Drink with a Former Twinkle

September 18, 2012 § 144 Comments

From yesterday’s Times:-

Just had a drink with Smidgen.  A twinkle from several months ago, he gave out messages that were manifestly mixed and after a while, out of sheer mystification and impatience, I efficiently knocked any romantic notions I had firmly on the head.  It is agreeable enough to see him these days, but I look at him and wonder how on earth I could have entertained thoughts of anything other than a warm acquaintance and the odd cup of coffee or glass of wine.  Well, actually, I do know how.  Usual state of play.  No one else on the horizon at the time (except possibly Long Shot and, but as my nickname for him suggests, he couldn’t ever really count).

And today?  No longer any bleeding horizon, let alone anyone on it.

I have been harbouring thoughts of creating one again.  The internet is one thing, but there is nothing wrong with hoping to meet someone by other, erstwhile means as well.  One  friend and former plankton went online with no success but at least found it comforting to discover she wasn’t the only single person on the planet.  In fact, she met her long-term partner – she is “ashamed to say”, though I don’t see why – at the office party.  I must be one of the few people who actually likes the idea of an office party, but I have never had one to go to.

Like a complete tart, I go to everything I’m asked to, the opening of an ant’s arse, but that is not enough.  I would really like to do some work that wasn’t so solitary.  Watching the TV drama, Leaving, in which an older woman has an affair with a fit, much younger man, I thought, no wonder: she worked in a hotel and was in contact with people all the time.  It’s called Opportunity.

Apart from the internet, with its infinite Opportunity, I have very little Other Opportunity.  The trouble is, I find Other Opportunity, that of real life chance as opposed to online chance, more compelling, though I realise my off-line chance, which never amounted to much even when I was young, is now, effectively, nil.

An acquaintance suggested that I might consider trawling the obituaries pages to find, ripe for the picking, youngish widowers of women who had died untimely.  What?

Call me naive or sanctimonious, but I was so appalled by the thought, I practically had to lie down.  That wasn’t quite what I was thinking when I spoke of making my own Opportunity.  But maybe that’s why I am a plankton, and the type of women whose efforts run rather more liberally than mine in the name of Opportunity, are not.

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§ 144 Responses to Drink with a Former Twinkle

  • fi says:

    P you know why you’re on your own as people keep telling you – it’s because you don’t meet anybody new. And then you attach too much significance to the one or two new faces that you occasionaly see that fit your criteria, and when they don’t want you you become despairing. If you really wanted to meet someone you’d simply change what you do – increase the number of people you came into contact with, and keep a sense of perspective about them.

    • The Plankton says:

      I know, I know. But somehow easier said than done. Pxx

    • Jo says:

      At the risk of sounding like a Fi groupie (!) I have to say – must say – that there is truth in what she says P.
      Nothing new is going to happen unless you try to do something new..
      Ok. I get (and completely understand) why the internet leaves you cold. Even though it has – rare I know – worked for me. No brickbats here. As I’ve already said.
      But you are still clinging to your ideal of meeting someone through your friends, your circles, your NARROW arena. Sorry. I hate to say that, but it’s true. It is a kind of comfortable fantasy that is not serving you well. At all.
      Here’s a thing. The ‘Meetup’ groups that Fi talks about are great. I’m not looking for anyone now, but I still have interests which I like to pursue. For instance. I worked really hard (for a long time) to learn and to become fluent in french some years ago. In order to keep up my french I periodically go to a fab french conversation group courtesy of ‘Meetup.com’. Local to me. (There are a good number of them on ‘Meetup’.). Lots of lovely new people there who also share my interest. They in turn know friends and (friends of friends) who they could easily introduce you too if you so wish and you can say yea or nay to that..Up to you. Also, (confession) my guilty pleasure is ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and I decided I wanted to learn Ballroom and Latin dancing. (Bear with me..), so I enrolled in classes. ‘The Artist’ decided he didn’t want to go. No problem. I went anyway. I LOVE it and can now twirl around that floor with total abandon anf huge joy….
      But the interesting thing is, the sheer variety of the people in the class. Lots of single people (yes, more women than men. But not that much). All ages, sexes, creeds etc and some gorgeous 40/50 + single guys too. Who tend to gravitate for the most part to the women of similar age..(Although not in a ghastly predatory way.). Everyone – honestly – is there for the joy of learning and dancing the Waltz, the Foxtrot, the Tango, the Rumba, Cha-Cha-Cha, Quickstep, Jive etc… That in itself is a JOY. But if you’re looking to meet a man (as I’m not now), an ATTRACTIVE, single man of similar age then it is a bonus here. Amazing. You get to learn and indulge something that you enjoy and to boot, you get to meet (if you want to) some lovely people who also share your interest. If they’re not for you, then again, they know people to introduce you to. If you wish…
      Honestly it’s a great thing, ‘Meetup’.
      What things do you really enjoy doing? What things are you passionate about? What things have you thought about wanting to learn/do, but haven’t got around to doing anything about? Even if time is at a premium? What excites and interests you? Start with that. Enjoy it for it’s own sake. But as a bonus you will DEFINITELY meet some other (new) compatible – age appropriate – people with whom you have this interest in common. You lose nothing and may gain much…
      Most importantly you will WIDEN your circle and have fun.
      Please think hard about this P. (And others here.). It really is worth giving it a go. You won’t lose anything by it. You may well gain more than you think. At the very least, you’ll enjoy indulging in something you really like doing. Whatever that is. And you will be open to meeting someone who shares this interest/passion. Whatever that is.
      It’s more than worth thinking about… Really.
      Bloody hell I’ve banged on. But this is vauable and important. Think on…
      Jo x

      • Jo says:

        Sorry. Some typing errors..
        Should have re-read before posting! Forgive…

      • The Plankton says:

        Thank you, Jo. You may want to read a very early post called something like “Go on a Course, why don’t you?” Which is not to denigrate your advice, which is wholly valid. Trouble is, I am really only interested in reading and writing, more fool me. Walking and dancing, not so much. More fool me. But I am still thinking… I never stop thinking. Pxx

      • Jo says:

        I’m not really recommending a ‘course’ as such P. That sounds ghastly and no wonder you baulk at the idea….
        I was – in a very long-winded way – putting forward the idea of thinking of what one’s delights or passions may be and indulging them in a new/different way somehow. If only for the joy of doing it..
        Citing my horribly guilty pleasure of always wanting to learn stuff like the Argentine Tango (and no, I’m not an old fogey. Although this makes me sound like it..) and then doing, it was just me talking about what I’ve done, after thinking about wanting to do it for some time..Not telling you to go on a course.
        Similarly my yakking away in french from time to time. (Very North London..!). I just enjoy it. Although again, it sounds rather naff when described…(I can see your wince already at – doubtless – some awful mental picture of this caper..)
        Anyway. Was just a suggestion.
        x

      • The Plankton says:

        Not wincing, just not sure, but I appreciate the suggestion all the same. It is a good one. thank you. pxx

  • Gladys Thong says:

    You can do all the things you’re supposed to do and still not meet anyone. Since splitting with a long-term ex I’ve increased my social life to the point where it felt like I was turning up at the opening of a fridge door. My work life also switched to freelance, which gives more variety but has yielded zilch in terms of meeting prospective partners. I’ve tried the internet a few times but it’s a demoralising, expensive waste of time for women of our ilk. Sometimes I enjoy a day/evening out, despite the lack of male company/interest, and sometimes I don’t and come home feeling terrible. Sometimes I accept the way things are, and sometimes I feel angry/despairing. People who’ve been there tend to understand that, others who haven’t, or can’t imagine, don’t. I’m glad I found P’s blog and her sense of perspective is entirely valid.

