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Coming to terms with never marrying/having kids

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  • #110456
    dreaming715
    Participant

    I’m going to be 28-years-old in about 3 months. I’ve been on dates with 27 men (yes, I kept track) in the past 14 months. Most were online dates. A couple were men I met through friends. There were a handful of men that I really liked, but they didn’t feel the same.

    I’m been starting to hit the “oh @*^%” phase where I honestly don’t know if I’m going to ever: have another loving, long-term relationship, get married, or have kids.

    The thought of this honestly scares me. I love having a partner. I love listening to their stories, sharing experiences together, and the physical intimacy.

    How do I accept the possibility of being alone forever? Never finding reciprocated love? Never having children? How do I mentally and emotionally come to terms with this fear that I literally lose sleep over? Could I live out the remaining decades of my life alone? Yes. Would it be as fulfilling and happy of an existence. No.

    I’m tired of people telling me, “You need to be happy alone first.” I’ve been to the museum alone, paintings classes alone, the beach alone… And I’m fine. But the fact is that we’re social creatures by nature and reproducing is sort of a normal biological desire.

    Please help me come to terms with this. I think I’m going to wake-up as a 67-year-old woman who has spent the past 40 years of her life alone without a husband or family.

    #110477
    Michael
    Participant

    Those are tough questions to resign yourself to at age 27.

    We are social creatures but that also means being part of a community, too. Are you able to do group activities in your area that you are passionate about/want to learn about?

    I’m no prognosticator, but you just might find that your special someone might be found when you are involved in social groups doing what you like doing.

    Just some thoughts, hopefully they are of some encouragement. πŸ™‚

    #110479
    Stephen
    Participant

    Hi!

    That is an uncomfortable feeling to have, and far be it from me to give you advice on how you should feel or what you should do. Just know that you’re not alone.

    I’m thirty and single, but sometimes i think about how many people are in unhappy marriages and are waking up as a 67 year old woman (or man) and thinking about how they wish they were still single! It’s depressing to think about, but the fact is that marriage isn’t the magic pill to our feelings of loneliness or unfullfillment.

    Some people are definitely called to marriage, it’s a goal for them for whatever reason, and that’s awesome and totally something you should strive for, but maybe you can change your thought process. Just because you are single does not mean that there is something wrong with you. And if marriage is a goal that you want to work towards, don’t give yourself a deadline, just keep working towards it!

    You’re only 28! You have years left of meeting new people, new friends, laughing, travel, and sky diving to look forward to πŸ™‚

    Peace,

    Stephen

    #110481
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    Your request: “Please help me come to terms with this (“with never marrying/ having kids)”-

    Relax into this thought. Think it and take one deep breath after another. Think it and let it sink in, invite the thought, accept it. Don’t fight it anymore. Don’t try to change your single/unmarried status. Don’t imagine being in a relationship. Do this for a day, and then every day, one day at a time.

    If you do, please post again about how this is working for you (I hope it does).

    anita

    #110506
    Barbara
    Participant

    You are 28. Please be positive. This is soooooo young !! The average age of marriages today is 35. Relax, join a few groups, go and do things u love.
    It will happen when its meant to. Dont worry. Just be yourself, dont panic – date ! You have loads of time ! Now is not the time to panic. I can assure you !
    Best wishes. Xx.

    #110507
    T. Marie
    Participant

    Hi dreaming715 –

    I’m going through exactly the same thing; I find it helpful (personally) to know others struggle with these fears too. I’ll be 30 in a few months, and I’ve gone on 30+ dates this past year alone (yes, I count them as well). I’ve never been in a relationship that lasted longer than 3 months, and I’m terrified of being alone forever. The majority of my friends are (happily) married or in a relationship, so I’ve put a lot of effort into making new friends. Joining clubs or groups where I will meet other single women who can relate to what I’m going through – it’s been a huge help to me. I’m happy enough on my own as well, but as you say, we’re social creatures and desire romantic love too. Personally, I refuse to “come to terms” with being alone forever – I don’t plan on giving up, I know I will keep searching for the relationship I desire, and it might take longer to find that person than I would like, but I’ll never give up. I won’t let the lack of a relationship define my happiness, though, as much as I struggle against it. I like to believe that the universe wouldn’t give us such strong desires only to leave them unfulfilled – I take it more as a lesson in patience, and doing what I can to work on myself in the meanwhile. When the dating scene gets rough and I lose the energy, I remind myself that I’d rather be alone than in bad company, or with someone who isn’t excited to be with me. I wish you lots of patience and happiness on your journey.

    #110556

    Hi Dreaming715!

    I’ve got about an extra decade on you and I’m still unmarried (and no boyfriend), no kids. I too worry about ending up alone, childless, and eaten by a pack of hungry wolves (wait – you didn’t mention anything about wolves – my bad). It’s a very normal, very real fear. For better or for worse most cultures still see matrimony and motherhood as the pinnacle of female existence. All the wedding and baby images splashed about in the media/social networks only magnifies the feelings that you are missing out if you’re single and without offspring.

