I Was Afraid To Live Alone After My Divorce, But I’ve Never Been Happier


After I graduated college I lived alone for several years. I had a two-bedroom apartment and I loved it. However, I was really ready when my boyfriend of two years moved in with me. I loved that too. The grocery shopping together, the sleeping in the same bed, knowing we’d be there for each other to come home to — it was what I needed and wanted. We melded into each other’s lives, and it felt right.

I was happy living alone, but I was happier when I lived with him. I never once longed for the freedom that came with living by myself. The nights when I’d lie awake and overthink, or the times I was scared and lonely, weren’t missed at all.

When my ex-husband and I decided to separate, we’d lived under the same roof for twenty years. When you live with someone for that long, you develop an ease around each other, whether they annoy you or not. You know their bathroom schedule, how they sleep, and when they need some space. There is always someone there to talk to and share your worries with. There’s comfort in knowing there is someone to share the problems, the joys, and the scary times.

While I knew we were ready to go our separate ways, and it was very important for us to do that before we hated and resented each other, I was afraid of what that would mean for me.

I’d never owned a home by myself. I’d never been a solo parent. It had been decades since I’d woken up in the middle of the night scared of a noise without having him there too.

I was afraid after the newness wore off I would miss his company. I was sad every time I thought about eating dinner alone while my kids were gone. I dreaded showing up (and going home) alone after a party or family holiday get together. I didn’t know how to manage finances or household problems alone.

All the things I feared never really happened. At least not the way I thought they would. Yes, there have been times when I’ve been sad and lonely. Of course there are the nights when I wake up in a panic and overthink about every little thing. It hasn’t always been easy but it is easier than living with someone you aren’t in love with any longer.

More than that, I have discovered who I am. I love my time alone. I love sleeping alone. I love decorating how I want and going out and doing something for my kids, for me, or for my home without having to consult anyone else.

I love leaving a party whenever I want or simply declining and staying in. And holy hell, do I love not having in-laws.

I like having the things in my home the way I want them. I love eating in front of the television with my kids. I love being on my own schedule and I love having my own space. I have control over the remote and the thermostat and I love not sharing a bed.

And you know what? Those scary times aren’t half as bad as I imagined they would be. The first one is hard to get through, but after that, you develop strength and resilience that makes the next hit easier to handle.

I’m in a committed relationship now and I love my boyfriend. He comes and stays here, and I stay at his place. When we leave each other, I find myself driving home or saying goodbye to him, looking forward to living alone again.

I’m not saying this is the way I want it for the rest of my life. We talk about moving in together after our kids have graduated high school. I can’t lie though, he’s more excited about it than I am. I’m not sure I want to give this up — the love I have for being the only adult in the household.

Maybe part of it is freedom and space. I think mostly, though, I love this time in my life because I didn’t think I would. I thought I would be sad and feel empty. I don’t.

I love living alone. There is something so special and empowering about it. I’m doing the things I didn’t think I’d be able to do. I’m handling more than I thought I could handle. I am happier than I have ever been and there doesn’t feel like there is anything missing in my life.

I like knowing if something happens to the plumbing or my roof, I now know what to do.

I like sprawling out in my bed and watching a show as I drift off to sleep.

I really love only having this space that’s just mine.

It’s funny how dark things can look when you are going through a tough time, and then you make it through, and are surprised at how much more you like your life.

If you are unhappy in your relationship, please don’t let the fear of living alone hold you back. You may just surprise yourself.