never married, over forty, a little bitter


As I plan my next move in life, I’ve been thinking about an acquaintance of mine, who is divorced with an adorable young child. She gets financial support and co-parenting help from her ex-husband, and, of course, has been able to experience motherhood and to avoid the angst of missing out on that experience.

On the other hand, her movement in the world is more limited than mine. She can’t leave the area her husband lives in, so she can’t pursue other job opportunities easily. She can’t cut ties with her ex, or move to another city. Her time to get out and about and pursue new interests is also curtailed.

Except for those people who get the fairy tale, and few people do, it’s tough for everyone, I’m realizing.


I’m in discussions about a future roommate situation with a friend that, while it won’t give me the full benefits of marriage, may at least give us some of the same economic wiggle room:

…for all the controversy over marriage lately, there has been virtually no public discussion of the role that marriage plays in economic success…

…I will tell you that what I have learned over time is that the benefits of marrying my Phi Beta Kappa classmate, whom I met at orientation freshman week, are not merely that she is fun and beautiful, but also that it’s like having another economic oar in the water. When I was getting a PhD, she was working. When she wanted to start a software company, I had a steady income. When I wanted to take a year off to write books, she had a steady income… you get the pattern.

10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said, Charles Whelan, pp. 41-42


Q: The biggest problem that I see is expectations. I am looking for someone who will, and wants to, complement and enhance my life. Someone that sees what I’m doing and thinks, “That’s cool, I’d like to be involved with that stuff and this is someone I’d like to introduce to the cool stuff I’m interested in.” What I seem to find is, “Wanna hook up?” and “If you’re so busy, what do you want a relationship for?” Occasionally I do run into a slacker type, whom I let hang on for way too long, who doesn’t have stable employment or a car or a stable living situation; who loves that I have a nice place to live, cook for myself and own my own car and absolutely loves the way I enhance their lives until I get so fed up I scream and throw them out.

My mom isn’t much help either. Mom thinks I really need to lower my expectations: If I want a man in my life, I need to be prepared to feed him, take care of him, tend to him and he’ll stay. That’s it, that’s all I personally get out of it, a guy that stays. Asking for anything more is way beyond what a male human is capable of…

A: …it sounds like you are meeting most of your needs already. My guess is that you have a good job and a nice place to live, and you have friends and family. You are engaged intellectually and are healthy. You are not suffering from depression or drug addiction. No one is trying to kill you and you are not receiving threatening phone calls in the middle of the night. No one in your family has suddenly turned against you. Your ex-husband is not drinking himself to death. A long-lost half-sister has not showed up at your door with a crack habit. No sudden bankruptcies have occurred. You have not been fired for no reason or turned down for a grant in favor of someone stupider than you. You have both feet and both hands. Your eyesight is pretty good. There are no children to take care of and thus no financial pressures and no emotionally draining daily routines. You like your clothes. You have a TV and a car. The commute is not grueling.

So meantime seek greater wisdom and peace in your life. Do it now, while things are good. Seek greater knowledge. Evolve. Do the thing you have always wanted to do, now, while you are happy and there is time. Is there a place you have wanted to visit? Go there. Have you always wanted to learn the piano or play the drums? Do it. Follow your passions for growth and change. It may be that now is not the time for a committed relationship with a man. Don’t worry about that. There are many ways to have sex and many ways to have friendship and many ways to satisfy your curiosity about the world.