    What’s helped me, strangely enough, is taking two paradoxical viewpoints: first, accepting that I very well may never have little ones of my own and may never meet Mr. Right. When I allowed my brain to entertain this possibility, I started thinking, “OK, if that happens, what will I do with my life instead?” All these wonderful alternatives started to pop up in my head, like going back to school and pursuing a graduate degree, traveling, starting my own business, go on spiritual retreats, etc. I could see a reality of me being able to spend all this money and time on myself that I probably couldn’t if I had a family, and quite frankly that was very appealing.

    But here’s where something else bubbled up – a voice inside of me said, “well, couldn’t you do all those things with a family too? And is there really an age limit to when you start a family?” I meditated on these questions, and discovered a wonderful new truth (which is the second viewpoint) – I could get married at any age – and if I wanted kids in my life there were other avenues other than the traditional nuclear family / having a child of my own body. I could adopt, be a school teacher, be more involved with my nephew, perhaps have wonderful step-children, etc.

    My point is I found peace when I let go of my preconceived notions about how my life should play out. Who knows, maybe I’d be miserable if I got hitched and pushed out a bunch of rugrats. You never know for sure. The only thing anyone can hope to be sure of is the present moment. When I stopped worrying about some hypothetical future, I could finally enjoy my life *now*. And when you enjoy life, you’re more likely to attract what’s best for you – be that a husband, career, etc.

    Before I go, I want to stress that even with everything I said, it’s totally OK to grieve if you don’t get the family/partner you had hoped for. Just don’t let it define you.

    Sending lots of positive energy your way!

    #110559
    Nan
    Participant

    Don’t give up! Life is not today’s situation! I went through a dozen or more boyfriends before marrying late. As said in a prior post by Stephen, ” Marriage is not a magic pill to reduce loneliness or unfulfillment. IN marriage, the loneliness and unfulfillment can still be there, more intense than being single.
    Also, I had my first child at 41! My friend had her first child at 44. It will all come together when it is most needed. I know that in the late 20’s, 30’s and beyond, finding the one true love and deep happiness feels like it will never come! I found my deep true love and happiness at 60. Too bad I am married to someone else for 35 years. Putting plans in place to correct that situation. See, it took me a lifetime to get to a good place. Go forward in this great journey,It will come. You must try to be positive! Your life story has just begun…………you will smile years from now, at what you felt was your destiny today. Its all good, keep your chin up!
    Surprises await you! Life is funny that way!

    #110596
    Anna
    Participant

    I’ve had these same fears. They can be very intense. (I’m 31, ended a relationship with someone I loved deeply a year ago).

    The number of dates leads me to believe you’re frantic. And that frantic energy is going to repel what you do want, and attract what you don’t. If you’ve not looked into the law of attachment, you might look it up. (Or Universal Laws in general). The harder you try and cling, the harder you push, the farther you’re getting from what you really need to be looking at. And that seems to be yourself. What void are you trying to fill with these men and these dates? My guess is that you need the validation of a relationship…for what purpose? To prove to yourself and others that you’re loveable? That you’re worthy of love?

    Relax. Look into these things. Serial dating is not going to get you what you want. But finding fulfillment without someone first, with self-love as a foundation, will bring in someone that can COMPLEMENT your life…not be the thing that makes you feel complete and whole. Be whole and complete on your own…and the rest will fall into place, and your value, worth, and love will not be dependent on an outside source.

    Let’s say you did find someone, and you felt whole and complete (finally! Yay!). But then things didn’t work out. Would your sense of wholeness and completeness leave with the boyfriend? Probably. Would you end up feeling the same way you do now? Probably. Back at square one.

    That is why you need to start with yourself, and look at your behaviors and figure them out.

    Good luck!

    #110605
    365daysofkindness
    Participant

    I think there’s something exciting to be said about being 27 and single! You are on the precipice of your life and everything is in front of you. First dates, first kisses, first everything!

    Not sure if you’ve read this, but this is one of my favourite articles on choosing a life partner: http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/02/pick-life-partner.html

    The part I find very helpful is, “Dissatisfied single people should actually consider themselves in a neutral, fairly hopeful position, compared to what their situation could be. A single person who would like to find a great relationship is one step away from it, with their to-do list reading, β€œ1) Find a great relationship.” People in unhappy relationships, on the other hand, are three leaps away, with a to-do list of β€œ1) Go through a soul-crushing break-up. 2) Emotionally recover. 3) Find a great relationship.” Not as bad when you look at it that way, right?”

    I think there’s something to be said about letting go of an expected outcome and just concentrating on living in the present. Stop dating. Stop actively seeking out Mr. Right. Focus on yourself; build a life you love. Everything else is just the cherry on top!

