Single Woman, Aged 38, No husband, No kids – No problem

by Zofia S, UK

The prospect of this article’s title, in my early 30’s, filled me, my single friends and probably most family members with dread – destined to have a life of misery and aloneness that was to be avoided!

Over the years, not once did I (nor any of my friends) really embrace ‘single status’, always in the hope of meeting someone at the next party or dinner etc. So why did I (and do so many others) struggle with this issue of being single? Why is it so important to us to have someone to call a boyfriend, partner or husband? What’s wrong with us being a single us? Is the only way to have fun, when one is with another? I asked myself such questions AND MORE – after all, I have good health, looks, own property, have a career, am financially, emotionally and mentally sound, am fun to be with and have no ‘baggage’ (kids or ex-husbands). Yet in spite of all this, I still felt a stigma (and could feel it from others too) of not being in a relationship; that there was something missing or that something was the matter, or wrong with me. “It will happen when you are not looking”, said friends who had successfully found ‘their key’. But I couldn’t help wonder to myself, had they really found the key, or just any key?

Finding the key is aka finding The One – and from my experience the key is so often replaced by a key; one that just happens to turn the lock – of convenience, safety, comfort, arrangement, guilt, circumstance or duty, or for someone else’s benefit, wish or agenda. Redefining or somehow reshaping our partners ‘to make them fit’ (whatever we want from a relationship) has us convinced that the key we have, is the key.

With experience, TIME and increasing AGE, our body clock creates tremendous pressure to make choices – which exacerbates the held perception that being on our own is not good or is a negative thing. So, as a mid-30s woman, taking time to be single (when there is the feeling of having no time, or that time is running out) is not embraced. Many of us anxiously end up compromising ourselves and make do with someone who’s not quite right. We settle. Take second best.

A click-change arose for me from wanting to truly understand my beliefs around what a partner is for. Why was it that I felt that to have fun, laughter, interesting moments, good times or outings etc. in my life, it had to be (or was found) with a partner? Was I saying I was dull and boring otherwise? Certainly not! However, there was the expectation that another had to provide, and in return there would be reciprocation from them – an exchange system of fulfilling each other’s needs.

As young girls, we learn that everything we say, do or wear has the potential to capture a man’s eye or fulfill his interest in us. We live our lives through films, books and advertising that give us hope of finding and ending up with the right mate. Being on our own is rarely cherished, but overrun by the race we have with time – not being the last one on the shelf. So for most women, ‘getting on with life’ means we consciously or otherwise, look for the guy to fulfill our aim in providing us with kids, and if this is not happening, then we must be ‘fishing in the wrong pond’, or gay. In not following the marriage and baby trail, the message is that we are only failing ourselves by neither completing our duty as women to bear the next generation, nor providing our parents with much wanted grandchildren. And we can feel a sense of incompleteness in relation to all this expectation. The need to find a partner is therefore HUGE – to fulfill us, our needs and those of others (or so we think and / or hope).

The usual base-point that establishes desirability and attainability for a partner has an outwards reaching focus (looking as pretty as possible) which relies on there being a return or a recognition coming back. The fear of potentially losing our mate to another woman creates insecurity, jealousy and competition around other (more attractive) women. In addition, with botox, breast implants and nip ‘n’ tuck procedures, our female worth or value (seen as a commodity) has become largely dependent on how (good) we look aesthetically.

As a woman, our lives are hinged on our body clocks, whether that’s freezing or donating our eggs (whilst leveraging our careers), or considering IVF or adoption. We’re made to only feel complete through having a partner who can fulfill our desire of achieving motherhood. If not, then we as women are at fault – we are not trying hard enough. We are doing something wrong. We are (probably) infertile, or shall end up being lonely, unattractive spinsters or aunts.

Only when a friend encouraged me to “start seeing my single years as a blessing” and not, as I had been viewing them, as “a curse”, did the tide begin to change towards freeness. I realised those words were actually asking me to use this time to start a relationship with myself (the key that I was seeking) first and foremost – instead of believing fixedly that ‘relationship’ was only really possible with another.

Note; this is not about remaining single forever! And / or against having a family and / or children (it’s perfectly possible and normal to still love kids without actually wanting to produce or give birth to one). It is about true choice as opposed to it being pre-determined or expected.

Learning to be alone without feeling the loneliness is what I am discovering is the real key that opens the real lock. And perhaps this is the root key to address when it comes to having any relationship – not just with self, but in partnership with another, others, and within a family also.

159 thoughts on “Single Woman, Aged 38, No husband, No kids – No problem

  1. It is a sad fact that many women in formal relationships can be very lonely. Building a loving relationship with yourself and you share the love with all those around you.

