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How to find that famous 'happiness within' despite being so lonely at the age of 37...

(12 Posts)
myteadontlie Fri 14-Apr-17 16:24:10

I often feel like I have missed my chance, many chances in life.
Yes, I have a lot to appreciate, most of all I have a fantastic good child and luckily no major health or money issues…. I know this is a lot, and I should be grateful…. But the sad truth is that half of the time I am down mainly because of the overpowering loneliness.
I am 37 and separated with husband 5 years ago… met someone lovely a couple of months ago, I write about it all in detail in my other thread and do not want to come back to it here; let’s just say, for the needs of this thread, that it is not an easy relationship to be in, but I am choosing to carry it on for a while.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is rather general… that I feel like I have wasted the last 5 years of my life… and I still didn’t find the way to be ‘happy on my own’.

Yes, throughout these 5 years I kept bringing up a child as a single parent, I bought the house, I have a fairly decent job. But I often feel so lonely, so empty and all seems so pointless…. Like I have this massive hole somewhere deep inside of me, the lack of significant other, that makes me feel just shit. I crave family life or partnership with a decent man but it’s just not happening.
I know, I should not be looking to validate my life through the presence/absence of a man…. I tried everything I guess to live a ‘happy full life’. I have friends and hobbies. I have done years of therapy I was on and off antidepressants (currently back on)…
Things have improved a lot. When I look at myself 5 years ago, I was a tired, overweight, sad woman wearing black dull clothes and supporting the life of my family practically on my own… while my then (narcissisitic) H worked and that was it… he blossomed, I was going down.
Now… I lost some weight, look better, younger, dress better. Make an effort to go out, visit places, try new things. Have hobbies. Yes, things are better. But they are still miles away from what they should be like, what I remember life was like in my youth or first couple of happy years with ex.
All my friends and family members are happily married or paired up. I have no one close who knows what it feels like to be abandoned by the person you trusted the most.
In the meantime 3 of my more distant friends split with their husbands or partners due to various reasons….
One divorced less than 2 years ago, H cheated. About 10 months ago she met a man, and they are in a committed relationship now, her two late teen kids met the guy 6 months into relationship.
Another friend split with long term partner in October, met a guy in November…. Now they move in together. She has got 2 young teens, introduced them 3 months on…

And I am thinking,.. what is wrong with me… why things are happening to people and not happening to me? What is wrong with me? I must be doing something wrong… and so on and so on. Now, I know that such thinking is wrong and leads nowhere… I have been addressing it in my therapy. I read a lot about self-esteem, attachment styles, NPD (story of me and my ex is a really fucked up one, don’t even wanna start on it, it’s over now). Yeah, so I am making an effort to improve things but I still have these moments of almost overwhelming sense of how pointless is my life and how lonely and broken I am because nobody, apart from my child, loves me. I know that objectively it is not true, I am obsessing and overthinking stuff… that’s why in every relation I start I tend to keep myself at bay, so I do not come across as needy and scare people away.

If you met me, I bet that 9 out of 10 people would see me as composed well rounded and a happy person.
But sometimes there come these lonely nights or Sunday evenings, when everybody else is with their dearest… and I just cannot find any joy doing things. Cannot focus on a movie or book, wine and chocolates don’t taste as they used to, bubble bath or bike ride is no fun…. I crave an intimate touch of a loving hand, cuddles on the sofa, company of someone who would care for me, I miss sex. I want to be loved.
I would want another child or children, I am 37…. It’s very unikely it will ever happen…
I realised recently that probably no man has ever loved me for real…
I have so much to give. And I do give to people… nature of my work, family, friends, my own child… people always praise me for being able to count on me and being there for them.

I would just like finally to be able to feel fully at peace with myself and it all…. Be able to find that ‘happiness within’ for good, not just faking it every now and then. I am so so tired or being not the happy me and not being able to find joy…

Any advice, positive stories…?

noego Fri 14-Apr-17 21:12:56

To find happiness within you have to stop looking without. What you are looking for is where you are looking from. You are living in the matrix and are on the hedonic treadmill. Once you get off it things will be different for you.

This question "there is more to life than this" comes to us all at some stage in our lives.

Imnewhere1234 Sat 15-Apr-17 09:54:11

I had to reply to this as I've just posted myself. I'm sorry I don't have a positive story for you, but I know exactly how you feel. I've just come out of a two year relationship within which I was lonelier than ever as he didn't commit to me.

Huge hugs. I hope that you can find true happiness xx

Ellisandra Sat 15-Apr-17 10:01:06

I'm sorry you're feeling this
I haven't read the other thread you refer to, but two things leap out for me - you really want a relationship. You're choosing a relationship that isn't easy.
Well, whatever your reasons are for that - isn't that a problem?
In one move you add something not easy in your life AND block the chance to have the easy version.

millifiori Sat 15-Apr-17 10:06:25

It sounds like you have made massive - really massive - progress in your life. Do you reward yourself? It can be one of the hardest things to learn how to do if it doesn't come naturally, but is a vital aspect of getting happier.
Examples of rewarding yourself:
Look in the mirror and think or even say out loud: Well look at this! Just a few years ago I was overweight in shapeless black clothes. That colour is gorgeous and the cut is lovely! Well done me. I've worked really hard on this. Think I'll book myself a haircut today to celebrate.'
That stuff sounds unbearably phoney and Mememe if you're not used to it, but happy self-confident people do it without thinking. They don't make a big issue of it - they just look in the mirror and think: looking good. They instinctively reward their own efforts.

