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What do you get out of not having a partner?

(32 Posts)
ravenmum Fri 23-Sep-16 07:30:49

After a long marriage to someone who didn't respect me I was alone for a year. Then, looking just for dates I found a lovely guy, but long distance. He was supposedly moving to my town soon. Now after a year and a half with no move and me getting suspicious if he was up to something I've broken it off, though hoping he might turn up again having moved...

A friend of mine who likes to have several men on the go at once and keep her options open (at age 47 like me!) now keeps wanting to couple me up. It's been just a few days!

Trying to explain why I think it's important not to rely on men for all your fun, but I'm not convincing even myself that it is better to be dateless for a while between partners.

Since the end of the marriage I've started doing various activities without a partner - group hiking, a theatre group, Zumba classes, cinema on my own, monthly dinner meeting - but I don't have close enough friends, and no family, to be able to just say "fancy going shopping/to a film/walking the dog together". That is the useful thing about being partnered up: you have a main person to do stuff with. I am self employed and work alone at home (happily), so not much daytime contact.

So what do you get out of being alone? What positive benefit is there? I know some people here are deliberately single, maybe they can tell me what it is I am overlooking?

Anicechocolatecake Fri 23-Sep-16 07:48:57

Total freedom to do what you want, when you want. After a couple of bad relationships, it's lovely not to be battling arguments or defending myself for things i've supposedly done. Technically I can flirt with who I like (if they're single). I just generally feel empowered. Life is so much less complicated.

ravenmum Fri 23-Sep-16 08:41:18

I am enjoying being able to do activities, though I think I'd have started doing more anyway even if I'd stayed married, as the kids have just got old enough for me to go out and leave them to their own devices on a regular basis.

Not sure I can do what I want, though. I'd like to go to the odd concert, theatre performance, things the kids are not interested in. It feels funny enough going to the cinema on my own, even if I do always enjoy it, and appreciate not having someone else with me who didn't! Turning up places where you are the only person there alone is uncomfortable.

ComtesseDeSpair Fri 23-Sep-16 11:14:43

You get to know yourself a lot better. You get to put yourself first when you need to, without having to justify it or compromise. You become more literate with your own emotions - because they aren't tied up with those of a partner or a relationship dynamic, you learn to recognise what makes you feel different things in different situations more acutely.

And because of all of the above, you begin to realise that anybody you date or partner up with has to be pretty damn good for you to consider being with: so when you do meet somebody, your standards are higher, you're less willing to put up with any shit, you don't rely on them for company or emotional security and ultimately you actually have more to offer somebody else and a relationship. I've spent a lot of time single in between LTRs and all the men I've been with have said that's one of the things they like most about me: they recognise that I do things on my own terms and if I'm with somebody, it's because I genuinely like them and their company, not just that I'm afraid of being on my own so will take pretty much any offer going.

I've not had any bad relationships which have put me off getting into new ones, and in fact that's probably what has helped me see things the way I do - I've always felt a certain amount of grief and need to take stock after something had ended, rather than immediately try to seek a replacement.

Doing activities and stuff on your own is a more difficult one. I've always enjoyed it and even within relationships I've continued to choose to do a lot of stuff alone, but I recognise that some people really don't feel comfortable doing that (especially cinema or eating out) and I don't have the answers there. Except to say that I know plenty of people in relationships who still doing get to do those things with their OH, because their OH isn't interested.

ComtesseDeSpair Fri 23-Sep-16 11:18:08

Also wanted to say that if you feel ready to date again, then that's fine as well - you don't need to observe an obligatory period of singledom between relationships just because you think you "should" or that it's "proper". If you want to get out there and meet new people and are in the right place emotionally, just do it.

cantmakeme Fri 23-Sep-16 11:23:35

I agree about getting to know oneself better, and being more aware of who you are etc. However, I know Comtesse said that you consequently have more to offer in a relationship, but I have found the opposite to be true for me. I have less to offer. I like living alone so much that I don't like to live with a partner now. I have become difficult to please, whereas I used to be easy-going. I cannot stand to explain myself, my finances, my decisions. I hope I can become a little more relaxed again.

hownottofuckup Fri 23-Sep-16 11:28:30

No compromising. I hate compromising, seems like a ridiculous notion. Enter into something so you can both come to a "compromise" over every little bloody thing which really means that neither of you ever really get what you want and can both be a bit resentful about it. But that's OK because you "compromised".
I happily look forward never to having to compromise over my space and happiness ever again!