    • fi says:

      Well for every 50 new people I meet I find one bloke that sparks my interest and me his.

      • fi says:

        And really by ‘meet’ I mean speak to, not just vaguely hang about in the same room. And its maybe less than 1 in 50 actually as I’m not entirely sure as I don’t count 🙂 but it involves speaking to loads of new people, and then using them as a springboard to meet even more new people, and then just maybe after a while when I’m somewhere bizarre I’d never normally go (like a dry ski slope) as one of the new people invited me and I thought why not and someone says “have you met so and so” and we’re off. And in the meantime I’m having a great time as I’m there for the fun and not worrying about whether I’m coming over as desperate or off putting.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Gladys. My experience entirely. Pxx

  • rosie says:

    I’m with you, Gladys, and it certainly helps to have empathy, doesn’t it. Some people find it impossible, sadly. I’m freelance too and have been all over the shop down the years but still nada. Am doubly despairing today as a ‘friend’, who hasn’t been in touch for months, has just emailed to tell me about her new man and her amazing new job. And she’s only been single for two years. Feel like crying, or kicking someone/something.

    P, was your friend being serious about the obituaries? There’s desperation for you, Opportunity or not!

    • fi says:

      I don’t think that’s fair. Its not about a lack of empathy, as god knows we’ve all been through the same experiences, its about different ways of addressing the problem. I’m a solution orientated person and try to fix things as opposed to just talking about them. And if they are unfixable then I don’t bother talking about them. And what i look for from people are solutions too – I wouldn’t talk about things to people who wouldn’tt give me that. Not least because I’d want someone to help me fix the problem not just agree that it was all crap and won’t get better. But, as I’ve said before, that’s just me and there’s room for alternative views here and where people disgree with each other to do so with respect.

      • PY says:

        Fi , regarding your dating track record and an outing at the Fairmilehead dry ski slope.

        Presumably it would be all downhill after that .

    • The Plankton says:

      She was indeed. Is this what plankton are reduced to? Pxx

  • janey says:

    fi, with respect (!) I think you’re being oversensitive. I did not read any criticism of you into Gladys’s response. As you say we all have our views – as it happens I would like to be more like you – focus on the solution, but often find myself feeling like Gladys.

    • fi says:

      Sorry Janey but there’s history here with Rosie and a number of commentators and now she’s back I’m just trying to knock it on the head following her postings yesterday.

  • rosie says:

    And what postings would they be, fi?

  • Sarah says:

    Have you thought about trying to changing your job so you work in an office instead of at home?

  • rosie says:

    Thanks, fi, that’s great news.

    • fi says:

      Can we be pals? 😀

      • fi says:

        Or……. not? 😀

      • Scott Benowitz says:

        Damn it you two, we don’t have time for squabbles here. Seemingly, most men these days won’t even return Ms. Plankton’s phone calls and emails, let alone begin a healthy relationship with her. This can actually stress your body as well as your mind, sometimes to the point that your body can actually start to hurt….
        We’ve got to concentrate on our task at hand here, assisting Ms. Plankton with her quest for a new boyfriend…. even when she says that she is giving up, she no longer expects it to happen, she thinks that it is impossible and that she’s stopped thinking about it altogether ….

    • Jo says:

      rosie. Oh no. Not again.
      Give it a rest please…It’s tedious and oh so unnecessary..
      Honestly. What is your problem with Fi? Time to stop whatever irks you with her. I’m (truly) being impartial.
      But enough is – surely – enough?
      Agree to differ and leave the (undisguised and frankly boring..) digs here.
      Enough enough enough.

      • fi says:

        Thanks Jo. But really I don’t think now she can help it – its not that she chooses to relate to the world in the way she does. Like all of us we just are what we are. It’s probably more harmful for her than it is for anyone on the receiving end. And speaking of that. Where’s Maria anyway?

      • maria says:

        Hi Fi, I’ve been busy, lots to do at work. I’ve only managed to read the blog yesterday, but still enjoying Ms P wonderful writing and your (and all the others) comments as always.

      • The Plankton says:

        Thanks, Maria. Welcome back. Pxx

  • James B says:

    It must be great to be solution oriented in practice. Intellectually, all Ms P really needs to do to change her chances of meeting someone is to meet more people. But if one is a writer and works alone, if one is an emotional person, it can be impossible to leave the turmoil of rumination and emotional turmoil. On a personal level, I often know what I should be doing in life yet I either do nothing or procrastinate or else do the opposite. When dealing with emotional issues, many of us cannot operate rationally. It’s bloody annoying.

    • fi says:

      Well you know I’m very emotional, and I bet you don’t procrastinate as much as me but that’s not incompatible with being solution orientated. I have learned to be. I deal with my emotional responses by evaluating whether my emotional response is an appropriate one in the circumstances. I deal with the confusion by speaking to rational people with objectivity. And my procrastination by list writing, and I even have lists of lists. And they contain basic things like “tidy living room” or even “get dressed”. I’m pretty pathetic and have to continually fight the urge to turn into a vegetable. One of my friends says I’m the only person he knows who can literally sit and look out of a window all day without doing anything. Procrastination? Why else am I writing here instead of getting on with my work? If you know what you should be doing then the (solution orientated) question to ask is why aren’t you doing it. In my case because I’m lazy and unmotivated. Next question is what am I going to do about it? and that’s when it goes on my list as I get a sense of satisfaction at crossing things off. Solution orientated only meets problem solving.

  • june says:

    Agree there P, and im with Gladys too.

    I worked for 20 years for a large blue chip company that employed lots of men, but never met anyone remotely attracted to me or i them, have lots of good female friends from it,.which is a bonus but romance zlich, so work isnt always a ripe hunting ground P.

