it’s better to fall in love later

Posted on November 1st, 2012

I keep coming up with theories on love. It’s a theme in my life. I’m of that age where it strikes everyone around me as odd that I should be single and approaching 40. A real estate agent on Saturday proclaimed he thought it was profoundly weird I wasn’t married. “I mean, you keep yourself fit, so why don’t you have a husband.” It was a logic I refused to try and follow.

I’m also of that age where everyone around me are in relationships that strike me as, well, more than odd (toxic, perhaps? highly compromising?). And so I come up with, and collect, theories.

Photo by Andrew Zuckerman. PS This giraffe has nothing to do with this post. But it’s the third giraffe to pop up in my orbit in 12 hours.

I was thinking about this theory this morning. I met a woman in Provence called Francine who made me lemon balm tea late one night and in her soft voice told me she thought it was better to fall in love later in life. She was 50 or so and single and still believed it wasn’t her time yet.

Her theory has a wonderful French fatalism about it. With a dose of “eat your cabbage first and leave your succulent pork chop till last” thinking (you’re either a “eat the best thing on your plate first” or a “save the best till last” type, right? I’m the latter.).

“When you fall in love and find your match when you’re  young, ” she said, ” you haven’t been around enough to handle the hurt. So when it ends, the pain is so bad,” she said. (French fatalism dictates that love will, of course, end.)

This was the better bit: “When you fall in love late, you’ve been hurt and disappointed before – by love, life, friends, work. And so you’re less fearful. You know nothing ever hurts that bad. And so you can look forward to really enjoying the love.”

Life can only get better than what has been before, Francine added.

I got what she meant. As I often say “sheer years on the planet” means you have less fear and care about less stupid stuff. This stupid stuff doesn’t have to get in the way so much. And so you can give more.

And, yes, life only gets better. And I think love gets better, too.

Being of a certain age renders you firm. Open to the real stuff. It’s a risk, leaving it until later. But it’s a risk I take knowing that my openness and bravery is only getting riper.

That’s all.

 

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  • http://www.erinwilsonstudios.com Erin Wilson

    I rather adore this.
    Thank you.

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  • Jessica

    Sarah you have read my mind with this post. I’m 29 and get ask several times a week if im seeing anyone, which is always followed up with something about how i look, as in youre pretty why can’t you find someone? What’s wrong with you?
    One particular old man asks me all the time and last week asked me what my mum thought about the fact that i was single? I said ‘you know my parents are happy if im happy’, to which he replied in utter shock “she’s happy about it’???… ‘oh dear’!!

    When did happiness and contentment become distasteful? Oh dear !

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    Jenn Reply:

    When did YOUR happiness and contentment become anyone else’s business???

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    Lola Reply:

    Ah, Jessica, I’m the same age and have the same problem! Constantly being interrogated about WHY I’m single (as if it’s either a personal affront to the asker, or as if I have some hidden fatal flaw that has relegated me to the dreaded realm of Cat Ladies).

    I’m content by myself, and have been for a number of years now. If I meet someone with whom I can be equally or more happy than I am now, wonderful. If not, what’s the problem? And if there is one, surely it’s mine and mine alone…?

    Do you get that “oh, don’t worry – you’ll find someone” pep talk as well? That one rubs me up the wrong way a bit. Apparently we’re only half a being, not complete until we find a partner. Hmmm.

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    Jessica Reply:

    Yes Lola, i do. As if to imply all those nights we presumably spend at home crying and stressing and worrying are going to be worth it because “he’s out there” !!!!

    I think what shits me the most is having to justify myself, i have to give an elaborate explaination as to why i haven’t met anyone and why im not “putting myself out there”. Or maybe i just feel like i have too because they look at me like im a f%*@in idiot !
    I’m just not willing to make a career out of looking for a boyfriend/husband.

    Kitty Flanagan has a really funny stand up dvd “Charming & Alarming” there are a lot of jokes about single women/married women, try and find it and enjoy :)

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  • Paula

    One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis:

    “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken…”

    Every natural love experiences a kind of death. I think where Francine and French Fatalism get it wrong is the notion it’s time to move on. The best loves endure the death with enough faith and hope to experience the rebirth, the creation of a better and stronger love with the same person. Sometimes it really is the end, say if the beloved dies, or breaks faith in such a way that trust cannot be rebuilt. And that’s a special kind of hurt I do think can make falling in love again later, sweeter. But I truly admire those who meet very young, struggle and grow together, break each others hearts, and fall in love all over again and live 30,40,50 years together. I guess it’s rare, but I think that’s the best and hope it’s not too late for me to have that.

    Here’s the rest of Lewis’s quote:

    “…If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

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    Sylvie Reply:

    this was beautifully expressed, thanks Paula x

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    Jo Roy Reply:

    This is a beautiful quote. I have to say this ‘got me’ a little as I find it quite difficult at times to be vulnerable, I have very effective defence mechanisms! I have printed it and will read it daily as a little reminder! thanks for sharing.

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    Hannah Reply:

    I completely agree with you Paula. Overcoming the challenges and hard times can build a stronger understanding and a much deeper love over time. It’s hard to be in a relationship sometimes, but the answer isn’t always to move on… Sometimes it is, but sticking it out can be so rewarding. I think respect for your partner and their personal growth is key too. Everyone changes, so you have to grow together and allow each other to grow. It is magical to look into someone’s eyes and think that (as much as is possible) you truly know them and love them. A shared sense of humour helps too!!

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    Carly Reply:

    Wow, Paula. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been moved to comment on anything I’ve read online, but this is beautiful. Lifelong love as a phoenix – better and stronger each time. Just glorious. Thank you!

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    Ivan Reply:

    Thank-you Paula
    All you said never would have occured to me.
    It has helped a lot.

    I saw an uplifting movie called “Kate and Leopold”.. but when Meg Ryan said “I blew my best years on you”, it shocked me to the core.
    I know that without that heart-ache and experience, the film wouln’t have been able to go along the uplifting path that it travelled.. but unfortunately that statement has dug in and left me with the determination that I won’t ever blow some-ones best years.

    Farewell

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  • Mark McCoskey

    Then again, why not fall in love daily, or multiple times a day. That doesn’t mean you have to be married, or even in a committed relationship. It doesn’t even have to be about people. Fall in love with the sunrise, sunset, the cup of coffee you are slowly enjoying, the smile of someone who just walked by.

    Now that I am in my 50′s, I see less of a need or reason to be in a relationship. I see no purpose for it. Its more about friendships and freedom. Connecting on a deeper level by enjoying shared experiences, like in all of your travels. If there is a dance to be danced, then dance it.

    The older I get, the smaller and simpler life gets, the more joy springs forth.

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    seeker Reply:

    like :)

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    michael Reply:

    me too !!

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    Naz Reply:

    Me three!

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    Kat Reply:

    Me four!
    I am turning 40 in a few months and am happier than ever because I’m single, not despite it. And my heart is free to engage with the world in all it’s glory (and obscenity).

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    Clair Reply:

    with you there Mark

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    JoJo Reply:

    Love it. “If there is a dance to be danced, then dance it.” Being open and without fear brings so many amazing experiences – simple.

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    Helen Reply:

    Mark, love your reply :)

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    Simone Reply:

    ‘if there is a dance to be danced, than dance it’…. I love this!!! How about…’ I don’t dance with strangers if the music doesn’t feel right’…

    I am 41, single and the happiest I have been in my life….because I have truly learnt that it all really does begin from loving myself. I have an open heart and love every day….many times….living in this love has brought me to a place of knowing!!!

    I think this scares people who have chosen a different path….including my mum, who only the other day said to me…’you know so many nice men, soon you will need to SETTLE for one of them’!!!!!

