I seem to remember as a child hearing about elderly relatives dying and leaving no inheritor, some people weren’t even sure if they had ever had someone they loved. Were they really gay/lesbian? I mean in a general sense of course, not specific people. But it sure seems sad as hell for someone to die with not even a friend.
Just speaking for myself, here, but I’m nearing 60, I have no inheritor, and most assuredly am not gay.
I’ve had one particularly long-term relationships and several shorter ones, but at this point in my life I like being on my own. Maybe some of your relatives felt the same.
I wouldn’t even venture a guess as to how many of those lifelong singles were secretly gay, so here are my anecdotes.
My aunt, who’s now in her 80’s and battling dementia, never married but spent a good part of her younger years falling for married men.
I have two women friends in their late 50’s who never married. Both are straight (i.e., they identify as straight, I’ve known them to be in relationships with men and never known them to be in one with a woman) but neither of them ever pursued a long-term relationship.
Some, maybe. But then there are those of us who never attracted anyone, or who are simply incapable of forming a long-term relationship even if we do attract someone. Not everyone is beautiful or sociable.
I don’t think there is any one single answer. Some were surely closeted gay people. Some were probably loners who didn’t enjoy being around people. Some probably didn’t like the institution of marriage (I think that if I had grown up in an earlier era, I would have chosen to be a spinster rather than bossed around by a man in an old fashioned marriage). Some might have been painfully shy and had trouble meeting people. Some may have wanted to get married but just never met the right person.
Even though it is more acceptable now to live as a gay person, it seems that the number of people who never get married is higher now than it used to be.
Lifelong single person here. No kids, never wanted any. Straight.
It would’ve been nice if I’d found someone special - my parents had a great marriage and I’d’ve loved to have something similar. It just never happened. But at 50 I am relatively content with my life.
I’m in my mid fifties. Straight–very much so.
I was married for 5.5 years. I never want to experience that hell again. I am very content staying single.
It isn’t the marriage thing really, it was the no lovers, no kids, no friends thing. I mentioned it to someone and they said stop being naive they were closeted, and I had that odd feeling where you think about something you haven’t ever given much mind. As a kid it was easier to just accept they were weird and old hermits, as an adult it strikes as much harder to accept.
55 Y.O. male. I was married 1979-85, dated some '85-'96. Decided dating was not worth the stress it caused me. Completely hetero. Old, set in my ways, hard to imagine co-habitating with another person at this point.
Pretty much grown away from my friends from back in the day, they are into the kids/grandkids…I really don’t relate. They don’t relate to my current lifestyle either.
Some people just aren’t that interested in raising a family. Prior to the development of reliable methods of contraception such as high-quality condoms and birth-control pills, the only way to guarantee not having children was to abstain from sex. For some folks, there was no point in getting married if one wasn’t even going to be having sex.
Other folks simply have no interest in romance/sex.
Not necessarily. I’m only 27, but I can already see the trajectory of my life heading toward lifelong bachelorettehood (fuck you firefox, if bachelorhood is a word than so is this). I’ve always been more of a loner than a social butterfly, and I chose to bail on my first long-term (hetero) relationship with imminent marriage potential because I wasn’t ready to be tied down. I’d rather be alone with someone I love (me!) than stuck with someone I end up hating because a billion little annoyances add up over time (which pretty much describes every relationship I’ve ever been in).
