Friday, December 2, 2016
I Feel Bad For You Because You're Married
Okay, so I don't really feel bad for you because you're married. I just wanted you to know what it feels like when us Singles get that sympathetic "bless your heart" look as soon as people find out that we're unattached.
At first I thought I needed to be careful about how I worded this blog. After all, I'm widowed and not divorced so I'm sure that someone is going to read this and think I'm glad my husband is dead.
Believe me...that's not the case.
But he is and that's the reality. And in the last 9 years and counting I've experienced casual dating, serious relationships, great first dates, horrible dinners that make me want to run screaming from a restaurant, two dodged marriage proposals, and a partridge in a pear tree.
When I managed to untangle myself from the last serious encounter, I was so shell-shocked by the whole experience that I couldn't fathom getting into another relationship. Weeks turned into months which turned into years of being single. And since then, I've found a new love.
Now, I'm not completely alone. I do have three kids. But as far as a relationship goes...I'm blissfully, enthusiastically, not-a-moment-of-regret SINGLE.
I think a lot of your Marrieds and Committeds out there think that when Singles say we like being on our own, we're just saying that because we can't find a man (or a woman). I guess that could be true in some cases, but when I talk to many of my single friends we are so happy living in Singledom that we truly can't imagine living anywhere else.
I feel like I need to explain this because in the last two days I've received a phone call from a professional acquaintance who began the conversation with, "Please tell me you're seeing someone" and my mother telling me, "Don't worry. You'll find someone!"
Uh. I'm not worried.
Here's the deal. I've been around long enough to know that if I just wanted to get out there and find a man...I can. I'm not saying that to brag, but it's true. If you REALLY want to be in a relationship, you'll make it happen. But it's unfathomable to people that I don't want to.
So, I'm going to tell you the reasons why I'm enjoying this time in my life so much.
1. I hate it when people snore, but I snore too. So, I'm more than happy to curl up with my silent dog who overlooks this little issue. I sleep with 4 pillows, he sleeps with 2. We know our boundaries and give each other space. We both know we don't like to be touched while we sleep and he's the best about sleeping facing the other way so I don't wake up to morning breath. Best relationship I've had in years.
2. No one comes home and asks me why I haven't showered that day. Or why I worked in my PJs until 5 PM. I don't worry about weight gain or loss. I've completely changed my hairstyle without worrying what my significant other will say about it. All of this combined makes for a very liberating experience.
3. Girls Night Out? No problem! No, you don't have to hang on while I check with someone else's schedule.
4. Do I feel like cooking? Sure. Take-out tonight? No problem! I talked to another mom the other day who had gotten take-out for herself and her kids because her husband was out that night and she didn't feel like she needed to cook. She got my sympathetic nod.
5. I don't get frustrated watching someone sit on the couch playing solitaire on their phone while I clean the kitchen and get the kids ready for bed (I love my late husband, but I still get annoyed thinking about that). Yes, I know I have to do it all on my own. But I know what needs to get done and I do it without watching someone else relax while I sweat through the evening chores.
6. I. GET. THE. REMOTE. During Thanksgiving weekend, not one football game was on at my house and I watched Downton Abbey for 72-hours straight. Sure, my kids were irritated but I'm a parent. I'm supposed to annoy my kids.
7. Now, here's the hard one. Traveling. I would love to travel more and it's hard to think about going alone. But I believe that when the time comes, I will find ways to do it. I'll go with other friends or find a group. The point is, I'll be able to go where I want to go. I'm in control. I'll go on vacation and sleep all day if I want to or do other things that I want to do.
8. Freedom. I know lots of things are racing through your mind when I say that, but what I think of are really little things. The day before Thanksgiving I cooked all day and watched Christmas movies. It was as I was standing at my counter making Almond Joy Macaroons (highly recommend) that the thought "I'm completely happy right now" floated through my mind. Content. Doing exactly what I wanted to be doing in that moment. Alone and happy.
9. I believe I've grown more living in Singledom than I did as a Married. I've had to get creative about how I spend my time, how to make a living, and how to parent three kids alone. I've had to ask myself over and over again what I (me, myself and I) want out of life and I don't have to take anyone else into consideration. I think ahead to when the kids are grown and am already planning the things I will do to keep busy, keep growing, and stay independent (I don't want to be one of those clingy moms).
10. Every decision is mine and mine alone. Now, when I was first widowed, this scared the crap out of me. If I'm being honest, sometimes it still does. Thinking about getting the kids through college or handling a basement flood on my own is daunting to say the least. But in the last few years I've found a confidence I've never had before. I've realized that I can tackle this stuff. I've found professionals to call when I need them. I have a network of wonderful friends and family who help me as I would them. Yes, I miss how handy my husband was and sometimes I would REALLY LOVE to have that again, but I also don't miss having a plumbing issue that he would tell me he would fix when he got home...two weeks later.
11. I was going to keep this list to 10, but I really have to add this one - you moms/wives out there will know what I'm talking about. There are times when I get my house completely to myself. When you're married...that is so rare. Sometimes all the kids will be at sleepovers or activities and I embrace that time. And you know you would too because I've talked to so many women who get almost teary when they think about it. It's like what Tina Fey said in Date Night: "I don't fantasize about being with another man. If anything I think about being alone, in a hotel room, with a Diet Sprite." I hear ya, sister. I love it, too.
I was talking to a friend's mom the other day and she spoke about her divorced sister who, she said, would probably never get remarried. "She's too spoiled" was her conclusion.
Now, I can't speak to that specific case, but I don't believe that being single makes you spoiled. What it does is make you MORE of who you actually are. And as time goes by, it gets harder and harder to think about being flexible and making compromises. I've gotten pretty used to doing things when I want to do them and how I want them done.
Since the 8th grade, I've almost always been in a relationship of some sort. I've always had a guy. For me, it came from a lot of insecurity. I needed the validation of being in a relationship. It wasn't until my mid-30s that I took the time to be by myself because, the truth is, it scared me. In fact, I almost made some pretty unwise commitments out of fear.
I wish I could have told my newly widowed self that I would be okay. I'm pretty good company to hang out with on a Friday night. I make myself laugh. I can cook. I can play a tune on the piano or sit quietly at a movie on my own and I don't annoy myself by talking through it. I'm a pretty good date.