I wish I could write snappy little sentences on this topic, compile a top ten list of things to combat the sense of being utterly alone. I could give obvious tips like surround yourself with friends, or don’t hide up in your apartment by yourself. But it would be disingenuous of me to give advice because I don’t have any answers. I didn’t sign up for being alone in my late thirties: no children, no spouse and very little hope of change. Someone from my distant past who I don’t know well, put the following on my facebook wall
“Why don’t you just learn to be happy without a man?”
He couldn’t understand that this ridiculously dismissive statement upset me. Needless to say we are no longer friends. His declaration just seemed like a death sentence. I should just resign myself to being alone the rest of my life, that somehow wanting a relationship is a weakness. I can’t imagine someone going up to a man who had ended his marriage and telling him
Who needs a woman? You should be happy on your own!
I guess some might, but it seems socially more acceptable to espouse this sentiment to a woman instead of a man. Up until recently women had fewer choices in life than men, it was either get married or struggle on your own. Now we have a myriad of variations of a healthy adult life. I am not searching for a partner for a sense of financial stability or cultural acceptance. I just prefer to live in a committed relationship and not have a series of short-lived affairs. Not everyone likes the same flavor ice cream and not everyone likes the same lifestyle. I don’t know how it is a weakness on my part to want to share my life with another.
There is some truth in his statement: I should learn to love living on my own and I shouldn’t need a partner in my life. But I am hardly 80 years old. I don’t think I should accept my fate of a permanently single woman bereft of any romantic endeavors. Some people tell me I am trying too hard, and I should just let nature take its course. Well even though I keep trying to convince people otherwise; I really don’t meet anyone in my daily routine. I work with children in my day job so I meet a lot of married dads, and at night I host burlesque and comedy shows. Any men that I seem to attract from my performances are not attracted to me in a healthy way, in fact some of them have acted more like stalkers. They aren’t seeing me, but a fragment of my personality heightened for the stage. These men tend to put me on such a high pedestal; I would have no way to go but down, if I actually tried to have a relationship with any of them. I have no desire to end up with another comic and further complicate any professional ambitions in that field. Online dating has been a bit of a fiasco for me, yet I still keep trying with no luck. I feel entirely stuck.
I also get the criticism that I am not trying hard enough. I should force myself to go out with nearly any man within reason, including men I have no attraction towards or are much older or younger than me. I don’t know why I should have to put myself through that hell. Even going out with age appropriate men I am reasonably attracted to is difficult enough. Occasionally I will get my hopes up on someone only to quickly give up as they don’t feel the same way towards me, or I discover huge compatibility problems. As I watch nearly everyone in my social group “couple up” at least temporarily I wonder – What is it about me that is preventing this from happening? Is that the trauma of my divorce and subsequent depression too glaring to hide? Is it due to my lack of trust in other people I read as suspicious? Do I just seem desperate? Is it this blog? (So far at least one man has blamed it for changing his mind about a second date). I don’t know. I go through periods of not caring at all and then waves of feeling like it is never going to change.
The loneliness is stifling. I am envious of women with children because at least they have someone in their life who is a part of them forever. My marriage was little more than lies and deception, but at least I had someone to come home to every night. My spouse was someone I thought was supporting me and with whom I could share my life. Now it is just endless nights wondering if this is just the new normal. I didn’t sign up for this when I committed my life to my husband. As I watch my fellow single friends start dating people they care about, I know I won’t get to talk to them as often or see them as much. I am happy for them, but it just makes me feel that much more alone. I wish I had some sort of pep talk for myself and for readers of this blog. I don’t. I continue to hang out with friends who love and support me and reach out to loving family members, but the elusive romantic partnership seems lost to me forever. The most searched for phrase for this blog is the following.
Why is it so difficult to date in your late thirties?
Although I might be lonely, I am definitely not alone.
- Dating Tips: Why You Should Consider Dating A Divorced Man (huffingtonpost.com)
- Divorced people enjoy having more friends – and marrieds should take note (wealthysinglemommy.com)
- Life as a Straight Spouse: Living with the Scarlet G (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Why is it so Difficult to Date in your Late Thirties? (julietjeskeblog.com)
- On Being a Straight Spouse: Broken Memories (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Life After Divorce: Do you REALLY have to be friends with your ex? (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Divorce: When One Half Wants Out (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Divorced By 30: Tales Love, Loss, & Moving On (refinery29.com)