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I am one of those strange creatures you might have heard about, but didn’t actually believe existed in North Texas: the single, never married 40 year-old woman. Yes, it’s true. We do exist, and there are more of us out there than you may think.

Now, before you start to try to figure out why, at 40, I have never married, let me tell you about myself. I have a Master’s degree, own my own home, a full-time job, I’m a writer, plus I am the founder of Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp. I am a very busy lady.  I am not unattractive, just unattached. It’s not that I don’t date. I’ve had several serious long-term boyfriends, but none of them stuck.

Just a few short months ago, my latest relationship ended rather abruptly. I thought it was going somewhere. We just needed to work on a few things, like actually spending time with each other. We dated for a year. Almost exactly. It wasn’t working for him. I was hurt, shocked, and not at all anticipating that a break-up was coming. I wasn’t sure that he was “The One,” but he was the closest I ever got. It took seven months for me to even say, “I love you,” mostly because I wanted to make very sure that the relationship was one that would last. Of course, even then, it didn’t.  He now wants to be friends. I’ve never successfully been friends with an ex. I’ve always been too afraid that I’d get hurt when they started dating again. This is a common occurrence for us never-married, over-40 ladies who think they’ve found someone they could spend the rest of their lives with, only to find the man unable to commit to even dating.  Some of us just give up. Others, like me, take time to get into another relationship.

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Then there have been the times I’ve fallen into the situation of being a single woman spending all her time with a single man who eventually, even after weeks or months of constantly being around each other, informs me that we were just “hanging out.” Communication is key to ensuring that you know where you stand in a relationship at any given time.  It is necessary and reasonable within a few months of dating for you to be bold enough to ask what the status of the relationship is, even though you may be committed to it. Be specific: Are the two of you dating, but seeing other people? Exclusively dating? Just friends? Or are you a placeholder until something better comes along? This will save you the heartache when you think it’s more of a commitment, only to find that he doesn’t feel the same. This was definitely a hard lesson for me to learn, and I let it happen several times before I took action.

Even though I have tried and not succeeded at a long-lasting, committed relationship, does it bother me that I may never get married? Not at all. But, like most people, I do desire companionship. I want to be with someone who wants to come home to me and that I also want to come home to; someone with whom I can engage in an intelligent conversation without ending up in a fight; someone who will hold me in his arms and I’d know for sure that there is love between us; and, ultimately, someone who, when it all comes down to it, there will be open communication.

This is not to say I am afraid to be alone. I am known for being a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man, but wants to have one in her life. I know this is exactly why it’s hard for me to find that match. I have the idea of what I want in a relationship and it may be hard to find. If I don’t find it, though, I know that I’m still going to be OK.

I don’t feel sorry for myself or see myself as a sad case. Everyone has baggage, including me. I’m just someone who has the opportunity to try out other people’s baggage to see if mine will work with theirs to make it a matching set.

Bio- Rachel Pilcher, a native of Fort Worth, is a librarian, writer and founder of Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp. She has been featured previously in the Fort Worth Weekly in the article Words with Friends, on October 1, 2014. To read more by and about Rachel, please visit her website at www.rachelpilcher.com.

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