How to find a proper relationship at 35?

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 76
Member
2160 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

This is my story – 

Pretty much ever since I was 19, I was obsessed with finding the right guy and getting married. I had a couple of relationships that didn’t lead to anything and dates and short-term relationships that didn’t lead to anything. In between, I tried everything – online dating, putting myself out there, going to bars, events, museums, galleries, taking up sports and hobbies.. it was a massive quest to find ”the ONE”. I became increasingly disappointed and frustrated wasting YEARS of effort. I applied for jobs that were likely to have a large concentration of single male employees, I took good care of my health and appearance… I did pretty much everything that you are doing. I was DESPERATE and OBSESSED. Which is the exact vibe that I’m getting from you.

Finally, I thought ”f*** this”. ”This is MY life, why on earth am I wasting my life searching for someone else to complete me? What could possibly be more off-putting and unattractive that that??” I am DONE with searching for a relationship. I already have a very important relationship in my life, that that’s the relationship that I have with myself. That’s the relationship that I should be focusing on. If I don’t find a guy by the time I turn 40, I can always have a baby with a sperm donor.. (I really wanted children). So I’m just going to put this whole ”finding a man” rubbish out of my head and live my life for ME doing what I want to do. 

So, for the first time in my life, I became truly happy. I didn’t go to any events that I didn’t want to go to. If I went to events and didn’t feel sociable, I sipped at my wine and smiled. I didn’t force myself to chat to people, deleted online dating profiles, and did things that I truly enjoy doing, with absolutely no intention of looking for or finding anybody. I opened a box of chocolates and binge watched Netflix when I felt like it, went out when I felt like it, stayed in when I felt like it, worked at a job I truly enjoyed with no ulterior motives. And that’s when I met my husband. He was the shy guy sitting next to me at work. I thought he was attractive but had totally put any idea of dating out of my head, so I genuinely didn’t think much about it. I became friends with him, chatted to him, enjoyed his company. Gradually I realized I was attracted to him, but for the first time in my life I wasn’t worried about it. I wasn’t asking myself questions, wasn’t trying too hard, was genuinely thinking ”this could go either way and I don’t care”. Obviously, that attitude was very attractive to my husband. And he asked me on a date. Now, here I am, married with two children. 

And the best thing is, not only am I married with two children, I also know deep down that I can be truly happy on my own. My husband doesn’t complete me. We’re not a lovey dovey couple. We’re two individual independent happy friends who choose to live side by side because we love each other. 

Moral of the story – DONT look for someone to complete you. Live for YOURSELF. YOU are the person that matters. If you are desperately looking for your other half, people will run a mile away from you. Do what makes you happy and let love find you. 

Post # 77
Member
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

amanda3334455 :  love this advice! Completely agree. The other person adds something to your life, they don’t complete it. If you think this way you’ll always be unhappy. I used to be in relationships where the entire time I was grasping at straws to make it work in the event that I lost them.. I felt like I would be nothing without them and put up with an unbelievable amount of crap and drove many off with my clinginess. It took me almost 10 years to learn this. Now I know I could live without him, but would just rather not. This makes me much more level headed in the relationship. I used to be so crazy and possessive.  

Post # 79
Member
901 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Hi OP,

I’m new to this thread but thought I could offer some input about meeting my husband online when I was 31.  I was single for YEARS.  I was on a few sites, all free.  I became pretty efficient about it, though it was still really frustrating.  By trial and error I learned not to reply to any “hey” or “what’s up” type of messages.  I might look at their profile if they looked my type, but I generally just instantly deleted those. 

If they wrote a message that showed they had read my profile?  I would check them out.  If I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t reply. (in the beginning, I felt like I should let them know I wasn’t interested as a courtesy, but after being told off a few times… nope.)

Do NOT needlessly hurt yourself by looking at who has viewed your profile, it’s really pointless.  Maybe they looked at your profile and realized you were too serious about a relationship and all they want is a bang…. good riddance!

When you do find a guy who has potential, push for a quick coffee date to meet (within a week or so) and get to know each other in person instead of online.  Coffee dates are low pressure, low cost and you get to see if there’s any chemistry quickly.

I went on a dinner date for a first date and it was AWFUL.  Within a few minutes I knew I wasn’t interested and had to spend the rest of the meal pretending to be interested.  

