Jane Austen famously wrote: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. What about the single woman? Let’s talk about this single woman: me.
At forty-five, I am single and childless. I can’t decide if I want a man in my life or not. Obviously, I would want a man who is right for me in my life. But we all know no one is perfect and that includes me. The consideration is not black and white even though the choice is. He would either be in and not in my life.
When I was with someone, I lost myself. I didn’t do it on purpose. I did it naturally. I didn’t think about it. There was no debate in my head. It was not an emotional sacrifice. I was being me; this was my personality. I yield, went along, was easy going and did not think of myself. I let myself disappear in a relationship for almost a decade.
When I look back at my relationship with Chris, I know I had disappeared when I was with him. Chris loved life and new adventures. Being with him, we explored local restaurants, outlets, New England towns, Caribbean islands, and European cities. Chris planned and decided on everything we did, movies, video games, and golf. I went along without any objection or opinion. I was happy with him. I never felt inequality between me and Chris. I just wasn’t loud. In my mind, I was being open, considerate, and accommodating. I was listening. I didn’t think about personal boundaries. I didn’t think about give and take. I was twenty two when I started going out with Chris.
Sometimes, I think my inner voice is like a pin drop in a noisy cafe. Unless someone really pay attention, he wouldn’t hear me. Am I weak? I ask myself. I don’t think it feels like weakness. If I wanted to say something, I could. I didn’t feel dominated by the men I was with. It felt more like innocence, like a child being curious about the world and seeing things for the first time. I didn’t pretend or wasn’t guarded. It was like reading a really good book and the world of me disappeared while I was completely engrossed in him. That is definitely possible!
I spent almost a decade in relationships then I spent another decade being single. When I was not with a man, I had the time and space to think about what I wanted out of my life. I love walks, books, yoga, being a foodie, traveling, and started writing, instead of spending time on TV, video games, outlets, and golf. When Chris and I broke up, he complained about me in front of me for the first time, “You never did anything!” I know. You were right. But without you, I have changed. I can see and hear myself now.