Aaron Steinmetz

...be very still...the bird's angry...and I think he can see us.

Loneliness and Solitude

It’s no secret among those who know me I am a chronic bachelor. Whether accidental or subconsciously deliberate, I go to bed alone each night, have long and sometimes vociferous arguments with my cat, and I’m fine with that.

Except when I’m not. That’s how this thing works. On Monday I’m perfectly happy with solitude and can’t imagine myself in a relationship. Tuesday comes and I’m aching with loneliness and desperate for someone. Anyone. Wednesday comes and I’m deleting the online dating profile I created on Tuesday. Thursday morning I’m noticing how long single people–particularly men–can go without a hug. Friday I’ve gone around the horn and I’m back to Monday. Weekends are a wildcard.

Now, if I could find a Tuesday / Thursday wife, then I might think about getting married, but wives tend to want to be wives every day and twice on Sunday. Seems to me a bit cruel to tease a woman with periodic affection and then be gone woman I have books to write, games to play, and an argument I need to win with my cat.

True, I’ve gone down that road before, but I’ve learned something about relationships: even the best of them don’t solve much. Just trading one set of problems for another. I like solitude. I crave it. People see solitude and automatically equate it with loneliness when there’s a very real difference between the two: unlike solitude, you don’t have to be alone to be lonely.

To be absolutely clear, I am not slamming relationships. I’m promoting solitude. I recognize my comfort with solitude is largely from my having been alone for most of my life. I think a lot of people who have become addicted to a steady supply of hugs can’t imagine themselves alone, but it’s a risky thing being in a relationship. You, Married Person, might one day suddenly find yourself single. I’ll never find myself suddenly married. Mostly Happy Married Fellow, should that day come when you find yourself alone consider solitude. You get fewer hugs, but you learn about yourself, and in the end you’re the only person you’ll ever really know.

But I’m not lying about the hugs thing. Seriously, I can’t even remember the last time I was hugged. Probably at a family thing last month.