MatildaOfTuscany Fri 23-Sep-16 11:50:32

I've been an adult for 30 odd years now, probably spent of the order of 10 to 12 of those years in long-term relationships (3 major ones) plus a scattering of shorter relationships. When I look at what I've achieved over the last 30 years - education, jobs, travel to exciting places (and doing exciting things once I'm there), hobbies pursued to a serious and fulfilling level, and finally motherhood (which I'm now managing to combine with travel to exciting places and doing exciting stuff with DS) - pretty much all the good stuff has been done while single. When in relationships I seem to find that no matter how much I try to maintain my own identity, my interests and desire somehow always end up coming second to his. Now of course this may simply say something about me, rather than relationships in general, but I do find my life overall is more fulfilling when I'm out of a relationship than when I'm in one. (I do miss sex though.)

ravenmum Fri 23-Sep-16 11:59:15

not just that I'm afraid of being on my own so will take pretty much any offer going
That is kind of the impression I get of my multi-man friend, unfortunately, though I don't think she sees it that way - in her mind she just likes having a partner so can't see why she should deny herself that. But she does tend to complain about these men a lot, which does make you wonder why she's with them if it is not just a fear of being alone.

In my case it does feel like I have gone from being on a diet to being given the keys to the sweet shop - I didn't get to do many partnery things with my ex either and want to make up for lost time. But I am enjoying doing my own thing, too.

jeaux90 Fri 23-Sep-16 12:30:35

I love it, no negotiations (apart from with the kid smile) and I also love the fact when I am out I am accountable to no one. My night can go where I want it to without someone needing to know where I am. Happily single for a few years now and truly happy in my own skin xxx

Arkkorox Fri 23-Sep-16 12:41:06

Newly single and terrified about being alone. Those of you who are happy, tell me it gets better quickly? Day 3 and all I want to do is curl in a ball and cry. We have a dc together so i can't cut him off totally

FinallyHere Fri 23-Sep-16 12:42:48

Having a front door: people are inside only at your explicit invitation. Its mostly the calmness, absence of tension within the house that I mostly value when I am on my own.

You also get to choose everything about what is in the house, how it is arranged, displayed and maintained. No reason to argue with anyone about anything. You do it your way, and leave everyone else to do the same.

minmooch Fri 23-Sep-16 12:50:45

Re doing things on your own. I tend to book two tickets to the things I want to go to and then find a friend closer to the time to go with. It means I book the things I want to go to. I would go to them still if I couldn't find anyone who didn't want to go but it hasn't happened yet. I book the theatre, cinema, comedy shows like this. I don't find anyone before I book I just think that when the time comes somebody would enjoy it like I would.

c3pu Fri 23-Sep-16 13:06:12

Dispose of my income how I wish.
Spend my free time pursuing my hobbies and interests however I like.
Bring up my kids however I see fit.
Watch whatever I like on TV.
Eat meals I like every single day.
Have a fucking massive king-size bed all to myself.
Walk around the house butt naked whenever I feel like it.

TBH after reading what I've just written I'm starting to wonder if my new girlfriend is worth giving up all that for lmao :D

TheVirginQueen Fri 23-Sep-16 13:25:19

I dont feel i have ever had the option. No man ive been drawn to/attract3d to has ever committed to me so the notiin of look8ng to a man for any need , it seems a luxury to me.

TheVirginQueen Fri 23-Sep-16 13:26:56

Mi mooch i tried that once and i couldnot get a friend to go to a com.edy night in my town

MariposaUno Fri 23-Sep-16 13:55:43

matilda has put it perfectly.

I'm single now with no desire to pursue relationships or otherwise, I'm lonely at the moment but I comfort myself with my independence and the choices I can make for my dc and believe that it's better for me to be ready to have a good loving relationship rather than pursuing ones that might not be right for me when I'm not ready.

In my last longterm relationship I didn't know or couldn't articulate my feelings but I resented having to consider someone else's needs outside of my own and my dc at the time.

I had a relationship after that, that was wonderful and probably still would have been if we could have stayed together.

This relationship has confirmed my beliefs.

Do what's right for you op and not what others think you should do.

