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Single at 36 and just fed up

  • 28-08-2023 1:12pm
    Registered Users Posts: 4

    I'm sure this is one of the most common personal issues there is, but here goes... I'm a 36 year old woman and single. Finished with a guy a few months ago, we were together about a year but friends longer. I fell into the trap of allowing myself to get excited about planning a future when he was clearly nowhere near on the same page. He was afraid of commitment, and when we started to move beyond the getting drunk all the time phase and I wanted something more serious, he bolted. Still feel very down about it and just feel utterly fed up and disillusioned with dating completely. We got on so well and I feel we could have dealt with some of his stuff together, but he simply didn't want to. Or maybe he just wasn't into me enough, I really don't know.

    They say you have to be feeling good in yourself before you can meet someone- but how many times can you keep going back to the apps and starting again? Two of my best friends are getting married this year and in the cocoon of happiness. Meanwhile I am spending thousands on freezing my eggs. It doesn't help that my parents are getting on a fair bit (mid 70s) and I do not have a relationship with either of my siblings. No nieces or nephews either.

    I just increasingly feel like there is very little to look forward to, even though I know that's a self-fulfilling prophecy and you have to work at maintaining your mental health. Sometimes it just feels so, so hard and bleak though. I keep reasonably busy, exercise, blah blah. Being single after age 35 feels progressively worse and worse, though. Would be interested to hear from anyone in a similar position. Sometimes you just need a rant, too. I also think I'd be feeling some of this stuff even if I was coupled up. It just feels like a very difficult phase of life at the moment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,102 ✭✭✭manonboard

    Hello OP. Im 38. Single. Male.

    Something that immediately popped out to me, and i could of course be reading too much into it, is that you seem to place a lot of final meaning/satisfaction/purpose on your relationship status.

    Its a single component of your life. Much of your post gave me the impression of not valuing much else in your life to a high degree unless you also have a relationship. Ive been in periods of my life like that too. It always came down to ignorant views i had about my own lack of worth. Usually something like, its not worth doing things for myself, if i dont have another person to see/validate/share them with.

    I hope my meaning is clear there. I understand you are sad and feeling lonely, but like have you got enough going in your life that makes a relationship possible with you. Like having a relationship with an unhappy person is horrible, and ends pretty fast in cycles. Its fine to want to share your joy, happiness, time with people.. but are you making that stuff already, or are you just waiting on a relationship to try give you it?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4 Feeling_down

    Hi, thanks for the response. I know what you mean, but I didn't used to be this way. I never really cared that much about being in a relationship until the last 3 years or so. If you're a woman in your 30s and you want children, it feels impossible to be chill about this stuff. I also work from home and find it extremely isolating- am in the process of job hunting, in no small part because of this.

    I know what you mean though and have had the same thoughts about men. Like, do they have a full and happy life? I know you have to make your life interesting- what is it that I find attractive in others? Those that have hobbies, interests, curiosity about life. I guess I always did have that, and am just finding it hard to feel the joy for life that I used to. After a while you just get tired of always having to find new ways to make your own happiness. It's exhausting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 925 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    "Getting drunk all the time phase" is the most uniquely Irish thing you could hear when talking about dating. That really shouldn't be normalised because it isn't. If you spend any significant time living abroad you really realise that we have lots of these accepted problematic attitudes towards alcohol.

    So yeah, don't date someone who likes to gets pissed a lot and then expect them to change, its probably an addiction they have somewhere on the functional spectrum, or have other mental health issues. Unsure if this is a personal problem of yours too, but cutting down is never a bad thing.

