Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Margaret - How Can I Face The Future?

Hi Babs

I am a professional woman in my 60's. I married when I was 20 and stayed in the relationship until a couple of years ago.  We separated and divorced without rancour. We no longer felt we had enough in common to stay together. I have flirted with the idea of having a relationship but have never seriously pursued one. I've been introduced to prospective partners by friends and a couple of times I've placed adverts but I've never met anyone I've been remotely interested in.

This may seems strange but I am happy in my single state. I enjoy my work which is fulfilling. I go on holiday on my own. I love the theatre and cinema. I do have friends I meet up with for meals etc and I belong to a couple of groups which meet my intellectual needs. It's just that I had this idea that at my age I would be settled in a comfortable relationship and I'm not. It's as if I have this gap and I fear being ill and old and on my own. I do have a son who lives about 60 miles away and who I see on a regular basis and two grandchildren. I know he loves me but as 'they' say he has his own life. How can I meet the future with equanimity? 

Hi Margaret 

My first thoughts when I read your email is that this is a woman who is living her life and enjoying it. You clearly have all the ingredients for contentment but you seem to be saying that you are letting old dreams of being in a couple get in your way?

I wonder what stopped you from being interested in the men you met? Have you some preconceived idea of what you want from a partner? What would you gain from having a relationship? I get the fear aspect but to be honest being in a relationship doesn't necessarily mean you would be supported when ill. In fact someone wrote to me recently to say her husband had left her when she was diagnosed with cancer. 

It seems your son is unaware of your feelings. I understand he has his own life but discussing with him what you want to happen if you're ill and infirm seems to make sense. You don't mention your daughter-in-law perhaps you could include her in the discussions. Sometimes when people are busy living their own lives they don't notice other people's difficulties so the smart way in my opinion is to say.

Facing the future with equanimity seems to me to be connected with making sure all the pragmatic issues are dealt with and then working out how to fill your emotional needs. I wonder if one of them is to have someone to talk to about your doubts and fears. If so a supportive friend could fill that role. If you do want a partner and I'm not sure you do then Dating Agencies, the Internet, Newspaper Advertisements can work. Another good way of meeting someone with the same interests is a hobby or activity club. But in my experience romance seems to flourish when you're not actively looking for it. 


  1. Hi Babs and Margaret,
    My mother, though much older is the same as Margaret. She has been single for 20 years now. Sometimes helping her can make things hectic in my life but at the same time this is the very least I owe my amazing mother. I hope you speak with your son. I once told my mom that if she married, I would have two elderly parents to care for. I said this jokingly but I think she was around 60 when the conversation took place.

  2. Hi Suzie thanks for your comment. I think we do sometimes say things in jest that can be taken seriously by the other person. I hope your response will give Margaret some encouragement

  3. I became "single" at 54 and revelled in being my own person, still do nearly 10 years on. Have had a couple of relationships but found that I didn't want it to be permanent - too much in my past. I have a good relationship with all three of my sons and my youngest lives 10mins away - he's there whenever I need him - but I don't impose - because I know they have to lead their own lives.
    Let yourself evolve in to who you want to be, then if someone turns up you can accept him or reject him and not on past experiences.
    Be you first, the rest will follow but don't push it.