Saturday 20th January 2018
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Week of requests: On living alone

The #1 weapon in the fight against loneliness

“This may be completely off the mark, but as someone who is recently divorced and living alone at 43, I would love to see a `Best things about living alone’ sort of thing, writes a reader named Jenn. I find this not at all off the mark, Jenn, and imagine you are not alone in the GOACA community. I’ve been on my own since I left my marriage in 2004, which is by now a long time ago. And I don’t give much thought to the fact that I live alone because I am just so busy doing it. And yet sometimes I feel triply marginalized in this culture—I am single, childless, and nearing my mid-50s, and often this makes me feel badly out of step with my friends and even, in certain ways, my family.  But dwelling on that will get a person absolutely nowhere, so I try to focus on the things I like about going through life uncoupled. Like the fact that I can do whatever I choose when I choose to do it, and I never have to cook if I don’t want to. I find that one key to being on your own is to always be open to new friendships, something we naturally just stop doing once we reach a certain age. But, like Jenn, I’m very curious to know: those of you who are single, please share your favorite things about your current life in the comments (and to those of you who are coupled: what do you most miss about being on your own?)

Posted on January 12th, 2018 130 Comments

130 Responses

  1. Susan Davis says:

    I miss the pure self-focus and autonomy of being single. I didn’t have anyone to be responsible to but me. I could go off on an adventure and other than letting my friends and parents know, I was free to do whatever. Now I am happily married to a great guy and all-around human being. We have two really neat kids. Lots of obligations. I went to Spain with a group – away from my husband and kids- two years ago. I was astonished at the relief I felt to just be ME. Not just the wife and mom and professional-person character I play everyday. When I travel I get a little taste of that again. I still miss it – my husband and I both talk about it. I had an elderly grandmother once say to me “Listen kid, marry and orphan and raise dogs.” She may be right.

  2. Bex says:

    All but 1 of my married girlfriends complains about how their husbands don’t do enough housework or child care. These are all women who work outside the home, usually just as many hours as the men, so it’s not as if they have all day to take care of the domestic labor. I’m so grateful I’ve never had to go through those endless, emotionally draining negotiations every damn day like they do. I would probably end up in jail for murder.

    • Jessie says:

      Best marriage advice I ever got was, If you’re arguing about cleaning the house, hire a housekeeper. Literally, the best money I’ve ever spent.

      • Nicole says:

        I did the same. Life changing. I cannot be responsible for everything.

        • MAC says:

          me too. and made my husband pay for the service as I felt he owed me for the past 9 years. he agreed. good guy, really.

          • MAC says:

            also, I agree with everyone else. I miss the alone time, where I am not accountable to anyone else, for anything. I also miss getting up and getting right to work writing.
            ( Though now the few times I do that it is with a green drink and a banana instead of an espresso and a cigarette!)

      • Krity Wheeler says:

        A relative once told me, “I was really frustrated after we got married that she was a terrible housekeeper. Then I asked, “did I marry a wife or a housekeeper? I hired a housekeeper, and we’ve been happy ever since.” Genius, that man.

    • MsMaryMary says:

      I got to a point in my career where all the men in my position and above had stay-at-home wives. None of the women had a stay at home spouse. I’m sure you’d be shocked that the men vastly outnumbered the women.

      I do wish I had someone who could take the garbage out while I’m on a business trip or have dinner (including takeout!) ready occasionally when I come home from work.

    • Another Rebecca says:

      I grew up with two working parents and a dad who did more than his share around the house, so when the guys I’ve attracted gave the impression that they wanted me to be their mother (plus sex), I’ve always bolted. (It doesn’t help that, like you, I see many of my friends stuck in a similar situation.) When male colleagues leave messes for me to clean up, I want to light them on fire, so I know having a husband acting that way is not a path to happiness.

      Maybe someday I’ll attract a guy who wants to be a partner. Unless that happens, I’m living alone. I’ve gotten really good at it. I think it helps that my work requires lots of interaction with others.

      • Erin says:

        I’m in the middle of a divorce. LOTS of things went wrong, but the fact that he never did housework and was a total pack rat (and would never sort through or get rid of any of his crap and got mad at me if I asked him to) was a significant contributor. I won’t be living completely alone — we have kids, who will be with me quite a bit — but I am SOOOOOOO looking forward to getting to say goodbye to my soon-to-be-ex’s mounds of stuff. Literally, mounds. He thinks storing big piles of electronic gear in the bedroom is fine. Sometimes covered with big piles of semi-dirty clothes. Once it’s all gone, my best friend promised that she’ll come help me clean and organize and SHE WILL BRING CAKE. And then … I’ll really enjoy being able to see the floor!

        • Heather says:

          I think your ex was my college boyfriend! After i kicked him out, i sat in my apartment with my remaining possessions (cat, lamp, plant) and experienced great joy.

      • Ma. Robin says:

        Indeed.why settle for less than happiness ( or anything less in an equal partner).

    • Trish says:

      Amen!! I spent waaaaay too many years in one of those marriages. Now I still have to do everything that gets done but at least it’s for ME and I don’t have to see his ugly self (and he does get ugly after a while of that) just sitting in the easy chair while I do everything from A to Z!

  3. Claire says:

    Longtime reader, first-time commenter. Never-married fortysomething.

    I really relate to Kim’s answer. I love watching Netflix etc. in bed rather than the couch, not having anyone judge my programs or pajamas, coming and going as I please. It’s a stone cold bummer to eat alone all the time, so I make plans often, especially on Sundays, which I find harder than other days. Cooking for one is also hard/lame, so I often make soup and share containers of it; then I sometimes get soup back and it’s a lovely surprise.

  4. Jessie says:

    I am married with two kids and two dogs. As an introvert I REALLY miss my uninterrupted alone time. I used to love spending all day listening to music, cleaning, organizing and rearranging all my furniture by myself. I would also love the freedom to do a yoga or spa retreat without a feeling of (self-imposed) guilt. I have a couple really close girl friends who live alone and it seems the older we get the more they embrace and appreciate their freedom.

  5. caro says:

    I split up with my ex in my early 40s, and soon after packed up and moved from the big city to a random Western state, then an even randomer and wilder Western state. Ended up living in the garage of a shared house, in a beautiful mountain town, with a bunch of 20 and 30 somethings. It was the happiest, freest, and most adventurous time of my life! I’d say if you find yourself single in your 40s, use it as an excuse to cut loose, and do something illogical, impractical and foolish. Have an adventure-take a chance.

  6. Rita says:

    I’m married with two kids, and my husband is an excellent co-parent/home maintainer. I love them all, but I fantasize about living alone very frequently. I pick up other people’s stuff a LOT, and I make a lot of meals that I’d rather not eat and instead just have a nice glass of wine and slice of cheese. I feel a lot of the time like I’ve lost myself and have become someone who’s defined by my role to those around me. And while I don’t think I’m a terrible wife and mother, I also often think that another path–one where I was neither–might have been just as good if not better of a fit.

    • LeighTX says:

      I’m in a similar situation, I married while in college and so I’ve never lived alone. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like, not having to be responsible for or to anyone else on a daily basis.

