I’m single for the first time in 25 years.
I now see that most of the things I wanted from my relationships are actually things I can do for myself. After my divorce two years ago, I panicked at the idea of setting up my own Wi-fi system, cleaning the gutters, and finding help moving furniture.
The truth is that doing these things, or getting help doing them, has been easy.
Even hiring a handyman to fix the occasional faucet leak has been far less expensive than staying in my tragically outworn relationships. Single for the first time since I was seventeen, I suddenly realize that I need just two things from a partner: a slow, deeply connected, open-hearted, rapturous f*ck, and someone to pick me up at the airport.
Of course when my plane arrives I could catch a bus—or even hire a car service if it’s that important to me (and for some reason it is). But in this one case I love to be met by someone who is genuinely ecstatic to see me. It’s really the same thing as the f*ck. I can do it myself, and that’s fine and all. But there is something about “being done”by the apple of your eye that’s, well, different.
Accepting that there are only two things I am missing by being alone takes the pressure off of getting into another relationship. I can make the money that I want, I can set up my own Wi-fi (as it turns out), I can get deeply restorative massages from people who actually want to give them, and I can dine and dance with friends who don’t stand me up 50% of the time. Realizing that I am pretty self-sufficient even softens the blow of losing my last rapturous relationship. In fact, it makes me take another hard look at why I stayed so long through the rollercoaster of ups and downs.
And there were a lot of downs.
Don’t get me wrong; the sex and airport pickups were often so good that every other problem paled in comparison. That was why it was so hard to leave, actually. But now, in the light of day, I realize that missing these two things is surprisingly manageable—and more than worth what I had to give up to get them. In fact, I haven’t lost the love of my life; I am not lonely; and I am certainly not abandoned without resources. Actually, it’s just the opposite. I have gained everything that I lost by being in relationship.
So as I imagine my next rapturous rendezvous, I realize that it could be quite different. It could be free of a lot of baggage—free of being a reference point for my sense of self and security, my fulfillment, and my whole future. I now envision a relationship in which I look deeply into my beloved’s eyes and say sincerely, “Dearest, I adore you, and I don’t need anything from you. Except two things…”