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Lone woman - weirdo?
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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.

UseOfWeapons · 04/12/2021 06:47

Do what you want, OP.
I’m 55, no children, no partner. I’ve never noticed if anyone stares at me, but I doubt that they do….most people are more interested in their own lives than in mine. I go where I want, value time alone, but have good friends and family..
One of my friends, however, does feel like this. She has been trying to expand her horizons, and told me she felt very self conscious when out for the day, as she thought that all the families with children were wondering why she was alone. I told her to go and enjoy, it’s unlikely that anyone pays any attention to what others are doing, unless their behaviour is cause for concern.
Go and gaze in some rock pools!💐

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YoComoManzanas · 04/12/2021 06:48

Hm. I have dh and kids but had a lot of daytime to myself last year while they were at school. It is a bit lonely. I'm happy enough going for a run or bike ride on my own but prefer company on a ride. I probably wouldn't bother sitting in a cafe on my own because I could get a cuppa at home cheaper. However, if you don't feel lonely but just think people are judging you then carry on. They really are not thinking g about you at all. Most middle age women are invisible to society at large. If tou do feel unsafe rockpooling or whatever perhaps see if there are guided walks or groups to join. Or just go at the same time as them.

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borntobequiet · 04/12/2021 06:49

I go pretty much everywhere on my own including hill and coastal walking. In pubs or restaurants I read a book or my phone/iPad. I’ve joined walking groups in the past and found them welcoming and companionable but still generally prefer my own company, apart from a couple of occasional “walking friends”. I actively prefer going to the cinema on my own.
One of the advantages of being on your own is that you meet and talk to people in a different way than being part of a group. I’ve a couple of long-standing friendships that came about from such chance encounters.
So my advice is, go to places on your own and enjoy yourself, or join a group and enjoy yourself.

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Monty27 · 04/12/2021 06:52

Go for it OP
Don't feel imprisoned by any societal expectations.
Enjoy the life you have. ❤️

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Submariner · 04/12/2021 06:55

I wouldn't think you were strange, I'd feel jealous - I love the opportunity to get out on my own and it happens so rarely. I'm not saying that to minimise what you yourself feel, but I mean for onlookers, I don't think anyone would look and find it strange to see you on your own.

If there are some things you want to share with other people would it be worth exploring friendship "dating" apps or even joining hobby groups on Facebook etc so you can connect with other single women who might be able to be a bit more spontaneous than your friends with families and kids?

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1frenchfoodie · 04/12/2021 06:56

I dont think you’d be remarked on at all in the cafes, beach etc as a woman on your own. If they are full of couples and families you can bet their attention is focused mainly inwards.

I love my daughter and showing her stuff on the beach, getting hot chocolate in a cafe but if I see single people doing the same I don’t think ‘wierdo’. If I notice them at all I’m more likely to be jealous they dont have a constant ‘mum, mum, mum…’ refrain as the soundtrack to the beach and can take out a book at that cafe and get absorbed in it.

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Darningfever · 04/12/2021 07:01

I don't have children. I love being able to go to cafes and places by myself. I have a kindle or the internet and don't even notice other people. I would rather go visiting places alone than with people or children that are not really enjoying it.

I live somewhere fairly isolated but the type of place people go wild camping to get away from it all. So we get a lot of visitors. More and more I am meet lone female travellers of all ages but 40+ is a regular. I often stop and speak to them. I have only respect for these ladies who go travelling by themselves. They all look so happy to be doing there own thing.

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FindingMeno · 04/12/2021 07:02

I rather enjoy the idea that people think I'm a bit odd when I'm wandering around peering at nature.
Perhaps acknowledge that if anyone thinks you're strange, you should feel a bit sorry for them that they lead such a dull existence!

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SheWoreYellow · 04/12/2021 07:07

The thing is that you know you’re single and don’t have kids. But they don’t.

I was unhappily single for years while all my friends were coupling up and having children. I found it painful to do some things on my own because of the reasons you mention.

But now I have children and a husband, I revel in the time alone and the independence. And just get to enjoy Etsy in doing. Mostly, there are still some things I would feel odd doing on my own.

So I think most of it is a state of mind, if you can just get there.

I see more people walking through our local woods on their own these days.

Maybe plan some small expeditions and see how you go. Maybe try mornings for busier places.

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SylviaTrench · 04/12/2021 07:08

I live at the coast and walk along the beach twice a day. I always see lone walking women, and men too, it's not an issue at all. Unless you're one of the twats who, on a wide empty beach, will pass within 6 inches of me.
I also regularly hike in two National Parks, again plenty of lone walkers and no one bats an eyelid.

If it bothers you though then that's different.

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SheWoreYellow · 04/12/2021 07:21

Sounds really silly, but getting a cat really helped me feel less alone. It trickled into the rest of my life.
Or have you thought about a dog? As well as being the obvious wee furry, a bonus is that it’s a great prop.

