Self | Life Lessons
On Living With Someone After 10 Years Of Solitude
Cohabitate and thrive by managing the small risks to new relationships.
I hadn’t expected be afraid on night one. The muffled sound of the TV was gone. The occasional bark of our dog and the jingle of her collar were absent. Many of our belongings and furniture were replaced with vacant corners and walls.
My ex-wife had just moved out. A whole chapter of my life and identity were tangled up with another person and then — in a snap — everything changed.
Divorce was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. You never think it’s going to be you. And I’d never lived alone. I’d lived with roommates, girlfriends, but never by myself. Time went by. I settled into a new routine.
I realized I love, love, loved — living alone. I had the freedom to do what I want, when I want. There were no stupid squabbles over household appliances. In darker times, I wanted to toss a grenade in the dishwasher and call it a day.
I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without checking in or worrying about food allergies. Hell, I could eat a meal in a string of bites across 10 hours. I could leave every drawer open in the kitchen without fear of reprisal or arguments.
There were no rules or negotiations around TV. There were no annoying commercials or shows blasting while I was trying to focus. I could leave the bathroom door open and sing from my throne if need be. I dominated my home’s weather. I sent the house into a deep winter without regard for anyone else’s survival. My thermostat begged for mercy and the electric company started sending me thank you cards.
There was a level of quiet that my married-with-kids friends envied. I could spend entire weekends with only a few words being spoken. The only noise was the sound of my fan humming while I read a book, or worked on writing.
Part of me wondered if spouses would be happier living in adjacent houses rather than together. Maybe they could visit each other periodically, rather than living through a 24–7 play-by-play. There’s a long list of incredible perks to living alone. I was sure I’d never go back.