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37, never married, wondering if it's "too late"


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Recently I had a conversation with a woman who when she found out my age and that I've never been married (had one long term - 2 years - when I was 20) asked me, "So why haven't you been married?" Then without taking a breath, "You better get married before it's too late."


Too late for what?!?


For the last 8 years or so, my relationships have lasted around 2 months at which point I've basically found that they don't have "sticking power", even though I'd like them to work out. Back in my early and mid 20's, relationships seemed to have more sticking power and there were times I even let the idea of marriage cross my mind.


These days, if a woman takes too much time from the activities I enjoy (playing/composing music, writing, enjoying the outdoors), I find that I'd rather give up the woman than the activities.


When I talk to old-timers about this stuff, around 75% of them say I'm doing the right thing- never get married. The rest say that marriage has been the best thing of their lives.


If I were to ever get married, I think it would have to be a conscious decision, a path that I choose, because there's no way it's going to happen by accident... getting caught up in the passions of a relationship aren't what they used to be. So why choose that path when I'm perfectly happy the way things are?


I went to college, lived overseas for a while playing music, lived in ski towns for a while playing music, and now have "settled down" in a house, have a dog and cat, and enjoy being part of a community. It's unfortunate that in the four years I've been here, I've broken off four relationships, all around the two month time span, because I didn't feel that "sticking power" of old.


Sorry to ramble on here. I guess my question is what is the big deal about getting married? Am I missing something earth shattering here? Is it "too late" for me?


Are there any good reasons to give up on the things I want to accomplish and instead focus that energy on another person?


I look forward to reading about any experiences and/or advice in this area. I've never talked about this stuff in such great detail before. The beauty of the anonymous internet makes all sorts of things possible.



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Hi there and Welcome!


I think that whatever you are comfortable living with is what you should stick with. Other people's opinion should not carry that much weight because they are not going to live your life for you, if something goes wrong in the marriage it will be on YOUR shoulders not theirs. You are a contributing part of your community whether you are single or not should not make a difference.


I think those people who say it's getting late might be referring to having children or the possibility of not finding a mate as you get older. If having children is not a priority then you don't have to worry about that.


Now having said that I will say that if you don't want to ever marry you should at least consider having a long term relationship. There is something to be said for having a companion to share our days with. No reason you should shut yourself off from relationship just because marriage is not for you.


Things change though and we just never know what is coming in the future. So if you find yourself wanting to marry some day--go for it.. the choice is yours afterall.

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Hey, that's a nice little summary there muneca. That is pretty much how I feel about it as well. I'm 38, never married, and I would be very surprised if I were ever in a position to consider it. And for all that, my married friends and acquaintances always seem to envy my position. They are always telling me to stay single. Well, they were telling me, because nowadays I guess they consider me so old that I will never change my ways, and they are probably right. In my twenties I was under so much pressure to get married I think I would have knocked the jaw off the very next person to even broach the subject Well, when you are asked a thousand times about when are you going to find a girl and get married it does become extremely tiring and irritating.


I have been single for so darned long it's really hard for me to even conceptualise a relationship, living with someone or getting married. I'm pretty comfortable as it is, but I do need my friends. If I had my time over again, however, I'd probably do things differently from about 16 onwards and would have liked to get married in my mid to late twenties. I would have also wanted to have any children if possible by the age of 30.


I don't know the answer about whether you are "too old". I'm only a year older than you, but I do tend to consider myself too old. Although I look younger, I don't feel younger (except when I talk to my young friend) and when I think of marraige I am sort of a bit "family" oriented. Meaning I feel that if I were to get married I would really want a kid as well. And at my age, there would be too much of an age gap between myself and my offspring I feel. Plus, there are very, very few females around my age group who are single, available and actively seeking. The vast majority are either flat out with their careers, happily married or resolutely single and wanting to stay that way. And if men our age try to captivate the interest of young women then we are often stigmatised and berated for not seeking women closer to our own age. So yes, I think it's too late for me, but that doesn't mean it's too old for you . I think it's just a question of attitude, your specific situation and what you want to get out of it.

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well, first you must realize marriage is a thing of give-and-take. no one ever gets there ideal setting, but both are very happy. But may I remind you it is never to late to get married, for example my aunt and brand new unle got married recently at the ages of 60 and 73. But instead of simply choosing to do activities instead of putting energy into another person, why don't you try to share some of these things with her? I know you probly wont find someone who shares all the same passions as you do, however some is always better than none. And you must have things that only you do, just as she must have things only she does. But while you may be happy, you should not overlook the idea of marriage possibly making you more happy. Sharing your life with another person can be very rewarding. That is my view on the subject anyways.

