Staying Single into Old Age


I want to ask the older folks on here who’ve remained single, what your thoughts are on staying single as an older person vs marrying. I’m just asking as a 25 year old who’s trying to gain some perspective on the issue.


Well, crap. I came into this thread to see what the responses would be.

I got married very young (16), divorced very young (20) and although I’ve been in a couple of relationships over the years, nothing that I care to drag into my older years. I’m only 44, but it’s looking as if I’ll be going forward as a single person. I’m kinda curious as to how this will play out.

It’s not that I’m completely against having a partner, it’s just that I can’t imagine combining households, having to deal with someone else’s adult children (on top of my own), and all the other stuff that comes with having a partner.

I am 37 and divorced. I don’t think the institution of marriage and I go together very well so I am likely to say single for the next 5 decades or more. I can see how there would be some trade-offs especially if disability became a factor but I have the money to just buy help if I need it. I have found almost everything else much easier as a single person rather than being married. You only have to worry about yourself so the risk of job loss or major illness is cut roughly in half. It can be a bigger problem than the same thing happening to a married person because it is the only income but a single person usually has a lot more flexibility in what jobs they can take and how they can adjust their lifestyle to make things work. As a single person, you are also except from major scandals that married people end up in all the time. Want to sleep with a bunch of different people? You will end up with happy memories. A married person doing the same will likely end up in front of a judge and lose half their stuff plus their reputation.

I’m 56 and have never been married. Knock wood, my health is good. Money is sometimes a worry – it would have been nice to have a second income backing me up at a couple of places in my life. I have friends and family (siblings); loneliness isn’t an issue for me.

No regrets.

Early 50’s No regrets beyond “the one that got away”. I realized at a very early age that if I couldn’t find the right person then marriage was a bad idea. I also recognized the mistake of associating the excitement of a new relationship with long term love.

47-year old woman here.

Like Phall, I married young (20) and divorced at 25. Since then, I have been in a handful of long-term relationships but none that warranted a ring or a wedding certificate.

I like living alone okay, but frequently have bouts of loneliness – like now, on this Sunday morning, when it is nice to stay in bed and cuddle and fight over the New York Times crossword puzzle.

And I really miss sex. It is ironic to me that I read about middle-aged men who are in sexless marriages and if I want sex, I have advertise for it. There are lots of men my age who will have sex with me, but few who are available for relationships. (And, no, I do not have affairs with married men).

44yo and trying to get it together, as I have been, off and on, since my teens. My main issue is a lack of social maturity - I don’t play the game of adulthood well. They say it’s never too late to get back in the game, but I suspect there comes a point where it’s too late to start.

Loneliness is more or less a constant. Being close to my family helps, but they’re in their 70s and the clock is ticking.

48 year old single checking in.

No regrets. I’ve known since I was twelve I would never get married, and probably thought along those lines even younger. I think some folks are just naturally geared to be solo acts.

I do worry about what happens after my 85 year old mom dies, and I have no close family left at all, but I don’t obsess over it. I’m far more worried about my unemployment situation right now.

I’m a 50 year old female, single never married. I would have LVED to have found Mr Right and settled down, but it just didn’t happen.

I have no living family left, and the thought of growing old(er) totally alone scared the bejeebers out of me.

Here is how I always answer this question: There are some nights I come home from work and I wish there were someone here to hold or share the night with. There are just as many nights that I come home and I’m glad I’m alone. The number of nights are about 50-50.

(Of course, now that I work from home, the response doesn’t work so well.)

As an aside, a very close friend of mine who has been married for more than 30 years just confessed that he is lonely as often as I am, even when she is there.

Will be 49 this month. Married for a short time in my early 40’s, otherwise single and living along most of my adult life.

No real regrets. I enjoy having my own place, setting my own schedule, dealing with my own shit. My brief marriage showed me a very flawed version of the other side (committed relationships) and yeah, sometimes I’d like that again, but othertimes not.

The one thing I notice from my perspective are the people who are just utterly terrified of being alone. The people who think that others (and by extension themselves) are flawed, dangerous or “damaged” if they are not in a relationship. It tells me what they fear most in life - being alone. I’ve seen plenty of people who HAVE to be in a relationship every minute of their lives, no matter what, no matter how bad that relationship is. Some few of them bounce from bad relationship to bad relationship their whole lives, never figuring out that it isn’t the ones who chose to be alone that are damaged, it is the ones like themselves who are so utterly terrified of NOT being with other people who are damaged.

