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Old 11-15-2007, 01:44 AM   #1
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Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

A certain question has bugged me for over forty years. Why do I never have relationships? First you need to have a date, and how seldom have I ever been able to have one? Think of it! I’m now 64, and for so many years, countless thousands of people have looked at me with their eyes sparkling with friendship and interest, so I know how popular I am. Yet I waited 40 years for my first long-term relationship, and apart from this no man ever wants to get to know me better. I felt as though I’ve gone through my life with a sign between my eyes: ‘Friendship only! Do not come closer!’

The first time I posted here, last summer, this was still a life-long mystery. Now I’ve found the missing piece of the puzzle, in the last week everything has suddenly slotted into place! Solving the mystery at last is an amazing feeling! It’s like finding the Holy Grail! In fact I’m so fascinated at the revelations that I don’t even feel bad about the dark side!

I think that if you really want something with all your heart and mind and body and soul and spirit and strength, then you are very likely to get it, though it won’t necessarily be what you expected. For example, when I first sat on a horse I was almost sick with fear, yet I learned to ride well enough to own and train a very fast lively thoroughbred. I was allegedly a useless hill-walker, but in time climbed to 18,000 feet in the Himalayas. Once the bug bites, sheer determination takes over, and then I can find out how to do it! The only goal that has ever stayed out of my reach is ease in finding relationships. Now I’ve recognised that I’ve hardly ever sought a relationship with the same wholeheartedness as the other things.

I’ve been seeing a counsellor about the antics of He of Two Girlfriends, and of course counsellors love tracing everything back to the relationship you had with your father. I’ve been through this before, but it never seemed to lead anywhere. This counsellor asked me to write a letter to my father. For five pages I described his utter disregard for any of my normal human feelings. Daughters were fed, housed, clothed and educated and that was it! My father had dug himself into a rut of utter boredom, and every attempt of mine to enjoy life resulted in me being treated with contempt. Then I had to read this account aloud, which brought home the horror of how he had treated me as never before!

My mother had endured terrible parents and her biggest dream in life was to be a part of a happy family, so she worked hard at being my best friend, except in one thing. She was wilfully blind and deaf to my father’s contempt for me. Instead she brainwashed me into thinking I lived in a ‘happy’ family to fulfil her own fantasies.

Every time my father started his horrible whine of contempt about what a trial I was to him, I stood up for myself, so my mother insisted he was such a good father I should think myself lucky because her parents were even worse! Then my little brother saw me getting upset and decided to taunt me. According to my mother I shouldn’t object to that either.

In my teens, I escaped to the local riding school at every opportunity to see one special horse. Showering love on a horse was so peaceful and rewarding compared with life in my ‘happy’ family. So the criticism started. ‘You ought to be spending your time with boys!’ People insisted I should look ahead to needing a good husband and a happy family.

Swap the words ‘father’ and ‘husband’ around and the goal I was being motivated to seek was described in exactly the same way as the abuse I was urged to accept! My mother made it sound as though all fathers were abusive, only some less so than others. If I’d really swallowed what she said, I would surely have become a man-hater! Since I was forever asking why my father couldn’t be as good as other peoples’ fathers, I obviously knew better, but the message was that I needed to be extremely wary, or else I just might find a man like my father! In my teens and early twenties I either did not want to marry, just to buy the horse I loved, or didn’t care if I ever married or not.

I knew very few young men, so when my mother motivated me to go looking, I had to trudge off to places which didn’t really interest me. So the boys I met were incompatible from the start. I sat there uninterested, hating the discomfort of clothes I had to wear to avoid being called ‘frumpy’, shy, and utterly wary of any man who approached me. To cap it all, I’d been urged not to be ‘fast’ so I thought I was doing all the right things!

On the other hand any girl next to me was likely to be full of eagerness. Boys picked up on that, and on my apparent lack of interest, and I wondered why I never had boyfriends! I came to life when I was riding that beloved horse!

I’ve followed this line of thought further and seen everything that ever happened to my ‘love’ life fit into the pattern. I know very well why thoughts of sex and babies didn’t motivate me. On the one hand I’ve always had reasons to feel very cautious about the relationships I was expected to want. On the other hand, the natural world has always offered me profound joy. The more deeply I love it the more intense happiness it gives me in return.

So I figure that when I think I’m looking for a man I’m not genuinely needy enough for him to be certain it’s really worth approaching me. Very occasionally I have been that needy, and then men date me, but they just happen to be the wrong ones! It probably shows in the length of time I hold eye contact. Now what have I been saying for years about the little badge between my eyes that keeps all men at a distance! I was so close!