    I know she means well…just like the time at 32 she told me I should get my eggs frozen…

    God love her….

    X

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    seeker Reply:

    haha that is so funny Simone!! she sounds like some people i know … i really like the way you say “God love her” … that is very loving, calm and generous of spirit of you … well done!! :)

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  • http://thealchemyofhustle.com maree

    I concur.

    And as much as I would love to experience love in a partner/ship, not at the expense of who I am. I often see compromising, unhealthy relationships and I assume they exist due to peoples fear of spending time with themselves/by themselves…..and a fear of what others think – the communities view of being single which is generally ‘less than’, not complete….a failure of some kind. It has people running into relationships and holding tight regardless if it feels totally right.

    At forty I know myself and believe me its taken awhile (foibles and all). And I look forward to my next journey in love.

    thanks for the post.

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  • http://www.jacintafleur.com jacinta

    I totally agree. Sometimes you’ve gotta kiss a few (dozen) toads before you meet your prince/ss charming. For me love came late. It came when I was ready. It came when I’d finally gotten truly happy on my own and realised that I could be happy without a partner. Love came when I didn’t *need* love in the toxic that way I had needed it in my broken down teens and 20s. I’m glad love came late, I would have stuffed it up if it had come any earlier!

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    Bec Reply:

    I agree Jacinta, i am the same. And if love didnt find me later i too would have stuffed it up.

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    Karen Reply:

    Totally agree. I kissed many a toad in my earlier life! Two broken engagements and being left 5 months pregnant and being told “I don’t think I’m ready to be a parent just yet” (bit late now!, was my reply!). Being single parent all through my 20′s and most of my 30′s I chased every bad relationship I could find, until one day I woke up and realised I needed to find who I really was. I went to university moved from Canberra to Perth (just me and my son), and invested a lot of time with myself. When I came to the conclusion that I was ok by myself and that I didn’t quite mind who I was, my confidence grew as did my strength. It was then the love f my life walked in! After one phone call (that I initiated on a friends insistence!) that lasted three hours, we have been together for 12 years, had two more kids, many up and downs, many laughs and tears, but most of all so much love! I’m 50 he’s 42, the kids are 27, 10, and 6.
    Love comes to you when you are ready to receive it, doesn’t matter if you are 16 or 100!

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  • J

    I had an odd amount of forsight and intelligence when I was a teen. I knew that teenagers were illogical, emotional and not exactly mental clear, so I made the decision I didn’t want to even think about having a boyfriend or going on dates. Why bother, when neither myself nor the person I was going to be involved with were going to be an ill-formed version of themselves, or certainly not the best version of themselves? After I was diagnosed with a rare medical condition, I extended the idea – I couldn’t possibly ask someone else to put up with the craziness and disruption to their lives until I had it a bit more under control, and I couldn’t ask someone to be able to understand it until I understood it myself.

    That being said, when I did make the decision in my early 20s that i had that stuff under control, that after travelling and medical problems and a whole raft of family issues I was pretty strong, independent and knew myself pretty well, finding someone came pretty easily. But I would’ve been just fine on my own too. I kinda don’t understand the people who say they’d die without their partner. I mean yes, I’d be pretty distraught if something happened, but I’ve dealt with much worse (like my body trying to destroy itself) that it pales in comparison. Perhaps thats another benefit to having, and learning to live with a medical condition.

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  • claire

    I’m approaching 30 and after having been in in 2 serious, nearly engaged relationships in my 20′s I completly get this! I am now single and feel free and in tune with myself for the first time ever. I feel like I am constantly growing at the moment and to be able to do this in my own space and energy is a complete blessing!

    I am a little tired of the constant remarks I also get..”Your time will come soon”, “The one will come when you are not looking” Arhggh! Ok I get it ~ But im actually feeling pretty happy just being with me at the moment!

    I think it’s really ironic that often the people telling me these things are in relationships that I see as toxic – almost like they have settled –

    As long as I know that I have lived a life true to myself ~ I will be happy and rested

    Really enjoyed this post Sarah! Thank You xx

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    Lou Reply:

    How do you decide a relationship is ‘toxic’ looking at it from the outside? is that because your friends confide in you their frustrations/problems that they are hoping for empathy with or just from your observations of the couple together?

    Don’t like it (sorry) and just as bad as their comments to you about “your time will come” etc.

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    JD Reply:

    I agree Lou, I know of people who have gone into relationships in their 40s and 50s that turn into disasters, and I know of people in their early 20s who have found a truly loving and committed soulmate. This is a bit of a blanket statement post, I think.

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    Steph Reply:

    I also find it a bit offensive to label other people’s relationships toxic. Everyone goes through ups and downs and has times when they complain about their relationships and fight etc but that doesn’t mean it is a bad relationship and ‘toxic’ is a very strong word.
    I have been through the flip side of this. I got married very early and copped a lot of (some very rude) flack about it. It is my decision what ever it is and I don’t think people should comment or make blanket observations. Posts like this just make me feel like i must be missing out because I got married early. Whereas my 42 year old (happily) single sister gets those rude intrusive comments about being single. You really can’t win.

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    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    I think it depends. No, you can’t win no matter what you do – and the importance placed on women (for some reason it is always pressure on women not men!) to marry and procreate is incredibly demeaning. By insisting that a woman only has value if she marries and procreates, without considering what SHE wants to be relevant, it effectively reduces women to objects, to chattle, to breeding cows. It also takes the significance away from women who make the decision to marry and have children because it is their genuine wish and life ambition. If it is your choice to marry/breed, fantastic. If it is your choice NOT to, that’s fine as well. It is the lack of emphasis on personal choice that makes me ranty.

    However.

    With the current statistics on marital rape, domestic violence, assault and spousal homicide you can hardly blame educated women for looking at the relationships and thinking – what’s in it for me? (I can link some stats on violence against women if anyone wants to be seriously depressed today.) I notice also that women have not given up the primary caregiver role that was popularized in the 1950s (caring for both their husbands AND their children) but are now expected to have careers in addition to that. Where are OUR wives? Who takes care of us? I see so many women give up everything – their youth, their time, their money, their sanity, their health and what do they get in return? Their children ultimately leave home, and they are stuck with a husband they barely know any more who often resents them. Assuming they haven’t already divorced, like nearly 50% of couples will.

    Marriage and child-rearing places a disproportionately high burden on women and I dont think I am alone in noticing that. Plus a pretty significant risk to personal health and safety.That is what I see when I notice a lot of toxic relationships – ignoring the couples that divorce, how many who stay together are happy? How many even talk to each other any more? Have sex? Treat each other with respect and not as punching bags? Is it really rare or is that just me?

    Sorry for all the questions, it’s just a really interesting topic and this is just what I’ve noticed…

  • Simi

    Is the timing of when we fall in love or meet THE one really a choice?? Saying its a risk leaving it to later – sounds like the timing is something we have a great deal of control over. I think maybe we have a bit of control based on the energy we project, our comfort in our own skin, our thoughts creating our reality but how much is in our control I don’t know.

    But like Sarah I do think about many theories as to the whys and why nots. I am 45 and fabulous in every way and haven’t met THE one not even close!! I think maybe I need a lemon balm tea from Franice in Provence. I like her theory more than the latest theory I got from my wonderful buddhist healer which was I was a man in a past life and horrible to women and so in this life I get heaps of women’s issues and no man!!

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    CC Reply:

    Simi, in my opinion, we didn’t come into these lives with baggage or karmic ‘dues’, I believe we were born with a clean slate. So, my intuition tells me that your single status has got nothing to do with karma. Hoping to ease your mind a little.

