Do You Have A Fear Of Ending Up Alone?

Do You Have A Fear Of Ending Up Alone?

My friend Chris, blogging as Moxie, wrote a thought-provoking piece a few weeks back, entitled “You Just Might End Up Alone. And That’s Okay.”

The original question reads, “I am at my wits end. I am in my early 50′s and I can’t meet a man. I have tried the online thing and it hasn’t worked. I have a guy I’ve been friends with, but he only sees me as a friend. We have even gone away together a few times, but nothing has happened. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life. How else are people meeting and connecting?”

Pretty common complaint. Really uncommon answer. You think I’m blunt? Moxie gives this reader a full smackdown.

“Maybe it’s time to consider the possibility that you won’t meet anybody? I know that someone who does what I do isn’t supposed to say that. We’re supposed to spout trite sayings like, “It’ll happen when you least expect it!” or “There’s a lid for every pot!” You know what? Those are placebos. They’re fake bits of wisdom meant to encourage you and keep you on the path to finding love. I’m not saying you should give up completely. But I am saying that it’s time for you to reconcile with this fear you have of ending up alone. Because more than likely, one way or another, you will.”

It’s time to get comfortable with it being just you, because that may be how it turns out.

Now, I wouldn’t have said that because I actually do believe there is a lid for every pot. And if this was the only wisdom espoused (“Give up!”) I wouldn’t be sharing this with you. But Moxie was just getting rolling. She took the words right out of my mouth with this paragraph:

“To be honest, questions like, “Where can I go to meet men?” also tire me. You can meet a man anywhere. You can walk down the street and meet a man. You can go grocery shopping and meet a man. They’re everywhere. If you’ve tried various avenues to find a man and nothing is working, then it’s time for some introspection. Something isn’t working. I can’t tell you what it is because I don’t know you. Having me list out all the ways you can meet men isn’t going to do anything if the problem lies with you. Maybe you’re expectations are out of whack. Maybe you shoot out of your league. I don’t know.”

Finally, she brings it home with a crescendo, reiterating what I’ve said for years on this blog, which is that I’m not going to post your question if I agree with you and think you’re doing a great job. I’m only going to post an answer to you if I think I can see a blind spot and share something that may shift your perspective. Moxie goes even further:

“I would guess that confirmation bias is one of the leading reasons why so many men and women who seek long term commitment end up 40 or older and single. All their lives they’ve heard the same things over and over again. Their belief systems have been reinforced by perpetually listening to or being told the same thing day in and day out. You really want to make a change, OP? Get out of what ever vacuum you exist in and start fresh. This goes for everybody. Cut out all the people and places and ways you hear about how hard dating is and how awful men and women are and how this doesn’t work and that doesn’t work. Tune. It. Out. Because if you truly make finding a relationship a priority and you develop your own belief system based solely on your experiences and your experiences alone, your opportunities will increase ten fold. It’s time to get comfortable with it being just you, because that may be how it turns out. Until you’re okay with that possibility, you will continue to struggle.”

Yeah. That’s about right. It may not be the softest response, but it’s just about the most truthful one.

The full post can be read here. Your comments, as always, are appreciated below.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Lau_ra

    @Marie
    Well I wasn’t assuming that you got married just for the sake of it,no way, I just wanted to know what you meant exactly by that saying and I get your point.
    I’ve come into this “conscious” phase last year and I already knew the pool of eligible candidates is way smaller than in my mid-twenties, so its not like I assume that Mr. Right must fall from the sky or whatever – I do get I have to put effort into the process and I do go out, and date and etc., not just wait for love to happen while sitting at home.
     

