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can you be truly single and content?


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At 36, I'm still very much single and not even come close to being engaged or having kids. I can't help but feel a failure. I have a stable job (for now) but it's not really a career, failed at relationships due to a few abusive ones which have wrecked my confidence over time.

 

Despite battling self pity and hopelessness, I am trying my best to stay positive and continue to pray that I will meet someone but I've been single for so long now it feels illusive. I'm always getting the short straw it seems - always happening for people around me but never for myself. Nearly all my friends are with partners, engaged or married. I'm grateful I have my health, a job, food to eat and a place to stay, but an entire lifetime without love and sex is a depressing existence and soul destroying, and one that will eventually lead me to a complete breakdown as I feel as I cannot imagine spending the rest of my life alone and dying alone.

 

Something that has always confused me is when I hear stories of many people finding "the one" or finally meeting when they're not looking or least expect it because they're content in their singleness. I really wish this could be me as well but I don't think I've ever been truly content. Is it possible to be content and still suffer in loneliness? I think there is an extra urgency for myself as well because I feel entitlement due to waiting for so long and having had more than my fair share of bad luck and mistreatment but I know life, especially relationships don't work that way. I realise it's not too late yet and there is still time for me to have a family, enjoy a happy marriage but I was voicing these same exact fears, worries and thoughts, 5 years ago, 10 years ago. The only difference is I was less scarred and emotionally exhausted than I am now.

 

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I am "newly" single after a failed marriage, kids away from home. It was a 9 year relationship/marriage. Before that I was single and away from family for 13 years.

 

I will be a hypocrite if I say, it is ok. There are days when I fight my new reality with self pity and hopelessness, just like you worded here. I reach out to new friends and do not get responses, making it harder to get through a miserable night. I experienced so much sadness this morning that I cried. Then again after that, I said, I cannot be like this all day.

 

BUT, these sad times are rare and fleeting. I have managed to sort of accept each time it happens, accept with the hope that this is temporary and that in time I can have what I am praying for. Try to occupy your mind with other activities, I know we cannot do much now due to shelter in place, karaoke by yourself, joining online forums, or read new books. Widen your social range to church volunteering, community service, etc, not in the hunt for a partner but just human interaction. That is what the sore need comes from.

 

Most of all, when you do meet someone, give it all your best and have the patience to endure what can be fixed. Keep praying everyday, God will hear that prayer.

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I’m sorry that you had to deal with these problems dear . Maybe see a counselor about it . Dating isn’t easy these days . Some people get lucky to find love the first few times . Others like myself have to struggle for it . I’ve had a couple of family friends who got married around ages 36-38 and they are happy with their lives . Everyone’s path is different . Some people are happy being single .. others aren’t . I have a few best friends who feel lonely and they don’t get the best type of men . Their men treat them like crap . My bestie would say it’s better to be single than having a bad boyfriend.

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I pray for you . I’m 29. I’ve been single all of my life . I’ve dated 5-6 men and it hasn’t worked out for me . I hope you get the life you’ve wanted . My bestie would say sometimes you got to go through the worst to get to the best . Best of luck . Hugs

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Can I ask how long you've been single? When you're last relationship was?

 

I'm not sure that "contentment" and "suffering in loneliness" are two things that can coexist. Feeling lonely, however, can certainly be part of being content, since it's just one of many feelings that constitute the business of existing. I consider myself content, for instance, but in that I've felt moments of loneliness, rage, worthlessness, anxiety, and so on. But I suppose that in seeing those feelings as part of the spectrum, rather than judging them as "problems" with the spectrum, they lose some of their weight and stickiness. They pass, as all things do—as, some day, I will.

 

Philosophizing aside, I do think one can be single and content. Can only speak for myself, but my ideal "feeling" inside a relationship isn't really any different than I feel when I'm single, which might be a bit of what people mean when meeting "the one" when they least expected it. Because in that context it's meeting someone who compliments your path—a path you were enjoying—rather than looking for someone to be that path, so you can finally start to enjoy the journey.

