Alone and In Love: To Couple or Not?

Fall in love when you’re ready not when you’re lonely.

~ From Marc and Angel Hack Life

What helped me accept the end of my marriage?

Knowing I would be OK by myself.  In fact, I would be better off alone than in the relationship.

I reached the point where I could cut away the safety net that spread beneath me for 18 years and walk out onto the tight wire, head held high, enjoying the view. Feeling the freedom.

I had no partner waiting in the wings to catch my ailing heart.  No one to hold me once my husband exited.  And I was fine with that. I made sure I was not hoping to leap into someone else’s care.

I was beautifully cared for in my marriage but now is the time to nurture and know myself.

What Makes You Deliriously Satisfied?

I know what makes me happy.

I am content when my children relax and laugh easily. I am alive when I run and strive through a workout. I am deeply satisfied while reading or writing. Nature soothes me. Art takes my breath away. Friends’ stories settle in my heart and expand. Music both energizes and comforts.

I buzz from solitary sunny drives and intimate conversations over perfumed tea.

Introvert Advantage Available to Extroverts

I have an advantage in the willing to be alone arena.  I am an introvert and recharge in solitude.  I actually crave private space. Nevertheless, the ability to listen to your soul in silence and embrace the loveliness of your own company is a gift available to both  introverts and extroverts. It’s possible for love and ideas to originate within and flow outward without being shaded by the coloring of others. Loneliness becomes soulatudeEmptiness is banished to dim corners by the light of self-awareness, divine creativity and quiet peace.

55% of 3000 singles reported that they were not in a committed relationship and had no active interest in seeking a romantic partner. ~the Pew Research Center

Seek New Partner or Revisit Eat Pray Love?

I know my soon-to-be-ex-husband’s friends and family are already nudging him into the dating world.  They casually suggest Match.com or single women they know.

My friends? Not so much. My closest peeps suggest I concentrate on healing my children and excavating the pre-marriage Brenna who explored people and reveled in novel experiences. They think Liz Gilbert didn’t have enough time to herself in Eat Pray Love before she met the next love of her life.  Should she have spent another year traveling the world and traversing her spirit? How long is long enough to know yourself? To love yourself so you can genuinely love another?

I have one dissenting friend. She reminds me that I have already spent a long time out of love. I should not put love off. I should not suppress feelings of attraction. If I find myself in the glow of amour, Speak your truth!, she says.  Meaning don’t hold back, don’t fiercely detach, be honest.

Wanting Vs. Needing

According to a 2007 report from the  U.S. Census Bureau, those who remarry after divorce wait about 3.5 years before tying the knot again.

As much as I champion independence, I cannot honestly say I wish to go through life forever solo.  I dream of  slow kisses and late night pillow talk. I desire a travel companion; someone to walk with in silence and silliness.

For grins and giggles my writing friends and I spent five minutes coming up with on-line dating profiles.  Here’s mine:

Dreamy blonde introvert who values independence, humor and introspection seeks companion with a rich inner life, sparkle in his eye and artistic bent.  Plan on twilight walks, talk-fests about creativity and laughs over punny jokes.

Quite a dichotomy, yes? It basically says, I’m good without you ( I’m independent, inwardly thinking) but if you have inner richness and twinkling creativity then step right up.

I don’t need anyone to take care of me but I am more than willing to care for someone I want in my immediate universe.

Ideally I want someone I can be alone together with. I suspect my next lover will know a contentedness that originates in his center. He won’t need me for entertainment or care-giving but he’ll enjoy my company (and I his). He’ll recognize my core loves.  He’ll realize I am a package deal – me and what makes me happy (other than him).

And if that gentleman with a righteous inner life should enter and then leave my arms?  Well, then I cry a lot but find the strength to be grateful for the love experience and walk away complete, knowing I am fine by myself.

How are you with being alone?  Do you feel pressure to couple? What makes you feel deeply pleased or satisfied?  

Further reading:

4 Steps to Love and Independence - How to love yourself in 4 steps

How a Sad Life Change Can Make You Extraordinary – Moving through the pain to get to extraordinary

The Good Men Project - For the male perspective on relationships

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself - Re-group, love and move forward

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13 thoughts on “Alone and In Love: To Couple or Not?

