never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: February, 2012

like with like

A few of my friends who managed to get married in their late thirties/ early forties appear to not have compromised all that much.  Their husbands seem compatible with them– they are close in age and seem well-suited physically and intellectually.  I haven’t seen a lot of examples of, say, a fit person with an obese person, or a young person with a much older person, although I know of some.

I, however, have had no such luck in finding a compatible mate.  The few times I met someone age-appropriate with whom I seemed well-suited and with whom dating seemed easy, it did not work out.  This despite the fact that I was willing to do whatever it took.

A guy I knew once told me I should marry an older wealthy man with the idea that I would inherit his money while still young and at that point could take a lover.  I was a little taken aback at his suggestion, as I wanted a peer marriage.

It’s hard these days though not to consider being mercenary.  I again looked at the Facebook pages of people in the mid-sized city I may return to in a year or so, and again I was struck with the fear that if I return I will be one of the very few people who is still single and childless, with poor job prospects to boot.  I’m afraid I’m stuck between staying here, in a stressful job, or returning to a place I will no longer fit in.  I won’t deny it’s scary.


Several years ago I was working with a middle-aged woman who was known as a bit of an irritating fussbudget.  She used my computer one day to check her email and accidentally left a print-out on the floor.  It was an email from her husband that read, “I’ll pick you up at 3.  I love you!”.  It gave my heart a little pang.

My family members, although ultimately there for each other, do not say “I love you,” and I am not one to use the phrase loosely with friends.  I have not in fact shared that phrase with anyone since my first serious boyfriend in my early/mid-twenties.  It may, in fact, have been about fifteen years since anyone has said those words to me.

I consider it a sign of progress that this doesn’t bother me too much, as I have known many lovely people who were seemingly loveless and quite a few wretched souls who were partnered.  I also know that the words are often said insincerely or they are felt but for a myriad of reasons withheld.

Still.  With all the disappointments in life, they would make up for a lot.

stories told

I spoke to a former show producer recently who regaled me with stories from close to ten years ago of all the shenanigans that used to go on backstage.  His storytelling brought home the fact that the subculture I’m on the fringes of goes back decades.  People are always coming and going, of course, but the ones my age have ten to twenty years of experiences together and have now largely settled down.  No wonder I feel like such an interloper.   I have, perhaps, arrived too late to this particular party.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I, too, have experienced my own crazy times over the past two decades.  The difference being that I am no longer in close touch with those groups from my past, and this can make me feel like I’m without a history.

Last week I was also privy to a conversation between two women discussing their desire to date outside the scene.  It caused me to take a step back and reconsider.


Always happy to see a new post on Gateway Women as they are very well-written:

why so scared?


When one of my friends who is single leaves me a voicemail or text, the message she leaves is ALWAYS along the lines of, “Hope you are out on a date having fun.”  She means well, she really does, but it annoys the heck out of me.

I am rarely out on a date having fun.  BUT.  I am often having fun, or at least feeling content, doing something else.  Without meaning to, she negates the rest (the bulk!) of my existence.

more running around

Last weekend I went on two dates, met a friend for lunch, visited a museum, tried a new athletic group, went to a theater show, drove across town for a swim, did some yoga and pilates, and got my taxes done.  Phew.

The second date I went on last weekend was just okay.  Nice guy but it felt like work.  He asked me out again over email, and I hesitated.  The old me would have definitely said yes, thinking you can’t judge chemistry after just one date.  The new me, the one with a health issue and incredibly stressful job, takes my physical and emotional energy reserves into account.  Just the thought of trying to schedule in another date with him was overwhelming.  I said thanks but no thanks.

More running around this weekend.  A simple coffee date today with the dude from five years ago; I’m assuming my feelings won’t have changed.  A friend date last night with an incredibly decent gentleman who just wasn’t the right fit for me romantically.  It’s hard to schedule him in but I’m so appreciative of his basic decency that I make the effort.  An art event tonight.  A show tomorrow night.  Some exercise.

My pile of books will gather more dust.  Sigh.

A former frenemy is throwing a party tonight for her new life with a new boyfriend and a new pad.  Haven’t heard from her since this new life began.  She didn’t come to my theatrical production.  I don’t want to go tonight.  There’s a part of me that fills  guilty about turning my back on her newfound happiness, but she has all but disappeared on me and was not the greatest friend in the first place.  I think that will be the one activity I will pass on.