    Was out for lunch today with 2 of said friends, its ones birthday and another friend met through one of them, None are planktons, well apart from on here, and one divorced friend and my neighbour who seems to have turned into a recluse, how many planktons do i actually know. It got me thinking, one of friends has had a very up and down relationship,. now on up and he is talking her out for a birthday meal tonight and i thought who the hell is there to take me out for anything, and like gladys says it makes you feel totally demoralised. You can go here, there and everywhere and for some of us it just doesent happen and in your darkest hours P you know it never will, cause as you say the horizion is empty and you feel whatever you do it wont make a blind bit of of difference. As gladys says only those who have been there know whats it like, when the non planktons discuss the problems,and irritations of a relationship, stepkids, partners doing this that or not as c ase maybe, you laugh and say well the joys of single life, n ot having to put up with that, but you know they wouldnt change places, cause who the hell wants to be a plankton!

  • Ping Jockey says:

    “I worked for 20 years for a large blue chip company that employed lots of men, but never met anyone remotely attracted to me or i them…”

    If it’s one thing that a man learns fast these days, it’s that he NEVER associates socially with or dates co-workers! THAT is more dangerous than handling plutonium barehanded.
    All he has to do is say one wrong thing or make her mad about the least triviality — and he can count on a false charge of sexual harassment. Then it’s “bye-bye career”!
    No man with at least normal intelligence has relationships with female co-workers in this modern era’s toxic workplace. He can be polite and civil to everybody, but NO RELATIONSHIPS — that is much too dangerous!

    • fi says:

      It’s not good for women either – you’re in bed just chatting about your day and a work related issue then you find out he’s proposing your ideas as his and getting your promotion. 🙂

    • AMJ says:

      Ping Jockey: It’s not a problem if it’s a large organisation and you don’t work in the same team as the other person and is not a direct co-worker. I met one of my long term partners at work and briefly dated a couple of others I met at work – we didn’t work directly together, but there was some overlap which meant we crossed paths. But I have always worked for universities – big places, lotsa people.

  • Kimmy says:

    Opportunity (and luck) – that’s what it is about. Everyone has a personal comfort level how far he/she would go.

    A year ago I was looking for a job. I am well qualified – but no longer in the desirable age bracket – kind of like workplace plankton – the (mostly young) HR people have simply passed me by over and over. I also heard a lot of well-meant advice about what to try and how to network, how to send out resumes everywhere for the off-chance… I also heard success stories how this worked for some… I’ve tried some, they did not work. I’ve had a few job twinkles – they dissipated. It felt very unfair and I had a lot of self-pity going on.

    I had to accept that trying the same thing over and over and hoping that one day my resume would fall into the hands of a visionary who would spot my talent had a dismal chance of success. I had to change my comfort level. It is not easy and I fight myself and my fears often. I am on a very thin ice – but not drowning (at the moment). The Opportunity came from a complete fluke I never believed would do anything and is very uncertain. I am worried it will end nowhere again but I am not spoiled for choice.

    Yet there are jobs I don’t think I could do even in desperate times – like call center sales (purely personal, otherwise it’s just a normal job). I could do it if it was the only way to make money to feed my children – but that’s about it. That’s where I draw the line.

    You may draw the line at internet dating. You may feel you have tried everything else. Chances are there are opportunities that you have not tried but are not internet dating – but they are not visible because they are below the current comfort level.

    Opportunity, luck and personal comfort level – those are the factors. Two of them you can control. I cannot give you advice. But I do understand the struggle, the frustration, the anger, the hopeless feeling that sometimes comes. The rising hope and the crushing disappointment. The lack of will to keep going at times. The feeling of having so much to give and no one out there interested.

    It’s scary to go to unknown territory. But there are usually more opportunities there.

  • june says:

    To be honest Kimmy i have stepped out of my comfort zone many a time and it hasnt done a blind bit of good,. For years due to friends having partners and me not liking beach holidays i went on holiday on my own, never met anyone, I moved to the city i worked in from the small town,where i had always lived,at 62 by myself and yes i am very happy living in the city,much happier than in my home town but i have lived here 3 years nearly,i had friends here who i worked with and through them have met other friends, female ones but the only males ive met have partners, apart from my elderly male neighbour who lives upstairs and a nice man, but much too old for me. and anyway a confirmed batchelor. Joined a social group,loads more women than men, and any eligible males and there are not many, make a beeline for the younger women that belong.

    So you see you can step out of your comfort zone, i feel i did,many from my old home town thought me nuts to move to city at “my age”, in spite of fact i am a very young and fit 60 plus, they thought me well out of my comfort zone. And if im honest i thought moving here would make a difference and perhaps i would meet someone, but although iv never regretted the move , far from it, companion wise it still hasnt happened and now somehow i dont think it will. I can think of no other avenues to pursue and reading what many of my fellow planktons on here say, i feel we are all same. Where do we go from here, we all in our different ways in same boat,up the bloody creek without a paddle! ..

  • Kimmy says:

    June – in no way am I convinced that if one steps out of the comfort zone success is guaranteed. Luck is and will be essential, there are no guarantees. I was only talking about opportunities.

    There are simply not enough smart, funny, articulate, honest, considerate, desirable men who are looking for a relationship. Women are ahead of the curve and the expectations are much higher than 50 years ago… The choice may be between a solitude and a man who you might not be able to respect… or simply trying the dreaded internet over and over and over without knowing if it would ever work… Some people are lucky, some are not and some have it much much worse.

    I don’t think there is any advice – what works for one may not work for another. Plankton is right – it’s about opportunities – but they only increase the chance of being at the right place at the right time. And more opportunities come with fighting our own comfort level. Unless it starts Raining Men, I don’t see any other way.

    But I wish all the planktons out there the best of luck.

    • fi says:

      To be honest I’ve been here a year (eek) and people are saying exactly what they said a year ago, holding the same viewpoint. Nothing has changed. Go back a year and you’ll see the same names regurgitating the same stuff, me included. At the end of the day it boils down to people being what they are and nothing and nobody can change anything about someone else. It is quite interesting for that aspect alone really – people have their views of the world and believe they’re right, and logic or evidence doesn’t come into it as basically people want to keep believing that what they think is right. Pick a date, any date, from any month a year ago and you’ll see the same themes being played out over and over again by the same people. You wouldn’t even know the postings were a year ago as they could have been written yesterday.

      • Kimmy says:

        Amen, Fi!!!

        I never read the comments much – but I took up your challenge and looked back a year – and I have found this post from June that pretty much sums it up

        ” we planktons are a discriminating bunch, we wont accept what others might,its not wrong, its just how we are, we are basically just not that desperate, we obviously have high self esteem and we feel we are worth more what many men can offer us, and i dont mean materially, although being solvent is a good start.”

        At the age we are it is very hard to change. But I hope that the one change I will not see is this blog going from funny, interesting, thoughtful and sometimes thought-provoking to bitter and angry.

        And I do believe I said some time ago (though may not have been a year yet) – there are plenty of men in politics. If all the plankton joined and actively participated – who knows, something good might come out of it :)) – it is proven, that mixed teams deliver better results. Though that might be a comfort zone very few planktons are prepared to enter :))))

      • fi says:

        I find it draining and depressing. Where’s the fun gone? Bring back the cheery women,

      • Jo says:

        See my earlier post about branching out with pursuing your interests/passions/ meeting new people (with for example, ‘Meetup.com’).
        Yes yes yes. The same narratives for over a year over and over and over…..
        Time to examine/try to change the same old same old..?
        Don’t dismiss in kneejerk outrage.
        Examine..Re-read your personal year-long postings..
        CHANGE.

