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Dear Wendy

35 never had a relationship, friends moving on with their lives.

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice 35 never had a relationship, friends moving on with their lives.

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  • #919359 Reply

    I am a 35 year old single woman and have never had a long term relationship. I find as I get older, I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that I am unlikely to meet anyone and am losing touch with friends who are moving on with their own lives and families. I spend increasing amounts of time alone and have started to dread the weekends. Although I have hobbies and go to meet-ups and other events, I find it difficult to find meaningful friendships at these events or meet other single women my age. Recently, with the end of lockdown, seeing other groups out enjoying themselves has thrown my loneliness into stark relief.
    I date on and off but do not enjoy the process. Occasionally I have brief relationships but either find it difficult to make a good connection or am rejected by men I had hope for. Inevitably I fall back on casual flings as a way for companionship and physical intimacy.
    I am lucky enough to have been able to freeze my eggs so know that I have some time but increasingly feel that I am unlikely to meet anyone to share my life with or start a family. I had thought about using a sperm donor when I am older but do not feel like I am ready to make that decision and increasingly feel that motherhood is not something I want to experience alone.
    Although I have a good job, I have little ambition or passion for it so struggle to find fulfilment at work. I talk to my friends about how I feel but increasingly they do not respond or fail to keep in touch as they are busy with their own lives.
    I have always been determined to enjoy my single life and have lived abroad, traveled frequently and enjoyed an active social life in the past. Ordinarily I would consider leaving the country for another new start but have work commitments and am limited by covid restrictions. I also worry that I will only take my problems with me.
    Overall, I am struggling to find fulfilment and meaning in my life. Each day merges with the next and I feel like I am wasting the last years of my youth in a cycle of lonely monotony. I had some brief counselling last year thinking I could identify some reasons for my inability to form relationships but did not find it very helpful. I am not sure where to go next or how to come to terms with accepting this reality.

    #919651 Reply

    This probably isn’t helpful, but it sounds like you want to skip past that fun stage of getting to know someone and get right to being in a relationship (or preferably right to marriage and baby). Guys can sense that and it’s a turn-off. No one wants to feel like you just want a baby daddy. You’re not making real connections with anyone. I’m not sure why that would be, but I would say try more therapy. I’m kind of an introvert but when I look back on my life, I had so much fun with friends and boyfriends. All my good memories are of having fun with a relative few people I had unique connections with. Dating at 35 could logistically be a bit of a pain, but I usually felt excited about meeting a guy and could have some fun conversation over a drink. Do you not enjoy that sense of possibility? Granted, I’m sure Covid has fucked up dating a lot, but. Did you ever connect with anyone on that special level, either a friend or a guy? Any insight as to why not?

    #920097 Reply

    I think giving therapy another shot is a good idea. If you only went briefly, you may not have gone long enough to make any real progress. Or maybe you need to try a different therapist or style of therapy.

    You also mention that you’d normally consider “another new start” as a fix — is this something you tend to do? Because yes, your problems will follow you and if you are repeatedly uprooting your life, you’re making it harder on yourself to form new, deep, lasting connections. I moved to my city in my late 20s by myself and didn’t know anyone. It was a lonely experience and meeting new friends took a lot of effort.

    I’m about your age and can appreciate that it can be hard and sad when friendships change as people’s lives and priorities change. But I’ve made some real friendships through MeetUp. For me, these closer friendships formed when we’d set up a “friend date” on our own.

    As far as dating is concerned, I can understand feeling frustrated or feeling like you’er getting old, but if you’re putting that this-is-hopeless-and-I’m-getting-too-old attitude out there, well… what do you expect? In my early 30s, I stopped putting as much pressure on every first date I went on and started seeing improvements in my dating life. It’s hard to say what got me there, but I think creating a life that I loved even when I was single (which I did in part with the help of a therapist) was key.

