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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?

OP's posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

TellingBone · 05/12/2021 20:17

@Blueraccoon

If anyone can come up with a way of saving one's seat when going to the toilet in a cinema/cafe/pub/wherever then please share. grin

Yes! I try leaving a non valuable item on the chair but tend to come back to several people around my place and the best I can manage is an “excuse me” as I retrieve my item and move.

Like a scarf or something? Mmm. If it's something nice someone will think it's been abandoned and pinch it, or if you leave a newspaper the staff clear it and throw it out. Confused
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maybloss2 · 05/12/2021 20:25

Hi op, I have a group of friends of whom I am the only one with a partner. The envy of each other’s lives seems to balance out.
When I was on my own I relished the fact my free time was just that. No one else to consider.
I understand your concerns about safety, sometimes this has occurred to me too. There are of course safety measures you can take to mitigate risks.
But most of all when I see a woman on her own if I have a thought it will generally be well good for her! Maybe though there is at least one activity you could find that involves other people? Even if it’s volunteering somewhere. It is good to feel some connection with others sometimes. I do think some of us are more comfortable with being a bit ‘outside’ the usual paths for women.

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Gilld69 · 05/12/2021 20:28

do it, go out and enjoy doing anything you want if people think it's odd then that's their problem, I don't think it's odd at all enjoy your life xxx

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TinselTinsel · 05/12/2021 20:49

I'm actually quite sad that so many feel the same, that as a lone woman feel out of place. I have a son (soon to be 18 ) and have been single a long time through choice but I have never given a second thought to what people thing when I'm doing things alone rather than with my friends.
Having worked in hospitality, we frequently had lone females in the bar / restaurant and I never questioned why they were alone.

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Whatsshedonenow · 05/12/2021 20:54

I totally understand and often feel the same way (I’m in my 40s) Have you heard of Wild Women Excursions? I see them advertised and often think about going on one of their trips!

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IamGusFring · 05/12/2021 21:00

@EightWheelGirl

Why don’t you try and get a boyfriend? You don’t need to have kids.

OMG you do know you are going to be crucified ? 😂
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Dontknowanymore2 · 05/12/2021 21:16

Im 62 and go loads of places by myself. Cinema, lots of single people go. Cafes, day trips anywhere. You are just feeling self conscious.

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Babdoc · 05/12/2021 21:24

I'm 66, and my DH died 30 years ago. If I didn't go out on my own I'd never get out at all!
You soon get used to it, OP. I often have interesting conversations with whoever I end up sitting next to at the concert hall or theatre. I went along to a bridge club and a table tennis club by myself and made two nice groups of friends. I attend my local church regularly too, and happily go out walking alone round the local lochs and hills.
You have as much right to walk this earth and attend events as anyone else, OP - go for it!

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JessicaFletcherxx · 05/12/2021 21:37

I'm in a very similar position to you OP. It doesn't worry me at all sitting in cafes, shopping, theatre etc on my own and don't feel judged or out of place at all.

I do however agree with you about the safety aspect. I'm happy to holiday by myself in an all inclusive type place but I wouldn't feel safe travelling around Scotland in a camper van (something I'd love to do) on my own in case of emergency, what if I was ill or had an accident in the middle of nowhere?

I also wouldn't go for a long walk in the countryside without at least a dog for company (which I don't have), people look at you so suspiciously and again I worry about true safety aspect.

I would say just do what you feel comfortable with but don't feel bad or judged for being on your own, I would imagine half the people there are envious of your peaceful time.

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Momo4321 · 05/12/2021 21:39

Let me give you a quick outline of what happened to me a few years back. I had been out shopping on my own and decided to stop and have a cup of tea (and rest my feet!) When I entered the café I noticed a lady sat by herself and after I got my cup of tea, I asked if I could sit with her at her table. Her reply was direct and to the point...
"No Thank You, I prefer to sit alone" So we sat on separate tables and in my head I was thinking 'Good for her'
I got up to leave before her and she gave me a big smile and waved. I think it's quite acceptable to eat, drink, dance, go to the movies, go hiking, etc. alone. Please enjoy your life .Smile

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Bluesparkled · 05/12/2021 21:54

I’ve found this thought provoking OP, thank you. I have felt the same myself and find these days it still occasionally happens unexpectedly that I feel out of place when I walk into a cafe or something. I’ve concluded that I’m an introvert trying to make myself comfortable in environments sometimes more suited to extroverts and have learned to recognise what will make me more or less comfortable/weird. It is true that having a lot less time to myself (kids) has made me care a lot less, possibly as I know exactly what all those families and mums with kids are noticing- and it isn’t me!
People like you (and me these days!) looked so put together to me back in the early days of kids and things.

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oknowimscared · 05/12/2021 21:56

Haven’t RTFT, but I am single and childless. (And happy!) Top tip - take a notebook and pen if you’re eating alone in a restaurant. The staff go into “there’s a restaurant critic” mode and you get excellent service!
Oh - and I don’t know how old you are, but the friends with kids… hang in there. They’re busy and frazzled. They come back. Because they do want you in their life. Trust me - it gets better.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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