Some people are just not good partner material, or may be disinterested in marriage altogether. The older people get, the more set in their ways they tend to become. So, although it does occasionally happen that a person gets married for the first time at 50 or 80 or whatever, that’s the exception to the rule. I think if I make it to 40 without getting hitched, there’s nothing that could convince me to give up singledom at that point. The older I get, the less willing I am to compromise or be bothered with someone else’s idiosyncrasies. Getting married is almost a guarantee that, in spite of the love thing, my life would become less comfortable and more stressful. For example, I used to be pretty mellow about sleeping next to a guy. But now, I’ve become very particular when it comes to things like noise level and temperature and sleeping arrangements. I’ve slept alone for too long to be willing to change those things (plus, I *really *like having my queen bed all to myself). I’m not willing to fight with someone over these things, and I get *very *cranky when woken up by somebody else shifting around, touching me, breathing, snoring, or their alarm clock. And quit hogging the blankets! Quit throwing off the blankets! *Just hold still, *for fuck’s sake! etc
So, if I were to move in with another partner in the future, we would have to have separate bedrooms. Or else I would kill him. And it’s just the overall aggregation of a bunch of little shit like this. My own idiosyncrasies wouldn’t be such a big deal if there weren’t so goddamn many of them. And I don’t really think it’s fair to expect someone else to put up with mine, because I’m not willing to put up with theirs. And so, a spinster was born.
Of course, a lot of those “confirmed bachelors” had the same “roommate” for decades. You’d think they’d have been able to afford their own place, what with not having any kids and all!
Yup, I was going to post that these were probably almost assuredly gay/lesbian. I’m sure there were some cases that were simply BFFs that decided “us against the world, let’s be roomies” but I expect there were a lot of cases where people just accepted that someone had a “friend” and as long as they stayed more or less closeted in public, no one thought much about it or cared.
They probably didn’t actually die without a friend - it’s more likely that the siblings, nieces, nephews, etc didn’t know who the friends were. I mean, I know my mother’s friends at least by name, because they’ve been her friends since I was a child. But she doesn’t know most of mine,and those she’s met she wouldn’t be able to notify as she doesn’t even know their last name. I don’t know my siblings friends and I certainly have no idea who my spinster great-aunt’s friends are ,although I’m sure she has many. But if my cousins and I end up planning the funeral, the friends will only be there if they read about it in the death notices.
I am the 40 year old version of you. I wouldn’t say there is nothing that could make me give up singledom, and I’m not opposed to it either - I just lack the yearning for it while being completely comfortable in my own skin and my own space. Essentially, I have no motivation to change my situation.
Of course the odds of finding a person I’d want to be around every day for the rest of my life and him respecting my need for space are pretty low too.
Some people just live unconventional lives.
Sad? I guess so. I mean, if they are sad. If they aren’t sad, then no, it’s not sad.
I certainly don’t think you can make generalizations about this, so I’d say probably some of them were, and others weren’t.
My wife’s aunt is like this, though we are almost positive she’s gay, though she will not admit it (and we don’t expect her to, as she is uber-Christian…to the point where she was giving us slightly dirty looks when we explained to our daughter that we were related to the gorillas). But, she’s in her 50s, single, hasn’t had a boyfriend in 30 years, and has lived with the same woman for around 30 years. And they sleep in the same bed. But according to her, they’re just ‘close friends.’ My mother in law flat out asked her and she said “absolutely not!” even though none of us care either way and certainly wouldn’t judge her. My wife and I frankly just want her to come out so that she and her ‘friend’ can just drop the charade, but I guess we’ll have to deal with the cover story for a while (or forever).
50+, straight, single, childless, not many friends. I remember being at home, alone as usual, back in jr high watching TV, and a PSA came on with a wide shot of a football stadium full of people, the camera slowly zooms in to one person, not interacting with anybody, and the tag line was ‘a lonely childhood lasts a lifetime.’ That was a pretty prescient moment. Sad? Whatever, it’s just life.
My wife had a female friend though her grandmother she took me to see, when her “non-existant” female roomate saw us coming she bolted to the back room. The whole time it was just sad and akward with us trying to convince her please we are cool with it. I refused to go back because damn that is akward.
Not necessarily. I’m 52 and I’ve been a lifelong bachelor because there were only two women I’ve thought seriousily about marrying. One wouldn’t have me and to marry the second would have meant breaking up an existing marriage, and I elected not to do that because a child was involved.