  • cstpeter1@cox.net says:

    Opportunity IS a big part in meeting a future mate. I work in a beauty salon in the US, and see anywhere from 30 to 60 people each day while at work. However, 80% of those people are female and 5% are children of those females. The remaining 15% are men of which 13% are married. Out of the remaining 2%, there are few single men who are close to my age range ( 59), so opportunity is not in my favor. So I have been attempting to participate in as many social functions in the community to help me beat the odds, with little success , but I am still participating. I haven’t “given up”, but my pace is much slower as of this post. Hope is still in my heart, although it is sounding barely above a whisper.

    • EmGee says:

      “But maybe that’s why I am a plankton, and the type of women whose efforts run rather more liberally than mine in the name of Opportunity, are not.

      Maybe that’s it in a nut shell. Personally, I just don’t have enough aggression in me to amount to much more than I already am. I know that I would do better in life generally, if I just pushed my way to the front and stepped on a few hands on the way up, but I just can’t.

  • Jo says:

    Challenge your thoughts. Challenge your activities. Look for joining other/new people in what you love – or would love – to do/attempt/learn. Enjoy it for it’s own sake. That’s enough in itself to enhance your life.
    As a bonus to that, reach out for possibilities to meet/be introduced to other new people whilst you’re doing it. (If you want to..). Broaden your horizons…..And have fun at the same time. Look on the Net in your area.
    The opportunities to try are out there. Truly.
    Again. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy your interests/passions and embrace new challenges and joy and new people..
    Open your mind. Open your challenges. Open the willingness to develop your passion(s). Wherever it may lead..
    This is the best world/life we have.
    Embrace it. Stick your neck out. Go for it. At the very least you’ll open your enjoyment of a new/wider addition to your life.
    Cliche alert. This is no dress rehearsal. Go for it.
    Who knows where it could lead…
    And you’ll enjoy your passion/interest in the company of others at the very least………..
    Don’t mean to preach. Just try to go for your passion..Go on. Just try.
    Who knows? It won’t be wasted in pleasure for your soul. Whatever happens.

    • fi says:

      I agree with you Jo but I honestly think people who don’t already agree will simply ignore what you’re saying. Here’s another thought: We really are where we are as a result of our own actions and it’s not ‘bad luck’ we end up where we do (excepting certain things like illness etc) as where we end up is simply the conclusion of all those choices ( and by choices I include how we decide to treat people too) we made along the way. We get the life we deserve.

      • Jo says:

        Fi. Hmmm. I do differ from the view that ‘we really are where we are as a result of our own actions’ etc….
        It’s not as simple as that. In my view.

      • Leftatforty says:

        Of course not Fi. And this sort of statements victimise the person. What do you mean people get the life they deserve? Does a teenager in inner city London ‘deserve’ to be shot? Does Elizabeth ‘deserve’ to be Queen of England? That is one of the big issues in this society now: people have a sense of iDeserve, iLife, iPod. A sense of entitlement. And all that talk that folk have at their tip of their tongue about choices and actions and get this and that is just patchouli rubbish taken from a 10 steps books. Things happen and it is what it is, hardly ever we get to choose.

      • EmGee says:

        I think it is as simple as being where we are by our own actions. I thank God, I was born neither impoverished nor royal, but I have some control over my own actions if I choose to, or I can choose to be buffeted about by the whims of those around me. Far too many of us go through our entire lives not realizing those choices exist, until it is too late, if we ever realize it at all.

        At 40, you may think that ‘if only I had stayed in school, or waited for someone else to come along, had been more assertive in the workplace, etc. At 50, you will wonder why you thought your options had dried up at 40, and would give anything to go back and jumpstart that person you’d been at 40. Unfortunately, these are only things we realize as we get older.

        So then we are left with the choice of accepting that nothing will change. or start to make some changes.

        I may never quite succeed, but I won’t look back at my life and regret having never tried.

      • fi says:

        Well I said there are some things (the example I used was illness but there are others) that happen to us, and there is also the consequences of the decisions we make and actions we take.

  • Gladys Thong says:

    Is that really true? I don’t think it is, in all cases. Much of the frustration expressed by women here is a result of the belief that they actually deserved something better. Meeting someone new after 40 is down to opportunity AND luck. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has created many opportunities but the luck hasn’t – yet – followed. I’ve done several photography courses, been on countless walks, talks, lunches, launches, joined a film club, taken on voluntary work at a local charity shop – all on top of the usual gigs, get-togethers and gatherings with friends. Sometimes I feel exhausted thinking about the effort I’ve made. Undoubtedly it’s all added to my life, but I’m still as single as I was four and a half years ago.

    In contrast, a twice-married acquaintance of mine moved back to London about three months ago and is already dating a married man. She’s dumpy and not particularly attractive or interesting, always seems to have money or job problems. I’m relatively successful in my career, well-presented and make time to listen to my friends. But she has men, and I don’t.

    Most women don’t need any help blaming themselves for every perceived failure. We do need to be able to tell our stories without fear of being admonished by unsympathetic or judgemental opinions.
    Everywhere you look, single women are pitied or patronised, we don’t need to add to it on here. I wish better luck to us all.

    • fi says:

      But I think you’re overlooking the most signifiant factors that influence whether we are partnered up or not – the type of people we are. She obviously has something you haven’t (no idea what it is by the way – it could be she is transmitting a need to lean on a man and some like that, or maybe she just transmits that she’s very sexual, or who knows) but she is also involved as you say with a married man who would presumably be offering less than you would want. Its really silly comparing the two of you as you are both different people who offer and want different things.

  • PY says:

    Joyous news via an early morning Skype call to Shanghai – what a world we now live in !

    Following the pitiful death 3 yrs ago of her first husband from a brain tumour, a former Australian flatmate of mine (now based in Perth W.A., sister in Shanghai) is engaged. Her husband had urged her, before his death, to find another. She has a demanding job, no immediate family support and had a teenage son to see through the tail of his education, as well as deal with their grief.

    But, she has always had a very positive attitude, so, picked herself up, dusted herself off and then went on-line on an international basis. I know it doesnt suit everybody or is a panacea for everyone’s situation – that I know from current personal experience – but it has worked for her.

    Source of man ? The UK – one less in the local pond, I’m sorry to say, but it does prove that GB Inc. exports more than widgits.

    Now, I accept that such news of a potential Plankton sloughing off her very personal despair and facing down adversity may curdle your morning latte but I suppose the message, Ms P, is the power of positive thinking and of then actually putting that into action.

