Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Speak For Yourself

This is a post that started in the comment thread a couple of posts ago.  I asked the readers/commenters if it was OK for me to move the conversation here.

And here we are:

anny says:
your birthday day sounded lovely! looking forward to your dating updates! just got back online myself… big sigh… after 40 is not fun. (not to be a downer.) if you’re pondering topics to write on in upcoming weeks….. here’s a story that might provoke some thought. i met a single gal-pal for breakfast this morning, at which time i shared with her that i’d gotten back on match…a few moments later she made a comment about “people like you [me] who don’t want to be alone” … that bugged me. it’s not that i don’t want to be alone – it’s that i do want to be with someone….as i drove away from our meeting, i was thinking about what she said, and decided there is a distinct difference between people who want to be in a relationship (committed, married, or otherwise) and people don’t want to be alone. (the latter label seeming derogatory). i want to be in a relationship, thus i’m on match looking for a … well, a match…i’m taking action. i did not choose to get on match because i want to avoid lonliness. i’m ok with being alone, but i would prefer to do life with someone (male) alongside. would love to hear your thoughts if you’re so inclined to write about it….

Lisa says:
Anny- I can really relate to your comment because I also have a “gal-pal” who always has some very unpleasant comments to make on regarding my life. Perhaps I could express to her how uncomfortble her comments make me feel, but, long term, I realize that she is a person who has a very negative outlook on life, is unhappy,etc and, as long as I choose to spend time with her, will always have the “ugly/black” point of view. Although we do share things in common, I am seriously considering ending the friendship.

As to the comment your friend made, I must ask-what is wrong with not wanting to be alone?? I read your above thoughts, but really you owe no one a rationalization!
My mother was divorced at about 50, is now 65. She has had numerous boyfriends and now is very happy with someone who is proving to her “best and last.” They met online. Although, my mom has a good job, lots of friends, two kids, etc,she joined Jdate because “she did not want to alone.” And that is that!!

Simone Grant says:
Would you ladies mind if I turned this VERY SMART and relevant comment thread into a future post? I want to make sure that everyone reads it.

Lisa says:
Hi Simone, there is two themes in our comments- defining “being alone” as well as toxic friendships and letting other people’s negative comments get to you. Would love to hear your thoughts on both, but especially the latter. I myself have far too often let the issues, and resulting negative comments, of others get me down!

Like Lisa said, there are 2 distinct themes here.  And frankly, I think they’re both pretty important.  I wouldn’t want to smoosh them into a single post. For today, I’ll just get a little, itty-bitty starter on the whole, “not wanting to be alone” thing.  And to do that I’m going to tell the story of my dad’s first date (since my mom passed away).

This was just a few weeks ago.  He was set up by a good friend, one of my mom’s best friends. She called him and said that she knew a lady, from work, who was a relatively recent widow and thought that he would like her. She figured that it was time they both started dating, so why didn’t he call her. He did and they went out to dinner, during which they each spent a lot of time talking about how weird it was to be dating after being married for so long.

The woman, at the end of dinner, told my dad that she had a nice time but felt like it was too soon for her to be dating. And my dad replied by saying that he also felt that maybe it was too soon for him. But that, as things stood, he eats dinner alone most nights.  And he guessed she does, too.  So maybe they could get together sometimes and eat dinner together, instead of each eating dinner alone.

This is the story my dad told me.  After, I asked him if he liked her and he said she seemed nice enough.

Anyway, that’s what came to mind.  Quite frankly, I like being alone most of the time.  And don’t really fear a life of eating dinner alone, night after night.  I date for altogether different reasons.

What about you?


16 to “Speak For Yourself”

  1. Constance says:

    Like you, I enjoy my time alone. And I do want to share my life with a loving partner. And to latch onto someone so I don’t have to be alone smacks of desperation. No thanks.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I don’t know if I’d use the word “desperation” (well, sometimes, in certain situations). I think some people are comfortable and happy being alone and others aren’t. And, I’d imagine, if I were in the latter group I’d be more likely to “settle” just to have someone.

  2. Jolene says:

    Wow, I love this – and that the post was spawned from comments! I also am not completely afraid of being alone, as I like my alone time quite a bit too. I date for other reasons too…to meet someone that I could potentially fall in love with, that complements me, that can be my companion in life…I guess that’s the goal of dating, anyway, right? But no, I’m not really afraid of being alone, generally.

    • Simone Grant says:

      That’s exactly how I think of it – I’d like to meet someone who I could potentially fall in love with, that complements me, that can be my companion…

      Otherwise, I’m good on my own.

