After reading my last blog, a client of mine asked me ‘can you be happy being alone?’ I asked her ‘what do you think?’ This client has been alone for almost 10 years so if I trusted anyone on this topic it was her!
After about 5 seconds thought she responded ‘hell yes.’
My client and I talked about why and here is what she said.
#1 – You only have yourself to take care of.
One of the best parts about being alone is that the only person you have to take care of is you.
I know that for the years that I lived by myself I had a lot of extra time in my day because I was only cooking (or not!), cleaning and planning for myself. Now that I am with someone else, I spend a good portion of my day taking care of him and his needs. And I love him and don’t mind doing this but I must admit that some days I wish I didn’t have to.
Imagine if your everyday was full of doing only what you wanted to do, taking care of only yourself, cooking (or not), watching whatever TV you want to watch, going to bed on your own schedule and not picking up anyone else’s clothes.
How amazing would that feel?
#2 – You don’t have to compromise.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The willingness to compromise is important in every relationship. However, in some relationships, we can sometimes compromise too much.
I know that when my client was married, she lived her life for what her husband wanted and needed. He wanted her to quit a job that she loved, so she did. He wanted to move to another town, even though she loved their current house, but she agreed nonetheless.
He insisted they have dinner with his family on Sundays, in spite of the fact that her family was around on Sunday nights as well.
Don’t get me wrong, her ex compromised too, I am sure, but she had to bend over backwards most days to make him happy.
Imagine that, not having to negotiate with someone else around something that you want or don’t want to do. Living your own life on your own terms.
How amazing would that be?
#3 – You won’t suffer those daily little hurts.
One of the hardest things about relationships, both good and bad ones, is what I call the 1000 little cuts, those little tiny cuts that occur over the course of a relationship, cuts that undermine the strength of the relationship and, sometimes, lead to it’s collapse.
What kind of little cuts? Not coming home on time, leaving underwear on the floor, lying about how much beer you had with your buddies, spending more money at the dress shop then planned, farting without apologizing, not walking the dog at the right time, slurping your coffee, snoring etc. You get the picture.
One of the nice things about being alone is that you aren’t subjected to those little daily pains, the ones that make you feel so bad about yourself and so bad about your relationship.
When I was alone, I remember distinctly how much better I felt at the end of the day because no one had caused me pain that day. My dog was curled up next to me, and he only loved me. I felt pretty good about myself, I have to say.
#4 – You can get good love elsewhere.
This is one point that my client made that I hadn’t really thought of before.
When you aren’t in a relationship, love is accessible anywhere. While romantic love is lovely, you can find love in both usual and unusual places.
First and foremost, you have steadfast and strong love from your friends and family. You know that they will be there for you through thick and thin and that you will always have someone to cry with or go to the movies with or spend the holidays with. No matter what.
There are also other ways to find love. A big source of love is volunteering. There is nothing better than working with people or animals who need love and support for bringing more love into your life. When I was first single, I volunteered at a food shelter once a week and when I went home I felt like a million bucks.
Another way to get unconditional love is with a pet. It might sound like a cliché but it’s true. How many single women do you know who have a pet? They might call us crazy cat ladies but the joke is on them because we are happy crazy cat ladies!
So, know that, if you are single, you can get love in all sorts of places and, yes, you can be happy being alone.
#5 – You are free to be you.
The most amazing part of being alone is that you are totally free to be who you want to be.
Of course, being in a partnership can be wonderful but, whether you are happy or not, because you are part of a twosome you are sometimes limited in your choices of who you can be in the world.
After my husband and I got divorced I decided that I was sick of living in the country. I sold my 3000 square foot house in Vermont and moved to a 200 square foot apartment in NYC. I started a life coach business, became a mental health advocate and I no longer had to shovel snow because my doormen did it!
If you are alone, the sky is the limit for who you want to be in the world.
Yes, you absolutely can be happily being alone.
I know that in this modern world being a part of a pair seems imperative but more and more people are realizing that it’s not. Being alone gives you options, you can be selfish and giving and your daily life can be happier and you can be truly who you want to be.
My client was a housewife and a mother before she got divorced and now she is an accountant and a stock trader. She owns her own house, has two amazing girls (and three grandchildren) and she is happy as a clam. She occasionally dates but then realizes that, for her, it doesn’t make her feel good so she stops and goes back to her very happy life!
You can be happy being alone too. Truly.