    What I do believe from experience and being in and out of short relationships all my life, I am now single and 34, is that I am simply not ready for my man yet, if I were, he’d be here. He’ll turn up when we are both ready. Sounds fatalistic and it is, however I believe we can speed things up a little by enjoying what we have now and loving ourselves first and…trust!

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  • seeker

    my thinking:
    i agree. for a few reasons … but i really believe this:
    there is no better or worse. there is no right or wrong. it just is what it is. it is how you perceive it to be. no one else’s opinion matters really …

    jump in, stay out … whatever, but follow your heart & follow your gut … steer your thoughts to positive ones … try to live in the moment and make the moment good …

    sometimes we over complicate things by over-thinking, and over-analysing, i often do this about different things and it can wreck your head if you let it!
    some of my single friends get so wound up in making sure the man of the moment ticks all the boxes that they lose the awareness of how they feel in the moment, and they worry about what is ahead for them instead of getting to know themselves right now a bit more .

    … no one is perfect, and yet everyone is perfect … life is fragile, love is strong …
    as burt said … ‘what the world needs now, is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of …’!

    love yourself and let love in …. it’s amazing!
    xo :)

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    Ian Reply:

    Well said seeker!

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    michael Reply:

    Totally !!

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    Naz Reply:

    I agree well said!

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    JoJo Reply:

    That’s it! Well put.

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    Lis Reply:

    I fell in love with the love of my life when I was 18, he was 27. We are still together 12 years later, with 2 beautiful boys, and still just as much in love. But I think we let love in, and we let it be what it was, there has never been any false or unrealistic expectations, we always talk honestly, we will never get married, because we believe that we are both free, we are both free to find and spend time with other people, but over the years, I think because we have the freedom we have never felt the need to.
    We try very hard to stay positive and see the best in each other and always assume the best.
    People say that I was lucky that I found my man and wasn’t left on the shelf etc, but I missed out on lots of things that other people got to have, freedom to explore and be hurt, but I always say, what could I do? He is the love of my life and I just happened to find him when I was 18, it wasn’t planned, I wasn’t looking but that is just the way it turned out for me.
    everyones life will be different, and equal compelling and precious and that of course is okay.

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    seeker Reply:

    that’s lovely Lis, (i love to read that you didn’t get married – it’s so bloody conventional and outdated!!) :)

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  • Shell

    What a lovely read.
    For me, I found love when I was 16. My first boyfriend. I am now 34.
    We’ve been happily married for 12 years an have 2 gorgeous children.
    I guess I knew what I wanted when I was young and I am so grateful that I found
    my true love when I did.
    There is no right or wrong time…some people are old, others young.
    Every love story is different :)

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    Michelle Reply:

    Beautifull said Shell, I totally agree. Timing schmiming. With the encouragement of my parents I’d always assumed I’d wait, and be well into my thirties before I even thought about ‘settling down’. To my surprise I met my best friend (and best lover!) early, married at 24, and now in my thirties am still in heaven with him and our two children. We’ve had our challenges, don’t get me wrong, but he’s the kindest, most genuine and honourable person I’ve ever met and hot damn he’s sexy to boot! But accepting that it was ok to commit to him so early took some overcoming of my preconceptions! My previous boyfriend had died suddenly and unexpectedly, an experience wuhich made me realise you can’t predict anything, and life is to be lived and appreciated in the moment, and taken as it comes.

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  • Mia Bluegirl

    Isn’t it funny how much pity you get for being single? It amuses me. Mosty I look at my married friends, taking care of their overgrown child husbands’ every physical, emotional and financial need, and shudder. There but for the grace of God…

    Not that I would ever tell them. I’d just sound jealous. :)

    I am still learning who I am, and figuring out my own craziness, without adding anyone else’s craziness to the mix. I’ve been in two very long term relationships (I was with my high school sweetheart for nearly 9 years) and I gave up altogether too much of myself being paired up so young.

    I love the logic of that guy that if you were unfit or fat or ugly or something, it wouldn’t be surprising that you were single! With men like that in the world, it’s a wonder we aren’t all just gagging to be married off.

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  • http://svasti.wordpress.com Svasti

    I’ll never forget an ex-boyfriend’s comment: “You’re too good to be left on the shelf”.

    *looks around for shelf*

    I don’t think anyone plans to be 40 and single, unless of course they do. But certainly, finding a partner as we get older is more challenging.

    Because the older we get, the less shit we put up with. The more wisdom we’ve gained, and hopefully we’ve also learned self-acceptance, too. We know a heck load more about who we are and what we want.

    It turn 41 in December and I’m VERY single. Where are all the mindful, health concious men anyway? ;)

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    Lisa Ingram Reply:

    Love that “shelf” comment! My sister and I bookend 2 ends of this conversation. I met my husband when we were both 25, we immediately got married and still are (happily, I’d better add) at 47. Whereas she met hers at 40, he was 55. Both first timers with no feelings of shelf-languishing, having enjoyed everything that had got them to that moment. So THEY immediately got married, and 3 years later, still are! Lisa

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    Roq Reply:

    You’re probably right that people don’t plan to be 40 and single. At least not a lot of people. The thing is though, a lot of people don’t plan to be 40 and in a relationship either. For me it has actually never been a goal either way and I find it strange how much emphasis people put on being in a relationship. You can have a wonderful life either way!!! Like someone said “Both is better”.

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  • Kerrie

    I loved reading your thoughts on this… I fell in love at a young age, and am fortunate to still be happily married after 16 years together, but I still related to this and think it can apply to a lot of areas in life.

    People can be so judgemental and set on timelines of when life events should happen… I don’t know why some just find it so hard to comprehend that you’ve made a choice or just not feeling the pressure to fit into the ‘norm’ as others do. It’s YOUR life, disregard others opinions and live it for your own happiness! For me the pressure came not from finding a relationship, but the constant questions about getting married and having kids, because that’s just what you do after a couple of years isn’t it? Well I did do those things eventually, but when the time felt right for us, not because it was expected… I know I wouldn’t have been ready for kids 10 or 15 years ago, but the timing now is just right, and I believe I am a better mother because I did wait. I am stronger through life experience, and like you said, I have “less fear and care less about the stupid stuff. The stupid stuff doesn’t have to get in the way so much. And so you can give more.” So totally agree that you are likely to find an incredible, true love later in life!

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  • michael

    ” I’m also of that age where everyone around me are in relationships that strike me as, well, more than odd (toxic, perhaps? highly compromising?).”

    Hi Sarah …
    The above quote is a very STRONG statement to make, on so many different levels.

    I think it’s great that you’re really honest and prepared to share your experience.
    I really relate to what you have written and yet ..
    .. at the same time I’m often surprised by the levels of love and commitment that exist behind closed doors .. that I’m not privy to .. that keep people coming back for more in any given relationship.
    And many of these invisible ties that bind, that may appear to be toxic, are not necessarily so.
    Because there’s What I know, What I don’t know .. and What I don’t know that I don’t know … as You Well Know ( couldn’t help myself)

    I’m reminded of that old quote ” We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”

    Some serious shifts happening in my life at the moment and I offer these comments with Respect for your Journey and Wellbeing X

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    Michelle Reply:

    So eloquently and beautifully said Michael. I’m surprised whe people say that everyone they know who is in a relationship seems to be somehow held back in a ‘toxic’ situation. Really? Could there be a bit of projection going on? Because surely there are good, bad and ugly relationships, as with everything else?

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  • http://melissajaine.com/blog Melissa Jaine

    I am soon to be 43. Sooo don’t look it – and I’ve only just starting cutting back on sugar(haha).
    I thought a while ago that I would probably get married in my 50s. Did I seal my fate?
    ; )
    mel.x

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  • Elly May

    I likey the giraffe.

