Single women over forty

Only Single Women Over Age 40 Will Get This


By Mara Reinstein

May 18, 2021

“Can’t believe you are taking this on!” That’s a direct text-quote from my friend Anne after I told her that I was writing this story and asked her — a fellow single woman over 40 — if she wanted to chime in. I shrugged off the response with a nonchalant “eh, it’s fine” and a silly face emoji. After all, despite my tendency to text like I’m in seventh grade, this is a topic of which I’m a grizzled expert.

I know exactly how it feels to regularly have the whole bed to yourself and show up solo to some fancy milestone event. During the pandemic I’ve been cooking dinner for one … that is, when I deign to turn on the stove. Maybe in my 30s, I would have pulled a regular “what’s the matter with meeeeee?” crisis of conscience. But one of the benefits of reaching a certain age is a diminished capacity for self-judgment.

Of course, that doesn’t mean being single after 40 is as refreshing as an ocean breeze. There are still certain issues that only members of this club would understand. (We don’t have a secret handshake; it’s more of a sympathetic nod.) Let’s take them on together, shall we?

  • Holidays are not a big deal. Sorry, not sorry!

First, let’s strip away artificial dates like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day — i.e.  occasions that exist only as financial windfalls for restaurants and Lifetime Network programming executives. But even the A-list holidays come and go without registering high as major annual events. I’ve aged out of Fourth of July barbecue blowouts and St. Patrick’s Day 2-for-1 drink specials. With no kids in the picture for prolonged Christmas or Hanukkah festivities, Decembers are usually reserved for juicy book reading and Netflix bingeing (or, in better days, skipping town to someplace warm). In 2020, I didn’t get on a plane and visit my family for Thanksgiving for the first time ever. And though I was disappointed, I managed to wake up that Thursday and go about my day. But I do covet all that Halloween candy. 

  • Retail therapy: It’s not just a cliched theory 

I’ve never felt more seen as when single Carrie Bradshaw vented about all the gifts she had to buy for her new married and mom friends (“I am Santa!”) with the promise of nothing in return. When you’re unattached and want to celebrate a special accomplishment, it’s up to you to treat yourself — whether it’s a new purse or a venti Starbucks hot chocolate. In fact, money itself is a delicate issue: You need to save because there’s nobody else to lean on, but you’ve also earned it fair and square so why not spend it while you have it. Might as well splurge on that fancy flatware for the new place. You can’t take the cash with you to the grave, my friends.

  • Sex is still on the table (Not literally. Maybe.)

Speaking of Carrie et al.: Remember how fun and freeing it was talk about sex back in your 20s? I feel like even my pedicurist knew what I was up to after-hours. So transfixed by the topic, I used to loiter inside my local Borders bookstore and read the new issue of Cosmopolitan in a feeble attempt to memorize all the tips. After my friends paired up, sex talk was eventually phased out of conversation. I learned later that it was because, um, sex was eventually phased out of their busy and exhausted lives. (Plus, kids sleep in the bed!) This is not the case when you’re single. We’re still game for gabbing about it and still want it. Plus, the whispers are true: Certain things get better with age.       

  • Shhh … “lonely” is a dirty word

Admitting that you’re lonely is the verbal equivalent of plopping down on the couch with a pint of low-fat Ben & Jerry’s and a Kleenex box. Hello? Single women over 40 are strong-willed with decades of professional and personal experience. We’re not supposed to stay home (in pre-pandemic times, that is) and long for companionship. I have an OG spiral-notebook planner, and filling in the white spaces with to-dos and to-sees empowers me. But I admit there’s a bit of classic defense-mechanism psychology that goes into stating that I’m too busy to ever ruminate on my single status. Of course I think about it. Sometimes the most trivial moment — a friend’s family photo on Facebook, a bad 4 a.m. dream — can trigger me. It’s OK. Accepting it is key.

  • A 24/7 friend is a must-have essential

My friend Anne may have begged off from contributing to this story, but I don’t care. What really matters is that when I got a gnarly flu two Decembers ago, she was nice enough to stop by the local deli to pick up chicken noodle soup and drop it on my doorstep. When you’re on your own, a friend who shows up for you in sickness and in health is the ultimate must-have. Single girlfriends need each other for both support and Sunday brunches. No hours or topics are off-limits — and best of all, there are no “I have to check with Jeff!” or “I have to take Lily to soccer practice!” excuses/alibis. And, guess what? We can spend holidays together, too.