Go on dates with guys you aren’t 100% attracted to if they otherwise sound great.  My husband is clueless when it comes to photos and honestly, it was like he dug out the worst pictures imaginable for his profile.  The pictures he had made him look like he was a nerd who loved getting wasted.  I think he thought the nerd pictures made him look “professional” and the drunk photos made him look “fun”.  I wasn’t sure I would be attracted to him based on those photos and I was blown away by him in person!

I found it was necessary to take online dating breaks when I found myself getting frustrated.  Usually a month without logging in did the trick for me.

Outside of online dating I really just lived my life.  I love soccer but had always just played with other women so I joined coed leagues with the intention of meeting new people, not just guys.  I met so many awesome friends doing this and it helped fulfill my life in the meantime.

I hope some of that is helpful… try not to get into your head so much and while I get that you want a relationship, try and enjoy your life as a single person too.  I miss parts of it at times!

ETA: I should mention, I ended up being the one who messaged my husband!  He had logged in recently and his face popped up in my feed, when I read his profile, it sounded like we wanted the same things.  Turns out he did!

Also, when we first met, I was blown away by how cute his face was, not what he was wearing.  He is a good looking guy but was a bit clueless with fashion.  He has happily let me dress him ever since 🙂

Post # 80
Member
94 posts
Worker bee

ilikeautumn :  I recommend reading Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating (The Rules) first then getting out there. 

Post # 81
Member
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

OP, I hear you. It’s so so tough. I spent 5 years basically single, from 28-33, while literally everyone in my circle got married and popped out babies. 

I think what changed things for me was after a PMS/wine fuelled update of a long dormant online dating account (a free one, not paid). I basically wrote the snarkiest end to my profile… I was totally upfront about what I wanted, and more importantly what I didn’t want. I can’t remember the full list, but I mentioned things like : ‘if you’ve just come out of a relationship and want something casual, move on’ and ‘my 5 year plan includes marriage and children, so if that doesn’t work for you then it’s not a match’. It did cut down the number of men who contacted me, but it’ll only take one special man to respond, and you’ll be done. My now husband sent me a message saying ‘wow, I love how direct you are. It’s so appealing that you know exactly what you’re looking for in life’. 

 

Dont weite off the online dating… lots of good responses above re self care, hobbies etc, but just wanted to add my experience! 

Take care, and good luck! 

Post # 83
Member
1369 posts
Bumble bee

That you paid a professional photographer to get photos for you is a symptom of the problem here, Bee. You PAID SOMEONE FOR PHOTOS FOR DATING. That’s… not normally what people do. And I’d be willing to bet that men will think it’s strange (unless you lie and say they’re headshots from acting or something, but that’s not a good idea either). Paying a professional for headshots (which is what they are, let’s be honest) suggests, once again, desperation. You’re not comfortable enough using candid shots of you laughing and smiling with your friends? Professional shIots don’t show you being YOU, but they do show you going way overboard in trying to snare a guy. I’m being brutal here, but I’m NOT trying to be bitchy and hurt your feelings. I legitimately think this will hurt your chances. I’ve seen guys using professional shots online, and it was just weird. My husband is and was a stage actor, and even HE didn’t use his professional headshots in his online profile! 

Secondly, I was also taken aback by your comment about keeping a baby because it would distract you from a relationship. Yikes. You might want to consider what that means and how appropriate that perspective is for motherhood. 

All that being said, I absolutely, completely, totally, entirely understand how you feel, and I do NOT agree with anyone who would suggest that you feelings about this are invalid or crazy or whatever. You said that you felt suicidal for a DAY from the loneliness and hopelessness; I felt suicidal for a couple of decades with short bursts of contentment while in some healthy relationships. I was a cutter from age 15 or so to…sometime in my mid 30s, and most of that behavior stemmed from loneliness and hopelessness about finding a life partner. So I really understand how serious this is and can be for a person, and I really understand why you’re going to these lengths to find someone. And I KNOW how painful it is to be alone. When I was very young (too young to understand), I remember my father said once, more to himself than to me, “I’ve seen what loneliness can do to people. I think it must be the greatest pain in the world.” In my life, that turned out to be true, so, really, my heart goes out to you. I’m gonna say more about loneliness at the bottom of this, but it’s less relevant to what you’re asking, so I’ll say other stuff first:

It doesn’t help much when people tell you to “stop wanting a relationship so much” so that you don’t give off desperation vibes, because you CAN’T stop wanting it. I would argue that it’s not a choice to just NOT want a relationship (or to just NOT want the piece of cake or the good grade or whatever the hell else people want). Your feelings about wanting this or that can change, but any change won’t be as a result of a rational choice you’ve made. That doesn’t work in these situations (in spite of how powerful rationality can be). 

