These 21 personal accounts are touching, inspiring, and reassuring. Make sure you read them carefully.
1. Adventure Is Out There
I spent most of my 30s in a relationship that I knew was never going anywhere. I think I tolerated it at the time because my independence is important to me and I could do whatever I wanted and he didn’t care. I’m childless, I travel a lot for work, I own a house, and I love my “i don’t have kids” car with no back seat. So, that relationship ended long after it should have. I thought I would be single forever after that because I didn’t think having a man again would be worth the trouble. I reconnected with friends, partied a little more often, and was happy that I had left behind a bad relationship.
So….a few months later, I met a man at a bar who lived halfway around the world. One hot 3 week love affair, 2 visits to Europe (I’m American) and about a billion hours on Skype later, I have my house on the market and I’m planning to quit my job and move around the world to a place where I don’t speak the language. I couldn’t be more excited. 38F, he’s 31. rawr
Adventure is out there!
2. Teachable Moments
I’m 27 and single. Know quite a few people younger than me who are married, a few people around my age who are married, some already have kids or kids on the way. I feel like the clock is ticking because I’m supposed to have done all this too, but don’t feel like I really want to? General expectation is get married in your early 30s (because everyone does) and then have 83 kids (because everyone does) – after that, your life is forfeit and you’d better forget what having fun is all about, forget moving around for that bigger job… nope.
There’s also this thing about getting married because you’re “at that age”. People who are single forever and ever amen seem to suddenly meet “the one” out of a clear blue sky in their very late 20s or early 30s… it’s interesting.
Seems like a bit of a waste to me. You’re still young enough to enjoy life without carrying that weight, and IMO you could well be too young to make a proper go of the marriage. What if you hit 40-45 and realize you’re not compatible after all? Divorce and a lonely middle age? What about the child you shat out aged 28?
EDIT: I have literally just found out that another friend of mine (slightly younger) is now engaged. And here’s me single with no end in sight.
3. Love Because It’s The Only True Adventure
37 years old. male. In the last two years I lost my dad, my dog, and developed a bit of a problem with depression. I completely gave up on the prospect of falling in love. On a whim got on OKCupid. Proposing this weekend to the woman of my dreams.
edit: A few people have been very appreciative of this comment and I want to show you that I am being truthful. When it happens, I will post pictures of the ring on her hand. It may not happen this weekend. I have some plans but I want it to be perfect so if it doesn’t pan out or feels too contrived, I may wait. But…it is going to happen. She is amazing and I want the moment to be perfect for US. OP will provide.
edit 2: we were married on September 3rd. we are very happy. love can be found.
4. Time Doesn’t Matter – Love Is Forever
I was 37 and engaged to someone I’d been dating for nearly a decade when we had an epiphany that a marriage wouldn’t make it. I handed back the ring and resigned myself to start buying cats. Instead, one of my best friends, a guy I’d spent years laughing with and acting as “the best wing-person he’d ever had” stepped up and confessed he’d been waiting for my former fiancé to drop the ball. We’ve been married for more than a decade now, have two awesome kids (which I had at ages 38 and 41) and are crazy happy. We both traveled, worked, lived, loved, had our crazy youth – and now are thriving peacefully. For the most part it really feels like we know what we’re doing; there is deep friendship, zero drama, we love being together and are certain we’re right for each other. He’s my best friend and a true partner. Could I have said that had he and I married in our 20s? Unlikely. It can definitely happen. Hell, it can even be wonderful!
5. If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On.
Husband and I met when I was 35 and he was 42 (we’d both had our birthdays that year). We got married when I was 36 and he was 44 (he’d had his birthday for that year, I hadn’t). We have been married 7½ years and have a 5½ year old son (and a dog and 2 cats and some fish).
Neither of us had been married before; both of us had years of living alone and being set in our ways. Big adjustment that first year. We have a pretty boring life right now, but we’re happy with it. We have a nice little family, a church we like, great neighbors and friends. As a bonus, being a bit further along in life has put us in a better position financially: student loans are paid off, house and vehicles are paid off, etc.
