never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: March, 2012

scheduling another

There’s the potential for a second date with a gentleman who has some appeal but also some unexpected red flags.

I’m wavering.

On the one hand, I liked him.

On the other hand, I don’t feel a strong attraction, a pull,  to him.

On the one hand, we’ve only been on one date, so that could grow.

On the other hand, I’ve never had that change much.

On the one hand, I feel like I should be grateful I’ve met someone appealing, as it does feel like “there is nobody left” at this age.

On the other hand, I’ve had several people tell me that one of his red flags should be a dealbreaker.

On the other other hand, I’ve had other friends tell me that it shouldn’t be.

On the one hand, it feels unfair not to give it a little more time, spend at least one more date with him.

On the other hand, it would be much, much easier to nip this in the bud now than a few dates from now.

On the one hand, what’s one date?

On the other hand, my schedule is quite packed, and I find myself extremely reluctant to give up any thing on my plate right now, whether it be a dance class, catching up with a couple of friends, getting to the grocery store, a big event I really want to attend on Sunday, my new yoga cult, or maybe, just maybe, a little bit of free time to make a dent in the four books piled on my coffee table.

On the one hand, it could be healthy to spend time with another person.

On the other hand, it would be easier to spend time with someone who is already involved in some way in my activities, so I don’t have to carve out extra time.

On the one hand, maybe I’m becoming too inflexible and selfish too make room for somebody.

On the other hand, maybe I can only make that room for somebody really special.

On the one hand, someone that special may never show up.

On the other hand, perhaps I’m becoming busy and happy enough on my own?

Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded the disappearing act this time, so I could avoid all these questions.


The feeling of anonymity, as I’ve written before, is very lonely, and yet, as a childless older woman, comfortable.  I’ve written before about my fears of moving back to the smaller city that still feels like home… this post certainly struck a chord:

secret fear

The plankton has written beautifully on the secret fear I can’t help but feel, at least occasionally these days– that there is something terribly and unusually unattractive about me, and nobody has the heart to tell me:


Nothing really new here other than the fact that her story is familiar and uplifting:

financial insecurity

Ever since I turned thirty, I have repeatedly encountered men who, within the first ten minutes of the first date, will let it be known that they are in some way or another broke– up to their eyeballs in debt or school loans, wiped out by a divorce, experiencing a suspended bout of underemployment, or hating their jobs and planning to quit.  It’s as if they want me to know right off the bat, before we go any further, that they cannot or will not be the breadwinner type.

I don’t think those kinds of confessions are appropriate right away, and I always feel a little awkward and deflated by them, although I am sympathetic that these men think that they are mainly valued for their wallets.  In the last few years their rushed confessions have often compelled me to disclose, in turn, that I have grown weary of my career and hope to make some kind of change within the next few years.  I seem to detect that this is received poorly, but I cannot play the solvent, highly-paid, in-love-with-my-job-and-could-do-it-forever woman that they seem to want me to be.  The last part of that description would be a lie.

Perhaps they then see me as another burden they don’t need, whereas I see their awkward honesty as at least revealing the potential for a new kind of relationship, one in which two people pull their resources to either escape the rat race or make it more bearable.

In any case, I am highly practical financially and they needn’t worry that I would be a money drain; however, things rarely progress with these men to a point where they could find that out.  Unfortunately I’ve found most of them just don’t have the fortitude to go through with a relationship, as they seem to feel like they aren’t good candidates for one.

hope and propaganda

I’ve started tuning out the mainstream media in all its various forms– TV, movies, magazines.  One magazine I do still get and read is More, as it does contain some useful health information for older women and also features interesting book and movie reviews.

I did, however, look very critically at the last issue and can’t help but feel that, much like Oprah, it’s uplifting articles are often nothing more than propaganda, and as such aren’t all that helpful.  Some examples.  The cover story this month is on the actress Juliana Margulies and how she got married and had a baby after forty, after turning down 27 million to do another few years of ER.  She is quoted as saying she didn’t ever think she’d find someone she would want to marry.  But really, is it at all remarkable that an attractive, famous, extremely wealthy (we can only guess that she had millions in the bank by the time she left ER and was in no danger of starving) was able to find an appealing, attractive man she wanted to marry and who returned the feeling?   There’s another story on the actress Lucy Liu and how she is going to play a struggling public school guidance counselor in her next movie and how she can relate to the role, having gone to public schools as a child.  In real life, she is dating a billionaire hedge fund manager, one of the 400 wealthiest men in America.  She came from a struggling immigrant family so perhaps who she is dating now is irrelevant, but somehow it still rankles.  Third, there is a story about a real estate agent who, burned out and overworked after the economic downturn, started painting, sold some works, and is now making it as a painter full-time.  Inspiring, yes, but how likely is her story?  And will she still be surviving in a few years?  When these magazines only focus on the success stories, we can get a warped view of our chances in life.

On the flip side, I have a friend who lives across the country who is a  few years older than me and never-married.  She has a great education and after years of somewhat slacking off, got serious, moved to a place with more opportunities, and landed herself a very well-paying job.   She bought a house and settled in.  Four years later, she is unhappy in the same ways I am.  The only attractive men she meets are married, and her job has gotten increasingly stressful and relentless.  She doesn’t know how much longer she can take it, but on the other hand, has no idea what she would do as an alternative.  She does know some other women in her same boat and they have spoken of banding together in retirement, living in some type of communal property situation and sharing resources.  To me that is hope rooted in reality.

Talking with her, I realize my situation is not unique and that other smart, talented, attractive women are struggling with my same issues.  Reading More just makes me feel bad that my life isn’t more.

sick and tired

Having just suffered through a stomach virus a few months ago and then a horrible two-week cold, I too wondered how people take care of children in such circumstances:


The date.  He was prompt, polite, paid for coffee, had all the requisite social skills.  We had a stimulating conversation and some potential for chemistry.  He is dissatisfied with his current career and uncertain of new directions–not ideal, perhaps, but I can hardly blame someone for something I feel myself.

At the end of the date, a surprise factoid.  He is divorced after a long marriage.  Well, not technically divorced; the paperwork has been filed and separate residences established, but the divorce has not been finalized yet.

Perhaps at this age this complication is relatively inconsequential; I don’t know, but it was definitely dampening.


Speaking of physicality, I am trying out a new type of intense yoga that is known for being a bit “cultish.”  I have written previously of the overwhelming feelings of sadness and negativity that I’ve been experiencing before falling asleep each night.  I decided I needed some kind of “reboot” before my emotional state goes further south.  When in Rome and all that.

I certainly am experiencing the weak social bonds that would make me susceptible to a cult, but hopefully my inherent skepticism would keep me safe.  I do have to wonder what our society has to offer that is so rewarding as to keep the appeal of cults at bay.


There’s a small group of four women, of whom I am one, who are over forty and have been hanging in there in a particular ballet class for several years.   Only one of the four of us is partnered (married with a child).  It made me wonder if part of our devotion to ballet is our desire  to explore our physicality– to push our bodies, play with them, see what they can do– in the absence of an ongoing sexual relationship.

I did read a book a few years ago about a woman, a wife and mother,  who became a yoga devotee; obviously single women are not the only ones who want to explore their physicality through dance and exercise.  But I do think the absence of a partner, and perhaps the experience of giving birth, could be one of my motivators.  I didn’t become seriously addicted to movement until my thirties, but since turning thirty it has been one of my real pleasures in life.