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I'm 35 and female.


Two days ago a (quite a bit younger) friend told me she was finally pregnant, and while I am truly happy for her it also made me think – and to be honest, feel quite down.


I long to have a family of my own, but time is running out. I have been single for 4 years, and my last relationship ended because he wanted to move abroad. I could not go with him as I was in medical school, and I also did not want to move to that country. So we ended things.


Since then I have not dated. I had a crush last year on a 25-year old, but that was never going to lead to anything. I told him how I felt, and he let me down very nicely, telling me he did not feel that way about me and didn't want a gf right now...and even if he did, he would not want one of my age. Understandable.


Now my friend is pregnant, and seeing other friends have childen and happy relationships and families, it reminds me painfully that this is something I also long for. But as also my dad reminded me recently, I'm rapidly getting too old for that.


I'm really sad and unhappy. I would not want just a child – I want a loving relationship (ideally marriage) before I have a child. If I can't find one, I would not consider the other; I would not for example adopt on my own or use donor insemination.


I have not felt adequate for a very very long time, and have been surprised every time I had a relationship (always initated by the man's interest) – I did not think anyone in their right mind could want me. I still feel that way, and that is why I cannot fathom I would ever have another partner. And thus, I cannot see having a family, and that makes me even more sad.


Why do I feel that way? Many reasons. I have talked about this many times in therapy, but I just feel lacking. Not good enough. I cannot shake this, not matter how many times my therapist tries to tell me why my thinking is not logical. And now that I'm getting older, I don't even have youth on my side anymore.


I have tried to think about this...what could I offer as a partner? Why should anyone want to be with me?


Well, I think I'm a kind person, and loving. I have a respected and well-paid job. I'm intelligent.


But over and above that? Do I have a pretty face, a good body, a wide friendship circle, an adventurous personality? Not really.


I have gained a lot of weight in the last few years (40 pounds – was 125lbs), mostly from eating to numb my feelings. I know this is stupid, but I still do it.


I have an STD, despite only having had 5 sexual partners in my life (all but one were relationships) – the guy knew he had it, I made us both get tested before stopping condoms, we both got the all-clear...BUT they don't test for all STDs where I live. And knowing I would have insisted on still using condoms had I known, he didn't tell me. Just shrugged his shoulders when I told him a week later about my first outbreak. So yes, I have that against me as well...my last bf knew about it (because I told him!) and decided he wanted to be with me regardless. And in the 2.5 years we were together he didn't get infected. But that was an exception – most men would have turned and run. I know there are dating sites for people with STDs, but mostly in the US (I live elsewhere).


I do have friends, but a lot of them live in other countries. I don't see them all the time, I don't go out “with the girls”. Partly because they live far away, partly because I feel so out of shape and cannot wear nice things. If I had a partner, I would not want him to feel like I'm “billy-no-mates”. Also, what if we ever got married? How many people could I invite? Not anywhere near as many as most normal people. It would be embarrassing for him, having a bride like that.


I also work long hours, and that is something I cannot change in my job. It will take another 8 years from now before I'm an attending (takes longer where I live than in the US) and I will have to move location every year or two, sometimes hours away – how would I have a relationship like that? How would I have children like that, even if I found a partner? I love my job and when I’m at work I feel good, capable, hopeful it’ll all work out somehow – and when I get home after a 13 hour day there is not much energy left over to worry or feel sad! But when I have a weekend off, it sinks in that I am alone, and then thoughts come that this is unlikely to change. I try to distract myself by reading or going to the cinema or to cafes or eating(!), but that is all that is – distraction.


I don't know what to do. Sometimes I think I “just” need to lose the weight, and things will click into place. I'll feel more attractive, would dare to go out more, go on dates.


But isn't that too simplistic? Is my weight the only thing holding me back? I don't think so. But it's something I'd know how to fix, and it's easy to focus on the easy things.


What do I do?

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Juxtapose: "I'm really sad, unhappy, overweight, am busy, have no friends, have low self-esteem, have few friends nearby, and am getting old."


with: "I want marriage and family."


The two statements are inconsistent.


I don't know how anyone is going to love you if you don't love yourself. You can't jump to marriage and family without at least getting some things in order. I think it would be productive for you to work out a plan to work on your self-esteem/confidence.


That might mean exercising and eating healthy first. Or it may mean trying to develop more friendships first. Or it may mean trying to date more first. Or even just buying some nice clothes. But your lack of motivation to do anything is your biggest enemy. Who knows? Maybe it's due to depression, or maybe just general malaise.


Either way, the younger women you see married and having babies are often making relationships a priority. People generally have to put the work in. It's just how it is.

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You probably have been told this before but here goes. You need to change your way of thinking and learn to love yourself as you are. You are enough. Losing the weight would be good but the main thing is to stop bashing yourself like that. The STD and lack of lots of friends are not as big as you are making them out in your mind. Feeling that you are not good enough is what you need to shake off. And it is not even the truth. It is childhood scars holding you back. You yourself admit that the things you mention have not stopped you in the past. You need to set personal goals like going out more, making new friends, joining a gym, eating healthily, taking up a hobby where you could meet like minded people and then focus on having a good time with those without worrying about the 'what ifs'. Que serra, serra. You might as well start enjoying yourself instead of worryng about things that may not turn out to be true if you stop inflating them in your mind.

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