym. Or join a walking club you would make friends there and possibly come across single men. I don't have experience of the dating scene as I've been with someone since I was 16. However looking at all your interests if you join a group or club and just get to know people you never know what it could lead to.

TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 10:06:05

DrSeth Ha thanks! I agree, that marriage and relationships shouldn't be boring and monotonous.

Skinimum Thank. I don't think my expectations are too high. I want to meet someone who loves, cherishes and desires me, who is a decent man and who hasn't got old and boring! Obviously, there are aspects of relationships that are dull (like paying bills and going shopping) but i'm single and my single life isn't dull. I still have a laugh and do daft stuff. I'd just like someone I can do that with! My friends are similar and even my previously single friends have all become partnered up over the last couple of years. We are mostly in our 40s and 50s. I'm 42.

pocketsaviour I'm not on dating sites at the moment. I've done it for about a year, on and off. The two relationships I had were with men I met on there. I made the initial contact with both of them and I asked them both out, I also ended the relationships when I realised they weren't what I was looking for. In fact, I did most of the initial contact and suggesting we met! I haven't asked anyone out IRL, but I would do. I'd have no problem with letting someone know I like them. Like I said, I've had relationships and been out on dates, but I haven't been asked out since 2013 and before that it was late 90s!!

I'd really like to try just meeting someone in real life if I'm honest, rather than feeling like I'm being interviewed for the role of 'girlfriend' whilst angsting about multiple dating and wondering when to have the exclusive chat!

ButteredToast Unfortunately, I don't have time for any more hobbies! Yoga, swimming, and dancing, a couple of music related hobbies, nights out and weekends away with a mixed group of friends, full time work, going to (small) music and beer festivals (alone and with friends) being a single parents and financial limitations mean that there isn't much time for anything else. Besides, I do all the things I want to do!

I work in a female dominated profession so whilst I do meet men, they're usually married. I haven't met a single man at work who wasn't still in his early 20s.

Like the idea of archery though... you should do it!

weaselwords grin It would be nice to think that. But when I don't even get smiled at at the bar and no one EVER fancies me... you can't help but wonder.

DraeneiMage That's what I'm starting to wonder about though. My marriage was rubbish and I've never been hugely attractive to men. Well not once my late teens/early twenties were out of the way, when boys will hit on pretty much anyone! I try to keep an open mind, but it's hard.

Sandy Not really. I meet a fair few people through it in real life in various ways. It's just that most of the men I meet are married or too old for me. Or just plain don't fancy me!

Jenny It does seem impossible!

IreallyKNOWiamright I hate the gym. Everything about it! But I do exercise. There is a walking club that my friend and I looked at joining last year, so maybe it's time to revisit that. It really is just time now. I really just don't have any time. I have met men through dancing, and a few single ones too, but there are so many younger, more attractive women at dancing that I just don't get a look in!

I think i'm beginning to wonder if I'm just completely unfanciable. Or just not what men are looking for. Which is why I gave info about myself in the opening post. I don't think I'm hugely unattractive. And I dress in a style that suits me. I don't wear much make up; just powder, mascara and a bit of tinted lip gloss. I'm also described as friendly, open and approachable.

But none of it seems to make any difference. Just a bit soul destroying really sad

Dozer Tue 16-Aug-16 10:09:38

OLD just seems to be how it's often done, might be worth another try? sounds like you had good "boundaries" with it and could handle it again.

or asking friends to set you up?

TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 10:15:39

Dozer I didn't have such great experiences with OLD, if I'm honest. I'm not really in a hurry to do it again. I enjoyed it for what it was the first time round, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to go back to it. I suppose I feel like I'd like to meet someone and just 'click' with them.

I have jokingly asked my friends, but none of my friends have any single friends! One of my friends has a brother who is recently separated but that's as close as it gets! Two of my male friends are single. One of them is 12 years younger than me and the other is the same age as me but is looking for women who are 12 years younger than him! So no go there either!