 

Guess I'm circling back to the philosophical, aren't I? So it goes. Personally, I think the hard fact of being a human is that we all—every single one of us—die alone, spend much of our lives feeling "alone," and that life is a lot more joyous the more comfortable we can get about the bitter facts involving it not being permanent and being often pretty lonely. I'm just 4 years older than you, for instance, and I'd say the least compelling part of being in a relationship—one I do hope is forever-lasting—is that it means I'll have someone holding my hand when my heart stops beating. Too many x-factors, and too much life between now and then, to be able to guarantee that.

 

The impression I can't help but get in your post it that you are searching hard for meaning, but feeling like you've spent a good while coming up empty on that search. Might be worth thinking about, and seeing if you can diversify your sources of meaning, so it's not all connected to something outside of yourself, i.e. finding "the one" and being able to die "not" alone. That's kind of the irony, I think, particularly as we get a bit older—that we become quite attractive to others when what drives us is something within, hence the connection between being happily single and finding happiness alongside another. Two interesting pieces finding one another, rather than missing pieces completing another's puzzle.

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My mother had been a widow and single parent for a very long time, remained single and quite content.

 

Years ago, I asked her if she would ever consider dating and remarriage. She laughed at me! :D She said, "No way! Why would I want to take care of a crusty old geezer? No thanks!" :eek: She's currently enjoying her financial independence and freedom to the hilt especially after her harrowing, abusive childhood, young adulthood and marriage to a wife beating, chain smoking alcoholic who left her $400K in debt which she paid off all by herself without filing for bankruptcy! She paid off her mortgage all by herself while working 3 jobs 7 days a week to put food on the table and a roof over heads for 3 children without help from anyone. She's the strongest woman I had ever known.

 

My retired mother has a lot of animals such as a dog, cat, birds, feeds stray cats, feeds outdoor birds and she enjoys being with her local relatives (grown children). She currently enjoys her quiet cul-de-sac life.

 

She's the type of person who doesn't need another person in her life in order to feel fulfilled, complete and whole.

 

I agree with others. If you have faith and if you're religious, try joining a church (post-COVID-19 pandemic or virtually or social distancing). They break up into sub-groups, ministries, busy serving (volunteering), serve the community, feed the homeless, visit nursing homes (visit the lonely), do charitable good works, help the disabled and then you'll realize there are millions of people who are severely disadvantaged and worse off than you are. It is then when you really start to count your blessings.

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Perhaps your sadness is that this fwb/friend moved on a month ago? Unfortunately you coasted along a long time without being attracted to her. Sadly this is a hard time for anyone to start dating. However perhaps you can start chatting with some women until it's possible to meet up.

in my mind I really wanted her to be the one for me because she ticked every box bar the physical attraction. We were very drawn to each other but that physical attraction never really grew over time which I hoped it would. So I figure that the only reason I'm feeling like this now is because she's with someone else I feel a sense of loss because the emotional connection is still there.
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I am "newly" single after a failed marriage, kids away from home. It was a 9 year relationship/marriage. Before that I was single and away from family for 13 years.

 

I will be a hypocrite if I say, it is ok. There are days when I fight my new reality with self pity and hopelessness, just like you worded here. I reach out to new friends and do not get responses, making it harder to get through a miserable night. I experienced so much sadness this morning that I cried. Then again after that, I said, I cannot be like this all day.

 

BUT, these sad times are rare and fleeting. I have managed to sort of accept each time it happens, accept with the hope that this is temporary and that in time I can have what I am praying for. Try to occupy your mind with other activities, I know we cannot do much now due to shelter in place, karaoke by yourself, joining online forums, or read new books. Widen your social range to church volunteering, community service, etc, not in the hunt for a partner but just human interaction. That is what the sore need comes from.

 

Most of all, when you do meet someone, give it all your best and have the patience to endure what can be fixed. Keep praying everyday, God will hear that prayer.