About the Author

Mara Reinstein

Mara Reinstein is a New York City–based film critic and entertainment journalist who contributes to Us Weekly, Billboard, The Cut, Architectural Digest, HuffPost, The Ringer, Parade and more. She's also an instructor at Gotham Writers Workshop and guest co-host on SiriusXM Volume. Check out her blog at

Mara Reinstein is a New York City–based film critic and entertainment journalist who contributes to Us Weekly, Billboard, The Cut, Architectural Digest, HuffPost, The Ringer, Parade and more. She's also an instructor at Gotham Writers Workshop and guest co-host on SiriusXM Volume. Check out her blog at

6 Women Open Up About the Reality of Being Single in Your 40s

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Shocker: The world doesn't end!

By Jen Glantz


Earlier this year, author Rebecca Traister made waves with her newest book, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, which highlighted all the reasons why more women than ever before are choosing to be single. 

RELATED: Single Ladies Are Shutting Down Stigmas—So Why Are They Still Losing Married Friends?

“[Women] are living sexually-liberated lives, socially deep and complicated lives," Rebecca says in an interview for Uninterrupted. "[But] too often, we still have a very antiquated idea that marriage is the validating metric for them. Anybody who is living outside of marriage or in advance of it is made to feel somehow incomplete.”

According to recent data by the Pew Research Center, lots of people are living outside of marriage. In fact, only half of adults over the age of 18 are married—and four in 10 Americans say they believe marriage is becoming obsolete all together. But while these numbers point to a shifting change in gender norms, as Rebecca points out, there's still that lingering pressure. 

We asked six women in their forties to share how being single impacts their lives. Here's what they said. 

RELATED: People Who Look for Love This Way Tend to Have Low Self-Esteem, Say Mean Scientists

Alyssa Zolna

“When I was younger, in my twenties, I always thought I’d be washed up and lonely if I didn’t marry at 40. That’s what a lot of people told me as I turned 30, and then 35, and then 40. But honestly, being single at this age is a game changer. I’ve been able to move mountains in my career, date lots of different types of men, and build my financial portfolio. I’m glad I didn’t get married early and then [wind up] divorced in my thirties. I never met the right person, so I never settled. Instead, I worked hard getting the other parts of my life right and I’m so happy I did.” —Ruth W., 43

Alyssa Zolna

“The main pet peeve I have about being unmarried at 40 is that I feel left out when I chat with my friends. All my close friends were married in their twenties and had kids before 35...There’s nothing wrong with that, and I don’t judge them for doing that. I just mainly don’t like that when we have conversations, I feel like I have nothing to contribute.” —Paulette H., 46

Alyssa Zolna

“I mean if you can’t find your perfect match by age 40, will you ever find him? I don’t think so. I’ve totally given up. It’s not a priority for me anymore. It’s kind of all I thought about 10 years ago, but now? No way. I’m over it. I really feel like I’ll never find someone who I think is good enough for me to spend the rest of my life with. So I’ve decided to spend my life with my animals and my family members.” —Teresa G., 43

RELATED: 10 Sex Problems Only People with Kids Understand

Alyssa Zolna

“People don’t tell you this, but dating is way easier in your forties. Simply put, by then you know what you want and you don’t give in to any bullshit. If a guy isn’t right for me on date one, I don’t ever see him for a date two. If six months into a relationship, there are blaring red flags, I walk away. With age comes wisdom, and that wisdom lets you promise yourself that you won't waste time with the wrong people. That’s what I’ve learned.” —Nancy J., 40

Alyssa Zolna

“Dating now is the same as dating was in my thirties. Maybe now it’s a little more complicated because of the online factor, but it’s still the same. Guys are still immature and always looking to score someone younger. Not being married is hard because there are not many people in the dating pool. The guys that are come with more baggage. Some are mid-divorce or separated. It’s like, at this age, everyone has a story and sometimes you want nothing to do with their story.” —Brenda H., 43

RELATED: 7 Women Share How Long They Waited to Have Sex with Their Significant Others

Alyssa Zolna

“I guess the thing that hits me the most about being single at 40 is that I probably won’t be able to have kids. That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to get married, or at least what I looked forward to the most. I wish I froze my eggs in my thirties just in case I did find someone in my early forties. It would make it a little easier and wouldn’t suck as much.” —Cassandra G., 40

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Basically, our heroines regret that they did not become mothers


who have time for hobbies, work and travel. The simple truth that everyone is free to choose their own path or carry their own cross is buried in the desire of society to condemn, regret or advise a woman whose fate turned out differently than is customary. The editors have tried to non-judgmentally collect different stories of those who have found themselves in such a situation, and ask the experts what they think about this. nine0010

