never married, over forty, a little bitter

the brave

Loved some of the comments on the Lamott article:

blue yonder
SUNDAY, MAR 31, 2013 09:06 AM PDT
Oh too sad and too true, both Anne and everyone who has commented. We all want the dream, and by middle age perhaps we accept that the dream also comes with snoring and problematic sex. Then we can’t even find a way to meet this lowered bar! But for every long-term, sort-of-OK couple I know, there are those stuck in bad situations with partners they would just as soon see six feet under. They need the health insurance, or can’t sell the house and so can’t afford to divorce, etc. Keep on trying, ye lovelorn, but honestly, single isn’t so damn bad.

Van Helsing
SUNDAY, MAR 31, 2013 09:30 AM PDT
R — most of the people that answered are the ones that are now in a relationship. At some level, they have recovered. But it is just a fact of the statistics that healthy minority (close to 50%) of the population in what she’s looking at has a personality disorder. The ones that aren’t disordered are IN a relationship and unavailable.

It just makes it really hard, especially because no matter how wonderful A may be (and anyone single at 58 has some damage — I can relate) you’re often dealing with someone who will never successfully attach or has other particular empathy problems that make them unsuitable or worse — cleverly emotionally abusive.

Back when we lived in familial groups, Auntie A would have been absorbed in a larger group, and she would be occupied with all sorts of relationships that would prove to be fulfilling and meaningful. She said she doesn’t care about sex.

But that world is not the US that we live in. And for the most part, we don’t even understand the characteristics of the world we’ve created/allowed to be created relationally.

It’s just brutal. I feel for her.

SUNDAY, MAR 31, 2013 09:49 AM PDT
EVERY woman, including myself, over 50 who is bravely attempting on-line dating seems to be having the exact frustrating experiences. It’s as if we can never be attractive/smart/sexy enough for these guys who have reluctantly come to the conclusion that alas, young women are not into them. It’s as if they can’t admit that they are attracted to a woman close to their age, because then they’d have to admit that they too are OLDER. Generalizations stink, but I’ve heard over and over again the same disappointing stories. Let’s just admit here once and for all that at a certain point – fantasy is much better than reality!

same as it ever was

Met a friend for coffee today, and we had a timely conversation, considering the Lamott article I just posted. This woman is forty, fairly recently divorced (although she fought for the marriage), makes in the healthy six figures, is stylish, and has the stature of a supermodel. She is just venturing into online dating and has had the same familiar frustrations I’ve written about– only hearing from sixty-year-olds, getting “disappeared” on, finally experiencing a good date only to have the guy say he wasn’t ready for a relationship.


She’s also begun to grieve her lost dream of having children and wondering, “How did I get here?”


board games

Whenever I read or hear about a woman who is semi-famous turning to online dating, I feel like throwing my hands up in surrender. If, with their heightened visibility and connections, those women can’t find someone, who can?

I had experienced varying degrees of loneliness since my guy and I split up. After our breakup, I had just assumed there would be a bunch of kind, brilliant, liberal, funny guys my age to choose from. There always had been before. Surely my friends would set me up with their single friends, and besides, I am out in the public a lot doing events at bookstores and political gatherings, the ideal breeding ground for my type of guy. But I hadn’t met anyone.

People don’t know single guys my age who are looking for single women my age. A 60-year-old man does not fantasize about a 60-year-old woman. A 70-year-old man might. And an 80-year-old — ooh-la-la.

Almost everyone wonderful that my friends know is in a relationship, or gay, or cuckoo.

I went onto with a clear knowledge that relationships are not the answer to lifelong problems. They’re hard, after the first trimester. People are damaged and needy and narcissistic. I sure am. Also, most men a single woman meets have been separated or divorced for about 20 minutes.


This pattern repeated — a flurry of dates, followed by radio silence on the man’s part — and made me mourn the old days, when you met someone with whom you shared interests, chemistry, a sense of humor, and you started going out. After a while — OK, who am I kidding, sometimes later that day — you went to bed with him, and then woke up together, maybe shyly, and had a morning date. Then you made plans to get together that night, or the next, or over the weekend.

But that is the old paradigm. Now, if you have a connection with a man, he might have nice connections with two or three other women, too, and so each date and new dating level — coffee, a walk, lunch, and then dinner — is like being on a board game, different colored game pieces being moved along the home path in Parcheesi.

cute distractions

Last week I socialized with a couple in their early forties who met a couple of years ago, married, and just adopted a baby. They were both lively and charismatic individuals who had spent the first two decades of their lives working low-level jobs while pursuing acting careers. Like most people in L.A., they didn’t make it.

They now work “regular” jobs and have given up on acting. Instead they spend their hours off work concentrating on the baby (one of them actually said he didn’t want to go on auditions because it takes time away from his darling little baby). Naturally, the baby was all they could talk about, at least until I got them to open up about their pasts and show a little bit of pre-parent personality.

I didn’t feel envy, which tells me that I’m no longer interested in parenting. Now that I see my parentless state as something of a ticket to financial freedom, I don’t want to take on the added burden of a child, who would then necessitate another stressful job.

It seemed fairly obvious to me that, given the flame-out of their career ambitions, parenting had taken on a particular importance for this couple. Another couple might have adopted a rescue dog and spent their time obsessing over that.

Nothing wrong with any of that– I’m sure this couple will have fun as parents and gain meaning out of a new baby. I just wonder, though, if, after the newness wears off, and they realize they are now stuck in their mediocre jobs, their midlife crises will come roaring back.