I’m in my late 40’s, and now live with my mum as her carer. I received a diagnosis of Social Anxiety. Although I have had some male friends, I have not yet entered into a relationship with anyone. My faith encourages marriage without sex before marriage, and I abstain from drinking. I am still a virgin(!). After a few years of not thinking a relationship is possible, I’d like to give it a go now, and hope I can learn and grow from the experience.
I’m really stuck though on how to go about it. During lockdown, I tried online dating and met a wonderful guy. However, we faced the challenges of long distance relationships, and he was also dealing with his own mental health issues. I realised I couldn’t sustain a relationship with them, and look after my mum at the same time. One problem right now seems to be that I look a lot younger than my age and am immature for my age (probably lack of relationship experience etc.) As a result, I tend to connect/chat better with men who are at least 10 years younger. When they realise my age, and that I’m a virgin, it’s all a bit much and they run!
Any thoughts, suggestions and signposting you’d have would be great. I think I need help in navigating all this!
Reading your email, I feel quite positive. There’s no reason to think otherwise! I understand that you may not feel that though. However, I think the main thing here is persistence and widening your search!
With online dating you need to sift through a lot of profiles to find a good one! So don’t put all your eggs in one basket basically. It’s best to get talking to a number of people at the same time and see which develops best. That would prevent you getting into a situation like the one you said about, where you’ve invested a lot in the relationship and then realise you can’t sustain it.
Now, naturally, everyone gets into a relationship and thinks it could be going well and then it doesn’t. That’s just natural. So this is where persistence is key! Just keep on trying, get back online and find more people!! It does take energy and time… but lots of people manage it! (I end up getting bored!).
With your cultural/religious beliefs, you may want to state that on your profile so that you attract like-minded people (in regard to no sex before marriage). Or find websites that have that (e.g. NOT Tinder!!).
Regarding your age and looking young – lucky you! There are plenty of men who want an older woman so again just keep looking. Many prefer it as there isn’t the pressure for children etc. or they just don’t click with women of their age.
Can you meet other people in your religious community, so you come from the same understanding? Or if you can date/marry those who practice other religions, and the sex before marriage bit is the important part then that gives you more scope to look on more specific dating apps. Also, an important part to consider, is what does ‘no sex’ mean for you? Is that just penetration? Could you do everything else other than that? You need to define your own boundaries as plenty of men would be happy to have a relationship with that level of intimacy, regardless of their beliefs.
I wish you luck and you’ve taken the most important step with being ready to give it all a go!
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