38 and past my sell-by date – apparently…
Disclaimer (because otherwise dudes on Twitter will go mad), I’m not talking about every man here.
You know what’s missing, you know where there is a huge gap, when you are looking for stories about women like me. Tales about people like my friend Bina. Like my friend Kirsty. Like my friend Urvashi. Like your friend Kat or cousin Preeti. Your husbands friend Gina or that woman at work, Adina.
Stories about women who are single. Single through no fault of their own. They’ve just met men who are assholes. These women, who are apparently on the wrong side of their thirties, in their 40s and beyond.
Stories about women who have been dating for probably the past twenty years and are exhausted. Exhausted of meeting the same guy over and over and having their heartbroken time and time again. Women who just want to find love.
Stories about women that get dumped, even though exes tell them they’re amazing, yet not amazing enough to be in a long term relationship with or marry them. Women that are told that love has inexplicably ‘faded’. Or who are told ‘I love you, but I just don’t see a future with you,’ or whatever excuse a guy uses to end a relationship, rather than just being honest. And we can’t bloody do a thing to change that, because we stupidly think they will return, but of course, they don’t.
Stories about women who dread family functions or work events, because they’ll be asked the same question over and over:
Have you found anyone yet?
What happened with that guy you were dating?
Have you tried XXX? My cousin met her husband through there…
Don’t leave it too long, you do want kids, right?
(I am so lucky that I have married friends who get it and do not ever say the above, thank you guys) x
‘Shut up!!!!,’ we want to scream. We appreciate your concern, but we don’t want to talk about our dating lives! Stop asking us. Why do you think it is okay to ask us these questions? We’re trying SO hard, harder than you can imagine. We will announce it to the world when we meet someone and are happy. Just let us live our single lives as we are. Chances are, we have tried everything you suggest and more, so stop.
Do you not think that we go to bed every night wishing we had someone to hug, to love, to hold? Wishing we could have children. Wishing we could have that family home. Wishing that we could have someone to grow old with? Of course, we do, but your questions and statements hurt too. You say things like ‘oh, you’ll find someone don’t worry,’ well, that’s the most patronising thing in the world because what if we did find the one we loved the most and we DO NOT ever find someone again. Have you considered that possibility? Are we just going to be faced with your endless questions and statements every time we see you?
Those women, you’re fucking queens, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! x
I am here to tell a story. A story about those women I have mentioned above. Those women who are desperate to find someone that will take the immense love they have to give. Those who have been dating for the past twenty odd years, but because of the assholes they have met, just out of pure luck, are single. Those women, are exhausted.
Let me tell you a very quick story about a Queen (okay, it’s about me)….
She met someone, they fell in love, he inexplicably fell out of love. Doesn’t know what changed apart from ‘love faded.’ He won’t tell her, deleted her from social media and asked her not to message him. The end.
Yep, it happened. At a time when we were in tier 3. Very thoughtful, right? Yet, it happens more often than you would think.
Being dumped like this (pandemic or no pandemic) isn’t unheard of. And when we ask questions to get things clear in our mind, we’re made to think we are being unreasonable. No, we just want answers. Tell me why you fell out of love with me? I know from speaking to many women that we’re made to feel insecure when this happens. We wonder if there is another woman or if he is hiding something? We question ourselves and continuously think we are inadequate. We think we’re ugly, stupid, and again, inadequate? What could we do to change ourselves so that we can become what you want, we ask you and ourselves?
But why? We continuously ask, only to be told that there is nothing we could have done differently and there is nothing wrong with us. We just want to know why love faded and why you dumped us in the middle of lockdown? If we’re so wonderful, perfect and the best girlfriend you ever had, why are we not enough? What are you even looking for in this perfect woman you have created in your mind? If we were so perfect, what do you even want? Surely someone who loves, respects and cares for you is what everyone wants? It’s a sad fact that women will or will have to settle when they’re past the threshold of what is considered ‘young enough to meet someone they don’t have to compromise on,’ whereas men can easily date someone 10 or 15 years younger. This is why the ‘you’re too fussy’ comments hurt. We’re not fussy. It is the men that are fussy. Or women if you’re a bloke reading this who has been in a similar situation.
However, it doesn’t just end there. It is a continuous process. One after the other, these women are treated in the same way, meeting the same guys and they have to accept it. It happens over and over and over and over. We don’t go looking for these men, they just seem to find us.
I’ve had two people dump me because they apparently stopped loving me. When I ask them what I did wrong, what I can do to change myself so that it doesn’t happen again, I’m emphatically told ‘you’re great,’ etc etc etc. Yet, it happens again and again and again and well, you get the gist. And the trauma builds. We could meet a great guy, but we’re left second guessing them continuously. We don’t believe someone can love us. We don’t believe we can fall in love again, because the man we broke up with was the one. We don’t fall in love just to leave 18 months later, we’re in it for the long haul. We’ve done the serial dating, the one-night stands, the introductions… you name it we’ve done it. At 38, I want to finally, finallllyyyyy meet that person I will spend the rest of my life with. But they walked away, just like every man in my past has.