— I am 47. No husband or children. And success in this direction already, apparently, will not be outlined. I have never been married, I suffer and have complexes because of this for a long time. At the same time, everything is in order with my appearance and brains, I have housing, a dacha and a good position. I'm thinking about adopting a baby, - Irina P. writes on the forum

- At 52, I clearly understand that motherhood and a family hearth would not make me happy. She married for the first time at the age of 20 for a peer. Thank God I didn't give birth to him. Naturally, they got divorced. Both were not ready for marriage, the boy and the green girl who had not worked up. Lived for 4 years. I lived for 10 years for my own pleasure - there were the best years, by the way. At 37, she married a second time, but it also did not work out because of his former family. Children are no longer needed. From the height of my years, I look at the birth of heirs differently. I see perfectly what is happening in the world and the country. More and more I find myself thinking: thank God that I have no children. I live in full prosperity, I don’t need anything, I don’t worry about anything, ”Lubov shared her story. nine0003

- I really wanted children. At least one. I was married from 27 to 32 years old, the children did not happen, although I suggested IVF to my husband, he did not want to, a divorce followed. For the next 7 years, I plowed for money to change housing and save up for a child; apparently, she didn’t meet a decent man because she slept 6 hours and worked three jobs. When I got what I wanted - an apartment and money, I went for IVF at the age of 40, it didn’t work out, there were 2 attempts, I got upset, again collected money, took a surrogate mother. It did not take root twice, I realized that, apparently, the line of reproduction of my parents ended on me. I came to the conclusion: I need to adopt, but the coronavirus, the loss of my job, and I don’t even know if I’m sorry or it was a sign. If I survive the “corona” and keep my job, I will think about how to adopt a child alone. I think that in an orphanage he is somehow worse than with a lonely aunt 40+, despite her strange character, a woman with the nickname Guest shares on the forum. nine0003

According to psychologist Marina Kharlamova, more often than not, women 50+ are not ready to actively seek a partner, even if they dream of a family


— I am 50. I was married for 8 years, then divorced. I have been living alone for many years. Now I don’t even imagine that I can get married. Yes, and in men I am so disappointed that I do not aspire to this. In general, in some matters it is very comfortable to be alone. When I look at married people and see what problems they have in the family and how husbands are tired of their wives, and wives are tired of their husbands, what selfish and arrogant children they have, I think: how good it is that I am my own mistress and do what I want. No one is rude, rude or gets on my nerves. Although I know for sure that by nature I had to be someone's wife and have children, because caring for others is my essence. In the absence of my own family, I live in the interests of my relatives. Working. Until recently, she was very distressed about her fate. But now it's not. I just want to live and enjoy life itself - nature, books, good movies, friends and so on. Values ​​have changed. But in the evenings it’s still lonely, anxious, you just want to howl, ”writes a user with the nickname Lonely. nine0011

— I am 47. My husband left for another woman. There are no children, and the natural way did not work and will not work. There is no health. I had to buy housing with a mortgage, I couldn’t find a place in my parents’ house. Nothing after the divorce. Everything from scratch. There is nothing but work. If it wasn't for the mortgage, I wouldn't be here. Pain, melancholy, Alena M. sadly talks about her fate.

Studies led by the American psychologist John Cacioppo found that the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, increases in the blood of lonely people. The fact is that loneliness is perceived by the body as a state of increased danger, when you need to be on the alert, because there is no one to take care of you except you. Preparing for a threat activates defense mechanisms: in addition to cortisol levels, blood pressure also rises. We clarify that we are talking here not so much about the absence of a family, but about the impossibility of any close contact. nine0003

In addition, single people are more likely to suffer from insomnia and are more at risk of dementia, writes RBC, citing the British media. Psychotherapist Igor Lyakh disagrees with this opinion : he believes that loneliness is a serious stress for children and adolescents, and in middle age a person is taught to cope with such conditions and loneliness does not cause significant changes in him, he is used to defending himself from it. Stress can only be sudden loneliness, for example, if an elderly woman's husband has died. nine0003

Psychologist, psychotherapist and supervisor Marina Kharlamova believes that women with such a fate are often stigmatized and labeled.

— A lot is changing now, including in public life, such a development of events is a variant of the norm. The historical course of events, the demographic factor “because according to statistics there are 9 guys for 10 girls”, culture, the way of city life and much more lead to the fact that this scenario is not uncommon. It is important for society to learn to treat such destinies and the choice of such a fate by a person with respect. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in the Middle Ages, where they rejected all otherness, the expert explains. nine0003

The therapist says that if such clients enter therapy only closer to 50, then they often face the need to live the grief of loss - the loss of their hopes, illusions, expectations.

