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.

Solitude.

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.

For me.




13 comments:

  1. Wow, this was so good for me to read! I am a pretty recent widow, 2 years now. I have been spending the last 2 months focusing on myself & learning to love myself. I am beginning to be ok in my own company as well & it feels good ��

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  2. I just absolutely LOVE your writing and can’t ever get enough! You make widowhood so much easier to deal with – if that is possible. Your sense of humor about it is such a gift. I love every single one of your points—all 11 of them, but I love most is that it is about the best we can do with a bad situation. I feel the pain of loneliness a lot when my friends are all doing something. I hate doing things alone, so that is the worst part of this. I never had many boyfriends, and my husband was my most serious, truly loving relationship I had, so I plain miss that. But reading this, I can relate to that I am trying to accept and develop myself by painting things that my husband would have said, why? It must be an outlet for me. But anyway, thank you for your writing. You make us laugh and accept things a little bit more.

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  3. My husband of 38 years died suddenly on Father's Day at 58 years old. I'm having a really hard time right now and so I hope that someday I get to the point where I am okay. Thanks for writing about things no one wants to talk about.

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  4. Thank you SO much for writing this!!! It is just what I needed to read this morning. My husband passed almost 7 years ago when our kids were 5 and 3. After a short while I realized all of these things you listed here and I had it together! (Okay, it may have taken a year or so ...) For some reason lately though I'm feeling "not good enough" ... missing our 4 person family so much ... I've forgotten who I am - what I am - what I'm capable of ... and that I really am a pretty good date ... for me. :-) (please keep writing!!!)

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  5. I think I'd better read your book again. I expect I will eventually enjoy solitude but I've only been a widow for four months and the kids have all grown up and are scattered across the globe except for my stepson who is very occupied with his own family. I cannot drive so at times, especially Sundays, I feel as though I'm under house arrest. Next year I plan to sell the house and move to a retirement village nearer town. When I've cleared out forty years of 'stuff'! I'm a bit scattered right now and too many people seem to think I should be pulling myself together. Except for the other recent widows I know - they get it. I'm dreading Christmas with the family. Yes I'll definitely reread your book. Thank you for writing it and for your blogs.

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    1. 4 months is not long enough to feel what she is writing. Its nearly 5 years for me. I do get it.... but it takes time. Be good to yourself and do what YOU want to do this holiday. I think the retirement village is a great idea. Pick one with a bus or shuttle and lots of activities!

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  6. A year and half into widowhood. I see glimpses of this possible life for myself but they are fleeting. Miss him too much right now. I am happy that this is a possibility though. -Kristin

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  7. Love this blog, it is such a positive interpretation of being single or alone. You totally go against societal expectations of finding a man and embrace the benefits of being single. My husband, Eissa, unexpectedly passed 10 months ago. Thank you for your thought-shifting perspective.

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  8. This is my favorite!! Wonderful writing! I'm 5 years out and it took me about 4 to get to this place but it's sort of awesome once you are here. If I meet my dream man (take 2), I'll be very happy but for the foreseeable future, if not, I'm really happy on KY own. I feel content in a way I never thought possible as a single person. I'd love to encourage you to travel! After a few trips with friends and kids, I took a cruise alone last spring. It was SO fun! Traveling alone, you meet people you wouldn't normally. It was so enriching. I'm 44, btw. Thanks for a great article!

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  9. Eight and a half years of widowhood. I have raised my then 12 and 15 year old sons to early adulthood; one is living with a girlfriend and the other lives with me.
    Although I do enjoy my freedom and can keep myself company and entertained, I am truly tired of being widowed. I have no desire to live to 80 or 90 like this and hope I don't have to.
    It is what it is, and I'm trying to make the best of it. But even now I wish I didn't have to.

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  10. This was great, well written. My husband died 3 years ago Dec.23rd. I have no interest in as one widow put it "house training another one. I've heard several horror stories from women who just could not be alone. One met a guy, married him, sold her house and they bought another all in 6 months. He started beating her. She is now renting an apartment until she can get him out of the house she paid for. I have my 2 little dogs, work and my family. It is just fine. Glad to hear others feel the same way.

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  11. FYI, I was single for a long time and I traveled a lot: with friends, family, and even alone.

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  12. I agree. I'm four years a widow and have gotten to stage that i am happy with eho i am. I trsvrl alone, cruises sre the best. Today iI'm cujdflef with the dogs and watching showd that I've DVRed. It foes take time to arrive. I had one relationship since my husband passed an learned alot about myself. I like me snd being with me.

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