More unwanted advice

Avatar for floridagirl52
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Registered: 10-16-2006
More unwanted advice
17
Wed, 04-16-2014 - 6:33pm

I had another lunch with three women I used to work with. All married. All with kids. All of them extroverts. I've not been feeling overly confident lately, and wasn't looking forward to getting together. I dreaded possible questions about my love life. I feel unsettled in my career right now--my business hasn't been very profitable the last two years. I feel I need to be "up" around them. And I know they have no idea what my life is really like. I know they couldn't imagine being single for so long.

One of the women told us about her long-widowed mother who has started seeing someone she ran into at her high school reunion. And I braced myself for what I knew was coming next. One of the other women got a lightbulb over her head and very forcefully told me I should go to my high school reunion because, "A lot of people meet that way!" 

Deep sigh.

I told them that I hated high school and I didn't want to go to any more reunions, which is true. I didn't date in high school, so it's not like I have these old boyfriends I'll run into. Yes, yes, yes, "You never know." But in this case, I think I do. But she was adamant about it, and that's what is so tiring. 

Finally the topic changed, but I felt like I just wanted to cry, really. I know they think they are helping. But it mostly just hurts to be the eternally single woman sitting at a table with three married women. I know they must think I have no clue what to do, sort of like if I were overweight, "But have you considered consuming less calories than you burn?" And I know they don't envy my single life, nor would I want them to. 

I didn't tell them about the guy I really liked who never called me back in October, nor that I'm on two dating sites at the moment. I just don't want to open it up for discussion, because they will start in with all the usual suggestions. Whatever I do, it will never be enough. I'm not trying hard enough.

On most occassions I'm more gracious about it, but today I wasn't. I thought I would probably cry in the car on the way home but I didn't. I just felt sad. So my advice to coupled women who think they have the answer: stop giving single women adivce. They don't want it. And it hurts our feelings.

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Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Fri, 04-18-2014 - 4:21pm

That truly sucks.  Where I work, there are about 20 of us, and only three of us are single.  One is in her early 20's and is super religious, she actually seems to date quite a bit though . . . the other is a widow in her mid to late 60's whose life revolves around her grandchildren and then there's me.  

I was a serial dater for a good solid decade with a few short relationships peppered in - this all came after a LTR.  I finally came to the conclusion that I feel better about myself when I am not dating; I'm happier, too.  I know this is going to sound odd, but I also feel more complete.

Anyway, it feels as if I have some sort of disease that nobody mentions for fear of making me feel uncomfortable.  I'm not sure what's worse: constant unsolicited dating advice or being treated like you are a complete anomaly.  Part of me wonders if it's a casualty of living in the burbs.  I almost wonder if I were living in the city, would I be having the same experiences.  Everyone else is married and has kids.  Okay well, two women are actually engaged and one of them has children from a previous marriage.  

I sit and listen to chatter around me and it's all about the hubby or the wife or the kids which is fine but . . . I digress, LOL.  I just wish people could think outside of themselves more often.  I'm not even mad at them for it, I'm sure I'd be guilty of the same if I were all married up with kids.  

Sorry FG, your post struck a chord!  

Have you considered telling these friends of yours that you don't want or need their advice or maybe even telling them that if you meet someone, they will be the firsts to know but otherwise you don't want to discuss your romantic life?  Ha, look at me offering advice on an unwanted advice thread.  I mean well ;)

Well, glad you held it together and sorry it happened, and may continue to happen. The struggle is real, y'all ;)

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Fri, 04-18-2014 - 5:10pm

I usually try to deflect advice with humor. And yes, I could tell them, "You'll be the first to know," but somehow I don't think it will stop the comments, even if I were very direct about it. But see, I don't want to seem so touchy about it, since I know they truly believe they are helping/inspiring me. They really "know not what they do." It's my job to rise above it, I guess.

Sara Eckel says she handled this by just not talking about her love with with many people who she knew would give advice. And she agrees that people are just trying to help, because obviously, you are fabulous, so why aren't you with someone? But I wasn't even talking about it--it was another woman who brought up her mother. 