    If you havent read it already, I commend to you all the obituary for the redoubtable Nicole Milinaire-Russell, Dowager Duchess of Bedford which appeared in yesterday’s Times. Talking about defeating the slings and arrows of misfortune – an extraordinary tale of war-time love, heroism, determination, survivalism, free thinking and opportunism.

    • Jill says:

      Great to hear a very positive piece of news today, when there seems to be so much sadness around in general. My two younger boys were at school with the two sisters who tragically died in a car crash in Morocco on Monday, and I have not been able to think of much else since hearing about that. I can’t even begin to know how to write to their parents. My goodness, one really does have to appreciate one’s blessings “every day and in every way”.

      And I did indeed read the Times obituary for the Duchess of Bedford – what a great dame! Am only sad that I think I started my ‘second life’ too late to achieve even a sliver of what she did….but how inspiring, and, yes, extraordinary, a life.

  • Gladys Thong says:

    Just wanted to answer Fi’s earlier point, briefly. I wanted to tackle the idea that we have to transform ourselves in some miraculous way in order to bag the prize. I mentioned the dumpy acquaintance simply to show that you don’t have to be, or do, anything special to have a man. (And, no, I wouldn’t feel ok about poaching someone else’s husband, however bad it gets.)

    Not sure about the ‘it’s your personality’ argument either. We do start to think ‘it must be me’ after a while, but when I look around I see all types of women who are single.

    • fi says:

      That really wasn’t what I meant and apologies if it came over that way. I agree you don’t have to change at all nor be a supermodel. I meant that often people ask why not them when someone else has met someone, and what I was trying to say that as well as opportunity playing a great part, there’s also the angle that personalities have to match, and people have to want the same thing. Women often post on these pages “why not me” as though there is something wrong with them and I was trying to say it doesn’t have to mean there’s anything wrong with someone, it can simply be that what makes someone happy won’t another person so there’s no point comparing. I misunderstood what you were trying to say and responded to what I thought you were saying.

    • Minnow says:

      I agree, Gladys – you don’t have to be anything special to have a man. You see your friend as dumpy – the man in her life might see her as small and curvy and gorgeous. You think she isn’t interesting – he might find her fascinating. One man might, if you told him about all your actvities, find you intmidating and fear that he could never keep up – another might think you wonderfully energetic. One person’s ordinariness is another person’s special. I believe the biggest part of all this is luck. Unless you hide away completely from the world, you might meet someone – and you might not.

  • june says:

    Yes Jill i read duchess of bedford obituary in guardian as you say what a girl, My dad had the good fortune to meet her many a time,he was a coach driver an used to take parties to Woburn. , He always said her and her husband were a lovely couple.I read about the sisters, so awful especially coming so soon after the two police women.Such things makes you appreciate just being alive,
    .

    It is lovely to hear of relationships happening to people such as PYs friend, but i cant imagine many of us would travel that far and uproot ourselves just for a man, what if it didnt work out and youve given up everything, Not for me, apart from being on my own i love the city i live in, and as youve said you too Fi i wouldnt move for a relationship, but then again some would. . , So guess as weve said it depends how much you want it and the compromises you are prepared to make and moving would be a step too far for me, Also with that kind of distance how well does she know him, my mum always said you must winter and summer a man, and they you, very true.

  • fi says:

    Maybe really the only difference between the folk who are boadly happy and those who aren’t, is not what has happened in their lives but the extent to which they feel they have control of, or lack it, in where they are and what lies ahead.

    • joules says:

      Fi – agree. And that would tie in with health issues related to stress, according to recent research – if you have control, in spite of stressful situations, health outcomes are better.
      As time passes since my ex walked out on me (i.e. I had no control over this happening to any extent) and I have coped on my own with a variety of sorrows and joys (i.e. I have reinstated control), it has become easier to accept the fact that I will probably not have a significant other in my life and I am happy about that to a large degreee. It would now take a rather special significant other to make me make space in my life for them.
      So perhaps a different sort of plankton to what I was when I first found this blog and it used to bring me to tears on a regular basis.
      Think this blog and the commentators of both sexes have helped with this healing process if that is what it is so thanks to P for all that.
      And think that are some small changes in some of the postings by commentators over the past year – a sense of acceptance and maybe some peace with the situation we all find ourselves in. These things do take longer than anyone thinks.

  • [This exercise works very well and is something all planktons should consider doing. And please don’t shoot the messenger, thanks.]

    The biggest challenge is for women to re-adjust their approach to men. Women usually look for reasons to reject a man. They find the bad things first. This results in a lot of frustrated single women. To start the readjustment, I have this very simple mental exercise:

    Every time you see and/or interact with a man, look for something good about him. This includes online dating profiles.

    It can be something small.

    It can be something big.

    It has to be something.

    Perhaps you see a sweaty landscaper with stained clothes working hard at his job. What’s good about him? He’s working hard. That’s a very good thing.

    Maybe you have a male colleague who is not the most attractive of physical specimens. But you notice that he has a very nice voice and speaks very thoughtfully. Those are two good things.

    You meet a man socially who has a very weak chin and terrible fashion sense. Yet you see that he has beautiful eyes, broad shoulders, and a great sense of humor. Wow, three good things!

    You see an online dating profile with bad photos. The words, however, are well put together and are quite appealing. Good things, indeed.

    This doesn’t mean changing your standards regarding the men you date. It only means noticing the positive elements in men. That’s the exercise. Simple, no?

    Do this for a week. After the week passes, ask yourself this question: “Where are all the good men?”

    Guess what, you just spent a week seeing them with your own eyes.

    • fi says:

      I do think this is worth doing actually. Often we do overlook a good man because of superficial qualities while expressing unhappiness that men can’t look beyond our weight/age/less than perky breasts. Obviously the latter doesn’t apply to me 🙂
      I do look for the good in all the men I meet, and it’s there, and that’s actually why I like them so much – they maybe aren’t glamorous, but they’re kind, or protective, or good company. And I think they sense you like them and treat you really nicely. Had lunch with one today (happily married but he asked me and I said yes), he paid (insisted as he’d asked even though I got my purse out), opened the car door for me, stepped in front of me to hold doors open for me to walk ahead, it was lovely. Totally non sexual as he IS happily married, but he knows I like him and that’s because I focus on his good bits.

  • Dostoy says:

    Totally agree Fi! I was single for a few years. Never met anybody. Then I realised the sole cause of my single status was me. Not lack of opportunity, or lack of luck, or lack of men, just me. My attitude was crap. I wanted someone to fit in around my life. I forgot that such a thing called love exists, and where love is you don’t worry about someone having to ‘fit in’ around your life, they just do, and you fit in around theirs.

    I also realised to my dismay that deep down I was a bit disparaging towards men. So I changed that and started looking for all the lovely things about men. And all men – like women – have something lovely about them.

    Lastly I realised I was going through life expecting not to meet a man, for all the reasons quoted ad infinitum on this blog. If I was expecting not to meet a man I surely never would meet a man.

