Chris is a member of our Super Solos Living Alone Community Facebook Group. Relatively new to living alone after separation, he writes about how he is adjusting to solo life.
When I was younger, I used to think it would be good to be able to read people’s minds and to know what was coming around the corner. As I have aged, I now feel that it would have been the worst thing possible. We move forward mainly because we DON’T know what’s around that corner. How many of us would have made different decisions today if we could have foreseen the outcome?
Like many of you reading this, I didn’t choose to live solo. However, that is what my situation is at present. Will it always be this way? I don’t know and I find I don’t want to dwell on that thought. I think it’s just best if I try to take each day as it comes and see how life develops. I can’t sit waiting for things to change, they will, of course, they always do as it is the nature of living. I try to keep myself busy, as I find if I just get on with stuff, the other things will change in time.
Finding Solo Living helped me, no doubt about that. Being able to read some of the stories, issues and comments from the Solo Living Community, confirmed the fact that I was feeling many similar emotions and anxieties that other Solos were feeling or had felt during their experience. It is because of this, that I wanted to share my story with you.
In 2018 while I was upstairs in my music room making a noise and having a coffee, my partner came upstairs with a worried expression on her face and told me that ‘We needed to talk.’ It turned out she felt our twenty-year relationship was going nowhere and she wanted to separate and that she had been feeling this way for about eight months. Her family was even aware of it but did not want to say anything as they felt it was up to her to say something directly to me.
I tried to recover the situation, but it was very clear that she had thought long and hard about it and had made her decision. I fell into a deep shock; I really didn’t see the relationship breakdown coming and just felt I had had the proverbial ‘carpet’ pulled from under my feet. I was so overwhelmed with anxiety, guilt, loss, anger, frustration and panic that my mind constantly leapt from the worry of being homeless to thinking of living with my children to living independently. I like millions of other people suddenly found that an unplanned change of life direction was imminent and out of my control.
After many arguments, discussions and negotiations, I managed to find a way to provide myself with the necessary funds to achieve independent living.
In hindsight, she was probably right to take the action she did if she was unhappy. However, I feel she could have alerted me to her state of mind, so we could at least have tried to fix and restore the relationship before it was too late. Maybe I was supposed to undertake this journey. I personally know that since embarking on my solo journey, things have happened in my life that has led to new opportunities, which would not have been open to me had prior events not occurred.
Covid did not help the process of movement/change and it was some eighteen months after the ‘bombshell’ dropped that I actually vacated the marital home and began to live solo. The divorce has yet to happen, although it will and I am in the process as I write this, of bringing the last of my personal belongings from my previous address. If all goes according to plan that should be concluded with the month.
I’m now three months into living alone. So, what do I think of it?
For me personally, to begin adjusting to living alone, I have to make a place my own. I thought retail therapy was just an excuse people made up to rationalise buying whatever they wanted, but I have since been soundly metaphorically thrashed on that score. I was in my previous home for twenty years and it definitely reflected my personality, so I definitely found I missed having a place that felt like it was my own space.
Three months ago, I moved into a bungalow that needed a lot of work doing to it (it’s still a work in progress), but you can only do what your funds will allow. Several thousand pounds later, I now have a new bathroom, a new boiler, and a new log-burner. All were needed as the previous owners had not really invested in the upkeep of the place and much of it was well ‘past-it’s-sell-by-date.’
I have a long way to go, but I am loving my own choice of décor and furnishings. It’s starting to feel more like MI-CASA (my house). I miss having company both male and female and sometimes long for some ‘adult social time,’ but my children visit and hopefully with the end of lockdown in sight I may be able to entertain friends again as and when.
This time around I shall have ALL the female company I want! Actually, that’s probably just a dream and the reality will be nothing near that fantasy, but I believe we all need dreams. Haha.
I like the fact that I can decide what’s for tea, colour-schemes, what to do with my day, etc. Sometimes though I feel as if it would be nice if there was someone else here to help with the decision-making. Someone to sit with at night when there’s something good on television, or you’re playing some music and just want to be with someone who shares your taste. There is also the more personal side of life that I am not able to have at this time, but who knows what the future has in store for me.
I may decide I want a partner, but I’m not sure I want a live-in one. I like the idea of having someone who visits me and stays over and vice versa but still enables me to have my space. It’s inevitable no one is going to like ALL my music or décor choices, but then I probably wouldn’t like ALL theirs.
It’s easy for some to say I’ll get used to living alone and they have been doing it for years and loving it, however, I still see myself as a virgin solo individual. We are all so different, it’s what fires the imagination. Being able to read other solo stories on this website and in Super Solos Facebook Group about some of you who also struggle at times (like me) is comforting. There never seems to be a lack of support for those experiencing difficulties or equally, joining in with the enjoyment of others for whom the day, the week even the year has gone well.
Some of the solo experiences I have read about, I have taken on board and some I dismissed. However, as my experience as a solo has grown, I have modified my approach to other’s experiences and feelings. I think that’s a natural process. I don’t always agree with everyone and most likely never will, but those experiences are there for me to read and re-read and in many of them I find myself being able to empathise. It doesn’t matter to me if they are from a male or female perspective, I can relate to them and some of the emotions they talk about.
I have found some friends through Solo Living’s Facebook Groups and that is great for me. My write-ups to the group to date have been favourably received and I hope to continue to ‘put my fourpence worth in’, whenever I feel the need to.
My working background has meant I have worked in retail, transport, factories and self-employment to name a few. However, for the last fourteen years, I ended up working in child protection and had my eyes opened to a lot of deprivation and affluence. This doesn’t make me an expert by any stretch of the imagination and didn’t equip me for solo living, but then what does?
I am certainly not an authority on living alone, I can only go by my feelings and experience to date. Some of us were perhaps meant to be comfortable on our own and life’s experiences will dictate who, where, what, why, someone is content or unsettled with solo living.
I have come to the conclusion that I am where I am at this precise time in my life and that I found the Solo Living Community, as a consequence of something being off-kilter in my marriage and I will do my best to embrace my situation and stay until it’s time for another change.