Have I Forgotten How To Be A Partner?

And Do I Want To Remember?

I have been a single mom for almost 10 years. That's a long time to not have to compromise, share space or discuss where the television should go with a man.

I hang paintings where I want, buy groceries that I like, go to bed when I'm tired... it's kinda wonderful. The only person I've truly had to work with on a daily basis is my daughter and, well, we have a pretty great thing going.

But, I am a woman. I am a grown-up woman. Oh, let's face it, I love men and would like to have a healthy relationship with one in this lifetime.

So, it has come to my attention that if I want to be serious about a relationship I'm going to have to learn to... eek... be a partner.

UGH! Help! I thought I was done reading Men Are From Mars books when I got divorced!

A partner. Patient, open minded, flexible...

I can already see it -- the late night talks about what might have been misunderstood earlier in the day that caused the silent treatment for a solid hour. The afternoon Costco trips that lead to the "do you really need this? Do you really use that?" discussions. The sharing of the remote, the using up all the hot water, the needing to close the door now when going to the bathroom.

Oh, dear. It's all a bit heartbreaking.

I like being independent. I like being a single mom. I like watching Dateline reruns while eating cheddar cheese goldfish for dinner. Is that so wrong?

No. But, I also know being in love, having a best friend, showing my daughter what a healthy, kind, grown-up relationship looks like is a good thing. A wonderful thing.

So, it is time for this single mom to learn, again, to be a partner. To be open to the idea of being a partner. To let go just a little bit and open the door a smidgen wider.

Make a little room on the couch... and in my heart.

I can do that.

D. Modisett January 07, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Well put. Single mother seems ideal some days. Freedom and hugs, who can argue with that? Except the rebellious stage looms large and then having a grown up partner seems like a good idea. And apparently, we grow more as people (blech) in relationship to others. Love you putting this out there though!
Alison Freebairn-Smith January 07, 2013 at 06:30 PM
It's not easy living under same roof with a man. I don't think that men and women should ever cohabitate. Relationships we be much more successful if we didn't have to compromise and could live the way we want to live without having to share the remote, etc. I've been divorced for 22 years and also have a daughter who is now almost 25. I've had some wonderful relationships with men over the years and I'm certain that they would not have been so great if we'd tried living together. That said, now that my daughter has moved away and I'm living alone, I am finally ready for a relationship, again, after taking a break. She worries about me and I can see how stressful it is for her. I'd like to have a companion. Someone to accompany me to events, to her performances (she is a touring musician), and I worry that I'm not getting enough hugs and touching, something I believe is essential to physical health. But, live with a man? I don't think I'll ever do that again. It just isn't necessary. I love men and love spending time with them, and then I like it when they go home. :)
Geraldo Cruz January 07, 2013 at 06:59 PM
I have read your blog occassionally and have never wanted to appear harsh but this time it's over the top. How can you have a relationship when you have an overabundance of self love? I have never seen anyone post so many pictures of themself. Aren't you a little old to be doing that, taking so many pictures of yourself?
Susan McMartin January 07, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Well, I am asked to attach a picture of myself for my column. But, thanks for the comment. When you have a column feel free to establish any image you want. As for self love, I think learning self love is one of the greatest things and hardest things to achieve. If you read my column you would know it's been a long process. I recommend it.
Connie the Saint January 07, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Susan, nice article. You're right, self love is required to be able to receive love from anyone else. I, too, am a (divorced) single mom. Although I enjoy my singleness (I'm not big on casual dating), I realize I'm happiest in a loving relationship. Yes, it's an adjustment - learning to share your space, but with the right one - it's oh so worth it. I love spoiling my loves (husband, fiance, serious boyfriends). I don't have the freedom to do that with casual dates. True courtship continues on even after marriage, and that's the part I love and miss. Enjoy the journey - although I suspect you will. It only seems to be unanticipated challenge when we're considering sharing our space with someone (even slightly) undesirable. Imagine he's the man of your dreams. What space? LOL!
Susan McMartin January 07, 2013 at 09:34 PM
thanks, d! And, I love your wise (blech) words!
Susan McMartin January 07, 2013 at 09:35 PM
thanks, alison, for your comment! i agree that physical contact is very essential as well. i think about the day my daughter is out of the house as well... i'm glad i'm not afraid to be alone but i'm hopeful that i won't be alone. again, thank you so much for your insightful words!
Susan McMartin January 07, 2013 at 09:38 PM
connie, thank you! i love hearing from other single mom's going through this! and, you're right, if it's the right man it's worth everything! i suppose the hard part is knowing when it's the right man, yes? life is indeed a journey.
John Emerson January 08, 2013 at 06:18 AM
Hi Susan, I have had no experience with a partnerless life! It sounds like it might be fun for a while. Supreme Ruler! Total Freedom! A steady stream of fascinating dates! Can you tell I've been married forever! 1st 32 years, 2nd 21 and counting. Actually I'm happy with my 2nd wife, we were old enough to make an intelligent choice. I like sharing places, entertainment and life with my partner. When you get old it is nice to have some history together. I think some people are happier alone, I'm one of the other ones.
John Emerson January 08, 2013 at 06:24 AM
Don't stop the pictures, I love them!
Susan McMartin January 08, 2013 at 07:08 AM
john, your wife is a lucky woman! your life always sounds fascinating and joyful to me. thank you for sharing it! and, as always, thanks for reading my column! happy new year!
Susan McMartin January 08, 2013 at 07:08 AM
you got it! ;-)
Carol McGovney January 13, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Susan, I love this...I too miss "some" of being a couple...I had what I thought was a ideal...living a block away from a Nice guy,... he wanted more and now after 4 + years he is dating someone...I am happy for him!...I Love living alone...yes I like to cuddle, share time together...about 2x's a week...and to Connie the Saint I can't even imagine a perfect me, it changes every day...


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