  2. “Being on our own is rarely cherished” Currently I am exploring and learning about being content with myself. Understanding everything is energy I have a lived experience of wallowing in emotions but on the flip side can I bathe in my beauty and gloriousness and not need another to bring me something?

  3. “Single Woman, Aged 38, No husband, No kids – No problem”, I would say that there are hardly any women at all anywhere in the world that can say these words truthfully, as in not even a smidgen of secret doubt, regret, hesitation, fear, hardness, bitterness, remorse, pain or even anguish. It is a massive all consuming issue for an incredible amount of women worldwide. And the pressure and the pictures may be different from country to country but the set up and the underlying pretence is the same, namely ‘without either a husband or/and a child then you are in some way not whole’. But it’s a set up, a total set up we have the potential to be the fullness of God in each and every unfolding moment, regardless of our circumstances, otherwise how could God possibly be God if He was dependant on a specific criteria?

  4. This article explores a lot of the visible and invisible pressures to have a partner. What I got from it was that we need to love and accept ourselves whether we are single or not, instead of pining and feeling we are missing something. The key is definitely with us and being single is a great opportunity to get to know and love ourselves inside out.

  5. Yes the expectations of others can be just as intense as our own need to not be alone. Then there is also sympathy and pity which is just as bad as it makes us look like we can not be on our own and enjoying it. All of this is easier to deal with when we build a solid foundation with ourselves so we can feel what is true for us and what is not.

  6. I love this line – “Learning to be alone without feeling the loneliness” It really is the key. How many of us want a relationship so we do not have to feel the loneliness? And therefore what kind of need do we bring to any relationship?

  7. There is a myth around loneliness, thinking that we need to be in a relationship so that we won’t be lonely, yet one of the loneliest places to be is in a relationship that is not loving or evolving, and exists in a functioning loveless way. I love the way you expose the myth and the need for having a partner to fulfil our lives.

  8. I love the lesson on needs. It always give me an opportunity to care deeper for my own needs. And the need to get it from others diminish. It is not about doing Life alone, but it is to learn to give to myself the love I deserve no matter what happens in life.

  9. As a young adult in my twenties I had huge admiration for women who I could see were strong in themselves and had a powerful presence. These women were usually single. Observing women in relationships who did not have the same sense of inner power gave me the picture that it is not possible to be a powerful woman and be in a relationship. And indeed, this picture was backed up by my own experience. When I was in a relationship I would be miserable because I would hand my power away, and when I was single I would be so much happier and much more myself. This image and belief has come with me through my adult years and it still influences my decisions today. So as you say Zofia, our first commitment is in our relationship to ourselves, and from there learning how to hold our power within a relationship with someone else. It need not be one or the other, and we need not settle for an arrangement. We can have it all. We just need to be true to ourselves.

  10. When you think about it, it’s totally crazy to view being single as something odd or wrong, but this is how it feels within a society that stresses that it is necessary and important to be in a relationship. Claiming ourselves back from this is something that we all need to do, not only to feel ok or even good about ourselves, but also to give ourselves a chance of being someone who can stand on our own two feet and is capable of bringing something to a relationship rather than needing something from it. Why should we even care if we are single or not? We are the same person in each instance!

    1. Ah but the trouble is so many of us are not the ‘same person in each instance’. Due to the pictures and beliefs around being in a relationship, so many of us feel inadequate when we are not in a relationship. I know that I felt so crap about myself that I ensured that I pretty much always had ‘someone on the go’, I wasn’t overly fussy either, as long as I had someone who was interested in me then this was enough to falsely bolster my confidence.

  11. There are only two keys that we have to hold, each one opening the door to a house in which we can dwell. One gives us access to the door of House of Lies found anywhere outside of us, in the world around us, and the other opens the door to the House of God, found within us. What gives us awareness as to which key we are holding is our relationship with truth, with love be it a surrender or a resistance, and our willingness to feel the difference.

  12. I had this feeling of massive pressure reading through what happens every single day across the planet of women (and men) being expected to live a certain, cookie-cutter style way of life. Could this be one of the precursor behaviours that energetically feeds the more extreme behaviours of imposition towards women?

  13. We all have a relationship with ourselves, but how often do we question the quality of that relationship? if it’s entirely based on gaining recognition from outside of us, there’s always a constant dissatisfaction with life and a yearning to fill with with something – a job, career, partner or kids. Letting go of all this and finding out that actually, we’re already amazing and super fun to be around just as we are is the most liberating and enjoyable process, because we realise that nothing outside of us can give us anything we’re not already: we already are everything, and relationships, careers, etc can only magnify what’s already there.

  14. After being married and then in a long term relationship for most of my life, I have now been enjoying being single and building a loving relationship with myself which I love.

