I decided I needed to get out this weekend, even if it meant making an hour drive somewhere. I scoured the papers, located a really interesting event that I could enjoy alone, and bought a ticket.
Because said event was in the same neighborhood as a man I had written off as a romantic possibility, I emailed him and asked if he wanted to go. I figured it couldn’t hurt to make a platonic connection. He enthusiastically agreed, and we had a good time. We have a ton in common, but I was happy to leave it at that, as there are reasons I doubt it could be something more. He extended the evening into drinks, however, and it took a romantic turn.
As much as I hate to admit it after all this work I’ve done to get to a place of calm acceptance, I was in a better mood than usual the next day. I let my mind stray into “what if” territory. What if something could work out, what if I finally had a story to tell, what if I could start making plans with someone, what if, in the absence of children, I could have a partner.
His behavior, however, leads me to believe that my “what ifs” will likely remain just that. It’s way too early to tell, but there are some signs. If it doesn’t work out, I will have learned something valuable– that despite being an introvert and enjoying a large amount of solitude, I’m forcing myself to adapt to more of it than I prefer.
Unlike in my youth, however, I don’t find these detours fun if there’s no serious intention behind them. They knock me off my hard-won center and take precious time away from other goals. And I’m simply not in a good place to weather more disappointment.
In the midst of all this, a high school friend of mine, a woman who married in her early forties and called her wedding day “the best day of my life,” posted a photo of the newborn she just adopted.
“Not in a good place to weather more disappointment.” Exactly. I have no anecdote, amusing or otherwise, to share on this front. Just wanted to say that you have yet again hit the nail on the head.
I have a couple of thoughts for you – don’t know if they will be helpful, but here they are…
1) Even though life can be disappointing, and past history can give us good reason to assume the worst about the future, humans have to have hope to live. It’s quite possible that you’re right about this man, but ultimately, isn’t it healthier to hope than to just ‘accept’ that things will never change? Without hope, we’d never go out and do anything. If we knew beforehand how much disappointment we’d experience, we wouldn’t plan or dream or act.
2) There are other people in the same boat as you, even if it might not feel like it. Just because your Facebook feed (and society) is filled with happily married moms, doesn’t mean that everyone is. There are at least five never-married women over the age of fifty at my church (of about 500 people)…and I know some never-married men, too.
And…again…just because you are in your forties and never-married doesn’t mean you will never marry. The odds might be against you, but you really don’t know for sure.
Thanks. Things remain ambiguous, but there have been some hopeful signs too. I guess we’ll see.
This is a great response! I think she should go for it.
You’ve got to make up your mind. Either you keep this man as an occasional shagbuddy or you stop contacting him. As long as you have “romantic turns” with him without making up your mind, you may continue to harbour unrealistic expectations. I don’t agree with anonymous above.
Society has conditioned us to “hope” for something that will enable us to fit in with the accepted social model for women. If we cast off the shackles of society’s expectations there is no need to hope for something that is largely unattainable.
By all means hope for good health, happiness and good friends. These are good things to strive for. However, a woman of a certain age striving for a “partner” is akin to a traveller striving for a waterfall in a desert.
As I get older I have come to realize that I may never have a life partner but life is for living and don’t turn down a little joy if it comes your way, however fleeting it may be.