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facing the same battle


ignite
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I’m almost 40 years old now and I am hitting a real anxiety low point as I am fast approaching middle age.  I am starting to panic around two central life issues – relationship/marriage and career/work. 

Been single for more than 6 years now.  My last relationship which was only a few months I had to endure psychological abuse and in the previous one which lasted almost a year, significant gaslighting and more manipulation/abuse.  Before this, when I was younger in my 20s I had a couple of relationships which were a little more positive but they didn’t work out in the end.  I have phases where I go through huge disappointment and frustration but then other times where I am distracted enough to feel calmer and more in control of the situation.  What does help is that I still manage to go on dates, so I am still getting matches on dating apps and through online dating and in my life, goodness knows how many dates I’ve been on.  I’m not white and am bald so that does not help my case but I am 6”2, so at least that works in my favour.  I’m not a bad looking guy but no question I would have more attention if I had hair.  Most of these dates always go fairly well, I’ve never had a disaster or anything like that but there always seems to be something missing – either there is a lack of connection, no physical attraction or not enough in common.  I guess it is difficult finding those three aspects but I’ve kept trying and will continue to do so as I keep hoping that eventually that breakthrough will come.  Most instances have been where both myself and the woman I was dating/went on a date with weren't feeling it mutually so nothing further happened.  A few times, I've had them interested in me but I'm not into them and only on one occasion in the recent past I would say, where I was the one who was very interested in this lady I was dating for about a month, only for her to call it off.  Something is going on here, the common denominator is me afterall.  Is it just not meant to be, will love/marriage/children never be a reality for me?  I am willing to accept that reality but then I have this God given desire for those very things.   I am starting to panic thinking about the future.  

The only time I find myself with a girlfriend is in my dreams, literally.  For a moment overnight, I will have a dream where I will be in a relationship, connecting with a woman in that way, only to wake up and realise what is a reality for millions of everyday people, is still only a mere fantasy for me. 

My struggle with work and career is also starting to stress me out as I’ve got older.  I can’t say that I have a set career.  I have a college/university BA degree which is from a good university but it wasn’t vocational.  My parents always encouraged me to get qualified in something vocational throughout my 20s and early 30s but I just never knew what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be.  I still don’t to a large extent but the difference is now I realise, as a man approaching middle age, I should have specialised in something.  I regret this.  Both my father and brother are medical doctors so even though there was never any direct pressure from my family to follow that path, I always had that internal pressure, knowing that I had to have a profession of similar status like a banker, lawyer, pilot etc.  In the end, all I’ve done a series of casual jobs over many years, long periods out of work and just generally drifted through as time has passed by.  I finally decided to commit to one job, it’s like a hybrid manager role and it’s reasonably well paid job that I’ve been doing this now for more than four years but it’s more or less just glorified admin.  There are some nice perks (like travel, people are nice/friendly) but it is not fulfilling or interesting to me.  So I need a new opportunity but have no idea what my next step is.  Is it too late to retrain and start something over, doing something completely different?  I guess not but it’s far more difficult to work through.

There is far more I can expand on with my situation but I can’t shake the sense of disappointment and failure when I look back on my life so far.  If I had proceeded with a vocational degree of some kind, perhaps I wouldn’t be in this position.  Maybe I would have attracted more women as a result having had more status and value as a man.  I’m grateful that at least I do have a job (even if it’s not a career per se) when so many others don’t, and I do have my own property which is definitely an asset especially in a big city where I live.  And also for now at least, financially I’m doing fine.  I’ve had plenty of therapy and counselling over the years but I’m still am left with this sense of panic and feeling like a loser for the lack of achievement and for my persistent singleness. 

Edited by ignite
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I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I am 55 as is my husband.  We started dating when we were in our late 30s and have been married 13 years. So we were older married people and older parents.  I'm sorry you feel like a loser and from all you say you quite obviously are not.  Do you do any volunteer work? I ask because maybe while you are looking for a job you feel more passionate about you could pursue volunteer work you feel passionate about. 

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First off, I suggest you never compare your life to anyone elses. We're all different, so will go down different paths.  ( as I look at the variety my own siblings have chosen and all on my moms side - a wide variety!). So, try to over look all that jazz.  Focus on yourself and try to see things differently... Can you go look for something else? Sure!  Maybe look into doing some courses in something else.

As for your dating, try not to look too deeply into that either.. Sometimes the harder we 'try' the more complex it becomes 😕 .  This shouldn't be a negative or a chore.

I've dated around in the past & I've been in some 'long term' relationships and yup, they failed 😕 .  Sucks, but I have to pull myself together, accept and move on.  ( I have not dated the last cpl years as I know I don't have the necessary positive mindset and have too much on my mind.. plus I just have no interest in going there - i prefer no drama or challenges).