    So I changed that and expected, genuinely expected, to meet a man. It was as easy as that. Forget the statistics, you only need to meet one man. I didn’t try and expect to meet a nice man, I actually DID expect to meet a nice man. So then I relaxed, enjoyed my single life, knowing it was just temporary.

    If you’re constantly thinking about being single, and how hard it is, and how unlikely it is you’re ever going to meet anyone half decent (which you absolutely have to if you’re writing a newspaper column and a blog about it) then you won’t meet anyone. I would put good money on Ms P meeting someone very nice indeed within a few months of finishing the newspaper column and writing this blog. I can’t see how you can meet someone when all your mental energy is focussing on the miseries of being single and writing about it from yet another angle. It just doesn’t work like that. You have to start acting ‘as if’. ie be a cheerful person, just as you would be if you were happily coupled up. If you need temporary anti-depressants to help you be a cheerful person then so be it! You are then infinitely more likely to attract someone lovely into your life. Just my opinion!

    • fi says:

      “where love is you don’t worry about someone having to ‘fit in’ around your life, they just do, and you fit in around theirs.” Somewhere deep in my brain that rings a bell. I think I remember that feeling of knowing that they are the right one. 🙂
      Lovely to hear about your success.

    • The Plankton says:

      All fair points but, I am sorry, and I am going to be shot down here, from almost every direction, I just don’t meet any men who are available. Loads and loads of charming married or gay men – lovely, lovely, I have NOTHING against men; I like people – but no single ones who aren’t intent on staying single or aren’t interested in women of my age. I can give off all the positive, cheerful etc vibes known to man, but if there is no man to give them off to… well, what’s the good? Just my opinion. Pxx

    • The Plankton says:

      Ps. I am always cheerful, except when I am on my own in the privacy of my own home. Fuck all good cheer ever does me. Pxx

  • june says:

    I am sorry but i really cant agree with this. Be a cheerful happy person and someone will come along! . Im quite a cheerful person actually, i have good friends who all seem fond of me, and i do things, socialise , etc, but i dont meet anyone, Any that turn up on websites seem to want to chat, not meet, ive suggested it to the odd one or two that have contacted me, with whom i seem have something in common with , after we chat for a while , but they just seem to want to chat and little else. I was discussing this with my fellow plankton friend today, and she agreed,and shes a cheerful, socialible person to.Shes been on sites for 7 years since her divorce. Yes i know we are over 60 and that does cause problems, as im sorry to say most men over that age seem very elderly with one foot in grave to be honest,whereas her and i are not, and there wouldnt be much point in a relationship with one of them. We still like to live a bit ..Perhaps that is the problem for us, i dont know. Although we were saying we know of younger plankton friends who feel the same.

    I obviously know all the wrong people as i dont know anyone in a couple who lives in this idealistic bubble of fitting in with each other. I dont think P is being too picky or thinking too much about being single, I think she is thinking what im thinking lots of the time. How will you be happy with someone if they have completely different ideas about life to you,you n eed some sort of compatibilty,. love sadly will not always find a way, To be honest the only people i know who seem quite happy are couples have been together years and one of them recently is having problems as the husband seems to be sufferring from the male menapause! ,but even those who are happy tell me it aint perfect june, there are advantages to being on own, So i am sorry i think what you are all saying is not at all realistic.

    Just dont make the asumption that all women who cant find anyone are miserable old bats, who are over fussy and unpopular,we arent. We are either the wrong age, live in a area where there is a shortage of reasonable unattached men, or however much we socialise we dont meet any. .

    • Jo says:

      With all due respect June, I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick here.
      The main thrust of what Dostoy was saying is about CHANGE. Not just ‘being cheerful’.
      If what you are doing/thinking/believing for so long is not working, then – maybe it’s time to – examine and change….something(s).
      That’s what she was saying. Not just one word. ‘Cheerful’.
      Don’t hang it all on that one word.
      There’s sense in what she says………

    • The Plankton says:

      Hear, hear, all the way June! Pxx

  • june says:

    Fi, ive heard you and others mention this meetups,just had a look in my area for it, as i expected, zilch, little activity, and that doesent surprise me at all. I probably live in the most coupled up city in the uk, its a lovely place, safe, nice people, best city ever to live, but its a crap place to be a single women 45 upwards.

    • Jo says:

      It wasn’t just about ‘Meetup.com’.
      It was purely a suggestion as to thinking about what you like/may like/have thought about doing/a passion/ an interest/what you may long have thought about trying/ doing/ attempting/enjoying/delight in/may delight in/ etc etc and seeing if there’s an opportunity to do so in your local (or near) environment.
      Meetup was just an example. Not written in stone….
      But I guess the same old same old…Batted away. Defensive…
      Good luck..

      • fi says:

        Jo. This links back to my earlier point though – we are what we are. And excepting those things unexpectedly happening to us, where we end up is the consequence of the decisions and actions we take.

    • PY says:

      Meetup has been going for a decade and news of it is generally passsed around by word of mouth or , like here, on-line. It seems to spread organically as people organise their own groups locally , using the website to host it but it is very much down to individuals to organise it.
      If you have particular interests , June , why don’t you give it a bash ? You’ve got nothing really to lose save for time invested – who knows what benefits you may reap . There will be other people within your City / area waiting for someone else to put their foot forward first

  • PY says:

    I went to a stand up comedy event last night, organised by a friend in a City pub. A select but mixed audience of roughly two dozen, all 40+.

    The M.C. kicked of his gig innocently asking, “So, who here is married ?”

    The tumbleweeds rattled down the aisle disturbing the deathly silence – and then we all fell off our chairs laughing.

  • rosie says:

    There are armies of intelligent, attractive, sane, solvent women out there who can’t find a man to commit. Women in their thirties even, just like there were when I was in my thirties, and it doesn’t take a mathematician to work out where that leaves (the vast majority of) plankton.

    Enough with the inane self-help gobbledygook. Pretty please?

    • Jill says:

      Rosie, I went on a (internet) date yesterday evening, and we had a drink which lasted 3 and a half hours, so I think the date could be rated a success……but I was falling off my seat in alternating bouts of horror and amusement at some of the experiences this poor man had had at the hands of his various previous dates. And, most of all, at their inability/lack of desire to “commit”….it’s really not just the men.

    • Jo says:

      ‘Inane self-help gobbledygook’?
      All reduced to that? Crikey..
      Bon chance.

  • rosie says:

    Should probably add there a ‘decent’ man.

  • Male_Plankton_When_A_Young_Man says:

    What is your column in The Times about? Does it give your actual name and a photo?

    • Scott Benowitz says:

      No- I was trying to figure out who she is for a while- I stopped trying to figure out who Ms. Plankton is for three reasons- Firstly, I lack the knowledge of early 21st century British literature to actually know of enough authors to have a reliable list to from which we could narrow down the possibilities. Secondly, this blogsite is actually more fun if you don’t know who is writing it, the mystery and the wondering is part of the fun. And third, I’m starting to think that Ms. Plankton might just be, as we say in the American version of the language, “a few baskets short of a picnic,” and to be honest I think at this point that I’d rather not know her real name.