— But I can't say that a family person at this age will not face this task, it's just that the objects of mourning will be somewhat different. If a person already has experience in therapy, then this age may not cause any particular inconvenience, she says.

Psychologists say that loners are most often criticized by elderly parents and married girlfriends


Marina Kharlamova says that a woman can lead a full life without becoming a wife and mother: in her opinion, family and children are not the unshakable meaning of life. The expert believes that people who place the whole meaning of their lives in children, who by this point usually grow up and want to live their own lives, which is absolutely normal, or people facing divorce at this age, which is also not uncommon, can face big problems. in our time. nine0011

— Single women get used to relying more on themselves, in some cases they can be more independent, in others, due to a sense of insecurity, more vulnerable and embittered. The variability here is very large, everything will depend on whether a person considers his life to be complete, fulfilled, which is the result of his own voluntary choice, or he will seem to himself a victim of circumstances and feel injustice in the current state of affairs, the expert concludes. nine0011

Psychologists agree that family people are less likely to get sick even with a common cold, not to mention more serious illnesses. This is influenced by the availability of communication, good mood and positive attitude.

At the same time, a single married woman can get sick much more often than a single woman, if the quality of her relationship leaves much to be desired. It has long been proven that married men live longer than bachelors, but there is no definite answer about women. The thing is that a woman in marriage, as a rule, seriously increases the number of responsibilities, she forgets about herself and constantly worries about her husband and child. nine0003

We recently wrote about people who continue to live with their parents after the age of 40; It turns out that this is very popular in Russia, because 80% of people in our country have not been completely separated from their relatives.

“They ripped out my heart with bare hands”: is it worth confessing to cheating - revelations of women who have experienced it.

"One day marriages will die": an emotional column about why a modern woman does not need to get married.

"I'm at the sea, and my husband is watering the garden." Stories of couples who spend holidays apart and what the therapist thinks about it. nine0003

Single women and men become brave after forty. Women - years, men - degrees??? /joke/ - Question

Single women and men become brave after forty. Women - years, men - degrees??? /joke/ - Questioner


Larisa Eryazova

Single women and men become brave after forty. Women - years, men - degrees??? /joke/ woman the male joke year degree nine0003





Victoria Grodskaya

Courage does not depend on age or degrees, courage is laid down in a person by upbringing and genes. That's why women are beautiful, and smart, and economic - but they don't marry them? And others are ugly, stupid and completely armless, and they are married, and even to a handsome man. Some kind of complex, fear of the future. nine0003



Lone Wolf

I don’t know about men, but I (a woman) was not afraid of anything from school (I fought half-black, and I didn’t care who was in front of me, a boy or a girl, even if older than me ...)



Serafim Losev

I don't know what loneliness is. I am not yet forty, so courage is not needed yet, and after that I think it will not be needed either. nine0003


Dmitry Zolotoy

Women after forty)) There is nothing to lose, but men after forty, and even degrees, are difficult to find))))) / no joke /



Ekaterina Reshetnikova

there are women who are afraid of whiskey and cola, because after whiskey and cola they are no longer afraid of anything =)))



Larisa Eryazova

wow. .. that's right



Akhtam Zamanov

it is impossible to row under one 40 tooth comb, brave up to 40, prudent after...


Natasha Yeshchenko

nine0174 oh well, after 18 I'm not afraid of anything)) And after 2-3 degrees a couple of jars and hraaabraaayay))))



Valentina Dneprovskaya

born to crawl - will not learn to fly. Well, if a sucker at 15, then in a coffin from old age.



Marten Lauskis

after 40 is the age of reason, so what they learned is what they presented



Tatyana Panfilova

about men one hundred percent to the point how many confirmations of this . ........


Irina Rud

there is either courage in a person or not, years have nothing to do with it


Damir Nazmetdinov

They do not become, but gain the missing courage)))


Boy Innocent

Here in the neighboring question about degrees we are just discussing



Alena Shkredova

I think that after forty degrees all are brave!!!!


Tatyana Kazakova

Every joke has some truth and it's true.



Svetlana Povernikova

I agree. Every joke has its share of a joke...


Ekaterina Lysenko

I also think degrees help women)))


Anatoly Grodnikov

there is some truth in this in both cases.


Andrey Shtukin

In every joke, there is only a fraction of a joke.;)


Marina Gavrilenko

we are brave, we are brave.

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