 

Sorry to hear about your marriage. I suppose if you are still in touch with kids then that's something.

 

Yeah during the day and esp now with lockdown, when I'm not working I can keep myself occupied with reading, watching tv, gaming, cooking some new recipes, going for walks etc. and for the most part I don't feel that intense feeling of loneliness. I don't know about you but for me, that dreaded panic feeling turns up the moment the lights are out and I'm trying to sleep. In total darkness and silence all you have are your thoughts, so it's inevitable this is what my mind wanders to and at times I feel suicidal thinking I'd rather not be here anymore than the thought of living the rest of my life like this. I have just got used to it now.

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I pray for you . I’m 29. I’ve been single all of my life . I’ve dated 5-6 men and it hasn’t worked out for me . I hope you get the life you’ve wanted . My bestie would say sometimes you got to go through the worst to get to the best . Best of luck . Hugs

 

Thank you Chocolate. Like you imply, I do sometimes think that perhaps these things are not meant to make any sense. It is what it is. Sometimes life doesn't work out for some people and not everyone gets what they want no matter how hard they try and even more so with something like this because as you say when it comes to love, dating and relationships, so much is out of your control. I just hope that I will feel fulfilled to the point where I can tolerate and accept that I may be alone, and not end up marrying someone just for the sake of it, just so I will have achieved my goal of finally getting married.

I hope your bestie's words are right in both our cases then...maybe the best is still yet to come.

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Can I ask how long you've been single? When you're last relationship was?

 

I'm not sure that "contentment" and "suffering in loneliness" are two things that can coexist. Feeling lonely, however, can certainly be part of being content, since it's just one of many feelings that constitute the business of existing. I consider myself content, for instance, but in that I've felt moments of loneliness, rage, worthlessness, anxiety, and so on. But I suppose that in seeing those feelings as part of the spectrum, rather than judging them as "problems" with the spectrum, they lose some of their weight and stickiness. They pass, as all things do—as, some day, I will.

 

Philosophizing aside, I do think one can be single and content. Can only speak for myself, but my ideal "feeling" inside a relationship isn't really any different than I feel when I'm single, which might be a bit of what people mean when meeting "the one" when they least expected it. Because in that context it's meeting someone who compliments your path—a path you were enjoying—rather than looking for someone to be that path, so you can finally start to enjoy the journey.

 

Guess I'm circling back to the philosophical, aren't I? So it goes. Personally, I think the hard fact of being a human is that we all—every single one of us—die alone, spend much of our lives feeling "alone," and that life is a lot more joyous the more comfortable we can get about the bitter facts involving it not being permanent and being often pretty lonely. I'm just 4 years older than you, for instance, and I'd say the least compelling part of being in a relationship—one I do hope is forever-lasting—is that it means I'll have someone holding my hand when my heart stops beating. Too many x-factors, and too much life between now and then, to be able to guarantee that.

 

The impression I can't help but get in your post it that you are searching hard for meaning, but feeling like you've spent a good while coming up empty on that search. Might be worth thinking about, and seeing if you can diversify your sources of meaning, so it's not all connected to something outside of yourself, i.e. finding "the one" and being able to die "not" alone. That's kind of the irony, I think, particularly as we get a bit older—that we become quite attractive to others when what drives us is something within, hence the connection between being happily single and finding happiness alongside another. Two interesting pieces finding one another, rather than missing pieces completing another's puzzle.

 

A philosophical approach.

 

I've been single now for around 5 years, yeah. Last relationship was May 2015 and that lasted around three months. Since then though I have dated plenty, been on so many dates with different women but something has always been missing - either no physical attraction or emotional connection / lack of things in common / no real spark. I could really elaborate here but my main point is that despite not having trouble getting interest from women, they are never the women that I want to date! Whether it's online or otherwise. Few years I really tried dating this girl who I found attractive but there was just no connection and she was super quiet, we could barely get a conversation going. Then for all of last year I was really good friends with someone who I got on with so well, we were like a married couple but there was no physical attraction for me.

