What is it like to not get married and live alone?
I came from a dysfunctional family, which had downstream effects on my life. I can look at where I am today and trace how the contours of that life led me to being alone today.
When I was 5 years old, I was left alone. I went to kindergarten on the bus alone, and came home on the bus alone. I walked home from the bus stop alone. Because it was midday (I went to a half-day school that ended at noon), I'd get hungry. I used a chair to climb the kitchen counters to get peanut butter and bread. Then I'd lay on the kitchen floor, cuddling the family dog, and wait for an adult to come home
I was sexually assaulted by a family acquaintance from age 6 to 10. When I told my parents about the abuse, and asked for help, they didn't respond to me or comfort me. They didn't get me help or intervene. I spent half my living memory (my first memories were at age 2) being sexually exploited and terrorized.
My father beat me. He would hit me in the face and call me a bitch and a slut. He went into rages for the smallest of infractions. He took my bedroom door off its hinges. He threatened me. He threw things, called me big-ass, and made sexist comments and jokes. In his shadow, I grew up feeling small and afraid.
My mother was emotionally and psychologically abusive. She stood by while my father beat me. Then, while I held my bloody face in my hands, she would tell me what a bad person I was. I was awful. I was unlovable. I was difficult. I was angry (who wouldn't be). When she wasn't telling me to my face what a terrible child I was, she was leaving hate notes on my bed or in my backpack. (Kind of like a perverse Hallmark commercial.)
She bullied me in private and eroded my sense of self worth. She did this by making me wear shabby clothing, poking fun of my looks and my body, and shaming me. When I was a teenager, she sometimes came into the bathroom when I showered and stood there, silently watching over me. It was scary and bizarre. I sometimes questioned whether she had been there or if I had imagined it.
I overheard my mother instigating the violent incidents between me and my father. She'd go to him and lie about how bad I was, or conjure stories about how I was disrespectful.
Despite these hardships, I managed to do well at school. I escaped the pain of my circumstances by keeping my head buried in my books.
College was hard because my parents exploited me financially. They had diverted my financial aid payments to themselves. I was so brainwashed and shell-shocked that I was afraid to confront them. When I eventually did, largely out of desperation, my needs were dismissed and I was called a liar. Later, in an act of vengeance, they stole my computer out of my dorm room. They did some other fucked up stuff to undermine and control me, but it would take too long to write about that here.
I graduated, against all the odds. I moved in with my college boyfriend and we planned our future together. My life felt hopeful and promising. Then, a couple of years after graduation, the unthinkable happened. My parents committed a crime.
You might think, "I'd never cover up for my awful family," or "let them suffer the consequences." But my parents were extraordinarily bad people, and so, too were their fuckups. It was the kind of crime that, if revealed, would hurt people and ruin all of us. My sibling and I were caught up in shitty circumstances that were not of our own design.
We hired a lawyer and were advised that we should pay people off and run out the clock on the statute of limitations.
My sibling and I dealt with the legal and financial consequences for almost a decade. I had to leave my boyfriend, as I didn't want him implicated. It was painful to pack up my stuff and leave behind the love of my life, for reasons I couldn't ever explain. I cried every night for years, and watched him move on to another woman. A part of me died when he married her. Another part of me felt relieved that he'd found love again.
I eventually found myself in another relationship, but because I was hiding so much and dealing with so many toxic behaviors, I didn't attract a good person. My circumstances meant I was often frustrated, scared, anxious and tired. In time, it was easier for me to believe the worst: that I was fucked up because I came from a fucked up family. I carried around their fucked up secrets and fucked up legacy. No one could kind or healthy could love this fucked up girl.
Predictably, my next boyfriend abused me. I knew it was unhealthy and made many attempts to leave. He was volatile, though, and I was now under the thumb of my equally volatile family. One day, I asked my parents to help me leave him, while I sobbed into the phone. My mother said it wasn't her business and she wouldn't get involved. She hung up on me. I eventually found the courage and resources to leave him on my own.
I was terrified to date again. I spent five years abstaining from sex and relationships, focusing on recovery from the abuse and survival - a task made all the more difficult, given the fact that I was living with a terrible secret that I couldn't discuss in therapy. But eventually, the statute of limitations had ended.