  2. 32
    Joli

    I have to step in and voice my opinion on this post.
    I am 49 years old and will be 50 in a couple of months. I have more dates now than I ever did in my thirties and early forties. (I didn’t date for six years in my early-to-mid forties.) I’ve joined dating sites, and I love to dance. I go out frequently with my friends.
    This is what I’ve discovered. Once I changed my attitude, my dating life blossomed. For the first time in my life I am dating around, and I’m meeting wonderful men. I’ve stopped focusing on meeting Mr. Right and have switched gears to embracing Mr. Right Now. I live in the moment.
    Now that I’m dating around, I feel no more pressure about relationships. I no longer obsess about when “he” will text, call, or ask me out again. I don’t continuously wonder, “Where is this going?” I’ve learned to relax and just “be” and allow my relationships to develop organically. I wish I would have taken this approach a decade ago.
    I have a friend who struggles with dating. She dates the wrong men. She gets possessive about a man’s time before he gives her a commitment, and she refuses to take my approach, even though it’s working like a charm for me. In fact, she constantly retorts that I don’t have a problem finding dates. I tell her to be the “cool girl.” Don’t get angry if he can’t see you this weekend. Date other men. Have more girls’ nights out. Always be gracious and sweet when he calls. My philosophy is until a man offers a commitment of monogamy, he owes me nothing. She continues to stay miserable in her pursuits.
    I date around but I don’t sleep around. I am, in essence, auditioning men for the role of my next boyfriend. Although I’m seeing wonderful men, I’ve not quite turned the corner into wanting a commitment with any one of them yet. My former self would have committed first and learned about the man second. I’ve switched gears. I don’t plan to date around forever, just for as long as it takes to find someone with whom I want to spend all of my time with.
    Regardless of your age, join dating sites and make your profile shine. Don’t write a cookie-cutter version of the other profiles. Post pictures of yourself having fun. When you go out, don’t go out to meet men. Go out to have fun. I’ve discovered that when I go out to have fun with no other agenda, men tend to gravitate my way. I’ve concluded that you don’t have to be the prettiest woman in the room to shine and to get a man’s attention.
    No dates at 50-something? You can easily change that. I’ve been dating men between the ages of mid-thirties to late fifties. It’s all about letting go and living life. That’s when men will gravitate toward you. I know that the next time I make a commitment to someone, I’ll have a better idea of who I’m waking next to.

  3. 33
    Marie

    @Laura – sure I get your point.  I wasn’t trying to imply you just sit around.  I was trying to answer your question as to why love can be more on a schedule than most women think.
     
    @Joli – yes you make my point.  If these women in their 30′s date like you do at 49 I bet they would be happier but as you point out they may not know how to date like this.  I certainly wouldn’t have had I not pushed myself to research dating. And I wanted a family so waiting until I figured this out on my own in my 40′s would have not been a good option for me.

  4. 34
    K

    @Joli bravo.  Wise way to go about dating and I’m glad you are having fun at 49!  I’m finally learning that way of doing things in mid 30s, glad to have figured out sooner than later:).

  5. 35
    Joli

    It’s too bad that it took 49 years to try this approach. Actually, it was this site that got me on board with this approach (as well as being tired of partners who disappointed me). The last three men I dated did not want monogamy. Now that I am dating several men, I’m finding men who do want to find a monogamous relationship. You’ve got to smile at the irony.
     
    Here’s the real kicker: The key to dating this way is to change your perception. I keep telling my friend to stop worrying if she is “good enough” for the men she meets. I tell her to ask herself, instead, if the men she meets are compatible with HER needs.
     
    Dating this way means that I never have to be alone during the weekend unless I really want to be alone. AND, I date during the week now instead of just weekends. I never thought I could see more than one man at a time, but this process has allowed me to exhale and enjoy meeting new people.
     

