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Lone woman - weirdo?
312

Fireatseaparks · 04/12/2021 02:44

I'm a single woman without children (undecided but leaning heavily towards not having them as I've never felt 'the urge' or met anyone I could see myself having them with - of course that's assuming I have the choice at all, which I don't know having never tried).

(Before anyone asks, I'm one of the many thousands of Mumsnet users who aren't mums but who use the site for the non-parenting topics!)

My problem is this: I never noticed this when I was younger, but since my late twenties/early thirties, I've started to feel out of place going to cafes, wandering around markets etc. on my own, particularly at weekends when everyone seems to be part of a family.

I do have friends, but they are busy with their own families so things have to be pre-arranged, plus I do enjoy having plenty of time by myself.

Anyway, I was looking through some old family photos, and saw pictures of young me with my parents in some really beautiful places - places that I wouldn't even think to go now.

There was one of me looking into a rock pool somewhere when I was about seven. I'd love to go and look in rock pools now, but I can't shake the feeling that a lone woman A) would look weird peering into rock pools by herself and B) I'd be scared of slipping or getting caught by the tide or something without anyone around to help.

There was another one of me standing on a big rock I'd climbed in a national park somewhere. As above, I'd love to go and do that but same as above, I'd feel completely out of place.

This feeling of being separate from society seems to be growing as I get older. There have been times when I've been sat at a table in a cafe at the weekend and I'm the ONLY one by myself in there. I feel like some sort of deviant, like I'm encroaching on other people's family space. I only go to cafes during the week now, when it's somehow more 'acceptable' and expected for people to be on their own.

I know this is my own problem and people probably don't really look at me and think 'is she alone, what a weirdo, why is she here' and even if they DID I shouldn't let it bother me. In other aspects of my life I'm confident and not overly bothered by opinions, but in this area, I can't seem to shake it.

I don't know, I just sometimes feel like I'm a hanger-on on the outskirts of society. I know i need to get a grip and I appreciate if much rather be in this position than in an unhappy relationship or with children I can't cope with and I do count my blessings.

I'm just wondering if anyone else understands this feeling really?

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Storey1964 · 09/12/2021 09:02

Typo- it would be a great companion for you..

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Storey1964 · 09/12/2021 09:01

OP. I k ow how you feel but please don’t! People are far too busy with their own lives, most of them are heads down and on phones anyway and really don’t notice a thing going on around them. If we all cared about what other people thought about us we’d never leave the house! Have you ever thought about getting a little rescue dog? So many at the moment after Covid. It would Eva great co panino for you and it would remove that feeling of you being alone. Live your life doing what YOU want to do and to hell with the rest.

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GameofPhones · 06/12/2021 22:39

I do lots of things WITH MY DOG that I wouldn't do alone - gazing in rock pools, sitting on rocks etc. In fact he has opened up the outdoors for me. Plus being a delightful companion.

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DdraigGoch · 06/12/2021 22:11

[quote psychomath]@DdraigGoch, where did you go that was -10? I'm planning on heading to the Arctic alone next summer - it won't be nearly that cold but still the chilliest place I've ever camped!

It would literally never even occur to me to feel self-conscious about going to a cafe or market on my own - I see people do it all the time Confused Fancy restaurants and bars I can understand more, but honestly once you've done it a few times you realise no-one actually cares.[/quote]
@psychomath Graubunden, Switzerland. Lovely and warm once the sun was up but at first light it was freezing.

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BeccaDigest · 06/12/2021 20:44

I know how you feel. I can be hesitant doing some things on my own. Have you tried the meet up app?

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whataboutbob · 06/12/2021 18:09

@Tree80fLife99

Op

Why do you think it is OK for a lone male to go walking/hiking/travelling & not a female?

I would suggest that you educate yourself about the solo travelers in the past & present. There are plenty of people to inspire you. There are lots of people now who have books, blogs, Facebook, Instagram to inspire you.

I would imagine it’s the hardwired fear we have of being alone in lonely places and the risk of being assaulted/murdered. Although statistically the risk is low, you only have to look at the TV schedules to see how prevalent that trope is in people’s imagination. I hike alone and the toughest hike was the first and the fear of being followed/ ambushed, I don’t let it stop me now.
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Cirmhor13 · 06/12/2021 17:00

Like you i often find it difficult to overcome the self conscious issue.
Im transgender and although my 3 kids ( 2 of whom are now adults) live with me full time still do things with me, i am always of the assumption that people are staring or judging me. I know its mainly in my head but it is very hard to just dismiss.
Totally feel for you.
Maybe you could consider getting a dog as i have found it really helpful in pushing me to go places i wouldnt before.
Hope you get to enjoy the things you want to do whilst you can and kudos for reaching out!
Best of luck

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Tree80fLife99 · 06/12/2021 13:22

Op

Why do you think it is OK for a lone male to go walking/hiking/travelling & not a female?