MatildaOfTuscany Fri 23-Sep-16 14:00:28

Arkkorox - flowers. I've soldiered through patches like that by organising lots of stuff to do. Make sure no weekend goes past without at least one thing which involves meeting another adult. You don't say what age your DC is, but if young enough that the other parent would usually stay for a playdate, pick out the kids from nursery/infant school whose parents you think you'd get on with, and invite them over for a play date. For older kids, think activities that you could invite another parent along on too. If your ex has your DC alternate weekends, arrange to catch up with the friends you had pre-children. If you've moved and lost touch with friends from pre-children days, find an activity - community choir, gardening project, evening class - anything that gets you meeting other adults. It will get better, I promise, even if it feels like wading up hill through treacle to start with. And when you have a really shit day, have a hot bath after Dc is in bed/ watch a box set/ whatever helps you and feels like a bit of a treat, and hope the next day will be better.

ravenmum Fri 23-Sep-16 14:48:55

*VirginQueen" well, knowing this friend has certainly opened up my eyes to what you can achieve if you try and are not too fussy. She is 48, not remarkably attractive, has a serious medical condition that sends her to bed at 9, dyes her white hair bright red, dresses in striped woolens or pixie hoods, lives with her cats, has a shrill voice and is very eccentric ... and has a man up her sleeve all the time. She just goes out looking for them and makes no secret of it, then really keeps them on the go.
If I was looking for a family and wanted children it would be different, but now I'm past that I feel like I have nothing to lose - no pressure to have a partner. I guess that itself is quite attractive to some men.

TheVirginQueen Fri 23-Sep-16 15:09:33

Well, independence, insouciance, my own interests, my own life etc hasn't attracted any men to me in nearly a decade.

I am lonely sometimes but it passes. It's not as uncomfortable as the feelings you'd get regularly in a relationship if you "weren't too fussy".

ravenmum Fri 23-Sep-16 15:57:05

I'm not trying to sell "not being fussy" as a good thing by any means smile, but I can see from her example that if you go out and actively look for relationships you will find a partner. I've found the same thing myself on a smaller scale and without taking anything on offer. So I do feel like I can choose whether or not to have a partner to some extent.

TheVirginQueen Fri 23-Sep-16 16:47:58

I don't know if that is definitely true! Unfortunately ''If you go out and actively look for relationships you will find a partner''. This hasn't happened to me. In nearly a decade. Not that I've been actively looking all of that time but I've been open to it even when I wasn't actively looking. I have done night classes, been in a gym, had a job, been on a couple of courses (I did meet one man on a course and we had a brief fling) but sadly nobody worth committing to who would commit to me iyswim.

I don't feel that the choice whether or not to have a partner is mine.

I just get on with life though. I think it's better than having a crap partner.

TheVirginQueen Fri 23-Sep-16 16:53:19

I've just read your OP cos I was trying to understand your angle and I have to admire your optimism. You believe that anybody has the power to have a relationship and that if they're not in one they are choosing to be alone and you want to know why anybody would choose that.

Your optimism is wine shock wow. Stay optimistic!

Ifihadmytimeagain Fri 23-Sep-16 17:13:38

I'm like you OP, same age and situation and would love a partner to do everyday things with like go shopping, the cinema, festivals, eating out etc. but after 3 live in relationships, I just can't face the hassal of it all again.

And that's the problem. The hassal. Relationships are hard bloody work and need determination and effort to keep alive and at my age, I'm not sure I have the energy to do it all again with someone new. The getting to know them, their family and friends, likes and dislikes, habits, history etc. It's exhausting and unless you pick a good one, all the household stuff and caretaking of the relationship (and associated relationships) defaults to you (the woman). Life becomes an endless round of phone calls and e-mails and shopping trips arranging dinners, holidays, birthday parties and gifts, cards, visits etc. Then there's sex. Wonderful at first if you're lucky and doing it right withthe right person grin but again, takes work and effort. I've been single now for 3 years but still have a great sex life and lots of attention from men without he hassal.

So for me, the benefits of not being in a relationship are;

- freedom
- choice
- privacy
- quiet/solitude
- focus on yourself
- being able to do what you find interesting
- variety in men (sex) - not settling for what's there

I suppose selfishness in a way, to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, how you want. Very libertaing as long as you have the right mindset (not caring that much about social norms) and adequate financial resources and good health.

I'd much rather be single than settle and at our age, pickings are thin let's face it.

Whoooodat Fri 23-Sep-16 17:57:51

I was married for 15 years then when I met someone else I couldn't believe it when I left the room and he turned the tv over to the EXACT SAME channel as exh always watched. It turned out he didn't like my music, was allergic to cheese (you would be amazed how that restricts what and where you eat) and if I suggested going for a walk he would walk around the kitchen. No interests in common whatsoever.

So I came on to say like pps, no compromising is the best thing. Also independence, freedom, autonomy and peace.

I could never share my space or money with anyone ever again.

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