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I’m 36 and starting to think it will never happen

(51 Posts)
pickinguppieces Wed 08-Aug-18 02:11:28

I’m 36, (37 in December) and I’m single and unmarried. I was married in my late twenties, but the marriage was short lived and ended in divorce in 2011 and my love life has been pretty unlucky since then. I’ve had a few boyfriends, but I haven’t had a serious relationship since 2016 and I’m worried. I’m desperate to have children, but I’m scared time is going to run out - I know that I don’t need a partner to have a child, but I don’t know whether I would be comfortable with raising a child alone. I have always been very career driven and I wish I’d made more effort in my early thirties to keep a relationship but it never happened. Does anyone have any similar experiences or advice? I go on dates and my friends try to set me up but it never leads anywhere.

Parrotlover Wed 08-Aug-18 03:41:53

I’m 55, and my advice is to go ahead and have a baby. I kept waiting and then my time ran out. I’ve never had a child and wish every day that I did, difficult or not as a single parent. Don’t let the years waiting sneak up on you and pass you

dontticklethetoad Wed 08-Aug-18 03:50:03

Hi pickinguppieces. What has caused the end of those relationships? Did you end them or was it the other party?
Do you feel your career gets in the way of maintaining a fulfilling relationship?

Movablefeast Wed 08-Aug-18 03:57:24

If you want a relationship you need to take it as seriously as your career right now. Give it the same energy and resources. A good place to look is university evening classes and IT classes, hiking and if you have a faith background, religious groups. If you have exhausted your networks you need to find new networks of people.

Mmer Wed 08-Aug-18 04:08:34

Have a baby without a partner. There are plenty of single parents that make it work. You can too!

Clairetree1 Wed 08-Aug-18 04:10:54

I had my children without a partner, best decision I ever made

Electrascoffee Wed 08-Aug-18 04:42:19

I've raised my three children mostly alone and I actually think it's easier that way. 🤷🏻‍♀️

JessieMcJessie Wed 08-Aug-18 04:59:28

I was you. I met my husband when I was 37, married at 40, DS born at 42. However we had to have IVF and can’t have any more children. I tried and tried and tried to meet a husband throughout my thirties and had years of awful dating and singles holidays and watching all my friends settle down around me. It was awful. I still pinch myself that DH came along in the nick of time. I wish I could tell you the secret to how it happened but it was pure luck. He’s a few years younger than me and I doubt we’d ever have picked each other online, we met at an event hosted by a mutual friend. I think maybe avoiding online and just going to as many social events as you possibly can is perhaps a good approach. Online dating made me an odd person.

There is quite a good American book cakes “how To find a husband after 35” which applies Harvard Business School principles to finding a partner, you should find it if you Google, take with a pinch of salt but it has some interesting ideas.

Finally, before having a child I would not have said this but being a Mum is amazing and yes, it would better to be a single mum by choice than never be one. But leave it a couple more years unless you have known fertility issues as having a baby with a partner is also a wonderful thing.

Very best of luck. I know how miserable it is.

pointythings Wed 08-Aug-18 09:32:25

A good friend of mine had her first child at 38, her second three years later - she is single. She and her DCs are a wonderful little family. Just go for it - you sound as if you have a good career and are in a position to start a family.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 08-Aug-18 09:56:47

My best friend had a donor baby.
He's a wonderful 3 YO now and she had him at 39.
She has family around her for support and she's a fabulous mother.
She has a good career and has kept this going.
Anything is possible and you want a child then I'd start looking into it now.

RatRolyPoly Wed 08-Aug-18 10:17:07

Just because you have a child when you don't yet have a partner, doesn't mean you'll be raising them alone. Children don't stop you finding a partner. Okay, the change the landscape, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Have a baby; you won't always have time for that. But you will always have relationships and love on the horizon, and there's no reason at all someone wouldn't love both you and the child you seek when they finally cross your path.

Katgurl Wed 08-Aug-18 10:17:17

Ah I know exactly how you feel.

I was that soldier. Long term serious relationship ended at 30 then a string of non-starters that never went beyond a year. It's harder in your 30's because you know yourself better IMO and what will work and won't. That was the case for me anyway, I got less swept up in the romance against the odds and more realistic about the unlikelihood of something making me happy.

At least research getting a donor. I did and once I sat down and realised that it was something I had control over i felt far less panicked / desperate.

bonzo77 Wed 08-Aug-18 10:35:01

I know two women late 30’s / early 40’s who have donor babies as they are very long term single. Both have some help from family and friends. The babies are very young still, so relationships are not high priority. Yet. Both have saved hard, their reasoning being they’ve spent nothing on getting married. One of them has a huuuuge circle of friends who have chipped in with the cash they would have spent on attending her wedding if she’d had one, so she can buy in help. Both women have had offers of much other help, hand me downs etc. Early days still, maybe the novelty will wear off, but that’s what having babies is like sometimes.

JessieMcJessie Wed 08-Aug-18 12:24:45

PS I know of two very happy single mothers by choice. One has one child and the other has siblings a couple of years apart.

earthangel797 Wed 08-Aug-18 12:40:03

I was exactly where you are at the age of 36. I remember thinking why is it working for everyone else but not for me! At the age of 37 I met a really nice guy online. We've been together for a year now and things are going great, he moved in 6 months ago. We've spoken about having a baby (he already has 2 kids from a previous marriage) so its on the cards. Like you I was beginning to panic about the prospect of never having kids and being alone.

