Why I Will Be Single For the Rest of my Life
Even Though it is Not my Choice
by Jackie Blue
It has become politically incorrect now to admit loving being single at any age.
Admitting that you are looking for a relationship or that you are lonely or hate being single for whatever reason can easily turn someone into a social pariah.
I’ve experienced this myself.
People who are supposedly my friends are not listening to me.
Instead, they lecture about that whole self-love thing. Well, that’s been debunked by recent studies. I think it’s particularly rich when it is coming from friends with partners. Not just being lectured. I am being chastised for even admitting loneliness and my need for human contact and companionship that can only come about in a relationship.
So what have I done in the past year since I became single?
I suffered in silence.
I discovered this was not working for me. If I must be single for the rest of my life, I might as well speak out and tell the whole truth and nothing but. As Janis Joplin would say, Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. It’s time to ask hard questions to society at large. I’ve already started speaking out on social media, much to the chagrin of many.
Before I go on, let me give you some background of my situation. Ever since I was very young, I always had my vision of who my dream mate would be; what I was looking for in a man. Now, as I approach 50, that vision has never changed. However, all my life, I could never find that man up until last year some time. So, I settled for whoever was interested in me, regardless of how much I had to sacrifice. Looking back now, it wasn’t all bad. The relationships were mediocre, but much better than
My last relationship lasted 9 years with a man named "Sam".
He was close enough to what I had always looked for. A little older than I would’ve liked, but then, I was never able to attract men my own age. Our lives were fine for the first 6 years. Then he lost his job and got sick and that set off a chain of events on both our ends. It was destabilizing. To be clear, I was not angry at Sam for losing his job. This was beyond his control and he was trying very hard to find another, but with ageism alive and well in the job market, finding work was problematic. He was never the same after that job loss. Who could blame him?
The problems that manifested were the by products of this destabilization. Illness with both of us, financial issues, and bad things happening took their toll finally 3 years later.
We ended our relationship.
Should I have fought harder to maintain it? Well, at that time, I had no fight left in me. I was burned out; physically and emotionally. But yeah, I should’ve found something left to fight for it. Life was as good as it was going to get with him. Far better than being single in middle-age.
Also, at that time last year,
I met Scott through a social media site.
A few years back, I was a political blogger. Little had I known that Scott had followed my blog. One day, he approached me finally on messenger and we chatted every night.
He became night friend.
He started confiding his secrets to me and I to him.
We had so much in common, it was almost scary. We listened to each other without judgement. It turned out that Scott was exactly the type of man that I had dreamt of but had eluded me all my life.
We started visiting each other every month and a half / 2 months. I used to think that Scott coming into my life when he did
was a sign
—that I was finally going to have the relationship I wanted for once.
He was also behaving as if he was interested in a relationship with me. My mother and some friends had told me they noticed the way he looked at me and interacted with me.
Even my ex, Sam noticed it.
Scott and I made a great team whether it was cooking dinner or helping each other with some of our projects. I had never experienced that in any of my previous relationships.
He introduced me to his parents as well as his oldest friends from university days.
Then I stupidly told him I had feelings for him.
He said he was only interested in me as a friend
though his behavior proved otherwise at times. I now understand that Scott entering my life was nothing more than a cruel joke.
For people like me, hope is a cruel thing.
The man who possessed everything I always wanted in a man walks into my life only to walk out without a truthful explanation.
I had spent lots of money on dating sites only to have no results.
I know I am going to have to settle for less once again if I expect to be in a relationship, but no one was interested.
The smallest of bites were very short lived. None of them were my type, but again, would’ve settled.
I was given the schpiel by most of them:
They were looking for someone more:
*someone with money who could afford to travel the world and partake in expensive sports and hobbies with him.
I was told I had the “wrong look” for them.
Also, the absence of a career turned them off. I am on disability benefits thanks to a group insurance from my last job. I can no longer work due to my health. Nonetheless, I was treated as if I was a welfare recipient which is frowned upon in the dating world. Particularly if you are looking for someone with beyond a high school education. I did not renew my subscriptions to those sites.
