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How serious would you tell your 30 year old self to be about finding 'the one'?

(101 Posts)
Lastgasp Sat 31-Aug-13 12:05:36

I should say I don't actually believe in 'the one', but there are people we would want to marry/have kids with and people we would not.

I am approaching 30 and have been dating a lovely man for about six months. We have fun, I'm happy, but I know I don't want a future with him. There are reasons but I don't feel the need to unpick them here, as to me they are valid, and when you know, you know IYSWIM.

My question is, how long should I allow a relationship that makes me happy to continue, if I'm potentially missing out on locking down something long term? I frequently read posts on here by women who say that dating/meeting someone just gets harder and harder the older you get. I sometimes worry that I'm fundamentally immature and turning a blind eye to the fact that everyone around me is getting married etc. Should I continue with something that makes me happy until it naturally tails off, or do I need to be a bit more ruthless about finding someone I do feel a future with? This isn't really a biological clock issue as I absolutely don't want kids now, but I think I do one day.

I should add that he's never seemed fussed about marriage/babies etc so I don't feel I'm wasting his time at the moment.

MadeMan Sat 31-Aug-13 12:16:18

From what you've written it sounds as though you see him as more of a good friend than as a lover/partner.

It all depends on what you want, which to be honest you don't really seem to be clear about in your post. You say you don't believe in 'the one' but you know you don't want to spend your life with this man, although you are happy and having fun with him at the moment.

If you are looking for someone to marry and have children with soon, then maybe you need to think about ending it with this man if he's not for you. If you are really happy at the moment just having fun with him then I'd say stick with it for now and see what happens. Having fun is more important than worrying about body clocks and time limits to relationships.

Lastgasp Sat 31-Aug-13 12:56:44

I see him as a lover, but not a partner.

What I want ultimately is someone who is lover, partner and best friend. I'm just not sure I need that person right now, hence not knowing whether to be content or not.

I suppose I'm probably not yet in the place of needing/wanting to knuckle down and find a serious partner, which probably means it's unnecessary to end it.

I think I do just worry about finally being ready and there being no one left!

mrsm22 Sat 31-Aug-13 13:05:28

Hi Lastgasp, I can relate to your situation as I used to be in that very situation a few years ago. I'm now 31 and have been married for 2 years and we have a baby boy. Before I met my DH, I was with someone for 5 years, and like u say he made me happy and we had fun and it was a good relationship BUT deep down I always knew he wasn't someone I could marry or want kids with. Like you, I wasn't desperate to settle down but was often wondering if I was wasting my time in that relationship if I ultimately knew I wouldn't end up with him. The crux came for me when he asked me to marry him and I said no. After that the relationship did go slightly downhill and I actually met my DH while I was in that relationship and I instantly 'knew' and ended my relationship. Don't know if that is any help to u but I always think that in the end, seething has to give and it usually does. Something will happen that will make u know what to do.

thegoldenfool Sat 31-Aug-13 13:17:07

i split up with my DP at 27ish, it was a hedonistic young persons relationship he was very exciting and it took me a long time to feel ready to try again and I had about 8 years of singledom before I met my current DP (with the odd fling or FWB - which were obviously not going any further . . . )

I enjoyed my singledom but it was all getting a bit much (another wedding invite to go on my own, another friend having a baby, friends wanting dinner parties with their DPs rather than going clubbing, being propositioned by YET another married man etc etc etc) I had a big change of life and met DP who was completely unlike anyone I had gone out with before, but lovelier and kinder and an excellent father smile

My advice:
If you are living a fun life at the moment with a wide social life with lots of varying activities be aware it can very quickly narrow down when your friends start having children and it is simply harder to meet new people without being a lot more calculating/desperate etc so if you think you won´t want to stay with your current DP change now whilst there is still a good pool of men to choose from!

Lastgasp Sat 31-Aug-13 13:28:49

Thanks for that perspective MrsM. My prior relationship was very much like yours accept it was my ExDP who left after the realisation, ultimately I agreed with him though and was grateful. I think I worry that I once again am getting into something not quite right and don't want to waste years this time.

Goldenfool I think your final line is the kind of blunt advice I wanted to hear/see if people doled out. My nagging worry is the entire picture you paint is right.

Salbertina Sat 31-Aug-13 13:34:15

You're v sensible to be appraising this now, good for you! As others have said, opportunities can and do rapidly narrow- much much more do for women hmm - but not a reason to marry the first decent man, as you realise. However, soulmate/best friend/fab lover all in one? Not sure such a paragon exists. Rather several compatible viable options will present themselves at the right time, if you're lucky.. And notice them. All will be a compromise of sorts on both sides. Right romantic me wink
Oh and don't change and marry this guy, you doubt it too much already to have enough faith in it working.

Anghara Sat 31-Aug-13 18:24:35

Lastgasp, this TedTalk might be helpful for you, I found it thought-provoking on some points (I'm 26 and have wondered the same things about a previous relationship, although I'm now single):

superstarheartbreaker Sat 31-Aug-13 18:48:47

Un;less you are desperate to procreate though, why the rush to find 'the one'? After experiencing so many wierdos on the dating scene I am beginning to become very cynical about monogamy/marriage/ this couple culture that is literally just shoved down our throats. I think the best people for us come when we leat expect it.
As for expecting this 'one' to complete us; I am no longer buying it.

superstarheartbreaker Sat 31-Aug-13 18:48:59


perfectstorm Sat 31-Aug-13 19:00:23

It all depends on if you want kids. If you do, then no, I don't think you can faff about with someone you don't see as close friend material. I agree that you need to be realistic - a human being will be as flawed and imperfect as you are yourself - but I'm married to my best friend, and we've also had and still do have the best sex life I ever had with anyone. I think the friendship is essential to weather the storms, and trust, and you need to genuinely really like one another. But soulmates? I think that's bollocks, personally.

