Lone woman - weirdo?
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?
Am I being unreasonable?AIBU
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Kshhuxnxk · 04/12/2021 09:45
Theres a beach we go regularly to with the dogs and theres always one lone woman there wandering along looking into rock pools and I want to be her! She always looks so serene and peaceful, never trying to control unruly dogs (or kids) and just enjoying her day. Go, be her, enjoy!!
LovesColourGreen · 04/12/2021 09:45
If it's a self-serve place with a queue at the counter to start with, it's impossible to save a table until you've got your food as no spare person to sit and keep the space. So you've queued, got your lunch but nowhere to sit. I've tried leaving a book...or cardigan on the back of the chair but again they get moved!
Yep, this is probably one of the hardest things about dining alone! I wouldn't dream of moving someone's cardigan/coat/book etc as I would assume the table was taken - some people are so ignorant and rude!
OP - when I was single I would often go places on my own such as cafes, restaurants, museums etc and found I had more freedom to do what I liked and didn't have to worry about what anyone else wanted. I've never had close friends to go places with anyway as I've always been a bit of a misfit although I have lovely family. I sometimes did wonder if people found me a bit odd doing things on my own but when I looked around me, no one really seemed to notice as they are all busy with their own activities and I think the worries can often be "all in your head".
I have now been in a relationship for a few years and, sounds awful but isn't meant to be, I feel I have less freedom as I now have to consider if my partner would like to do the things with me and may be upset if I ate at a nice restaurant without waiting for him to have time off work to join me. I actually feel less confident going places now without my partner. I have always been socially anxious and awkward, and rely heavily on my partner to keep a convo with someone going when he notices I'm struggling as he is more confident than I am. When I was single I forced myself to go out places alone else I would never leave the house and it helped my social anxiety.
Courtier · 04/12/2021 09:46
You won't look weird. Literally nobody cares. I'm late 20s and have never get out of place going places alone...I think you're projecting
DevonsFinest · 04/12/2021 09:48
Op you must go out and and live your life!
I'm largely introverted and love spending time on my own.
I love walking/hiking which is something my dh could never get into and is very hard with 2 young children so I go on my own, sit in cafes and have a wander round town.
I don't ever feel weird or uncomfortable I just enjoy a bit of me time to unwind it's perfectly normal, nobody knows if I'm single/married/have children nor do they care I'm just living.
MargaretThursday · 04/12/2021 09:49
I know what you mean. I used to hate doing things on my own because I felt everyone was looking and thinking "she's got no friends". Now I have children I'm just grateful for the peace and quiet.
There are things that are very much child based, and then I'd avoid if it was me. Rockpools isn't one of them btw, my dm can get very excited over rockpools. One of her favourite things.
People don't really notice others as much as we feel we are noticeable. The only exception is if you're the sort of person that pushes the children out of the way so you can have the best look at the rockpool and interrupts the children's talk continuously with your comments. I'm sure you're not though.
TheRealHousewife · 04/12/2021 09:52
Go live your life and be free, it’s shorter than you think ❤️
YourVagesty · 04/12/2021 09:52
You need a dog!
With my dog, I can walk on any beach, through any forest etc. Without feeling like a loner weirdo.
Dogs solve everything.
LovesColourGreen · 04/12/2021 09:52
Sorry I am waffling but to add to my previous post:
My lovely Polish friend who has lived in the UK for many years has never had a partner as she just hasn't met the right person yet despite being on a few dates. She often travels abroad and within the UK alone and enjoys the freedom of doing her own thing. She is so independent I actually think she would struggle to be in a relationship unless the partner was so free spirited! She inspires me and doesn't care what anyone thinks of her being alone.
If you enjoy your own company and freedom then don't worry what others around you think. By human nature I think we often worry what others think of us but what we do isn't other people's business
Enjoy yourself, life is far too short
Datgal · 04/12/2021 09:53
Aww op. I get you completely. I pretty much spent my 20s and 30's by myself.
And you know what, I went looking in rock pools by myself! You won't look weird. I can't remember feeling weird about it. I did it abroad. I did a have a friend there, but after a few days visiting her, I took myself off to a different part of the country. It was ace... although sometimes I did feel like you refer to. Especially at Christmas and other getting together events, as most people would be coupled up. I just cracked on and made the best of it
Now I have a partner, and I still take myself off rockpooling 😉. As it bores him after a bit. But I love looking for shells, and spend hours looking out to sea.
nordica · 04/12/2021 09:56
I understand and I'm in a similar situation. I think it's also especially highlighted this time of year because everything is so geared towards families with various Christmas events.
On the other hand, I'm now in my late 30s and largely don't care what anyone thinks of me. Realistically in most places it's just strangers I'll never see again, and people probably don't have that much time to think about why someone else is there alone anyway. I also wear a lot of colour and have tattoos so I know I'll never exactly blend into the background, but so what... It's a cliche but we only do have one life so make the most of it and do what you want.
Mellowyellow222 · 04/12/2021 10:01
I am reading this sitting in a cafe with a book alone.
I love spending time alone - but my god people are loud! Everyone seems to be shouting - mobile phones going off. It’s in a museum - why does everyone need to be so loud😂.
