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Thread: Single and anxious

  1. #1
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    Single and anxious

    Hi all,

    I have been single six years. Prior to this time I was in two long term relationships. They didnít work out as I just wasnít ready to meet the man of my life at that time. My last relationship ended when I was 28.

    When the relationship ended I had a lot of growing up to do. I dated a lot for two years and was anxious to jump into another relationship. With time though I began to realize that I had a lot of work to do on myself. I had an issue with alcohol and the beginnings of an eating disorder in my late 20s which I have since resolved. I also moved away for a few years and worked hard to get myself in a good place. I sorted my finances out and developed a new career and made lots of new friends in a new part of the world. I have worked really hard to build my confidence and I suppose in a way I feel I have ďfound myselfĒ in the last few years. I have good self awareness and am always working towards goals and trying to develop myself to become the best possible version of myself- without sounding Oprah like.

    I have returned home after a few years abroad (im a year at home now} as I was eager to meet someone. i Want to have children and settle down. Itís something I have always envisaged as part of my future. However, despite having lots of interests, a good personality and an ability to easily connect with people, I feel like my love life never works out. I have been told I am very attractive all throughout my 20s but I have a real issue believing this when I feel that I have been single for so long-6 years.

    I know to the outside world I appear confident and together but inwardly I am so anxious that I have missed the boat and that I wonít find love. All my friends are married with children and friends who were single have since found Love. I know that this attitude wonít help and I am anxious to become more positive about it but I find it hard when I feel I go on a lot of dates with men who are totally unsuitable or those that Iím interested in donít seem bothered.

    My real issue is believing that I am attractive. I look at pictures of myself and inwardly think I mustnít look like that, as the girl in the photos is very attractive. I think this goes back to my teen years as I had bad acne and was self conscious of being tall. I feel like people tell me a lot that Iím very pretty but the minute I get ďrejectedĒ by a guy I think itís because Iím too ďbigĒ. Iím slim but was slimmer in my late 20s but with that came an unhealthy obsession with food and exercise. I eat now when I like and have a good diet and although my Mind sometimes tells myself the story that I would be more attractive if I was half a stone lighter, I canít go back to subjecting myself to a rigid diet which brought me unease and rigidity.

    When I read above, I realize how problematic this thinking appears. When I was in school, a few guys would comment negatively on me being tall, and as I can be quite sensitive I think I took that with me. Deep down, I think I know my thinking is distorted but I donít know how to go back to believing in myself.

    I go on dates and men comment that I am very pretty etc. Depending on the day, I sometimes believe it. However I think a lot more of the guys who met me on a blind date and didnít seem interested in me at all. Straight away I tell myself Iím too big and like a guy, even though when I see videos of myself I am surprised by how slim and feminine I appear. How do I correct this thinking and start believing and accepting myself as I am? I feel if I do I will attract good things but at the moment I am full of self doubt about my attractiveness to men. I realize this is quite disempowering to need a man to make me believe i am attractive but I feel in every other sense I have got my life together but my love life never works out. I donít want to be alone and while I embraced it for the last few years out of the 6 years I have been single, I am very anxious about it in the last year. Time is ticking by and I have become lonely, despite having lots of friends and interests.

    Just to point out, Iím not too fussy, maybe years ago I was but now I just want a nice guy who I am attracted to and I get on with. And although, the above is an email filled with self doubt, I am very sure that I donít give off this vibe when I meet people.

  2. #2
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    What strikes me so much about your post is your emphasis on your physical features. Yes, people often are attracted to looks at first. Some people focus more on physical features especially if they are looking for arm candy and not just chemistry/someone they personally find attractive. Yes there is a difference. So make sure you look your best -look approachable, look positive, use good posture, good body language, be clean and wear flattering, feminine clothing (not tight or revealing unless you're in the mood more for a fling). Yes, you want to make a good impression physically too. Yes, looks matter. No they do not matter as much as you describe and if they do to an individual person that's fine -all you need is one right person and I wouldn't want a person who focused on looks as much as you seem to think people do.

    Yes, being slim helps a great deal and I also know of many overweight people in long term happy relationships. And being slim especially helps when meeting people through online sites -and make sure your photos are accurate because it can be more of the "hmm she posted misleading photos" than not liking what you look like.

    I was single at almost 39 when I reconnected with my future husband. We'd been seriously involved in our late 20s/early 30s. I was cute/attractive. He is too! I knew many many single people in their 30s and 40s because back then I made it my business to live in a major city teeming with single people so I never felt like I was the only one despite feeling the biological clock pressure. Also understand that you chose not to do the work in your 20s to be ready for a serious relationship -not that there are any guarantees but you need to accept that your friends who are married may have been "lucky" or simply may have done the work earlier than you to be the right person to find the right person.

