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Alone with no family

(17 Posts)
Anniemay Sun 27-Oct-19 10:04:54

It’s just over a year since my husband died. He was 9 years older than me so all my friends have still got husbands. I am early 70s young at heart if a bit creaky. I was such a confident person with a very successful career, seen as a leader. We had no children but were very much soul mates. I’ve lost all that confidence. I’m not very clubbable but work best in close friendships and relationships. I feel ashamed of myself that I am so lonely and can’t see where my life is going. It seems unbearable to have no close company. I do have friends but they all have partners and big families to take their time up. People are kind and 2 or 3 have stayed the course with me so I am grateful. I don’t have siblings. I realise this is an old old story common to so many women but I wonder if there is anything anyone can share with me about ways forward, not just “ it will get better”

Charleygirl5 Sun 27-Oct-19 10:22:57

I do not know where you live but maybe join a local meetup with other GNs. I go to two and have a really good time meeting really nice people.

I am also on my own so I do know where you are coming from.

Beckett Sun 27-Oct-19 10:36:20

I am also alone - no immediate family, no children. I have tried joining clubs and groups but find the conversation is always about children and grandchildren and I end up sitting in a corner alone and ignored so have given up on them.

Like you my friends have families so I don't see them very often.

I am still searching for a solution

Alexa Sun 27-Oct-19 10:55:29

It's almost universally true that older women who live alone have this problem about discovering others like themselves.

We have to be pro-active. I mean go to clubs and groups that are a little more promising e.g. U3A, or join the local railway preservation society to make the refreshments if you are not strong enough to polish an engines

ladymuck Sun 27-Oct-19 11:03:27

Do you attend church? Most churches have social groups, with meetings of various kinds. Charities are crying out for volunteers, I'm sure you would find one which interests you.

footnote.....not all old ladies are alone and lonely. I'm living alone with no family close by. I'm loving it....not being smug, just saying we're not all the same.

Eglantine21 Sun 27-Oct-19 11:06:09

Join a women only group like the WI.

Go on singles holidays.

Help out in a charity shop.

Join a walking group.

None of these things require a partner and usually most people are doing it on their own.

And, a bit morbidly, hang on. You will find that some of your friends and acquaintances become single women in the not too distant future.

All of these have worked for me.

Grammaretto Sun 27-Oct-19 11:13:43

I can't speak from my own experience but I was brought up by a fairly young widow who often felt as you do, that everyone else had a partner and she didn't get invited out.

As she got older, things became easier actually because she was no longer responsible for all of us and friends were no longer afraid she was after their husbands. Yes truly, she didn't imagine it, women got very possessive of say lending their menfolk out to do odd jobs for mum.

After she retired, she worked at Citizens advice as a volunteer and joined plenty of groups: U3A, a choir, a women's group, keep fit, a painting class. She tried almost everything and I admired her for it She met a few other lone women and men who shared some interests and they would sometimes holiday together, or go to concerts. She was hospitable too and hosted dinner parties we were often roped in to help

I realise it's not the same as you because she did have a family but we were all very busy with our own lives.

Remember it is still early days for you since you are so recently widowed. It will get better!

Luckygirl Sun 27-Oct-19 11:26:32

I am sorry that you have found yourself on your own - I am living alone now that my OH has gone into a nursing home and I am finding it strange. But my OH is still around and visitable, and I have children and GC nearby so I am very blessed in ways that you sadly are not.

It must be particularly hard when you were "soulmates" and I can see that reaching out and creating a whole new sort of life for yourself must seem very daunting indeed. I do think that good suggestions have been made for you; but I also think that it must be hard to find the impetus to make these things happen.

Start small - try just one of these things. It might help if this were a charitable activity, as the focus of your life has been your OH and making him happy, so it might help if you felt able to transfer this nurturing instinct to some other group of people. For some this helps to give a purpose to life and a reason to get up in the morning.

It is autumn and we have some crisp sunny days to come this week - maybe you could take yourself off to a garden where autumn trees are to be seen. This always lifts my spirits.