      She’s already told us that she lives somewhere in the greater London area, and if she is being truthful here, that leaves us with somewhere between 9 and 10 million people- Half of those are men, so we can divide that number in half. Eliminate the ones who are too young to have yet learned how to read and write yet, cross off the ones who don’t speak any English at all or lack any basic computer skills, and we’ve still got at lest 3 million people who may or may not be Ms. Plankton. That’s as much as I want to know…. ….

      • Male_Plankton_When_A_Young_Man says:

        Thanks for that info. How does her column differ from her blog?

      • Jill says:

        P’s column is to be found in The Times newspaper (of London) on a Monday in its Life section, which can be read online if one is a subscriber, otherwise in the actual newspaper. Then, the selfsame text appears as a new posting on this site on a Tuesday.

      • The Plankton says:

        Scott, never in the course of this whole blog have I written where I live. I neither deny nor confirm that I live in London. You have made that assumption. If you disagree with me, send me the quote… Px

    • The Plankton says:

      The column is about the life of a plankton, just as is the blog. No actual name. No photo. Pxx

  • fi says:

    Well it is kind of interesting that the women who think they have some control and change the way they behave like EmGee, Jo, Dostoy and me, all do have men 🙂

    • fi says:

      Re-written to be more accurate:
      Well it is kind of interesting that the women who think they have some control and are willing to change the way they do things like EmGee, Jo, Dostoy and me, all do have men, have had men recently or have men interested in them. 😀

  • Dostoy says:

    🙂

    The thing that interests me is that there are plenty of contributors on here who are horribly disparaging about SFAR’s – men who are ‘single for a reason’: it never occurs to them that they may be an SFAR themselves.

    I have been an SFAR many times in my life. I was once a smoker and unwilling to do anything about that, another time I hadn’t quite got over the previous lover so I was sending out all sorts of off-putting and probably desperate vibes, another time I think I was secretly too scared to have a relationship ( for all sorts of reasons) despite what I thought I wanted.

    One thing I’ve learned is that if you meet a man when you’re miserable, or embittered, it just won’t last anyway. So there’s no point. You might as well relax, wait for the embittered stage to go, and then when and if you do meet someone it has a good chance of working out.

    We are all SFARs sometimes. And there’s nothing wrong with being an SFAR in my opinion! As long as it doesn’t go on too long unless you’re happy being single for ever more. I’m sure periods of being an SFAR are there for a reason, to protect us.

    • PY says:

      Actually, Fi , I reckon I’m somewhere between 35 & 36 on the outside .

      Waist , that is .

    • PY says:

      Absolutely bang on, Dostoy. The SFAR barriers we all put up are there to shield us from our own fears. One bitten, twice shy .

      I’ve commented before on my own outlook , which is changing not only with time and changing family curcumstances but also , perhaps, with a realisation of the level of control that a person has over their life , which comes as the circumstances mature. Contributing to a blog such as this helps with that, I find.

      But you are right, it can’t go on for too long – that old chestnut of getting too entrenched and unwilling to compromise one’s independence . Perhaps ‘Living Together Apart ‘ is the answer for former Planktons and Amoeba – assuming they end up in the same pond. That or polyamorphism – a tool for every job – brings us back to The Gaggle discussion .

      I was born and raised in a small town on the Lancashire coast where there was a very high % ‘age of retirees in the population. Men were in short supply – the tail end of unequal life expectancy and WWII . It was quite normal for an elderly chap to have a bevy of lady friends to accompany to this and that event, almost on a rota basis. What went on behind the genteel veneer was never discussed – I’m sure not a lot in pre-viagra days – it was just a pragmatic response to circumstance .

  • june says:

    I do rather resent the asumption that we women who cant find a man are embittered, none of us, P, my plankton friends, and i seem at all that way, As P says you cant interact if you rarely meet unattached men and we dont, And as ive said the odd ones that do turn up online seem to want to talk, meeting you seems last thing they want to do, ive made suggestions about it, but none seem to want to, well one did, we met for a coffee but we had little in common and i honestly couldnt see point in meeting again. His pic was obviously a few years old, he seemed although a couple years younger than me to have every complaint under sun, and i just found him boring, he wanted to meet me again but i just couldnt be bothered,

    I can honestly think of no way in my life it is possible to meet anyone, and i know quite a few planktons, some considerably younger than me who feel the same, Maybe its this area i dont know but thats how it is., so im with Rosie,this self help gobblygook is rubbish, I am a lot less choosey than i used to be, but still there is noone, yes i do still have some standards and i dont intend to change that. And i know the city i iive in and i know what its like,and all these suggestions about going online to get to know people on meet ups etc would be a total waste of time. The problem basically is men always want younger woman, well they do here, men of my age even, although most are too old for me let alone someone younger, and once a woman hits 45 however youthful she looks and seems, her chances start diminishing.nothing will change that sadlty, we seem invisible to men once they know how old we are,dating websites shouldnt ask people to put their ages.

  • Jill says:

    Just to insert a little levity here, I have just been to see the new Meryl Streep/Tommy LeeJones film “Hope Springs”. Tomorrow being my 36th wedding anniversary, I found it a touch poignant, as it depicts a wife desperate to revive her rather underwhelming 31 year old marriage. There are some hilarious scenes, as well as some cringe-making moments, and some very touching and sad revelations, but I would certainly recommend it, if only for the odd acute observation about the differing attitudes of husbands and wives to marriage. N.B. It probably will not appeal to anyone who hasn’t “served” a decade or two of matrimony (or partnership, I should probably say, in order to be politically correct…..)

    • Jill says:

      BTW, before anyone jumps on me – ?! – I AM still married (just), so it IS my anniversary tomorrow, but this one will definitely be last……however, it will also be a much happier day for me than many of the recent ones have been.

      • PY says:

        Jill
        Hope springs eternal , eh !

        Crikey, you were bordering on a child bride . That’s triple the length of marriage that Mrs XY could stomach and I’m not that far behind you in age.

        We went on a family ski trip the year after we were divorced – the things you do with young ‘uns. On a packed flight home , loading overhead lockers, I realised it would have been our W.A. that day .

        What’s a boy to do ? If I didn’t acknowledge the fact at some time during the day it would be tears by bedtime , so decided to risk it “Happy Anniversary !”, I declared .
        “Oh , just fuck off . ” came the reply .

      • Jill says:

        Well, PY, thanks for the “child bride” – silly schoolgirl, more like! As for the 36 years, when I made those vows, I meant ’em….and the four sons had a lot to do with it.

        I think you were very brave to mention your WA at all, let alone do the skiing trip so soon after divorcing….just a shame the response was so ungracious.