  15. This is a great exposure of the many ideals and beliefs around being less than if you are single. It’s so helpful to unpick them and also to commit to exploring the relationship you have with yourself which is the foundation for all other relationships. I am enjoying deepening my relationship with myself and through this can feel myself opening up more to others and thus feeling less alone.

  16. I am enjoying building a more intimate relationship with myself, and understand that lovingly being in a relationship with myself is foundational for all my other relationships.

  17. “What’s wrong with us being a single us? ” A great question Zofia – to which the answer is – nothing! I know many amazing beautiful funny gorgeous single women – you being one of them. After many years of marriage I found myself newly single and at first it was difficult – for many reasons. But now after many years of singleness I relish and enjoy the freedom it gives. Learning to have a meaningful relationship with ourselves first is important if we are not going to be needy or codependent – in any other relationship.

  18. Having a relationship with myself is key before and throughout my relationships with other people. Because if I don’t love myself then I want/need/expect/demand that it come from others. And there is no love in those relationships. And it’s not about going off into a cave to ‘work on myself’ but to learn and grow in my relationship with myself while with others. Seeing them as reflections helps enormously as we learn via reflection and watching/feeling others.

  19. I was married and had three children by the age of 26 and at 32 I was separated, a single mother and a young woman who had no idea who she was, so entrenched was I in mothering. The only women that I knew who didn’t have children were those who wanted to but never managed to conceive. I can’t remember knowing anyone who was childless by choice as it was an era when women were expected to have children and I am sure if they couldn’t they would have felt that the world was viewing them as not fulfilling their expected role in life; how destructive to a woman’s self-worth would this belief have been?!

  20. Being in my mid-thirties and going into a relationship and then having it end exposed so many pictures for me of what I think I need to be, how I thing I should look and also showed the underlying pattern of wanting to be in a relationship to feel complete- so looking for the man to fill something in me instead if bringing all of me to the man. It has been an exposing but also deeply confirming period.

  21. The empowerment of a woman is to live the truth of how she feels within her heart, despite how the consciousness of being a woman, as well as of our cultures, persistently try to control and imprison us. Our power is to see through all these prisons and to still be able to live our freedom.

    1. Yes Adele, indeed we all are in some way forever single, no matter if we have a couple or not. So great to come back to our power, freely living from there to relate with others

  22. There is nothing worse than being anxiously driven by the impositions of societal ideals and beliefs so that we end up compromising ourselves by settling for anything less that what is true. it is gorgeous to see the beauty and power in those choosing to live and flourish, in spite of what is considered normal, reflecting to others that they need not be victims of pictures for there is exquisiteness in any kind of living so long is it is true for them.

  23. I feel like there is a point when a woman can ask herself: are you going to make space for true love in your life? And how this is a learning journey that starts with ourselves, and perhaps starts with saying no to what is not the love that we deeply know is true, as painful as this may be at certain steps along the way, as what pleases and entices comes along, so then the next question is: are you willing to stay on your path of return back to you? And then we can become so much more confirmed in our choices and the beauty that arises from our hearts, so then the question perhaps is: are you ready to truly let the love in that another person can hold for you? What happens next I have yet to learn…

  24. What you have shared Zofia is considered simple normality for so many women in the world. But is this really normal? Just reading it feels exhausting–have we as women chosen what is exhausting and complicated to be our normality? Asking these questions allow us to be honest and eventually come back to what is true–that we are love. So, are our choices reflecting love?

    1. I agree Adele. Zofia has highlight and you have beautifully expanded on how abnormal and absurd our current ‘normal’ is and in fact how this consciousness does not support or inspire women to explore, embrace and embody the power, sacredness and wisdom we naturally are which when lived offers the reflection of what true beauty and love is.

  25. You have covered so many of the ideals and beliefs we women hold around being single. It’s great to open up the discussion so we can question them. And by the way I love the title you chose for the blog.

  26. A joy to read and understand what this means – “So, as a mid-30s woman, taking time to be single (when there is the feeling of having no time, or that time is running out) is not embraced.” Applying that to your life makes sense. For example embracing what is true for you if it seems to be a strength or a weakness brings a acceptance to it. It is moving in truth instead of outside reaction. It’s understanding where you are at and embracing it in full.

    1. ‘Time is running out’, what a total lie. The concept of lineal time is simply not true, it’s much more true to say that we’re all running up and down on the spot. We’re here in the potential expansiveness of the moment, either contracting or expanding but we’re not ‘going anywhere’ and so the whole concept of ‘time running out’ is an illusion that puts an enormous amount of pressure on so many of us constantly. The end of life looming closer and closer is utter rot, there is no end to life ever but there is always the offer of eternal expansion.

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