  7. AnnaFP says:

    I’ve been divorced from my ex-husband for a few years now, separated 10 years ago. I just realized that anniversary recently, feeling how long ago that is, and not remembering my old life with him. Although I have a boyfriend, I live alone with a cat and I sometimes miss that constant company. However, recently, I’ve come to terms about my alone-ness, and somehow, it doesn’t seem so daunting. The past 10 years have been and is a wild, fun, and scary ride. I couldn’t imagine how my life be without those experiences. Still I do worry about what will happen to me when I get older, so I’m trying to put into place things that will help with that in the long-run.

    The things I enjoy are not having to explain to someone why I love things, why I love doing things, and why I need to change things up once in awhile. I can eat ice cream for dinner, I can play video games until the break of dawn (though I rarely play past a couple of hours now), and I can read a book in bed all day if I want. I’m way more productive when no one is around me, and I can focus and better myself and the world around me. No judgments, no expectations.

  8. Lisa says:

    I am single, never married, no kids, 44 years old. I really enjoy all the freedom and autonomy I have. I enjoy making all the decisions about where I live, how I live, how I spend my money and my time. It is truly the greatest luxury in the world. I agree having dogs helps- my house never feels empty that way. I, too, feel marginalized for being an “older lady” without a husband or kids, and am always surprised in social settings when people cannot find anything to talk to me about when they don’t have “how are the kids?” as an option. I see a lot of my married-with-kids friends struggle with the imbalance of power and responsibilities at home, or with husbands that feel like having one more child to rear. That struggle might literally drive me crazy. I think to some degree you have to learn to be single- leading a more solitary existence doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people- but I consider myself very fortunate to lead the single life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    • lorimac says:

      When someone can’t think of what to talk to you about other than ‘how are the kids’ it is sadder for them than for you because this is an indicator that they are living their lives for their kids, rather than for themselves. I am older than 44, and I am beginning to see this live-through-kids thing slipping away as my friends and acquaintances get older. My friend and I say when you’re living in the mobile trailer park in your 80s, it will be all about the next margarita party – whether you are single, have kids, or not. Age – the great leveler.

    • I am also 44 and never married, and for a long time I relished being single. Now that literally everyone I know is married, I hate it. I hate that no one wants to go out anymore, I hate coming home alone, I hate waking up alone, and because I am an only child, I often wake up in the middle of the night terrified about how I will manage my parents’ inevitable decline by myself. If I could afford to, I’d get a dog–but I am barely taking care of myself these days. Being a single woman is a decent long-term strategy if you have a job that pays a ton; otherwise, it’s pretty grim.

  9. Dina says:

    Unmarried, late 30’s here, and I’ve lived alone for at least 8 years. I love it! I don’t find it lonely and adore not having to make compromises – lifestyle, entertainment, food, decor – for a partner or roommate.

    • Alix says:

      I like to say I’m an old lady who’s SET IN HER WAYS! The idea of not being queen of my own private castle — well, I can barely wrap my head around it. Of course, as an introvert, I view home as a haven from other people; when I want society, I go out.

      I’d say, in general, that your life can be as full of people and activity as any married person’s, if that’s what you want. And if you don’t want, thank goodness we live in a day and age when that’s perfectly okay.

      I’m now going to eat my dinner while sitting on the couch, feet propped up on pillows atop the coffee table, Christmas tree aglow (yeah, it’s still up), to the joyous background babble of a Law & Order episode and pouring rain outside. Three-day weekend!

      • Maren says:

        This is my exact life: set in my ways, introvert who views home as a haven of solitude, social needs met as needed by going out. Even to propping my feet on pillows on the coffee table and having my Christmas tree still up! I have lived alone for many years now and honestly have no desire to ever change that. Being single and living alone is a choice that brings me happiness, not something i’ve had to adjust to or learn to find the bright side of. I feel blessed actually.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I was single and lived alone from the time I graduated from college until I was 35. I’ve been happily married now for almost 15 years and have 2 great kids. I miss living alone and having my own place all the time!!! Remember when SJP kept her apartment in Sex and the City or if you ever watched Six Feet Under at the beginning of the series when Peter Krause finds his fathers secret apartment? Not because he was having an affair but because he liked to be alone and listen to his albums. I COMPLETELY get it!!! My husband and I joke about it all the time. Of course before we know it the kids will be grown and gone and we will have a very quiet house. It’s just the different chapters of our lives.

    • Lizc says:

      The father of someone I used to work with had kept his bachelor apartment for like 30 years. It was a big deal when he “moved” in with her Mom a few years ago even though he’d only spent one night a week in his apartment for years. He even kept it decorated almost exactly like he had it in the early 80s (I saw pictures. It was amazing and exactly what you’d imagine for an early 80s bachelor apartment).

  11. Francine says:

    I’ve been with my husband for nearly 30 years (married 26 years – met as college sophs). So I can’t say much about my previous life alone. But we had kids really late in the game, well into the 13 year mark. Our boys are 13, 8 and 8. It’s exhausting. When people say kids keep you young, they are lying!

    I miss LOTS of things we did as a couple…when time and money were both surpluses. Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, but I really miss being able to come and go when I please…never asking for ‘permission’ – that sort of thing. I used to have more friends and way more hobbies. Now, not so much!

  12. EW says:

    divorced, childfree, dam close to 50…..I have a LTR with a major introvert so he’s doesn’t demand a lot of time/space; plus I was an only child, so I’m used to being on my own

    concur on the do-what-you-want parts….
    **love** being able to buy/do/get whatever floats my boat, I don’t have to save for…college, weddings, houses, whatever…

    sometimes I do wish my close married with kids GFs were available to do stuff like trips, I hesitate to ask them b/c I don’t want them to feel frustrated or like I’m being a witch..I just tell them I can wait til kiddos are in college/out of the house..

    In the meantime I’m exploring good trips for the solo GOACA

    • MsMaryMary says:

      I would LOVE ideas on solo GOACA trips! Other than business trips, I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to travel on my own.

      • Tara says:

        I would love to go on trips w/ fellow solo GOACA readers! I love living alone, however it’s often difficult to find travel buddies since most of my friends are married.

        • Francine says:

          OMG count me in for ANY GOACA event. I’d ditch my hubs/kids in a California minute for a meet up.

          Kim…are you listening??

    • Rita says:

      I can’t wait until mine are gone for the travel part. My friend (who is divorced with no kids) and I took a long weekend trip together for our 10-year friend-a-versary, and it was amazing. But the logistics to get it to happen–flying MIL in to have someone for the kids while husband was at work, and the money (we definitely have less of it with kids) were a pain. I look forward to having the luxury of flexibility again.

    • Christy says:

      Yes! Would also love to hear about good destinations/tips for solo GOACA travelers.

    • Liz A. says:

      Thanks for sticking by your friends with kids and telling them you’ll wait. I had a friend say that to me – it does give one hope that “this too will pass” and there will be time after kids to get back to ourselves again.

    • mlinky says:

      I have travelled a lot alone, and the best place to go was Denmark, hands down. Lovely warm people and almost all speak english. The best thing is that the men do not interpret friendliness as a sexual invitation.

    • I am 56, and never married. I love to travel and have gone alone many times. The best system, for me, is to join a tour group in the countries that I want to visit. I have done this in Peru, Croatia, Costa Rica and India. It has always been a blast, because (a) the people on those trips are, by definition, similar in outlook so lots of fun; and (b) someone else does the planning and I feel completely safe. There are generally other solo travellers, so it is never all couples and me.