    When I was single in my 30s I was working intense and crazy and unpredictable hours at work. These are the things I did to meet people: volunteer work, through friends at work and outside of work, in my apartment building, at the gym, at religious organizations and events, at singles events, through online dating. I made sure I went to at least one event every week or more and I met women too who could introduce me to men (and also because I enjoyed making new friends). I asked everyone I trusted to set me up. I set people up, and they returned the favor.

    On the looks thing again. My husband and I are in our early 50s. I think he's really cute! He's put on weight and it only bothers me because I worry about his health. I do not feel like my face is attractive anymore and it bothers me and so far I'm not willing to have work done or take the time to get a "makeover" etc. It doesn't bother my husband -he tells me he thinks I'm beautiful. I am happy with my body/weight/fitness and I work really hard on that also for health reasons. Oh and we were able to conceive a child in our early 40s and my strong suggestion to you is -freeze your eggs now -I did not have that opportunity. It all worked out but it was stressful to be pregnant for the first time at age 41-42. I had an undiagnosed eating disorder in my teens/early 20s. I get it. I'm also happy to PM with you if you think it would help.

    I'm sorry you feel lonely and I hope some of this input helped you.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Some therapy would help you connect the dots and help integrate the inside and outside.

  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Some therapy would help you connect the dots and help integrate the inside and outside.
    It might and I wouldn't do that first unless OP you think there is a mental health issue as opposed to a more typical "I want to be married and I'm in my 30s and panicking a bit".

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  6. #5
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    I think it is a lot of anxiety that I will end up alone.i suppose modern society focuses a lot on looks and so I am placing a lot of emphasis on this. Iím also confident that I can easily connect with people so that doesnít worry me but my confidence regarding my appearance wavers for some reason. Are a lot women like this??

    Modern day dating is hard. I just feel constantly open to judgment and then with modern day dating apps itís often a case of men going online and swiping for the next best thing. I worry that the good men are gone. I know if I can curtail the anxiety it will probably work out but I feel recently that it is consuming me. I also feel that people keep saying work on yourself and it will happen but I feel like screaming that I have to no end and sometimes someone just doesnít want to be alone anymore..is that so bad?!! I know focusing on it so much wonít help but I feel like i am thinking about it constantly recently. Thanks for above post though.. u give me hope!!

  7. #6
    Hi Shannon, I totally get you girl. It's tough. I'm in the same boat, I got out of the dating/love game after some long-term relationships one after the other and I've never managed to get back in there, despite wanting to. It's been 8 years which I can't quite believe! Like you I've been doing some soul searching and work on myself, but unlike you I still have a long way to go.

    I can relate to your self doubt and the feelings you describe, I think this is normal (though not exactly healthy!) especially if you worry about time passing by etc and there is a certain amount of pressure from society etc. I find it hard not to feel jealous or demoralised when I see so many young couples married and starting families and I am so far from that, but that is my own issue not theirs.

    I say keep doing you, focus on self love like you have been. There's a book called Who Says You Can't You Do I highly recommend which talks about mindset (for life in general) and positive visualisation etc and is backed up by science it isn't all airy fairy. Give this a read, keep developing yourself and putting yourself (safely) out there. Dating experience is always good to build up if you're comfortable with that.

    All the best lovely!

  8. #7
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    I can't say for everyone, but I do think it's possible that you worry about your looks possibly a bit too much. It's okay to want to look nice but it's not usual to focus so intensely on how you look and what people think and if you look a certain way or if you're striving for perfection, etc.
    It's a bit too much.

    Personality overcomes most of it anyhow. You can get a woman or even a man who is exceptionally good looking but are total jerks and have the ugliest hearts. Looks can't save them and they too end up alone.
    There are loads of actors and actresses, models etc who are single due to the fact that they have ugly personalities.

    Confidence should come from a place of feeling good about who you are inside, not outside.
    Of course everyone wants to take care of themselves and to look nice but what matters much more is having confidence in who you are and how you accept yourself and don't need validation from others.

    It's possible that the men you've met just aren't the ones. Finding the one suitable person is not easy and can take many years.
    Some people get lucky and find their mate early on, but not everyone is lucky, it's why the dating sites exist and have hundreds/thousands of people on them.
    Finding the right one really can be difficult.
    It's easy enough to find a date, I think just about anyone can, eventually. But to find someone to be in a relationship with is much more difficult and can take a long time.

