It’s the single life for me

I’ve lived on my own for 26 years.  Actually that’s not strictly true – I rented the top floor of my last house out for ten years to a long succession of strangers, and we shared the kitchen and bathroom, so technically I lived with people only we didn’t really have anything to do with each other so to all intents and purposes I lived alone.

Living alone has its downsides, which I’ve mentioned in various posts over the last two years, but what I’ve failed to mention is the upsides and they are many and varied.

When I first got ME in 1994 I was in a long term relationship with someone I thought I would eventually marry.  Three years into my illness I dumped him and the relief was enormous.  I was too ill to be in a relationship.  I could barely cope with getting myself through the day, let alone another person.  I no longer had the resources to think about someone other than myself, to expend energy on someone other than myself or to worry about someone else’s needs and feelings.  For romantic relationships to thrive and survive they need work and I was no longer up to the job.

I lost a lot in terms of companionship and practical support but here’s a list of the things I gained:

  • I have insomnia.  When you live alone you can have a bath at 2am.  You can watch TV without disturbing anyone.  You don’t have to creep about in the middle of the night to make a drink or have a snack.  I can go to bed when I like and get up when I like and no-one wakes me getting up for work when I’ve only just dropped off at 5am.
  • I try to have set mealtimes, but often I’m too nauseous to eat when I should or on the flipside am starving hungry at 4pm and decide to have an early dinner.  If I don’t want to cook I don’t have to.  I can have Cornflakes for lunch or eat the same meal two days running.  There’s no-one coming in from work expecting food I don’t have the energy to cook.  I also don’t have a cupboard full of chocolate or Pringles tempting me off my low histamine wagon.
  • I need a quiet, peaceful environment to charge my batteries.  Talking, although nice in small doses, is exhausting and I’m not capable of long daily conversations.  And, selfishly, I don’t want to waste my very precious energy listening to a run down of someone else’s boring day at work.
  • I rarely attend social events.  I wish I could say this was due to energy limitations, and it is, but I wasn’t a particularly sociable person before I got sick and have been known on many occasions to use my illness as an excuse to get out of attending events I know I’m going to hate.  If I were in a relationship I’d feel pressured into keeping my spouse company at dinner parties and work events, using precious energy which could be put to better use doing the things I enjoy.
  • I don’t have to bathe.  It’s knackering and makes me feel ill.  So I keep it to the bare minimum of washing when it’s critical, which is usually once or twice a week.  I can’t imagine being in a relationship and having to do this every day of my life – I’d get nothing else done.
  • Ditto with keeping the house clean.  I’d feel pressure to keep the house nice for my spouse and I simply don’t have the energy.  And before you all start saying “well let your partner do the housework” we all know they don’t even know where the hoover is kept, let alone how to work it, and they never empty the bag 😉
  • I’d have to keep on top of the laundry, which currently only gets done when I’ve run out of clean undies and sometimes not even then 😉   And before you all start saying “well let your partner do the laundry” we all know that washing machines are a technical advance too far for men to cope with. They can launch a rocket into space, they can build a tunnel under the sea, but ask them to distinguish between cottons and synthetics, whites and coloureds, and they fall apart.
  • I don’t have to worry about my spouse running off with someone else, someone healthy who can give him all the things I can’t.
  • It’s been nearly 30 years since I had an argument with someone.  I can be as grumpy, tired and hormonal as I like and I’ve no-one to take my bad mood out on.  Conversely, I don’t have to put up with anyone else’s crap.
  • I don’t have to keep a track of my spouse’s family’s birthdays or buy their Christmas gifts.  We all know that men leave it to women to do this stuff and I don’t have the energy or inclination.
  • I can watch what I like on the TV.  This may seem like a trivial thing, but when I’m too ill and exhausted to do anything the telly is my way of escaping and switching off.  I get physically wound up at the thought of having to waste my leisure time sitting through a football game or an episode of Top Gear.
  • I never have to have sex again.  It’s wildly over-rated and I’d genuinely rather be watching the telly, reading a book, walking the dog, taking photographs………in fact, I’d rather be doing just about anything other than having rumpy pumpy.  When I get horny, and I do, a 3 minute masturbation session is all that’s needed to scratch the itch.
  • I’m under no pressure to look pretty, or wear high heels or have my hair cut or shave my armpit hair.  Freeeeeedom!
  • I don’t have to compromise.  On anything.
  • I don’t have to put up with someone else’s annoying habits, like leaving their shaving hair in the sink or not putting their dirty socks in the laundry basket.
  • As I’m typing this I can hear………….absolutely nothing.  There is no-one crashing about in the kitchen (why are men so noisy?!), playing music, ‘making things’ which usually involves hammers or bench saws, or just generally disturbing my peace.  And, being so noise sensitive, I need peace to function.

