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43 and perpetually single
Im 43 and have never had a single relationship. I’ve never had sex. I’ve had a single blind date over 10yrs ago. I feel ashamed, humiliated and am in fear people will find out. I lie about it. I have down pat stories ready to go of an exboyfriend, longterm relationship and how it ended, loosing my virginity and other life stories that everyone else has. This only works with people who haven’t known me for too long though. I’m not saving myself till marriage or religious. I don’t think I’m overly ugly. I have many friends. Im comfortable with men. I know I have no self confidence and poor self esteem but this is heightened by failure to be liked by someone romantically. I’ve really liked a few men (and one woman) over the years and have told them and tried to have something happen.....but never happened. Feelings were one sided. People think im a private person and closed book. Im not, I just have nothing to say when conversation is about life with a partner/kids/love/ dating. Is anyone else at all in this situation. I really don’t think anyone is.
Good morning Penna
You asked the question “is anyone else in this situation”. I can assure you there are many single men and women in their forties who are lonely and desire a close relationship. I didn’t marry until I was forty three and so I understand that lonely feeling, especially on weekends. One of the factors that can make you feel you are “missing out” is that we live in a society that commercial forces market a vision that everyone is happy, secure, having plenty of sex, driving new cars, cooking in designer kitchens, beautiful children, loving spouses, fabulous holidays and on and on it goes. That is not reality.
Nevertheless, if you haven’t had a date for over ten years and are still a virgin (I’m presuming you are female, but correct me if I’m wrong), we need to look at your life activities in general.
Do you have family alive, siblings who married or are in long term relationships? Have you discussed your feelings with any family or friends you trust? Do you have work colleagues you may socialise with? Do you have hobbies that potentially can connect you with people? Are you involved in any community organisations, church or similar? Dare I ask, have you investigated reputable dating apps for those looking for love?
If you are open to revealing some of this information, other Beyond Blue posters and me may have suggestions or at least be a gentle sounding board for you to unburden yourself.
Thanks for your reply.
I am female. My family is alive. Divorced parents who had a pretty emotionally volitile marriage. Dads remarried and mum in a relationship and they have moved on. My dad was home most evenings and v involved with us. I have a huge friend network mostly through work. Socialise easily. I haven’t discussed any of this with anyone. The thought of that is anxiety inducing. I don’t really have hobby’s and must admit most of the people I hang with are already coupled w kids. If I’m having a bad day/period I hang solo. The bar scene Has never been for me although Ive done my far share. Internet dating is also anxiety inducing. What a disappointment I would be is all I think about.
I think what I want is a go at a relationship. To be comfortable with someone to hang with and make plans with. To be intimate with. I think I’d be good at it. Im think im fairly easy going and low maintenance. I wonder though if I’m wrong about this.
Wanting to be a mother is another thing. Last year I did solo IVF and on the forth round got pregnant but needed to terminate due to extreme fetal abnormalities. This started off another parallel spiral of feeling like a failure. Can’t go through that again and age is against me anyway.
I don’t talk much about this either as I feel ashamed. Most around me are couples with kids and I do wonder why I am so different. Its hard to not feel bitter and that life has left me behind.
Hi there Penna
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your baby.
Thank you for providing the details of your life in general. You sound like a personable woman with a lot to offer somebody. You also say you have a strong social network but you haven’t discussed your feelings on this matter. You use words like “failure, shame, disappointment and anxiety inducing” when describing yourself or your emotions.
Is it possible that you have fallen into the negativity trap? Nothing you have done or feel deserves to be described in such negative terms. Everything you have described and your feelings are entirely normal.
I’m going to suggest two things. Firstly, have you consulted your GP and explained to them the way you feel. It would be useful to check to see whether you may have mild depression and/or anxiety.
Secondly, consider discussing your feelings with one of your trusted friends. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, your experiences aren’t unusual. Anyway, at least keep the conversation going here if it helps you. Good luck.
Thanks for reply. I’ve seen my GP and have had several psychologist appts and antidepressant rounds over the last decade. I’d call it chronic depression now...live with it. Have helped to gain some insight and coping strategies sort of but yes I’m def in a negativity hole. When I get rattled by things I try to pep myself up and smile but usually doesn’t work and have to remove myself to have a flat moment of sadness mainly that can last for days. Happens all the time and is unavoidable really. My friend talking about swimming lessons for her son. What her husband is buying her for Christmas. Colleagues and their weekend family plans. Its everyday conversation that often triggers this wave of uncontrollable sadness. Envy yes, spite no. just sadness really. I hate it always coming back in circles in my head of ‘what’s wrong with me’.
Hi Penna. I want to first recognise your little baby and express my deepest sympathy. I am 43 and recently suffered a pregnancy loss also, followed by my partner leaving me. I'm feeling really triggered seeing babies and happy couples at the moment, to the point I don't even want to turn on the tele or leave the house. It can be incredibly hard to share in the joy of others, when we're not feeling joy in our own lives. I wonder whether you'd be up to getting some more professional help if you're not currently getting any? Someone who could help you with strategies to combat your negative thinking, and also to maybe help you meet your desire for a personal relationship if you felt up for discussing it. My psychologist helps me strategise all sorts of things! I've been seeing her for ten years now and couldnt' live without her. I find it so fantastic that you mentioned you'd "be good at it" and you recognise your own positive traits, as that can be hard to do from a negative mental space.
My suggestions would be: a singles social group. I've joined one in my area on facebook. They organise various get togethers so there's something to suit everyone, and there's no pressure. Dating apps are certainly anxiety inducing, but maybe you could think about what it is that makes them that way for you, and if there are ways that you could reduce that anxiety? (This is where my psychologist would help!). Join a gym or sports club, if that's your thing. Or attend community events, or even volunteer at them, just as a means to meet people.
I don't think there's anything wrong with you. We are all on our own paths. Our own journeys. At a different pace. Best wishes, Katy
Thanks for your courage and reaching out. Firstly my deepest sympathy and secondly please know you're not alone.
Reading your post was like reading my own life story. I'm 40 have been forever single, have not even been on 1 single date. I too question that there must be something wrong with me or that I'm hideous.
I totally understand where you're coming from when you hear colleagues talk about husbands kids family etc and where they're going on their next holiday. Sometimes you feel sadness and other times you feel distant as you feel you can't relate so you have nothing to talk about.
I've only just turned 40 and now as people around me have all settled w/kids I'm really starting to feel lonely.
I have tried in the past to do further studies in the hope of gaining new friends. Did gain friends for a but they've dropped off. I'm now a member of the local gym for 3yrs and again no prospect but have gained a small group of friends. I guess it's better than nothing. Doesn't help with the lonely nights but I can call on 1 of the girls to say I've had a crappy night/day.
It's hard around here in a country town as there's not much to do apart from join a gym or play netball or touch footy.
But hopefully in your neck of the woods there's places you could sign up in like maybe art or cooking classes or engage in a hobby of yours.
I guess all we can do is keep trying. If nothing else at least find a support crew.
Today would have been my daughters first birthday. I’ve made a cake and bought myself flowers. I’ve hit the loneliest I’ve ever felt. I’ve just made an appt with the psychologist I’ve seen in the past because I really can’t live like this. I don’t honestly believe seeing her will help deal with my baby grief or grief of the life I’d planned but it can’t hurt.
Sending you kind thoughts on this important day. I'm glad you've done something nice to recognise today. I'm sure it's a really tough day for you. It's good to hear you've reached out for help too. I hope things get easier for you. Be gentle with yourself today. It's no small thing.