I’m not going to lie. Being single after six years of partnership can suck. Hard. From the big things- absence, loss and grief- to the little things- no one remembers how to order your burger when they pick up Mcdonalds. I’m starting to discover, though, that there are things about it that aren’t that bad. In fact, they actually kind of rock.
- You can make your own choices. When you’re married, you are constantly making accommodations for the other person. When you’ll go to the store, what you get when you’re there, the car you drive, the apartment you live in- everything is a joint decision. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s as it should be, in fact. Marriage is a partnership. But here’s an opportunity to do everything as you want to do it. Cherish it. Make decisions without giving in to someone else’s wants and needs.
- All your money goes to you. Two people and one joint checking account means that everything gets split two ways. If you get something, they get something. Two people’s worth of bills and clothes and groceries and movie tickets. When you’re single, it’s all you. You’re responsible for your own bills, yes, but you also get the chance to indulge yourself. You can buy yourself something without having to get something for your partner, or without having to make an explanation. The flip side of this is that you don’t have to worry about your partner going out and spending money that you needed. If you want to save, you can squirrel it away to your heart’s content.
- Your time is your own. You have a responsibility to your spouse to be there for them. Give them your attention when they need it. Attend their family gatherings. Ride along when they want to run errands. When you’re single, you don’t have to do any of that. Want to stay in bed all day and read your new book? Spend all day at the park? Ride the train into the city to see a movie with a friend? Go for it. Fill your days with the things that you, and only you, want to do.
- You are responsible for your happiness. Your partner will always do things that drive you a little crazy. They don’t pick their shoes up off the floor, or leave a sink full of dirty dishes, move the mirrors in your car, whatever. There’s only so much you can do about those sorts of things. But the only one who can drive you crazy when you’re single is you. If you hate your dirty dishes, you’ll wash them. Your shoes were probably never in the middle of the floor to begin with. Your car mirrors will stay where you left them. You can listen to the music you love or cook the food you want without knowing that your spouse is going to complain about the peas.
- You get a fresh start. It’s not often that we’re given the chance to remake ourselves. You graduate college, get married, and settle down. You make choices that are intended to be permanent. When that life falls apart, it’s scary. Pick yourself up, and realize that this is your new, big chance. Maybe the biggest chance you’ll ever have. Maybe it wasn’t feasible for you and your spouse to move to an expensive urban environment- it’s a lot more feasible when it’s just you. Maybe you never left the job you hated because it supported the two of you; now you can. Maybe your spouse liked your hair a certain way or was allergic to cats. If you’ve ever wanted to reinvent anything in your life, this is the time. Have an adventure. Embrace your life.