    Other than that you seem pretty self aware. Is there any recurring advice or opinions your friends give you about the type of guy you go for? There's often truth in things you hear repeatedly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 290 ✭✭Honey50000

    You are in a much better position than a guy in the same situation much easier to meet people. Once you sign up on dating site I presume you get tons of messages as most women do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,631 ✭✭✭✭yourdeadwright

    We are born alone & we die alone,

    Yes we all need people to bounce off & be there for us along the way but life is about you , Life is about how you decide to feel & about how you decide to see it, Its a choice to be happy , Once your a happy & content you will attract more people into your life,

    In life we all make the mistake of waiting for X,Y & Z to be happy ,i'll be happy when iv a partner, i'll be happy when we get married, i'll be happy once we get kids, I'll be happy when i get a new job, i'll be happy when we get that house,

    Live in the now & be happy for what you have now trust me, there's always many many others out there that would give anything to be in your position ,

    On another note my wife is Pregnant again & will be 41 when the baby is born so you have plenty of time yet,

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,724 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    OP I sympathise. It’s not fair that women have to deal with this time pressure, it really sucks. Well done on freezing your eggs 😊Surely that takes some of the pressure off?

    I think you will have learned something from your last relationship. There shouldn’t be a getting drunk all the time phase - if something starts that way why would it ever change? Yes it’s fun to have nights out together but that should just be part of it, it’s the walks and the movies and home etc and the everyday that good stuff is built upon. Nobody can change unless they want to, so you wanting to help him deal with his problems is meaningless because you can’t.

    Unfortunately when we badly want a relationship- we tend to try and force it with somebody that we shouldn’t, we see a glimmer of hope and we ignore red flags and we try and push that square peg into that round hole because we are desperate. But that just wastes more time. Better to be single for a few more years and find the right guy. You’ve frozen your eggs and you are still only 36, not 42. Breathe.

    But it’s okay to feel frustrated. I do too, I’m 39 and single but I already had a kid so I don’t have that time pressure, I’d just really like to meet somebody but finding somebody great who is still single or divorced is a needle in a haystack.

    The working from home full time certianly isn’t helping because loneliness will drive you into something else unsuitable. Many women in their late 30s meet guys, you have to know how to filter the bad ones out and be patient.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,312 ✭✭✭Augme

    The biggest turn off a person can bring to the table is desperation. There's just no worse trait in someone you are dating when you can feel the desperation seeping out of them. Someone people are desperate to have kids, some people are just desperate yo have a partner because they can't bear their own company but whatever the reasons, it's absolutely toxic to a relationship. The knock on effect is that you then end up subconsciously putting off normal people and you end up dating people who don't find desperation a turn off, ans these generally tend to be other desperate people who also can't find a normal, sane and healthy partner because they are toxic.

    Best advice I can give is to consider therapy or counselling or something along those lines where you can talk to someone about how you feel and, ideally, have some structure and solutions put in place on how best to deal with how you feel.

  • Registered Users Posts: 925 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    Well that brings its own problems doesn't it and propagates the whole issue, so while they get more messages I don't think it's "easier" at all.

    Good looking men are far more likely to shoot downwards and message people they're not even that into for the ride. So maybe the top 10% of men are having lots of sex with a high proportion of the women, giving these women an inflated opinion of what they can actually get, and the actual men in those women's leagues can't get a message. Then the women get these jaded notions that most men are emotionally unavailable when in reality they're just more attracted to one's that aren't too fussed about them. So you're left with this broken ecosystem and a massive proportion of users from both sexes who are left dissatisfied by the online dating experience.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,724 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    I’m sorry but getting dates isn’t the same thing as finding a relationship. Women have no advantage there - loads of guys on the apps just want sex or somebody to fill in the time while they look for something ‘better’. So the fact that women get a lot more likes doesn’t help the trying to find a genuine boyfriend situation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4 Feeling_down

    Thanks again for the comments. I don't know why it has to be turned into a debate on who has it harder on online dating, men or women. I think both struggle with slightly different things, but at the end of the day, I do think most people from both sexes are looking for connection, and I just don't engage with profiles that are purely looking for sex. I avoid Tinder too which helps.

    Appreciate what people are saying about seeming desperate, and I'm very aware of that. I really don't think I come off that way on dates though. If anything, I simply do not feel any major pull towards the majority of guys I meet but I have brought this up with my counsellor and need to be more patient. On the other hand, should you go on 5 dates with someone you feel no attraction to, just for the sake of it? I think I'm going to approach dates from now on purely from a "could I see myself having a coffee with this person again" approach, and remove some of the pressure.