    #920134 Reply

    I agree with Kate and Copa regarding trying to stop putting so much pressure on dates and just go to enjoy yourself and hopefully have a fun evening (when all this is over!). Also, 35 does not mean you’re never going to meet someone. I was in a somewhat similar situation as you at 35 (I’m 37 now), but I had had a few shorter-term relationships under my belt – as in, a year or less. In my 20s I was looking HARD CORE for a husband and guess what? That didn’t work. In my early 30s after an abusive 8-month relationship with a guy who was right “on paper” but was not at all a good fit for me, I changed my focus and opened my sights on different types of men. I went out on probably hundreds of dates between 31-36. I had two shorter-term relationships. At 34 I went through a breakup that devastated me, and I turned to pursuing a dream/hobby I had always had: standup comedy. It revolutionized my life, got me out of the house, helped me make a whole new network of friends, increased my confidence, and made me even more attractive to my now-boyfriend of 1.5 years, who I met at 36.

    All that to say: it’s not too late, and reframing your experiences and goals will probably help you have more fun and get more options for friends and in the future, a partner.

    I also really suggest therapy. I got myself into therapy at 34 and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. My relationship with my boyfriend is incredibly strong, open, communicative and healthy and I attribute a large part of that to all the work I did on myself for 2 years before we met and work I continue to do with my therapist.

    Good luck!!

    #921172 Reply

    Also meant to add, in case it helps with your perspective, that it’s not at all uncommon to not meet your long-term partner until your mid- or even late- 30s. If you pop over to the dating thread, you’ll see that! Most of my friends are in your general age range and all over the map: married, divorced and back on the dating scene, in LTRs, single. I don’t look at any of my single friends and think, “Welp, it’s all over for you cause you’ve aged out.” I did notice somewhere around 31 that I was suddenly on the receiving end of subtle societal messages that I was getting old (e.g., distinctly recall being at a happy hour with coworkers and listening to a 24-year-old coworker moan about being way too old to be unmarried and it made me feel like crap), and I had to learn to put those thoughts out of my head when they’d creep in.

    My cousin is 39 and just got engaged. It’ll be his first marriage, his fiance’s second (she’s 38). They met when he was 37 and she was 36. He has always wanted kids and they’re certainly not too old to try. She has a son, so if they can’t have or don’t want bio kids, he can still experience fatherhood by being a great stepdad.

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by avatarCopa.
    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by avatarCopa.
    #921252 Reply

    Honestly, you sound kind of depressed-like you keep looking for things to fix what you don’t like in your life.

    #921287 Reply

    @Copa, you’re right, but if you’ve never had any longer-term relationship by 35, something is holding you back and it’s time to unpack what it is.

    #962120 Reply
    avatarA proposito

    Dear Helen,

    I don’t know if you’ll see this message – on some level, I hope you do.

    Although I’m a guy, and slightly older (early 40s), I can identify with almost every single word of your message.

    My ‘advice’ for you would be the following:

    Work – try to find work which awakens your ambition, at least. This is something that I have, and even if everything else is going on in my life, it’s a sort of refuge which allows me to wake up every morning and get out of bed

    Friends – Have ALL your friends moved on? Every last one? Even if there might be only one, it might be worth trying to reach out to that person. And in general, when speaking to friends, try to be interested in their lives and struggles too – it brings a sense of perspective

    About ‘meaning’ in life – I’m afraid there’s no easy solution. I find that ‘meaning’ or feeling like I’m in the right place comes to me in fleeting moments, and also through positive reinforcement by other people. Do you have any friendships/close office relationships with the people that you work with? Maybe that would help?

    On counselling – it might be worth giving it another go. Speaking for myself – I’ve had this latent sense of sadness and difficulty in forming relationships for a long, long time. And I’m only now coming to realise – through help – that this is often the result of things that we haven’t even acknowledged or adequately addressed.

    I hope this is helpful, and that you feel better.

    #962123 Reply

    At age 32, I had ZERO experience with relationships. I had been on a few dates with a couple of guys, had a long-term on-again/off-again highly toxic FWB thing, but that’s it. Given my inexperience and my then-tendency to push any decent guy I met away, I had actually given up on the concept of lasting love for me. Then poof! my current boyfriend tumbled into my life. Six years later, we’re still together and happy. It still happens. It happened to my mom too. Granted, she had had relationships (two failed marriages), but she didn’t meet my step-dad until she was 42. Twenty-five years later, they are the healthiest couple I’ve ever seen. They are my couple-goals. So don’t give up. It happens, often when you’re not even looking for it (I know that’s hella cliched, but in my mom’s and my anecdote, it proved true). And because you’re slightly older and wiser, you won’t make the same drama-soaked mistakes 20-somethings make.

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