[Bella’s intro: We are still just beginning to understand what it means to be single-at-heart. At this early stage, it is especially illuminating to hear personal stories from people who fit the “single-at-heart” criteria. I’m very grateful that one of the readers most engaged in discussing posts here at the PsychCentral “Single at Heart” blog, “Alan,” has written this guest post. Thanks, Alan! And thanks for your participation over the years. Also: to other readers who consider themselves single-at-heart, if you would also like to write about your experiences for this blog, just let me know.]

Single-at-Heart After 40: Guest Post by “Alan”

For this post I’ve decided to focus on the questions that people would likely have for me about being single at heart after 40.

I imagine one of the first questions would be whether I was always single at heart.  And to that question I would have to say yes.  As far as I can remember I’ve never been interested in marriage or anything like it.

Another question might be if my immediate family influenced my decision, if we had a history of divorce or non-traditional lifestyles.  For this the answer is no, our family was quite conventional.  Traditional nuclear family, lived in the suburbs, went to church every week.  When my mom died she had been married to my dad 38 years.  My sister has been married for nearly 15 years.   I’m the outlier, although my family has never made an issue of this.

Some might wonder if I’ve ever attempted to give a relationship a try, so to speak.  And the answer to that is yes, I did engage in some dating both during and after college.  But it never amounted to anything.  I soon realized I wasn’t really interested in a relationship, and that I was only responding to societal expectations.

Others might wonder what it’s like being single at heart, especially after 40.  They might wonder if I’m lonely or filled with regret.  The answer to that is no; in fact the older I’ve gotten the more confident that I’ve made the right choice.  It’s only when I was under 30 that I was concerned about being single.   And it’s actually quite rare for me to feel lonely.

Still others might wonder about the challenges of being single at heart.  And I admit, like any lifestyle being single has its challenges.  One does have to be more intentional about finding community.  And you have to accept that even today, you’re still the outlier, the unusual person.  And that can be difficult for many.

But not for me.  I like to think of myself as a pioneer, discovering new ways of living and blazing a trail for those who would follow my path.  I have long had a creative streak, and I see being single at heart as a way of being creative on a grand scale, using my entire life as a canvas that I hope can inspire others.

About the Author: “Alan” has had a variety of careers and is presently a case manager for a Medicaid HMO.