Husband has wished aloud that we had been introduced ten years earlier (could have happened – we were introduced by one of my ex-roommates, and she had tried to get us together years before). I don’t know that we would have been compatible then – he had a serious period of sowing-wild-oats in his 20s and early 30s, and I’ve never had any patience for the kind of partying he was doing.
6. “Its been 8 years and we still hold hands when we watch TV.”
At 34 I went to an old friends wedding. The brides sister was the girl who I was madly in love with in my 20’s, but was always too shy to tell her. She was incredibly sweet and insanely beautiful, and way out of my league. So…after a glass or two of liquid courage, near the end of the night, I jokingly told her how in love I was with her back then. She then punches me in the arm and told me she was also crazy in love with me back then, but was also too shy. She said she had pages and pages written about me in her old diary, and she still had a photo of us together that someone had taken at a party. Amazed, I then told I had a copy of the same photo and had absolutely treasured it all these years. We both had teary eyes at that point, so I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes. I kissed her for the first time right then. It was one of those amazing kisses where you forget where you are, until you open your eyes and look around. We moved in together the next week and were married the following year.
Its been 8 years and we still hold hands when we watch TV.
7. Too Much Scotch
Flew across the country for a weekend to be at one of my best friends’ wedding, so excited for him and his journey, to meet his beautiful fiance, and to see some family members whose paths have not recently crossed mine. With the closure of my eyes, with a pause in the flurry of my thoughts, I couldn’t keep my brain from stopping on the fact that my ex would be there. I hadn’t seen him in nearly 7 years, but some piece of me refused to believe that we wouldn’t be together someday.
TLDR: he was my first kiss, taught me to love cars, and embrace my intelligence; but his wild, social lifestyle scared me as a naive and introverted girl.
After a period of high school awkwardness, we later became friends. It wasn’t until we moved on to college that we gave up the inhibitions and had sex. I loved him, and I had finally opened up an eye to the world around me.
The mistake I made after finding this love, one living so far away, is one of my greatest regrets; but one that I can say has been the best thing my meaningless existence has ever produced. A child.
I may hate myself, but I still loved him.
I went to this wedding with a glimmer of hope. I knew he had a girlfriend, a master degree in engineering, spent weekends hiking and biking mountains, travelling the world.
Seven years had passed, but I still loved him.
The day before the wedding, he proposed to his girlfriend on Cadillac Mountain, and I sat next to him at the reception table.
As I sat there imbibing scotch, I wondered what I would’ve done differently, what changes in my life might have allowed us to be together. But Reddit, I have my driver’s license, I hit the brakes when I should have hit the gas. I turned right when I should have turned left. Someday, I’ll wave as I pass his Viper in my Porsche, and know that all is right in the world.
Too much scotch.
8. Never Give Up!
My wife and I met 20 years ago. We dated and lived together for 9 years then broke up for about 9 years. We broke up because I had a demanding job that took up a lot of my time. She often felt neglected because i was never home. She would pick fights for the attention and eventually i got tired of it and we broke up. She ended up moving 9 hrs away to a small country town in middle of Fla. During that time we talked occasionally and considered ourselves friends.
Although I dated other women I always knew that I would never find someone that I was more compatible with than her. After changing careers and having more time to reflect i came to the realization that at 41 years of age, i did not want to live my life with regret. I did not want to look back and wonder “what if”. So about 2 years ago I professed my continued love for her and desire to give us another try. We got married on 11-12-13. And everyday that passes we are happier with each other than the day before. To answer OP’s question; yes you can find love in your 30’s or 40’s. Don’t ever give up on finding love and happiness and don’t be afraid to take a chance.
9. “I would not trade it for the world.”
Not quite late 30s, but I got married at age 35.
Yeah, it was a little late. At 32, I was all set to be married. My ex-fiancee called it off a week before the wedding. I was super-pessimistic.
In the end though, it took me a while to realize it, but during my earlier years – I was an idiot. For example, my ex-fiancee probably had Borderline Personality Disorder, and I lacked the self-esteem to see it or distance myself from it. But I learned so much about myself and what the truly “right” person is.