      I sometimes wish that I had a partner to travel with, but I was born independent (I am told). Travelling alone means no negotiating over where and when to go, what activities to consider, etc. With social media, I can share my experiences with friends and family almost in real time.

  13. Mouse says:

    I travelled extensively in a profession which demanded a lot of alone and self-focussed time. I loved it for years–I loved eating alone and watching other people, I loved organizing my own time and just not having to think at all about another person’s needs.

    But in my 40s my enjoyment of solitude began to turn into loneliness. I WANTED to have to think about someone other than myself. I was lucky to finally meet my now-husband but it works because I really changed my life and I was ready to do that.

    Different feelings at different times. There’s room for that in a long life…..

    • Ramonaquimby says:

      Love this! So well put about different feelings at different times. Life is indeed long.

    • Loulou says:

      Am 59 and have been divorced for 14 years, no kids. I am experiencing similar feelings. The truth is that I wasn’t ready for true intimacy until about 5 years ago; I had things to work out to get to that point. I feel the same as Mouse now. As much as I have enjoyed most aspects of living alone, today I am ready and would love to have someone to cherish. My heart is open to it and that feels good. So, yes, absolutely, different feelings at different times.

  14. HB says:

    I have been living alone for the past 5 years, and for several years before I was with my boyfriend for seven years. We had a happy relationship until we didn’t, and I do miss it at times. And during this terrible flu season, it would be nice to have someone to take care of me should I get sick. But then there are the good parts — I can decorate however I damn well please, I have taken over our huge (then-shared) closet and can really do whatever I want without the constant compromising that is part of being in a relationship. Which I mostly didn’t mind, but there is a freedom to not having to do it. Like everything in life, there is good with the bad and bad with the good. I am lucky in that I have a very full life and honestly don’t feel lonely very often. I also have two beloved dogs — without them, well, I am guessing I would feel lonely sometimes.

  15. Debra says:

    Thanks to all who have commented here today. I’m 57, childless and have been divorced for 20 years. I echo all you have said about enjoying the uncoupled life. I’m an only child as well — it’s amazing how much that figures into being able to be alone without being lonely. It’s not that I never get lonely. It’s just that feeling lonely is infinitely preferable to having to face conversation, noise, hubbub, or messes that aren’t mine when I need quiet/order.

    • Krity Wheeler says:

      You make an excellent point about being an only child! Family of origin is so influential. I was (essentially) an only child and am from a family of introverts. My partner is from a huge family of extroverts. I often joke that he has never had a thought or feeling that has gone unexpressed. Being alone makes him feel panicky, the same way being around people makes me feel. It is an . . . interesting dynamic to be sure. I find the ability to be alone empowering.

  16. Becca G says:

    59 single with 2 grown sons
    I enjoy my “aloneness” & the absolute freedom that comes with it. I don’t need another person to be or feel complete altho I don’t mind the occasional sleepover I haven’t found anyone (yet) that I would trade in my singleness for

  17. Nicole says:

    I am 41, but married late (no kids, either of us) and I lived solo for many years. (19-until I got married)

    In some ways, I am a very single married person. We bought a house with 2 bathrooms, because we cannot figure out a good way to share. Seemed like a solid solution.

    I loved living alone (even coupled, I had my own place) and I love being married. But this independent streak runs deep.

  18. Chris says:

    45, married for 12 years, no kids, no pets. Echoing other introverts, I cherish my alone time. I also love the freedom we have as a childless couple. We were able to buy a place without worrying what school district we were moving into. There’s no additional stress when buying a car or impractical furniture whether it’s kid friendly or not. Sometimes our refrigerator just has wine, cheese and a jar of peperoncinis in it. Vacations are tailored to our interests. Even just the general freedom of navigating a farmer’s market or cafeteria without a stroller or keeping track of small children feels like a little luxury.

  19. Adrien says:

    I’m 45 and have been divorced for five years. and I live alone (plus two cats) and I love it. I love being able to putter around in my own space, wear what I want, watch what I want, eat nachos for dinner if I want. All of that has been wonderful. However, next summer when my lease is up I’m moving in with my boyfriend and, while I think it’s a solid relationship move, I definitely have some doubts about sharing a living space again. I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes but I’ll miss my alone time.

  20. missannethrope says:

    56, married 20 years, no kids. Whoever says you can’t eat dinner over the sink or read a book all day when you’re married has a crappy marriage. Yes, I’m exaggerating the judgment, but you get the point. We give each other all the freedom we need. No doubt that’s worlds easier when you don’t have kids. BUT STILL, I do fantasize about having my own little tiny studio in the city free of men’s shoes and socks all over the floors.

    • Holly says:

      Agreed. I am married 12 years and I needed to change myself to be in my marriage I would not be here. I eat what I want and do what I want with no judgement from my hubs and I do the same for him. Its called LOVE not manipulation. He loves me for me, not a perfect version of me.

      • Mary Alice says:

        Completely agree. Our marriage has survived for 32 years because we never tried to change each other. I am an extrovert who is happiest when out & about with friends. He is quiet and perfectly happy to be home alone. We have fun together and apart, and we do what we want, and compromise when we have to.

  21. MsMaryMary says:

    37, single, no children (one dog). I’ve lived alone since I graduated college.

    When you live alone no one ever uses the last of the toilet paper without replacing the roll or eats the leftovers you were going to have for lunch tomorrow. No one leaves dirty socks where they shouldn’t. You can binge watch as many period dramas as you like and never watch a sporting event if you don’t want to (or vice versa). No one raises an eyebrow if you want to have a dance party in the kitchen while making dinner. The dog likes your lap the best because you’re his person. You don’t need to put aside money for college tuition or travelling soccer leagues or summer camp. You can sleep late (or go back to sleep after letting the dog out) and nap on the weekends.

    When you live alone there’s no one to borrow a tampon from and you’re the idiot who forgot to buy toilet paper. There’s no one to tell you there’s a run in your tights before you leave the house. You’ve never seen a superhero movie and have no idea what people are talking about. No one insists on having a dance party when they can tell you’re in a bad mood. You have to take the dog out when you have the flu and feel like death. You put aside money for a really nice nursing home someday, because you don’t have kids to take you in. No one gives you a time check if you’ve been having too long of a lie in and are about to miss brunch.

    • LG says:

      Yes to basically all of this, on both sides of the scale.

    • Rebecca says:

      This sums it all up for me. I have lived alone for over 15 years. I used to be fine with it, but have found loneliness creeping up now that I am in my early 40s, and my friends are very busy with their partners and children…

  22. Lorange says:

    36, not married but coupled, no kids. I also have a deep independent streak. When my spouse is out of town for work, I tend to relish it and plan how I’ll spend my alone time. We do not plan on having kids and I often feel left out of my friend group, most of whom have had children now. Regardless, I don’t want to be a mother. We bought a house together a couple years ago and we each have a room that is all our own and it makes me SO HAPPY. I finally have a room of my own again (my office/studio) and in there I feel almost as free as when I lived alone. The negotiation of household labor is a constant battle but most of the time, I am satisfied and it isn’t that much work. Most of my friends also complain about an imbalance in that regard. I deeply enjoy and am grateful for my spouse’s company.

    Sometimes I fantasize about having my own tiny apartment too, like Margot in the Royal Tenenbaums. Having my own space is almost as good.