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    Kirsty - AussieOverlanders Reply:

    Ditto on giraffe.

    Giraffe = stick your neck out, vision, grace-full-ness in action

    Quite fitting for this post.

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    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Giraffes are cute. Funnily enough, they don’t mate for life – far from it! They have a few hours of courtship, a minute or two of sex, and then the male wanders off forever to leave the herd of female giraffes alone to do female things and get on with their lives.

    Also their mating season lasts all year so they are highly promiscuous. Mating for life is an oddity in the animal kingdom… Maybe there’s a hint in that somewhere…

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    Jo Reply:

    Have you read ‘Sex at Dawn’ by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá? Very interesting observations on the historial development of our sexual relationships, more on that ‘hint’ you mentioned, and highly recommended!

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    No I haven’t but I will!!! Weee, I love a good book recommendation. :)

    I have long suspected that humans historically sought monogamy because it was necessary, for safety, social and family reasons, not because it came naturally. This looks like it might answer some of my questions…

  • Kirsten Roberts

    I rather adore you too Sarah. You are gorgeous and STRONG and proove that there is NOTHING wrong with being Single in your late 30′s.

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  • selena

    beautiful x

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  • http://cinnamoneats.com Naz

    My cultural background is one where if you’re not married by a certain age people assume there must be something wrong with you… luckily my parents were/are not of this frame of mind but mum always told us “if you wait until you’re too old then you’ll be too set in your ways and won’t be able to compromise ” – she said this based on the fact that two of her friends (sisters) who were then in their 50′s and not married (still aren’t).

    Of course I don’t believe this to be true – I think getting into something like marriage when you’re older means you know yourself well and if you know yourself well then there’s no room for doubt. For e.g. I was in a relationship (toxic) for almost 6 years and at the age of 23 was engaged to be married – I had been with this person since I was 17 and he was my first serious relationship. I knew nothing – yet here I was prepared to marry someone at such a young age…. thankfully I came to my senses and called off the engagement I shudder to think where my life would be now if I went through with it.

    I was an emotional wreck for a year after that, I even got engaged a second time (I was so lost and this person said and did all the right things to make me feel ‘loved’) Luckily that one ended as well and then I went STUFF THIS! I’d rather be on my own which I was for 3 years and not even thinking about meeting someone but then I did and I married him and 5 years later and 2 years of marriage we are going strong and this time I didn’t hesitate. Sure I was still under 30 when I got married but I’d been through a lot and knew this was the right one for me.

    Yes we’ve had crazy fights but I’ve never questioned if I did the right thing. I think these things work out differently for everyone. Age is but a number….

    [Reply]

  • pd

    Hi SW. we’re ~the same age and this blog is refreshing. Even OBGYN trips can be traumatic…since they just assume I’m already on the freak out, being a woman sans kids and all. Seems to me, you love life and you LIVE it. I am inspired. All the best, p

    [Reply]

  • Alysa

    Anyway when you do get married or settle down, the next question people love to ask is “when are you having a baby” (even if you’re not planning on having one, or can’t) and then if you have one they want to know when you are having the next one. These types of questions never end, if you ask me. At least we have a choice, in many countries women/girls do not.

    [Reply]

  • Lopsy

    Thanks Sarah!
    Just quickly, maybe it’s okay to never have been married? or to be single for the rest of your life? or whatever…..
    Ive had beautiful, intense, sometimes toxic but always loving relationships in my life but if I’m truly honest, the thought of marriage and something being forever and ever, amen, always kind of scared me. And seemed well, dare I say it boring.
    I think deep down freedom has been crucial in my life.
    Yes, that makes me feel very odd and unusual compared to a lot of society and that hurts me.
    I just wish we could accept and embrace all the life choices that people make, particularly women.
    Sarah, youre an inspiration to me and so many others…..

    Lauren x

    [Reply]

  • Lopsy

    PS:
    For the last hour, as I have been getting ready for work, my neighbours across the road have just had the most horrible, violent row. The emotional pain in her voice as she screamed at him for over an hour was heartbreaking. The police are there now. I feel shaken and my darling cat is under the bed.
    Just saying…..

    [Reply]

  • http://www.twomoderncavewomen.com.au Two Modern Cavewomen

    OH dear, you’re fit. If only it were that easy! I was young and fit and attractive for years and didn’t snag Mr Right until I was housebound with a chronic illness and date night was sitting on my ed at my parents house watching movies.

    Some people have no clue!! I’d much rather be on my own than in an unhappy relationship, which is why I was health and single for many years.

    [Reply]

    Steph Reply:

    I can relate! I was athletic and pretty in my 20s and early 30s and never met anyone I would have seriously considered settling down with. I had a couple of lovely one-to two-year boyfriends, but in the end I knew in my heart that I didn’t want it enough and that I had many things to do on my own – study, travel, volunteer, etc. And then when I was 39 and focusing on my career and travelling and creating and very happily, contentedly, gloriously single, I met the ONE. Really, the one. It was like magic – it even felt like magic. I knew during the first coffee date that I would never find anyone better for me, even though he did not on paper fit absolutely anything I ever thought I would be looking for. Four years later and I’m super happy I waited. Still, I don’t necessarily think it’s best to fall in love late, if ready for it earlier, especially if one wants children – there are many advantages to having children young (a few to having them old, as well, but..) – and I do know couples who have succeeded in having very mature relationships from a young age. Honestly, the more time with the love of one’s life the better!

    [Reply]

    Steph Reply:

    Oh and I had also been through an illness by the time I found him – that’s why I commented on this comment. EEK! Fundamentally, I believe that we all worry too much about finding someone before we find them. I also believe that pretty much everyone eventually finds a special love, in one form or another. My mother found her true love (not my father), when she was a single parent with three children, a full time student and a veritable ball of stress (and he had many health problems). Twenty five years later they are still loving their life together. There’s just no formula.

    [Reply]

  • http://happysugarhabits.com Laura

    I can relate to this post and I like it a lot :)

    [Reply]

  • Suzanne

    Do what your heart tells you. There are many, many single and/or childless women out there who are happy with their life. It’s best not to associate with people who tell you that you must be married, or single, or have children, or something else that’s none of their business. Or change the subject or say nothing when someone must make those kind of remarks.
    I found my true love when I was 44 years old…

    [Reply]

  • S

    After being in a relationship for over 10 years I’m single now (and have been for close to a year) and loving it. So many people go straight from one relationship to another, but I just want to make the most of this time I have to myself.

    [Reply]

  • Suzy

    I so needed to read this post today.

    Thank you Sarah and to those who commented in the affirmative that followed. Made my silly old day it did. xx

    [Reply]

  • Kat

    Love this post and the replies.
    Its great to be single, do what you want when you want.
    after too many toxic relationships, where I felt more alone than i have ever felt being single, i am finally happy and at peace with myself.
    I dont know if there is a true love out there for me but right now, Im not concerned about it. Too busy living life, smiling and being sugar free!!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.dwise.com.au/blog David

    If you are going to be in a relationship it should be because you want to be with that person – not because you are afraid of being alone. I think that’s why I have a successful marriage. Because we both know we would be just fine we ended up going our separate ways, but we love what we have together so we choose to work at keeping it strong.

    [Reply]

    seeker Reply:

    I like

    [Reply]

  • Anna

    “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

    John Lennon

    [Reply]

  • Helen

    I just wonder about the focus in many of the posts on finding ‘THE ONE’. Surely we are all growing and evolving (I hope) throughout our lives. I’ve been fortunate to be married now for over 13 years and we know that neither of us is perfect, but we continue to grow together and support each other as we experience new events, from raising children to giving up sugar (very hard!) What I’m say ing is I think it’s a lot to do with attitude and commitment – and more than likely, there is more than one person out there with that (equally, for others, they can grow and evolve outside a married partnership – when it becomes the be all and end all. It can be a really problem!)