 

You mentioned faith, and it's important for me that the right person is of the same faith and we're sharing the same journey together so there is that as well.

 

Are you single ?

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Perhaps your sadness is that this fwb/friend moved on a month ago? Unfortunately you coasted along a long time without being attracted to her. Sadly this is a hard time for anyone to start dating. However perhaps you can start chatting with some women until it's possible to meet up.

 

Yes well remembered Wiseman. That's right things are going well between those two and part of me is happy for her because she deserves it. She meant alot to me (still does) and I've been looking back on our friendship which to be fair was more like a marriage. We went on trips together, she slept in my bed, she wore my clothes, we just felt so comfortable round each other and I did think many times that I could easily see myself married to her, from just a relational point of view. BUT of course it was never enough because for me the spark, that physical / sexual urge was missing. We both knew it and that's why deep down it was not going to work. I wish things would have been different and she said the same but you can't help who you are attracted to.

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been on so many dates with different women but something has always been missing - either no physical attraction or emotional connection / lack of things in common / no real spark.

 

That's normal! I'm the exact same age as you and I've been actively dating since last summer and the vast majority (80% or so I'd say) of my first meets don't lead to a second (either because I wasn't feeling it or they weren't or both). I think you just have to be relaxed about it and understand that most people aren't our match and not to get upset when a few first meets in a row don't work out.

 

Quick question if I may: what are your passions? I know you mentioned a few things you do to 'pass the time' - but what hobbies and interests really light your fire? What do you really enjoy doing the most?

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My mother had been a widow and single parent for a very long time, remained single and quite content.

 

Years ago, I asked her if she would ever consider dating and remarriage. She laughed at me! :D She said, "No way! Why would I want to take care of a crusty old geezer? No thanks!" :eek: She's currently enjoying her financial independence and freedom to the hilt especially after her harrowing, abusive childhood, young adulthood and marriage to a wife beating, chain smoking alcoholic who left her $400K in debt which she paid off all by herself without filing for bankruptcy! She paid off her mortgage all by herself while working 3 jobs 7 days a week to put food on the table and a roof over heads for 3 children without help from anyone. She's the strongest woman I had ever known.

 

My retired mother has a lot of animals such as a dog, cat, birds, feeds stray cats, feeds outdoor birds and she enjoys being with her local relatives (grown children). She currently enjoys her quiet cul-de-sac life.

 

She's the type of person who doesn't need another person in her life in order to feel fulfilled, complete and whole.

 

I agree with others. If you have faith and if you're religious, try joining a church (post-COVID-19 pandemic or virtually or social distancing). They break up into sub-groups, ministries, busy serving (volunteering), serve the community, feed the homeless, visit nursing homes (visit the lonely), do charitable good works, help the disabled and then you'll realize there are millions of people who are severely disadvantaged and worse off than you are. It is then when you really start to count your blessings.

 

Go mom!!!!!!!!!

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I think I am content being single because I already did the marriage and kids thing. I can't say how I would feel about being single, unmarried and not a parent from a young age.

 

But I do think you can have a very full life as a single person. I know a few people who have chosen to be single and they're young (late 20s, early 30s) and they do all sorts of cool things.

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I wonder if people can truly be content.

 

I'm older than you, single, no kids. I've had a few long term relationships with periods of being completely single or just dating in between.

 

I do feel I'm happy and content, I mean as much as someone can during a global pandemic can be. But I have also had moments of lonliness & sadness. I cried yesterday for no specific reason other than just this situation is tough.

 

Somehow I just have this faith that everything always works out. Bad times don't last. We have to save ourselves for the good times.

 

The dating world has been rough in recent years. the ghosting and no one appreciating anything, fast sex and lies... Maybe this pandemic will reset some of that. Maybe some will learn to value others and not be so quick to replace. Maybe the people that never were like that will find reach other. IDK...