I smartened up and met, dated, and married the right woman. Better than I could ever imagine.
My wife and I went through a lot of bad relationships (me more so) to get where we were. But, we both agree, that looking at our laughing baby, all the things that we dealt with were worth it.
I would not trade it for the world.
10. Loving You Never Was An Option
I’m 35. I’ve been left for an arranged marriage, I had a four-year relationship end because that partner cheated, and then that was followed by a very short but intense relationship with a partner that had mental health problems. After that ended, I started going to therapy because of it all and swore off dating for at least a year. I was so fucked up from those relationships I couldn’t imagine trying again.
Three months later, I met up with a guy friend for that I hadn’t seen in a couple years for lunch because he was near my therapist’s office and had recommended a restaurant to me. We made it official a week later and have been dating for eight months now, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. It’s easy to be a partner to someone who treats me well.
It’s always said that you find someone when you stop looking. I thought I’d stopped looking a few times before, but really hadn’t. This time, I truly was focused on repairing myself and I found an amazing partner who I love more than I thought possible.
11. Love Comforts Like Sunshine After Rain
At age 44 I had more or less given up. I was an obese geek, successful enough but rejected by all women due to my appearance, and sadly resigned to being alone for life. I had pretty much stopped even trying when one day I got a response to my only remaining dating profile, on OKcupid, that I had forgotten about.. One thing led to another, I met my one true soul mate, and we fell madly and deeply in love. Been married 2.5 years now and I am so happy it hurts.
We’re so in love it is scary, and a very new thing for me, having never even had a real girlfriend. Changed my life in so many ways. I never knew just how lonely I had been until I found out what it was like to have someone. Sometimes the power of the accumulated memories of decades of sadness contrasts so starkly with the newfound ecstasy of true love that the result is wrenching. I really want to say to all lonely people that someday they will find love, but I can’t guarantee that. I can guarantee, though, that if you stop looking you will never find it. And it can happen at any age. So while you may never find it, you should absolutely keep trying because the alternative is very sad. Remember, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.”
12. Love Is Not A Game
I am a nerd.
As such, I have nerd friends. This will be about them.
My old gaming group had three hardcore nerdy men who were single into their thirties. Let’s call them Juniper, Elm, and Douglas Fir.
Around his late twenties, Juniper became intent on meeting a woman. He crushed on everyone around him. My woman, other people’s women, girls that were creepily too young for him. By pursuing some of these too young women, he was able to go through all those tragically horrible dating experiences most people have in high school or college.
Eventually he decided to broaden his horizons. Despite being at most nominally religious, he joined a church, because that is where all the women are. He met a woman there who is close to ten years younger than him, putting them on a similar emotional maturity level, and got his first serious girlfriend. He is now a married father of three.
Elm was a math major in college. He was the very picture of the skinny nerd. He played an instrument in the college marching band, and is still part of the alumni band.
He finally got tired of being single in his early thirties and treated finding a woman like his second job. He took dance lessons. He plunged himself into the local arts scene. He left the house all the time to become part of the arts community.
Elm met a woman who was about six years older than him who worked for an arts non-profit. She was nerdy in a different way than he was, but was as right on par with him in terms of appeal to the opposite sex. Importantly, she was eager to get married and have children. Despite being an atheist himself, he committed to learning her religion and to raising their children in her faith tradition. He is now a father of two.
Douglas Fir is a man in a female dominated work environment. He has crushes from afar, but is scared to ever really pursue them. He has a long complicated relationship with some woman that never actually involves them being a real couple. He seldom leaves the house for non-computer related reasons, other than to get together with his role playing friends. He has a permanent mi’lady air about him (no hats though). Despite being the most religious of the three trees, he has not plumbed the church for dates. He is forever alone.