At the end of this, my sibling and I had paid exhorbitant amounts of hush money and legal fees. I realized that I had wasted my youth and some prime earning years. I woke up and I realized that I was sad, scared, broke, old and alone.
My friends had married, had children, reached their professional and financial goals, while I had languished in my own private hell. It hurt that my circumstances made it hard to be a "together" person. I knew that my friends privately wondered why someone smart and ambitioud could turn out to be so unhinged.
When I recently had a health issue that required support, my parents didn't feel any obligation to me. They abandoned me and left me on my own. And my sibling lives too far away to be able to help,
I was in free fall and it was terrifying. I survived and got through it, but it was not easy. Aside from my material needs, there were moments when I yearned for affection, reassurance, a loving and healing touch. It made me realize that I was truly alone, and, save for my one sibling, always had been.
I would like to fall in love at 40 and create a life with someone. To have a chance at a healthy family. To create the loving environment I never had, and to share my love with another person.
I've done the hard work of unraveling the past and coming to terms with it through intensive trauma therapy. I've "re-parented" myself, healed my wounds of neglect (as best as one can, anyway) and tried to create a life of integrity. I've focused on my inner and outer beauty, and remained open to people without attaching a lot expectations to outcomes.
I was hopeful at first. But modern dating is hard and even harder when you're 40. So I'm still alone. I've come to terms with it and just tried to be happy where I am. Fortunately, I've learned how to be alone and to create some joy in my life. I volunteer, give my time to people hurting more than I am, and have made a chosen family out of my dearest and closest friends.
There are times that I grieve. Occasionally, I'll lie in bed and the still of the night feels oppressive and hard to bear. It feels so, so unfair. I sob for what was lost and what will never be.
When these days come, I comfort myself by pretending that there's someone who listens and cares. I talk to myself aloud and recount my story, while imagining a sympathetic other. They're compassionate and understanding. They acknowledge my loss, they say all the right things.
I guess that sounds a little crazy, but loneliness and isolation can be a crazy-making situation.
I'm just going to stab at this question even though I think I'm probably one of, if not am the youngest person here to answer such a question.
Here are some facts for context:
- I'm going to be 31 this year.
- I've a bunch of friends my age or younger who are hitched.
- Slowly but surely, I can see my other friends getting married.
- I'm expected i.e. "supposed" to get married at this age since everyone else is doing the same and that it "should" set the base for a "stable" life ahead.
- Over the last year, I did get out of a relationship with somebody whom I thought I'd marry.
- I lead a very deviant life. I've no job. I'm doing my own thing. I'm single and still ready to mingle. I'm also a *little* jaded with the idea of marriage.
I am also going to assume on the negative connotations of this question, especially derived from the word "alone."
So what is it like to not get married and live a life alone?
It's fucking awesome.
How do I lead this happy, awesome life?
Simple: I make my life what I want it to be.
I shed all expectations in life.
I can't be fucked with what's expected out of me (and my age.)
I've my own views of dating, love, romance and marriage and I adhere strongly to them.
I don't give a fuck what others think.
All of this, added together serve to subvert what most would assume is negative when it comes to being alone.
There is nothing wrong with being alone-
I don't get why people think it's sad to be alone. You don't even need to be an introvert to embrace your lonesomeness.
If anything, it is by far worse to be with somebody you're unhappy with.
If you know who you are deep down and have your own aspirations, you can happily lead your own life. Just focus heavily on your life and not bother about others.
I've zero inspiration from the married couples around me-
The friends I know who are married are either unhappy, regretful, on the verge of divorce or are still fucking around.
Never, ever assume a couple is happy just because they're married. You never know what is really going underneath.
Not that you should judge them of course.
But all in all, there's no reason to feel lonely or jealous just because you're single while your friends are married.
Divorce is very real my friend. Divorce does not have the confetti and rainbows, but it's still around.
Stick to your idea of what love means to you and never let it go
If you think you need this or that, or should do this or that when it comes to love, you're going to have a bad time.
