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The Accidental Spinster

Updated on April 16, 2015

What's a "Spinster"?

“Spinster” - the word still evokes the image of an eccentric, old lady who puts on birthday parties for a houseful of her cats. In fact the term comes from 14th century England when it was used to describe a single woman whose job it was to spin thread into cloth. Hard to believe it is still used in the 21st century to describe a single, never-married woman, who is above a certain age (usually over 35).

When a Plan Becomes an Accident

I don't suppose any woman ever plans to become a spinster. It just happens. The years after your 35th birthday go by; relationships come and go; and eligible prospects dwindle – along with opportunities to meet them. Even with the advent of online dating, the pickins are slim to dismal. Sure, I've heard a few success stories of matches made in cyberspace, through sites like eHarmony, Match-dot-com, and myriad others. In fact, I myself met someone on a dating site and had a relationship that lasted for four years. It was one of the rockiest relationships I ever had. So after four years, I let it go. That was in 2005.

Now at the ripe old age of 54, it seems I am a full-fledged 21st century spinster. I didn't plan it; it just happened; it was an accident. Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, I thought I had plenty of time to meet and marry the man of my dreams and live (mostly) happily ever after. But as time marches on and prospects become fewer and fewer, that plan has become more and more an idyllic and unrealistic fantasy. It's not necessarily a lonely life, but it does seem quite empty. This despite a plethora of social activities and volunteer gigs in which I encounter hundreds of people nearly every month. At the end of the day, I still come home to an empty abode, with only a couple of cats to talk to (and I'm not one to hold a conversation with an animal).

Fortunately I have not yet reached the level of an eccentric. I don't dress up my cats and have birthday parties for them. I manage to keep myself so busy with one thing or another (when I feel like it) that people seem to think I'm quite a happy-go-lucky, social butterfly. No kids, no husband, no health problems, no cares, no worries. That's true – except for the cares and worries. I've got plenty of those.

When the Plan Becomes a Lifestyle

If I'd known or suspected that after 20 years I'd still be single, would I have jumped at the first chance to get married? No. I'm certain that if the guy I was dating at the time had asked me to marry him and I had accepted and gone through with it, we'd have been divorced within five years. In fact, I am certain that if I had married any of the guys I dated in the past 30 years, I would still be single today through divorces. Spinsterhood is the alternative.

There's Still Time - I Guess

I haven't completely lost all hope of finding my compatible soul-mate. After all, 50-something is the new 40-something (so they say). So there's still time for a miracle to happen. My father was in his mid-50s when he married his third wife. My mother was in her mid-60s when she married her fourth husband. And I've heard stories of people in their 80s and 90s who meet and marry in the nursing home. Hope springs eternal.....

Author's Note - 4/2015: I originally wrote and posted this Hub in 2010, Decided to refresh it a bit and repost it - for those who may have found themselves in similar circumstances since 2010. At 59, I'm still a spinster, but slightly less hopeful. It is what it is - an accident that became a lifestyle.



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    • Nora Heighton profile image

      Nora Heighton 2 years ago from Halifax, Nova Scotia

      What helps with loneliness is to maintain a feeling of positivity and anticipation (as you have been doing) and knowing that something wonderful is always about to happen. Your ideal relationship exists, and will come to you at the perfect time. My Grandfather is nearly eighty years old and recently found a girlfriend who he adores. They are now living together. Keep doing what you're doing, and share your insight along the way.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Being happy and true to yourself is more important than being married, especially being married to the wrong person. Thanks for inspiring anyone out there who is still single, Mr/Mrs Right isn't always right for everyone.

    • LaurieDawn profile image

      LaurieDawn 7 years ago


      Thank you for writing such a provoking honest hub. It was a pleasure to read and never give up hope! No matter what age, there is always hope and faith.



    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Maybe you will find that right guy in the future and being single isn't always a bad thing. You have full freedom to spend each moment of each day in any way you choose, which is preferable to being in an unhappy marriage.