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Relationship Health Message Board

Relationship Health Board Index

reba - I used to be afraid of ending up alone, too. I can tell you, I discovered the hard way that there is nothing really quite as crippling as being afraid of 1) something you ultimately really have no control over and 2) something that could very well really happen, because it happens to a lot of people.

Think of just how many over 40 divorced, widowed or never married women there are out there in the world. There are a few right here on these boards. Finding happily ever after and living life long and full with the love of your life into your golden years is a dream we are all raised to have, but in reality, it happens to so few of us. And that's just the ugly, cold hard truth.

Everyone in our society from Dr. Phil to the butcher at the corner market tells us that if we are unmarried or uncommitted and over 30 or so, then there must be something really wrong with us. We "aren't doing it right." We are fundamentally flawed somehow. Well, I say cowpuckies. I recently read a study done on single and married people over 40, and the study found no significant differences whatsoever in the overall mental health and social skills of married and unmarried people over 40. There are lots of perfectly wonderful, smart, funny, nice, well adjusted people over 40 who are still single for one reason and one reason alone - they just never found the right one. NOT EVERYONE DOES. It's scary, I know, at first, to think that you actually might not find love and have a companion. It's sad. But it's reality. The fear of this reality is causing you to make poor, self-defeating choices. I'm 44 and have been single for almost 13 years. I once did what it seems you are doing now, put up with a jerk who really didn't have my best interests at heart and who really didn't care about me or respect me, in the hopes that my love would change him into my prince, and if we could just choose to love each other at the same time, we could have all the good stuff, because I wanted to believe I had finally moved onto the next phase of my life, I was going to have the love, the marriage, the home, the kids, the familiy, the respect in the community, coffee clatches and pta meetings and sewing Halloween costumes and sneaking around Christmas Eve pretending to be Santa. I sold my self respect to keep that dream alive. It hurt like hell to let it go. But once I learned to accept what life has put in front of me, and stopped trying to force life to be what I thought it should be, I have managed to find some kind of peace of mind.

Also, I, like you, find sexual contact outside of a loving, caring, mutually respectful exclusive relationship very unsatisfying and unrewarding, so I have chosen celibacy for now over the only other option before me right now, meaningless sex without any emotional intimacy with some kind of "friends with benefits." I think settling for that when your heart longs for love just does way more damage to your soul than it's worth. As much as I would love to be sexually satisfied, being emotionally satisfied is more important to me, and I have learned to take care of my own emotional needs through volunteering, hobbies, and really by just learning how to be really good to me. Sometimes it may mean being a little, well, what other people might call selfish, with my time or my energy. But you know what? I'm worth it. And so are you. I travel, I read. I go to movies by myself. I'm not afraid to be by myself. I've learned to enjoy my own company. No, it's not as good as being in a loving, fulfilling, emotionally intimate relationship.'s a hell of a lot better than being kept on pins and needles by some selfish jerk who doesn't care about me nearly as much as I care about myself. Like always say, alone sucks, but bad company is so much worse.

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