I think you should definitely look into getting a donor if you feel like you really want to have a child but I don't think you need to worry too much at the moment. You never know what is around the corner and like others have said if you get yourself out there and widen your social circle you stand every chance of meeting someone special.

pickinguppieces Wed 08-Aug-18 14:36:20

Hi dontticklethetoad. I married him in late 2009 after dating him since I was 24 and it was me who initiated our divorce. We’d been living separately since the year before we got married as my progressing career meant I had to relocate abroad while he stayed in the UK for his work, and the distance took its toll on our relationship and I wasn’t happy. In that way, I did put my work before our relationship but I don’t feel it stopped me from pursuing other relationships because they weren’t long distance. Maybe it is my fault.

pickinguppieces Wed 08-Aug-18 14:46:18

Hi, JessieMcJessie! I’m glad to hear from someone who was in my situation and it ended well for you - sorry you weren’t able to have more children.

I definitely wouldn’t rule out having a baby by a donor, but as you said I’d like to wait a few years until I know having a child with a partner isn’t an option anymore. It is miserable, but I know that anything is still possible so I try not to let it get me down.

Thanks Katgurl, it’s always nice to talk to people with similar experiences. I’m sad that my relationships haven’t gone anywhere, and I’m still dating and I get help from people in my social circle, I’m sure they’re all just as desperate for me to have a relationship (most of them have children and are married). My career seems to have gotten in the way even though it didn’t for them. I definitely do want a child and RatRolyPoly you are right saying that I wouldn’t necessarily have to raise it alone, since it wouldn’t stop me from finding relationships and I would definitely consider it.

Thank you pointythings, I am in a position in my life and career where I could definitely have a child and provide for it alone, but right now I feel to insecure to pursue it. Thank you everyone for being so kind, and those of you sharing your experiences as single parents, I admire you all. I was raised mainly by my mother and she did not struggle so I know first hand it can be done.

Cattenberg Wed 08-Aug-18 15:08:49

I'm exactly the same age as you and had a similar dilemma. At 35, I had a fertility MOT and consultation at a private clinic to find out what my options were. The tests have some limitations (as far as I know, they can't measure egg quality), but they gave me an indication of my ovarian reserve and whether there were any obvious problems with my uterus. My uterus looked fine, but my ovarian reserve wasn't great (although not hopeless).

After much thought, I decided to have IVF as a single woman, using a donor from a sperm bank. I never responded well to the drugs, so I'm glad I didn't leave it any later. But my second attempt was successful and my beautiful DD was born earlier this year. It's challenging, but I get a lot of support from my family, who are besotted with DD. I know there will be more challenges ahead, but right now I'm really glad I took the plunge. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

pickinguppieces Wed 08-Aug-18 15:15:23

Congratulations on your DD, Cattenberg! I’m glad things worked out for you and thank you so much. I will probably look into my options if this time next year I’m still in the same position. Have you found other women have judged you for your decision?

Cricrichan Wed 08-Aug-18 15:18:01

As a mum of 4, let me tell you that raising children on your own is quite easy and easier than raising them with someone who doesn't help etc.

JessieMcJessie Wed 08-Aug-18 16:08:39

Are you still abroad now OP?

trojanpony Wed 08-Aug-18 16:34:37

First and foremost, Prioritise dating and deprioritise work if meeting someone is important to you.

I did this and dated fairly aggressively (1-5 dates a week averaging about 3-4) for two years!!!! shock
I met an amazing guy but even if I hadn’t I was making a life / future for myself.

As it is, a year and a bit in we are living together and very much in love (I’d be surprised if we did not marry) but he knows where I stand on timings. He is younger but I am almost 35 so while I caught the boat, I only just caught it, so there are some time constraints.

I, personally, have come to the realisation that having children alone is not for me but everyone is different. IMO If you know you want them don’t wait, go for it now.

Bellends Wed 08-Aug-18 16:42:46

Well my best and lovely mate waited and waited. Met someone with a ' nightmare ex ' etc, etc. She married him. Turns out HE was the nightmare ex and had her by the throat at the top of the stairs when she was 8 mths pregnant. Then gave her a year of fucking hell trying to get custody ( always unsuccessful but he kept going to spite her)

I told her eight years ago to go and sort out donor sperm and now she wishes she had. She has a beautiful daughter but her cunt of an ex will always be in her life ( in a contact centre only way for now, he's that bad)
Now I know she is a bloody massive exception but if you want a child, go for it.

Pebblesandfriends Wed 08-Aug-18 16:44:15

Knowing what you want is a good start. Now go get it. This is your life and you just need to communicate what you want and don't waste time with anyone who isn't on the same page. Good luck 💐

Botanica Wed 08-Aug-18 17:15:58

If you know what you want a child, and would be prepared to go it alone, then I would set the wheels in motion now.

Get yourself fertility checked, look at clinics, register for a sperm bank and see how you feel as you go forward each step.

I wished I'd done this earlier. I started at 37 and am now 40, but still no baby.

Remember that you may need several attempts, and that any physical issues in the process that arise will need attention and cost you time. My miscarriage at 11 weeks needed six months recovery afterwards. It's amazing how quickly the years just evaporate...

On the relationship side, keep dating, why not. I did and met a lovely man who I was very open with about my journey to date and intentions, and after determining we wanted to give the relationship a go, after a year he decided he wanted to be a family, so we are now doing IVF together.

I do regret not starting earlier and if it turns out my future does not include a child, I'll always wonder why I just didn't get on with it sooner.

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