I will never understand what it’s like to be a single 40-year-old woman (because even if G-D forbid I am single, I would be a divorced 40-year-old single mother, and that’s not the same). I can try to sympathize, but when I’m talking to acquaintances who are in that position there never seems to be the right thing to say.
I recently ran into an old family friend named Beth and I asked her if she was available for being set-up. Her reply? “Don’t bother, I’m going to be alone forever.” She wasn’t looking for pity, that was simply how she felt and she was speaking her mind. I was sad for Beth and I told her I would still keep her in mind, but the conversation stayed with me. She seemed so resigned to being single and had no faith left in love. Because I am 10 years her senior and married with a child I would never get it.
The problem is, that attitude is going to get Beth no where and in fact will turn away friends too. I know it’s tough to be single. If it was tough to be single at 27, I can only try to imagine how tough it is at 40. But never give up hope that you will find your Beshert.
I want to share my friend’s story to give hope to those who are feeling hopeless.
Lila was 36 when her long-term boyfriend (who was divorced with two children) decided he didn’t want to have anymore kids. Since she knew she wanted to be a mother, she broke up with him and decided to go ahead and freeze her eggs. It may seem extreme, but she was, after all, nearing her late thirties and didn’t want to take any chances. After Lila turned 38 and still wasn’t in a relationship she decided to start saving money and researching “donors” – both from friends and those from a bank. Lila could accept being single but she was going to do anything in her power to have a child.
At 39 Lila had selected a donor from a bank but hadn’t yet started the process. And that’s when she met someone. Saul was the same age and also wanted children. The two became serious quickly and their engagement was announced soon after. Lila and Saul knew they wanted to be parents and since her biological clock was ticking and Lila already had frozen eggs they decided to move forward with in-vitro fertilization. A few unsuccessful IVF attempts later and Lila was losing hope. Now she had her Beshert but couldn’t seem to get pregnant. Could she have it all?
Lila and Saul decided to immerse themselves in planning their wedding and buying a home together when much to their surprise they found out they were expecting! After all the medical interventions, it happened the “old-fashioned” way for them, only confirming that they were indeed Beshert. The wedding was supposed to be six months from then but Lila didn’t want to be a pregnant bride. Instead they went to the Justice of the Peace and got married on paper. The baby is due any day now (Lila just turned 42, by the way) and the big wedding is being held in six weeks, with baby in tow.
Lila’s story is so inspirational. All of her dreams did come true but she wasn’t going to wait around for them to happen, she went after them with a vengeance. As soon as she decided she was going to have a family – with or without a man – her entire demeanor changed and then the right man entered her life. True, she didn’t do things the traditional way and some may think her efforts to have a baby on her own bordered on desperation (or even undermined the concept of family values), but for Lila she was being proactive to ensure she had a family… albeit a non-traditional one.
Now she does have it all and she’s an example for others nearing or in their 40s that it can eventually happen for you too. You may not necessarily feel the need to follow her exact path, but there are other things you can do to “complete” yourself which in the meantime will distract you and better you until your Beshert comes along… which in turn will seem to happen much faster because you’re too busy being distracted with bettering yourself. The point is not to let life go on around you while you wait for something to happen, but to actually make it happen yourself. Lila didn’t think she would be a 42-year-old pregnant bride, but then she wouldn’t have this particular husband or be having this particular baby.
I just read your post “Never Been Married” from January 19 about your friend who met a 40 year old who has never been married or come close to it.
Characterizing those of us who are in our 40s and haven’t married yet as “over the hill” and “too picky until it was too late” is just so biased. There is no age limit or restriction for when people get married. And just because the majority of people do it in their 20s and 30s, doesn’t make the rest of us wrong or abnormal.
Thank you for your email! I completely agree that there’s no age limit and that not having been married by your 40th birthday doesn’t make you abnormal. My concern is when someone reaches the age of 40 and hasn’t been in a serious, long-term relationship. There is someone (or more than one someone) for everyone and some people just meet them later in life. I believe that every relationship throughout your life helps shape the person you are, so it’s imperative to have both made a commitment and have had your heart broken by the age of 40.
My JDating® friend Miriam just met a guy who is approaching 40 and has never been in a serious, long-term relationship that was headed for marriage. I found it highly suspect that someone with so many years of dating under his belt had never been engaged, or lived with someone. I understand that some people were busy and invested in their career. I have sympathy for people who didn’t realize they were being too picky until it was too late. I have empathy for people who simply weren’t ready until they were over the hill.
But I question the person’s willingness to compromise and be compatible with others. Most of the men and women I know who are still single and in their 40s are beyond stubborn and not willing to change anything in their life anymore because they have become too self-sufficient and independent. They are so used to being alone that they can’t seem to share their life in order to make a relationship work.
Every single – no matter their age – needs to be open-minded, willing and flexible. There is not one relationship – friendship, marriage or otherwise – that is successful without compromising. Both participants have to be prepared to meet in the middle. I know plenty of 30-year-olds who are just as stuck in their ways, but luckily for them they still have time to learn and adjust before their biological clock starts ticking in overdrive.