  23. Geri says:

    Age 67, never married, no kids (but plenty of nieces/nephews) and, luckily, siblings who live nearby.

    Best part of living alone: Doing what I want when I want. Not having to consult or compromise. Of course, I’ve been doing that for a long time, so it’s really ingrained by now. Even traveling alone has become a great adventure — there are so many interesting people to meet and things to do.

    Hardest part of living alone: Give me a few more minutes, I’ll think of something . . .

  24. H.C. says:

    35, single, childfree; I find my bliss in the weekends, when I can take spontaneous roadtrips out of LA and find serenity in the beach, mountains, deserts or even just Disneyland. I used to also love hanging out till the wee hours on work nights w/o worrying about checking in with someone, but my nowadays my sleep schedule doesn’t bounce back to the normal routine as easily.

  25. RT says:

    I have it both ways. I live in a duplex, I’m on one side and my mom and daughter are on the other (it’s the 3 bedroom unit and mine is just 1 bedroom is why my daughter is over there). We cut a door in the wall separating our duplex so we can easily go back and forth. It’s almost all one house but when I close that door it definitely feels like my own place.

    And “my own place” means the only messes are mine so I don’t feel grumpy about cleaning them up. It means the food in the fridge is just what I like and all of it is mine. It means the cats can be in or out as much as I want, and the thermostat can be set to whatever temperature is comfortable for me.

    It means nobody will wake me up except occasionally my daughter and that’s fine. It means when I put something down it will be there until I move it. It means if I want to get the more expensive laundry detergent or the cheaper hulu subscription that’s exactly what will happen. It means I can be myself every single minute that I am at home.

    But having my mom next door means that when I’m sick someone will pick up the slack, when I’m late someone will feed and care for my child, when I need company someone is next door. And it means that people (and cats) need me too, I can’t build a fort and lock myself in, which is good.

  26. Sylvia Sichel says:

    Married with two kids and life is pretty great but of course I ruminate about the other side of the mirror… childless with no spouse…often. It’s hard to pick one thing I miss about living alone (uninterrupted head-space to go down the rabbit hole, eating popcorn for dinner and breakfast, not bathing/answering the phone/or being pleasant in the mornings) but I’d have to say it’s fearlessness. Living alone and being single forces you to… well… DO life alone. Travel, parties, culture, job changes, etc etc. As a mother and wife it’s easy to hide behind the never-ending logistics and that fearless muscle can start to atrophy. I combat it by traveling alone and doing stuff by myself, but you can’t completely freefall into “wherever it takes me” land when all those humans are pulling me back to planet earth.

    • Liz says:

      Yes. This. It’s hard to explain the fearlessness muscle, because it’s not anything so very special, but for some reason people are afraid to do things by themselves, from going to a concert to going overseas. When I tell people I travel alone, their eyes bug out slightly and they sometimes offer to go with me, assuming I *must* want someone along. In fact, traveling alone would be one of the hardest things to give up for a partner. As much as I want a partner and kids, and I do, very much, I fully recognize how much freedom I have and how much I enjoy it.

  27. joannawnyc says:

    I will be 58 on my next birthday and have been married for 28 years. We have a 20 year old son. I’ve always had “a room of [my] own” throughout our relationship, and now in our new house we each have our own bathroom as well. I never wanted to be joined at the hip, so for me this is kind of the best of both worlds. I have no idea what my life would be like if I hadn’t met my husband–we were each other’s first serious relationship and we met in our late 20s. Before I met him I had no intention of settling down ever. I was known, jokingly, among my cohort of friend, as “least likely to get married and have kids” and sometimes it still kind of a surprise to see that I am. I think I am more independent than most of the married women I know–I am pretty good about having my husband take responsibility for stuff. But would I like to live alone? Sometimes I think I would, or I resent having to make compromises, but most of the time I do feel like I have the best of both worlds.

  28. lorimac says:

    Married for 27 years with two 20-something sons. Just a note about kids, Kim. While they are very nice, and (of course) I love mine, really what having kids is about is: (1) spending time, energy and money trying to raise them to be people you want to spend time with, and (2) when you succeed, they spend very little time with you. What I have learned is what you already learned on your own – you have to do things to build your own life – kids or not – because you cannot live through anyone else. One go-around, folks, and don’t live that ride for anyone else.

    • Dana D says:

      I love this reply lorimac!

      You are so right…if we do our job well, we like them and then they leave us.

      My two are also twenty-somethings and I’m glad I’m done spending money on them. They come back around every so and so, but…

      I love living alone. I love living alone.

      I love living alone.

      (I find that most of my divorced friends, once they learn to appreciate living along, really dig it.)

    • Sylvia Sichel says:

      Nice! I like this and judging by this lovely Saturday when my 12 year old and 15 year old are off doing their thing with their people, I’m doing alright at it. 🙂 Thanks for posting!

  29. karen says:

    single, never married, 55 year old….love living alone…been living alone so long i can’t imagine sharing my space with some one, got used to eating alone, cooking for one or not depending on my mood….but….wish i had some one who asked me everyday how my day was, and remembered what my bosses name was and if my car was running ok….

  30. Lisa says:

    Single, never married almost 50. I love the freedom of doing what I want when I want….but with a milestone b-day coming up I’ve spent A LOT of time thinking about my decision to never have my own children. I love the kids in my life but I’ve been trying to understand the why behind my choice.

  31. Karen says:

    Single, never married, 56. As many other commenters have said, the freedom to do what I want, when I want, is the best part of being single.
    I’m an introvert and love to read, so in my down time I’m mainly OK being alone, but often find myself wishing there was another introvert across the room reading HIS book in companionable silence. I would love to have a “significant other,” but am resigned to that ship having sailed.

    • Lori in Toronto says:

      My mom, alone for decades, fell in love last year with a sweet man who lives in her building. She’s 76. He regularly texts me about how lucky he is to have found his “princess.” The ship may have sailed, but another ship could be on the way!

      Also, I’m 51, never married (boyfriend of 12 years lives a few blocks away) and no kids. I love that I am sitting on the sofa, surfing the ‘net, watching the Golden Globes on DVR, and eating candy for dinner. It’s so true, though, that society doesn’t seem to know what to make of us!

    • mlinky says:

      Sounds like me. 62, never married, no kids. Love my alone time…not having to worry about anyone else and having peace and quiet when I want it. When I don’t want peace and quiet, I have a nice circle of friends to call.

  32. Tiffany says:

    I lived alone when I met my now ex-husband. I loved it, and I was really reluctant to give up that freedom. We were together 22 years and when we split up last year I was thrilled at the prospect of living alone again. It hasn’t quite worked out like that as I unexpectedly met someone else very quickly … But I did have a brief window of solo time; it was scary and exhilarating. If this relationship doesn’t pan out, I have no fears about living alone.

  33. JRH says:

    Separated almost a year, after almost 30 years married, raising 2 (wonderful) sons, and several years of trying to “make it work”. After selling the family home I loved and moving into a small rented house, the evening after the move I filled the tub with hot water and Epsom salts, then sat and sobbed — it was not the life I wanted. Those first 24 hours were brutal — but I wake up most mornings, now, grateful for my surroundings, and absolute autonomy. I love living alone — I see my sons regularly, and their father and I have continued to be a strong unit as far as parenting. It’s been the hard work of navigating the changes and struggles in this new life that allow me to truly appreciate what I have — which is the freedom to live my life the way I want.