My cousin recently found out she has early onset menopause approaching. She's 34 and trying for her first baby. As someone edging 40 and pregnant with my 2nd, I'm feeling really grateful... but I also think you need a good couple of years together before you even contemplate kids. If you do want children, maybe more than one, then yes, I think you need to look for someone you want to have them with, sooner rather than later.

If you don't, then you have a lifetime ahead of you and all the time in the world.

magicturnip Sat 31-Aug-13 19:06:08

I have lots of great, smart, funny, interesting and attractive single female friends in their late 30s and early forties. I only know one decent single man in that age group. The pool of decent men definitely narrows to vanishingly small as women age, in my experience.

difficultpickle Sat 31-Aug-13 19:10:19

I wish I'd made more effort at that age. It semed to be in a blink of the eye that all my friends, male and female, got married. I didn't and now in my late forties I don't know anyone who is single (other than me).

Salbertina Sat 31-Aug-13 19:12:16

Scary, isn't it Magic? Why weren't we told?!

OP so pleased its dawned on you and hopefully some of your friends. Am in my 40s and we were fed line of being just the same as men, focus on your career, university just about the degree (when hell its THE best place to meet a decent guy and from a v eligible pool not puddle!)

WaitingForMe Sat 31-Aug-13 19:14:15

How flexible are you willing to be? I'm a stepmum to two and have a child with DH. If men with baggage doesn't bother you then fine but if you want to be a first wife and not a stepmother time isn't on your side.

Loopytiles Sat 31-Aug-13 19:23:40

Depends if you want children. If you do and not with him, better not to spend more time with him.

lotsofcheese Sat 31-Aug-13 19:36:33

Personally, my view is that women in their 30's don't have time to hang around/waste. The biological clock answers to no-one. If you want children, that is (or the option of them, at least).

If not, then you have more scope.

But I do recall "30-something dating hell" very clearly.

Also, I'm not sure how realistic your expectations are. You seem to want everything in a partner. But one person can't meet all our needs.....

BellEndTent Sat 31-Aug-13 19:45:22

I married my fwb, we now have two children and are just 30. I think you take out of the relationship what you are looking for at the time.

I can obviously only speak for myself but in my case I was very strongly, physically attracted to DH when we first got together, didn't know him very well but grew to really admire and respect him as a person and then we just kind of developed into being good friends as time passed and matured together into good partners. I know now that I have everything in one man but if I was speaking a few years ago, I probably wouldn't have thought so. I compartmentalised a lot when I was younger and didn't allow the relationship to be all it could be iyswim as I wasn't in that frame of mind and didn't expect him to be either. We surprised each other.

SDhopeful Sat 31-Aug-13 19:55:46

Interesting! when I was 30 I was in a relationship like yours, not serious, and an older male friend asked me why I was wasting my time. ( He was not hitting on me, just concerned I was frittering away my fertile time). He was right, I should have been thinking. As it was, I did meet my husband a few month later, tho it was 5 years before we married, and then at 36 suddenly had a panic about maybe being infertile. As it happens, we did have two lovely DC, but I am not now convinced he was 'the one' - and to be brutally honest, if we did not have the DC, I would leave him. But.... I am glad I found the father of my DC in time, and would rather a million times have the DC than now be with 'the one' without them...

mrsm22 Sat 31-Aug-13 20:59:58

I think you've got some really good comments here from everyone and it must give u lots to think about. If part of your worries about staying in your existing Relationship comes down to having children then i wouldn't worry about that just yet. You certainly do have plenty of time in my opinion, I am 31 and have one DS and wanting to try for number 2 soon and I'm the first of all my friends to have children. 30 is not old to have children, it is the norm. But as for your relationship, if you are happy plodding on and if u care for this man then I don't see you really have a reason to end it. Maybe ask yourself why u don't think he is the one you'd want to settle down with because u might in time realise he is. When I was with my ex boy I often used to get fed up and feel a bit down that I was just plodding on through life with someone I didn't really feel enough for and it got to the stage where I was worried that during the five years I had been with him/wasted that I could have missed out on meeting 'the one'. Just don't be hasty though and end something if it suits for now. My dad always says if it's not broken, why fix it?!

Salbertina Sat 31-Aug-13 21:43:12

Mmm, cant agree, am afraid if Op wants kids. Rather different to be 31 with a dp having already successfully had a dc and be thinking about the next one.

Arisaig Sun 01-Sep-13 00:33:56

Garfunkel and Oates sum it up well....

EBearhug Sun 01-Sep-13 00:41:24

I am 41 and single. Never had that many boyfriends. Not sure why yes I do, that's why I've spent a fortune on therapy, thanks Mum for all the undermining you did.

My father died a few months before I turned 30, and I actually turned 30 in NZ, as I'd been planning to do some travelling before we knew he was ill, and he made me promise I would go. Mostly I was concentrating on staying sane and surviving the grief.

Lazysuzanne Sun 01-Sep-13 01:19:39

Interesting thread, and Magic I find your observation a bit alarming

I have lots of great, smart, funny, interesting and attractive single female friends in their late 30s and early forties. I only know one decent single man in that age group. The pool of decent men definitely narrows to vanishingly small as women age

assuming the pool of men is about the same size as the pool of women this means that men must somehow decline in their late 30's and early 40's such that most women wont consider them as partners.

What is happening with the men? do they turn into smelly troglodytes from spending too long away from the civilizing influence of women? confused

Salbertina Sun 01-Sep-13 07:46:30

Men tend to be able to date from a much wider pool with age- from lots younger to their own age plus. For women -with a few rare exceptions-it's the opposite. fucking unfair it is too!

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