I need to clarify this further, and I can do, but this post has grown long.

Larrylou’smom, I’m sure you’ll notice this thread. I’ve been wondering how you can express such deep need of a relationship and yet never find a good man, but sadly I’ve only managed to evolve a theory that fits what I know about myself.

 
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:43 AM   #2
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Getting to work on yourself is an incredible experience. It sounds as if you have discovered a lot about what makes you tick. I would take it a bit further, having had parental issues myself, and suggest that your father made you feel (in your little child heart) that you were unlovable, so that is the message you unconsciously project. I don't mean to analyze, but your post rang a beel with me, and that is what I used to do. After all, as your father is the first male love of your life, it is nice to have one who loves you back.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 05:25 AM   #3
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

I want to respond to this post, but I am afraid of wandering away. In any case, I will try to be brief.

There's a famous (Brazilian) song by Jobim (some of you probably know him) which has an English title: Wave. However, the English lyrics didn't translate very well the main idea of the original in Portuguese. In the original lyrics you find these lines: "Fundamental é mesmo o amor, é impossível ser feliz sozinho." Which reads in English: "Love is the only fundamental thing, it's impossible to be happy alone/by yourself."

He doesn't say that love is meant to be for ever or perfect or free of friction. He just says that love is essential for you to be happy. He doesn't even say that happiness is for ever. I know that his idea is debatable. You often hear people say that they are very happy on their own. Whenever I hear someone say so, I find myself wondering whether they are telling the whole story. Perhaps the truth is they have tired of finding someone else and they don't want to lose face.

I agree with Jobim. You can't be happy alone. In fact, this is a tautology or an obvious thing, but I will say it anyway: You can't be whole alone. Weren't we made to have partners?

You can try to be happy alone, and you can even achieve a certain degree of it, but at your bottom you will feel that something is really missing, deny it as you may.

Why on earth is there a place for Relationship Health?

There are two things, in my opinion, that can fix the problem of finding someone. One of them is luck, but luck isn't really the most important. The most important thing is to overcome the feeling, the idea, the misperception, whatever, that you are a special person and that you need therefore a special person. If we are really true with ourselves, we will realize that we are not that special. Actually, we are so full of mistakes and imperfections. How can we ever claim to be special? How can we go on dwelling on the fixed idea of meeting a prince or a princess to make us happy? Of meeting the perfect guy or the impeccable girl? These don't exist, and you may have to wait all your life. What we need is probably hard to find, but still viable: mature people.

If we can get over the idea of being special beings in need or in search of equally special beings, I think luck will be on our side and we will find the good enough partner out there and will be able to do without loneliness.

...

 
Old 11-15-2007, 07:22 AM   #4
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pendulum View Post

I agree with Jobim. You can't be happy alone. In fact, this is a tautology or an obvious thing, but I will say it anyway: You can't be whole alone. Weren't we made to have partners?

You can try to be happy alone, and you can even achieve a certain degree of it, but at your bottom you will feel that something is really missing, deny it as you may.
...

I do not agree with this thought process......
you can be happy alone, you can be happy with someone or you can be miserable alone or miserable with someone. Also don't they always tell us you need to love yourself before you can love someone else? you need to be whole yourself before you can be with someone else in a healthy relationship? you can't think that you're missing something and that someone else is the only way you can be whole.....
you need to be happy inside and not try to find someone to MAKE you happy.
statements like what you've made do a tremendous disservice to society and the people reading this thread. I guess to me it sounds like you're saying as long as you have a partner (whether it's a good match, healthy relationship or not) you're better off than someone who is alone. Do you realize that that's called settling?

 
Old 11-15-2007, 07:33 AM   #5
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

I agree with Rose. I'm holding on to hope that there's someone out there with whom I won't feel like I'm settling when we get together. And if not, I've totally learned how to take care of myself and I really don't need someone there just to have "someone". It's just not necessary. It's too much drama to get involved with someone just for the sake of not being alone. I can't stand that kind of drama, and I just don't have time for it, frankly.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 08:30 AM   #6
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosequartz View Post
...
statements like what you've made do a tremendous disservice to society and the people reading this thread. I guess to me it sounds like you're saying as long as you have a partner (whether it's a good match, healthy relationship or not) you're better off than someone who is alone. Do you realize that that's called settling?
First, it is fine to find someone who disagrees with me.

