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AIBU?

To wonder if I'm "ruined" for dating at the age of 35

5 replies

tokyotides · 21/01/2024 10:56

35yrf. Divorced four years ago, no kids. Was with ex for all of my 20's and knew one another as teens, so lots of shared history there. Circumstances around divorce very difficult because external circumstances made the relationship untenable, but there was never a lack of love between us. I still have a huge amount of love for him and the fact our marriage failed is a great source of pain and regret to me.

But hey ho. I've been dating - persistently - for approx four years now. Am on multiple dating apps and push myself to get out there and meet people regularly. I try to go in with an open mind.

Nothing seems to stick. Most of the men I meet, I simply wouldn't want to see again. Sometimes for very valid reasons, but sometimes I'm probably being a bit judgmental and unnecessarily close-minded.

Every now and then I might meet someone I quite like but I can guarantee that after a few dates when they start wanting to get more serious I will find ridiculous reasons to go off them. This makes no sense to me because in my mind I really do want to meet someone and have a serious relationship again. I don't want to be alone forever and I miss the companionship, closeness and physical intimacy of a relationship. But I find it hard to trust someone who says they like me, probably because my exh also told me he loved me every day right up until the day he left. Or perhaps I wonder if they will start being clingy and impinging on my hard-won freedoms.

I find that post-divorce I am incredibly protective of my own space and independence. Aggressively so. I have a good job, beautiful home which I keep neat and tidy, freedom to do whatever I like whenever I like... Part of me wonders if I sabotage my dating experiences because, ultimately, what does a man have to offer me that I don't already have?

I miss my ex. When I think of the men I date I become suspicious, cynical, resistant etc. When I think of my ex it's like my nervous system feels immediately calmed. I suppose he is a known entity and imagining myself with someone I know I can trust feels safer.

I've done so much work on myself to get to a healthy mindset post-divorce. But perhaps my divorce has done irreparable damage to my ability to trust others/accept others into my life? Or perhaps I am just realising that single-life has benefits that I don't want to risk losing by partnering up again? Or am I just not over my ex??

God knows. I don't even really know what I'm asking. Just looking for thoughts and shared experiences I guess.

I thought that after four years of actively dating I would have found someone by now who I could see myself building a future with, but perhaps I am the common denominator behind these relationships all failing so far. If I'm not cut out for relationships anymore then perhaps I should stop putting myself through the torture of dating, but 35 just feels so young to write off the possibility of finding someone else.

OP posts:
Jennyjojo5 · 21/01/2024 10:59

It’s simply a huge numbers game and luck to meet the right person when you’re actively trying to do so.

maybe take a break from dating for now (I am). 35 is no age to be writing yourself off btw! And single life is perfectly good!

Harrietsaunt · 21/01/2024 11:03

Interesting. I have been single for 14 years now and absolutely love it, but I am much older than you and have two children. I am not remotely interested in dating or being in a romantic relationship.

Maybe counselling would help you to unravel all of this? You appear to be holding two opposing beliefs about yourself. One is that you definitely want a relationship and the closeness that brings. The other is that you are enjoying your single life and independence too much to sacrifice it for a relationship.

Is there a middle ground where you stop actively searching but stay open to the idea of meeting someone more organically? Slow down in other words.

My Big Question would be do you want children?

SideshowAuntSallyx · 21/01/2024 11:10

I was 40 when my marriage ended, 41 when I moved out of the marital home. I've dated in the past 5 years but nothing has gone further. I'd love to find someone to live with but like you I value my space and the hard won life I have now.

There was one guy who I thought could have but I was too scared to take it further, to risk getting hurt and rebuilding my life (ironically he was going through a divorce as well so he had the same fears I later found out).

Not sure what I'm trying to say other than I understand how you feel. I'm not dating currently, I took a couple of years out to sort my career out, now that is I can think about dating again.

alittleprivacy · 21/01/2024 11:15

I'm a bit like that. I'm divorced with one child. I put years and years of effort into an awful marriage and since that ended, I'm just have no interest in anyone else. The thing is that when we first split up I saw myself in a new relationship but the more used I got to being single, the more I like it. As my DS gets older, I've started to wonder if maybe that will change when he's more grown up and our relationship less intense on a daily basis. Maybe I'll start to feel lonelier then.

The thing is though that I feel like I've developed systems and habits in my life that I really don't want to change. I like my own space. I like being in charge in my house and not having to compromise. I obviously take my son into consideration and his happiness and comfort always come first to me. But that's my choice. A partner would be completely and utterly different. I've also learned that I have areas of interpersonal choice that I can't compromise on with a partner, and the odds of me meeting anyone that matches what I want, who is also single and attracted to me, just seem so slim as to be very unlikely.

EBearhug · 21/01/2024 11:17

Do you want children? If not, then don't worry about dating for the time being.

If you do want children - could you do it alone, by donor? If you do want them and don't want to go down the donor route, then dating it is. (You will not have a beautiful, neat and tidy house with children.)

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