I would suggest that you educate yourself about the solo travelers in the past & present. There are plenty of people to inspire you. There are lots of people now who have books, blogs, Facebook, Instagram to inspire you.

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knackeredcat · 06/12/2021 10:11

Travelled plenty on my own before getting together with my OH in my mid 30s. I never stopped travelling on my own until Covid put a stop to that. And a prop definitely helps, especially a book. Have been in restaurants and pubs on my own and the book is a safe metaphorical barrier. Looking engrossed in it gently says that you don't want to be disturbed Grin

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SSOYS · 06/12/2021 09:54

Whenever I see a woman on her own doing something more often done in a group I feel a bit envious- it comes across as very cool and self-possessed, I think, not weird at all, quite the opposite.

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DDMAC · 06/12/2021 09:35

@CurtainTroubles

As a parent I would love the freedom to do the things that you describe on my own!

There’s nothing at all unusual or deviant about going to the beach or climbing a mountain on your own. Just do it.

Exactly this! I love going to a cafe on my own and actually I used to love going to the cinema on my own which some people I know would never do they think it’s weird, each to their own and not weird at all for doing all the things you mention, sounds lovely climbing and looking into rock pools 😊
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Barney60 · 06/12/2021 09:24

Totally get you on this.
As a youngish widow, with very small family, not a lot of friends as we had been happy with each other, now find myself wanting to do things but no one to do them with, not the most confident of people, as i get older i realise im on the outside looking in all the time, people tell you about the wonderful nights out they have , visits to the theatre, cinema ,holidays, theyve been on, im happy for them but why dont they invite single friends when their in a group outing.
Ive joined the groups classes, its the same at the end each go on with their busy lives, following week they tell you all about their trips/days out ect
I have noticed single men get invited not single ladies, please dont say its my imagination, its not this has been recognised by a lot of people, this time of year is the worst. I hate it.
So yes i agree with you, sadly no answer.

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Alip1965 · 06/12/2021 08:59

I am on my own and feel the same. Ex abusive partner isolated me some 11 yrs ago and friends have moved on. They say we will catch up but then don't have the time or forget.

I have basically become a hermit, I do have DD but she's far too busy to even answer my calls.

I cant advise you what to do, but if you can go out alone. Then do. Me... my confidence is on the floor so don't leave the house.

Don't get like me. X

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HaveringWavering · 06/12/2021 08:15

@expat101

I'm an only child so pretty much used to it. I make sure I have my reading glasses on hand so will flick through emails and the like if waiting for a meal.

The one time being on my own bothered me was on a bus tour that had a lunch stop. I wasn't the only one on my own, but most were couples or group situations. When we arrived at our lunch destination, we were told to help ourselves to a seat anywhere, so we did and I got talking to a lovely young couple seated next to me.

A couple arrived in late, so as meals were being placed on tables, the tour organizer told me to move tables so the couple would not have to be seated separately. That peeved me off no end and the table I joined were not conversing as well as the table I had left behind.

I’m not seeing the connection to being an only child and being used to being out and about on your own?
Surely you’re with a parent until you’re old enough to go out by yourself, then you’d be more likely to be out with a friend or partner when a teen and adult? I have a brother but even now in our forties I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times he and I have gone out just the two of us.
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CynsterBitch · 06/12/2021 08:04

I’m not single but like a previous I’m childless and have a lot of alone time. I’ve made friends with other childless people and joined groups like wild wanderers on Facebook (it’s a woman’s only group for people who like walks and hikes and local groups will arrange group walks or you can connect with someone to walk with)
A lot of my friends from way back don’t have kids either so it’s made it a lot easier for for me I guess, I never feel this othering, except when I’m with family as all my siblings and in-laws have small kids and DH and I get left out a lot.

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Lalliella · 06/12/2021 00:29

Here’s an inspirational story for you OP: www.indy100.com/news/grandman-bus-trip-pass-england-b1970151?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR1arrRK1rpBqSj5qYa1CZqfnjB8_KIrS16H2WtXkO8ODC3f20vVzKC1o6c#Echobox=1638732860

You can do whatever you want, it doesn’t matter if you’re on your own or not.

