Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sex and the Single Ghost Hunter: Being Alone

Having been from a large family and in a relationship for decades since I was a teen, the hardest part of leaving a long-term marriage wasn't the relationship--he'd been gone for a long time emotionally, but it was the physicality of being alone.

It was a terrifying prospect.

Like many folks, I immediately looked for someone to go towards. Instead of concentrating on getting away from something, I figured going toward something gave me direction. But, so far as I have known, folks who don't allow themselves to be alone after a relationship and get right into another one, have very grim long-term chances of that relationship making it. They begin giddy because the person is finally getting his needs met, but then the practicality of everyday life and probable incompatibility issues arise once the adoration phase wanes.

I get nervous when I see folks starting another relationship while leaving one. It says to me that they are desperately seeking someone to meet their long-unattended needs. If their spouse did not meet those needs, this new attentive person will.

Needs being met should be free of outsiders. In other words, you don't pick a partner to stroke your ego, agree with you, pick up the slack and take care of you. You pick them because they have all the qualities you admire. You wish to be more like them, they suit you in personality and interests, sexual chemistry and priorities. You don't pick them as a placeholder. It's unfair to the other person to have to fulfill long ignored needs that the last person didn't fill and to be everything the last partner wasn't.

What's so wrong about being alone?

Getting to know your capabilities and realizing you can count on yourself assures that no one can ever have so much power over you as to leave you completely vulnerable again.  It can get lonely, but you don't start a relationship so you won't be lonely.

Someone once was insulted I had an only child. She acted as if it were worse than having no children. I told her, "He is ideal. He is everything I need. If I gave him a younger sibling, he'd wish he had an older sibling. If I gave him a little brother, he'd complain he wanted a little sister. The only reason for me to have another child is because my son has a rare blood type and he might need spare parts. That is no reason to bring a child onto the earth." So it is with relationships. We make someone fit our needs simply because we cannot stand to be alone.

Is your own company so awful?

Not having to compromise with a partner has been extremely liberating for me. I came out of a relationship in which he had control of absolutely every decision and I knew I couldn't influence him or get him to compromise, so I would fall apart into a crying child-like fit of frustration knowing I couldn't get my way and not only felt like a child, but acted like one at the checkout stand when she can't buy a lollipop and the parent has the control.

Knowing who I am without someone else's idea of what I should be has not only liberated me to be an individual but to appreciate that individual to manage my life and take care of me. Every night, I go to bed thanking myself for having gotten this, that, and that done for the day and managing my life efficiently.

When I do enter a relationship in the future, I will be able to do so knowing that I can stand alone and I will find an equal partner and not a companion for the loneliness, but someone who knows as well as I know that I choose to be there, and do not have to be.

As I often like to say, I do not NEED a man, but I might just WANT one.


  1. I sooo agree with you. I was with my ex for 22 years and before that in another long term relationship. I have no desire to jump into any relationship right now. That I know for sure. But I am having trouble figuring out how to find happiness. I feel empty. My ex also made major decisions without discussing them with me first. So I am enjoying my freedom in that sense. Plus, even though we had those types of issue in our marriage, I never in a million years thought we would get divorced. So I'm living with a type of rejection and I don't like that feeling. Hoping time will heal all.

    1. Well, time has a way of making things more faint, but they still leave a residue. It's about reinventing yourself without someone else as the model for you how should be. My ex hated my laughter, my spontaniety, my passion, my intelligence, my assertion, my sass-basically all that was me. This is the time when you begin to find your passion, get excited about all the things that in your marriage you knew you would never get to do. I grieved every day of the marriage knowing what every day for the rest of my life would be like. Not knowing what is ahead of me, it is a total thrill. I just do what I'm passionate about and karma pays me back. I admit I suck at being single. I still haven't done the dating scene. I tried it a couple times and backed away immediately. The last time I dated, I was 16! It's just weird and much different as an adult. It's not even dating, it's really the mating scene. I decided that for the first time in my life to focus on me and not my parents, my husband, my son, or anyone else. I have to stand alone, be an individual. You meet the worst parts of yourself when you're alone--the self doubt, the loneliness, the exhaustion and confusion and fear. And, when you learn how to get yourself through those feelings, you feel pretty damn invincible. But, I spent a lot of months crying myself to sleep and doubting every decision until I got to know that I'm a pretty competent person. You will get there, but do focus on your passions. I threw myself into writing and ghost hunting. Find your things and surround yourself with reminders of the individual you are. My next reminder? A set of mannequins I hope to purchase. I always wanted some and my ex hated mannequins. It's a statement that "this is MY home. I'm not a visitor in someone else's home."

  2. GREAT post!

    I see my friends make this mistake repeatedly - insanity is doing the same thing over & over and expecting a different result!

    If you feel like "(s)he completes me" then IMHO you're setting yourself up for disaster.

    In America ca. 2012, you'd better be complete before you enter a relationship or you're dooming yourself to later pain.

    The only people I see surviving together are those who WANT to be together - not because they NEED the other person!

    So live your life. If you later find someone you'd like to include then GREAT! If not, then that's GREAT too!

  3. Thanks Sharon! That's exactly what I'm trying to do, surround myself with things that I love to do. It's still a bit hard because I still have two boys, 11 and 15, to take care of. But every free moment I have, I dedicate it to me!

    And to Dedicated_Dad, you are absolutely correct!