Fact. I’ve never dumped anyone I’ve been in a serious relationship with and nether have any of the women I know. We’re in it for the long run and if you’re a man that is not, please, don’t drop the love bomb on us (thanks Bina for that phrase!) and lead us down a path that is only going to end with a bout of depression and misery. We’re also well aware of red flags a mile off and we’re the ones that will call things off early into meeting someone if we don’t think you’re genuine.
Even myself, I questioned my ex from the very beginning, I said if he doesn’t see a future, he can leave, yet he stayed until I was deep enough in love with him and then left. Adding to the trauma in my life. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I couldn’t do anything to process the pain, surely, he could have waited until lockdown was over, but nope, the selfishness of this person led to myself facing pain. And I could do nothing about it apart from sit at home and try not to cry. I didn’t know how to handle the pain. I spoke to a professional and they told me I was experiencing grief, similar to the grief you get after someone has died. And its true. They left and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Yet, they’re there. Posting on social media, leading a life without you and happily. He’s not experienced any pain, yet the woman has to deal with copious amounts of it.
So, men have the power to do this to you. And yes, I am generalising men right now and I’m sure some women do it too, BUT I AM A WOMAN. A hurt woman. A woman dumped in lockdown. In tier 3. Who can’t meet her friends or go out for a coffee. But you’re okay, go and meet your friends, drive cars, meet your rich friends, don’t give me a proper answer…. whatever.
The government doesn’t care about people like us. We are the forgotten ones. Single people are generally never though about. In life, the only time we’re thought about is when we’re asked ‘so, why are you single’ or ‘why haven’t you met someone?’ As if we have something fundamentally wrong with us. And we might, we just wish someone would tell us what.
Do you fucking think we don’t try? Do you bloody think if we knew what was wrong with us, we wouldn’t try to change it? As much as we are told to ‘be yourself’ or ‘don’t change yourself for someone,’ we would. We would do anything to be with you or to just find a nice man, a companion for life.
I used to be a hopeless romantic, but as you get older, that realness starts to kick in. We can say to ourselves a million times over things like ‘Kamala Harris got married in her fifties’, but let’s be real, it’s not going to happen for everyone. We all have that aunt or someone in their extended family that isn’t married, and maybe that’s going to be us?
Myself, at 38, have resigned myself to the fact that possibly, I won’t find someone else and that my dream of having a companion is shattered. Yes, that is love to me. Someone I respect and care about. A life partner. I don’t have fairy-tale or Bollywood expectations of love, just, someone that can be my best friend. When my ex said to me, he saw me as a friend, I thought brilliant, but he was evidently looking for a fairy-tale kinda love. Didn’t I give that to him? I did everything and he acknowledged that I did more for him than anyone ever did. Yes, fairy tale romances can exist, but as you get older, that belief fades and you just want someone that can be your best friend. WHAT THE FUCK are you looking for if I was the best gf ever and yet that WAS NOT ENOUGH?
Women our age haven’t given up on finding love, heck, I’d take my ex back in a heartbeat. If someone declared their love to me, I would totally give them a chance. But the fact remains that we don’t have as many chances of meeting someone at our age as we did in our twenties, and that’s a shitty truth. People need to stop saying shit like ‘oh don’t worry, you’ll find someone,’ because it’s bullshit, not everyone met their partners at school or uni, neither did they have introductions through their family. If you did, its amazing and I am genuinely happy for you, but that didn’t happen for us and we’re faced with a life alone… more people need to be aware and more considerate in their approach to those people. Instead of ‘trying to help’, tell them to concentrate on their passions, because a career or something that you’re passionate about will never leave you.
I wrote this because I wanted people who are not in a situation like mine or any friends of mines, to understand. Understand our feelings, what it is like on a day-to-day basis and to really think about what you say to people like us. Also, to women wo are like me, to realise, they’re not alone. There is a huge community of women that have been hurt by love, had traumatic experiences, but haven’t given up on the notion of love. These women may find it harder to trust a man after their experiences, but they are bloody worth loving! No-one has as much love to give as we do. We’re not fussy or high maintenance. We’re just unlucky.
To those people who just stop loving someone, won’t tell us why and will block us on social media, when all we want is an answer. Before you break up with someone because ‘you stopped loving them,’ or whatever excuse you chose to break up. Think about why and give that person a proper reason before ending it. Why did the love fade? We just don’t want to be in this situation again. Just, for one minute, put yourself into the other persons shoes and imagine you’re them. You’ll think differently about it. That’s it.
Anyway, that’s my rant over for now. I want to tell more stories about women like us. Drop me a message on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story for tell.
For now, that’s all folks x
Priya Mulji x