No one notices me - and I don’t care if they do. I am having a lovely day
TheCategoryIs · 04/12/2021 10:02
The thing about observing others (strangers in a cafe) is that you see them in a snapshot of time and you see all stages of family life in one. In reality each person’s circumstances are constantly changing, eg the family you saw today is not the same family five years later. The happy pregnant woman you see today could be a stressed out mess in six months. And of course we have no idea what goes on in other people’s lives - the amount of women in appalling relationships on MN shows that.
Ultimately we should all get comfortable with being alone as we have no idea what lies in store. Your DS might emigrate to Australia, your DH might have a fatal heart attack. All we really have is ourselves. I think some people seek out a partner and kids for the ‘noise’, so they don’t have to think about their purpose in life. There’s less time for existential crises. Others do bow to societal pressure, pronatalism is strong. I do believe some people were born to be parents. But either way, most will end up alone day to day once the kids have flown the nest.
I don’t have kids and am very glad not to have to go on theme park rides and other ‘fun’ activities. I don’t think I’d be a very fun parent!
DaisyNGO · 04/12/2021 10:02
OP I spend a lot of time alone and DP and I are both great believers in not spending time doing stuff you wouldn't want to do, so there's no "I will go with DP even though I don't want to" and of course it splits childcare better.
For me, that's mostly cinema pre lockdown, and walks. I did all this 20 years ago too. I think it's become much more socially acceptable - or was I just more self conscious then?
I have no experience with cafes etc so I don't know about that, but please don't let it stop you.
SusieBob · 04/12/2021 10:04
I think most people have an inital anxiety about doing things traditionally done in company alone.
But the thing is... nobody cares. Nobody is paying any attention to the person on their own at the cinema or a cafe or at a gig or wandering around a beach looking a rock pools. Life is too short to get hung up about this stuff, just go out and enjoy yourself.
Hairycut · 04/12/2021 10:05
I've been abroad on holiday on my own without husband and kids (or anyone else). It was amazing and I wish I could do more of it!
Sightseeing alone means you get to go at your own pace and eat when and where you like.
I chatted to one or two people but mostly enjoyed time alone.
I've also booked into hotels on my own and very much enjoyed that.
I suppose for me it's a break from family life but I've never felt awkward on my own or had any issues being a lone woman.
Abracadabra12345 · 04/12/2021 10:12
For what it’s worth, I would love to be able to go to a cafe for a quiet coffee / lunch on my own at the weekend! I’m prob one of the frazzled mums with the unruly children, trying to keep them occupied while I down my coffee before it gets cold / spilled, and I’d be looking over in envy (if I even had the time to notice)!
This was my first thought too! Many parents will be looking at you with envy
HaveringWavering · 04/12/2021 10:14
Ha ha I was about to type the same! They have always been massively disappointing in real life!
HikingforScenery · 04/12/2021 10:18
I’m sorry you feel like this
I work a 4-day week. I. My days off I hike. If there’s a big rock on my trail, I climb it. I was hesitant at first due to safety reasons but I usually encounter lone women and that has boosted my confidence.
With regards to markets, well the patriarchy demands that women do the shopping, no? Nothing out of the ordinary there? ( jk) . I go to the markets alone a lot on my own.
I used to go the cinema alone even when I had a bf. I loved it.
I have a family now but still do things on my own because like you, I love my alone time.
Don’t overthink it.
CaliforniaDrumming · 04/12/2021 10:22
I am a married woman with DC and I have travelled across the world on my own. I do museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes, parks on my own. I do several solo trips a year ( pre covid). I am talking about countries like India, Turkey, Cambodia, and Thailand. I am wary of safety, but other than that I do not give a fuck. Nobody cares.
H0tJarSpicy · 04/12/2021 10:22
coffeeisthebest · 04/12/2021 10:22
I also think you're projecting. I never look at people on their own and think 'weirdo', as I know at this stage in my life that that would be me as a teenager and not as an adult. Live your life OP. If these thoughts are dominating you, face them and get counselling. You don't have to live in the world of projection, there is a real world where you explore rock pools, enjoy a peaceful coffee watching the world go by, and relish in your own wonderful company. Access this with in yourself and you will never look back.
LuaDipa · 04/12/2021 10:27
I have a family but I’m an early riser and like to be up and out before everyone else. I often head out early on a Sunday for a lone walk somewhere beautiful and I love it.
Please go and do all of the things you want to. No one else will care but you will be much happier for it.
HaveringWavering · 04/12/2021 10:28
Do you know what? I absolutely love theatre, musicals in particular. But what I HATE is having to make small talk about the show during the interval with whoever has come with me. I don’t want to hear someone else’s opinion about it, and if I am enjoying it I don’t necessarily want to have to explain why. If it’s rubbish I might feel guilty for persuading someone else to come. And it’s much harder to organise when you have to take someone else’s availability into account.
So I go by myself whenever I can. Bliss. I don’t have to worry about wasting the whole interview in the toilet queue either!
HaveringWavering · 04/12/2021 10:28
CaliforniaDrumming · 04/12/2021 10:28
Oh I am going to go to a cafe this weekend on my own to read the papers even if I do have a family. Honestly, you are way overthinking this. Most people are thinking about Covid right now and about how they will survive, not about your marital status.
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