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Feeling very alone and lost in life - mid 30s

  • 11-09-2022 1:48pm
    Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭

    Hi everyone I'm hoping I'll feel a little but better when I write this all down as I know there are people in a similar situation to me but I'm feeling so desperately down and lost at the moment so thought it might help to share here as I don't have too many people I cam talk to in real life.

    I'm 35, female, relatively good job, earn a good salary of circa 75k per year, in a job that's fine, I don't love it but I don't hate it but it is most definitely not my passion. There us no real room for progression which is OK for now, I don't want a big career or to be working very long hours etc so while it's fine I don't think I'll ever be the type to love my job or be really fulfilled from career.

    To give you an idea I suppose of where I am in my life, I'll be 35 in a few weeks, I live in a house share in Dublin city with two others who are lovely and one who is a close friend of mine. I long for my own home but its not happening for me in Dublin at the moment with one salary and the amount of a deposit I would need while renting. I toy with the idea of moving down the country to near where I am from but feel I would even be more isolated down there and the thought of buying alone makes me sad which I know is stupid.

    My social circle has gotten considerably smaller the past few years, I work from home most of the time now so my work social scene is gone. I dont mind wfh and I can go into office but when I do there is very few people there. In my close circle of friends almost all are married now or long term relationships and homeowners and a couple have recently had babies. Iv done the steady flow of celebrating others - attending all the hens, weddings and baby showers and I guess life has quietened down for me. I'm so happy for my friends and the lives they have managed to build and I long for something similar.

    I find myself a little lost at weekends a lot now which used be filled with lunches, catch ups and nights out and I totally understand that people have other priorities now and responsibilities. I do like my own company but I find its too much for me now.

    I'm very social and chatty but lately when I was away from meeting friends I feel like I have nothing to contribute to the conversation in a way or no value to add because nothing is really happening in my life. I came away from dinner with friends yesterday and I just found myself sitting there thinking god I have nothing going on. The talk was babies, creches, furnishing their new build homes, honeymoon trips and I was just silent for a lot of it. I laughed it off at one stage or put on a smile but inside it is killing me. They deserve the world but it's really hard watching other people hit all this milestones that I would love to have some day. A few weeks ago, I sat at a table having drinks where all the other girls at the table discussed their engagement ring choices and wedding bands and again I just felt so lost. This is not about jealousy or wanting material things and I know they don't mean to offend me either and I'm probably being over sentsitive, this is just the phase of life they are in but my god I come away totally knocked back and feeling crap about myself.

    My friends mean the world to me but wow it feels hard at times. I have one or two single friends also who are in a similar boat but they live a few hours from me so I don't get to see them and socialise that often.

    I have a small family, parents and one sibling who lives overseas and they definitely don't know how lonely my life has become. I'd never admit I'm lonely which is so silly I know but I just try put on the brave face.

    I'v had a couple of relationships pre covid...none too serious due to circumstances etc and dated late last year when I was seeing someone for 6ish months. It's hard to meet someone as the nights out are becoming fewer and I'm not a big fan of online dating but will persist with it.

    I know a relationship doesn't solve all problems but I long for the lives my friends lead, the stability of having someone to go through life with, to anchor you and to make plans. I also really want children and I suppose I'm conscious that my window is getting shorter.

    I haven't holidayed much recently because I don't have someone to go with. I'm going away with friends for a few days next month which will be great and have done a solo break which I didn't really enjoy tbh as found evenings very lonely so I feel like I'm not even living life to the full which is so stupid. With the housing crisis I'm also extra conscious of trying to save money and that I may need to buy a house by myself and furnish it etc which seems out of reach at the moment.

    I've joined some exercise classes recently which gets me out of house but tbh ill never be a gym bunny or someone who wants to go hiking every weekend, that's just not me.

    I guess I don't see my future and can't imagine what it will be like, I just feel so uncertain in a kind of limbo, I don't know what's ahead of me, where I will live, how I will live and build a life for myself. Part of me realises this is my life happening right in front of me and that I need to start living but I just feel a bit lost I suppose.

    Anyway that was a total rambling so thank you anyone that has read to the end. There are no magic solutions I know but feels good to get it down on paper.


  • Registered Users Posts: 930 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    Where's your sibling living? Could you try moving there or elsewhere? Ireland has become fairly impossible for most single people(and couples) looking to get into the property market which would get anyone down. I left in early thirties and found a much better life in sunnier climes, a good relationship, more to do outdoors, a thriving expat community and affordable housing.

