Around the same time the newly singled realize their bed-hopping adventures actually make them lonelier, a growing awareness of themselves as a distinct entity takes hold. Standing on one's own, recognized as a person in one's own right, starts to feel good. Really good. The loneliness is still there, of course, felt most in the early-morning hours and the coming-home alone time, but now the awfulness of meaningless sex seems far worse. It's then — a year or so after decoupling — that the advantages of being unpartnered begin to make themselves known! It's not that the lacks in the single life suddenly vaporize and fade into the sunset, but with the passage of time, you realize that sometimes it's not so bad being alone with yourself. Once that realization seeps into consciousness, those long walks after dinner begin to feel more like meditation than the dark rejection pangs of just a few months ago. Times of quiet musing quietly find their way into alone times, strengthening the sense of individuality so recently liberated. It hardly compensates for the lack of a loving and dedicated partner, but it does bring its own emotional sustenance that nourishes the spirit.
After incorporating this stronger sense of personhood into one's self-image and seeing its benefits lead to greater personal power and selfhood, another issue arises: how to keep one's sense of self within a romantic relationship. When this issue takes center stage (usually around two years after reentering singleworld), it speaks of emotional need for committed love. The irony here (rarely mentioned) is that compatibility with oneself is a prerequisite for a successful love partnership: One must evolve in order for the other to work well (a dichotomy that makes perfect sense).
Then comes liftoff, when single living (if you've done it right) quite naturally evolves into coupled intimacy. Partners dance the rhythms of courtship, when both people are drawn to each other in wholesome ways, for reasons that bear scrutiny: They want to befriend this person. They want to help the beloved grow and soar. Their self-knowledge enables them to recognize an appropriate Other and to relate to him or her with utter honesty. This is the payoff, the reward for times of aloneness and refusal of inappropriate relationships. This is the part of the journey when holding someone's hand feels so right and so good. That sense of rightness permeates this relationship. Doubts and misgivings retreat into the background because the basics of this love partnership bring peace to the soul.
Now comes the ultimate challenge of enfolding individual sense of self into a mutually beneficial relationship. Both must stand tall, close but not in each other's shadow. This is the nurturing phase of couplehood that can endure to old, old age if tended to with loving diligence. The bumpy road of reentry into single life — every misstep, every hurt — has gradually fortified both partners. All the independent thought and action has proved to be preparation for this culminating relationship. They consciously choose to share without smothering. They intermingle without blurring. They bend without toppling.
They know the secrets of togetherness because they have developed and safeguarded their selfhood.
Write for your free signed copy of Susan's "Declaration of Undependence" on parchment. Send your request to: Susan Deitz, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]
Photo credit: adamkontor at Pixabay