    I agree that my ex probably has a borderline drinking problem. Someone asked me do I have the same- I easily got pulled into bad habits with him because I enjoyed it, but can also fairly easily cut down a lot on booze when alone. Conscious of the pointlessness of using it as a crutch.

    Yeah, I also think the biological clock issue is really difficult and something I struggle with majorly. Yes, the egg freezing has removed some of the pressure, but it also just feels like the right time to get serious about this stuff, regardless. I don't know how so many 40 year old men have "don't know" on their profile re wanting kids?? When do they plan to decide?!

    Anyway sorry for the slight rant again!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,102 ✭✭✭manonboard

    Awh, your response is certainly one I relate to. Im sorry you are experiencing that, it sucks. I've felt many times in my life similar. It can be exhausting coming up with 'new distractions' in a way. I decided not to have children myself. It took the pressure off me a lot. I didnt want to be an 'old' dad. For me personally, I realized, I wanted kids for myself to have a purpose. I wanted a partner to have the kids... and deep down i just generally felt having a purpose was not sufficient unless there was someone to share it with, witness it. They were very very deep down thoughts. I don't know if any of that rings true for you.

    I think a woman in mid thirties have a very rough time of things. One thing then i would like to say to you, regardless of where your suffering or desire comes from with this stuff.. Have you sought any life coaching or mindfulness based therapy? Not for 'getting over it' but for strategizing better ways you can meet your goals. I went to a online mindfulness based counsellor/life coach for a while, She was fantastic. I thought it would be a bit of a waste of time, but in the end it really help me uncover a whole bunch of bad strategies i had for meeting fulfilling partners:

    Bad strategies included:

    I was attracted to people who i found attractive, but i was attracted to looks mainly because it hid insecurities i had about my own looks. eg: If im with someone very physically attractive objectively, others would consider me attractive.

    I practiced casual dating a lot, then end up catching feelings for people I'm sleeping with.. but these were never going to be good long term partners. And never displayed the compatibility needed for that.

    I had bad criteria for what was successful long term, and valued 'peaks' of emotion rather than 'boring' calmness.. it was a dysfunctional preference that felt like 'home'. Learning that i resisted calmness because i hadnt learned to create day to day joy without stress was hugely helpful.

    Anyways, these are just things about me. I found it a very useful process that really helped me strategize and change myself in ways that led to me meeting my goals more successfully. Do you think it could help you?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    You are so right! Just back from a part of Spain where the bars are more full of people drinking lemonade, coffee, having tapas and the very odd glass of old sherry. Guys (or girls) who are way too interested in alcohol just cannot be relationship material. There are Irish guys who aren’t very much or not at all into drinking, they are the ones to aim for.

    I do know a woman who I believe had had eggs frozen, found a donor (think it might have been a non-romantic friend) and had twins. That’s a possible option.

    WFH must be killing an awful lot of romantic potential, as nearly everybody I worked with met their partners (for better or for worse) in the office. These days it’s all apps, with a huge number of fakes, a selection of desperate people, and those with very limited or specific intentions.

    Getting out and about in hobby pursuits is the best thing, interacting with people in real life, and it’s stimulating whether or not a romance comes out of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4 Feeling_down

    That's really nice, considerate advice, so thank you, I really appreciate it. Yes, a lot of what you say rings true for me too. A few months back I thought seriously about having a child alone. It's something I still think about. But I think it's something that should be approached with enthusiasm, not dread, which is what I feel. I just imagine having no one to share the milestones with and it makes me deeply sad that no one would care about the child as much as me. After we broke up, my ex told me I'd make a good mother. I felt like hitting him tbh.

    You last point about excitement versus calmness really hit home. My ex and I used to think we were the funnest people in the room, but really we just enjoyed drinking. I think I would definitely seek to get to know someone a bit quieter with hidden depths, rather than someone like him who comes across as warm and witty, but is hiding a lot of pain and is stuck. So yeah, you learn something from every relationship and I don't regret it.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,598 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Mod Note - I have deleted some chit chat posts.