As for you, if you feel you've still got some pep, continue on.  We never know if we'll come across someone who we actually do mesh with 😉 ....  You could maybe sit back & take a good look at yourself, do YOU still approve with your looks/choice of clothing, etc - or is something in need of improvement? ( as for hair, nah, some guys look well enough w/out as well, lol).

Meanwhile, just keep moving ahead.. do your own thing.. hobbies, hanging with friends, etc.  Give it all time and good on you to keep trying - just don't end up mentally exhausted or overwhelmed, as I mentioned.  If you are, then maybe step back for a while to regain your composure- always TC of yourself in this as well.

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On 4/2/2022 at 2:44 PM, ignite said:

I had to endure psychological abuse and in the previous one which lasted almost a year, significant gaslighting and more manipulation/abuse. 

I hope I can help by telling you that your framing of this statement, in and of itself, is disastrous and paralyzing.

Please explore where it came from and how you can learn to re-frame it.

This statement is a self-imposed script that is derived by rote from a deeper problem that prevents you from moving beyond your stagnation.

All relationships being voluntary, a grown adult does not 'have to' endure anything within one. You opted to engage and remain in these relationships, for your own private reasons, and those reasons are best examined carefully rather than glossed over as externally imposed.

This is not to admonish you, but rather to encourage you to do the internal work necessary to move this important brick in your wall of belief. You may be inclined to resist this idea, but I can promise you that dislodging this line of thinking WILL open up new avenues of experience--and you will thank yourself.

Investing in this work will teach you important aspects of your personality from which you will recognize that you are not powerless, and you are never at the mercy of anyone else's lousy judgment or behaviors.

Acknowledging your power of discrimination is foundational to all other outcomes.

Rather than being a shaming thing, this is actually liberating. Discover WHY you would view yourself as somehow sentenced to suffer as you described. 

When you can internalize rather than externalize YOUR reasons for your choices, you will gain confidence that you are never at the mercy of others as you move forward.

Such is a path-changing recognition worth any amount of therapy or investment. Period.

 

As for dating being like finding a needle-in-a-haystack, YES. That's exactly how it's best described to avoid feeling lousy about so many instances lacking chemistry. Those are natural odds.

We each hold UNIQUE value. It requires one rare person with just the right vision to view you through the 'right' lens, even while your own lens of others will be limited and 'right' for you.

This frees you from trying to appeal to the masses. You're not looking for 'everybody' or 'anybody,' you're seeking the RIGHT person for you. This person will 'get' you, and you'll enjoy simpatico.

Hold out for that. Set up 'quick meets' on your way home from work rather than full dates. This is less exhausting, less expensive, and you can likely tell within the first 5 minutes over a cup of coffee whether either of you will want to contact the other afterward to set up a real date.

 

As for work, there's nothing 'wrong' with the way you've approached it, and there's plenty of future left for you to invest in finding the right match there, too.

 

Don't join these two issues into one giant abstraction. Nobody can resolve one of those. Instead, separate them out as two different areas of your life that you can approach with a dedicated focus--each to its own.

The right person for you will see and appreciate you simply for who you are, so invest in learning how to trust your Self as worthy regardless of what you do for a living. AND, the right job for you will require some exploration and investment without an inclination to impose barriers based on artificial constructs, such as numbers on a calendar.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

Edited by catfeeder
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Ask Vin Diesel or the Rock if them being bald has ever been a deterrent to women's attractive towards them. If you have a full life of interests/hobbies/activities/friends, and carry yourself with confidence, women will find you attractive regardless. 

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5 hours ago, smackie9 said:

Ask Vin Diesel or the Rock if them being bald has ever been a deterrent to women's attractive towards them. If you have a full life of interests/hobbies/activities/friends, and carry yourself with confidence, women will find you attractive regardless. 

I like Chris Meloni from Law & Order SVU. Hubba hubba. He gradually lost his hair over the course of however many seasons that show lasted and he never lost that "hotness" factor, at least not for me.

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Ignite,

 

Can I just add Bruce Willis to the massive list of very attractive and very hot bald middle aged men?!

 

My husband being one of them! He shaved his lovely blonde curls right off when he was a boxer at 27 and he never went back. He now would have very very thin hair on the too that would look ridiculous if he insisted on letting it grow but he shaves it very short every other day and keeps some stubble on his face. Being bald is not a loss!  I prefer him with no hair! And actually, if you are a man and have more testosterone, you are much more likely to go bald faster and sooner 😉 

 

Being bald and hot with it aside! I am sorry you feel this way. I feel like no matter where we are in our lives, people even with family and married often also go through a bit of a crisis around these milestone, cross road age points… 25, 30, 40, 50… I’m not sure what it is but it makes us step back and we go and measure ourselves against everyone else. 
 

Honestly, a nice guy with a decent job (doesn’t have to be some high flying career or anything prestigious) and his own home, a good attitude, own interests and who is putting themselves out there? You should be a catch! You are a catch! You just need to know that yourself! 
 

