Life sure is filled with twists and turns, sometimes taking us in directions we never expected to go in. In the 1960’s, when I was born, small women were dressed to rely on men for a satisfying family life. Learning how to cook, clean and be ladylike were the norm back then.
Watching Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and other amazing Disney films, we waited for our hadsome princes to come take us away. For me, that never occurred. Looking fashionable and cooking gourmet meals for guys just didn’t do it for me, somehow. I kept my figure, wore high heels and pretty dresses, had my hair done every eight months and did the entire Stepford Wife item (I could make a kiler batch of biscuits), but felt totally unfulfilled and worn out.
My husband always found things to complain about, no matter what I did. I felt tired and humiliated from the lifestyle I thought I’d wanted all along.
Marriage in itself is a fine institution for those for whom it worked out in. In my case, my marriage was unsatisfactory, and a lesson in self-preservation. That picture-perfect husband of mine looked like he walked off a model’s runway somewhere, but supporting that dazzling, pretty face was the core of a cold, heartless, psychotic and dangerous creature.
He morphed himself into an angry, dangerous drug and alcohol addict, after spending too much time with his womanizing, drunk buddies. I divorced him after enduring a roller coaster of issues, threats and his infidelities.
Enough was enough. After attempting to get him help, with no success, I realized he was not going to get better, and reasoned that if I valued my life, I needed to go and not return. His putting a knife to my throat was the final straw. That was ten years back.
After my marriage ended, I was in my thirties, footloose and fancy free. Going out with my other single or divorced friends, we had a good deal of fun going dancingout to restaurants together. We fulfilled every week at downtown Cleveland high-class watering holes, then would go out to eat later. Together, we visited places like Jamaica, Mexico and other exotic travel destinations, only for pleasure.
I lived in Mexico for two decades, which was an experience I’ll never forget. As time went on, one by one, my friends and I started dating new guys and saw each other less often. My second boyfriend lived in another town, and I moved there to be with him later on. My last relationship lasted for 2 years into a compulsively lying, travelling salesman that it turned out had more ex-wives then he had told me about.
During his travels, he hooked up with girls, and was finally busted later, once I found phone numbers and makeup on his shirts. He’d explanations for everything, but I heard that he could not be trusted and abandoned. He freaked out and stabbed my hand with a fork since I moved out. He had been put in jail and I got a restraining order out against him as I moved far away and never looked back. A couple of years later, here I am, happily single and proud of it. My life is full and complete, and I’m happier now than I ever was as a girlfriend or wife. Why is it so wonderful to be lonely, you might ask?
For starters, if I wish to date, I can, but I can go home to my place afterwards. No worries about making dinner nightly. I can and do, eat cereal for dinner, without ridicule. Captain Crunch is my favorite. My second youth has arrived. I have the whole bed to myself (except for my cats, who sleep on my toes ). If I wish to take a trip, I just grab a friend and off we go. No long lectures about how that type of thing is frivolous. I make enough money to live well, and do exactly what I need.
Ok, so there are a couple things about being single that are not straightforward. I must clean out the cat box, take out the trash and there was no one to help me deal with a slipped disk in my back, which left me sleeping on the ground for months, because of the severe pain. No situation is ideal, and it would have been easier to get a spouse to get through those things.
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But, I made it through my pre-conceived list of undesirable circumstances, and was more powerful for this, later. Before, I was more dependent on men. Now, I choose not to be. I don’t have any clue how to fix my own car, or hang something quite heavy on the wall. So, handymen and mechanisms are hired to assist with those. With practise, a viable system forms, which makes it easier to do all kinds of chores and activities oneself. Now in life, I date but just a little.
My world is complete and I enjoy my solitude. If I need companionship, I call up friends or play with my pets. Animals are loving and make fantastic companions. No, I’m not a crazy cat lady. Just one that likes to do things my way, and is a lot more fair and happy by being free to be myself. Men ask me out here and there, I enjoy their company but inform them that I am searching for just friends.
Life taught me what works best for me. I enjoy the unconditional approval of my pets, the ease of working from my home office, for my job. Nobody scolds me if I did not do the laundry and no one forgets our anniversary. Every year I buy myself a present at Valentines’ Day. I don’t have any trouble with this holiday. I understand, dread it. Why dread it? It’s a celebration of love. I call my parents and tell them I love them, pet my pets, and speak with friends. Maybe, I go and get a latte at Starbucks. Life is great, and who understood being single could feel so good?
See the light
Ten years ago, I’d have said that anybody who felt like that had given up on love and life. I have not, not at all, my priorities have changed, however. Now, I can live out form of a blend of midlife crisis and another youth, by watching films like Shrek, Harry Potter and Finding Nemo without dull and annoying my distant control-obsessed ex, who’d rather watch the stock exchange on CNBC twenty four hours a day. I can purchase a nicer car that previously, seemed totally unpractical to my prior life as our budget would not allow it.
On vacations, I’m not stuck seeing his fighting with relatives, and can sleep in or celebrate with those I need to be with. Selfish, maybe, but for the first time in my life, it feels great to think of myself instead of putting others first. For anybody dreading being unmarried, remember, it is all in your head how to respond to the circumstance. You can be lonely and miserable, or you could get out there and revel in your life, do what you need to do and after settle down in the event that you choose to.
Things are not black and white, they are grey. Who knows what life brings us. I go with the flow, and when somebody worthwhile does occur into my life sooner or later, after assessing his criminal background, perhaps I’d settle down again. But for now, I’m having a lot of fun being me, living life to the fullest and working hard. I’m no longer determined by anyone and it feels fantastic. Freedom feels good. Do whatever works best for you, but the main point is, live a happy life. Make whatever situation you are in work for you, too. Life is too short to be stuck in a relationship that makes you miserable.