I think OD has made it harder not easier. Everyone thinks they're 'entitled' to perfection and seem to think if they put an order in for "looks good in skinny jeans" they will get it!

HowToChooseAUserName Tue 16-Aug-16 11:02:49

I use natural homemade skin care products

What does this mean? Stuff you literally make yourself?

Doesn't sound very appetising to be honest if so. I read it and my first thought was "probably smells a bit weird". Sorry! Sounds a bit new age/peace love/hippy-ish - which can be a turn off for some people.

I don't wear much make up; just powder, mascara and a bit of tinted lip gloss.
I'm about a size 12-14, I could do with losing a stone, but I'm not too worried about it;

Men are very visual. If you feel overweight by a stone, you may actually be projecting that in a way - even if you are saying here you aren't worried about it. Size 12 -14 isn't at all fat but it's trueism generally speaking being not overweight increases the pool of men attracted to you. Also being confident about how you look is also attractive. Maybe consider trying to lose a bit of weight and having a make over, trying out some new make up looks. To be clear I'm not saying that any of this is necessary or you should change who you are - but you asked for observations and that's what jumped out at me.

Beyond that as a suggestion I think your problem is the same one everyone faces when they get a bit older. Men tend to date a lot younger or in a range younger. So older women have a reduced pool.

It's hard trying to meet someone.

DaDman66 Tue 16-Aug-16 11:10:23

You're doing nothing wrong.
I know it's cliché but the right person will come a long when you're not expecting it.
Juts have a good time without thinking about meeting someone and it'll happen.

IrenetheQuaint Tue 16-Aug-16 11:15:23

You sound lovely but I wonder if you're somehow projecting a vibe of being sexless/not interested?

I am similar to you in various ways and no one has shown interest in me since my early 30s, but I'm pretty sure it's because I haven't been that interested in relationships myself.

TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 11:34:08

HowToChooseAUserName No, that's great. It's useful because I might look at an observation in a new way, but alternatively, if I am completely comfortable with something, then I know it isn't something I'd consider changing.

What does this mean? Stuff you literally make yourself?

Pretty much, yes. I don't use commercial/artificial cleansers, toners, moisturisers on my skin because I've never found one that suited and they all left my skin feeling unpleasant, either dry or too greasy. I don't have a cauldron of concoctions or anything grin but I do use the oil cleansing method, coconut oil, yoghurt, honey etc. Just stuff you'd find in your kitchen. I tend to smell of coconut but it doesn't last long! My skin is pretty good and is a lot more youthful looking since I started. I don't have any dark circles under my eyes or major wrinkles and my skin looks more youthful and glows more now than it has ever done. Hence I often get mistaken for younger.

Which is also the reason I don't wear much make up. I don't need to to cover 'blemishes' and I don't like the feel of it on my skin. Tbh, I could get a make over but I wouldn't be able to maintain it so that would be false advertising!

I don't think I'm projecting anything weightwise, but it's a possibility. I like to think I look 'curvy' rather than 'overweight' and my measurements are in the same proportion as they were when I was slimmer. And I actually suit a little bit of 'softness' because I don't have a delicate frame. I would like to lose a stone, but I'm not 'depressed' about it.

I think what you have said about a 'hippy-ish' vibe is probably true. I've always wondered if I am more of an 'acquired taste' than anything, but I can't believe it's that much of an issue. I wear clothes from Fat Face and similar, apart from the odd bit of dressmaking I do. I have a professional career with standards of appearance, so it's not like I'm one of the great unwashed or anything, more that there is just a 'quirky edge' (as a colleague described it) to my appearance.

It really is a bit depressing to think that it actually might just be that I'm not young, pretty (with make up) or slim enough, though! sad

It's also crap that men are always looking for younger (that was pretty much the problem with the men I dated even though I was younger than both of them!) because, from what I see, a lot of men his 45 and just look like my dad! There's just no sense of spirit or fun about them. Why they think all these 25 year olds are going to be after them, I don't know!

TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 11:43:21

DaDman66 That's kind of what I was banking on... I hope you're right.

Irene I think that certainly explains the lack of interest in my 20s to mid/late 30s. I didn't feel attractive, I didn't make eye contact with men or smile, I didn't flirt. My friend said I walked around with these "huge fuck off walls around" me that no one was ever going to be able to jump high enough to be seen over grin

But more recently (last 3 or 4 years), that has changed. I don't 'flirt' as such, but I am open and friendly and 'flirty' on occasion. I smile and make eye contact. A few of my married male friends have said (in the presence of their wives so nothing dodgy) that they can't see what the problem is, that I'm attractive and whatever, but it's not an opinion shared by a single available man!

And whilst I'm not 'desperate' for relationship, I would like to meet someone. I am open to it.

EllieinDevon Tue 16-Aug-16 11:49:15

Do you feel as if you live in a place that fits with you? I'm the same age as you, and I think probably similar in terms of the slight 'hippy edge' you describe. I have often found myself living in places where I didn't feel as if I fitted in so well, and I didn't tend to meet many people with a similar outlook.

TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 12:01:16

Ellie No, I don't live in an area that fits with me at all.

I live in a very 'naice' area. The schools are good and the crime rate is low, which is all good...

I do seem to have found a few people who live round here who are similar to me though. But many of the men aren't. There are a lot of property portfolis and holidaying in Dubai and wearing suits to the pub type of men, but those aren't really the men I know. It's just that the men I know who are similar enough to me for us to be friends are already married. When I did OD, i actively avoided men who lived in my area because I know we wouldn't be of interest to each other.

So obviously, I know that's going to reduce the number of men I meet, but I tend to go outside of my local area to socialise or for festivals and whatever. But it still doesn't matter. The place I'd really like to live is on the other side of town (about 12 miles away) and I do go over there but, if I'm honest, I still encounter the same problem. The men just aren't interested sad. They like me, they just don't fancy me.

I'm reluctant to move whilst I still have children at school though, and it's taken me a long time to really feel established and build a friendship group so I'm reluctant to jeopardise that too. But I have considered it.

TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 12:03:13


TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 12:17:49

It probably is just me, isn't it?

Not that I thought it was 'them'. But I hoped it was, at least in part, circumstance!

EllieinDevon Tue 16-Aug-16 12:44:45

It's a difficult position to be in. It doesn't sound as if you are doing something 'wrong' though. And that's frustrating in itself, because if there were something specific then you could work on it.

I didn't feel comfortable with OD either, and in the end I met my DH in a very unexpected way.

A friend of mine recently emailed a group of her female friends to ask if they knew of any single, nice men who might suit her. She had a few responses. She worded it really well, came across as relaxed but hopeful. Is that something you would consider?

TheBriarAndTheRose Tue 16-Aug-16 13:13:59

Hm, I'm guessing you're not going to share that "unexpected way" for reasons of anonymity! Not that it would make any difference to me, just curious wink

I've already spoken to my friends, tbh. None of my male friends have any single friends. One of my friend's brothers has just separated from is wife. One of them has 2 single male friends, but she said that one of them is "single for a reason" although she didn't elaborate and the other lives too far away and was way too old for me (late 50s). The others don't know any single men.

One of them joked that I'm at the age/stage of life where I'm waiting for the first marriages to end. Which isn't a particularly happy thought either!

So this is it. I don't feel like I'm sitting on my sofa wailing about how lonely I am and doing nothing about it. I don't treat every man I meet as a potential boyfriend either. It's just that I don't meet single men very often and when I do, they're not interested.


I'm going to another festival in a couple of weeks. And, whilst I'm going for the music/atmosphere, I'm always mindful that I don't know who is going to be there; who I'm going to bump into... So I'm always positive about it.

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