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I think an important aspect in this thread is that we are talking about people getting married for the first time at a late age. I'd probably agree that people getting married in middle / older age is fine when those same people have previously been married. I say this because a significant part of their lives has been in a marriage situation, so they are familiar and comfortable in the various aspects of how a married couple relate to each other in day to day living. It has become an inate part of their mental make up. But I feel it is quite different when someone close to middle age is contemplating marriage but has never done it before. Such a huge part of their lives (almost half) has already passed them by as a single person, that the changes brought upon by marriage are, I feel, much more manifest than in any other marriage scenarios. It is a massive change, and I think the longer it is before it happens, the much harder it is to adapt to it.

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I'm 40. I didn't even consider getting married til I was 37. It was only after I acknowledged to myself that I was ready and knew that was what I wanted that I met the right person.


I've told this story several times here, so I'll just throw out the basics.


I was 37, didn't think the kind of relationship I wanted was possible and started planning out the next stage of my life as if I would be single permanently. Started chatting online with a 26 year old who lived 2 hours drive away. Chatted and talked on the phone for 3-4 weeks, went on a date, he proposed a week later, got married 8 months after that (with me at age 38), been married a little over 2 years and he, the relationship, and the way we are together still amazes me.


If you're not ready to get married or aren't sure you want to, then don't. Too many people make the mistake of getting married because: it's what they're "supposed" to do, they have a huge fear of being alone, it's what their family wants, they don't know what else to do with themselves, they'd rather be a stay-at-home spouse than try to figure out a professional career....and a million other reasons.


There is HUGE societal pressure to get to the altar...particularly if you are female. There is HUGE societal pressure against being single and being happy with it....particularly if you are female. You are percieved as some sort of anomaly if you are female, happily single and not looking...either there's something wrong with you or you're gay or you're a nun. At least that's what society would like you to believe. My guess is that it's a hold out from a time when life expectancies were MUCH lower (people weren't living much past 50 or 60) and one of the few roles socially acceptable for women was that of "wife & mother."


It's all crap.


Blaze your own trail, follow your own path. If you find someone who you want to travel with, fine...if not, that's fine too.


And, once again, I suggest Peter McWilliams' book "Love 101: To Love Oneself Is The Beginning Of A Lifelong Romance" for a look at how we view romantic relationships in this culture, and how those unquestioned assumptions lead to a lot of unnecessary misery and suffering in that area of our lives.

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I'd also like to say that if you're not devoted to the person - if you regret the time you spend with them rather than time with your music or activities, it will only get worse after marriage. That other person deserves your time and energy and also your desire to give them your time and energy. If you can be honest with yourself and know that you'd rather use your time and energy in your music or whatever, that's a very astute insight on yourself that makes a lot of sense. So don't let others pressure you. I'd say don't marry and don't worry about marriage unless you find the woman that you just can't live without.

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Well, I think you should ask yourself some questions. Firstly, do you want to go to your grave thinking, "I wish I'd spent more time traveling and excelling in my career" or, "I wish I'd have met someone special to share my life with".


I think sharing your life with someone is the most wonderful thing, if they are the right one. So far I don't think you have done anything wrong at all. You're happy, so what's wrong with that? However, I hope you don't think too pessimistically about marriage/relationships just because there are a lot of things that can go wrong with them.


I think the answer to your question can be summed up with: you have not met Ms. Right yet. Who cares if you're 80 when you meet her? I'm sure you would never want to go through divorces till you find the right one. I think you are smart not to get married before you're ready. You'll know it when you meet HER. You won't be able to tell yourself NO. It will be crystal clear what you will want to do.


Good luck and enjoy life in the meantime!

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I always believed that there is something wrong with people who are in their mid to late 30's and have never been married. I'm not talking about the individuals that were in a relationship for 6-8 years. Basically just like the guy who started this thread. I have to say usually I find these people more self involved in theirsevles, their careers, or their hobbies.



Nothing wrong with 'em...they just have different priorities than you.


Would you rather they put on the mask, bowed to societal pressure and got out there circulating among those who truly WANTED to be married? That just muddies up the water in the dating pool for those who truly want to be in a relationship.


More power to 'em if they can be honest about their priorities and self-interest. Not everyone's cut out be in a marriage or even a long-term relationship. If they don't feel like they're missing anything and they're content with their life, it's a non-issue. It becomes an issue when friends/family pressure them to be someone they're not (i.e. a coupled person).

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Hi shes2smart,


Thanks for defending people like me Perhaps there is indeed something wrong with people like me, but I honestly don't think I am cut out for marriage and that is simply all there is to it. Isn't it far better for me to not go through with it than to bow to pressure, marry and find she is unhappy, I am unhappy, or both of us are unhappy!!

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Hi shes2smart,


Thanks for defending people like me Perhaps there is indeed something wrong with people like me, but I honestly don't think I am cut out for marriage and that is simply all there is to it. Isn't it far better for me to not go through with it than to bow to pressure, marry and find she is unhappy, I am unhappy, or both of us are unhappy!!