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    Agree completely.

    [Reply]

  • georgia

    “everyone around me are in relationships that strike me as, well, more than odd (toxic, perhaps? highly compromising?)”

    Every single person you know who is in a relationship is in an ‘odd’ one? I find it very hard to believe that you don’t know anybody who is in a good relationship…

    [Reply]

    seeker Reply:

    some people read things very literally.
    i like to look at more than the words on the page.
    this is not to criticize … just sayin’ :)

    [Reply]

  • Donna-Lee

    After many relationships, good, bad and ordinary, I thought I’d met the one in my late 20s. I then found myself on a speeding train towards home-ownership and marriage, stoked by both of our families. Then, before we were married 5 months, my only sibling was killed at work, and the bottom fell out of my world – we were best of friends, having grown up together in the bush, fairly isolated on the family farm. I was numb for a very long time, and I didn’t even notice how little my husband cared, when he bought me a massive stuffed bear, so I could hug it when I felt down; because he wasn’t interested in comforting me.
    The next train sped towards motherhood: “Aren’t you going to have a baby, now?” My father wanting to fill a void, that they could not. After a miscarriage and nearly losing the second, it occurred to me – momentarily – that he might not be the loving husband that I believed he was (I may be very intelligent, but I can be a very slow-learner when it comes to matters of the heart). It must have been the pregnancy hormones protecting me (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it), but I let that thought go – for years. I then had a beautiful baby boy, and struggled for years with my confidence in my ability to care for him – having little or no emotional support from my husband (you will notice that I avoid using the word partner, as he never was that).
    So, it came to my 38th birthday – with a 6 year old (having started school) – and I realised how desperately lonely I was, despite having been in a relationship for about 12 years. Ultimately, I concluded that I was better off being alone, than lonely in a relationship. And my son was suffering under the domination of this toxic sociopath – in my late father’s words, this man “couldn’t lie straight in bed!”
    Now at 50, I am finally patching my life back together, having lost a great deal. When I married, I had a great career, I was part-owner of the house, I was independent, I was happy. Now, again I am feeling my self-worth and confidence. I finally completed a degree earlier this year (having started a couple in the first half of my life), my son turned 18 last week, and is almost finished Yr 12. He is intelligent, engaging and confident. He has earned the highest rank that an AF cadet can attain, and manages the cadets in our squadron with quiet assertiveness, and is held in very high esteem, by his juniors. He is an accomplished musician and speaks publicly, off the cuff, with the ease that he would engage in a one on one conversation. Last week he participated in a local youth of the year competition, but didn’t win – the lad that won is a senior cadet that he mentored, who proclaimed in his acceptance speech that he aspired to emulate my son. This was relayed to my son later (as he was Emceeing his school concert as the competition was declared), and he declared that as much as he might have liked to win himself, he felt that this was a greater victory; since “the student had exceeded the teacher’s achievements”.
    Not only do I feel extremely proud of him, I realise that this is a lesson that I had taught him. It reminds me that after all those tentative years, when I was struggling with my own confidence and abilities that in spite of my fear, I have managed to raise an amazing young man, and whatever he attempts to do with the rest of his life will be wonderful.
    I have digressed, but what I had hoped to reflect was that there are many “relationships” and opportunities for us to interact, in positive ways. I am very happily single, but would not rule out a supportive, loving relationship in the future. I may not be as slim and sexy as I was in my 20s, I am not unhealthy – physically or mentally. But it is not my focus, an intimate relationship is not the b-all and end-all. I have plenty of other things to go on with; having said that I am not one to shy away from introspection, and am just as happy navel-gazing, as I am to be flitting around busily.
    I do not find the need to be in a relationship, because I am frightened of my own company. I fact I never have been. Quite the opposite, I just liked being in relationships, because I liked the intimacy, it filled some other gap in my life (OK, so maybe that wasn’t the best way to put that).
    Whatever you choose, or whatever the Universe chooses for you, embrace your life, learn to love and hurt, equally; take as much as you can from life, but give more back. Make the best decisions you can on the information that you have to hand at the time, and never have regrets, knowing that you made the best choice you could have. Take an all, or nothing approach to love; you can’t expect someone to love you with all their heart, if you won’t.
    I look forward to being wise, one day; but I understand that is a long way off, since I only recently attended the 100th birthday of my favourite great aunt (twice my age!). There is a woman of wonderous wisdom, she buried her husband more tha 30 years ago, has buried two of her three children and most of her younger siblings. Yet she still continues, having only recently succumbed to the aid of a wheelchair.
    Love and blessings to you dear Sarah, and to all your other open-hearted followers. xo

    [Reply]

  • Mel

    I applaud you for being happily single and encouraging others to feel the same. I am surprised that no comments really touch on motherhood. I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I didn’t expect to fall in love and marry so young, my husband and I met at 23 and were married 9 nmonths later. We spent 4 blissful years travelling and enjoying ench other, ‘our time’ I refer to it as. At 28 I fell pregnant with our first and 2 years later we had a second beautiful baby. Now we have been married 10 years (still as in sync and in love as ever) and are the proud parents of 2 beautiful children. I am thankful everyday that I met the love of my life when I did, and we had time to enjoy us before we started our family. Fortunately I fell pregnant at 28 and 30 easily, but I have many friends who have not been so blessed. Fact is womens fertility begins to decline around the age of 30, every year after chances of complications increase. That is a fact. The media (American in particular) does a beautiful job of telling women that ages doesn’t matter… truth is it does. And as for those who say “I don’t need a man for a baby” “if I wanted to be a mum so much I’d have one on my own” good for you, if you honestly want that. I couldn’t be a mum on my own, it is a massively challenging journey that one into parenthood! And truth is, I personally wouldn’t want to do it one my own, it’s about building a family.I am not advocating that we settle down for reasons other than true love, but I d wonder if Francine is a mother, or ever wanted to be?

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    oh dear, many typos, that;s what happens when trying to answer kids questions at the same time as typing!

    [Reply]

    Donna-Lee Reply:

    You are blessed, Mel. It is lovely to see. But others of us have single-parenthood foisted upon us, sometimes the alternate choice comes out of necessity and personal survival – in which case, it isn’t a choice, really.
    Regards, DL

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    Thanks Donna Lee, I do feel blessed. Wishing you all the best with your journey.

    [Reply]

    Donna-Lee Reply:

    That’s sweet, Mel. Thank you. It is very exciting, I don’t try and plan too much – I guess I’ve learned that much – just going with the flow, and see where the Universe takes me, mostly.

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    I think the world has changed considerably since you were single, Mel.

    In my experience, women today are bludgeoned over the head repeatedly with the idea that they MUST HAVE BABIES as soon as they hit 30 (although the pressure starts much younger) otherwise the ovaries will shrivel and die and life will be meaningless. I dont know what American culture you are referring to that reassures women that youth isn’t important, but my reality is the exact opposite.

    I feel as if I have well-meaning types enquiring daily as to when I will be procreating, nagging me incessantly, reminding me that the clock is ticking and my time is running out. Enough already, I can’t handle the pressure!! STOP THE MADNESS! It just makes dating harder and it’s enough of a minefield as it is.

    I long for the day where the status of my womb is my business and my business only, maybe when I hit menopause they might leave me alone..?

    Francine sounds happy to me. There is more than one path to personal fulfilment and we don’t all have to lead the same kind of life. You do you, I’ll do me, and we can meet up somewhere in the middle for lemon balm tea, yes?

