Posted by: Margo Z
Topic: Speaking from personal experience, what are the three best things about being single?
I've been single for 35 of my 47 years. I've been married for 12 of those years. Evan speaketh the truth, I've been in both situations.
Interesting that the question is what three things are best about being single -- because I've only found three in all those years.
1. You can park your car any ol' which-way at whatever funny angle in your two-car garage, even right in the middle if you bleeding well please.
2. You can sprawl any ol' which-way at whatever funny angle in your bed, even right in the middle if you bleeding well please.
3. I forget the third reason.
I don't understand all this stuff about what you "can" and "can't" do when you're coupled up or married, as if the other person is your keeper and "allows" you to do or not do certain things. Your mate is not your parent, and you aren't the warden. That is, IF you are married to the right person -- someone who understands that you are not fused emotionally, not two halves of a whole, but two separate, whole people who have joined together freely and voluntarily to share your lives. (I'll take 200% over 50% any day of the week, wouldn't you?) I'm as free and independent with Josh as I ever was single, PLUS I don't have to empty the dishwasher, open doors for myself, or scoop the cat boxes anymore. He does those things without being asked, just like I pick up his dry cleaning and get his car washed sometimes without being asked. If I tell Josh, "Hey, I'm gonna spend the whole day shopping then I'm having dinner with Darlene, want me to bring you anything?" he'll say, "Nah, that's okay, there's leftover chili, have fun." And off I go without the slightest twinge of conscience, and he gets the house to himself for a while. Win-win.
The other day there was a winter storm brewing. Josh had a party in the city that night, a drunkfest with friends I didn't care to attend. I told him, "Take an overnight bag, crash on someone's couch, I don't want you driving home in bad weather at 3 a.m. after you've been partying." He said, "Cool," and packed his bag, went to his party, crashed wherever, and strolled in the next morning around 10. We smooched hello and went out for breakfast together. I didn't even ask about his party or how he'd spent his evening, figuring he'd fill me in if he wanted to. He did, it was his typical late night with "the usual suspects" who all said to tell me "hi."
See, I'm always invited, always welcome to accompany him to these things -- but if I choose to go or not go, either way it's cool. Just as Josh is always invited to come along with me but he knows that two hours of girlfriend chatter is not his thing, no matter how much he may like my girlfriends. The keys are trust and transparency.
So I ask you: for us, at least, WHERE is the lack of freedom and independence? I make my own money, Josh makes his. We spend it however we wish. It's not required that we consult each other on major purchases since we don't pool finances, although we usually do because we appreciate the other's opinion. We both do our part to pay for our lifestyle and squirrel away some for a rainy day. There is no feeling of, "Well, I can't buy this or my wife/husband would have my head." We aren't boxed in. There is no fear or guilt or feeling of restriction with its accompanying resentment. On the contrary, as we said in our wedding vows, we are each other's "soft place to fall."
I DID experience that horrid feeling of being boxed in and constricted in Marriage #1, but that was a totally different relationship. We weren't right for each other, we had conflicting goals and values and we weren't in love. There wasn't a feeling of, "Man, am I lucky, I get to eat my cake and have it, too" the way there is with Josh and me. So strike my earlier comment about not understanding that kind of frustration. I understand it all too well. That's why I was prepared to check the "divorced" box in perpetuity unless or until I met someone as perfect for me as Josh.
Of course, not having children helps enormously. Neither Josh nor I ever wants that drain on our freedom, spontaneity or finances. No, we probably aren't in the majority on this one, but it works for us, and isn't that the point?
Margo sez: Find the right person and you will be MORE free, not less -- free to be fully yourself AND be loved and cherished by someone who has your back (and whose dirty socks you can pick up all day long and not feel the slightest bit put-upon).
OH! I just remembered the third best thing about being single. When I was on my own, I got to use a big, fluffy goose down comforter on freezing winter nights. Now I can't 'cause Josh gets too hot. He sweats and mutters and flails around until said big, fluffy comforter winds up on the floor. So that IS a compromise... hmm, comforter to keep me warm? Or husband to keep me warm? Now that I think about it, the comforter isn't that great of a conversationalist. So... I guess that isn't much of a reason to stay single after all. Just put me down for those first two reasons.