You definitely need to read "Love 101: To Love Oneself Is The Beginning Of A Lifelong Romance" by Peter McWilliams. One of the ideas in the book is that being unmarried and/or un-coupled for most of one's life IS a viable, healthy and reasonable option.


Like I said before, the problems arise when folks who really don't want to get married or be in a relationship bow to pressure and go through the motions of dating & becoming involved with those who want those things.


Just be who you are. If you're honest with yourself and others about what you want, you're very likely to get it. Others - like family - will have opinions about your choices. It's their right to form and even voice those opinions. It's your right to completely ignore them and live your life the way you please.

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Hi All,


Thanks for the responses - I enjoyed reading them.


Someone mentioned that people like me might be too self-involved in what I do- career, hobbies, interests, etc... I think this is a good observation, especially when it comes to artists in general.


As a musician, I almost feel like I share my life with my audience- good times, bad times, happy times and depressed times- the connection with all those people is visceral, organic, and energizing. When a thousand people are laughing and dancing and having a great time to the music, it's hard to imagine anything better.


When I'm in a relationship, it is great for a little while, and I WANT to devote my energy to it. My music takes second stage and I don't mind. But then after a couple months, I do mind...


Am I deluded if I believe that I have more to offer the world at large than a single person?


I noticed a recurring theme- if I meet the right person all will be well. But that becomes more and more of a problem as I get older because the urge to go out and try to meet new people dwindles, and meeting people while playing music is a sure fire way of getting into a relationship that does not work out (they always think I'm going to be the same in private as I am on stage).


I don't have any problem with marriage or long term relationships, but I guess for someone like me who dedicates an obscene amount of time to getting better at music and the other things I do in my life, the problem is how to balance my need to excel in those thing with my desire to have a good thing going in a relationship.


Another question that bothers me at times when I am involved with someone, especially towards the end of the involvement, is what am I getting out of it? Selfish question, but valid I think. Towards the end of the last couple relationships, I felt that question burning a hole in my mind. I've never needed people to accept me or my actions, I tend to do what I think is right and don't care about what other people think. I'm not looking for acceptance or validation in my life.


What I'm looking for in a person is hard to explain, you know? Is it possible for two people with similar mindsets as myself to have a good relationship?


A relationship not based on needyness (is that a word?) like most I see out there where one person seems to suck the life out of the other, but based on mutual admiration and respect? Almost like being kissing colleagues or something?


Yeah, getting to the point where I don't know what I'm talking about and the term "rambling man" comes to mind - thanks for putting up with this stuff!

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I got a year or two on esemar, and have not gone a year without being in some length of a relationship for the last five years. In 2002, my longest time dating only one woman was about three months. But all other recent ones had longer lasting entanglements, including almost all of last year. But that one ended too.


I got the first three months of dating figured out a long time ago, for the most part. After that, well, I'm still working on it. Since 2000, two of the women I dated were great and there was love, but the relationships ended. I see soem of why they ended, not sure if I see all. But the woman I have bene dating since Labor Day, I am just nuts about. I have not felt this way in eons about a girlfriend. I'm so happy to be dating her and not my last gf, who was nice, but it just was not to be. So, NO, IT"S NOT TOO LATE.

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A relationship not based on needyness (is that a word?) like most I see out there where one person seems to suck the life out of the other, but based on mutual admiration and respect


I think that mutual admiration and respect is the basis if a healthy, loving relationship. NO, I personally don't think it's too late for that. In fact at this age that we are at I think it's more feasible than before. There is a certain maturity level, you just have to weed out and eliminate the wrong people for you. The people who show you right away that they do not respect you.


Now relationship takes work, once you get past the "easy" first months. I think you know this. Personally after the first months and when things get more complicated I have bailed. Usually because the other person was not really what I wanted--I had compromised.


I think if we start off seeing only those people we respect and who respect us we are more likely to work through any conflicts and get to that healthy, stable place in the relationship.


Now I think I'm rambling so I'll leave you with that

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first off, let me say marriage is not a dirty word. when did it become a bad word and have these connotations attached to it.


i'm 38. still single. still want to start a family. still want to get married. i hope i'm not too late. as long as i breath, i'll work towards it. but i do suppose i'd hope it's sooner then later as i want to have children.


in reference to someone that mention they were a musician/artist. i'm one also. i have played music for years in front of an audience and also have done art photography and still do. and i realize a long time ago that i drifted into these fields because of the incredible high i got from the adulation i received from fans and artist alike. my emotions had a symbiotic connection to how i connected with my audience. it became my substitute for intimate connection. realizing that, i still perform music and do my art, because it's a part of me now, but i find my intimacy (real intimacy) elsewhere. and that has been in relationships. although i haven't met a person that has lasted more then 3 months, i'm still looking. in all of the recent cases, things didn't work out and the other person left me. they were intense, but lacked viability. these women were in there mid 30's.

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