A few months ago, a friend wrote a Facebook post on being single and not finding love that struck a big chord with me.
You see, I hit the big four-O this year, marking my undeniable entry into middle age. More to the point for this column, it meant that I’ve left my youth without ever having been in a romantic relationship.
As with many people, I’ve always wanted marriage and a family. In my younger days, I always assumed it would happen naturally – you know, boy and girl meet, fall in love, date, get married, have kids, grow old together, etc.
But the reality is that it hasn’t.
This is part of what my friend wrote in her post: “I spent all of my 20s and most of my 30s wanting to find someone special to share my life with.
“Yes, I know marriage is not some kind of wonderful magical fairyland.
“And yes, I acknowledge the fact that remaining single has been largely my choice because I didn’t want to be with simply anyone just for the sake of being married.
“Still, it has been disappointing that I haven’t met anyone who chose me, whom I also felt free to choose in return.”
Yes, it can be a hard thing when the guys you fall for never seem to feel the same way about you. How do I know that, you ask? Perhaps one or two of them did indeed fancy me and just didn’t dare to say anything either. Well, I’ve gone the “confession” route a few times and the answer was always negative.
In fact, one guy took to completely avoiding me, which had the positive effect of completely putting out my ardour for him. It gets even more difficult with age when the likelihood of them already being “taken” is even higher.
Perhaps, dear reader, you are thinking: maybe there’s something wrong with her – she’s super weird or very difficult or has bad BO (body odour) or really ugly, that’s why no one has fallen in love with her. Well, I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I say that I’m quite normal, fairly low maintenance, not smelly and average-looking.
Allow me to also put forward the fact that I have friends dating from my primary school days onwards who seem to think I’m worth keeping around, so I can’t be all that bad, right?
Or perhaps you are thinking that I’m just really choosy and have rejected guys who didn’t meet my standards. Firstly, let me quote my friend on this: “Don’t assume and insinuate that I was too picky, as if a variety of men had paraded eagerly before me, and I’d turned my nose up at all of them.”
The fact is, only one guy has ever expressed a love interest in me, and that was over 20 years ago. (For those interested, he was a friend who I could only ever see as a friend, not to mention, we were studying half a world apart.)
So, there has been no parade of men, not even a trickle.
My friend also wrote: “Yes, it has been a challenge not to feel resentful at the universe or to feel left behind as friends’ lives change and mine has remained largely the same.” While I have never felt resentful about my perpetual singledom, I have had my occasional moments of angst and self-doubt over whether I am worth falling in love with.
Don’t get me wrong, one good thing about growing older and more mature is that I’ve come to acknowledge my own worth – that while I’m far from perfect, I’m a person worthy of being liked and loved. I’m also not the type of woman who defines herself solely by whether she has a man at her side or not.
But when you see your friends falling into and out of love seemingly easily, and getting married and starting a family, you can’t help but wonder sometimes what’s so wrong with you that no one seems attracted to you even a little bit.
Another part of my friend’s post went: “But the point I want to make is this: Don’t ask me when my turn will come, for it’s a question I’ve asked too many times myself, and I now suspect the answer may be ‘never’.
“It has been a difficult thing to accept, but after all the years of praying and asking, I’m starting to think that maybe the lack of answer is an answer in itself.”
Believe me, it can be really heartbreaking to think that something you’ve always wanted will never happen to you.
At my age, I’ve given up the thought of having children. There are a few factors behind this, not least the fear of having a special needs child and the sheer of lack of energy to keep up with a baby’s needs.
But I haven’t quite given up on meeting someone who chooses me as I choose him. Perhaps it will happen, perhaps it won’t – when things are not within your control, you just have to go with the flow. In the meantime, I’m not putting my life on hold in the hopes that Mr Right will come along and fall in love with me.
As my friend wrote: “And yes, I do know how lovely it is to be single; I never said it didn’t come without perks of its own.”
But I’m not letting that small hope die out either; after all, as poet Alexander Pope said: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”