A couple of days ago my husband came back from a three-days trip and told me he is sorry but he has to travel a lot more next month. I told him not to worry, because there is hardly anything that delights me as being on my own, even for a few days in a row. I am convinced that if I managed to be married to him for so long – apart from the fact that I married the most beautiful, clever, sensitive, funny, and just man in the world – it’s because his work has always taken him away at times. Since when the children were very young, I found myself alone for short or long periods of time. In some countries this was less pleasant than in others (in some of the places we lived, I did not feel safe to be at home on my own), but overall I have always enjoyed his being away for a while, both when the kids were living with us and now that we are empty-nested.
But I am certainly not the only one. All the women I talked to in my adult life, with a few exceptions, welcome their husbands’ trips with a good mood. And these are all perfectly functioning and loving couples. Still, I have heard so many women telling me of the anticipation they felt knowing that once the children were in bed, they would put their feet on the sofa, pour a glass of wine and enjoy a movie. Something that can certainly be done with a husband, too, but that takes a different taste when we are alone.
I personally could not conceive a life where me and husband see each other every single day, share the bed every single night, and spend every single week-end together. We need to exist as persons outside of our reality as a couple. And especially for those women, like me, who were with their kids full-time, being alone is a high-quality time, moments when you recharge your batteries simply for the fact that no one needs you.
I don’t do anything special when I am on my own. I simply enjoy every second. The fact of having no one who calls you, interrupts you, talks to you, gives me a pleasure that I can hardly describe. I eat when I want, sleep when I want, stay as long as I want at the computer, and when I leave it, it’s because I am really tired to work or write.
I know it would not be the same if I were permanently on my own. Indeed, it feels a bit weird waking up on the third day having only the cat to say good morning to. But as it is, I am not alone. I share my life with a fabulous man, whom I am always happy to see at the end of the day. But whom I also gladly accompany to the door when I see him going on a field trip, knowing that he’ll be happy in what he’s doing and I’ll let the cat sleep on the sofa besides me (please don’t tell him) while I watch a romantic movie.