I’m coming up on a big birthday and I’ve been doing a life review. Things are really great for me personally but I have not had the romantic success I’ve longed for. Most of my really good friends are either married or they are in long-term relationships. Most of them are also straight — I came later in my life to my sexuality — so I had sort of assumed that I was just on a different timeline than them.
I see myself getting married and sharing a life with someone, having kids too, but it has been over five years since I’ve been on more than a couple of dates with someone and my biological clock is ticking. I’ve gone through long periods of celibacy over the last 5 years where I haven’t even been looking for love due to focus on my career, personal problems, etc. Add to that the feeling that online dating is like putting myself out there over and over again and not getting interest from the women I contact, plus my pretty terrible gayday that makes it hard to hit on women unless I have actual proof they are gay.
I’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities, but I really want someone to share them with. I’ve been working on myself in therapy, and I’ve made some really great shifts in personal development. I feel ready now, for love, in a way that I have not for many years. But what if it doesn’t come?
– Lost Opportunities
You are having a big birthday panic. You assumed you would be partnered by now, but you aren’t, and you want to have a child but you are, I assume, staring ahead at diminishing returns for your fertility. Your eggs are cranky, or soon may be, and you’re coming to grips with the fact that you don’t have time to play catch-up.
Many women feel like they are too old to find love, straight and gay alike. It does not help that your straight pals are all married, which is reinforcing your perception that you are behind your peer group. WHICH IS TOTALLY NOT A HELPFUL OR TRUE PERCEPTION, by the way. There is no “behind” or “ahead” or “on time” when it comes to major life milestones. There is only your path, what has held you back, and where you are.
It sounds like you have done some major work on yourself — work that may help you stay more open to love this time around. You say you feel ready, so take that leap. Sign up for online dating sites. Volunteer for an LGBT cause. Ask your gay gal pals if they know any single women that might be a good match for you. Put yourself out there by casting a very wide net and letting yourself be vulnerable.
There is no “behind” or “ahead” or “on time” when it comes to major life milestones. There is only your path, what has held you back, and where you are.
Risk getting it wrong. Risk talking to that cute dog walker you see in the neighborhood or meeting up with a friend-of-a-friend-who-is-bisexual-and-divorced, or feeling like the third wheel when you go to your married friend’s couples dinner party alone, again, and have to talk about your romantic prospects.
To risk getting it wrong is to try. To show up. To stay open to love even when it feels like love is not showing up for you. None of us have a guarantee of love. Even those straight friends you envy — who can say whether their marriages will last? Practice believing in yourself, showing up for yourself, taking care of yourself, and loving yourself, flaws and all. That kind of confidence is an incredible turn-on and will make you happier that bemoaning the fate of all those unused eggs.
To risk getting it wrong is to try. To show up. To stay open to love even when it feels like love is not showing up for you.
On the child issue, there are many ways to welcome children into your life. You can adopt a child, you can look for a partner who has kids of her own, you can try IVF and go the single mom route. All to say that you don’t need to figure it out today and, if you truly desire the parent experience, there are many ways to make that dream come true.
Celebrate your big birthday. Celebrate all you are and all you have, and then commit to using your time wisely to increase the odds that you will find what you wish you for – love!