Single life is a series of challenges. But the one that leaves me breathless even as I write this is the supersize twin dare to be undependent (aka whole) during unpartnered phases and to keep that sense of self while coupled. And no, that's not an impossible dream. Radical, yes, but eminently doable. What it takes is conscious — and constant — vigilance.
The payoff? Huge. Long-term lovers know that individuality keeps the spark alive, nourishing mutual respect and adding to the joy of togetherness. And frankly, I can't imagine a more thrilling game plan! Here you are, definitely not a blob, when you meet someone who fills a very special niche in your life. Yet in the midst of your joyous discovery, there is the nagging question of how to keep this going for a very long time. The angel on your shoulder whispers, "Game playing absolutely prohibited." The savvy single listens hard — and hears.
It's so easy to slip into old ways, taking for granted this precious wish fulfilled. We've all been with couples whose line of communication consists of barbs, a form of guerrilla warfare that makes everyone present more than a little uncomfortable. A male friend of mine long ago warned me to be careful with a beloved, and that word stays with me still. It's the one-word formula for lasting love because it includes so much: respect, friendship, serene loving. Sounds great. But can it be sustained?
A resounding "yes" from this corner! Provided the two of you keep your personhood and hang on for dear life. Yes, we're back to that magic word: individuality. So many of us — mainly females, I admit — promise ourselves we'll surrender our personhood when we merge. We do it in the name of true love, because deep in our DNA is the mistaken belief that being our own person (authentic) amounts to selfishness, which is, so goes the fiction, the kiss of death for true love. And so the foundation is laid for complete emotional meltdown. One partner — usually us, dear ladies — proceeds to melt into a shapeless, formless, opinionless, mute sweetie-pie little nothing who hides the real person she is and bores her partner to tears.
Not exactly a formula for love eternal.
So, dear ones, the assignment — should you choose to accept it — is to be aware of your personhood and to make sure you are expressing it in and out of a love relationship. Not the usual homework, I admit. But if it has been a heads-up for you, "Single File" has fulfilled its mission. See you next time!
DEAR READERS: We've uncovered a treasure-trove of "Single File" paperbacks — in perfect condition, ready to read. Send $15 and your address to: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. I'll send you a signed copy.
Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]