Last year I dated a man who, upon telling me he didn’t want to have a relationship with me, said he assumed I’d be okay with that.

In my late thirties I dated (if you can call it that) a man who would invite me over to his house for a glass of wine but never out on a real date.  At the end of one of these evenings, he pounced.  Sensing something was off, I suggested a dinner date for our next meeting.  When he balked, we had a discussion in which he said, before trailing off, “I assumed at your age…”

At my age, what exactly?  I am partnerless because I choose to be?  Sex is no longer be a big deal?  I should be happy to get whatever I can?

what ifs

are you me?

I came across an old Jezebel post today (from 2008–“Brits say getting married early saves you from a depressing life of singlehood”) and noticed a comment that I thought might have been from me– I literally had to check the poster’s name to make sure it wasn’t:

Being single after the age of 33 or 34 is a whole new ballgame. In order to even remotely succeed at it, you must: 1) be happy with doing 95% of your activities alone. 2) accept that you don’t have a lot of economic wriggle room so job decisions are limited. 3) learn to let quite a bit of rude comments sail right off you (including from former friends who have gotten hitched). 4) accept that when you participate in activities most people will be a lot younger or a lot older than you. 5) accept that a fair number of men your age (and older!) will want to date women younger than you. 6) feel lucky if you have one or two single female friends left to talk to, and those friends may well live in another city. 7) make peace with the fact that not having kids is a decision that ultimately will be made for you. 8) accept that old friends, if married, will stop keeping in touch with you and will move on to “married circles.” 9) accept that other women, know matter how brazen/feminist/unshaven they may seem to be, may well throw themselves into marriage and motherhood with a vengeance and leave you in the dust. Proclaimed politics are not a good guide for who will or will not continue to stay in touch after marriage. 10) accept that there won’t be many single female friends left in the workforce who are your same age. Very few work buddies left to commiserate with. 11) accept feeling invisible a fair amount of time– no longer a young sexpot but not a mother either. Age 33-38 has been tough for me as a single woman, I admit. It’s only now, as I accept all of the above and learn to deal with life AS IT IS, as opposed to a fantasy of single fulfillment, that I am beginning to cope well with the facts. And of course, many married people are miserable, but it’s a different kind of miserable.

Another poster wrote an uplifting response that I partially, but not entirely, agree with:

t_h5757 @OliveZeigler This is the most depressing thing I’ve ever read, especially as someone in your age range that loves being single. 1) Everyone should be comfortable doing things alone because if you can’t feel comfortable being with the one person that knows you best, that’s just scary. 2)It’s true single folks carry the brunt of society’s bills (we just do). I own my own home and am responsible for it but if I wanted to leave my job to do something I actually like and had to take a pay cut, it would be much easier because I don’t have anyone depending on me. Hell, I don’t even have pets. Or plants. Damn. I should get a plant. 3)This is true but really: how is a comment (however snide) about singledom less hurtful than if someone said something about your new haircut or told you how bloated you’ve been looking lately? Doesn’t it all suck? 4)Which activities are you participating in? I take tap classes on Saturdays and there are college girls in it and a 60-year old married couple but there’s also 30-somethings. I think it depends on the activity and where it’s being carried out. 5)I hate to be the bearer of bad news but many men (not all) are interested in younger women and they don’t wait until they get into their 30s to be interested in them. 6)I don’t doubt what you’re saying, but I’m black and all I’ve been told by mainstream media in the last two years is how incredibly sad it is that so many of us are unmarried. Despite what the media says, we can’t possibly be the only ones. 7)If you really want kids, you can always adopt. No one makes decisions for you but you. Time cannot make decisions for you. 8)Anyone that “loses touch” with you simply because they got married or had a baby was never really your friend. Friends make the time, if for no other reason than they need someone to talk to about something other than diapers and college funds. Makes them feel like they’re still tethered to the world. 9)Same as #8, except I don’t understand the unshaven part. 10)Why are you commiserating about your personal life at work? Keep work professional and you personal life just that or you could get a rude awakening one day. I speak from experience. 11)I’m biased on this one (the whole black thing has made me kind of invisible my whole life) but I’d be willing to bet you may be missing something. Being single is, quite simply, fabulous. I’m sure being part of a couple would be fabulous, too, if I was willing to put in the right time with the right person. It’s all what you make it. You only get ??? years on this planet and you have no idea when your number’s up. That’s too little-or too much-time to spend not having, well, the time of your life-no matter the circumstances