13. Where There Is Love, There Is Life.
My whole life I was never lucky in love. I was awkward around women, too shy, painfully oblivious, and any time things started to work out I always found some way to screw things up. On top of all that, I had the unfortunate affliction of being the person all my friends shared their relationship woes with, and then asked for advice. At a remove of time, it’s hilarious, but it was miserable for many lonely years. At one point I made that peace you ask about. I consciously decided that perhaps this was my lot in life, to be the shepherd of my friends. I was even kind of okay with that, if that was to be my fate. But then, I’ve never been very good at accepting fate.
Around my early 30s, I tried to make changes. I tried to be more outgoing, I tried online dating, I started working out a little. I thought a lot about what I was really looking for in a woman, and in a relationship. I learned to let myself dance like no one was watching. I talked to friends who were good with women, and I experimented with some of their advice. Some of it worked, and some of it didn’t. No one thing did the trick. But it gave me more confidence, so when the moment came, I didn’t panic.
It was a wedding. I was 36, and serving as the officiant. She was one of the bridesmaids. At the end of the night, I thought to myself that the way I’d been dancing with this girl, I’d better ask her out. So I did. We’re married now, and I am glad for that every single day.
Not everything is roses, of course. We’re currently going through infertility treatments, hoping we’ll be able to start our family. We have money troubles, we have arguments, in short we have all the troubles of life and a few more besides. But I’d say it worked out.
tl;dr: Many years Forever Alone, made peace with it. Then, made changes, gained confidence. Met wife-to-be at 36. Happily married, even with troubles of life.
14. Love Is Never Wrong
I married young, my spouse died ten years ago when I was 42. I have had an amazing time, traveled and seen places I never thought I would. Learned to love myself, got in shape, changed careers, got the kids grown up and mostly on their own. I have grown very used to living alone with my dogs, have a hard time seeing myself give up my freedom to be who I want to be, do what I want. Still, I see elderly couples and get a bit wistful. My dad frets I am single. .. he remarried shortly after my mom died. He just doesn’t understand how I am happy alone.
15. Virgin Territory
30y/o virgin here that actually never even ended up kissing a girl. No religious reasons, and it’s not by choice–I’m just really socially awkward, shy, and no self-esteem. Never broke out of my shell. Stuff just never “happened” for me.
As for my life other than that.. somewhat of a success. I have a stable career that affords me a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Got a decent home, nice car, no debt, money saved up in the bank, physically fit & not overweight.
Despite this, I have horribly bad social skills. It’s not just women, it’s actually just people in general. I even struggle with small talk, and lived my whole life being called “the quiet one.”
I am completely and utterly lost on how I would even start to reverse it at this point. 30 year old that’s gonna try jumping into the dating scene when I don’t even have the social skills of a middle schooler? Yeah.. good luck, me.
16. “Love is out there, waiting to be found.”
I had been really single for 11 years after my girlfriend of 10 years dumped me in an astoundingly abrupt and shocking way. People thought I was joking when I told them, it was so completely out of the blue. I mourned for about five years, then decided/accepted that I would never really trust anyone again and made my peace with being alone for the rest of my life. Bought a little house in the woods, learned to love my solitude. Year 11 I realized that I would not be averse to a little companionship of an occasional cold winter night.
Met a fellow on OKCupid, both of us dead set against being in a relationship. Against our wills we slid from FB into FWB, then oh so reluctantly into BF/GF. Then we fell in love, just like that. I was 47. 11 months after our first date he proposed to me. We have been ever so happily married for 2.5 years now. One of the wonderful things about finding someone in middle age is that we both knew ourselves so well, knew what we needed and desired, knew what the deal breakers were. We have the conflict resolution skills gained with maturity and consequently our relationship is healthy and resilient. Most importantly, we are madly, deeply in love. I only realize now how lonely I was before. I have never loved or been loved so profoundly. I am 50 now and so incredibly satisfied with my life and my love. He was soooooooooo worth the wait. Don’t give up hope. Learn all you can about yourself while you are alone. Love is out there, waiting to be found.