    • melissa says:

      I can relate. Met my soon-to-be ex 26 years ago not long after graduating from college. We separated almost a year ago and I was terrified at first — didn’t even remember what it was like to live alone. Most days I really love it. I sleep in the middle of the bed or on whichever side I choose. My sheets can be as girly as I want them to be. I don’t have to clean the hair out of my bathroom sink every day. I can eat cereal or ice cream for dinne. I can listen to audio books in bed without headphones. I can spend all day reading a book and not have to explain myself. I can use the second closet in my bedroom for “overflow.” It really is quite lovely. Some days, though, I do miss waking up to another person and when I got into a minor car accident, I realized that I didn’t have that “person” who would drop everything and come running when I called. I do notice that I get invited out with my couple friends less these days, but I think the good outweighs the bad.

  34. Renee says:

    I lived alone for a long time before my divorce, so when my husband left I was able to jump back into that space with the knowledge that I could handle it. I’m actually loving the fact that I don’t have to compromise on anything. TV, dinners, decorating, bedtime – all up to me. And I don’t have anyone there to listen to me complain about my job – which is healthier because then I leave all the drama at the office.

    Being sole breadwinner again was scary, but it’s been 5 years and I couldn’t be prouder to own the home that I used to co-own with my ex. As other have mentioned, being an introvert helps because I enjoy recharging alone. But I try to schedule at least 2 things that get me out of the house on weekends.

  35. EAM says:

    I love being able to put something in the refrigerator and knowing it’ll be there when I want to eat/drink it later.
    I love that I can leave a mess in the house – dripping on the bathroom floor, laundry flung about the bedroom, whatever – and not feel guilty for it.
    I love that I can watch back-to-back HOURS or movies or TV and no one at all will ever ever know that I devoted 2 solid days of my life to nothing but old episodes of Star Trek.
    I love just sitting around doing whatever and I’m not expecting anyone to come in the door. I won’t be interrupted, I won’t have to put on pants, I won’t have to be civil, nothing.
    It’s lonely, but god do I love it.

  36. Chris says:

    Thanks Kim France. This is a fantastic post. Wondered if you would share thoughts on traveling alone.

  37. Christy says:

    I’m 42, never married, no children, and I’ve really struggled with this. Once in a while I’ll read Caroline Knapp’s essay “The Merry Recluse” to give myself hope that a person who once felt “apologetic” about living alone later found radiant joy in it.

    But I do love being independent and knowing that I can take care of things myself (even if it’s a drag sometimes). I also like making a meal out of whatever I want, and eating when I’m hungry (and not having to eat when I’m not), not calibrating myself to someone else’s schedule. I’m also an introvert, so I need a lot of time alone otherwise I get worn out.

    I have a pipe dream to live in a community with other single women, so we can be independent, yet still have people nearby we can rely on. Sometimes it would be nice to have someone around to help move a table or borrow a tool from without feeling like the poor-thing single person or having to ask your friend who lives half an hour away.

    • Ramonaquimby says:

      Totally about the community! I feel like Kate Bolnick has written about places like that existing somewhere in Europe (naturally). Truly, the rare times I’ve missed not having a partner involved having to lift heavy objects or put things together. Now I have a handyman.

  38. Erica says:

    47, never had a husband or kids. I absolutely love the autonomy and freedom of living alone and making every life decision, major or minor, by myself. Four years ago I left my stable and comfortable career and moved to Tokyo, to a much less comfortable but infinitely more exciting life. I sometimes fear the limitations that a long-term relationship would impose on my life, but I’m still open to the possibility!

  39. Sherri says:

    I am 62, maybe the oldest responder? I live alone on the other side of the world from the US, a decision I made after deciding to divorce. This summer I will take my first solo international trip, to northern Italy, following the wonderful nebbiolo grape. I plan to get scuba dive certified within this year. I would be doing none of this had I stayed married to my unadventurous and quite controlling spouse, so I have no regrets. I’m lonely at times, but as another only child and another introvert, I consider the alternative and feel content. My only fear is suffering some sort of medical emergency and no one knowing or finding out till it’s too late, but the bitter comes with the sweet.

  40. Alison says:

    38 and single my whole life by choice! I had a mentor who once said to me, “keeping work, creativity, travel, learning, love, family, and friends in separate buckets is just a construct that most people buy into. But, you can create your life any way that you want.” I knew it implicitly, but until she said it to me, I had never heard it articulated. It remains some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten.

    For me being single means I have incredible freedom. In November 2016, I quit my job and spent 7 months traveling around the world on what I wanted to learn, how I wanted to improve, how I wanted to heal and grow. I could do this without negotiation. I love that I can take other positive risks like striking out on my own to start my own business and knowing that I could live very lean-ly as it took time to get up and running. I love that my home is the space that I want it to be, and that the people I welcome into it are people I like and care about. I like that if I want to spend time around kids I can hang out with my friends with kids, and if I want to spend time with adults, I can hang out with my friends who are adults, and if I want to spend time alone baking or reading Go Fug Yourself or watching movies and crying or staying in bed for a long time or going for a swim in the middle of the day or working til 9 pm on the weekend, I don’t have to justify it to anyone.

    But, at the root of all this, for me, has been realizing that I have a really amazing life and if and when I don’t think it’s amazing, I have the power and autonomy to change it.

  41. Another Rebecca says:

    I knew a couple who married later in life after both were set in their ways and enjoyed living alone. Their solution was to buy adjacent houses. They alternated hosting each other for dinner and sleepovers but otherwise lived as they wished in their separate homes. This sounds like a good solution to me.

    At the very least, I would absolutely need a room of my own within a shared house (and I’d want him to have one as well).

  42. Johnna says:

    Omg!! I thought I was the only 54 yr old who lived alone and never had a husband (yet) or kids!! This has forced me to be responsible for myself, but there isn’t anyone there to put some responsibility on so that’s a bummer sometimes. I like the fact that I can get a pink couch if I want to and no one can tell me no!!

  43. Jenn says:

    Thank you so much for answering my request and starting this thread Kim! I’m a month on my own now and have had many giddy moments when I realize how wonderful this could potentially be. Societal pressures are definitely there (if one more person tells me “don’t worry you’ll find someone” I’m going to scream). But there is definitely a calm and peace now that I didn’t feel before. Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and stories!

  44. Cait says:

    32, Single, childless, no pets, living alone in a 450 square-foot apartment, where I sleep on the second Murphy bed of my life (if you can believe that). The best part about this lifestyle is that I am happy with it, and there is nobody to suggest that I alter it. I have dated, of course, but they all seem to have issues with the size of my space, or the fact that my bed folds out of a wall, etc.

    The second best part, of course, is being able to do what I want, when I want. If I want to stay out all night, crash on a married friend’s very comfortable sectional (because having a full-size couch available to me is a heck of a luxury sometimes), I can, and there are no men, roommates, or pets to judge me or fight me on my choices.

    Also: making dinner in my underwear if I want.

  45. Mary says:

    I’ve been married and divorced, lived with boyfriends, been proposed to. Now in my early 60s and have lived alone for most of my adult life, I feel lucky that I can. I can afford it and I really enjoy my alone time. As Kim said, I find that I am open to new friendships and experiences especially outside of work. I admire my friends and family members who have created and sustained happy marriages but, certainly don’t envy them. I have made the choices that are right for me and have no regrets!

