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Desperately lonely and sad at 35: help

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  • #875316 Reply

    Hi all

    Recently single, at 35, and feel like my prospect at having a family is running out very quickly.

    I’m also pretty traumatised from a VERY difficult five years or so which has featured betrayal, death of my favourite person and also a transition to freelancing for three years which I now realise is not helping as I spend so much time at my kitchen table (I’m now going inhouse part-time, which should hopefully help).

    I do think I’m a pretty sociable person naturally but the last few years have isolated me and given me no time or energy to pursue new friendships. And weirdly, at 35, I think I feel like a saddo trying – like everyone this age is now settled in with their friends and partners and if I look like I’m making an effort I’ll be branded a weirdo.

    Alongside this, all of my friends are partnered up and weekends seem to be basically be for them to spend time with their husbands or families, which leaves me feeling very, very lonely and just ruminating on what has gone wrong / how I’m messed up and not as good as everyone else.

    And even when I do see friends, I feel like they pity me and just want to give me something to do. I know that’s destructive thinking, and it probably makes me quite shit company. I feel like I moan too much and just have no joie de vivre left.

    I’m actively trying not to date at the moment as I feel like I’ve used men to fill a void a bit and that it would be good for my confidence to know I don’t need them for that. Also, the general advice seems to be that you need to be in a happy and healthy place yourself to find a good relationship, although I have a read a couple of posts from people who admitted they were lonely and sad before they met their DHs, so maybe this just is what humans are like when they’re alone?

    Do you have any advice for not blaming myself for being alone on the weekends? I think shame really adds to the feeling of isolation.

    And do you have any stories of hope, of being a similar age and actually rebuilding your life in a positive way? Of finding new friends and of also finding a nice partner to settle down with?

    Thanks for listening.

    #875319 Reply

    It sounds like you need to join some meetup groups – do you have those where you are? has groups for just about any interest or activity.

    35 is not freaking old, you’re too young to give up.

    Going into an office part-time will really help, trust me, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I like going in about 3 days a week, not even for a full day, but for meetings and stuff. It’s so much better.

    #875320 Reply

    And definitely see a therapist if you’re not already!

    #875322 Reply

    Don’t feel bad if you are lonely, and think dating would help-along with developing hobbies, finding friendships etc.- I did some therapy a few years back. One thing I remember is the counsellor mentioning his son, and he said ” Michael is one of those people who just does better,is much happier,when he is in a relationship”.
    I was a bit surprised, but it was nice to be reminded that there is not a “one size fits all” way to live our lives. Everyone has different needs and ideas. So,if you really don’t want to date now or if you do think you would like to…don’t beat yourself up about. No harsh self-judgement. Use the weekends to really think about what you want and need and figure out what you can do to get those things.. You can do that in a park or busy coffee shop…not so “isolating”. Good luck re crafting your life!

    #875325 Reply

    Just here to send virtual hugs. I’m 33 and married – so my advice will be towards the social side of your post- I also work at home and it is lonely! And it can be super hard to make friends as an adult – I moved to my current city only a few years ago once I finished grad school and it’s been difficult. (Especially at this age where most of our peers have small children)

    One thing that helps me is to go exercise first thing in the morning in a group class or a run group – I always feel better having gotten out of the house and done some socializing as well as something for me (and it eliminates the situation where I never get out of PJ pants all day!)

    Seconding Meetup, with the caveat that it gives you a social outlet and people to go do your common interests with, but doesn’t often lead to friends outside the Meetup group. (I have two groups I go to regularly, including a book club which is nice because it gives you something to do outside of the group). I haven’t personally tried this but a number of my friends have met cool friends through bumble BFF. Also, get on nextdoor and make a post to see if anyone in your neighborhood wants to do…(whatever it is that you might want to do for fun), you’d be surprised!

    You could also try to do some volunteering? Usually gets me out of my head. I also do some mentoring of younger women in my field, which has the added advantage of reminding me that my life trajectory has been positive on average, even on days when it doesn’t feel that way. You are able to make a living freelancing which means you are talented and have built up a great reputation, that’s something to be proud of!

    Lastly – be kind to yourself. No one will be as hard on you as you are being on yourself. I’m always THRILLED when someone asks me to hang out, because I usually trip myself up with the same logic (oh, they are too busy, why would they want to hang out with me, etc.) But everyone needs connection and relationships with spouses and kids are different than what you have with a friend.

    #875326 Reply

    People here have posted some excellent advice. Take it. Good luck.

    PS — Though I understand all too well that it may not feel it — thirty-five is still VERY young. Plenty of time.

    #875340 Reply

    If you are worried about bio clock running out it is time to freeze your eggs. This is going to give you some piece of mind. And it is better to raise a child alone than just to settle to have a family.

