A good friend of mine who’s almost three years post-divorce was telling me how she’s ready to play big for the second time around. “I want to get married again,” she said. “I want to live with a man again. I’m ready.”
While I am open to having a relationship, I’m not where she is at this point — my ex-husband moved out less than 2 years ago and I’m still settling into life as the new, single me. She knows me well and could tell by my face that I probably didn’t agree with her desire to re-marry.
“What?” She asked after seeing my smirk.
“I don’t know, I’m not where you are. I like having the bathroom cabinet all to myself, I like going out and buying my favorite scented candles that used to make my ex-husband’s throat close up. I like…”
“Okay, I got it. Thank you for that reminder. Every time I get the urge to live with someone again, I’m consulting with you.”
Of course, she was kidding — neither of us are oblivious to the fact when you are ready, you are ready and you don’t care about having to compromise your space for the right partner.
But, I’ll be honest, I fucking love living alone and there are so many perks to being single — perks I never thought of because the thought of living alone made me feel so lonely at first, I couldn’t see the beautiful forest through the trees. That didn’t last long though. Because I quickly realized there are a bunch of perks to being divorced and living alone, such as:
1. You get complete control over the remote.
If I want to watch reality television or park my ass and in front The Hallmark Channel or HGTV, that’s what I do without deep sighs or anyone asking if we can watch the game or the Discovery Channel because they’ve been watching tours of glamorous kitchens for three hours already.
2. The thermostat is yours.
If I’m freezing or having a hot flash, I get to set that bitch to make me comfortable without someone screwing around with it. There are days when you don’t feel like suiting up in a sweater, slippers, and a knit cap just to stay comfortable. Sometimes you want to give the heat a bump and not feel like your house could make ice cubes.
3. Sleeping diagonal is a dream.
There is also no snoring that jars me awake in the middle of the night. And on hot, sultry evenings, I can lie like a snow angel across my bed wearing nothing, and no one thinks I’m suggesting I want to get busy.
4. You can decorate however you want.
If I want my bed to be draped in hot pink, that’s what happens. A furry pillow might not be practical for the dining room chairs but dammit, they look good. And yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to have towels folded in the bathroom for decoration that no one is allowed to use.
5. You don’t have to find as many things.
We are all better at finding things than our partners are. That’s why they always ask us where the pens are and if we are out of cheese as they are standing next to the pen drawer, or staring at the cheese in the fridge.
6. You don’t have to shave.
I hate shaving my legs and now I can let those puppies grow out for weeks and don’t have to listen to complaints about prickly legs.
7. That bathroom is all yours.
I recently gutted my bathroom cabinet and bought pretty lucite containers with tiny compartments to store all my necessities. It’s fucking spectacular and no one will mess it up.
Also, there’s half the hair, half the toothpaste in the sink, and a lot less toilet paper to buy.
8. You can parent how you want.
Every couple has different parenting styles at some point in their relationship. I’ve found it freeing to really hone in on parenting my children how I see fit. This felt scary at first but trust me, you get really good at it really fast.
9. You are free to get the pet of your choice.
You get to make big decisions without having to consult with anyone. If you’ve always wanted a Bernadoodle, you can get one. If you want 10 pet rats, bring ’em home.
10. You don’t have to explain your purchases. Like, ever.
There’s no one showing you a chart about how much money you’d have if you stopped your daily coffee run. You don’t have to explain why you needed another black sweater, or why it was absolutely necessary to take advantage of the buy-one-get-one-half-off shoe sale. And sometimes a woman needs a new pillow collection for the living room in order to live her best life.
11. You can do housework your way.
Put the toilet paper on the roll however you want. Load the dishwasher the right way and keep the pantry as disastrous or organized as you’d like.
12. Taking control of finances is empowering.
This is what put the most fear in me — when you share a checkbook and credit cards, there are two of you who contribute financially, or your ex has always managed the finances then it gets whittled down to just you, it’s intimidating. But when you realize you have control, you choose how to invest your money, you are capable of writing out a budget, and you can make it on your own just fine, the freedom that follows is intoxicating.
Wanting to live alone isn’t about being selfish (not totally anyway). Enjoying the freedoms that come with being a divorced mom who is living alone, parenting solo, and handling it all are good and plenty and damn, we deserve to find slivers of happiness through this mess.
And hogging the bed, decorating however I want, and turning up the damn heat makes this whole process a hell of a lot more pleasant.