Sounds like you are ready to meet someone you would be truly happy with. Are you extrovert or introvert> I can send you some links to some eccentric but practical websites/online (free) coaching that would help you feel more able to make the first move.
If you are in an unhappy relationship - cut the ties. You need to be free and single to be available for the right person.
You sound amazing, by the way. Not just saying that. You really do. You've made such strides alone while raising a child. I want to have the power to make you go out today and give yourself three different rewards for having come this far - including a really massive one you think you don't deserve.

Mermaidinthesea123 Sat 15-Apr-17 10:07:13

You know I could be reading about myself at your age.
That was the age I met and married what I thought was a wonderful man but looking back I only married him becasue I was acutely lonely.
It lasted 15 years and he left me last year for an OW, more than one having decided to go poly.
Whatever happens do not be tempted to marry beneath you because you are lonely. Realtionships like that never last and do not end well, if you are looking please make sure he is worthy of you.
I hope you find someone but if not I can assure you that once you pass the menopause you will no longer give a monkeys about men. I've got to that age and there is no way I'd want another relationship and I'm quite happy on my own.

myteadontlie Sat 15-Apr-17 11:50:36

Thanks for your responses...
Yes, I do try to reward myself, the thing is that most of the time it doesn't make me genuinely happy or excited. I am quite energetic and emotional by nature, when I am happy, it's quite full on, when I am sad, it's full on, too...maybe I should actually look for more balance...

I know what it feels like to be on cloud 9, I have so many memories from the past when I felt that good and alive. And now I feel like that very rarely, maybe short moments when things go well in most of my life areas and I am not obssesing over things... but usually something comes up... like recently DD and myself being constantly ill, loads of extra hige expenses (car and unexpected house improvements), change of management at work that changed a lovely place to work in into a rather nightmarish one... yeah.
Also, I feel genuinely happy and alive when I am with the current 'friend' - the one I am choosing not to let go (yet?) although he cannot commit - and thats for moments when I just enjoy the ride and swithc off thinking of the future.

And... why am I choosing to stay in a 'difficult' arrangement instead of going to look for something maybe easier. Well, 2 reasons.
1st - my intuition. Never tricked me so far, and something deep down of me tells me to hold my horses, to tame the fears and just wait and slow down... never felt that with any other man I was dealing with, in the past 5 years, as well as in my youth. Of course, I do have loads of doubts, but these are fuelled mainly by my past bad experience, so I try my hardest not to let it have an impact on me& decisions with the current man.
Reason number 2- I suffered so much in terms of letting go the feelings to my ex, and later on there was another (married) man I had really strong feelings for, but obviously I had to let it go, too (never went physical with him, luckily).
Now, the current guy.... I did fight against developing attachment to him but it did happen... the fact that I am this anxious attachment type time complicates everything... but on the other hand I see it as my final opportunity of fixing myself... as if I was stood up by the wall and told - its now or never, either you learn how to healthily deal with your emotions and choose wisely and CALMLY... or you will go down. Again.
That's why I do not want to rush with any decisions till I am very very sure, that I am certain of whatever I decide. IF things do not work out now with this guy, I cannot see myself trying with anyone anymore, not saying never but surely for long... I don't thing I will have any of that left in me, to try and fall for anyone YET again, tbh.

myteadontlie Sat 15-Apr-17 11:53:41

Think not thing OMG ;)... sorry for loads of typos! God, my kids at work would not let me live hahaha!

ICESTAR Sun 16-Apr-17 15:02:06

When they say the happiness within, it's truly accepting yourself and being ok with who you are. You seem to have done all the outside things like job Etc. Which is great of course.
My way of doing this was not only treating myself properly (not rewards but not accepting bad behaviour towards myself) but also letting go of people who did not act in my best interest either. I told my father who always in the best meaning way that if he kept bringing up my weight and being critical, then we could no longer have a relationship. It was up to him. He chose a relationship with me and things are better. No longer acting in my out of date brain as I call it. You know like you are still in a certain situation years ago but your head has not moved on. I've stopping bullying myself internally when no one else is anymore. I have friends now who get in touch with me as I do with them. It's not a perfect life but it's more balanced and my head is more at peace. I have my anxiety under control as well. I think it's when I realised that I do have a say in this life and when I gace myself back permission to be in control, I felt a lot better. I don't know if any of this helped but I hope it resonates in some way. Good luck.

9GreenBottles Sun 16-Apr-17 15:17:38

Comparison is the thief of joy - even if you are comparing your life now to what it was. Desperation to be in a relationship, whatever the cost to you, is really unhealthy IME. You do have to be happy with yourself before the rest of it falls into place.

If you are full on up or down, have you ever explored whether you might be bipolar?

Good luck finding your solution flowers

SummerKelly Sun 16-Apr-17 15:26:53

I think you can accept who you are but still be lonely, it's a natural human need to want close relationships. I am on my own a lot through circumstances and I miss having someone to just chat through my day with and get a hug when things are difficult. I think it can be better to accept how you're feeling is normal in the circumstances and be kind to yourself rather than thinking you are doing / being something wrong. I recognise for myself a lot of the things you are saying and it's tough, some days are fine, others difficult. That's not saying you shouldn't take steps to change things but don't be hard on yourself whilst you're doing that.

user1490465531 Sun 16-Apr-17 16:02:21

mermaid not everyone wants to wait for the menopause so that the urge goes!
I'm 38 and have not given up on meeting someone and neither should you op.

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