    #875342 Reply

    Oh also, I was single at 36 after almost 20 years of being in relationships, and I did find a nice man to settle down with. I was 38 when we got married and definitely could have tried for kids if either of us wanted them.

    During the time I was single, I went on dates with some men from online dating sites (this was right before the apps came out), went on some fun vacations with friends, and if I didn’t have plans on a weekend I’d just do things by myself that I felt like doing. Or hung out with my dog.

    #875343 Reply

    It sounds like you got out of a bad relationship. Good for you. That is nothing to feel ashamed about. It takes strength to get out of a bad relationship and you are able to be independent financially so another good thing you’ve achieved.

    When you look at your coupled up friends you see happy families. Almost certainly, some of your coupled friends are looking at you with envy because they feel trapped in an unhappy marriage and wish they could break free. Over the next five to ten years you will see some of your friend’s marriages thrive and some end. Many of your friends who end marriages will look at you as their inspiration. Your unhappy friends will be watching you while trying to decide whether they can do what you are doing. Many will wonder whether they have the strength and courage to do what you are doing.

    What you’ve been through has been difficult but also has taught you a great deal about what you need in a relationship. You’ll almost certainly be pickier when choosing a partner. That’s a good thing. You have a lot to look forward to in your life.

    Everyone else has give you great advice on how to go out and make friends. I think you’ll be able to look back at this point in your life with pride because you did a difficult thing and put your life on a better track which lead to a much healthier relationship. Things will slowly get better and easier.

    #875347 Reply

    35 is young. I know lots of people who married for first time at 35 or later, many, many more who remarried later than 35 after divorce or death of spouse. It is natural to be disoriented and needing to rejuvenate yourself after ending a relationship. A little alone time as a single is a good thing. It need not be a lonely time. Focus on new activity and meeting new friends for the moment, rather than seeking a quick fix new relationship. You’ve been in an abusive relationship and that takes some time to get over and re-center yourself.

    #875373 Reply

    I definitely think therapy will be helpful for you. It sounds like you’ve had a rough few years and are currently in the throes of a break-up, and a therapist can help you make sense of all of this, process your emotions, help you with your negative thought patterns, and hopefully help you get some of your joie de vivre back as you move forward.

    It’d probably help you to make some new single friends. I’m sure your coupled up friends don’t think anything of your current relationship status, but I do think it’s nice to have friends who are in the same stage of life as you. MeetUp can be a great place to meet people with similar interests, and I met a good friend through BumbleBFF, too!

    I moved to my current city alone about five years ago knowing nobody. I was recently single and boy was I depressing mess about it. I was young (28!) but thought I was so old to be starting over. It IS hard to rebuild your whole life, but it’s doable. I made friends through work, MeetUp, BumbleBFF, etc. I online dated and have a really nice boyfriend now. But making friends and meeting a nice guy didn’t happen overnight. I went through lonely periods where I felt sad and unmotivated, and did spend a fair amount of time alone, especially at the beginning. But I found it liberating to do whatever I felt like doing. Whatever hobby or activity I wanted to try, I went for it. I built a routine I really enjoyed. I volunteered for causes I care about. I put myself out there in ways that were big and small and felt like a stronger person for it. I feel like I really found myself in a way I never would’ve if I hadn’t started over.

    Lastly, lots of people meet their spouses at or after 35, btw. My sister is 35 and still single, and her friends are all over the place in terms of relationship status. I’m 33, I have a handful of friends who are divorced or divorcing — meaning starting over in your mid-30s isn’t all that uncommon. My boyfriend was almost 37 when we met! One of my old supervisors and his now-wife were 37 and 36, respectively, when they started dating. They got married at 40 and 39, and have two kids. I could go on, but I think you get my point.

    Be kind to yourself and take good care of yourself!

    ETA: I think exercise is one of the most underrated natural antidepressants out there. If you’re able and not already doing so, incorporate some movement into your daily life.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by CopaCopa.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by CopaCopa.
    #875398 Reply

    I felt much like you at 35. I had a terrible boss, no boyfriend… And then when I was 36, the terrible boss fired me, and I started bartending to make ends meet. While working this job, I met my now husband. His practice was near my restaurant, and he’d come in to sit at the bar to get dinner when he had to work late. We got married at 38, and right now I hear our five-year old twins talking in the kitchen. I also work from home, so I completely understand how isolating that can be.

    The thing that changed in my life was taking me out of my former rut. I had tried on-line dating half-heartedly before I lost my job, but I was just never really into it. But losing the job and having to go work somewhere else brought me into the path of tons of people I never otherwise would have met. So, the comments above about finding new things to do are spot on. I also will say that my husband is very different than the typical guy I used to date. I think meeting him with him sitting at my bar as a customer and getting to know him slowly in that way helped. So if you were to join a group and get to know people in a low stakes way, it might help you too.

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