I had purchased ebooks which confirmed what I knew—finding a suitable mate while being an older woman is problematic. Someone suggested meet-up groups for singles, but there were a few issues finding a group with people my age. And the ones that existed all took cruises and trips to Mexico together. They frequent very expensive restaurants and bars.
On a fixed income, this is not possible for me.
Besides, I do not function well in groups.
I tend to feel lost and/ or like I am suffocating and I either end up zoning out or having crippling panic attacks.
I am only able to function on a one to one situation.
I am not even going to try to pretend
Again, why would I twist myself into knots
simply to get 2nd or 3rd choice
to even look
Why would I go through the insults from men,
who are not my 1st choice,
telling me I don’t have the right look or style?
I also remember talking to men in my age group and a bit older about that whole dating scene. Mainly, I wanted to know why they were searching for women much younger than themselves? More often, why women young enough to be their daughters?
They basically told me that older women
carry too much baggage
and it was not fun for them.
Too many chips and cracks,
some had told me.
I had joined a Facebook group where people commiserated over bad experiences with dating sites and our frustration with them. Many of the women in this group were in my age bracket and many of whom, single for over 20 years. That was and still is very frightening to me. There really isn’t someone for everyone. But then, I should’ve known that was a mathematical impossibility.
Women outnumber men.
As time goes on, the loneliness gets more painful.
In that Facebook group, I had initiated a conversation thinking I must move out of the city I live in in order to find a partner. As much as I love living in the city, I knew that only rural men showed interest in me. Never city men.
I was chastised for that
saying I should learn to be a strong woman.
That is cold comfort to me.
A painful realization came.
I will never ever find another Scott.
I would have to settle for whatever I can get yet again.
However, I can’t seem to find anyone
who would even be remotely interested.
Dating is worse than a job interview. Come to think of it, I’ve had more fun at job interviews—with very bad interviewers.
So much effort just to settle.
Looking for a relationship has become synonymous with applying for a bank loan or looking for a job. You only get a loan when you prove to the loan officer you don’t really need it. You only get a job when you don’t really need one.
I’ve stopped looking as a result and have resigned myself to the fact that I will be single forever just like those women on my facebook group.
I had also come to the realization, why must I work so hard on my image just for a man I know I am simply settling for? It is exhausting trying to impress one who would be a second or even third choice.
I won’t even find anyone who measures up to Sam.
There will never be another Scott. Why bother?
I have also come to the realization that sometimes we must pay for a mistake we made for the rest of our lives.
Separating from Sam is one such mistake I made.
Sometimes there is no second chance.
What I will not do, however, is pretend that this is fun.
Frankly, I am tired of being penalized for things beyond my control.
Things like finances, poor health, not the ideal appearance as dictated by society as a whole. Not having a career. Being over 30. Exactly the opposite of what men are looking for today in any age bracket.
One only has to look to profiles on dating sites to know this.
Scott and I still talk on and off, but we have not visited each other in the last four months. Oh one can say long distance relationships don’t work but he knew I was willing to relocate. My mother and other friends just live an hour away from him.
As for him saying he wasn’t ready for a relationship, that theory is blown out of the water. He is looking to date others now. It’s only matter of time he will find somebody to live happily ever after with, especially now that he has lost a significant amount of weight. Given he’s been single for a year and a half now, and he’s lost all that weight, it will likely be sooner rather than later before he finds somebody.
The lesson here is, especially late in life, if you’re in a relationship or married, even if the relationship is mediocre, if there are no issues of addiction and/ or violence, do all to hold it together anyway. Even if he/she cheats on you, stick around. If someone drops into your life with uncanny timing, even if he/she appears to be your ideal mate, run as fast and as far as possible away from him/her. It’s just a test of your resolve to keep a long term relationship and/or marriage together.
Please learn from my mistake.