 

But i do know comparing your life to others' will always lead to feelings of inadequacy. You must build a life thats good enough for you and it cant be dependent on someone else. Yes you can share, but it cant be all on them. You must bring something to the table for yourself.

 

A few years ago I went thru a period that i felt like life meant nothing. your born, you live, you die. What's the point.... long story short, I ended up on this huge spiritual awakening, which I'm still on... but I've come to see the point is to happy today. Live for today and what is happening today.

 

Not the future you, where everything is gonna be better or worse. Not the past you, where everything was better or worse but to live for the you that you are today. To find your peace and to enjoy your moment in the moment... to find yourself smiling for no reason, when you're content that you're doing your best and its enough, you're on the right track.

 

Its a place of gratitude that opens the doors to more. Thankfulness for your youth, your loved ones, your breath, your food, your roof, all you've been through, all that's to come.... all of it.

 

Fear and discouraging self talk is only going to hold you back. Its like your defeating yourself.

 

And i just wanted to add... you'll be a lot happier alone than being in a bad relationship. that much I know!

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I knew I would not be content being single - with a close second being maybe had I adopted a child in my 40s. I also know of course a person can be content -more than! - not being in a romantic relationship - I know many like that including my older sister(divorced grandmother). However I never lied to myself and told myself I could be happy without finding the right person to marry,without the opportunity to try to have a child. I never relied on "when you least expect it" although my story can certainly be spun that way and has been by many (I refuse to - I was proactive in Husband Hunting for many years, got in my own way for years, had to become the right person to find the right person plus have a little bit of luck and timing on my side).

 

I think it's much easier to be married or coupled in "traditional" society -I married at 42 so I had plenty of years to see what it was like to live single. I almost never felt lonely and I lived on my own for 15 years in the major city I grew up in and lived for 43 years. I didn't feel lonely because I had friends, work, volunteer work, things I enjoyed doing on my own and with others. I don't relate to needing a partner in order not to feel lonely. But I have felt lonely with the wrong partner. One of them -who wanted to marry me but I said no - staring at an engagement ring at a restaurant - is now happily married for as long as I am -but to a man. When he told me that he was gay, 10 years after we broke up, I realized why I was so over the moon about him AND felt lonely in the relationship as he shut off a huge part of himself to me, as he battled his internal conflict over whether he was gay (we had awesome chemistry and passion back then in our 20s!).

 

Anyway that's my stance - I also wouldn't do the whole "why it's better to be single" which often includes a litany of overblown negative stuff about marriage and kids. There is negative stuff for sure. Believe me you see some of that during this quarrantine time! - but please don't go there. Be genuine with what your values, your standards, your goals are - be genuine that you want a marriage or committed relationship to be an important part of your life. Be genuine when you feel your expectations are unrealistic. And I wish you luck. I dated on and off for 24 years before I found my person. I found him the second time around. Got a second chance with him. He is blissfully asleep. In our son's room because our son isn't coping so well with virus-related fears, with being inside so much with.... missing a school milestone in his 11 year old life. Am I content? Yes because I was able to have my breakfast and coffee alone. Not because I'm married. It's the little things (although this is huge to me as maybe some other parents might relate to) - please also keep that in mind when you look for contentment - please do try to count blessings even if you allow yourself a pity party. Both are OK!!

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I think it depends on the person. Some can be truly happy being single, others cannot be. Just need to be honest with yourself about your needs, wants, and values.

 

I am 30, never married/never engaged, no children/no future children (tubes tied), and I have been single over a year now. I've gotten really close with my family in the past year and I'm finding that through that, a real void I had in me has been filled or at least mostly filled by having this newfound companionship and unconditional love.

 

I am currently on the fence about ever getting back out there but I am leaning towards "no" at this point. Now that I'm in my 30s, most single people I see all have kids and I don't want to be a step mom so I definitely feel that my window of opportunity is closing. But the more time goes on, the less I care so I suppose that's a good thing.

 

For me, I feel that I need strong companionship/love in my life but now I have realized that it doesn't have to come from a romantic relationship in order for me to be happy. But that is me and not true for everyone else and that's ok.