  46. KimFrance says:

    I am loving reading all of these—such frank and well-considered answers!

  47. Oli says:

    Well, as someone who got married at 28 had a boy at 40 and is now 52, I feel that my life in now in its third phase. Yes, having children is great but you are responsible for raising a civilized, productive and compassionate future adult who will hopefully add something positive for society. As an only child myself and an introvert, I can say that having a child was very hard and continues to be that hardest thing I have ever done. In the first two phases of life, I was a successful student, hard nosed professional and bon-vivant who loved to travel and experience life. I looked at other women and men as examples of people who lived a full life and lived to a ripe old age of no regrets and continue to TRY to live a full life. As menopause approaches, I enjoy being alone even more and can appreciate all the small and fleeting moments that come every day.

  48. Jessica K says:

    I was married for 21 years to a nice man who eventually cheated on me, got his girlfriend pregnant and had a child out of wedlock. I didn’t’ find out until the child was 6! My son is autistic and I will be caring for him all my life. Both my parents had dementia for years before they died. I have been single for 8 years and my friends keep asking me why I don’t date. My answer is simple: I am tired of caring for others, and want to focus on myself.

  49. Candace says:

    Just turned 56, divorced for a long time, have grown sons who live with me but generally come and go as they please. I had a long relationship (but never lived with) a pretty wacky fellow whom I adored, but due to his wisdom and self knowledge, never moved in (he has anxiety issues, among other things). I have found that after emerging from these relationships and the kind of fog they put me in, I have a much better sense of self than I’ve had since my early 20s. I am now kind of scared of relationships, actually. Though I wish I had someone to to go to dinner with or long weekends, I have enough male friends (most gay, some just with cool wives) to fill the male void. And girlfriends who are fun and interesting! Men are a lot of work.

  50. Amber says:

    I’m 40, no kids, living with my partner for 12 years (but I don’t want to get married). From day 1 we have had our own separate bedrooms. I have not met anyone in a similar situation. But we both need our space and I think this arrangement pre-empts a lot of conflict!

  51. Suzanne M says:

    I’m 54, never married, no kids and have lived alone since I was 31. I can eat buttered brown rice and a hard boiled egg for dinner and call it good when I haven’t had time to shop, I rarely have to share the clicker (except occasional house guests and/or BFs over the years), know that any mess is my own so I both only have myself to blame AND can let it sit if needed without becoming resentful. I climb on ladders to change lightbulbs, I take out my own trash, I hang my own art. Sometimes I wonder how I might grapple if my scenario changed. I suspect separate bathrooms would be a non-negotiable and probably a woman cave of my own. It’s occasionally hard, even scary, when I get sick. It’s not natural for me to ask for help and sometimes I honestly don’t know that I need it until it borders on too late. I sometimes get lonely during really heavy work periods when, at the end of the day I just need to go home and “recover” rather than engaging with friends or the community. I’m fine watching regular TV shows or movies by myself (my choice, always!) but sometimes I’d like to watch the news with someone so we could continue the dialogue about current events in real time “off screen” instead of finding myself alone up an emotional tree. I read some lately about older adults co-habiting for financial reasons. At the moment financial reasons are (blessedly) not driving me, but I do sometimes wonder if there is a way I could make that work this far into the game of life.

  52. Hick from Styx says:

    Women still outlive men, and men still tend to marry younger women. There’s a very good chance that many happily-married women are going to be single in later in life.

    I say enjoy whatever your living circumstances are right now, because change is the only constant. Nothing is perfect. Nothing stays the same forever.

    — From a long-term single who married a younger man, and became a mother later in life, defying society’s “rules”

  53. Julie says:

    I’m 30 and divorced.

    As sad and lonely as I can be at times, for the first time in my life I have my own space. I was able to make a place that feels like it represents me. I feel safer and more comfortable.

    Moreover, I don’t have to worry about someone constantly criticizing me because I’m a klutz. Sometimes after I drop something, I have a moment of panic waiting for the fall out to come, but I realize I’m alone and it’s ok that I break things from time to time. I also am perfectly capable of cleaning up the tiny messes I create.

    Additionally, I have taken the initiative to learn to manage things on my own. I can’t explain how much gratification I’ve gotten from simple problem solving skills that I did not have before. For example, figuring out what type of light bulbs I need when when one dies or fixing the toilet when it won’t stop running. It helps build self esteem.

  54. MarlaD says:

    I have been single and living alone for 6-1/2 years now – the longest period I have been single in my life, though living alone is nothing new (including a commuter marriage for 5 years and my last relationship of 7 years where we spent the majority of the time together but maintained separate homes). This last relationship ended badly just as we had committed to buying a home together; with me taking a huge financial hit and finding out he was a sociopath. I love being independent and responsible for myself and knowing that no one can threaten my financial security unexpectedly. The other side of the coin is that when you are independent and responsible for yourself, there is no one to have your back when you need it whether that is getting a squirrel out of the hot water closet or driving you to a biopsy. I traveled a lot on my own, but with my last ex, I got used to having someone to help carry the load, figuratively and literally, as well as share the experience and I still miss that when I travel now. I’m happy with my life and glad to be rid of the drama of the last ex, but I do wish I had a partner to share deeper thoughts with or just discuss a movie or current events with over a cocktail. I have no interest in getting married again, but think I may be ready to consider a relationship in the near future. Not sure how that will go, since I am entering my 60’s and I’m not interested in dating 75 year olds.

  55. NWDCDiva says:

    Intense question, and really interesting answers. I would love to meet you all and drink wine together. Yes, Kim?

    Alone now for a few years, after 26 years of marriage followed by living with different men, then taking a hiatus from dating entirely. Now dating, but living with my dog and cat.

    Pluses: everything everyone has already said. dinner just was popcorn and wine in bed while watching “Rake.”

    Adaptations: fabulous friends — and I organize them re: tickets for music and theatre, and if they don’t want to go I get two tickets and either give one away or take someone I’ve just met; my apartment is perfect; dog and cat; great massage therapist; Audible books to read me to sleep, Alexa to turn off the lights when I am actually reading myself sleep, nothing in my fridge except fruit, LaCroix water and wine; oh and a couple of good vibrators which I find I am not using that much anymore. Hmm.

    Minuses: eating! I can’t cook for myself and am a bit of a minimalist/clean freak so an empty fridge looks fine to me, so I rarely eat at home; no one to read the Sunday paper with; no one to bring me coffee in bed, no one to share walking the dog on a horrid day, no one to do nothing with and have it be a fabulous day.

    I’ve tried to sit with the loneliness, and I really prefer having someone around.I am seriously looking for a marriage partner, but want to be able to redefine marriage so that I can keep my perfect little apartment for myself and then have a shared life with my man. This dating process is rough. I think we GOACA need a yoga retreat to go and process this issue.

  56. Tasha says:

    67 here, living alone all my life, most of it in NYC. I always have enjoyed it and could never understand that many people felt ‘pity’ that I wasn’t married, or that I had to eat alone. I’ve had my share of boyfriends and, later in iife, affiars, but I didn’t ever want to ‘settle down’ with a full marriage, family, and multiple roles to juggle. I admire wormen who do it, tho,’ I miss having a companion sometimes, someone to talk with and help with things,and share finances, but I’ve never regretted my choices.