You don't need anything or should do anything. You just have to stick to your values and feel what you're feeling. So stop listening to others and abiding by their standards when it comes to love.
Indeed. You can take your time.
I'd admit my free-spirited attitude to love and marriage is tainted by some cynicism, but I still use that to take my time so I can be happy.
My own dad died. Who's to say my mom is experiencing true love now? How is love in existent when life does not even exist?
But still, I stick to what I believe in, cynical or not.
I've unfulfilled dreams and that is exciting
I personally think a lot of people get married just so they can treat it as a forced entry into a new stage of life, whether they're ready or not.
This is when they get to tell others, "Yeah I'm married" and expect them to think they're of a different category, regardless of whether they're really happy or not.
So I find it awesome to be single today. Not lonely. I just work hard to get what I want and move toward some unfulfilled dreams.
That is what a happy life means to me. It's not the chase of pleasure. It's the living of one's life his or her own way regardless of what others may think or even if one is going through some struggle.
And if it's not time for marriage to fit in yet, then it has no place or right to be in that life.
You make what you want your life out to be. It is as simple as that.
This quote by Charles Bukowski sums it up perfectly:
I'm 48 and have never married though I have been asked many times (got engaged twice, then called it off because I realised my reasons to accept were suspect). So far, I haven't met someone I really truly want to spend the rest of my days with. Here are my thoughts and motivations on being unmarried:
1. I love my own company. In fact, I need those hours of solitude and without it, I feel out of balance.
2. Though I'm single, I have a very active family life with regular interactions with my siblings, their partners, my nephews, nieces, cousins in addition to close friends. And no, I don't have to wait for them to include me in their family activities. Most events that involve my extended family happen at my home. Right now I'm enjoying the quiet and relaxation from after the festive season celebrations that included Christmas luncheon and two barbecues at my house and plenty of visits with family members and friends. I have a large home with plenty of guest rooms for visiting friends, nephews, cousins and siblings and their families. What I'm trying to say is that, being unmarried does not preclude an active family life if that's what suits you.
3. Being unmarried means you don't need to consider anyone else when you want to do something major- like travel. I'm a mobile worker, so I can easily ( and do) travel for work, to get away for some quiet and relaxation or to visit my large family . I've been known to rent a place for a month in cities/towns where my family or friends live and then get on with my life, spending time with them or maybe not socialising at all, whatever suits me.
4. Being married and having children is no guarantee that you will not be alone in your old age. Children grow up and move clear across the country for work or because they choose to. They may even move to other countries. Partners divorce or pass away. Lots of old people are alone and lonely even though they married and raised families.
5. Just because I'm unmarried doesn't mean I wouldn't choose to, if the right guy came along. But as an adult woman who has built a rich life for myself (not necessarily money), I have a great deal to compromise if I marry. That person would have to offer me something extraordinary to tempt me to a commitment. But I'm not unaware that a companion walking with me through this life and showing me new pathways I was unaware of would enrich my life further.
6. I have a huge respect for the institution of marriage. I was born of a couple that was happily married for 0ver 40 years, till death parted them. My siblings are well-partnered too. So my experience of marriage, albeit a secondary one, has been very good. So I'm not unmarried because I have something against marriage.
7. Old age is what you make of it, and it doesn't have to be alone and lonely. I live part-time in a village where old people are very active in community affairs and do a myriad of activities to keep busy and active ( play soccer, walk everywhere, meet, help out in wedding preparations... gosh. The elderly are very busy here and integrated into the daily life of the young too). Honestly, old people in this village have a hectic schedule and you'd have more time to yourself if you were young with a fulltime job.
I am seriously warning you against taking any consideration of answers posted by anybody here including me. I am 23 and have never been in a relationship, so I am not at all qualified to answer your question, but seriously! Are others?
Most of the people answering the question are with their own narrow cultural perspective. In western countries marriage is trial and failure. It's something they desire (a successful and long lasting one), but not necessarily need. They can go on fall in love at 40's and keep dating in 50's. Whereas in eastern countries it's a compulsion. Most people marry practical strangers with their family's approval. But marriages hardly break and end in divorce. Why am I stressing on this cultural difference? Choice!!! If you have a choice of things and you can choose any one of these lives, it will not impact you harshly. But as soon as you miss the train you will be devastated if you make a wrong decision. So, that much for how long you can remain in this dilemma. I now come to your real question.