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can you be truly single and content?

 

Sure, if you don't impose a life sentence on yourself. If you believe that allowing yourself to relax and learn how to enjoy being single must somehow mean that you'll never find a partner, then you won't enjoy being single.

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Having been married, divorced dated and in and out of couple long term serious relationships, I've had the opportunity to experience the ebb and flow of everything inbetween.

To be honest, at your age I would have felt like I was missing out on something.

The ending of a relationship or marriage, the void felt painful.

 

After quite enough experiences and being able to measure one against the other, I learned (by surprise) I was quite content being single.

 

It didn't happen by accident. It meant cultivating friendships, hobbies and enriching my life.

 

After another failed relationship and feeling the painful void where the relationship use to be I slowly found myself busier than ever before.

 

I am currently in a relationship, but the beauty of this is I do so by choice and not by need and not in order to feel complete. I had to give up some things to make room for this relationship.

 

The side benefit is I made a better choice in a partner because I set my bar higher then I would have in the past. Because when you are merely filling a void you make exceptions.

 

I think a good deal of this is generational. You feel you are missing out on things you haven't had the opportunity to experience. That's understandable

 

But try not to confuse that with an inability to have a full content life while being single.

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I've been married to a great man for a long time and have two amazing sons. I can't imagine being single AND content.

 

On the flip side, my widowed mother had been a single woman and single parent for decades. She's perfectly content the way she is and has no intentions of dating nor remarrying whatsoever. She is financially and fiercely independent.

 

My mother's situation is different though. She is a wounded soul. Her upbringing reads like a wretched, miserable Charles ens novel and her marriage was fraught with domestic violence courtesy of my late father. She eventually broke free from her hopeless, miserable bondage AND she vowed never to take risks of repeating her old life.

 

Everyone is different. Some people prefer to live a life of couple-dom forever because it's the natural course of life for them whereas others are more loner types and want their freedom to do what they want, when they want without answering up to anybody which is my dear mother.

 

Everyone is different and some people don't want to be paired up by choice and they're happy whereas some people prefer to be in a couple relationship or live a life of matrimony. It's a personal choice.

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I have a friend and for this purpose, I'll call her Jessica (not her real name).

 

Jessica has never been married. She has no intentions on ever marrying, (her choice). She has travelled the world, she has helped out on habitat for humanity in many places. She does many sports, is very outgoing and very charismatic. A person the majority of people love to be around.

She sincerely always has a smile on her face and is a very happy person.

 

But she is not marriage inclined nor is she motherly inclined, at least not in the way that she wants children.

I would call Jessica a free spirit who does not want that kind of life. She has never pretended to either.

 

She is very happy living by her own schedule. Not having to answer to anyone. And is living her life to the fullest.

 

I can't even say that she has or ever had any issues with men. She get's along with everyone and is a pretty girl.

But Jessica wants other things out of life other than a marriage and children. Those are not her goals and never will be.

 

She is now 45, and has a vibrance and zest for life that most do not.

So in answer to your question, YES you can be single and content, heck, more than content.

 

I love seeing Jessica's FB posts. They are interesting, heart warming, uplifting, and different from most people's posts.

Jessica has a wonderful life.

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Sherry, my friend does too. She travels everywhere with her dogs and takes amazing photos. She has a lovely home she paid for all by herself. She has a great job. And she has zero interest in getting married.

 

She's about 29 years old and attractive. But she just has no desire to "settle down".

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Sherry, my friend does too. She travels everywhere with her dogs and takes amazing photos. She has a lovely home she paid for all by herself. She has a great job. And she has zero interest in getting married.

 

She's about 29 years old and attractive. But she just has no desire to "settle down".

 

Yes, some people just don't have that as goals or feel it's the only way to be happy. I love seeing that side of life by living vicariously through them via their photos.

 

They are genuinely very happy people. It's wonderful that we don't all fit into the same box. Life would be very boring if we did.

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