  6. 36
    Lau_ra

    @Marie
    Nobody implied nothing. Good then:)
    @Joli
    I do agree with your view towards dating - thats how I’ve always been doing it, yet it didn’t bring me any solid results so far – no serious relationships in last 4 years, just short flings - perpetuum single could be my 2nd name. And I often hear from men themselves (friends, their acquaintances and etc.), that they see me as someone who is a totally independant party girl (party girl? me? just cause I like to live an active social life, instead of sitting home and making a pitty party?), who exudes high level of confidence and has sex-appeal (though I definitely ain’t the prettiest woman in the crowd) and doesn’t need a man (well of course I don’t need a man, I want a man, which is something way different).
    So I was totally confused for some time, thinking if I do something wrong by not suffocating men with demands or not initiating anything if they don’t show any effort to elaborate communication / relationship.
    Of course, I’m “guilty” of trying to re-make me at some point, to become “good enough” so that guys would want the comittment. Yet any time I was trying to “fit” the expectations of some man it brought me nothing but heartbreak, and I can tell such decisions were absolutely the most stupid thing I’ve ever done.
    But then I was “enlightened” enough to see that I am just dating wrong men-those who have no interest in developing anything meaningful with me (I was a rebound for them/ they loved their work more than a possibility to live a real life/etc.), so my relaxed strategy only works until the guy starts to feel like the moment of “step up or flight” is approaching. So many times its not the attitude towards dating that “makes a problem”, but the type of people we’re interested in.
    The only thing I do different is that I do sleep with some of guys at times. Maybe some people might think its nothing but slutting around, yet at this point I definitely think like I man – I don’t want to stay celibate until the right guy comes along.
    Actually, I think the most difficult aspect of practising this relaxed approach for younger women is that they usually want a family, and possibilities of starting a family get limited with age, so many of them feel a certain amount of pressure to find someone until they’d have to rival with hoards of younger and prettier women.
     
     
     

  7. 37
    Julia

    @Lau_ra
     
    I am 32 and have been dating like this for the past year and a half. Yes, I am single, yes I’ve had 2 boyfriends and no, I’m not any closer to getting married than I was before. However, the option of giving up at 30? You gotta be kidding me, that’s not an option at all. You give up and kiss your dreams goodbye because you just haven’t dated the right guy yet? Seems silly. I think you should reevaluate how long you are sticking around with guys who aren’t giving you what you need and keep on trucking. I broke up with my boyfriend of 9 months, 2 months ago and I have a 3rd date with a guy tonight. You just have to keep on trying.

  8. 38
    Lau_ra

    @Julia
    Where do you see a line that says “I give up”? I said you should not give up and summed up my experiences which proved me that the relaxed way of dating is much better than paranoid thinking that my boat is leaving. 

  9. 39
    Joli

    @Lau_ra,
     
    What is working for me right now is dating men who I would have never even considered before. They have to be “nice,” but otherwise, I’ve been dating against “my type” with sweet results.
     
    I have a history of gravitating toward men I find exciting, yet they often tend to be the wrong types of men. By allowing other men in my field of vision, I’m actually discovering that there are a lot of GREAT men out there. I just walked through life with blinders on and wasn’t willing to go out with them.
     
    I think it’s so easy to get caught up in who we think is our “type.” We all do it. However, I’ve discovered that I don’t need the male version of ME. There are a few qualities I must see in a man to get my attention, but everything else is flexible. How can I possibly know if a man is compatible with me if I don’t look beyond the type of man I’ve always dated?
     
    I’ve stopped looking for men who can fulfill all of my needs. If I want to go dancing, my gal pals can go with me. If I want to talk about my career, I’ve got work for that. I’ve slowly but surely have learned to appreciate men for their individual qualities as well as how well they treat the women in their lives. That is far more important than finding someone who likes to work out because I like to work out or who likes to read the same books I do.
     
    You’re right. Many younger women feel pressured to start a family and spend their energies looking for “the one.” There are many years of fertility ahead of most young women. I’d say that this approach is equally as important to them because they can find a life partner more quickly by dating several men at once than they will by dating one man at a time, several months at t time.
     

  10. 40
    Goldie

    @ Joli, I have a question about your #39
     
    “I’ve stopped looking for men who can fulfill all of my needs. If I want to go dancing, my gal pals can go with me. If I want to talk about my career, I’ve got work for that.”
     