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    I supposed I just think of Jennifer Aniston, in the news almost every week, is she or is she not pregnant… no one seems to care about the guy, it’s all about the baby. In reality I don’t think it’s going to happen! But you’re right, maybe things have changed since I was single… I was under the impression that it’s ‘easy to have a baby when you’re ready – in your own time’. So were my friends who have had trouble falling pregnant. They are in their early thirties, same as me….

    [Reply]

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Really? Well maybe our experience differs but by God, I would LOVE not to be constantly questioned about childbirth all the time. Yes, I am still single, I noticed… thanks for pointing out the possibility that I might die alone… lol.

    Poor Jen. I dont think she ever thinks about Angelina at all, but it must suck being compared to her constantly. And defined not by her craft but by her (lack of) babies…

    Mel Reply:

    Sorry Mia Bluegirl, I don’t believe I pointed out that you might die alone?? Not sure how you got that from me.but I am very sorry for you if you have ever felt that way. I believe that if you open your heart to love the universe listens and that there is someone out there for everyone, if you truely want it. I am sorry that your friends and family hassle you. I wish you every happiness.
    As for Jen, I don’t read the mags, just seen her on the covers at the check out with ‘baby’ somewhere in the headline…

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Hahaha i didn’t mean you!!! I’m so sorry, that came out entirely wrong. It’s just what I think in my head every time someone points out I better get cracking on the man and babies. (You said nothing of the sort, I’m thinking of my workmates mostly.) It’s hard to convey sarcasm via internet, my apologies again for the lack of context. I’m an idiot. :)

    What you say is wise, although I’m too broken from my last love story to have faith that there is someone for everyone, time may yet heal my cynicism. I know I’m definitely not open to love right now, having decided to sort my own chaos out before I invite someone in. You have to be a good partner to have a good partner I believe, and I’m pretty selfish right now, out of necessity. Which is cool, my conscience is clear this way rather than leading someone on. Time will tell what happens when this period ends though!

  • Brooke

    It’s such an interesting topic, finding love. For in truth, we ARE love, and the need to find it outside of ourselves is an illusion.

    Reconnecting with ourselves and returning to the love that we are is therefore, in my opinion, a much better quest, than seeking it outside of ourselves!

    The need to ‘find love’ is usually driven by a need to have someone outside of yourself confirm that you are lovable, OK, special, worthwhile, etc etc etc… &/or to fill that lonely feeling of emptiness that you can sometimes feel when you’re sitting alone by yourself.

    And if a partner is what you choose, it makes sense to love yourself – for how can anyone love you, or show you love, if you don’t truly love yourself first?

    Recently I have observed some truly beautiful loving relationships – founded on a basis of honouring and loving ones self first and foremost – and it really is something to behold.

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    I think the ‘need to find love’ is mostly driven by the fact that many of us have internal instincts to have children and therefore look for a partner with which to do that with as nature intended!!

    [Reply]

    seeker Reply:

    I like that Brooke … I think that’s what it’s all about … It’s a bloody hard journey and sometimes luck is very helpful too, it seems so random …
    Mel, I don’t believe we need to necessarily always follow our instinctual urges. Not everyone that’s for sure. There are times when we will benefit from it, & there are times when we mustn’t let our instincts rise above our intellect …. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have children!!!!!! Know what I mean?!!
    Also, not all children come from love either …. Some people are in marriages where they have no love for each other .. no idea how to help each other get the best from their promise to each other- their children learn hard lessons ….
    Anyway, it’s rather fascinating breaking it all down isn’t it?!!

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    Yes for sure there are people who shouldn’t have had kids in the first place but if we were all to not follow our instincts human race would ceased to exist. I wonder if contraception was not as as much a part of our society today as it is, people would fall in love more carefully?? Thus avoiding all this hurt and heartbreak discussed above. Just a thought, not judging anyone for what they believe. Don’t get me wrong, when my kids are driving me up the wall and I just want a break from it all sometimes I imagine living Carrie’s Sex and the City glamourous lifestyle, then I think of my family, my husband and children, my support, my rocks, and I am glad that my life is the way it is, wouldn’t change it for anything. That’s just my opinion though.

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Mel, that made me smile – I would trade my casual lovers and high heels some days just to be settled and know I never had to date again. It looks glamorous from the outside but if I get sick or lose my job, there is nobody to support me, tell me I’m loved or be that rock you speak of. The grass is always greener!

    trevor otto Reply:

    I like what Brooke is saying…..

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  • Eddy

    100 or so years ago living past 60 was rare, so getting in a relationship by 30 meant 30 or so years (or three quarters of your adult life at this time) was spent ‘in love’.

    It’s quite possible that in 20 or so years living to 100 will be well and truly achievable, so I reckon it’s going to be fine if it was left until 50 to rack up a good 40 or 50 years of being ‘in love’ wouldn’t you think?

    So why hurry? Lots of time to devour succulent pork chops after eating cabbage all these years…

    [Reply]

    Donna-Lee Reply:

    So true Eddy. My grandmother was considered “left on the shelf”, when she finally married at 17. She was married for 34 years until she was widowed the first time. She found love again and remarried in her 60s – for about another 20 years, until he died. Finally passing away after her 90th.
    I’m not so sure that my grandfather was a prize catch, but few people divorced then. She was an adventurous spirit, and one the whole she was a naturally resilient, positive person (though it took her competitiveness with her sisters to finally decide to remarry). :-D

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  • Janelle

    Hi Sarah

    Loving the blog.

    I was just reading my Animal Spirit Guides book and it say that when you see a giraffe it means the following:

    Keep your head up, have faith and trust your gut regarding the situation you’re dealing with at present.
    You’ll have to reach a bit, but you will achieve your goal.
    Keep your eye on the possibilities that are just on the horizon.
    It’s better to not act too hastily in this situation.
    Spend some social time with friends and family.
    Make it a point to be a better listener and to be clearer in your communication in both professional and personal relationships.

    Not sure if this helps answer why you are seeing so many giraffes right now, but I thought it was very interesting given the topic of this post.

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  • Cassie

    Mmmm…. I disagree. I am 30 and have been with my husband since I was 19! Very much still in love with 3 beautiful kids. I could give plenty more examples too (all ‘non toxic’ loving relationships), but if you believe that then I’d say for you maybe that’s true :)

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    Mel Reply:

    completely agree. We are truely blessed Cassie.

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  • http://None Carolyn
  • Jenny

    I was single for a few years in my mid 20s and my answer to the question “when are you going to get married?” was “I’m gay!” that usually shut them up. Mind you I’m not. Lol. Never could understand how one could go from being single to married without having a boyfriend first???

    When I finally was ready for love I told the universe “ok, I’m ready now.” and focused on what characteristics I liked in a man and a week later my future husband walked in my life. We now have been married 6 yrs and have two lovely girls. When you’re ready and open to love, the universe listens xx

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  • Tara

    I don’t think it’s ‘better’ to fall in live at any age. When you meet your person and fall in love, it’s fantastic. I’ve been with my husband since we were 19 and have not regretted one moment of our continuous time together. We are growing and changing but so is our relationship. If you are open with each other and continue to enjoy spending time together and confiding in each other then you really get to fall in love again at each different life stage – if that makes sense. Having said that, if you happen to meet your person at 50 then that is a better time to fall in love, if the alternative is being with someone less perfect for you at a younger age.

    Great article though Sarah – the way you open your soul here is really special. It feels like a great privilege to be part of this conversation with you. You are very brave and wonderful. And I still miss your Sun Herald column every Sunday!