Second, it was not a statement. It was rather an opinion, or if you prefer, a realization.

Third, I have never said that you are happy just because you have someone. That would be an absurd inference from my words.

What I said about maturity and getting over feelings of being special and perfectionism corresponds not to the idea of loving oneself, which I find ok, albeit limited. You have not only to love yourself, but first to know yourself and to accept yourself as you are.

People reading these posts aren't forced to agree with me. I am no authority here (actually nobody is), and I believe everyone here is clever enough to find their own position. If posting a controversial opinion is a disservice, then I will ask where to start? How useful is this forum supposed to be?

I think that anyone who has ever been in love, at least once in their lives, will know what Jobim is talking about. Love is all we are after in this life, and in my opinion all the other substitutes are poorer in comparison.

But anyone knows what suits them best.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 08:38 AM   #7
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

I think that people who have love from other sources, such as family or friends or pets or whatever, then aren't really in need for love from a romantic relationship. That's why I disagree with you. I think it's entirely possible to have all the love you need in your life and NOT actually be in a relationship. It's harder for people who are quite literally on their own with no family or firends, obviously. But love for oneself and who they are as a person has to come first before any other kind of love can hope to even have a prayer to survive. And I think you'll agree about that.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 08:59 AM   #8
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Hi Xanadu - yup, couldn't miss this post! Though I'm not sure what positive things I can add. I guess just what I've said before, that I think love is a part of life, and life is a hugely individual thing. We all have our own road to walk down, and I think we all have different tasks and different things to learn in our lives. That why some of us are born women, some men, some are born tall, skinny, some short or fat, some white, some black, some inbetween, we all have a different chemical and hormonal make up, which is part of the reason why some people have nerves and emotions of steel, and why others cry and fall apart at the drop of a hat, we all have a unique and specific and individual set of circumstances and experiences that shape who and what we are, and no two people are going to handle situations and circumstances the same way.

I'm so glad that you've found your way to successful singledom. But I don't think it's always as easy as "if you want something that badly, you'll get it." Obviously I'm living, breathing walking proof that that doesn't always hold true. Some people could make the argument I suppose, that I am stand offish, that I tend to hold people at a distance and that is why people don't see me as warm and welcoming and they then shy away from me. But the reason why I tend to be stand offish in some situations is that I'm very very sensitive to when people aren't really interested in what I have to say, or what I have to contribute, like if they cut me off mid sentence, or if I tell a joke and I barely finish before they brush it off and move onto something else. Some people are rather obtuse and can't see when people are treating them coldly, but I am rather perceptive and can feel when someone isn't open to me and it changes who I am. It affects my mood, my meter, my confidence level. I'm a pisces, so I'm naturally kind of a sponge type person. I soak up and send out the energy and attitude that the people around me are giving off. Conversely, I helped my brother throw a birthday party last summer and I sort of played hostess, and I was having fun and the people were all warm and welcoming and having fun too, so I wasn't self conscious or cold or stand offish at all. Hugs all around, all that stuff.

I also just think some people just do better alone than others. Some people just come into the world that way, some people have been shaped by their life experiences are able to make the conscious decision to not need people. My mother has done this. I don't think it's especially healthy, but sometimes necessary, but sometimes it's just not possible.

I'm the kind of person who just really needs to be with someone. I was not designed to be alone. BUT I am also not the kind of person who can get along great and establish a deep, real, emotional intimacy with just anyone. Many people make me feel lonely just being around them. Like a co-worker who once made a comment about health insurance. I had seen ***** not too long ago, a documentary about our health care system in the states, and how it's leaving many people without medical care. I think when you help others youa re also helping yourself, as I got stuck with a big medical bill for some tests that my insurance didn't cover, so I think we need to make serious changes. A co worker who has the same insurance I do and who actually considers himself a Christian, saw a news story about it and said "why should I help pay for others who don't have insurance, I have my insurance, right?" I thought to myself, uh, wrong, couldn't be more wrong. That made me feel incredibly lonely. Which was why I took it soooo soooo hard when my ex left me. I had established a level of emotional intimacy with him that I had never achieved with anyone before. We were on the same wavelength about so many things and I thought I'd found my soul mate. I carry stress pretty badly and my scalp gets so tight it hurts to the touch and as a result my hair has steadily thinned since I was a teenager, but when I had someone to regularly cuddle and hug and kiss and hold, my hair got thicker and my stress was reduced a great deal. My brother even commented about how my hair was getting thicker again.