        I have been reading with great interest all the comments which have been made on here about changing oneself – and the one thing I can truly say that it IS possible to do that, providing one has the right attitude and strength, but it is most definitely NOT possible to change some one else. Sometimes I wish I had come to terms with that realisation sooner.

        On a lighter note, I have a very cold bottle of pink champagne in the fridge, which wil be drunk this evening after I have been to Heathrow to collect one of my sons and his pregnant wife after their holiday. And we shall drink the health of the unborn baby and his/her parents, who will, without doubt, be a wonderful mother and father.

        Happy days,everyone! 😀

      • fi says:

        I am not going down the line of suggesting people should change themselves, thought without doubt we’d all benefit from a bit of evaluating why we’re unsuccessful – I’m simply suggesting changing what someone does. If you aren’t meeting any men doing what you do, then do different things, or look at broadening your criteria – maybe widen your age band or your geographic search area or what you’re looking for. And people who seem more willing to do that appear to be more successful.

    • The Plankton says:

      I loved it. Thought MS and TLJ were fantastic. Funny, but quite dark too, in its own way. Pxx

  • zoe says:

    Interesting theory, fi, as to why for some there are men and for others there are not.

    But surely the common denominator is plain to see.

    It jumps out from the comments.

    Staring you in the face.

    For the distinguishing factor between the haves and the have nots is quite evidently the willingness to embrace

    the dreaded,

    the much reviled

    emoticon

    🙂

  • PY says:

    I’ve never worked how to do the smiley thing but then again I am a bloke who is quite clearly not in touch with his emoticons.

    Having said that , I am just about to load up the car and drive No1 son off to Uni/Acting School for the first time. Strangely unsettling.

    • Jill says:

      Yes, it certainly is, but exciting and novel for both of you: less so with No.4, I found. Hard work too,carrying all the “stuff” – I hope for your sake he has got a ground floor room, as Halls of Residence never seem to have lifts.

      For those who haven’t got to grips with smileys, the title could be “How to get in touch with your emoticons” or even “From Here to Emoticon” ….. ……. NO, fi, I won’t(give in)……I am made of sterner stuff!

    • fi says:

      Yes. It is unsettling.

      • Jill says:

        @fi – well, the last one went to university this time two years ago, which is when my soon to be ex husband decided he would also leave home…..I had gone off on an annual “girls'” week to a friend’s house in Turkey (to which I am going again this coming Monday, hooray) and came home seven days later to find the house dark and empty and a note on the ktichen table…. Once I had picked myself up off the floor, and had to tell literally everyone, including our sons, what had happened, I took myself away to southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia) for a few weeks to get my equilibrium back, and also to visit my doctor son who was working in a mission hospital in Zambia that year. Shortly after my return I became a very proud grandmother, and that has kept me well occupied amidst all the other demands of my new life as a rookie plankton.

      • fi says:

        Eeek. He must have planned it so that once the last chld was out of the house and you weren’t around….he’d do the deed. Apologies if you’ve said this somewhere else, but what happened when you next met (was he embarassed? Ashamed? Defiant? Indifferent? although surely not if he went to such lengths to keep his leaving a secret), or haven’t you ever seen him face to face since then?

      • Jill says:

        Yup, fi, it was pretty much premeditated and well planned. There was also quite a degree of “encouragement” and support from a few people who should have known better, and should definitely have behaved better, who swallowed his line of “poor me, I’m so unhappy” and didn’t think it reasonable/sensible to enquire further. i.e. of me….And, to answer your question, he was ill at ease but yet defiant – full of self-justification and entitlement – when we first met a couple of months after his departure. We met then because we had to discuss whether we could manage to spend Christmas together with the three of our sons who were in the country that year, 2010, (the fourth being in Zambia.) But I haven’t seen him since mid-February 2011, nor spoken to him since 14th March 2011, which was the day he sent me an email, telling me that he was back with the woman who has been the “third person” in my marriage for more years than you would credit. He amd i communicate by email and letter, but I am so utterly affronted that someone could and can continue to treat his wife of so many years in such a shabby fashion, that I simply do not wish to speak to or see him. (And in case you are wondering, our sons are perfectly at ease with that – they completely agree that his behaviour towards me has been beyond the pale, while still wishing to have contact with him (on his own) from time to time themselves.)

      • fi says:

        I truly do believe that if we behave badly it sits on our conscience and only gets worse over time. And I also think that if he’s defiant and has to justify his behaviour, then its because he knows he behaved shabbily. One of my friend’s father skipped out on his wife after a marriage of 40+ years and headed abroad with another woman who was a friend of his wife, and 20 years younger. I’m not going to comment on the rights or wrongs of that, but the most bizarre bit is he asked his children to help him in his secret move and to keep it a secret from their mother. So they knew in advance but didn’t participate (which he’d asked for) but I think it’s pretty apalling to put them in that position.

  • june says:

    Sometimes the behaviour of some men never ceases to amaze me, o yes i know women behave badly too, but it does seem more prevelant in men. It does make you think perhaps planktonhood isnt quite so awful, If only society wasnt so conditioned to coupledom ,i think thats the real problem, socially it is and its damm expensive to live on own.

    . I was talking to a friend of a friend on facebook last night, not sure where she lives but its not in my area and she was telling me was married a long time,got fed up with being treated like a doornat, so got divorced, then met other man,he moved in,got her into debt and was c arrying on. so he was history. Now she says although lonely at times and she has a grown up family, she feels she cant trust anyone else. Does say a job helps, she works partime,really think that would help me, but once over 60 however young you feel employers think you are too old, and i honestly dont know if i could be committed enough for voluntary work, without payment, i dont think i would be, hope that doesent make me sound too money orientated , but pensioners have material needs to well “baby boomers” do, this one does.

    Dont know how other planktons feel about facebook but i have to say i think it a boon for such as us, I dont have milltions of friends, just people i know reasonably well some,close friends too and sometimes talk to friends of friends who are regulars. It somehow is easier than phoning, if person on here you know they are free,you can chat back. For me i think without it my planktonhood would feel much worse.

    • EmGee says:

      Personally, I think the real problem with your friend’s friend, is that she has poor boundaries and seeks out people who will use her as a doormat, and on the other hand, she is also a person who needs an SO in her life. Unless she learns how to either create and stand by her boundaries, and/or be learn to love herself as she is without someone else’s validation, she will be unhappy whether she is in a relationship or alone.

      There is nothing wrong with being money oriented, especially if you need to work to make ends meet, and do more than just subsist.

      Volunteering is fine, and correct me if I am wrong, but Plankton, especially childless Plankton, seem to be expected to volunteer their time more than most? Whether the thought is that we don’t have children’s schedules to work around, or it is assumed that we spend our idle hours dressing our cats in doll clothes? 😕

  • beachcomber says:

    that was so funny I just about died laughing. Perhaps she could bump herself off so you could have dibs on her husband. 😉

  • The belt uses gel pads postioned more than the center abdominals and the outdoors obliques.

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