    The hardest part of living along for me is that as I get older, I worry how much longer I can live alone. I currenty live and work in a rural setting,in a small house I own. I’d never have left the city but for being a victim of NYC gentrification. The country, among its many lacks, is a tough place to age alone, tho’ there are many services for older adults.

    So while I’m still a young-old and healthy, I’m going to spend some time considering how to get closer to a more urban environment, to friends, services,and things to do and to feel engaged with.

  57. Marika says:

    Reading these wonderful comments has prompted me to appreciate living alone all the more as I eat my blueberry pancakes and drink my coffee (that I alone will finish). Don’t laugh but I’m 25 and living alone in a lovely apartment with my dog. I moved out on my own for the first time at the beginning of December after a brutal breakup with the man I had been living with for three years. I moved in with him right after university as I was starting cooking school and wonder now how my life would have been different if I had lived alone then. I am very happy to have kept the dog and really lucked out by finding a factory loft rental amongst all the creepy basement bachelor listings on Craigslist.

    I’m celebrating the new stage of my life with a house warming party in a couple weeks; I recommend celebrating and throwing yourself a party whenever you feel like it. I don’t think I would mind living alone for a while, drinking a glass of wine in the bath and listening to a podcast with the volume way up at midnight on a Saturday night is quite lovely.

  58. renee says:

    Nearly 47, never married, serial monogamist (but been single the past 1 1/2 years, childfree, lived alone since I was 25, have dogs and horses at home. I honestly can’t imagine living with anyone at this point. I did briefly let an ex-bf live with me for close to a year over a decade ago, and I didn’t want to do it then, and I didn’t enjoy it (of course maybe some of that had to do with his some of his unwanted habits/lifestyle choices). I enjoy being able to do whatever the hell I want (notwithstanding work, of course) whenever I want. I enjoy not answering to any people in my personal life. (Seems I’m always answering to the animals, though!) I love that I was able to renovate my new home exactly as I wanted it. I keep wondering what would happen if I met a fabulous guy. I just can’t see letting anyone move in with me because I need my own space and so much alone time, and I can’t see leaving the house I worked so hard to make my own…. I have joked that if I were to ever get married, we would need adjoining houses, or at least a house with a separate wing.

  59. Pamela says:

    Not quite alone yet, but my children are older and are able to fend for themselves here at home. Married for 25 years, am now reveling in the fact that there are so many things I can do on my time schedule. Not having to worry about when the car will be taken in to be fixed, when someone else will finally clean their side of the room, if and when the bills will be paid. Most of what is happening to me is up to me. Being in control. That is the wonder of being alone.

  60. moi says:

    I’m 53 years old, and have lived with the same man for 23 years. We never wanted children and never wanted to get married, but we do have two dogs and a great life together. My spousal unit travels a lot for work (we both run our own businesses), so each of us gets a good chunk of time alone.

    While my SU is funny, whip-smart, and shares my life philosophy, he is also more introverted than I, so I socialize quite a bit without him, and most of my travel is done with a set of close-knit girlfriends whose partners are similarly home-bodied. (Although, spousal unit and I recently took our first vacation together in a few years and had such a blast, he vowed that we need to do it more often.)

    Prior to partnering with my SU I was a single gal living it up with her single gal friends, tearing through out city’s nightclubs, letting our days unfold without agendas or responsibilities. Those were good times, and sometimes I miss them, but I think that’s more a factor of getting older than it is of being partnered.

    I honestly love my life and my SU, and we still continue to surprise and enrich each other’s lives, but I’m also a realist. I know that, for whatever reason, the odds are great that I’ll one day be alone again—and that doesn’t scare me one bit.

  61. Melissa says:

    August 1, 2014 was the first day in my life I woke up alone, knowing that no one was going to walk unexpectedly through my door. I was 47, and my second husband had died of cancer the day before. It was rough at first–I was scared and lonely and grieving, and while I purposefully sought out the energy of others, I realized how much I valued the space to be an introvert. To not bother with pants or worry about being weird in front of someone else. My space, and every single thing in it, belongs to me. And when I look around, I know that I made this all happen. I bought a house in the suburbs of Los Angeles today, and I will be moving in with my person–who, at 53, almost never socializes and has probably spent more than 30 years living alone. I’m a little frightened about the potential to ruin a lovely relationship with too much proximity, and there are times when I am still scared and lonely and grieving. Still, I’m ready, and it’s time. I’m grateful that we both value privacy and peace, and my new house is large enough for separate bedrooms (we both have adult children who visit, too) and plenty of room to roam.

  62. Sheila says:

    Chiming in late but I feel compelled to chime in nonetheless. I’ve been divorced for nearly five years now and, in many ways, I feel less lonely on my own than I did when I was married to someone who was very emotionally closed off. I don’t think I could handle being on my own without my dogs (I have three–taking in a stray made more sense when married). My ex and I share in the dog’s care (2 of the dogs are very senior and, after trying to split them up with bad outcomes, our vet insisted that they were a bonded pack. 3 dogs is just a lot of dog for any one person.). Having to share in their care has actually forced my ex and me to communicate much better as Team Dog than we did when we were “Team Married.”
    But, on living alone: I think the best part for me is that I have wonky mind wiring and it is harder to take good care of myself when I’m living with somebody else, whose needs I end up easily putting before my own. Getting to come home and just care for myself and my dogs, who give me so much joy, always feels like I’ve entered a refuge.
    The two worst parts are easier to put into words: the precarity of being a single woman who has little financial security is often scary and being the only one in the house when something breaks and I have basically no fix-it skills is just humbling.

  63. ann says:

    I am 66 years old and live alone. I LOVE IT! I have been married and divorced25 years ago. I have no children or pets and nothing to tie me down. Financially, I dont have as much money or stuff as toher married or widowed friends, but I look sooo much younger and I’m sooo much happier than they are. I have bought and sold homes, cars, appliances, and didn’t need a partner to tell me what to do. I love men and I’m usually involved in a relationship. I tried for a few months, but it was too hard to determine if people are being honest. I just do what I love, I go to live music, exercise, camping, I do what I love and usually meet someone who likes the same things. I can not imagine trading all the adventures I’ve had in the past 25 and those that a w ait me.

  64. betsyLin says:

    I am in my mid 40’s and spent most of my thirties single. I just got out of a 3 year relationship and now find myself single again. I loved being in a relationship, but there was a lot I missed about being single. I have wonderful single friends, we often just have each other over to have dinner together. Nothing fancy. We are are just sharing the food we have and get to have time together. I also often go for a walk in the morning with a friend. When loneliness hits, starting the day and ending the day with a friend is really helpful.

  65. Marna says:

    I suggest reading “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of An Independent Nation” by Rebecca Traister. Things are changing and this book will help you realize all your wonderful options. You feel great about being single (no matter the reason you are single) after reading this book.

  66. Sal says:

    I live in a city where living alone is essentially a financial impossibility 🙁

  67. TaylorL says:

    I love these posts! It is so awesome to see a collection of women with so many diverse histories be honest about how living alone is.

    I’m 28 and living alone in a small house I started renting last year and completely adore. Family and landlords are nearby and very helpful. I have full control of the thermostat (what a luxury!), remote, decorations, bathroom (very important), visitors and groceries. Growing up in a family of three girls everything was fought over; now everything is mine and it stays where I left it. I can spend days blasting music, leaving the tv on or living in calming silence.

