I live alone and, most of the time, I really like it. I like being able to shut the door on a apartment of my own – and more often than not, a mess that’s all mine – and have the privacy and peace that comes with complete ownership of a space. I love being able to stroll, scantily clad, without regard to roommates (though I should probably remember to close the drapes more often than I actually do). I love listening to whatever music I want to listen to, and not having to share a fridge or listen to someone else yak on the phone. There are actually few things I don’t love about living alone, and it would be tough to convince me to give it up.
And it turns out that living alone actually puts me in very good company. A recent story in The Daily Mail – The Bridget Jones generation: How half of women aged 18-35 are living alone – focuses on how half of women don’t live with a partner, whereas just 30 years ago almost 70 percent of that age group lived with a husband or boyfriend. The article looks at women’s decisions to delay moving out of their parents house (for financial reasons), to put career first, and to become single mothers (whether by choice or circumstance). What might have seemed freakishly unusual 20 years ago has become a social norm.
“It may also be that well-educated and well-paid young women are far more choosy about the qualities of the men they may pick as partners,” says writer Steve Doughty. And that is something I can definitely identify with. As I put more and more care into carefully crafting my life from the raw materials I was given – lovingly selecting friends, shoring up ties with family and putting a lot of effort into a career I want – it gets harder and harder to picture myself making room in my life for a relationship with a man who’s just, well…so so.
Earlier in my dating life, when I was still sorting out who I was and what I wanted, I was thrilled by any attention from a man. And now, when I’m seeing someone and I get the all-too-familiar mild sense of doom in the pit of my stomach, I’m much faster to pull the trigger and realize that a mediocre relationship just isn’t a good enough fit for everything else I’ve been building.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m not hoping to someday meet someone sufficiently amazing to earn the key to both my heart and my bachelor apartment. But I’m more than happy to close the door, push aside my pile of dry cleaning, and make myself happy in the meantime.