Early on in the life of this blog, I wrote several posts about dating after turning 40 and the minefield it can sometimes be. Like when I was asked out by the homeless man I was serving at a homeless shelter or the time I got hit on by a man riding a pink child’s bike. Not to mention Facebook’s recent mission to set me up with Cowboys and/or Native Americans.
I also wrote a post, about love, fear and everything in between, which received several emotionally raw comments from women who, at 40, had never experienced real love or relationships. I turned one comment, from a woman who was turning 40 and had never been in a relationship, into a post and that post hit a nerve, becoming one of the most commented on posts on the site.
Today a member of the WAF community, Tricia, is presenting an alternative view to the theory that every woman, and certainly every woman in her 40s, wants to be in a relationship. She’s alone and thrives in it. That’s not so unusual, as I have many single female friends in their 40s and older who enjoy their single status. Where I think she’s different is, well, read for yourself…
On Being Alone – by Tricia Amiel
I come from a large family of women. At some point in my life, around the age of 40, I realized that all of them are alone. There are no marriages that worked out, no long term relationships. I don’t know what it is about us as a family, and I wonder what it is about me.
I’ve been alone a long time, after a failed marriage and a long string of short affairs. It wasn’t a decision I made at first, but I’ve grown into aloneness and am finding comfort in it. It’s now a solid decision that I’m making every day. I recognize that I’ve made poor choices in the past, and that this has probably influenced my decision to be alone. But it’s more than that. I really just don’t need or want to be with anybody. I feel alone in that too. It seems to me that everybody wants to find the right person to be with, and I’ve wondered what it is about me that finds me in this place in my life, and what it means.
Maybe this is just a stage in my life that will change, but I can’t even imagine that. I can imagine doing the rest of my journey through this life without a partner. In fact, I’m comforted by the thought. There’s a certain joy in it for me. It’s not that I never get lonely, because I certainly do. But not often enough to make a difference in how I feel, and it’s easily resolved by spending time with my friends, my children, even the students I am compelled to connect with a couple of times a week. I’m filled up by working, by writing, by achieving my goals. It’s enough for me somehow, and more satisfying than any relationship I’ve ever been in.
Although I’ve been accused of deluding myself, of being bitter, I like to think that maybe I’ve finally learned to love myself and my life enough, that I’ve come into a state of grace after years of struggling with life and with love. There’s nothing bitter about this…this is a kind of deep, meaningful peace, something I’ve never found in romantic relationships. It’s about me, and having the space to come into my own way of living and being. That way simply doesn’t require the presence of another being. There’s just enough of me now to give myself the joy, the comfort, the love that I need.
A very important person in my life once told me that the only way I was ever going to feel complete was to be with the right person. I can honestly say to her that I’ve found that right person, after 42 years of searching, that she is my one and only, hopefully for a lifetime. That she is me.
What are your thoughts on being single at 40? Are you like this reader who not only enjoys it, but plans on staying that way? Share your thoughts here or on The Women at Forty Facebook page.