I think that just leaves me in a quandry. to be honest, I have really given up on any ideas or thougts of pursuing happiness. I mean, I still like to hope, and I want to just see what's out there, and I don't like to waste opportunities, which is why I recently lost 22 pounds and have started dating again after taking a break for a few months. But I am very calm about it all. It will be what it will be.

I'm not sure if there is one generic solution to being long term single that will work for everyone. I think some people will just have to divert themselves and try not to think about it too much. I used to volunteer, because people say that fills you up and gives your life meaning, but it just made me feel used and tired and sucked dry. I mean, I give and give of myself, my time, my money, whatever, and I still don't really MEAN anything to anyone. I still go home alone, still climb into a cold empty bed, and still wake up alone. Volunteering doesn't do anything to fix the feeling of inadequacy or shame of knowing that I don't deserve, I'm not worthy of the faithful, exclusive love of one good man like my ex's wife does. But jumping into the bed of the next warm body that comes along isn't a solution for me either. I think sometimes, for some people, the best you can hope for is bite the bullet, grit your teeth and endure life and hope it won't last too long.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 09:13 AM   #9
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

I'm also going to take a slightly opposite oppinion of what Pendulum said; "you can't be whole alone." I disagree. I think you have to find happiness with yourself as an individual before you can be truely happy with someone else. If you look for a person to complete you, then chances are you end up settling for someone.. at least that's what I've seen in my experiences.

I agree that love is happiness... but love doesn't have to mean "being in love with another person." Loving family and friends, your horse.. love is happiness.. but don't strip that down to meaning you have to love a significant other to be happy.

I have friends who are perfectly happy being single, who don't want a relationship. Whose to say that won't change at any time in their life.. but right now they are perfectly happy, not just content, but honestly happy with their single life.

I think it's more unhealthy to be actively searching for a boyfriend or girlfriend as if its a huge treasure hunt or something!

I think the trick or secret to being happy is living the life you want to live, achieving goals, having as little regrets as possible.. other things; love and relationships, will fall into place if and when they're suppose to. Family life may not be in the cards for everyone.. but that doesnt mean they're less complete or less happy than the family next door.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 09:28 AM   #10
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jen52983 View Post
I think the trick or secret to being happy is living the life you want to live, achieving goals, having as little regrets as possible.. other things; love and relationships, will fall into place if and when they're suppose to. Family life may not be in the cards for everyone.. but that doesnt mean they're less complete or less happy than the family next door.
ay, there's the rub. What if the life you want to be living is making a home, sewing Halloween costumes, baking cookies,packing lunches, cuddling up on the couch with your husband and kids, making love to the same man every night/week/ whatever? It's not always about living the lifeyou want to live, because you dont' always get to live the life you want to live.

I don't think it's about expecting someone else to MAKE you whole, but loving someone, I mean a good, healthy, monogamous relationship with a trustworthy companion does in fact complete your life, rounds it out and gives it a dimension, a meaning that nothing else really does. When you see a news story about a young person who just died, and then they tell you that person just got married, or has two small children, all of a sudden their death seems 100 times more tragic. Why? Because their life MEANT more than a single person's life means, because someone loved them, counted on them, depended on them, needed them in a way that has deep, great meaning. I think some people are just more sensitive and aware of how great and how much meaning and dimension and meaning having the love of a spouse and kids of your own gives your life than other people are. For those people who are more aware and more sensitive to it, being happy without it, is not so easy as sun, flowers, good friends, and that's all you need, etc. They are very aware that there's a huge hole in their life, in their soul that all the friends and passions and possession and achievements can never fill.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 09:32 AM   #11
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kszan View Post
I think that people who have love from other sources, such as family or friends or pets or whatever, then aren't really in need for love from a romantic relationship. That's why I disagree with you. I think it's entirely possible to have all the love you need in your life and NOT actually be in a relationship. It's harder for people who are quite literally on their own with no family or firends, obviously. But love for oneself and who they are as a person has to come first before any other kind of love can hope to even have a prayer to survive. And I think you'll agree about that.
Well, much of what you say makes sense to me, but I still think that romantic love is necessary - ok let's not put it in terms of happiness - if you want to experience the whole spectrum of human life. I will think over your words again, and I will possibly write back to you later, ok? Thanks for your attention.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 09:40 AM   #12
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pendulum View Post
Well, much of what you say makes sense to me, but I still think that romantic love is necessary - ok let's not put it in terms of happiness - if you want to experience the whole spectrum of human life. I will think over your words again, and I will possibly write back to you later, ok? Thanks for your attention.
I would have to agree with this. If you never have sex, never let anyone into your heart so deeply and love them so much that you would trade your life for theirs or something like that, never learn to share, compromise, negotiate in terms of sharing your whole life with a partner, then yes, you are absolutely missing out on a huge huge part of the human experience. I love my dog as I've said in other threads, but he cannot take the place of the experience of making love with someone who I am deeply in love with and who I know loves me the same way. Nothing can. that's a huge chunk of life, of the human experience I will always always be very sad to have missed out on, and nothing can really make up for that.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 09:56 AM   #13
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrylou'smom View Post
I would have to agree with this. If you never have sex, never let anyone into your heart so deeply and love them so much that you would trade your life for theirs or something like that, never learn to share, compromise, negotiate in terms of sharing your whole life with a partner, then yes, you are absolutely missing out on a huge huge part of the human experience. I love my dog as I've said in other threads, but he cannot take the place of the experience of making love with someone who I am deeply in love with and who I know loves me the same way. Nothing can. that's a huge chunk of life, of the human experience I will always always be very sad to have missed out on, and nothing can really make up for that.
Larrylou'smom, thank you very much for this.