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  • Kirsten

    I have lots of friends who are happily married & in relationships that are good for both of them. i really like that they are living examples of what is possible. Most got together in their 30′s. Also got some fairly miserable friends in relationships i wouldn’t wish on anyone. i work with a lot of older people & quite a few of them are on the verge of marrying or moving in with people they love :)

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  • D.

    I’m still very young and not at all experienced, but this struck a chord, because I also feel that going into any kind of relationship, whether love or friendship, requires certain experience and bravery.

    [Reply]

  • UK

    I am 32, single, and I don’t want children, (on top of not drinking alcohol and not being on facebook, my peers/society already sees me as odd/different) – but I don’t care, it is my life and what is right for me, isn’t right for someone else. Yes, it would be nice to think that I might meet someone in the future, but I’m not going to live in limbo and mourn being single in the meantime. I can still live my life and do the things I want to. I guess it takes the pressure off as I don’t want children, so I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be desperate for them. The whole “you’ll meet someone” theme that is running through these replies is a bit patronising….

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  • Hmmm

    With respect, I think this is a pointless argument.

    You meet a partner when you meeting them. You might meet someone in high school and the love lasts a lifetime. You might have several significant long-term relationships in your 80-odd years. Or, like me, you might be in your mid-30s and still waiting for ONE meaningful relationship to come along.

    Yes, I feel much more grounded now than I did in my 20s, and much more ‘ready’ to meet and share my life with someone. But I might say the same about my 30s when I’m in my 40s, or about my 40s when I’m in my 50s, and so on.

    While it’s of the utmost importance to feel content regardless of your relationship status, a loving partner is a welcome addition to almost any adult’s life.

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  • Anthony

    Everyone is an expert on love, even those that have never loved have their views about it. Every one is searching for love, the perfect, match love or whatever you like to call it. Anyone who says they have found the perfect partner, give themselves a pat on the back. Love, what is it? It grows like a tree, a child into something beautiful. Like giving birth, you take a risk as you really don’t know how it will turn out, but you have to take the risk otherwise you will never know. In the end, I say, it is better to have loved than not to have.

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  • http://www.thevegetarianpaleo.blogspot.co.uk/ Tammy

    You don’t get much choice about when you fall in love. Things happen when they happen and at the right time for the lesson you need to learn.

    I’ve been with my husband 10 years. It has not always been easy and relationships by their nature involve huge amounts of compromise.

    The most important thing is to be happy with yourself and who you are.

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  • victoria

    Hi Sarah,

    I really hope you are right. I am in my early thirties and single again. I happy with my life, I have wonderful family and friends, a profession that I enjoy and I lifestyle I love. I just feel that there is one thing missing, a partner, somebody to share life’s twists and turns, ups and downs. Sometimes I feel an emptiness that there is not somebody by my side, I feel that the road walked alone can sometimes be harder.

    When I feel alone or overwhelmed is when I am most likely to seek solace in food and often make poor choices as ‘what does it matter anyway’.

    I enjoy reading your posts, they help me to keep my chin up when I have gorged myself on sugar, the one thing that seems to temporarily take away pain or feeling a lack of control. I keep sugar out of my diet most of the time but occasionally a little sneaks in and then a little more until I am saturated and I have to start again.

    Life isn’t easy and one day I hope I will stop using sugar as a crutch. I know what I should do, support myself in a another way, take a bath, talk to a friend, do some exercise…. but sometimes these things are easier said than done and after several days or weeks of being strong and doing the ‘right’ thing, I crumble.

    I hope that you find love eventually, I believe that it will come. I agree that when you find it, it will taste sweeter as you have so much more experience and knowledge of what has been before.

    xxxx

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  • JessB

    Sarah, I have never thought of it like this! And I am a real ‘save the best till last’ kind of gal, yet here I’ve been wondering where my soulmate is!

    I do believe that God has a plan for me, and that someone fantastic will turn up – I’m hoping it’s soon. The funny thing is, you never know who is right around the corner. When I’ve met fabulous people in the past, there’s never any warning. So, here’s hoping!

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    Angela Reply:

    I met my husband when I was 27 (we have now been married nearly 19 yrs) and it was at a time when I made the decision to enjoy being single instead of “searching” for that right one. I was content with where I was in my life. Yes, we have had our ups and downs, but I would not change anything. Everyone’s story is different, but I definitely believe in marriage and that it is a good thing. Being married is not a perfect life but accepting each other, forgiveness and to enjoy each others company. Even not so good relations can become great if both couples are willing to “work at it” and make a decision to love. It’s not just feelings, but it’s actions that make for a great marriage.

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  • Happy

    I found reading everyone’s thoughts quite interesting. Society as a whole can be so judgmental. While some are judged for being single past a certain age, others are judged for being married young. This makes no sense. It is as if there is a small optimal window in which to settle down, but noone can quite decide when this is. We are all unique and are shaped by such different experiences, so can we just accept that we will all make our own choices and do so in good faith at the time. It is only by making mistakes that we truly learn. Whether you are happily single at 40, married at 30, or raising children at 20, then all that should matter is the ‘happily’ part.

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    Juliet Reply:

    Yes yes yes!

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  • Giovanna Rossi

    After reading the posts it seems to come down to whatever makes you feel better. There are as many versions of love as there are people, and for those of us in committed relationships the love does not stay the same, sometimes it is effortless and passionate, at other times a very definite choice. For some “love” is short-lived, others long lasting. I’ve been married 17 years but most of my friends are not married or in a partnership. Most of them would like to meet someone, others are happily single, happy in their own skin but also open to meeting a partner or enjoying short term flings.

    I wish everyone well and much happiness in love, whatever that means for you. Like someone said above, whether it is loving your friends, your dog, your cat, a cup of coffee, a glorious meal, a song, your child, the sunset, the sea … being in the moment, whatever fills your heart with joy or peace. There are so many things to love, but of course love yourself first of all and so much else falls in to place.

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  • Kate

    I’m not sure I agree with this. I don’t think there is anything wrong with finding love later in life, and certainly there are great benefits to the confidence of self you acquire as the years go by.

    But what I have realised recently is that we will never be ‘ready’ for love. There is no optimum state of being that makes us perfectly ready for the right partner to walk into our lives. The same way that I always need my roots done or have a huge spot when I meet a cute guy, I think our personalities and character will never be prepared for everything that a relationship is, as relationships are as unique as snowflakes and the challenges you anticipate are never the challenges you end up facing together. It’s not a partner’s job to complete you. We will never be ‘complete’ – as you said yourself Sarah recently in embracing the confusion. I think perhaps we get so pre-occupied with our own work in progress that it seems scary to let anyone else in the mix!

    I think there is a benefit in waiting at least a while before settling down, and that is that we are very fortunate in this day and age that we have the opportunities to travel, explore, try many different careers, party etc all of which are may be comprised by being with a partner. But I’ve recently realised, at 26 and single with the biological clock starting to tick a little louder, that whilst love is difficult and painful and confusing, there are many more things that are important about relationships such as the timing when it comes to having children, the friendship that comes with a relationship, commitment and security. There is NOTHING wrong with being single if you want to be, but I do think there are great benefits to being in relationships too, even if you dont 100% know yourself yet. That’s a journey of discovery that will always continue, even with a partner in tow! I think that sometimes existentialists like ourselves Sarah get so engrossed in understanding ourselves that we are afraid to let our surroundings and circumstances change us – we are trying so hard to pin down what we already ARE and get a sense of grounding and stability within ourselves, that the idea of a relationship is scary as we feel we might lose our sense of self – that we will be identified as one of a couple. But I think that if finding love appeals, then you have to throw yourself at it, and have the trust that you are a strong enough woman that you will not lose yourself, either within the relationship and/or if it ends.

    I’m interested Sarah – do you want a relationship? Are you open to one? Or is it something you have deliberately avoided? No judgement, just curious!

