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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.

AlphabetAerobics · 04/12/2021 08:46

I was out walking on the cliffs a few weeks ago on my own. Stopped to chat to another woman on her own - no clue about her marital/parental status. Further along I looked down and saw one of the school mums poking around in rock pools- on her own. Grin

For me, it’s a bloody luxury having a coffee and a book on my own. Pre-covid I used to joke my special time came when the GP was running late and I got to sit in a quiet waiting room on my own with a book.

I do worry about slipping and as I traversed a particularly tricky point the other day, I glanced around and noticed plenty of room for the air ambulance to land!

Enjoy your life - nobody else is paying attention.

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dottiedodah · 04/12/2021 08:52

I say go for it! If I even noticed someone on their own in a cafe, iwould just think so what .women have much more freedom now . Go and look at rock pools !do your own thing. I think many women with families would be envious.even when they get a chance out on their own or with a chum ,they are still thinking about dc project /hw / their job .you are lucky to be able to have all that heads pace . Enjoy .you are nowhere near a weirdo!

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TheYearOfSmallThings · 04/12/2021 08:55

Just do it all. This is your chance to look in rock pools, because if you ever have a child they won't let you, because they will be too busy needing a poo and demanding ice cream. I wish I had grasped my freedom much more, and when I get it back you will have to fight me for that rock pool.

Likewise walking in beautiful places is something I prefer to do alone, because other people just talk and talk, and don't really look around them. As for children, they really don't care about natural beauty, and I'm sure I was the same.

Social things are slightly different, and I don't think I would enjoy a full holiday alone. Although a friend who is a tired GP with a husband, DS and two stepsons recently went to the Maldives for a week alone specifically because she needed a week with nobody bothering her. She spoke highly of it and certainly didn't give a crap if anyone else thought it was odd.

Tell people where you are going if climbing rocks of course.

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Tal45 · 04/12/2021 08:57

Oh OP go on a big holiday to Devon!! Climb tors on Dartmoor, walk up Hound tor and then down to the medieval village. Walk the Tarr steps on Exmoor, run down the dunes to the beautiful beach at Woolacombe, rock pool at Bantham, walk out to Burr island from Bigbury - so many wonderful things to do.

I understand it can seem a bit weird doing these things alone when there are so many families there but the only person losing out is you. I've been abroad on my own lots of times and it's really just a matter of getting used to it and seeing solo trips and days out in a positive light. Lone women are much less intimidating than lone men or couples when you are travelling and people will generally be willing to help you out. If you're worried about your safety on rocks etc then being around families is really reassuring, just don't go off to really isolated places on your your own or late at night. All life is risk though, but it doesn't stop people having electrical goods or driving cars. Go for it OP!!

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TheYearOfSmallThings · 04/12/2021 08:57

Btw what are you all finding in rock pools? I never found anything better than seaweed, barnacles and the odd anenome.

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JammyDozen · 04/12/2021 09:01

[quote HarlanPepper]@JammyDozen funny you should say that about gigs. I had much the same hangup about it, but have decided that this can't stand, and so booked my first solo gig ticket for next April. I'm excited but quite nervous! Fingers crossed that covid lets it happen.[/quote]
Good to hear you’re throwing off pointless self-imposed rules! I’m perfectly aware that they make no sense and affect only myself - I certainly don’t judge their lone women and would like to see more women doing their own thing. I’ll try and take a leaf out of your book!

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jackiebenimble · 04/12/2021 09:03

I often do things alone. I actually do have a family but share care with my ex so can often find myself at a loose end.

I don't notice funny looks or judgement. And i generally find people are chatty and friendly. It might be out of pity but i dont get those vibes.

Go for it! Being an independent person with interests and who does things and is stimulated also makes you a great friend and date if you are interested in relationships.

My mum also goes out on her own all the time. Because my dad is a boring shit.

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Lovemusic33 · 04/12/2021 09:03

I’m a single women who looks in rock pools 😬

I do have dc but they are older teens so I often do things alone. I walk alone, I go for a coffee alone and to the beach. I do have friends but I quite like doing things in my own too. I have several hobbies that are not very sociable. I strongly suspect I’m on the spectrum, either ASD or ADHD as I have always felt like the odd one out. I no longer notice that I’m the odd one out, I don’t care what others think so I guess I don’t take much notice of what others are doing (wether they are coupled up etc..).

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BiscuitLover3679 · 04/12/2021 09:04

Honestly op, please do the things you want.

Whenever I see a lone woman doing interesting things I probably feel a bit jealous. 😅 That's assuming I've noticed which I probably haven't as have so much going on!

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JammyDozen · 04/12/2021 09:05

Comments about being on business or wearing wedding rings are interesting. Sadly, I do recognise in myself the desire to prove it’s a choice and also the comfort of having an excuse like work (not that this was the point the pp who talked about work trips was making). “They sent me here on BUSINESS! I’m not a friendless loner, it’s work!”

I need to get over this.

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Icebreaker99 · 04/12/2021 09:07

Didn't want to read and run, there was a time like this in my life for me, I looked into single people holidays where you travel as a group, but no way should you feel awkward going on your own to do things!

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H0tJarSpicy · 04/12/2021 09:08

If you want to do something, just do it !
There is nobody stopping you
I agree take some props, like a book, a camera etc

For me
Walking/hiking/swimming alone, no issues
I love looking at the landscape & taking photos

The first time that I stayed away for a sporting holiday on my own was a real boost for my confidence. I have never looked back !