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Yellowscreen · 04/12/2021 07:24

Solo travel solo brunch datingmyself etc are all over social media nowadays. Go anywhere you want on your own and take selfies too if that’s your thing . I have kids but go lots of places on my own, enjoying the freedom. No one bats an eyelid

Lone woman - weirdo?
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NewMum0305 · 04/12/2021 07:29

I am a mum of a toddler and every so often I arrange with my husband to have a day to myself to do just that - go to places by myself and just relax and enjoy it.

You are right that while you may feeling self-conscious about being a lone woman, other people probably wouldn’t notice. Go to those places and have the best time! x

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FatFilledTrottyPuss · 04/12/2021 07:30

I have a husband and children but they aren’t interested in the great outdoors like I am so I have the choice of going for walks etc on my own or forcing a child to come with me which feels even more lonely and depressing tbh. If you’ve got the guts to do all these things by yourself then make the most of it. I’m trying to build up to not giving a shit what other people think about me being alone, but I think maybe I do find it harder because I have a family that should be with me if you know what I mean.
There are a lot of public footpaths where I live and unfortunately I can’t bring myself to walk those because then I really do feel like a weirdo, I think if I had a dog I’d look less trespassery, and chance you could get a dog?

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RHODXB · 04/12/2021 07:35

Quite often when shopping with my husband and kids I go and sit and have a coffee by myself while they look in the computer shops etc. Never given it a second thought and don't think anyone would notice really. Life is too short to worry about what others think! I think it's one of those things that the more you get out and do those things, the less sed conscious you will feel xxx

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ninecoronas · 04/12/2021 07:36

While I agree with pp that "perfect family" type Instagram posts don't help, there are some really inspiring social media groups and communities out there for women wanting to do fun stuff- why not have a search?
One example: instagram.com/adventurequeensuk?utm_medium=copy_link - they have loads of great pics of women standing on big rocks, on their tod, looking very happy! And I believe they organise events too, which might help with the safety aspect too.

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applesandoranges221 · 04/12/2021 07:37

I'm single and do a lot of things alone - I largely choose not to care, to be honest, if someone is sad enough to be judging me for drinking a cuppa by myself they aren't likely to be the sort of person who's opinion I value!

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Rcfeee · 04/12/2021 07:37

Message from MNHQ: This post has been withdrawn

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Vursayles · 04/12/2021 07:44

You sound like someone I’d really like to be friends with! Please live your life exactly as you want and don’t be constrained by self-conscious thoughts about what other people might be thinking (but probably aren’t - if I was in a cafe with my kids I’d be looking over at your peace and quiet with utter jealousy!).

Families aren’t the centre of the universe, everyone has their place. Single people have as much right as anybody else to access public spaces. Don’t look back on your life in 20 years and regret all the amazing things you didn’t do.

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PooWillyNameChange · 04/12/2021 07:47

If I saw you alone looking in a rock pool whilst I was out with my sulky teen and demanding toddler I would just feel envy Grin

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BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz · 04/12/2021 07:48

Gosh I would never see a lone woman out and about when I am places with my kids and ever even register that she is doing these things alone. I'm sorry that you feel you cant do these things alone or feel uncomfortable when you do.

Hiking group is a great idea.

Also, maybe easier said than done, could you get a dog? They seem to generate their own possibilities in terms of dog walking groups, trips to dog parks, seeing regular faces on daily dog walks at 6am etc etc.

I went for a walk with a friend and her dog once and it took us about 2 hours to do a 30min walk as everyone who had dogs kept stopping and chatting to each other about their pets.

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theriverrunsthrough · 04/12/2021 07:48

Get a puppy.

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HaveringWavering · 04/12/2021 07:51

What exactly is it that you think people will think is weird? Is it the fact that you are doing that specific activity alone, or the assumptions that they will make regarding you not having a partner and/or kids?

I do get it (was single till my late thirties) but the way to look at it is that nobody can tell by looking at you then and there what your domestic arrangements are, and lots of people with families at home actively choose to do things alone now and again! Also, it’s unlikely that anyone is noticing you at all.

However it sounds like you are using the notion of people looking at you and thinking you weird as a proxy for admitting that you would prefer to have company in your activities. I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt. As so many people will say, sadly it’s much easier to enjoy being alone when it’s not your only option. You know all the ways to meet people, won’t patronise you by listing them. I was lucky eventually, hopefully you will be too.

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Luredbyapomegranate · 04/12/2021 07:52

It’s not unusual at all to feel like a single in a world of couples, especially at weekends etc.

However, I have voted YABU because if you looked about you, you’d also see that there are lots of people alone. There are more single people in the Uk than ever, more childless people than ever, many of them are women, many of them like doing all the things you mention. When you are on your own no one thinks you are a weirdo - 95pc of the time no one is thinking of anyone else, but if they are, they will be imagining what it would be like to get a bit of peace like you.

Please go and do all the things you want to do. You only get one life, stop living it on other people’s terms. You might also want to get to know some people w-out kids - an under 35s ramblers group might be a good place to start.

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Ducksarenotmyfriends · 04/12/2021 07:53

I was in the park the other day with my dc. An old lady walks in by herself, has a few goes on the zip wire and walks out of the park beaming. It honestly made me so happy to see.

Just do whatever you want op. Most people won't even notice and if they do, and think you're weird for it, then THEY are the weird ones.

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