    All I can say is that hopefully your time comes soon. Do the best you can, don't lose hope and when you go on dates again, try to be more relaxed. Flirt, get to know your date on a friend level, have fun.
    Once you focus on those things more so than finding a husband, the pressure will be off and it will hopefully go better. At least the vibe will be better.
    Concentrate on becoming good friends with some laid back flirting and having a nice time.

    And try to not get caught up in what's in the mirror. There is no perfection. Focus on being happy with who you are and not if you look a certain way.
    Your self confidence and self esteem will follow.

    You're not alone in the frustrations of dating. Lots of people will marry early and also divorce. And they will be trying to find "the one" at a later stage in life, some even being single parents now that they are divorced.
    The bottom line is, you have lots of time to find your partner and no need to be envious of your friends and feel that they have everything.
    Just do the best with what you have and focus on the positive.

  9. #8
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    Thank you guys! Yes def something there with the mention of perfectionism. I put a lot of pressure on myself and expect a lot from myself in every area of my life and am critical of myself over the smallest of things yet donít high five myself over the good moments. The perfectionist mindset I think was partly why I struggled so much with food and dieting for a few years in my late 20s. As I said also I hear all the negative comments about myself and discard all the positive ones. Iím not sure what this is about as in other ways I do like myself.

    Itís def hard being a single woman in todayís world.. I feel like people have a level of sympathy\pity for single women in their 30s but for men itís almost viewed as a positive. Iím hyper aware also of any comments any friends pass about it and am sensitive that theyíre pitying me when maybe in fact theyíre not. Also very aware there are lots of married unhappy couples. I suppose I just worry like u little lady that i wonít find love. That kind of freaks me out if Iím honest ..Iím an anxious person by nature so need to try curtail all the negative thoughts surrounding single life as I really believe things come together when ur positive. Just a bit easier said than done. Itís the one area of my life that doesnít come easy and I find it hard to go with the flow. Work etc I am chilled about. Like u I donít know where the last six years have gone.. I never expected to be single this long. Single life has helped me become a better and more grounded person but recently the anxiety around it lasting forever is getting a bit consuming 🙈

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by Shannon1235
    I think it is a lot of anxiety that I will end up alone.i suppose modern society focuses a lot on looks and so I am placing a lot of emphasis on this. Iím also confident that I can easily connect with people so that doesnít worry me but my confidence regarding my appearance wavers for some reason. Are a lot women like this??

    Modern day dating is hard. I just feel constantly open to judgment and then with modern day dating apps itís often a case of men going online and swiping for the next best thing. I worry that the good men are gone. I know if I can curtail the anxiety it will probably work out but I feel recently that it is consuming me. I also feel that people keep saying work on yourself and it will happen but I feel like screaming that I have to no end and sometimes someone just doesnít want to be alone anymore..is that so bad?!! I know focusing on it so much wonít help but I feel like i am thinking about it constantly recently. Thanks for above post though.. u give me hope!!
    I stopped dating in 2005. Many of my friends of all ages have been dating a lot since that time. Nothing to do with "modern society". Some people when they are choosing future spouses focus a lot on physical features and not just for attraction purposes. I did in the 1970s-early 90s or thereabouts - I wanted someone "hot" or considered handsome/attractive on my arm - not just because of attraction. As I got older that became less important and not at all because I was settling. Not at all. I don't agree with "working on yourself" unless you are very concrete and specific about what you are working on and as long as it doesn't mean -in your case- not dating or looking to date. And I mean specific - I work on myself in very specific and basic ways - we all need to work on ourselves but using the generic "work on yourself" is just a lot of psychobabble IMO.

    I also would avoid telling yourself what "society" focuses on. You need to meet one individual who is right for you for the long term. One. That individual is not "society" and relying on generalizations is just going to give you excuses not to be out there and proactive.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    Do you have any hobbies? Spend time with other friends who are single like yourself? Perhaps you're spending too much time with the married friends who make you feel less than?
    I have friends who have no interest in marriage and sincerely are happy being single. They don't have the thoughts of needing to be married or kids, etc.
    My one friend just came back from Antartica on an expedition and also travelled to Africa this past summer.
    She is 44 and is happier than anyone I know.
    Never married, no kids and no intentions of either.

    It IS possible to live a very happy life without marriage or it being the end all.

    Maybe you're giving a vibe out as well when you're out on a date and worrying too much about how you look and if it will lead somewhere.
    You might not even be meaning to but it could be making things awkward and uncomfortable.
    Not saying it's a 100% but possibly.

    I think what other people might be meaning as well is if you focus on what other things bring you happiness in life, it might make you feel less anxious and less unhappy about your current dating status.
    Being more happy will also help make dating easier, coincidentally.

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