    Most of my friends are married or divorced with children; other friends are in serious relationships or live hours away. Thankfully I have lots of family and girlfriends to do things with. Of course I have to deal with the consistent questioning when I’m with them: “Have you been on a date lately?” or “Seeing anyone special?” come up frequently. No matter how busy you are your friends who are in relationships will always worry that your life is really sad and pathetic when compared to theirs and that the singles live in constant envy of the marrieds. The most annoying thing to me is when I tell someone I’m not interested in having children and they always laugh and say “That’ll change” with that condescending look in their eye. Yes, it might. But guess what: that’s none of your business and you don’t know everything.

    Personally I do not enjoy relationships; I lack the patience and empathy it takes to share a space or allow someone to treat me any less than I believe I deserve. I have a hard time giving up control and I detest fighting with anyone. I’m very unapologetic about not wanting to date. I’ve been told that my standards must be too high or that I “just haven’t met the right man yet.” If I had a nickel. I can totally relate to the women that are sick of hearing “You’ll find someone” and it being delivered like it’s a lifeline I’m supposed to hold onto. Am I not enough? I’ve got news for everyone who says that to me: I’m happy as I am.

    Sure, it sometimes isn’t fun to be in charge of all the bills, travel to a new place by myself or be the third wheel on a dinner date. Believe me though, the few bad things are far outweighed by all the good. I am not responsible for anything but a few plants and I take trips all over the world. Nobody wakes me up at 5am, nobody tells me what we’re going to eat or watch on the tv and no one spends too much time in the bathroom when I need to get ready. Someday my circumstances my change but right now I’m living the life I want to live and doing whatever I want. What could be better?

  68. Judes says:

    This thread reminded me of this Waitresses song:

  69. Rebecca D. says:

    I am 46, never married, and childfree. This was easier when i lived in NYC and so many people there are living “alternative” lives. But since moving to Minnesota 7 years ago, I’ve begun to feel more and more like a unicorn. But I like my life. I come and go when I want, have time for the friends who have time for me, am purposeful in my personal and professional pursuits. I don;t have to cook for or clean up after someone else unless I invite them into my home. This may sound petty, but I hear coupled people complain A LOT about having to do those things. And I see them making compromises that break my heart. I also have two dogs for whom I care immensely. They are delightful company and give me some sense of being responsible for someone else’s well-being, just enough.

  70. Candy says:

    I know this is about the good part of living alone, but as a health writer, just want to mention that things become more complex as you age. Starting in your 60s, and especially in your 70s and 80s, there are some serious issues to consider, some of which have been mentioned. To name a few: Having no one around in a health emergency at home; social isolation that can contribute to decline in mental sharpness and hearing; having someone you have legally named to act on your behalf at the hospital if you’re incapacitated. This is not to say living alone is bad or unhealthy, just that it’s also important to realize that conditions and considerations can change and you need to be prepared.

    • DeDe says:

      I get that you’re trying to be helpful, but most of us who are of a certain age will likely have given these problems a good deal of thought already, since many of us have had the experience of caring for elderly parents and grandparents and have done some of that planning. And honestly, most women who live long enough will have to consider these issues regardless, particularily women with male partners, since we generally outlive them. Thanks, though.

  71. Sharon says:

    58, never married, no kids. That was not the plan. I planned to marry and have kids but it didn’t happen. I feel like my social circle is smaller because it’s difficult to hang with married people, and I missed out on all the friends one makes while their kids are going through school. It helps a lot that I live in a diverse area, I am busy with work and activities and I have dogs. I’m also from a big family and we are close. I rarely feel lonely.

  72. c.w. says:

    Wow, what a wonderful thread!

    I live alone seven months of the year in Texas and the other five months of the year I live on Long Island with my beau. So I have both the single life and the together life. Do I have a preference? I believe my current situation is kind of perfect. We are monogamous so I don’t date. We own our Long Island house together, but I own my Austin condo by myself. We FaceTime every day (usually twice a day) so there is that constant “couple” connection. My beau has some physical limitations so we don’t travel and even when we live together it is up to me to do the physical “stuff”––take out garbage, walk the dog, go to the grocery store etc. And because he has those physical limitations I’m always relieved, in some ways, to head back to Austin because I’m only responsible for myself. It is an out-of-the-box situation and most people don’t get it at ALL, but we are making it work and truthfully we’re the only ones who have to approve.

    There is a podcast for women travelers…Women Who Travel.

  73. Sara says:

    51, partnered up/married for 13 years, have a step-son who is now 19, no other children. I’ve lived alone most of my adult life and though I love my husband, I do miss having my own space. I am a natural introvert and need plenty of down time to re-charge and remain somewhat sane! I did have periods of loneliness at times living alone, especially with friendships shifted as they often do or after a breakup, but I loved having my very own place and answering only to myself, and my cats of course. It’s certainly a trade-off in life. It took me a while to accept and appreciate my introversion. I used to fight it and blame myself for being “weird.” Now I embrace aspects of myself that just are as they are. I think that’s what my 50’s is going to be about, more acceptance and self-love, more confidence to be who I am, giving way fewer fucks about what others may think. I’m kind of digging it!! I love this discussion and others comments : )

  74. SC says:

    I imagine as less and less women choose to marry/ settle for someone mediocre we will see updated versions of the Golden Girls pop up for retirement. Which is cool – I’ll happy go full Bea Arthur in my twilight years.

  75. MD says:

    My husband of 19 years/partner for 27 just walked out on me — and I’m facing the prospect of living alone with fear and sadness. We didn’t have kids, and I was looking forward to growing old together — instead, I’m being served divorce papers. I don’t know how I got here — we had our issues, but I thought we were working on them. Instead, he appears to have planned this for awhile and waited until the holidays to tell me.

    I want to say these posts give me hope, but I don’t have much of that right now … but I’m bookmarking this and maybe someday things will feel differently

    • Stephanie says:

      So sorry that is happening… that sounds like such a shock. I know I’m just a stranger (who happens to share enthusiasm for this lovely site) but I wanted to send support and good karma your way.

  76. McLaren says:

    I am recently married (for the first time for each of us and in our late 40’s). He likes to say “we play well next to each other” – meaning we can both be home at the same time pursuing whatever it is we want to do. He is our cook, and I put things in the dishwasher. I do the laundry and he takes out the trash and recycling. Everything else gets handled by the housekeeper. There isn’t much I miss about being single – I hated cooking for one!

  77. Kim says:

    “always be open to new friendships” is, for me, the most important part of this post, and I don’t see people focusing in on it.

    As the daughter of a divorced, single mother in the 60s, my expectations of what a spouse should be was, perhaps, different than my peers. I expected and equal relationship. It’s not always 50/50, but it comes out in the wash.

    However, isn’t it about time we get past the “should haves”? It’s wonderful we live in a time that a single woman isn’t a “spinster,” but either by design or happenstance makes her own future.

    Yet I, as a woman in a partnership, after raising two kids, wishes I had better honed my “always be open to new friendships.” Because while my parter is quite wonderful, there can never be something like a good old female friendship, and I’ve let those friendships lapse.

    Anyone else? What are the skills “new friendships” which I’ve let lapse due to my (regrettably) over-scheduled life?

    I envy those that have made friendships a priority..

    In other words, I’m suggesting a post about how to “always be open to new friendships.”

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