17. Just When You Stop Looking
I met my husband in my mid-thirties, got married in my late-ish thirties. We’ve been together for 11 years, married for 9. 1 kid. I had definitely resigned myself to a solo life, and had already begun living that way – very independent and pretty happy that way. Of course, just when I got in that groove, that’s when everything changed. I really think there’s something to that: when you stop looking, wanting, or whatever, and instead focus on the here and now and how to make it enjoyable, that’s when the person shows up. Happens over and over.
18. Love Is Not A Magical Drug
I turned 40 a few months ago. I’ve never been married. I’ve dated off an on ever since I was 16. I have loved several women in my life, but marriage was never something I’ve really wanted. I just like my freedom too much. I would be open to it with someone who made me happier than I am on my own, but I’ve never met a person like that. I always get bored and annoyed as relationships go on.
So, yes, I’ve “found love”, but no, love is not some magical drug that makes everything in life beautiful and ends all pain. Everyone has a different amount of tolerance for other people’s bullshit – and everyone has bullshit to put up with. And everyone has a different amount of “need” for other people. I don’t need other people that much – I’m just independent, I guess.
In 40 years, I haven’t met anyone who is so incredible that I was willing to latch my life to them permanently. Maybe one or two who didn’t quite feel that way about me, maybe – but you can’t really know that if you don’t date somebody for a while.
I guess it’s possible that I will meet someone in the future that I would feel that way about, but I don’t think it’s that likely – as you get older, your options get more limited. You meet far fewer people, and many of the good ones are taken, and as people get older they get more baggage so a lot of people sour as they get older. And you stop trying as hard to make things work. So the odds go way down.
Of course, a lot of people just decide to settle for the best they can do – figuring that their options aren’t exactly going to improve as time goes on.
19. I Love You A Lottle, Its Like A Little But A Lot.
My husband was 41 when we got married last year (I’m 27). The last time he dated a girl was in 1995. He expected by the late 00’s that he would probably be single for the long haul.
We first met as co-workers in 2010 and became instant friends. A couple of months later, we started hanging out together outside of work. In 2011, we both moved to different jobs six weeks apart that happened to be two blocks apart, so we still met up for lunch everyday. In 2012, we started dating and within three months realized that this was the real deal. By 2013 we were married.
20. Love In The Late 40’s
My aunt was in her late 40’s when she ran into an old friend from high school at the 7-11 across the street from her condo. It was a quick thing, she was buying milk, he was getting coffee. After that she kept running into him around town, at the bar, at the supermarket. It was weird. Turns out he had an apartment around the corner from her, he’d been living there for years after his divorce from his first wife. My family found out when she casually mentioned going on dates with Sidney. We’re all surprised because in my lifetime I’d never know my Aunt Nancy to date, at all. She lived the single life and she seemed to be okay with it. A month later she’s bringing him to family functions and he’s great, we love him. She loves him, they move in together and life is sweet for them. About 2 years into dating they went to the courthouse and got married. I found out that she got married via text message.
He retires from the police force and they buy a house in the mountains and create their own little lovers nest and for the 6 years everything is perfect. Then he died of a heart attack.
My aunt found love so late in life and was only able to enjoy it for a short amount of time. It seriously breaks my heart.
21. “Enjoy being single.”
You can find love at any age. Just that your target is different. As in, if you’re 45, it’d be difficult to get a 22 year old, and be compatible with each other.
Enjoy being single. Because once you’re not single anymore, well, you’re not single anymore.
Being in a relationship isn’t better than being single. Different pros and cons. It’s not all holding hands and walking off to the sunset. It’s a lot of sacrifice, compromise, effort, and taking on someone else’s problems. And the good stuff, well, you’ve already imagined it so I don’t need to list them. Not better, not worse, just different.
If you feel like your life isn’t complete without someone else… that’s a dangerous dependency to have. Love should be icing on the cake… take care of your life, and add it to improve. But of course, easier said than done. Things never work out that well.
IMHO only of course.
I’m in my mid 40’s, had lots of fun in my 30’s, spent most of that time single and dating, and currently in a committed relationship – live-in girlfriend. Ups and downs. Sometimes I miss being single, sometimes I’m glad I’m not single.