Aside from NOT using those professional photos, I have very little actual advice to give. In my experience, I found men the fucking MINUTE something inside of me changed and I wasn’t looking. I did NOT make the change inside of me on my own–external things changed, and I changed as a result. I met my husband at 35 and got married at 37, and this was after maaaaaaaaany years of being single and suicidal because of it. I also moved to an entirely different and bigger city, which I DO think helped a bit, so I agree that considering a move to another place is a good idea for you. 

I can’t tell you to stop caring or feeling so desperate, because feelings aren’t the products of active choices (which is why the “passions” (i.e. the emotions), a word which comes from the Greek “pathos,” are “passive”). But BEHAVIORS are the products of active choices. You can choose to move or not, you can choose to message a guy or not, you can choose to sit in the dark or not–and the nice thing is this: even though we can’t control our emotions, our actions have an influence on our emotions! I may feel like shit inside, but I can choose to take a walk with the dog or get dinner with a friend or see a movie, and those chosen actions can help to stop some of those shitty feelings.

So *sigh* I think the only advice I really have is just… try to live the happiest life you can within the confines of your choices. Maybe MAYBE you’re right, Bee. Maybe you WILL be alone forever. Doubtful, but, hell, it’s possible. I used to say to myself, “I can’t survive feeling this way for another 50 years… if I don’t meet someone, I will HAVE to commit suicide. The pain is too much to deal with for so much longer.” But you’re ahead of the game, here, because you DON’T feel so suicidal. You can STILL make a nice life for yourself without a life partner in it. You CAN get pregnant without a man in your life; that’s easy enough. You can pursue passions and have a rewarding career and friendships and travel and blah blah blah. It SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS to live life alone, but if you have to, can you do it? Make choices that will bring you general satisfaction with and an interest in life, and you’ll at least be building a good life for yourself. Maybe someone will see it and want to join; maybe not. I’m in no position to say. But the alternative is living like me: researching suicide methods and crying every day for two decades, cutting curse words into your body that are now scarred on, becoming an alcoholic, having sex with randos because you’re lonely. No good. Don’t do that shit. 

*As for the loneliness point. I’ve read a marvelous book and watched a Ted Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hxl03JoA0) by a fellow named John T. Cacioppo. The Ted Talk is called “The Lethality of Loneliness.” He is PHENOMENAL. I had NEVER considered loneliness in this way, and it rings true. His basic argument is this:

1. Pain in our bodies is a warning signal that something is wrong, potentially fatally wrong.
2. When we feel pain, we’re supposed to attend to the pained part of the body and fix it so that we don’t die, etc.
3. Loneliness is a type of pain.
4. Therefore, loneliness is a warning signal that something is wrong, potentially fatally wrong.
5. Therefore, when we feel loneliness, we’re supposed to attend to the pained part of the “body” (or mind in this case) and fix it so that we don’t die, etc.

For Cacioppo, the pain of loneliness is a warning that we’re not getting our social-connectivity needs met, and that connectivity with others is essential for human flourishing. It’s nuts to tell people to stop feeling lonely or get over it or try to be happy in the same way it would be nuts to tell someone to stop feeling the pain of their broken arm or damaged liver. Social connection is vital to our health and wellbeing, so the pain you’re feeling is very real and in dire need of attention. He explains in the Ted Talk how feeling this pain, sadly, ends up pushing us even further away from others, which only worsens the pain. (And that’s the point I think many Bees are trying to make–the more you approach dating/men from a place of pain, the more likely you are to push them away and thus feel even MORE pain. It’s a cycle.)

Anyway, watch the video. Fucking eye opening and, I really think, helpful. 

Post # 84
Member
22 posts
Newbee

Hi OP, I know this is an older thread, was wondering if you have some updates for us. I found some very good insights while reading the responses to your post. 

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