I’ve been single for well over a decade now. Like most older women who have gone through a divorce, I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with being single.
80% of the time, I am able to celebrate my independence. I genuinely appreciate having the freedom to pursue my passions without compromise. I even love getting up in the morning and being able to eat breakfast whenever I want and with whomever I want. Does any of this sound familiar?
At the same time, while I love my life as a single older woman, I would be lying if I said that it was all ice-cream and sprinkles!
There are times when I miss the physical contact that comes with being in a relationship. I’m not just talking about sex. I’m also referring to the small touches – cuddles, brushes and kisses – that we never notice until they are gone.
Then, there are the more practical issues that come with being single. When I was married, my husband and I had a joint plan for retirement. Whenever I faced a difficult financial question, I had someone to talk to. Having to make all of the “big decisions” by myself was terrifying at first. Heck, even having to put together an Ikea table by myself was terrifying at first!
When we are single, we have a tendency to present the happiest version of ourselves to the world. When someone asks us “Are you happy being single?” we say, “Heck yes! I wouldn’t have it any other way” or “I don’t even want a man in my life.”
Of course, in our heart of hearts, we know that it is not quite that simple. Yes, we are confident, happy, independent older women. No, we don’t “need” a man to be important, complete or visible. But, to say that being single only has upsides is, perhaps, too simplistic.
As Susan Sarandon said in an interview with Reuters…
“Being alone has been a lot of different things. It’s traumatic and exhilarating. The one thing that’s been really clear to me is that you have to think of your own life and your relationship and everything as a living organism. It’s constantly moving, changing, growing. I think long-term relationships need to be constantly reevaluated and talked about.”
As strange as it might sound to hear from someone who is happily single, I actually agree with Susan Sarandon. There are times when being a single woman in her 60s has been exhilarating. For example, I traveled to Bali, alone, for 2 months this year. There have also been times when it has been terrifying. For example, when I left the corporate world for the last time, I wasn’t sure how I would survive financially.
Ultimately, I’m not looking for a man. But, if I am honest, I also wouldn’t mind having someone special in my life.
I guess that’s the paradox of being a single older woman. We are realistic enough to know that we may never find love again. But, deep down inside, we are still romantics at heart. Under the many layers of experience and self-reliance, we still want to be touched. We still want to be loved.
I’d love to get your perspective on this!
Are you a single woman? Do you agree or disagree with Susan Sarandon that being single can be traumatic and exhilarating? Why do you feel this way? Please join the conversation.
I am a seasoned single 66 year old women ,lets see for at least 35 years now. Divorce, of my decision, came seven years after my marriage. Yes I have enjoyed being single, independent, and having alone time and privacy. Yes, I absolutely wish I found that special “one” but unfortunately after many years of searching , I am still alone.
Margaret your article has given me thought on the fact that we should never stop searching for love. I agree with Susan Sarandon’s comment. Trauma in a relationship ,to me, entails an unexcepted loss of your partner be it from abandonment or death.
Exhilaration is the experience of having a partner and enjoying Maslow’s Hierarchy of basic human needs.
Thank you Margaret!