    While I agree that no one can (or should be expected to) fulfill all of anyone’s needs, I’d like to know, if you don’t mind me asking – in your dating experience, where do you draw the line? what are the minimum compatibility requirements? I imagine it cannot be zero, because in a serious relationship, you won’t have all that much time to go dancing and pursuing other hobbies with your friends. You’ll be spending most of your free time with your SO, just because your free time is pretty limited to begin with. So considering that, shouldn’t there be something you two like to do together for fun? Even if you say a marriage or LTR is a long shot, but even on a date, what do you do with a man that you have no common interests with? or do you still expect there to be some common interests? Thanks.
     
     

  11. 41
    Joli

    @Goldie, I’m happy to clarify.
     
    I am actually more optimistic now that I will find a LTR, but I also embrace the short-term relationships because I can have fun with a variety of people.
     
    For instance, I’m seeing a man now who is 10 years younger, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue. He’s intelligent, mature, and has a stable career. He’s easy to be with, and he treats me like a lady. I love music, and I love to dance. He’ll dance with me, but karaoke is his real passion. When we go out, we tend to combine both of our interests. I have a first date in a few days with a man (about my age) who plays in a band that I have followed for a couple of years. I have no idea if he likes to dance, but music is our common connection. (I have danced to his band’s music many times!) Both of these men are worthy of a LTR. I’m just not obsessed with the notion of finding someone to live the rest of my life with RIGHT NOW because there are a lot of wonderful people out there with whom I can have fun in the meantime.
     
    I would never consider a LTR with an individual who has no common interests with me. There has to be some level of connection; however, my list of “must haves” has been through several revisions. Intelligence is a must. Laughter is important, so I really enjoy men who have a sense of humor that is compatible with my own. I also need someone who is not jealous and who doesn’t feel threatened when I have time with friends. I cannot be with a man with an explosive temper because when I was much younger, I was involved in two abusive relationships. Volatile tempers are deal breakers with me.
     
    I recently ended a dating relationship (we are still friends) with a man who was 13 years younger. He treated me very well; however, intellectually, we were on different levels. He also seemed childlike in many ways, not because of his age but because of his personality. And, his lack of grooming was a big turn-off. Enough said.
     
    When I am in a serious relationship, I put a lot of time and effort into it. I need someone who can agree to disagree and will talk about issues because I don’t want to go through life arguing about the small stuff. What I have learned through this new way of dating is that what I was attracted to in the past and the man who is most compatible with me are not necessarily one and the same. I’m more open minded about who I will date now.
     
    Honestly, I find it ironic that my dating life has become so fulfilling now that I am approaching 50. Where do I draw the line? Too young (twenty-somethings) and too old (men who are within a decade of my mother’s age). Explosive tempers. Smokers (because the smoke nauseates me). Men who are not my intellectual equal. Men with no goals. Men who act “old.” Men who are so set in their ways that they no longer pursue some kind of adventure in life.  Men who drunk dial me. Alcoholics and drug abusers.
     
    Yes, I do have deal breakers, but I’ve also found that the men I’ve had the most fun with are the same men I would have never considered dating in the past. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that these men that I would have previously turned down have more character and depth than I would have ever imagined. Integrity is paramount, and I’m finding more men with integrity now that I date multiple men than I did when I was trudging through one relationship at a time. I am optimistic that a LTR is in the near future. I’m just not pushing for one at the moment.

  12. 42
    Goldie

    Thank you Joli. Good advice! I will certainly keep it in mind now that I’m getting ready to go back to dating again. Best wishes to you in your love life!
     

  13. 43
    Lau_ra

    @Joli,
    you definitely have very good points here in all of your comments. 

  14. 44
    Joli

    Update: I’m now in a committed relationship. It took three months and dating around with eight different men to find him.

  15. 45
    Kathleen

    Joli 
    Thats pretty fast. I love your attitude. So how did you handle men that were pressuring you for sex and how did you discuss your requirement for monogamy?

  16. 46
    Mickey

    Fear? No.
    Resignation? Yes.

  17. 47
    Mickey

    Erika #28:
    Genesis 2:
    18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[a] him.” 
    21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 
    24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
     
    God knows and understands our needs, so am sorry for all the ones who don’t want to be alone for the right reasons, the good news is they can find love and strength only if they get close to him. 
     