Honestly, the only thing I would like in life on this front are a couple of female friends with whom I could spend time on occasion. Unfortunately, the ones like me who live alone seem to be trapped in the same old social expectations of marriage, cohabitation and exclusivity and aren’t able to see that those things are not compatible with their (and my) chosen lifestyle.

44 and single. The singleness itself doesn’t bother me, but I worry a bit about the future.

A few years ago, I watched my father die of cancer, and I learned something. There is not a nursing home on earth, not an insurance policy on earth, not a welfare program on earth, that can take care of you half as well as your own flesh and blood.

So I would sort of like to have some offspring who feel obligated to look after the old geezer. (Love is nice. Duty is more reliable.)

I am 36, male, and single. Have had a couple relationships. The last one we lived together for a year. Obviously there are pros and cons to each situation. Ideally, I will find someone I can spend the rest of my life with. I do get lonely, even though I have friends and family and hobbies. I’ve found that when you are single you have to make much of an effort to have an active social life. It’s easy to fall into a rut of being alone all the time, especially when most of your friends/family are in relationships. When you are coupled, you usually have two groups of friends to pull from and there are more invitations, etc. And when you choose to not go out, you have your partner to spend time with. I miss that. On the other hand there are many times when I absolutely love living alone and do exactly what I want, when I want.

My biggest fear is getting older and not having family to lean on when I will need them most. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it I guess.

51, never married. I was about 12 when I decided that if it wasn’t “right”, I wasn’t going to get married.

I have good friends I’ve known well for 25 years and I see them often. I’m pretty comfortable in my own head, so loneliness is rarely an issue.

All other things being equal, I enjoy sleeping and waking up next to someone I care about, but I care about me enough to be that person if I can’t get another. :slight_smile:

I was married at 25, divorced at 33. Have been in a few committed relationships since then, lived with a few peeps.

I’m 41 and in a 3+ year relationship now, so I realize I’m not necessarily “single” - but I feel like we kind of have the best of both worlds.

We both have our own places about a mile apart from each other. We spend the weekends together, but tend to spend our weeknights in our own beds. He’s more of a homebody, I can be a social butterfly at times. We decorate our places in our styles, have separate bank accounts (although we loan each other funds when needed) and pay our own bills.

At times I wish for more, but what we have is good and I’m not going to rush anything. We are both a little gunshy about weddings because we both were married to the wrong people before. If we were to move in together, it would be in a new place that is big enough for both us - so we each have our own spaces.

If this relationship was to end, I’d probably end up staying single for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be slutty as hell because I like sex. But I think I’d rather be single than with the wrong person.

53, never married but have had several live-in girlfriends. Presently I’m totally single and am sick enough of sharing living space with someone else that I’m very happy in my solitude.

This is actually the situation I aspire to. I’m 40, never married but have lived with two people in relationships. I like living alone and I don’t see myself being married. But having a serious girlfriend across town, or even a couple of towns over appeals to me.

33, never married. I was engaged to a Marine for several years and only saw him rarely. Now I’m in a semi-relationship with someone who lives 2 states away. I have come to the realization that if I really wanted someone to live with me, I would have made different choices.

I like being able to make my own choices and plans without having to consult anyone. Its my house and I can do what I want. Nobody is messing up my kitchen (except me), I don’t have to share my closet space and I control the thermostat.

I’m never lonesome or bored. Perhaps that sounds egocentric, but while I do enjoy my friends, I also enjoy having time alone to do what I want to do. Sometimes I’m jealous of my partnered friends because they can have sex whenever they want…but I’ve learned that isn’t really the case for them either.

Do, bottom line, don’t listen to me. Do what you feel is right for you.

PS, if nobody lives with you, you can drink milk out of the carton…the cats won’t care :slight_smile:

I’m 52. I was married early (at 19) divorced at 25. I’ve had a few long term relationships with the most recent ending in 2004 after 7 and a half years. That relationship was “the love of my life” and since then, I’ve not really been all that motivated to look for someone new.

That said, I WOULD like to have a life partner, but I just don’t seem to have the energy, patience or something to actually go looking. If Mr. Right happened to wander into my life though, I wouldn’t shut the door.

I wouldn’t say I’m a “stay single and happy with it” kind of person though, more like a “single because I don’t really have a choice” kind of person.

There’s no such thing as “Sex whenever you want” for 99% of us, including married people.