Oct 9 • 7M

Why I Love Being Single

Insert George Michael's Freedom, please.

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Atoosa Rubenstein
When your life gets bat sh*t crazy, I can help. The podcast of the Atoosa Unedited newsletters!
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Can I be in the middle of a divorce, single, 50 and peaceful? Ummm…yes! 😬

I’ve been really crunching on something over the past few days.

On a short break from my last boyfriend, I started dating another guy from high school (I know - I know…but it’s me and you love me just the way I am, right???) and I was really struck by the response I got from several women I knew from childhood.

Are you ready?

“Congratulations!”

Is that fucking weird to you, too?

Congratulations??

Did I just win a stuffed animal at a carnival?

Congratulations.

This guy (a wonderful guy, to be clear) was our Homecoming King…but I don’t think that’s why they were congratulating me. Can you imagine? Congratulations! You finally snagged the Homecoming King…at age 50! 🤪

So I considered the women saying congratulations…and generally my friends from high school: They are all married to their high school or college era boyfriends…at this point for over 25 years. They seem very happy, nice families, connected to their communities, very stable. Going to tailgates, ladies’ and date nights are living the dream in their circles.

I was starting to understand. Getting divorced and starting over relationally in your 40s and now 50 is considered a failure. Being coupled up equals success.

Huh.

I’m not sure which is more mindblowing. This concept of being single as a shortcoming or that it literally never occurred to me that it could be considered a failure.

Is it a failure?

Is it a failure because being coupled is actually the true pathway to happiness? Or is it a failure because there’s an unwritten rule that it is?

Genuine question.

I recognize my own life and family appeared picture perfect to the outer world until I blew it up. And honestly, it was that way. We did have a happy family. We were not ripping each other apart behind the scenes. We were very connected to our community. I was the head of the most fancy PTA in Manhattan. The parent that organized the Mom’s Night Outs and planned the most interesting date nights. My husband called me The Concierge.

But…well…for me, it just wasn’t enough. I wish it were. Truly.

When one of my high school acquaintances heard about my current man sabbatical (3 months off from dating to better understand my patterns), she said with genuine compassion to another friend, “I feel so badly for her.”

But do we feel badly for me?

Should we feel badly for me?

Being 50 and loving deeply, being loved deeply, making love…deeply 😉, losing love, also deeply - all of these different angles and shades of freedom. It has never occurred to me that settling down with one person would be better. To me, it kinda seems boring. To me, it kinda was boring. Yes, sure. I recognize you can go deeper in a relationship with one person over many years, but I guess I’m getting a lot out of how deep I’m going now because in the marathon of a super long-term relationship are we really doing the work? Are we really learning about ourselves? Or are we just anchored to a buoy we know? A buoy that is familiar to the buoy we were anchored to in our childhood. I want to explore a new fucking ocean. I am an explorer! My relationships may have each only lasted less than a year, but we covered ground and depth I didn’t touch in the entirety of my marriage so…🤷🏻‍♀️

I mean…there are moments I miss having someone hanging around. Like the other night, I was heading home after a school function. I looked kind of amazing (we can admit when we look good, right?), it was a beautiful night and I was hungry. Remember how easy it was in college to find a friend who was game for whatever you wanted to do? I definitely had one of those post-college-where-are-my buddies moments. But I walked alone to my favorite local restaurant, had a deep and important call with one of my besties and enjoyed a nice meal at Red Farm. Would I have rather been holding someone’s hand on the walk? Sure. I actually fucking love being held. Do I prefer the complexity of what’s going on in my world to having to hold the same person’s hand day in and day out? I do. No pun intended.

Maybe I will feel differently when I am officially divorced. That entanglement currently feels like a noose around my neck. So for now, I’m loving the complete freedom after 25 years of sameness. I love the highs and lows…the discovery and even the uncertainty. When I fall in love, it’s so beautiful. So new. So very…very. What a fantastic reverse stretch to making breakfast, lunch and dinner for my children (as wonderful as they are)…to 3 school pickups and drop offs…to wondering what my place is in the world in my next chapter, to…you get the picture. As a parent I have a lot of sameness that I appreciate and actually want. Having the same dude in the kitchen day in and day out, too? 😬 For now? Hard pass. But again, maybe I just haven’t met the right dude for my kitchen. I have certainly enjoyed the process of figuring it all out. 🤩

Oh and my self-imposed man sabbatical has hit a speedbump 😎. More on that next week because I need another week of mileage under my belt. But a month in, I’ve had sex…and I don’t regret it. I’ve been flirting and yet I’ve been mindful. And well….I’m deeply aware of how significant men are in my life. What an interesting laboratory. I hope your job is as interesting.

xo, atoosa