Single, over 30, and not settling

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend who is 32 and single. She started telling me the crazy things people say to her about her relationship status and I was blown away. So, I knew I wanted to talk to someone in a similar position.

I have friends who are single and loving it, friends who are single and looking for a partner, and friends who are open to whatever comes their way. For this chat, we’re talking with Alicia, a 31 year old woman from New York. She’s single, looking, and NOT willing to settle.

Caitlin: The idea to talk to some about being over 30 and single came from a friend who was telling me about crazy things people say to her about being single. You have a recent story about that.

Alicia: On Valentine’s Day I went with my sister to get a manicure/pedicure. And so the nail tech says to me, “Do you have a boyfriend?” And I said, “No.” And she said, “Oooohh (sad face).” It’s never like, “Oh that’s okay, you’re a strong, independant woman!” It’s always, “Oooohh (sad face).” Then it’s “Well, you don’t want that anyway…”

And that day, I had an unexpected, yet complete, meltdown because I’m like, “It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m going to be 31, I don’t have a boyfriend, I haven’t had one in a long time….” My goal was always to have a family by now. And I’m trying to focus on the good things in my life: my job, my house… but it’s definitely a struggle at times.

Caitlin: What other kinds of things do you hear from people?

Alicia: The question I’m always asked is, “Well, have you tried online dating?” And it’s like, “Yeah, for three years. I’ve been on every site.” Some people say, “And nothing? Wow, that’s crazy!” And then others say,“Oh, well you’re too picky.” Then there’s the “I have one single friend, but you don’t want to date him.” Followed by,“Oh I should introduce you to so and so.” And they never do and two years later so and so is engaged.

Caitlin: I think it’s insulting for someone to say you’re being too picky. Why shouldn’t you be picky? You’re looking for the person you’re going to marry, not just someone to go to dinner with.

Alicia: Yeah, I’m not looking for some random hook up. I want to be picky. I want to figure out what I want, what I need, and what I deserve.

Someone asked me the other day at work if my biological clock was ticking. I just sort of laughed it off, but inside, I was hurting. I don’t let on how much it bothers me when people say stuff like that. It’s like, holy shit. Why would you say that to someone?

Oh, sometimes if I say I don’t have a boyfriend, they want to know if I have a girlfriend (laughs). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. I’ve heard people say that happens to them, too. It’s so weird.

That stigma has changed I think, that you have to be in a relationship or have a family by a certain age, but in my family, everyone was married by 28. So I’m stuck on what I want to do, or what I should do, or whatever.

Caitlin: You mentioned you’ve been doing online dating for years. Do you go on a lot of dates?

Alicia: No. And that’s what’s part of the struggle.  It’s so frustrating. I get nothing. I wink, I message, I like pictures. I get someone to look at my profile, and I get nothing. And if I do hear from someone, it’s like a 52 year old divorcee with two kids. Which is not what I want at this point!

I haven’t been on a date in over a year. How am I supposed to put myself out there if no one is responding to me?

Caitlin: So, how is your life different from how you imagined when you were younger?

Alicia: I always thought that I was going to grow up, have a normal job, have two kids… I never thought I’d be single still in my 30’s. Now, I have a great job and I own my own place. I’m happy with that, but again, it’s a struggle because I feel like all my ducks are in a row, but that one.

I still want a family. I want all of it. But as I get older, it’s going to get harder. People tell me I can have a kid on my own if I want to, but that’s not how I want it.

Caitlin: What do you hope the future holds for you?

Alicia: It’s easy to say a family. I want a husband, I want kids. But, what I want and what I get could be two different things. But, I do wish for that for myself, in any form. I do believe everything happens for a reason. If I can’t have kids, or I end up adopting, or I have six kids at once, it’s all going to be because that’s what was meant for me. That’s always been my mentality.

Caitlin: Do you feel settled in your life, or do you feel like you’re waiting for something?

Alicia: I’m definitely waiting. I may be blessed with some great things, but I feel I’m not complete yet. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and it’s not about being fixed. It’s about learning to accept things and adapt and be happy with the overall picture.

Even though I’m still single, I’ve come this far. I’m not going to settle. I don’t want to.

What do you think? Have you ever had someone make a comment about your relationship choices that caught you off guard? How old were you when you met your future spouse, or are you still looking? Talk to me!

Image: Bob