    As per the charter, PI is an advice forum, posters are required to offer advice or opinion to the OP in their posts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 977 ✭✭✭Fred Cryton

    My advice would be to pay for higher cost matching services, the types that cost €400 or so. The intermediary should have found out if the guy they set you up with wants kids and should match you accordingly. Expensive but might save a lot of time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,724 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    It’s not a case of finding any old guy that wants kids?!

    OP if you are thinking of trying these services do your research, I’ve spoken to several women who used them and they were a complete waste of time, the people they matched them with they had nothing in common with. It was basically like you’re and man you’re a woman you’re both single of you go.

    OP there is a singles hiking group that just got started and it’s great for making friends as well, there’s been a few couples for far come out of it.

    It’s not just Dublin they’ve organised in Killarney and Kilkenny too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭Skibunny77

    Op your thread really resonated with me. I met my now husband at the age of 38. I reached the point where I thought marriage and kids weren't for me, but I had figured out what I was looking for.

    I used to get so irritated by people telling me I was too picky - when I met my now husband, I knew very quickly that this was it for me. He was kind, I fancied him and we clicked, all of the ingredients were there. We now have kids together and he was worth every year of wondering whether I would meet someone.

    Before I met him, I tried apps with varying success, my friends were seeing people. I was lonely and found meditation really helped my daily mindset, kept me in the now, rather than projecting ahead. But don't get bogged down with the 'I'm too picky' bit, it is crap, it is just hard to meet someone! I do wonder if I would have fallen for my husband in our twenties, my priorities and values shifted and changed in my thirties, reflect on what is attractive to you and don't settle for less.

    In the meantime, LIVE life - solo holidays, date, make plans, find wider friendship circles. If you do meet someone, don't look back on these years as a waiting room or wasteground. I wish you the very best of luck!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,268 ✭✭✭twowheelsonly

    If you work from home then make sure your hobbies and interests are outside of the home.

    We're almost into Evening Class season. Look through the various brochures that will start appearing shortly and find something that appeals to you. DON'T pick Dance, Zumba, Pilates or any of the classes that are guaranteed a 10-1 ratio of women to men. Find something men or both sexes would like - Photography, Woodwork or some other such crafts, Guitar lessons or even Languages. Join a Hill walking / Hiking / Running club or volunteer at your local GAA /Football / Rugby club. Take solo holidays. Just get your 'bottom' out of the house and meet more people.

    Apps and websites are all well and good but they're no substitute for real life interactions. Classes / Clubs are a no pressure way to engage with people by meeting them weekly and getting to know them before taking the plunge. Online is straight into a 'date' where both parties are trying to look their best and act their best but ultimately both know that you're feeling each other out and are not at your natural best. The man of your dreams may well be there but every one you meet that's not will drive your morale lower or increase your sense of desperation.

    Doing something where you're learning, such as photography, will focus your mind and for a while at least and get you out of your current mindset. It will also help you to engage with others in a non-committal way. You could swipe on 50 profiles tonight and 'think' you like some of them but in reality you don't actually know. That's wasted time IMO. If you meet 50 new people over the next six months you can probably dismiss 45 of them but there will be some there that you will genuinely like. You'll meet them without even looking for them. You're young and free and single, you could easily be getting out to classes / clubs three or four nights a week. Make it 'you time' and you'll be surprised how much your outlook will change.

    Good luck... Chin up and smile :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,078 ✭✭✭salonfire

    Something that immediately popped out to me, and i could of course be reading too much into it, is that you seem to place a lot of final meaning/satisfaction/purpose on your relationship status.

    I've always thought this to be a bit of a cop out to be honest. That and the idea that you shouldn't need someone else to "make you happy".

    From the very 1st day of pre-school into adulthood people seek out friends and the company of others. As an adult, that is what a relationship provides. If everyone was hardened up and able to live life without the company of others, there would not be the concept of friends or even relationships.