    Best,
    http://www.365daysofkindness.com

    #110608
    XenopusTex
    Participant

    40 years is a long time. Reminds me of a favorite anime series of mine. “But, 40 years is both a short time and yet, a long time”.

    But, be that as it may, that is a very long time. I am 38, so that is a period of time longer than I have been alive.

    Feel your pain, single and childless myself. I would ask that you be careful. The number of dates you have had feels like desperation. Sadly, there is those of us males who would take advantage of that desperation. Basically tell you whatever you want to hear for the opportunity to become physically intimate.

    Seems like you may be setting yourself up to be used. Betting that once the guys got what they were looking for, they left.

    #110699
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Michael, Stephen, Anita, Barbara, T. Marie, Miniature Bodhisattva, Nan, Anna, 365daysofkindness, and XenopusTex- I have to acknowledge all of your responses. They were thoughtful and helped me feel some relief through your reassuring words.

    Anita: You told me to relax into the thought of being single and possibly never marrying or having kids. Certainly, this outcome IS a possibility and so is getting hit by a bus crossing the street (but oddly I’m not at all worried about that). So, why should I worry? I shouldn’t. I should do as you suggested and learn to relax. Do it every day, one day at a time. It feel difficult to shift my focus, but I think it’s important that I do this.

    Anna: I just looked up the Law of Attachment. The concept is fascinating and something I’ll have to read more about. And you’re correct… the number of dates does show that I’m frantic. I’ve actually been on a date while simultaneously running in to one of the past guys I’ve been on a date with (this is an indicator of how high that number is going).

    What am I trying to get out of these dates? I (desperately) want a companion. I want someone to like me as much as I like them. My close friends are married, in long-term relationships, and living with their significant others. I feel like I’m constantly asking them, “Will you check out this event with me? Will you try this restaurant with me?” They’re always busy and they live their own lives with their partners. I want the same. I want someone who I can ask, “Will you try this restaurant with me?” and they won’t have to say, “Let me check with [significant other] to see if we have plans that day.”

    I’ve tried dinner for one. It’s not as enjoyable as dinner for two. But, I guess that’s part of life. There could be worse things.

    #110730
    XenopusTex
    Participant

    Wow, that is a lot of dating. The question is; is it getting you anywhere. Someone once said that quantity has a quality all of its own. That isn’t a great strategy. It worked for the Japanese early in WWII when our guys had bolt-action Springfields. When our guys got Tommy guns and BAR’s, not so much. Point being is that quantity almost never substitutes for quality.

    The desperate vibe does not play well. Seriously, stop the dating carousel for a bit and focus on what you really want. I understand that it is hard at times when you are in the single situation. As a single 38 year old male, understand that.

    I don’t want you to be in a situation where out of desperation you find yourself in an abusive situation, or where you find that you have contracted something from one of the partners, or where you find yourself being sexually assaulted by one of the men you went out with in desperation.

    For your own sake, pause. Unless you are akin to Grendel’s Mother, odds are, there will be plenty of men interested in getting to know you. Plus, until you take time to pause and think, you may not be able to recognize a suitable partner.

    #110740
    dreaming715
    Participant

    “Unless you are akin to Grendel’s Mother, odds are, there will be plenty of men interested in getting to know you.”

    This is well meaning, but not accurate. Interestingly, I’ve been told that I’m attractive (so for now we can rule out the “Grendel’s Mother bit). I also enjoy staying informed about current events, I like to read (I finished a book two nights ago), I also enjoy museums and trying many different kinds of food. I have a college degree. I’ve been working at the same company (a good company) for the past 3.5 years.

    And yet this is all NOT enough to keep a man interested beyond 1-2 months. I go out, I like to laugh, I like to meet people. Interestingly… This has all not been appealing enough to those I’ve become vulnerable for and opened my heart to.

    I was listening to Miranda Lambert the other day and her lyrics were, “I’m giving up on love because love has given up on me.”

    I can’t say I’m happy with my life right now. I haven’t been happy for a long time.

    #110765
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    If there is a pattern of 1-2 months dating and the man loses interest, if this happened again and again, then there is a reason it is happening. It could be any combination of where you meet the men/ the choice of men, to the nature of the interactions. If I watched a series of dates you have with one particular guy, like a fly on the wall but with a notebook, taking notes, I would be observing very interesting things and suggesting you examine those things. For example- nothing individual to your case, just an example- a woman only wants to please the guy, so she shares nothing about herself, only listens to the guy so to be supportive of him, so the guy doesn’t find her interesting because … she has nothing to say (about herself).

    Since I can’t be a flay-on-the-wall and since you probably would swat me if I was, the only way to learn is for you to become attentive, mindful to what is happening every step of the way, and through attention and awareness, the mystery will be resolved.

    anita

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