    A big change can be the best way to exit a rut, and you can almost reinvent yourself if you want, where you no longer feel defined by your relative perceived progress compared to your old mates you no longer have a lot in common with.

    Seems like you want to break free from that life, there's a big world out there OP. I'd reframe you're young free and singleness as a massive opportunity to go and explore other options.

  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭dashdoll

    He lives in the middle East. Tbh I like living in Ireland and hadn't thought about leaving. The area I work in I'd quite niche also so I could have some difficulty doing it overseas. Anyway, good to hear another perspective so thank you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,712 ✭✭✭pgj2015

    Jesus, your friends sound a bit insensitive, you would think they could try to include you in the conversation a bit.

    If I was you I would join a few clubs, go to gigs etc, go alone and if you are chatty you will be well able to make friends and men as well.

    maybe move out of Dublin, there are plenty of busy towns throughout Ireland, even some small ones are really busy but the cost of living is a lot cheaper.

  • Registered Users Posts: 762 ✭✭✭starkid

    well try all the above with less than75k. theres plenty of single people i know in a way worse boat. a single man, 39, earning 33k, living with 4 others springs to mind.

    Count your blessings. you have enough money to experience new things at least. you could put money into savings or stocks or whatever.

    i sympathise, i struggle with all of the same issues. and being single with the expenses isn't easy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭Hamachi

    Tough one OP. Would any of your friends have anybody they could introduce you to?

    I was in a somewhat similar situation about 7/8 years ago. I had just come back to Ireland after nearly 10 years abroad and was struggling to kick-start my life here. An old friend introduced me to a girl he thought I might get on with. Our first date was a run in Cabinteely park. I wasn’t bothered at the time at all and turned up wearing an old pair of shorts and a baseball cap. Fast forward to today, we’re married with 3 kids.

    If possible, could you tap into your friends social networks? They know you pretty well and might be able to connect you with somebody you click with?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 22,994 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    i think WFH has profoundly negatively affected the lives of some single people. Yes you could move to rural Ireland, buy a place with your good salary (well beyond many public service jobs) but as you say you would be even more isolated from direct human contact. It’s an increasingly common issue, so you’re not alone in that.

    In meantime stay put. Why not consider going on a paid dating site like Elite Singles and avoid Tinder which is mainly, but not exclusively for hook-ups. You might at least have an interesting experience, and could meet someone very special. I know two people in their 60s who really wanted the company of a partner, and both got fabulous people, one love at first sight, and the next not too long after! They had to go through a swathe of potential matches & dates first, but they had no bad experiences on those type of sites. it would certainly keep you busy and distracted for a while!

    Learning something *totally* new to you could be another diversion , and could bring you in contact with new people.

    Nothing Known Talent Management Ltd

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,515 ✭✭✭Day Lewin

    Dear dashdoll - I'm sorry you are feeling a bit down at the moment. Can't offer very much advice - but I can a little - on the grounds of being a couple of decades older and I've seen a LOT of life.

    If you want a satisfying life, write down what you deeply passionately wish for (and examine WHY?) then accept that compromises just have to be made: the relationship that isn't perfect, with an imperfect human. The small house in the country instead of nice flat in the city. Etc etc (Or whatever it is for you: you know yourself!)

    And actions have to be taken - inertia gets you nowhere. Have a go at some changes, see what happens.

    Joining clubs and societies really IS a great way to make friends - the drama group, sing in a choir, local volunteering group - anything - all these will give you a sense of connection, which is what you most seem to lack.

    Time for some soul searching!

    I hope you feel better soon.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,433 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    I think you need to find ways of making new friends. Have you any interests - Drama, Musical society, Learn an instrument, group guitar classes, tin whistle, fiddle, Gaelic4Mothers&Others (you don't need to be a mother!). You are isolated as it is in Dublin, so you won't necessarily be more isolated if you move back towards home and more affordable housing.

    Rural Ireland and small towns tend to have lots going on these days. You just need to look for something that interests you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,007 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    People with kids tend not to realise just how one note they become, its not exclusive to the OP's friends, their conversations revolve around kids and houses because thats what their life is. But there is little point trying to include somebody in those conversations, either your life is part of that scene or it isn't, you can't exactly fake it. You can't swap kid stories if you don't have kids.

