Advice: Why am I still single?

Last updated 05:00 06/09/2012

She's 32 and hasn't had a 'real' relationship for a decade. Is there a Mr Right out there?

Send your questions to lifeandstyle@stuff.co.nz, and remember to include a nickname if you don't want to be identified.

I am 32 and currently living in London, but am returning soon to New Zealand.

I have recently come out of a relationship of sorts, which was quite damaging to me on many levels, but I know I am better out of it.

He was married, and even though told me he was separated when we met this ultimately wasn't the case. This lasted over a year, and ended by him walking out on me after telling me he had recently been sleeping with other woman and that what we had was a joke, and that other than his sex life with his wife he is happily married. Disaster to say the least!

I am very anxious about moving back to New Zealand. It has been over four years, and during that time my friends have all moved forward with their lives.

They are married, or have kids or both. I feel like my life has been quite stagnant. My friends in London often joke that we lead a temporary life over here.

I really am worried that the clock is ticking and while I have been away I might have missed my shot at meeting the right guy.

I haven't had a "real" relationship for about 10 years. I often have feelings of being inadequate and not good enough, like whoever I date is constantly looking for a better model.

It's like I am successful in almost every aspect of my life except relationships. I have a great job, own my own home in New Zealand, love rugby and most sports. I'm well-travelled, can cook, love cars, have great friends and family, am fun and enthusiastic and am fairly attractive.

I wonder what is wrong with me. Why are other people in seemingly happy relationships, and I am the one with no one?

I honestly do not see myself as desperate (though some would), I actually just see myself as crushingly lonely.

Have you any tips that will help me meet a great guy, not so that I fit in with everyone, but so that I can experience love with someone that is special and sees me in the same way?

Perpetual Bridget Jones

It sounds like you are going through the really normal process of making some big transitions in your life and reflecting about how you want your future to be.

I would encourage you to think of all you have gained from your time away.  It is true that your friends may have moved on and many now have children and partners, but you also will have changed so it is great that you are not expecting time to have stood still for everyone.

This change creates opportunities as well as challenges, and I wonder if you are signalling a willingess to embark on a kind of personal journey as well.

This might sound like a bit of a cliché but the best tip I can offer for meeting the right guy is to be really happy in your own skin. You do deserve a loving relationship but it is likely your feelings of being inadequate and second guessing your partners about wanting a 'better model' are getting in the way.

Those feelings of inadequacy will colour your choices of who you attract and who you stay with. If you don't think you are worthy, you will be sending those messages out.

Sometimes the negative messages we carry about ourselves are a bit hard to shift and can continue to interfere with our intimate relationships, so I would suggest you go and get some help from a counsellor.  They will be able to help you identify more about how the messages are impacting on you, and help you connect with all those wonderful aspects of who you are. 

So for now, enjoy and appreciate all you have and the way you have contributed to those successes ... successful career, own home, great family and friends.  Hold onto that dream that that you will find someone who is special and sees that in you, but also embrace this in yourself.

When you move home immerse yourself in social activities, friendships and developing the kind of lifestyle you enjoy. Learn to love yourself and trust the relationship will happen when you are ready.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- © Fairfax NZ News

89 comments
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Liz S   #1   06:04 am Sep 06 2012

It only needs to happen once. She only needs to meet the right guy once.

She needs to remember that.

Curious   #2   06:21 am Sep 06 2012

You sound like the perfect woman! So it's definitely not you. You're just meeting the wrong men and looking in the wrong places (that last guy was a total jerk!).

But before you venture into dating, it sounds like you need to work on your self esteem. Enjoy being single when you move back, work on your friendships, socialise, work on your career and even look into counseling. You need to realise that people are with you because of YOU, and accept that you're a great person.

When you're feeling more confident, why don't you look into online dating? Seriously I thought it was only for freaks but I've since found my fiance through online dating (he's good looking, successful, into sports but a little shy). Socialise more with your friends back here because they probably know a few single men. Join more clubs, Meet Up seems to be a good thing at the moment. You meet other individuals in your city based on your interests or job.

You have a lot going for you. Own it :)

peachey   #3   06:24 am Sep 06 2012

You're still young, you'll find someone, but try and get some feelings of self worth. It sounds like you have a lot going for you. Don't accept second best in the hope of a relationship. Having your own house is a huge advantage in life. If you were coming back to nothing, you would be on the back foot, but you have everything, except a partner, that will come. Good luck.

Same Same   #4   06:54 am Sep 06 2012

Your not the only one in that boat. I was told the exact same thing from a counsellor, that you need to love yourself first to attract the right type of person your after. Think of it as you have a gap in your heart that you keep trying to stick a band aid over (pursuing dead-end relationships with L O S E R S!) You need to find out fill that gap with whatever is missing (which a counsellor will help you work out), then if you be someone that you would want to be with, then you will be on the right track to finding a suitable partner. Thats my theory anyway. Goodluck!

Same Same   #5   07:01 am Sep 06 2012

Oh, and there is no rush. You dont want to be one of those who has a baby to fix everything. Your only 32 you could have near 10years up your sleeve. And there are plenty of options these days. Too many people now perhaps rushing to have babies and having them with the wrong person. Just chill out I say. Move home, get settled and enjoy your singledom!

k2   #6   07:02 am Sep 06 2012

Forget all the nonsense about there being a "right one" out there waiting for you. There isn't. And for many other people there isn't. There might be a "close enough", or "this will do", but the right one is a figment of the romantics imagination.

So save your energy, and your heart. Accept that you will not find love. A decade and you have only managed to catch a tosser who cheats on anyone and everyone. The writing is on the wall, and it aint good.

Be strong and move on. Enjoy the fellowship of your friends. Partake in volunteer work, if that grabs you. Get involved in your community. But most importantly, don't sit at home, waiting for the "right one" to come along. It wont happen.

Cher   #7   07:13 am Sep 06 2012

I know this exact feeling. I'm turning 30 this year and the longest relationship I've had is 6 months. After my last boyfriend broke up with me a month ago I really hit rock bottom. I was lost and didn't know what to do and what I had done wrong. However I woke up one morning and decided I had enough of my little "pity party". So each day I think of one thing that I'm grateful or appreciate I have in my life. I think it is true you can only be truly content when you find happiness within yourself and to nuture the other relationships you have in your life. I still definitely have days when I feel down or lonely but I think they are normal, that everyone feels like that and are not something to be afraid of.

Richie's agent!   #8   07:27 am Sep 06 2012

Richie McCaw is still single too for some reason. Maybe Graeme Henry should take up the job of finding Richie a wife. I hear he is definitely on the market for some lucky lady to make some little Richies! Not all the good guys are taken, they too are holding out for the right lady.

Alex   #9   07:33 am Sep 06 2012

Married and separated = baggage, with kids too = you can't come first. Cheating = always a cheater. Broaden your horizons a bit, don't be shallow and take on someone you might not appeal to you straight away, but give yourself time to discover them and in turn, what you really want in a man. There are some really decent blokes out there and often they have no idea why women are so conservative and don't give them even half a chance.

Amy   #10   07:39 am Sep 06 2012

Is this the 1950s? Come on! Just because our parents and grandparents had to marry in order to meet society's expectations, doesn't mean we have to! In this day and age we don't need husbands to validate our existence! If we want children, we have them alone! My friend is 30 and about to start IVF, regardless of the fact she's single! If we want sex, we can have a lover or two, if we want companionship, we take up new activities and focus on friends who have similar interests (i.e no kids!). YOU DON'T NEED A MAN OR A WOMAN TO VALIDATE YOURSELF!!!!


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