 
Old 11-15-2007, 10:05 AM   #14
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

My response will be in purple!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrylou'smom View Post
ay, there's the rub. What if the life you want to be living is making a home, sewing Halloween costumes, baking cookies,packing lunches, cuddling up on the couch with your husband and kids, making love to the same man every night/week/ whatever? It's not always about living the lifeyou want to live, because you dont' always get to live the life you want to live.
It's true that life doesn't always go the way we want it to. That's part of learning, growing and living with what you're given. You have to make the best of what you've got. And as I said in my first post, you shouldn't be out hunting down a man.. that's how people end up settling, closing their eyes to warning signs and getting hurt. Life is what you make it.

I don't think it's about expecting someone else to MAKE you whole, but loving someone, I mean a good, healthy, monogamous relationship with a trustworthy companion does in fact complete your life, rounds it out and gives it a dimension, a meaning that nothing else really does. When you see a news story about a young person who just died, and then they tell you that person just got married, or has two small children, all of a sudden their death seems 100 times more tragic. Why? Because their life MEANT more than a single person's life means, because someone loved them, counted on them, depended on them, needed them in a way that has deep, great meaning.
This is either horribly depressing or insulting. I know what you're saying about news and of course it is horribly tragic for a child to lose a parent. But being married or having children doens't make a singles person's life less meaningful. That's saying that a person who is single is incapable of impacting another person's life.. and I think we can all agree that that is far from true.

I think some people are just more sensitive and aware of how great and how much meaning and dimension and meaning having the love of a spouse and kids of your own gives your life than other people are. For those people who are more aware and more sensitive to it, being happy without it, is not so easy as sun, flowers, good friends, and that's all you need, etc. They are very aware that there's a huge hole in their life, in their soul that all the friends and passions and possession and achievements can never fill.
For me, your last statment isn't really about awareness instead its about what works best for each person as an individual. Yes, some people feel more complete by being a mother, being a wife. But that life isn't for everyone. Is a Nun's life less meaningful b/c she never bore a child? Is Oprah's life less meaningful b/c she's not married?! What about the single doctor that saves a life on a daily basis? I think you see the point I'm trying to make.. your idea of happiness and fufillment isn't going to be the same as someone else's.

You're right that being in love with another person and being loved back is a feeling that nothing else can compare to. I'm just saying that some people don't necessarily feel that hole in their life that you may feel when you're not in a relationship. Some people have filled that hole with other desires, and other priorities. Different strokes for different folks!

 
Old 11-15-2007, 10:29 AM   #15
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Re: Long-term single – I’ve found the answer!

Some people are natural loners, prefer their own company, and don't need or want to have a romantic relationship. So not everybody wants or needs to have a partner in life to be happy.

My aunt is one of those people, she has never married, or had children, but she has no regrets she is one of the happiest people I know. She spent most of her life in a successful career, having enough money to travel the world, loves her animals and friends, and enjoys her life. She has never once said if only I had a romantic partner or child, she is happy the way her life is.

Like the saying goes, we all come into this world alone, and we all go alone, we are all alone really during life, and we all only have ourselves that we can truly count on.

Last edited by brook65; 11-15-2007 at 10:31 AM.

 
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