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    Juliet Reply:

    Love this !

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  • http://www.sparrowandsea.com Jess @ Sparow + Sea

    Sarah, as always, your words move and amaze me. And WTF to the “you’re fit, why aren’t you married” man. That is so wrong for so very many reasons!

    Wanted to share the following quote, because it seemed appropriate and has been speaking to me lately:

    “Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

    ‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

    ‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

    ‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

    ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

    ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

    Oh to be seen and loved for Real. To be Really you with someone else who loves you for that very thing and who is, at the same time, happy being Really themselves… *That* is the thing…

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  • Juliet

    Entering into my 30′s I do feel for my friends who are single and are bombarded by questions, judgment and opinions. I also feel for my friends who are in relationships and are constantly asked when they are going to get married, and if not – why not? AND I feel for myself who almost daily is asked when my husband and I are planning to have a baby – as if it is anyone’s business but our own? (and this is ESPECIALLY frustrating considering we are having issues in that department!) I wish more people were able to let people follow their own journey, whatever it may involve.

    It also irritates me when people say marriage is “conventional and outdated” – who cares!! You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to! Why do you need to project your judgment onto other people’s choices? I am married and I certainly don’t make my unmarried friends feel like they should be following my example! You get ONE life, live it well whatever path you take.

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    seeker Reply:

    oh wow … if feel a bit stunned after reading that … it’s goosebumpingly breath-taking … thanks for sharing that Jess. :)

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    seeker Reply:

    oops – meant that reply for Jess …. but i did want to reply to you too Juliet.

    “It also irritates me when people say marriage is “conventional and outdated” – who cares!! You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to!”

    well you don’t have to get irritated if you don’t want to!! :)
    ok, seriously though, yes – it was me who said that, and i can see now how that might look offensive, so i just want to say that i certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone … so im sorry Juliet and anyone else who may have found this offensive!

    just because that is how i view marriage doesn’t mean that i have any issues with other people getting married or judge them – i really don’t – i simply don’t really understand it that’s all – i wasnt “projecting my judgement onto other people’s choices”, i just got a little excited to read that someone had a happy life, found love at a young age and had children without feeling the need or pressure to get married … i like it because it IS different and unconventional … and it sounds like my kinda thinking … so im sorry that it came out sounding judgey.

    i think the gist of alot of the comments on this post are people saying how cheesed off they get by others remarking on them being single/not being married/not having kids etc by a certain age – i was just throwing in my 2c worth against that argument.

    sorry Juliet. hope you accept my apology. have a wonderful day.
    xo :)

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    Juliet Reply:

    Thank you seeker! I was probably being a little too sensitive yesterday anyway :)
    Have a great day x

  • Natalya

    I find it funny, and at times annoying, that when I answer strangers’ questions about my single-ness and childlessness, they tend to get unconfortable and try to comfort me…..and tell me that it’s not my time and maybe it’ll happen later.

    People are so dumb sometimes.

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  • http://www.carlacoulson.com Carla Coulson

    Sarah gorgeous post I adore the French woman’s words of wisdom!
    I agree so many people out there are quick to judge and voice an opinion on your so called “situation” when they themselves are living unhappy and toxic lives! I know where I would rather be…
    There are no rules for love when the lucky man finally finds you it will be magical no matter what age.
    Carla x

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  • Michelle

    I am your age Sarah and single with no man in sight. I am healthy (especially now as I’m doing the IQS 8 weeks :-)), I’ve been told I’m attractive (and not just by the intoxicated homeless guy I pass on my walk), and I’m truely happy. I never ever thought I would be this age and not married with kids. There is a deep down part of me that is sad about that but I’m not consumed by it. Had I married any boyfriend from the past I would be divorced by now, for sure. I’ve had people tell me ive “missed the bus”, I’ve been asked if I’m a lesbian, and according to my 82 yr old dad the reason I’m not married is because I never wear lipstick lol! I do hope and believe God has a plan for my life and marriage and kids will be part of it but until that time I am working on being a complete person. The man I meet will be a wonderful compliment to my life not the reason for it. In the mean time I have an awesome cat and dog who bring a lot of love and colour to my days.
    Keep doing what you’re doing, cause you’re sooooo good at it :-)

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  • Jen

    I’m married now and have been for 11 yrs and was single before that for what ‘everyone’ thought was soooooo long.

    I never understood then or now, why other people think they can comment on your partner status or your ‘singledom’. It really isn’t anyone else’s business unless you start the conversation. Where’s the respect?

    I had a laugh at the comment above about the Dad saying you are single because you don’t wear lipstick. Mine told me I should get a haircut! Which is so funny because my partner doesn’t care one way or the other what I do with my hair – he, rightly so, thinks its my choice!

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  • http://pieceynumnums.blogspot.com.au/ jac

    Love this! Thank you for posting :)

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  • trevor otto

    It seems to me that being ‘in love’ really = being ‘open to’ and with this in mind my observation is that sadly as people grow older they mostly close up with a ‘been there done that’ mentality. If one wants a relationship one should probably ask oneself how ‘open’ one is and what and which kind of person are you open to and then perhaps expand that to include the unexpected !

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    Nicky Reply:

    lemme guess – you’re not single?

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  • Trevor Otto

    sorry, bad guess !

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  • http://www.sharnanigans.com Sharni

    love the giraffe inclusion

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  • http://www.prchicks.com.au Sophie

    Tee hee Toxic relationships? Don’t know what you mean!! Thanks for this. There’s still hope. Sxx

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  • http://leza.allen@email.com Leza

    hi, i really think that people shouldn’t be concerned about what is going on in other people’s lives as much, and relationships develop when love happens – regardless of age. I would have liked to have met my husband sooner – but age 28 was fine for me. Each to their own! Wishing you peace, love and happiness, Leza

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  • Anthony

    I added a comment earlier, but with further thoughts provoked by other comments. Yes, you may fall in love later. there is also the Georgie Girl syndrome! Always shopping but never stopping to buy. It takes two to fall in love, remember. You have to be open to love to fall in love, otherwise you will always be, falling in love later, and still later!

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  • http://pinterest.com/pinkbirdi/ christin

    loved this post… sending it to all my girlfriends, as we’re all in our 30s unmarried… still ;) your words were comforting and well received. thank you.

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  • dana

    thanks for the post Sarah, I love it and I hope you can write more about your theories on love in the future. I am 23 and have never been in a relationship, it happens that one of my friends was saying to me how it’s “my turn” to get a boyfriend, but I was not fond of the concept that it is right to have someone and wrong if you’re single. I just don’t want to rush anything and want to pick someone i feel really connected with. Of course I get confused when I was younger, under peer pressure, but i think it’s true for the theory of it’s better to fall in love late later, because then you would learn to respect another person, you would understand more and so it’s more likely to have a better relationship. I always think it’s ok if I don’t get married for the rest of my life, and I think the society is brainwashing us with ridiculous norms like how people, especially girls, have to get married around 30.

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  • Elo

    I am 35 and single. I get the whole “why are you single? You are fit, attractive, intelligent and you look way younger than 35″ as if that means I should have met someone by now. For some reason, I especially get this from my friends boyfriends and husbands. Most recently I was at a dinner party with 8 single people…. 4 guys, 4 girls… I was talking to one guy, who said to me “Can I ask you a personal question?”…. then there was a long pause… “Why are you single?”… I don’t know if he was expecting me to reveal some big secret. I mean, how do you even answer that? I felt like Bridget Jones at the dinner party where someone asked why are there so many women in their 30′s single, and she responded with “Oh, I don’t know. Suppose it doesn’t help that underneath our clothes our entire bodies are covered in scales.”

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