I’m sure there are many other benefits to living alone when you’re ill which I just take for granted, but you get the gist.  Just the thought of living with another person in the house actually makes my stomach knot as I know I simply wouldn’t be able to cope.  I need peace and quiet.  And I need the freedom to do whatever my body dictates, which changes from day to day and even hour to hour.  My solitude isn’t a choice, it’s been forced on me by my illnesses, but it’s the only way I can get through the day and I cherish it.


10 thoughts on “It’s the single life for me

  1. Glo

    I too live alone and love it. I have a long distance relationship with someone who also lives alone. We see each other once or maybe twice a year for a few days at a time. It works great because just as I start getting sick of doing things for him he leaves. He is pretty considerate overall and is capable of doing things for himself such as laundry and cooking. Every now and then I think about how it would be nice to have someone to live with. Then I come to my senses. I am a total introvert and the energy I have to expend at work is totally draining mentally. Some days I can come home and cook other days it’s popcorn or a bowl of cereal. Only myself to clean up after (and the animals) works well for me. I love living alone and cherish my peace and quiet. I live in a city so if I want a bit of socialization it’s easy to do. There is marvelous freedom in living alone. Some days I do nothing but sit with a good book all day. I can nap and eat when I want. I do this at least once or twice a week as work is very draining physically and mentally. The best part this time of year in the summer is being able to keep my house as cold as I want. Heat is a trigger for all my symptoms to come out in force. Right now laying in bed with the air blowing on me. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. talkingthroughlife

    This is so strange for me to read. I’ve never thought about the benefits of living alone. It does sound marvellous. Unfortunately it’s not for me because I would never eat a cooked meal, get dressed, or shower simply because I need someone to help me do those things. I’m quite jealous though! Haha


  3. kneillbc

    I keep starting my comments and getting distracted, and then I have to start again… so I’ll keep it short. Very funny!! Rings true, too. That sarcastic sense of humour must be a big part of why you have survived so long with this illness!
    There are certainly pros and cons to both- After my Dad left, my Mom loved being able to decorate the house, herself. She went out and bought new dishes that she liked, kept the furniture she liked, got rid of the rest. She could get up and watch TV at 4 am.😳 Of course, that also means that there isn’t anyone to come and ask why you aren’t in bed at 4 am. 😔 I’m going to steal your idea, and write a blog post about it, too. I will have to figure out how to link to this post- I don’t imagine it’s that hard.
    I think you need to look for a 21st century man… Most men I know are perfectly capable of using washing machines, dishwashers, etc., and at changing baby’s diaper without being asked. When I got sick, and The Hubs suddenly has to take care of a 7 year old, a 2 year old with severe allergies, and me, all of a sudden, that was a pretty big leap- but I don’t think it would have been any easier for me had the roles been reversed.
    I can’t imagine very many women our age putting up with the husband expecting a meal when they walk in the door. If you’re hungry- you start cooking, meester! You’d certainly have to find someone who is independent- I love Glo’s arrangement- someone to call at when you are cooling your cheeks on the bathroom floor, but you don’t have to deal with all the ‘maleness’ (such as beard hair in the sink😖) day after day…


    1. Jak Post author

      There seems to be a bit of a lack of modern men where I live. When I got married, my husband and I both worked exactly the same hours, 8am-4pm Mon-Fri. Yet, when we came home he went to sleep on the couch while I was expected to do the dinner. After which, he had a shower and went to do his hobbies while I washed up and did all the housework. We had a massive argument about lunch – he thought I should put his lunch up for him every day to take to work, and I said “why would I do that?” and he went for 3 months without lunch because he thought he was right and I was wrong. Now you know why I got divorced lol!

      My Dad only started cooking and doing housework aged 73 when my mum got sick, despite the fact they’d both worked full time their entire married life. Living here is like living in the last bloody century and the men mostly think their wives should look after them like their mother’s did (and I blame their mothers entirely for bringing them up to be useless, lazy, selfish individuals). I’m sure there are exceptions, I just haven’t ever met any 😉 x


      1. kneillbc

        I gotta say, I would have turfed someone who was 1. That stubborn! 2. Expected me to serve him. 😳 Nope! Sounds like if you’re going to find anyone, it’s going to have to be long distance…😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lindsay

    can i just say how much i LOVE that you admitted that you get horny sometimes and masturbate for 3 minutes, and you’re good?!!

    i love this post and can relate, from the other perspective. i loved living alone, so when the BF and i moved in together, i HATED it at first. he snores, we always have to watch car shows (he loves Top Gear!), we often have to compromise, and if he doesn’t like a food, we end up not buying it, even if i love it!

    that being said, he’s adorably cute and takes great care of me, so i’m glad i have him. but, i certainly don’t complain when he wants to go spend the weekend at his parents’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jak Post author

      Thanks Linds 🙂 My horniness was horrendous in my mid thirties – I think my body was trying to tell me that if I wanted kids it was now or never, but as my hormones have declined it’s calmed itself down a bit. Saying all that, if Hugh Jackman offered to come round and lend a hand to scratch my itch I’m fairly sure the session would last longer than 3 minutes 😉



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