Home alone

I’ve Been Single For So Long, I Wonder If I’ve Forgotten How To Be A Partner

I think the desire might even be gone.

woman happy to be alone and not married.
Rachel Meyer / 500px/500px/Getty Images

While getting my dose of daily caffeine the other day, I heard the woman behind me say to her friend: “I don’t want him to move in with me because I don’t want all his man stuff in my house. He can have a drawer and that’s it.” It took all my strength to stay facing forward and not turn around and give her a high five. Instead, I nodded in solidarity and said to myself, Same, sister. Same.

I’ve been the only adult in my house for over seven years now. And I like it. Maybe a little too much.

I haven’t had a live-in partner for so long, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do it again.

I figured after my divorce, I’d meet someone and want to share my life and a home with them. That hasn’t happened. Right after my divorce, there were days and nights I felt lonely. I longed to share a bed with someone and wished I had another adult to talk to about all the adult things. I craved being in a partnership.

That desire started to fade after some not-so-great relationships. Now, I think it’s gone.

I love having the house to myself. I absolutely love decorating my home in a way that suits me and not having to make room for big man furniture or sharing a bathroom with anyone. I like going to bed when I want, having the entire bed to myself, not having to share the television, and waking up when I want.

There are times I’m so laser-focused on my kids and my to-do list, I wonder if I’d even be able to fit someone else into my world. Would I have time to have coffee with them, ask what their day looks like, support them in any way I can? I really think (and I’ve been told!) that I’m a nurturing, caring partner — when I do it, I give it my all. But I’m not sure I can or would even be able to at this point.

Part of me feels like I want to be that way again. I want companionship and someone to lean on but I wonder if I'll actually be able to do it. I wonder if maybe I’ve gotten so used to being alone that I’ve tricked myself into enjoying it. I wonder if I’ve simply closed myself off as a way to self-preserve and protect my heart. And that scares me a little.

I fear it might feel like someone else is in the way. I have my routine down and I can admit I can be stuck in my ways a little. Like in the morning I like to get up really early, make my bed, go to the gym, then take a long, hot shower. At night, I love having alone time with my kids when they are here, and when they aren’t, it’s so fun to make spontaneous plans with my girlfriends. I also really enjoy nights alone with a good book and no one talking to me. Instead of this getting old and lonely, I find myself enjoying it more.

I’ve really gotten to know myself and figure out what I’m willing to put up with. I wouldn’t trade these years for anything, but I wonder if they’ve also stripped me of the desire to open my heart again.

I’ve heard when and if I meet the right person, I’ll just know and I won’t second guess a thing and having this person’s stuff around won’t matter. I have no idea if that’s true. Maybe I’ll find out and maybe I won’t. Whatever happens though, I know I’ll be fine.

Katie lives in Maine with her three kids, two ducks, and a Goldendoodle. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, at the gym, redecorating her home, or spending too much money online.