I’ve been single for most of the last 20 years. During that time I’ve raised a baby boy into a good man, moved interstate twice, travelled to Europe twice, bought two homes and built a successful career. I’ve had two long-term partnerships during my son’s life – three years with my husband and then, a decade later, a fiancé for four years.
There have been, of course, many short-lived love affairs over the years ranging from three weeks to 12 months. Some took barely a cup of tea with a friend to get over, others took months of therapy to understand (yes, Mr Narcissist, I’m looking at you). Maybe it’s because I have Pluto and Libra in the house of relationships. Maybe it’s because I needed those experiences to learn and grow. Maybe I just haven’t met Mr Right yet.
I have been online dating on-and-off for the past two years, which has been, well, let’s be positive and describe it as a mixed bag rather than the DOORWAY TO HELL. So, I’ve had my fair share of people commenting on my single status and why they think it is so. There are a few common themes. So, I’ve compiled my list of the six most annoying things you can say to a single woman over 40.
You need to love yourself more
This is a popular choice for people who can still remember the last time they had sex. So, really, what would they know. Look, I do love myself. I’m an absolute catch. I love who I am. I love my body. I love my career. I love where I live. I love my life. If I loved myself any more, I’d be at risk of becoming smug and patronising. Oh wait, that’s you. So, are we done here?
You just need a new hobby
No, I really don’t. See Exhibit A. I work my ass off and still manage to play guitar, read books, do a creative writing course, be part of a community organisation, see bands, and go to exhibitions with my fabulous single girlfriends. A hobby is not going to replace my son when he leaves home in three weeks. And taking up salsa dancing is not going to replace a partner either.
But you’re gorgeous!
Look, to state the blindingly obvious, true love is not simply about looks. I see plenty of ugly people in relationships every day. I’ve even thought at times,”how the hell does she have a boyfriend when I don’t?” Yes I know, I can be a judgemental cow. One guy drew me a graph on his napkin on our first date showing the correlation between attractiveness and craziness. Apparently there’s a sweet spot where women are beautiful enough and not too crazy. We broke up after two months, so clearly I wasn’t in his ideal range.
You need to stop looking and then you’ll find him
I’m sorry, but I have rarely found something I really wanted without looking. Sometimes it has taken a lot of effort. A new job. A new house. A new pair of shoes. They don’t just fall out of the sky into your life. Yes, okay, sometimes you do find that perfect coat when you’re not looking. Sometimes you do get approached about a great job. But usually you actually have to go out and find what you want.
You should get a dog
Yes, dogs are wonderful and I would love to have one. But I go to work at 8am and don’t get back until after 6pm. That’s 10 hours a day, five days a week. I think it’s cruel to leave a dog inside and alone for that long. A cat probably wouldn’t mind, but then I’d have spend my valuable spare time cleaning fluff off the couch and emptying kitty litter trays. Frankly, I don’t want to do more housework. Plus my home is small and I don’t want a place that reeks of cat’s piss to everyone else. Just in case I do actually find a man I want to invite into my empty nest.
You need to be happily single
Bullshit. This seems to be the preferred statement for people lucky enough to be having regular sex with someone they love. Yes, you can pleasure yourself – but you can’t hug or kiss yourself. And kissing is such a lovely thing. A hug can be the nicest thing in the world. Some of us prefer not to shag strangers. Talking to your cat about your bad day doesn’t tend to give you the support you need. Crying alone is much worse than crying on someone’s shoulder. Sharing your bed with your laptop and watching Netflix isn’t terrible, but it would be nice to cuddle up to someone. And maybe get naked too. Unfortunately Netflix just doesn’t love me like that.
Got any more?