Alone by choice, begrudgingly
For the vast majority of my adult life, I have been alone. I’ve only ever had two boyfriends, the first of whom was not very nice; the second of whom became my husband and taught me what love was. In between the two, I dated quite a bit in the (seemingly necessary) search for love. I had countless first dates and maybe a dozen second dates. I can count on one hand the number of third dates. I was picky. I knew what I was looking for in a partner and I wasn’t about to waste my time with someone I knew wasn’t for me.
Some of my family and friends were rather vocal about my pickiness and many felt that I was being too picky—it was better to be with someone who wasn’t perfect than to be alone. There were views that I would “learn to love” someone or that I would “die alone” if I didn’t settle down. There were even those who felt that, at the very least, I needed to find someone for a purely physical relationship.
But I was adamant that I would rather be alone than be with someone I didn’t love.
There was a great amount of shock and disbelief when I announced that I not only met a man, but that I was getting married. No one expected that. (Heck, to be honest, even I didn’t expect it!) And when my family and friends met the man who held my heart, they understood why I wanted to wait. They understood that I was holding out for perfection. (No, he wasn’t perfect, but we were perfect for each other.)
About a year after Paul died, many people began to tell me it was time to start dating again; it was time to find someone new to spend my life with. A couple of “well-meaning” women I know even set up dating profiles without my knowledge in a bid to find me love. And I won’t even get into the people who tried to set me up with a married man to address my “physical needs”.
And it seems that the more time that passes the more adamant some people are that I need to start dating again.
But the thing is I am alone by choice. OK, not totally by choice because I would not have chosen widowhood, and there are a couple of men I would love to date, but who are unavailable for whatever reasons. But there are also a few men who would love to date me, but whom I’m not interested in dating. There’s no chemistry or our core values are too far apart and I am unwilling to compromise.
Most days, my date-less status isn’t a big deal to me because I’m used to it. Yes, I get lonely and, yes, I wish that I had someone to invite to various events with me. But I’m getting used to doing things alone and have begrudgingly resigned myself to the likelihood that “alone” is in my future.
Of course, it seems that just as I start to accept the aloneness is when the world seems to decide that’s not OK. And that’s when I get loads of reminders about my status. And that’s when I start to wish I had someone in my life—just to ward off the reminders that I don’t!
Anyhow, in the last two weeks, the perfect storm of reminders has come together:
- Crazy texting guy started texting again (don’t worry, I’ve contacted the police)
- Weird guy I want nothing to do with has emailed asking for a date
- Both of the unavailable men have been in touch—one wanting me to “hit a gig in Glasgow” with him—though both are still unavailable
- A well-meaning friend has found me a nearly-60-year-old boyfriend so that I’m not alone (I can’t be picky or I’ll die alone)
- Another wedding anniversary has passed without a husband
But—more irritatingly—the guy I went on a date with last year (yes, that one) has been in touch to say that he’s still not found anyone and wants to give it another shot with me. He had the nerve to call me up and tell me that he was really sorry about giving me an ultimatum about my in-laws and that, if I was still single, he’d like to take me out to dinner to make up for it. (I declined and blocked his number from my phone.)
I don’t really want to be alone, but I don’t want to be with someone just so that I’m not alone. And I don’t know how to balance the two, or how to convince my family and friends that it’s OK for me to be alone.
I don’t know what the point of this post is, other than to say that I’m slightly humoured (and frustrated!) by the up-tick in activity, but also that I’m OK with alone. Well, OK-ish. The bonus, of course, is that I can keep eating my pizza straight out of the box!