  3. EvenStevens says:

    I think my friends can be divided into two categories those that like their own company and those that don’t. I love my own company and actually feel I need it otherwise I feel like I’m going mad! I have loads of friends though that think they would go mad if they spent as much time as I do, alone. They fill their lives up being busy busy all the time. There is no right or wrong though, I can see their point of view, but I must admit they struggle to see mine! I think they worry about me being lonely, well I’m not. I’m happily married, but I just love time to myself :) to clear my head and relax. I totally understand why you like eating your meals alone, and why you are happy with your life. I also can see that just because you are looking for a boyfriend or someone to date that does not mean you are trying to fill the void!! good luck with everything. enjoy your blog very much.

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks for jumping in with your perspective. I think it’s easy to forget (as a single person) that being married doesn’t necessarily change everything. Some married people still cherish their alone time. And yes, people who don’t like to be alone don’t really understand that need.

      • EvenStevens says:

        Yes! So don’t be affraid to let someone into your life because if they are right for you they won’t make you feel trapped or overwhelmed, they let you have your own time and complinent your life :)

  4. EvenStevens makes a great observation – most people that are fine with being alone seem able to understand and not judge those who prefer to not be alone but those who don’t want to be alone seem unable to understand those of us who are fine with being alone. And maybe that’s also where anny’s friend is coming from when she equates wanting to find a great relationship with not wanting to be alone – some people just can’t see the difference. I do think that the situation your dad is in is a lot different than probably most people reading this blog – when you’ve been in a solid relationship for most of your life, I have to imagine that it’s really hard to get used to being alone again. That seems different to me than someone who goes from relationship to relationship because they think being with ANYONE is better than being alone.

    • Simone Grant says:

      I can’t really imagine what it must be like for older widow/widowers. They’ve spent their whole lives in the company of someone and then there is the silence of being alone. It must be deafening.

  5. Jane Wonder says:

    This is a really interesting post, and I’m glad you took the time to show us the conversation.

    The thing is, I really enjoyed living alone. So much so, in fact, that I wrote a whole post on why it’s awesome. But, as much as I love my alone time and enjoyed that, I also wasn’t into the idea of living out my life without a partner. So I dated. I dated a lot. And I don’t think it’s sad or deperate or any great commentary on who I am. I enjoy being with the right person. Sometimes the right person is just me. Sometimes it’s someone else.

    But I absolutely love Lisa’s take on this. There is no shame in admitting I didn’t want to live out my life without a partner. It might be shameful if I was willing to settle down with anyone just because. But I wasn’t. So now I’m pondering the question… why is it shameful to have a goal of marrying someone? We accept it when people have career goals. Those are encouraged even. We accept it when people want to have children. So why do we become desparate and pathetic when we want to be in a rewarding relationship? I like the way Lisa thinks!

    • Simone Grant says:

      Well that’s it, isn’t it. It shouldn’t be shameful. But when I write about going out on lots and lots of dates I get hatemail from people calling me desperate and pathetic. Even when I try to make clear that I quite enjoy being alone (I’m traveling along now, on a working vacation and it’s blissful). Because there are people who will always judge.

  6. LuckyBroad says:

    I think if I look at this on the surface, I date in the hopes of not being alone. Interestingly, I am OK with being alone about 80% of the time, but then I start to feel like I’m “missing out”. Not that I ever hold back from doing something just because I’m one, but more because I always enjoy having another person to broaden your horizons. Sure, friends do that too, but in many ways, it’s not the same.
    Of course, if I am destined to a lifetime of eating dinners by myself, then no one enjoys my company more than me! :-)

    • Simone Grant says:

      As much as I enjoy being alone, there are things I prefer to do with a partner. There are places I’ve always wanted to travel but haven’t because I’m saving them (silly, I know). Restaurants that I will only eat at with someone (and plenty others that I’ll go to by myself).

      There is no “right” here, I think. But then, I rarely think there is.

  7. Steve says:

    Yes! So don’t be affraid to let someone into your life because if they are right for you they won’t make you feel trapped or overwhelmed, they let you have your own time and complinent your life :)

  8. anny says:

    love the discussion! i think, next time my pal brings up the point about not wanting to be alone, i may (gently) share some of great ideas expressed here. :-)

  9. Lan says:

    very thought provoking discussion.

    i just recently left a very long term relationship, off/on for 12 years. i’m taking a seriously break from being with someone and the prospect of being alone after so many years of being with is both exhilerating and scary.

    the idea of dining out alone or doing anything that was previously done in a couple capacity is so exciting to me. for me, to new beginnings. and when i’m finally ready to take on the task of not being alone anymore, that’ll be exciting too.