Aging Alone

Discussion in 'Family & Relationships' started by Beth Gallagher, Sep 20, 2022.

  1. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    I recently read an article that stated "more than ever before, Americans are aging alone." I wonder why that is? As part of a couple, I have considered what my life would be like if I were to lose my husband. I can say for certain that I would then be "aging alone" because I have no desire to begin another relationship at this stage of life.

    Many seniors prize their independence, but considerations likely involve social isolation and a lack of a support network, and possibly financial concerns. I know that many seniors are alone due to the death of their spouse or perhaps divorce, so obviously being single is not always a choice they made.

    If you are alone at this time, is it your choice and are you satisfied to be so? Would you change this if you could? Why do you think more Americans than ever are aging alone?

    If you are not alone as a senior, do you give much thought to the possibility that you might be at some point? What concerns would you have about that?
     
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  2. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    I had a very interesting life, today I use what I learned a very long time ago to keep my sanity and not worry about my time span running out. The worst thing that could happen to any of us would be to lose our memories, you are never alone in life if you have memories. Some people that have been in my life are gone already but still to me they are irreplaceable. I do miss traveling now and for a long time it was part of my life. My biggest concern today is how to stop my number one cat from climbing the front of my TV. :D
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I would, of course, miss my wife hugely, and hope not to have to face that eventuality, but I was single until I was forty-eight, so that might make it easier on me than it might be for someone who married young and has always had a partner with them.
     
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  4. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    I believe that people who own and love pets are never lonely, Thomas. They are real family and we are so lucky to have them in our lives.
     
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  5. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I hate to be morbid, but unless spouses/partners die at the same time, then one of them is gonna age alone from that point forward. Odds are that it will be the woman.

    Regarding the article, I would say that lower marriage rates and higher divorce rates are the underlying cause.

    Regarding my being on my own...I try to not think about it too much. It's too easy to compare the known of my reality to the fantasy of "what if?" The grass is always greener yada yada yada. I don't know many couples who are much more than "resigned" to their state of togetherness, especially the men. There are a few, but they are not the majority.

    Nothing is perfect.
     
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  6. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Yes, most certainly one of a couple will face being the one left behind at some point, but there's a 50% chance that one of them is going to die having not been alone. :D It seems that more people are simply choosing to be alone these days. Career women with their own money don't "need" a man to provide for them or whatever.

    I have a cousin who was married to an abusive man years ago. No one knew this until he dropped dead of a heart attack. When I expressed my sympathy at her "loss," she replied that "the only thing worse than being alone is wishing that you were." I have never forgotten that.
     
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  7. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Not to change the subject too much...what depresses me about the whole thing is that so many people want relationships to "be better," but so few attain it.
     
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  8. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Do you mean they want the relationship to be better, or they feel a relationship will make them be better?

    I have always felt extremely lucky to be married to my best friend, as hackneyed as that sounds. I suppose one reason I'd choose to be alone if anything were to happen to him is that he'd be an impossible act to follow, and that's the truth.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I mean that people wish the state of relationships in their lives was better...that men and women seem to be equally frustrated/disillusioned/unsatisfied these days. Perhaps expectations are too high. Perhaps we are a spoiled culture. Perhaps it has always been imperfect but we've never had permission to actually say it out loud.
     
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  10. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    So many people bail out of relationships without attempting to fix them. If it's too much trouble they'd rather just give up. I think most marriages go through rough patches so it takes a bit of perseverance sometimes.

    I can see how this adds to the increase in "aging alone in America."
     
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  11. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I gotta wonder how being from a divorced family affects people. I don't know what the stats are, but I think that. too, might contribute to people choosing to have a fatalistic view of relationships and to live alone.
     
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  12. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Beats me. From my experience (having 5 kids who were from divorced parents), four of them are married and appear to be happy. The 5th is a "rolling stone" who has had a couple of long-term relationships but will probably never marry. Actually, I don't know of anyone who has a fatalistic view of relationships, though I do have two women friends who prefer living alone at this stage of life. They are both financially set and have no desire to "take care of an old man" as they put it. :D:D
     
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  13. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    In the 70s I always had coffee at a particular little eatery and I met a lot of old guys. One was sick and old and had diabetes. He was having his coffee and he told us that his wife beat him with the broom. I guess she waited to get revenge. heh
     
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  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    There was a time when the stigma of divorce kept people together. There was good and bad in that, I think. The bad, of course, was that this kept some people in horribly abusive relationships, but it also encouraged people to give their marriages a chance and to work through their problems before dumping one another. I didn't get married until I was nearly old enough to join this forum, but my son married a girl he dated in high school, raised two kids, and they are still happily married. Although they dated since high school, they didn't get married until he was twenty.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
  15. Hedi Mitchell

    Hedi Mitchell Supreme Member
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    I stayed single by choice after my first marriage, for close to 16 years. I raised two girls alone. Married now for 31years to the same wonderful but at times aggravating man ;). We are dependent on each other for different things. Everything he is not- I am- and everything he is - I am not. A balancing act. Women my age were brought up that marriage is 50/50. That is a myth. The loss of the other one for us, would be crippling. I being older have no desire to train a new spouse ;). I would not look forward to aging alone, and I know he would not. My BFF of 50 years husband died about 12 years ago. She has created a new life with friends, and enjoys her life for the most part, but at times, she can still be lonely.
    It is a day neither me nor the hubbs looks forward to.
     
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