BTW, I have never understood the term "serial dater." If you are dating people to see if you are a fit, don't you, by default, become a serial dater? You date Guy #1, then you break up, you then date Guy #2, etc. Is there something I'm missing? Please illuminate!

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Fri, 04-18-2014 - 5:49pm

As usual, you are right; they do mean well and it IS probably best not to tell them. You would end up feeling like the conversation police and they would be walking on egg shells around you.  

I use that term because I would sometimes be going on three different dates in one week -  with three diferrent people.  I was dating a ton.  As if to say, a serial killer doesn't usually stop at two or three, ha- ha.  There are a trail of bodies everwhere, LOL.  Just like I left a trail of broken hearts.  (I kid)

I got Good Friday off and had such high hopes of scratching things off of my to-do list!  I've been useless today!   Time to get going now that it's almost five ;)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 04-18-2014 - 8:41pm

Doesn't it seem sometimes that married people only talk about their families?  When I go out w/ my married high school friends, they talk about their kids constantly (and now the kids are grown and getting married & having kids so maybe the talk will soon turn to grandchildren) but  I notice they hardly ever talk about their DH--it's like they are non-entities, but maybe that's because they have all been married a long time.  It doesn't seem like they have unhappy marriages, although who knows?  Now last night I went out for drinks w/ 2 single women--one other divorced and one widow.  The widowed woman is someone I don't know really well--last night was the first time we talked at length.  Our conversations were about cruises, religion, people who have brain injuries (her father had a very unfortunate incident), places to go dancing, etc.  Both of them are dating--the divorced woman is back w/ her exBF and the widow has a long distance BF she met on a cruise--but it wasn't all about dating and men.  It's like when some women get married, anything interesting out in the world ceases to exist.

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Sat, 04-19-2014 - 1:27pm

Cfk--thanks for the clarification...I get it now!

And you bring up an intersting point, Musiclover. Married women do talk a lot about their children. It's understandable, they are a huge part of their lives. And I think a lot of married people just don't go out. If they work, they're racing home to take care of dinner and children and it leaves little time for anything else. No interesting university lectures, no dance lessons. I've seen so many women whose lives shrink to the nuclear family and that's it. They aren't accepting applications for new friends.

But yes, it's nice to talk about other things as well. When you were married, did you tend to talk a lot about your kids?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2012
Thu, 04-24-2014 - 4:36pm

My sympathy, Florida! I suppose we have all experienced that. And of course the classic line "It happens when you least expect it". I have not been expecting it the last 20 years and see where that has led me.... Nothing, absolutely nothing has happened. I am sure they mean well, but most of my coupled friends have been in a relationship so long that they seemingly have forgotten how it is being single. And they make it seem to easy, don´t they? "OLD is the thing today", "But you go to concerts etc all the time,  there must be some nice single guys there?" My friends are always saying I need to find myself a man (well, what do they think I want?), but some of them have been with their partners for so many years that they have no idea what it´s like and how few single men of my age who are actually possible to meet. I am often joking that I need all the help I can get, but really it is no joke!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 04-24-2014 - 9:12pm

I think I still do talk about my kids to a certain extent--it's natural because they are the center of the universe and when they are young, you are right, especially if you work also you hardly have time for much else.  I got divorced from 1st DH when my kids were young and then after that it was carting the kids around to their activities.  I was also the kind of mother who wouldn't go out after I got divorced unless the kids were with their dad--even when they were older.  Luckily he was with them a few days a week.  Then after the 2nd divorce, I kind of felt guilty.  My son was a teenager and could stay by himself but I was always driving him places, so it wasn't until he got his license that I really felt free to go out whenever I wanted.  He practically had to push me too and tell me that he really didn't mind if I went out.

My 1st DH was more of a fun person but 2nd dH (who had the psych problems) could be difficult.  It's not that he didn't like to do things but it had to be on his terms.  He'd complain about going out to eat on Sat. if we had to wait, he didn't like to go to places that were too crowded, too hot, etc.  So what we did was pretty limited--dinner and a movie.  We never went out dancing cause he had a bad hip (you'd think he was 80) and we never stayed out really late.  And I think that a lot of married people tend to be homebodies more--at least until the kids grow up.

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