    OP, there's always the option of going solo for children if the man is not around at the minute. Statistically as a women, you are very unlikely to end up single for the rest of your life whereas men would be more likely. As you get older, men will still be seeking you out. These men will also be older, therefore past the drinking and riding young ones phase and with their life put together and looking for someone else. Men still have a lot of maturing to do at your age. In the meantime, try stay upbeat and healthy about it all and don't panic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,218 ✭✭✭Oscar_Madison

    Hope you stay well OP- certainly sounds like you have you’r head screwed on - even your “rant” sounds healthy 😀

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  • Registered Users Posts: 925 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    You've completely misinterpreted the person you've quoted there. They're not saying to seek happiness with no connections, moreso to have a rounded lifestyle already with friends, hobbies, purpose ect and not to rely on one single person for that happiness.

    Back in my days dating I could very quickly differentiate between those who wouldn't have much going on in their lives and would be overly reliant on me for their validation and happiness, and those who were seeking to add a partner as a cherry on top of their already meaningful life. The latter is infinitely more attractive.

    Attitude is everything. Those with a bit of wonder and appetite for life never stay on the market for long. Those who get more and more jaded and cynical with every failed experience give increasingly less of themselves and become a poor relationship prospect. Then they blame people who don't want to pursue things with them or call them emotionally unavailable when the reality is they're just a bit tiresome and negative to be around.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,102 ✭✭✭manonboard

    I think i understand where you are coming from by thinking its a cop out, but i think its only a 'cop out' if its taken to an extreme level.. or if its done as avoidance mechanism to avoid the difficulty of learning how to successful related/build ever repairing connection with a person.

    I think some happiness is gained from sharing and being with others, however i think a very large amount of people's unhappiness is attempted to be covered up with a relationship. I think it works for a while.. then original cracks start to show..and we realise we are just as unhappy in a relationship as outside a relationship. Personally for me, and i do think i've witness it in everyone else i know, I brought many wounds into my relationships. The ones i didnt acknowledge to myself, often had a very persistent negative effect on relationships long term.

    I've worked very very hard on myself over the last 2 decades. Im a much happier person now regardless of my relationship status, so my relationship(s) tend to much more easy going because i dont require them to plug so many gaps in my own self satisfaction.

    I think if it goes to the extreme, per say, trying to be completely happy without any relationships.. yeah i think you'd be fighting nature then. We are social beings by design.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,068 ✭✭✭Murph85

    Do you live in a large town or city? Can be very difficult meeting someone otherwise... I'm in a relationship. Did the typical amount of irish drinking back in the day. I wouldn't touch a frequent moderate drinker now, such a turn off...

  • Registered Users Posts: 347 ✭✭iniscealtra

    Work and being happy. Get involved in hobbies with a mix of men and women. Tag rugby / sailing / hillwalking / drama. Something with a social element too. Go on some dates. You never know. Head out with friends. Meet up with friends of friends. Ask people to meet up for coffee, lunch or drinks. Volunteer.

    Also as said it’s more important to be happy in yourself. Freeze some eggs if you’re worried about fertility or just go for it with donor sperm. Don’t worry about other people’s lives. Get on with your own and make the most of life.

    I don’t know your situation OP but consider why do you have no relationship with your siblings. Maybe try to work on building one. My parents are older too and I have one sibling. We’re not super close or anything but make an effort to get on and see each other. I have cousins etc but my sibling will be the only close family I have one day.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,598 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Mod - @Honey5000 I have deleted your post.

    As per my previous post on this thread and as per the charter, PI is an advice forum, posters are required to offer advice or opinion to the OP in their posts.

    If you want a discussion about whether it is more difficult for men or women in the dating world, feel free to start a thread on that topic in The Ladies Lounge or The Gentlemen's Club.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19 Galwaysgal

    I'm 40 and single, it's hard to find a descent guy nowadays. The majority I have meet where only after one thing, and I'm sick of people saying, why are you still single as if their is something wrong with me. It's ok to be on our own, if it's meant for us it won't pass us is the best way to look at it.