So gaze into rock pools, stand on that rock, climb every mountain! Follow your dreams and live your life to the full, your way. Don’t let it hold you back that you’re on your own - look at it as not having anyone to hold you back.

And I agree with the suggestion to join a cycling group, I’m a member of a Breeze group, and we’ve had lots of adventures.

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user1471604848 · 06/12/2021 00:16

Until recently, I did everything on my own - travelled the world many times, lived abroad, hobbies, etc.

But your OP struck a chord. I'm Irish, and as a child, visited beautiful places around Ireland. I'd LOVE to go back to those places, but I see them as a "family" thing to do. A colleague teased me for never leaving Dublin - when he has a wife and kids to go places with. It didn't seem to enter his head that it's harder to do things on your own.

I had twins on my own 1.5 years ago, so hopefully in the future I'll visit those places around Ireland.

But I'd advise, do what you want and go where you want. Everyone is too wrapped up in their own situation to notice you. If I saw someone on their own, it wouldn't even enter my radar. They could be waiting on a friend/ a busy mum taking a break/ a person who just wanted some peace and quiet/ someone traveling from a foreign country /etc.
My sister-in-law (married with two kids) takes a trip abroad each year on her own, just to chill and relax.

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expat101 · 05/12/2021 23:42

I'm an only child so pretty much used to it. I make sure I have my reading glasses on hand so will flick through emails and the like if waiting for a meal.

The one time being on my own bothered me was on a bus tour that had a lunch stop. I wasn't the only one on my own, but most were couples or group situations. When we arrived at our lunch destination, we were told to help ourselves to a seat anywhere, so we did and I got talking to a lovely young couple seated next to me.

A couple arrived in late, so as meals were being placed on tables, the tour organizer told me to move tables so the couple would not have to be seated separately. That peeved me off no end and the table I joined were not conversing as well as the table I had left behind.

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JonSnowIsALoser · 05/12/2021 23:10

Take up cycling OP! Women's cycling community is great, and includes many single women too. Go on an organised biking tour - lots of trustworthy companies do them (Bike Adventures, Saddle Skedaddle, etc), and all are very singleton-friendly. They take place in spectacular places all over the world, including those with rock pools!

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Bertiebiscuit · 05/12/2021 22:58

I seem to enjoy my own company more than any of my female friends - but I see that as a strength - just like lots of other people I'm perfectly happy not having a partner, I like my life ad I do whatever I feel like doing, alone or in company. I dont see the problem, and if some are sexist enough to find a woman doing things alone weird, that's their problem, not mine

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GhostW0rker · 05/12/2021 22:55

I've been thinking about this

In modern society, everyone has the freedom to do a multitude of things if you have the time & finances

There is no sign that says "families only" or "couples only" or "friends only". However, you seem to have these signs in your head.

You are over thinking

Just do what you want to do !

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Blinky21 · 05/12/2021 22:54

If I saw a lone woman looking into a rock pool I wouldn't think it was odd at all! Just be careful if you do go alone though. I think your question highlights society's misogyny though, a man hiking or climbing alone would probably never need to ask that question

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Mamanyt · 05/12/2021 22:20

My dear, sweet lady...unless you are complete and whole within yoursefl, you will never be complete and whole with another person. And if you are complete and whole within yourself, GO! Do those things. Do them for you. Make your own adventures. You are worth every minute of it, with or without spouse/offspring. You are magic, in and of yourself. Celibrate that.

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Drivingslowtosavefuel · 05/12/2021 22:18

I met my partner and had a child relatively late so spent most of my 20s and 30s doing things independently. I still enjoy going out to eat by myself when the opportunity arises so I wouldn’t notice or make assumptions about anyone doing the same.

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Crystal8559 · 05/12/2021 22:16

I totally get it op, my daughter feels the same way, she ‘s 20 and covid seems to have made her feel exactly like you explain, her friends are at Uni but she got a really good temp job straight from school & they offered her a permanent job, since covid & working from home she doesn’t meet anyone. I encourage her to do things on her own and just call me if she feels out of place so she’s at least talking to someone. Can you do that? It may help you to gain confidence do you eventually feel you don’t need to. Wishing you a life full of “I did” rather than “if I had done”. Live your life and enjoy it, feel free to chose to do what you want to do❤️

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