    I found with a lot of my friends that even when the conversation isn't about kids, that it isn't really a conversation because they have one eye on the kids anyway. Its hard to have a good long chat when they are constantly getting up to do something kid related, their attention isn't on you, which makes for a very shallow conversation.

    Its nobody's fault and nobody is doing anything wrong, its just the way it is.

    But the OP needs to acknowledge that, and if she wants stimulation then she needs to look elsewhere, outside that circle of friends. Whether that be meetup groups, hiking groups, volunteering, whatever, she will have to go looking for it because the old friends are going to be busy for the next 18 years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,712 ✭✭✭pgj2015

    I don't me her friends should include her in conversation about kids, I mean they should choose a different topic altogether that the op could chat about.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,007 ✭✭✭✭bucketybuck

    But that's not how natural conversations between friends work. Its not a debate, they don't pick topics, instead they talk about the things that concern them, that interest them or that are on their minds.

    And for new parents and families that conversation is only going one way.

    Sure, they can try to intentionally force different conversations, but it is forced and everybody knows it, and as soon as there is a noise from one of the kids it is going to be put on hold anyway.

    The OP doesn't need to be patronised by her friends taking pity on her and forcing some non-kid conversations, she just needs to find some different outlets that give her the social interactions she wants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    Don't give up hope. Stop thinking about it all so much and most of all stop beating yourself up.

    Stop focussing so much, exhale, inhale, relax ... unexpected things can happen anytime and ruin the best plans. And unexpected good things can happen when you least expect or plan it !

    Go out and meet other people, try different things. Be safe, laugh, enjoy the simple things.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭mrslancaster

    Would you consider doing voluntary work a few weekends through the year? Something you have an interest in. A cousin of mine met his wife when they were both volunteers with the st johns ambulance. I know volunteering is not for everyone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 930 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    You've been very honest here btw, which is commendable and I'm sure lots of people related to parts of your post. I'd say try take that vulnerability to your real life more.

    With early dating and dating sites people tend to fall into the trap of trying to put their best foot forward to a point they're portraying someone they're not. You can guarantee there'll be lots of guys in the same boat as you, but not many people admit they're lonely or how hard it is. Give the brutal honesty a go, and you'd be surprised this makes others more comfortable to do the same. It doesn't have to be overly negative or defeated either, confidently owning your situation with a bit of light self deprecation can be key to expressing these things.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I think a lot of people believe that when they hit a certain milestone they will be "happy". I remain unconvinced "happy" in and of itself exists. Or it is at best a transient and periodic thing that punctuates our lives. If I could just get that job I will be happy. If I buy a house I will be happy. If I get in a relationship I will be happy. If I have children I will be happy.

    Instead what I find personally better to strive towards is contentment and meaning. And your informative and detailed opening post appears to lack mention of anything that you might derive either from. Many people derive it from their work / career. But many people like you - much like myself - do not. Rather the work I do merely finances the rest of my life where I do derive my meaning and contentment from. There is nothing particularly wrong with that. Work can be a source of income and not the source of our meaning or identity or contentment. Of course it would be ideal if it did - as they say if you love your career you will never "work" a day in your life - but it does not have to be so.

    Unfortunately finding what will give our life purpose and meaning and contentment is not always easy. We often do not know ourselves what it might be. And there was little in your Opening Post that gave much clues as what it might be. Quite often what it turns out to be can be a shock even to ourselves. We can try something in life we barely expect to like and suddenly find it taking over whole chunks of our lives. Some of the things that bring most of my meaning and contentment and excitement in life shocked me when I first discovered them and I had no idea I would get so much from them.

    But it sounds like that is where you are at right now. A place where you need to be curious and try anything and everything - even if at first you do not expect to get anything from them - until you find that thing in your life that will bring you meaning and purpose. It could be a career change. A return to academia. Charity work. A new hobby or sport. Art. Animals. Dance. Writing. Music. Or any other of a million things we could list. It's fortunately and unfortunately a huge and varied world out there.

    Above all with life I find for me "The Journey is the Destination" and rather than strive towards any particular target or goal I find it works for me personally to enjoy merely the striving in and of itself and an enjoyment of the present moment (mindfulness) mixed with a stoicism philosophy in life has brought me most of the contentment I have today.