    Scripture also says, among many others, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and “With God, all things are possible.”
    Admittedly, in my severely limited thinking I have a hard time reconciling those verses to the fact that there is tension (if not outright hostility) between the sexes.
    So, when the time comes for me to leave this earth, and I have not experienced a significant other who loved me for me, I don’t think I would regret it. After all, one can never miss what one never had, right?
     

  18. 48
    Joli

    @Kathleen#45,
     
    I didn’t have any issues with men pressuring me for sex. I made it clear that I would only become intimate with a man with whom I was in a monogamous relationship. I guess I was lucky.
     
    The biggest issue is that some people thought that dating around was cruel to the men who were attracted to the idea of having a relationship to me. I was completely upfront about what I was doing and encouraged the men to date around if they felt it was necessary. The most difficult part was telling a very nice man that I had chosen someone else.
     
    This is the first time in my life that I had chosen to date around. It worked out well for me. The man I chose was an acquaintance I had known for two and-a-half years. It took only one date for both of us to decide that a monogamous relationship was worth pursuing.

  19. 49
    Erika

    Mickey#47:
    Admittedly, in my severely limited thinking I have a hard time reconciling those verses to the fact that there is tension (if not outright hostility) between the sexes.So, when the time comes for me to leave this earth, and I have not experienced a significant other who loved me for me, I don’t think I would regret it. After all, one can never miss what one never had, right?

    Mickey, 
    Tension between sexes is just one of the many obstacles we decide to fight or not in order to find and keep a relationship, as I mentioned at the beggining of my comment; This is a very delicate topic, I think we can’t be defending one side only. 
    I used those verses mentioned in the Bible as a reference only, so we can have different points of view regarding this topic, but I know from people who have found partners by praying, I mean is not all about praying, our desires come along with actions, which means that the person who prays, will also make an effort to meet people, do more activities.,etc
    If we see it from another perspective, we don’t always get what we want, we get what we need, and in many cases we get what we deserve. So there’s a possibility of not getting answers from God regarding finding and meeting someone, just because that’s not in his plans for you. 
    And of course I agree with the fact that one can never miss what one never had, but at least when the time comes for me to leave this earth I’d love to know I did all I could in order to make my dream of finding someone come true. :) 
     
     
     
     

  20. 50
    Kathleen

    Jolie 48
    Im happy for you and thanks for your encouraging post. 
    Im a similar age as you. I think dating several men until you decide on one is very smart. I cant imagine someone saying its cruel. Think it keeps you objective, unattached to an outcome and think if men have a sense of the competition they will be more inspired to “claim” you.
    I think when you have known someone before in real life you can have many reference points to their character. In the online world, many guys are not so accountable for bad behavior so it doesnt surprise me you made a decision in one date.  
    all the best!  

  21. 51
    judy

    Joli 41 – I loved your post.  And so happy you found the right man.  Good for you!
    Erika 49 – Yes, in theory, it’s wonderful to believe that tadida, being close to God is the best thing in life.  In reality, I’d rather be warm in bed with a physical man than with a spiritual being.  Sorry to be brutal, but this God stuff tends to get truly up my nose when what I want most is not my Bible, but a kiss, cuddle, sex, and affection.
    With my deepest apologies if that offends you, but the Bible also tells us to tell the truth.  And that is my truth.

  22. 52
    Steve

    I know why I’ll end up alone… because I’m too ugly to attract anyone. Some say I look OK, but I think this is just a variant of the old “You’ll find love when you least expect it” nonsense. They don’t want to tell the truth about how I really look because they think they’re sparing my feelings, or they don’t wish to appear shallow.
    Seriously, if I wasn’t so ugly, I would have found someone by now instead of being on this endless ride of rejection, more rejection, and “let’s just be friends” and a whole bunch of other garbage. 
    A good dose of confidence is of no value when people can’t get past your looks.

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