It is harder to find the oomph to get out and about in the winter with the dark evenings, I do realise that. But I do think the only way forward for you is to reach out. I send you all good wishes and lots of luck in finding a new direction for your life. flowers

BradfordLass72 Sun 27-Oct-19 21:44:12

I almost didn't post after reading Luckygirl above because she has said everything smile

But I will add that a year's widowhood is not very long after a lifetime of loving companionship; you are still grieving and that makes it difficult to go out into the harsh world with confidence.

I am not a clubable person either but go to an elder's group which I enjoy but it is made up of people from a very different culture to my own. I don't think I could bear the usual 'grand-children and what's on TV chit-chat you find in most groups.

I also do many free online courses through and have taken history, archaeology, psychology, the classics, forensic science (that one was fascinating because we had to solve a real life case) and much, much more.

There are many thousands of free courses online: 3-weeks, 6-10 weeks and you just dip in an do it when you feel able.

It may give you confidence to complete some of these in the subject of your choice - and there seems to be every subject under the sun!

Your faithful few friends will support you when needed but you don't actually need a large circle - quality rather than quantity eh? grin
With very best wishes flowers

BlueBelle Mon 28-Oct-19 05:38:01

So sorry you ve lost your rock I can imagine what a big hole it must leave in your life
I can’t rate voluntary work high enough I do have children and grandchildren and friends but have lived alone for 20 years and after my Mum, Dad and job all went the same year I was very lethargic and low and voluntary work has given me a reason to get up in the morning I would go every day, but don’t, as I realise I need other things in my life I ve also recently taken on a shared allotment and love that and my small garden getting out and doing some work have been my saviour

Peonyrose Mon 28-Oct-19 05:54:33

Very good advice given Annie. It's hard when you are lonely, the weekends I feel are the worst, but you can come on here and know there are others in your position. I would say try to get outside and do some thing each day. Even if it's taking a book and going to have a coffee somewhere nice, or a walk locally. It will get better. I did try Meetup on here but it hasn't been a success, probably where you are in the country it might be better. Book a holiday, I have, something different, so got my fingers crossed about that. Good luck.

bingo12 Mon 28-Oct-19 06:47:34

While you have reasonably good health you must make an effort to get friends and companions wherever you can if that is what you want. Because others are talking about children or grandchildren does not mean they do not have other interests. (But you could perhaps offer to babysit THEIR grandchildren even?!) Some people have conditions such as constant vertigo for example which means they are not able to get out and about at all and are also lonely and isolated. Good luck and try to think of others less fortunate than yourself!

MawB Mon 28-Oct-19 07:58:08

I totally echo what others say about being proactive.
You may not find close friends, certainly not right away, but companionship and social contact are around if you are prepared to make the first move - not easy though!
WI, U3A, church, any organisations/clubs for something which interests you. It will at least pass the time, and at best you may find friendly acquaintances who become friends.
After bereavement, everybody is very kind and they make the effort to get you out or keep you company, but that wears off and life moves on.
So take that first step, try to find at least a couple of things each week. You could try volunteering and you will be helping others as well as yourself.
I am two years “down the line” and often feel very lonely and rudderless, but I grit my teeth, pin a smile on and, despite a fear of rejection, do what I can. I do know about that lack of confidence and how everybody else seems to be in couples. It is hard.
It is still early days for you, but you should have many years ahead of you and you owe it to yourself to make what you can of them.

Alexa Mon 04-Nov-19 13:34:46

BradfordLass, I like to learn and I followed your link to I was wondering if there is a social component if not is it not a bit lonely working on your own without even online discussions?

I'd like to meet a few of the people with whom I discuss stuff online. Am I asking too much to seek real social contact with someone old like me who has the same interests as me?

Jane10 Mon 04-Nov-19 13:39:17

How would you feel about a trip up to Edinburgh to join us for our GN Christmas lunch? Its on 2nd December. Check the thread on it started by Elegran. It would be lovely if you could join us.

Alexa Mon 04-Nov-19 13:42:22

Maybe it's just that I am not very sociable but in all the twenty years I've been attending U3A I made friends with only three people, two dead by now, who became personal friends. I'd like to meet privately some U3A members whom I meet but even writing that sounds slightly creepy! So many of them are married persons, or younger than me. Ageism exists among U3A.

Gonegirl Mon 04-Nov-19 14:13:48

That is a lovely post Luckygirl.