Weirdo, no

Visit the rock pool & rock in the park !

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ifonly4 · 04/12/2021 09:09

I'm married with no DC at home now. I guess I've got the benefit of company at home, but I often go to a cafe, day trip with pub lunch on my own and I've never even thought about whether I'm the only person sat on my own.

Do you feel lonely or are you happy in yourself? If it's the former, are there any hobbies you could take up to get yourself out more?

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Heruka · 04/12/2021 09:10

You write very clearly and eloquently about your experience, I hope you’ve had some helpful input. I’m one of the frazzled mums too but would be looking at you with envy, if I noticed you at all, definitely not weirdo. I share similar worries about what people think, but like others say, this is such a burden. Can you imagine lying on your deathbed thinking, I wish I never went to so many beautiful places on my own because other people may have judged me?

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MsTSwift · 04/12/2021 09:13

Most people very self absorbed and dont notice or care what others are doing!

You could be a pillar of the community mother of 5 going for a walk on her own most women with husbands and kids do stuff on their own too sometimes. I went to a little country house while dd was at a hockey match but no observer would know my circumstances- or yours!

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Thegreencup · 04/12/2021 09:15

I actually do more things alone now I'm a parent. My free time is precious and usually I just want to spend it unbothered by others. I do thinks on my own now that in my 20s I would never have considered. Like going to the cinema or a cafe alone.

If you're worried about the safety aspect of physical outdoors activities, there are usually groups you can join.

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MrsFoxyplease · 04/12/2021 09:19

I say go and do those things.
I don't notice when people are 'alone' in cafes etc. I'm too busy in my own life to watch other people and ponder their circumstances.
On the other hand I did go into our nearest City Christmas shopping last week and felt very self conscious that I was alone.
Instead of going into a cafe for lunch I waited until I got home.

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londonrach · 04/12/2021 09:25

Rockpooling is great fun...do it!

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middleager · 04/12/2021 09:26

When I was 30, my 9 year old nephew said: "my parents think you're weird because you're not married and don't have kids".

I couldn't get this off my mind, not only as it was hurtful coming from my brother and SIL, but because it left me wondering if I was a "weirdo" and if I shouldn't just do what societ expected.
I'd never wanted kids, had a good single life, own flat and job and was happy. I was only 30, yet started to panic about being an "old maid". I wish I could go back and tell the 30 year old me to ignore all the sexist, patriarchal stereotypes like that.
But once the seed had been sown...

I stupidly thought I needed to settle down, so I met a man and had children. Finally, I was part of a set. I was no longer the singleton (portrayed brilliantly by Sex and the City where the single 30 somethings are sat at the children's table at a wedding).

15 years on and as much as I love my family, life is very stressful and demanding and having I realise I was just fine the way I was. I bowed to society's expectations, I weakened and didn't listen to my inner voice. I often feel shackled now by convention and the toll on my mental health has been huge.

So please go stare in the pool, stand on the rock and NEVER change to please others and conform to some outdated notion, just so others don't feel awkward. Listen to your inner voice and take your own path.

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Lunificent · 04/12/2021 09:29

Generally, no one else is looking at you as they’re wrapped up in their own lives. Even if they were, they’d forget you just as quickly.

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middleager · 04/12/2021 09:29

18 years on, I forgot my age again!!

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H0tJarSpicy · 04/12/2021 09:38

I've read this a few times recently

"What other people think of you, is none of your business"

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BorsetshireBanality · 04/12/2021 09:38

I popped into not IKEA on my own one Friday evening to buy some kitchen bits. There was a group of 3 student types (one girl, two lads) and the girl pointed to me and said loudly for everyone to hear “look at her all sad on her own on a Friday evening”.

To be honest I think they were the sad ones thinking a trip to IKEA is a good Friday night out at their age!!

You reach an age where you don’t give much of a shit what others think/say about you, being happy in yourself is the main thing.

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Fireatseaparks · 04/12/2021 09:40

Thank you for all the comments and advice! Some really good points and positive messages 😊

A few things that stuck out for me - I really like the idea of taking a 'prop' like a camera so I look like I'm doing something - might help to ease myself into going to places alone. I can always leave it behind when I start to feel more comfortable. Thank you for that suggestion.

To the poster who mentioned having a child helped her fit into society - I can definitely understand that and would be lying if I said the thought hasn't crossed my mind! Ultimately though, the 'fitting in' would be my main motivation, which of course isn't a good enough enough reason, and probably likely to backfire!

Same with getting a dog or a partner - I'm not sure I particularly want either right now (I do have a cat, which factors into the dog decision), although I agree that having one/both would 'open up' doing things that I'm hesitant to do now. Ideally though, I'd rather this not factor into my decision to enter into a relationship.

I do understand that most people won't be giving me a second thought when I'm out in my own, particularly if they're preoccupied with their own families. I wonder if it's more me noticing them and what I'm missing by not being in a family. I do question and review my decision Inn this frequently, so it probably triggers these thoughts. Probably age related as well. I'll just have to live with that for another decade or so!

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Toomuchtoodo · 04/12/2021 09:40

I sort of know what you mean OP. I have got a family. But I go the the gym and often have a (blissful) quiet coffee/lunch there on my own. The very nice waitress always looks so sorry for me and is extra nice and chatty. I feel both embarrassed or like shouting that I have chosen to be on my own!

I don’t know why there is an expectation that people should always be in pairs or groups. However, don’t let other people hold you back: go and find those rock pools. It might be the start of a great adventure!

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