  1. I always felt there was something wrong with me and always tried to be something I’m not. A lot of my friends are extroverts and I tried the nights out and being around lots of people but it was never me but I never really knew why and I always felt so drained in those types of situations. My ex husband was very needy and abusive I still gave a lot of myself but there was no time for me and I lost myself in a very bad way.After our divorce I educated myself and researched and researched. Thanks for a great post. I now realize I am happier on my own and even though I have lots of time now on my own my dedication goes on my 2 children and I love it that way. I don’t have the want for anything else in my life. No-one can give me what I can give myself.

    • How beautiful to be happily coupled for 38 years. Would love to know if you are an “alone together” couple or if your activities are often intertwined.
      I appreciate your comment and kind words.

  2. Pingback: Does Marriage Mean Commitment? |

  3. Excellent post, Brenna. As women will, my girlfriends and I have talked about what we would do if our husbands were no longer with us – either through divorce or death. A couple of them (usually those already sleeping in separate rooms) say they would never do it again. I would. With the right man. Not because I *need* someone in my life. I can be happy alone, and am independent. But I do like the companionship and intimacy. Like you, however, it would have to be “someone I could be alone, together with.”

    • Thank you for your honest response. Your girlfriends’ responses bring up another point – sometimes people are alone while in a relationship.
      Single-dom is still so new to me that I am reveling in the freedom and space to just BE.:) I know eventually I will miss an intimate connection. I definitely need intimacy interspersed with time alone. For now, I’m going to focus on my growth and hug-on my kids a lot.:)

      • >>sometimes people are alone while in a relationship<< So true. And I always wonder. . . why stay with it, then? Is it because it's become comfortable? Because, for them, being physically alone is too scary? Although, I'm sure there are times my poor hubby feels like he's alone in a relationship. LOL Hard sometimes for me to find a balance and remember he needs attention from time to time as well.

      • I know there were times when my soon to be ex-husband felt alone or neglected in our relationship. It is very hard to maintain a balance between solitude and love of another. I spent much of my energy loving the kids. Solitude was a luxury I craved if only to recharge. It was hard for my husband to understand, leaving us both feeling alone. I couldn’t stay, but many do.

  4. It’s far easier to design a world on paper than to insist that people in the real world measure up to what you want. Even an artist can’t demand that poetic license. You’ve got to step up to the existential plate and experience the unknown, for better or worse. Maybe the best marriages are those that weather the storms, and carry on quietly about it. Has instant gratification with someone ever been your aim? Do people really matter to you what they can give to you, that you cherish? As a writer it must feel good to be in the driver’s seat like God, explosive with commentary and preening a style. But then you realize that you’re like the rest of us–human–and you go on your way with more questions than answers. Age will do that to you. Wisdom will do that to you. Try a love affair that swallows you up, that makes you lose your defenses and rattles your education and disrupts your regularity. Come up for air with that experience and report. Maybe love is a godsend, a Hershey bar you never dreamed would be but were praying for it. You have a poet’s itch to feel and tell; don’t get burdened by the academy and by propriety. Be Henry Miller in all his sensuality. You’ve been held back by the cardboard glimmer. Bill Ogle

    • You are right. I can’t design a love affair. At one point wished for a love affair that “swallowed me up.” Maybe I still do. I have never had one. I would love to be lost in passion even with the risk of deep heartache, but if that passion should end I still have sunny drives and satisfying connections through reading and writing. They may not burn with the same fire as an all-consuming love affair but they offer a slow-burning love nonetheless. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I appreciate your perspective.

      • A friend once told me this deitnfiion of introvert and extrovert:An introvert is someone who, if she has five minutes out of busy day, uses that time to be alone a bit, to gather her thoughts.An extrovert is someone who, with five extra minutes, uses it to call a friend.It’s a question of how you recharge. It made me feel a lot better about being an introvert! (I had always thought it was a bit of a moral failing.)Some people are networking pros and I’ve always been jealous of them. But, I think, it’s a skill like anything else. Like knitting.

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