If you want to change your job, please, go ahead. You need to be happy. A relationship isn’t going to solve your problems forever and make you eternally happy, only you can do that, corny as it sounds.
 

I used to repeat mantras in my head constantly to myself throughout my whole life, I do it even to this day. I am 32, been married for 7 years but lived with my husband for 14. We have 3 children, boy, 4, girl, 2.5 and another baby girl, 8 months. We have a beautiful home and no real financial worries, well, not compared to some! I don’t work, I am a stay at home mum, my husband has his own buisness. BUT! When I was 16 I would say man, I’ll be happy when I am slimmer. I’d loose the weight but then wait, I’ll be happier when I get good grades! Get the grades, anti-climax. Wait! I’ll be happy when I am older and have a boyfriend! Get a boyfriend! Wait! Still have unhappy days?! I will be happy when I am married with children! Okay yes I am happy but some days I am in complete turmoil with myself. What’s the thing now? I’ll be happy when we have a property portfolio and my husband has enough money to never have to work again? Do you think if I achieve that, my dreams will eventually be answered of eternal happiness?

 

OP, what I am trying to say is, make your plans. Improve and make steps to improve what you want, by all means, this is what keeps us all going. But! Realise that one dream thing, one goal, it’s not the answer to everything. Happiness is a choice abs you can choose to be happy today. 
 

You are very appreciative of what you already have, this is a really great mind set. 
 

When it comes to dating, you have to keep putting yourself out there and try and stop the negative down talk that you keep telling yourself. You are better than that! Instead of going into a date thinking, will she like me, will she want to be with me? Start thinking, will I like her? Will I want to be with her? Will she pass the test! Y’know! You want the right person for you!

 

Love and relationships don’t always happen in peoples youth. As catfeeder has said, the things that made you enter and stay in bad relationships in the past, these ways of thinking, maybe realise you are worth more than this, try and break this pattern. Please don’t ever again settle for anyone that makes you feel terrible or that you know deep down just aren’t right for you.

 

Some people find getting out and going to a class, meeting new people face to face, taking up exercise, or as Batya said volunteer work, opens you to new experiences, makes you feel as if you are improving and moving forward and also builds your confidence interacting with new people. Some people update their wardrobe, get a new hairstyle or new glasses if they wear them. Things that give them a freshness and a confidence boost. Some people even claim organising and redecorating their homes, making yourself house proud to invite new friends and possible girlfriends back can help too.

 

I know again, it sounds corny but, you must think positive and only want to settle for the best for yourself. You deserve a loving and amazing relationship. Your time is precious. If you start dating someone and feel things aren’t right deep down, don’t settle, move on and find your right girl who is waiting for you out there! 
 

‘Every passing minute is a moment to turn it all around.’
- Vanilla Sky
 

‘Comparison is the thief of joy'

- Theodore Roosevelt

 

 

Best of luck,

 

x

 

 

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As you said millions of everyday people are in relationships and the majority of them are ordinary looking with regular jobs. 

You are getting dates and the women dating you know what you look like and what you do. So again that suggests the career/your looks are not dealbreakers. 

And I agree many women looking to settle down would consider you to be a catch. You just have to start believing that. 

 

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ignite, when i was in my twenties i saw this hot guy toweling himself off next to his car after jogging on the beach and i left my biz card on his windshield (by the time i walked over to meet him he had gone off jogging again).  i wrote on the back "if I have the right guy you are tall, bald, and full of sex appeal" and a brief description of myself.  he called me the next day.  we dated for over a year.  hair might not the dealbreaker you think it is... just sayin'

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22 hours ago, spinstermanquee said:

ignite, when i was in my twenties i saw this hot guy toweling himself off next to his car after jogging on the beach and i left my biz card on his windshield (by the time i walked over to meet him he had gone off jogging again).  i wrote on the back "if I have the right guy you are tall, bald, and full of sex appeal" and a brief description of myself.  he called me the next day.  we dated for over a year.  hair might not the dealbreaker you think it is... just sayin'

Absolutely awesome! 😍🤣

 

Killer move Spinster! Wow! No messing with you! 
 

Can I just say, I have a theory? Guys with no hair… the best!!!!!!! 
 

Make of that what you will 😉

 

x
 

 

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Have you done much dating in real life? Or you've just done online dating? I've basically had all the same experiences as you with online dating and I've never been in an actual relationship from online dating. I know you can still find someone online, but it's just really hard. I recommend putting yourself out there in real life more. That has always worked for me before. 

Also speaking of career/dating, what are your hobbies and interests? My advice is to write down a list of things you enjoy doing and/or you're good at. Then join clubs and social groups related to those hobbies. Maybe this can also help you think of a career you might like to have.

Don't worry about your age. There is that saying "better late than never". I just worked in retail until I finished university at the age of 31 and I've been working in social welfare ever since. It's never too late to start.

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