How old are you, and when did you start becoming concerned with being FA? When did you accept it.

I am 40 years old and first had an inkling that something was wrong as far back as high school. I saw so many of my friends obsessing about dating and getting girlfriends and couldn't quite figure out why it just wasn't such an enormous, seemingly all-consuming priority for me as it was for many of them. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't completely disinterested. I was very attracted certain girls in school. When my attempts to ask them to school dances or the "meet at Friendly's" that constituted the de facto first date were rejected with extreme bias, I got turned off to spending much more time and energy on these forays. I spent most of high school focused on school and my educational future. It always irked me that I was somehow not like my friends, but I was also a foot taller than all of them, to I just assumed it was part of being me; the giant freak. I assumed that at some point I'd meet an appropriate giant freakette.

College and grad school flew by. I mostly kept my head down, in the books, or in the lab concerning myself with the quality of work I was putting out. Everyone around me paired up in these seemingly coincidental, inexplicable ways as if preordained and I assumed my time would come. Even among my somewhat antisocial group of buddies, there was a consistent flow of female acquaintances coming in and couples moving out. The only constant was me alone. I tried like hell to not let it bother me and I kept focused on my studies as a way to block out the rest.

Things went into collapse mode late in grad school when all the weddings and pregnancies started. At fist it was novel. The dwindling gang of singles would show up, do the usher thing, celebrate our compatriot's success, get drunk, get a little introspective, and hope for the best. But you really have nothing better to do at a reception than drink to excess and wonder what is wrong with you when you're the only single person left. You just stop going to weddings, after a while. You stop wanting to associate with people. You begin to hate your life and everything in it. Suicide looks preferable.

At first I blamed God. Then I realized there wasn't a god. Then I went through that phase of blaming women and society and I spent many years being a consummate asshole "nice guy". Finally, probably in about 2000 or so, I owned up to the fact that the one common piece of all the failures in my life was me. That included my inability to find any sort of love or intimacy. I also realized that the only common factor in my successes was me and that those two realizations are interrelated. It wasn't until the last few years that I put it all together and realized that I am exceptionally well adapted to being alone. Still, that wasn't really acceptance; that was more of a resentful admission. The happiness didn't come until I hit rock bottom.

I got laid off and couldn't find work for nearly a year and a half. It forced me to try things and do things I never imagined I could do or would want to do, and I loved every minute of it. I reinvented myself and I did all that alone. That made me very happy. I stopped allowing others to define my happiness. In a society where marriage, kids and all that are symbols of success, it was hard to define my own satisfaction as not including those things, but I did just that. Now my happiness is not dependent on others. I have a simple, meager job that I love, a simple, meager home that is mine, some friends who I adore, family I love and a life full of hobbies and activities I am passionate about. The people I allow into my life know not to bother to ask about my love life or relationships. The rest don't really matter.

/r/ForeverAlone Thread