What is it like to not get married and live a life alone?
Incredibly lonely!!! You may think that you will enjoy life, have cool friends ... blah...blah. But just ask me one thing. Suppose this new year you want to spend with your friend and so does her wife who is with him for last 30 years. Who is bound to be left alone on such many occasions? You won't have that special somebody who will regard you as their world.
Moreover, the fun will end one day. Whatever you may like today, you will not love doing the same thing 20 years from hence. Sad part - you want to have anybody with you to share this. Again the people you see who are very happy despite being single are very highly driven ones. They have married their professions. But for every single successful person you can find, you will find 100 committed people who are more successful and have led happier lives.
Yeah, granted not all married people have happy lives. But when they grow old at least they will have somebody to share their regrets and mistakes with, if not the happy moments. Believe me, after a certain time you will certainly lose your beauty, then your health and then you will be cold and there will be no charm, friendliness in you. Your parents or siblings might be dead or not with you. But there will be this one person you grew old with. With whom you shared so much that now you care not how they look, feel or say. You love them for what they are. And then one of you may die earlier than the other. The other one will come to farewell on your last journey. Is it not worth it? Is not breaking your heart a couple of times worth it?
You will be lonely, sad, and regretful of life. If unlucky, also unhealthy. Probably hire somebody to look after yourself. And end up giving everybody to your caretaker because you have no one to pass on your legacy.
You will have a very eventful life full of buzz. You will be busy most of your time working and accomplishing a lot. You may not miss anybody. Then you will sometimes come back home. Or too sick or old to work. Then you again will be lonely.
I'll be 44 this September, so I guess I'm old enough to answer this one. :) I have never been married. I used to have many girlfriends and I REALLY enjoyed having them as my girlfriends. The last one was in 2006. Since then I have been single - don't know why but I seem to enjoy it. Humans are social animals, they say, and I admit that there are times when I feel lonely - especially on my off days!
But I try my best to surround myself with friends, relatives and/or activities on my free time, doing the typical things - visits just for chats or meals, vacationing together, recreational activities, trying new hobbies, movies... those kind of things.
I love travelling and consider myself sort of a free-spirited person. My work enables me to travel regularly to other states and countries (all-expenses-paid... yeahh!) and I love every minute of it. I am at my happiest when I travel, especially out of my country.
Being "free", I can go and return anywhere and anytime I prefer on any available day or time I want... without consulting, planning with and/or considering my spouse's and/or kids' schedule/time. Therefore, the idea of having a spouse (and kids) is a no-no for me, for now.
I don't mind just a (female) partner/companion, though... but it's not easy for both of us to agree not to have at least a kid forever. People can and will change, and when the day comes where one of us suddenly longs to have a kid, while the other still doesn't want any, that would be a problem! Age is also a factor for my not keen on starting a family. I shudder at the thought of dealing with my children's pre-school and school stuff/activities when I'm in my 50s!
Since I've been single and independent for a long time, it gets more and more tricky to find a compatible partner. It happens to most people like me - you're quite good at almost everything in your life (household chores, financial stuff, taking care of yourself, etc), you need very good reasons to accept another person into it. And as you get older, it gets harder not to be so critical of a potential partner. The criterias get more and more strict as the years go by.
I may not be able to see a grandchild should I get married now and have a kid not long after - I've accepted that possibility. I've also accepted the possibility of not having my own child. I do sometimes imagine how it's like to have children, every now and then... but the physical, emotional and financial cost that would follow - which will restrain me from doing those aforementioned things I love to do - is simply a turn-off for me. It would also be cruel of me to my very young child/children to have a very old father. That's just not fair to them and also my wife/partner if she is much younger than me.
Still, I'm not shutting the door on relationship either. Things change! Such is life. Who knows what lies ahead, huh? In the meantime, I try my best to enjoy my life with my friends, relatives, acquaintances and this big beautiful world. It's a decent and good life, for now, and for that I'm thankful. ☺