  • Registered Users Posts: 912 ✭✭✭Fred Cryton

    You've got to take life by the scruff of the neck and make things happen. Life is a series of choices, very little of it is pure chance despite what they say. We really do make our own luck. And part of that is you must make the necessary compromises.

    If you really want children, then you should rent in the city until you meet a partner.

  • Registered Users Posts: 173 ✭✭Baseball72

    Thank you for your very honest post.

    My son is 31 and much of what you have said could apply to him (leaving aside the obvious issue of women in their mid 30’s and possible desire to have children).

    it’s a tough situation - but as other posters have said, you have a lot of positives going for you.

    as I said to my son, nothing changes unless you make some changes - and they can be small changes. Maybe enrol in a course at night school - something fun - it may take you out of your comfort zone but that is okay.

    One word of advice - when you are out on a date - don’t hint or mention “body clock /kids” . My son went on a date with a girl he quite liked but on the 2nd or 3rd date, kids were mentioned, whilst he would love to have kids, mention of it early on just freaked him.

    Best of luck young lady.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 discoinferno

    Hey dashdoll,

    I totally get how you are feeling. I am newly single, early 30s, working full time good job….but nothing near 75k (you’re doing well there tbf)

    Finding the weekends the hardest to fill and my friends are all engaged, one or two pregnant, all buying houses. I totally feel for you and know how you feel. That lost feeling. I get it. Now since I broke up with my BF, I’m trying not to rain on their parades by talking about it. And if they ask, I try to change the subject and I’m genuinely happy for them but disappointed for myself and feeling I’m back at square one again.

    Having said that, it’s better to be commitment free, mortgage free, child free and single than being tied to the wrong person and having a life of misery in the name of not being alone. So while I’m happy for my friends and you are too, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors and what’s in store for them or us down the road.

    I guess the one thing that is positive and a person pointed out to me is we can literally do what we want and create the life we want and take up hobbies. Focus and work on ourselves. Being happy for our friends and taking up new hobbies (sports club or art club? Voluntary organisation?) allows us meet new people and people through them? I firmly believe working on yourself and being content / happy will attract the right person and right things for us.

    But I just want to say - you are not alone. Plenty of other women (and men) out there feeling the same x

  • Registered Users Posts: 18 discoinferno

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,315 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    Hi OP, you are definitely not alone. Small comfort I know! I’m in a similar boat except a wee bit older at almost 38. I have no single friends and while I still socialise with my other friends it’s not regular and requires planning.

    So to fill my time I joined a sports club, I go to meet ups and on lots of dates. There are plenty of m groups where you just go for a hike or lunch or anything - people tend to be very friendly. Even if you don’t make lifelong friends from it - you’ll usually have an enjoyable few hours. And by increasing your exposure your increasing your chances of finding people you click with.

    I felt very very lonely during covid - but once lockdowns were gone I embraced getting out there at any chance I could.

    But I also enjoy my solo time, I’ve gone on holidays alone (albeit organising dinner dates while there) and love heading into the city for a few hours to read a book in the park, pop into a gallery or browse the shops. Things that become difficult once married with kids!

    Its a tough one to do but just try and forget about your age - you’re not 45 and not focusing on the time pressure will have you feeling more relaxed about dates and worrying less about the future.

    Unfortunately there are loads of us in the same boat house buying wise - I really don’t know the answer to that one except to hope that things might change one day.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 216 ✭✭Skibunny77

    OP, first off, you just sound like such a lovely person.

    I can relate to your experiences, most of my friends settled in their late twenties and thirties. I was 38 when I met my now husband. I definitely experienced the drift you are describing and there are no easy one size fit all answer. There is no crystal ball, you don't know what the future will bring so you can only work with the now.

    What helped me was finding a tribe - of women/men with similar interests. Not sure if GirlCrew is still on the go but found it great. Fill your days of things/events/activities which bring you joy. Write a gratitude journal.

    Avoid the friendship gatherings that make you feel miserable and perhaps try to meet those girls individually. There are single holidays or activity holidays which allow you hang out in a group as much as you like but also allow you take your own time out.

    Before meeting my husband, I had decided to move from the city to my rural home. That is a huge decision and has to feel right but I found city life was becoming lonely and I wanted my own space.

    And remember happiness doesn't come with life milestones. It is a living breathing way of looking at life.